Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'll Fly Away....

My new all time favorite thing to do in the entire universe!  My son laying on my chest, sleeping with a blanket over him, watching him, loving him.  At one point I started singing "go to sleep little baby..." from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou movie.  Thanks to modern phones, YouTube was only a click away and we were listening to that and other songs from the soundtrack while he slept on my chest.  I was in heaven with my son's skin on mine and Alison Krauss singing "I'll fly away" on the speaker phone..... heaven.

What a great life I get to experience.

We are heading home in just a few minutes to usher in the New Year as a family together.

He is the most beautiful creature in my world and I am so happy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Enzo Raines

Enzo Raines is born today, 12/30/09 at 12:03pm (all multiples of 3).  The amount of words I would like to write about this day is matched only by my fatigue.  They will have to wait to be written.  I'll just say that we are very fortunate and that my wife is amazing!  Enzo is healthy and beautiful.  Tami is healthy and beautiful.  What a superb day.

Welcome to the world my son!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas


(Don and Aly got The Kid his first motorcycle, this one in wood.)

Usually we travel around town on Christmas visiting our families. This year we figured the giant kid-filled-belly entitled us to stay home and have family come to us. Pregnancy makes you royalty among those who love you and even among some strangers. Tami is the focus of conversations, her comfort and wishes are constantly looked after, gifts are given to her regularly, when we take long to cross the street and the lights have changed the cars continue to wait patiently and the drivers smile; like she's royalty. And me? Royalty by association, but with a twist. I get special treatment when with Tami, but my own friends will greet me with disappointment and a trace of derision if I show up at a gathering without Tami. Then, the good friends that they are, they try to convince themselves and me that they are happy to see me too. It's funny and makes me smile. I imagine Tami will get a little of this treatment later if she shows up to some places without The Kid.

As I was saying about Christmas, and in keeping with our greater royalty-like social status, we decided to stay home this year and invite family to visit us if they liked and that worked out great. Many of our family came over to visit, chat, bring food, cook, and clean up after. There is a lot to be said for being pregnant over the holidays.

This morning we were able to wake in a clean house though we hosted nearly 15 people throughout yesterday. And, we broke in the new waffle iron! Yum. Home made waffles, coffee for me and soy hot chocolate for Tami. But before the waffle iron was ready, we had left over pie. A delicious way to begin a day. And now for a lazy day, among the last we will share before The Kid arrives.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The "Supposed" Day


As you may notice from the count down labeled "days until The Kid Arrives," today is the due date; all but come and gone, the counter proudly displaying "0". While there are a few hours remaining, it's safe to say that this kid will not share his Aunt, my sister-in-law, Traci's birthday. While I'm at it, Happy Birthday Traci! So what's going on? With the baby- all normal stuff as far as we can tell. We do have another doctor appointment tomorrow morning so perhaps there will be more news then.

Tami and I have been spending a lot of time together and it feels like vacation. Which it is, so I guess that makes sense. In fact, as of last Friday, I don't work again until February as I took January off to be with Tami and The Kid. While we can't go hiking and go on motorcycle rides and trips together as we tend to do in summer, Tami and I thought we might try some games. We've played chess a few times in the past but we've never settled into playing games together to unwind at night. A couple of nights ago we tried Boggle. That was a good time. The coolest part is that when we finally decided to stop playing and tally up the score, we were both even at 85 points. Neat. We also have run many errands together, watched a couple of movies, and generally enjoyed each other's company. We do some things separate. I went on a morning motorcycle ride today while Tami was still sleeping. As I type this, Tami is at yoga. And Sunday I stayed home all day feeling crummy so Tami hung out with her sister.

My anxiety level has been fairly high lately, rising several times each day but never to a full panic attack. Back when I was having panic attacks my digestive system would shut down, belly swell up, and it would take three days before I could comfortably move around again, a few days more for my digestive system to normalize. Well, even without a panic attack, that's what happened Saturday and that's why I spent Sunday at home feeling crummy. It was interesting because I experienced the anxiety symptoms and the abdominal discomfort all without fear of them, so that's a big positive. Still, I knew that I would be lying around for three days until the bloating was down and I was comfortably mobile again. But I was wrong, this time I was up again after only a day and a half. I'm making progress. Since Sunday I've spent several hours reading more about anxiety and panic attacks from the book I have and from numerous websites. Reading and learning helps a lot. I think it is the reading and thinking along new lines that helped me to recover quicker this time. My anxiety level has been spiking so many more times each day now but it doesn't get as high as it use to five months ago. It's gotten a little scary, but I'm lucky to have been around Tami or good friends when it has gotten that bad in the last weeks and they have helped me to vent and keep it manageable. Tami is practically a saint when it comes to helping me get through tough anxiety peaks. I'm curious to see if my anxiety issues change after The Kid is born, specifically as a result of him being born. I wonder if there is a connection there. Either way, I continue to learn, improve my thinking, and become better equipped to handle anxiety. I think I am becoming a better person in the process. I'm even proud of myself for getting this good at managing the anxiety and that's a long way from before when I was berating myself for "having to deal with this issue at all." Hopefully I'm still being supportive enough to Tami's needs as I work on myself. I love her and think that I remind her and show her daily. Today I massaged her feet with lotion. Not just one foot, both feet! Does that count for two days of love and support? Well, as long as she keeps telling me she is happy we are spending so much time together, I think I'm doing all right.

I am excited to meet my son. And I admit that I am nervous about the big day- what ever day that turns out to be. I am nervous, and excited. There is a layer of giddiness under the surface like balloons waiting to be dropped on an expecting crowd. I have no idea what the effect of the celebration will be on me, but it will be a celebration.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby not quite ready yet


We went to the doctor's office today and all is well. Unless you ask Tami. The midwife says she thinks The Kid is going to be pretty late, possibly late enough to be a New Year's baby. Late enough that The Kid will not be out for Christmas. Tami is funny about this. Half cute, half frustrated. I reminded Tami that in the beginning of the pregnancy, she thought it would be cool to have a New Year's baby. She reminded me that I'm not expected to talk when she is pregnant AND frustrated. I think I'll stick to noncommittal laughing. She still gives me funny looks, but it's not enough to cause any problems between us. Also, I like to think that my laughing is part of her therapy and helps her accept that she will be pregnant for a little longer. She is taking it well besides referring to the midwife as a crazy lady now. We did hear the heart beat again. 138 beats per minute. The Kid was energetic when we got in there because we had just eaten. As I said, he is doing well and in position with head down but he won't be popping out any time too soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ready


(Notice the antlers. Yes, she puts them on every day this time of year. She is asleep on the couch next to me with them on as I type.)

The Kid's room is done, I'm only 20 pages away from finishing The Birth Partner, and the car seats are installed in the cars. I'm not sure when the "You're officially qualified to be a father" certificate will show up, but I'm expecting it at any moment. I am feeling pretty good about the big day- and it's not far off. 10 days, plus or minus a few. Tami thinks three to five days sounds about right. I don't know, I'm sort of hoping for six plus days so that my winter vacation will have begun and I'll be around all of the time. Then again, how much more exciting can it get then to drive off from work after getting a call saying it's time? We'll see how our story unfolds.

A couple of days ago we went on a tour of the hospital birthing areas. I was surprised as the birthing rooms were not as sterile and cold looking as I had envisioned. The furniture and the floors look like wood. The lights have lamp shades. Sure, there are more dials and tubes then in most rooms, and there is a big movable spot light against one of the walls, but it's more inviting than I expected. The midwifes and nurses were nice and the nursery, the place the babies go when they are in need of medical attention, was not scary looking. I, for some reason, expected it to be. Maybe the fact that even this room had big windows open to the hall made it less scary. How bad can it be if it's not hidden from view?

Today, Tami and I spent more time together in a day then we have since summer. In the process we cuddled lying down in the morning for the first time in days (big belly has made it difficult), decorated The Kids room, went through our birthing plan, talked about birth, went grocery shopping, got frustrated with each other over silly stuff, got over it, and loved each other. A good day. The only time we spent apart was when Tami went to dance class early in the morning and I walked into downtown to read The Birth Partner at the Campbell Cafe.

It was beautifully grey this morning. Clouds were low, moving, and thick. The rain was constant and light. Great for a walk, a read, and a think. One of the things I was thinking about was how often I am actively thinking. The councilor for my anxiety issues said that I associate relaxation with boredom. To work on this was the real motivation to go for a walk this morning. The goal was to just walk in the light rain and enjoy the feeling of being, without having to do anything. It's weird, but this is the first weekend in so long that I have nothing I have to do for work or night school; I'm all caught up for a while. Still, anxiety has been an issue lately, even sleeping has been difficult. Today was no exception, but I worked through it. Not fun, but doable. The triggers are more difficult to identify now that I am over issues with driving and riding. Today, one of the high anxiety episodes happened while looking for mayonnaise, another while sitting in front of the Christmas tree chatting with Tami, and once at the Cafe. Sort of all over the place. When triggers do make sense they tend to have to do with time, creating quality work, or thoughts of birth. Not sure how mayonnaise fits into the scheme.

As I was saying, my goal this morning was to just be and to appreciate. Last minute, I decided to take a book, too. I had to give in a little to a need for distraction, at least the book is pertinent to my life right now. While thinking and taking in the weather, I considered that I am always thinking or reading if I am not "doing something." When I don't have a book, I buy a paper. When I have nothing to think about, I assign myself something "useful" to work on mentally. I wondered if Buddhism and Taoism weren't created as an organized way to help the masses deal with anxiety. Maybe the idea of Nirvana was just thrown in to make Buddhism look like a religion and present a long term goal to keep the focus. Maybe the ancients just needed a way to relax when looking for the right mayonnaise in the grocery store. Well, these are the kinds of things one thinks about when considering the fact that it is difficult to make a mind silent. I'm not sure if I can just stop doing, reading, writing, and thinking cold turkey. I'm working to wean myself off. I remember going on walks and being wholly present in the moment, undistracted. I know it's possible. I'm sure The Kid will be plenty distraction enough to wean me from any thinking addiction. I believe he will also be plenty motivation to be present and to enjoy the moment.

You know, it's kind of weird that I now find myself always trying to be doing something. I use to think of myself as a fairly lazy person. I'm not going to tell my child "Do it right or don't do it at all." It's one of the things I was thinking about this morning. If I don't feel I can produce at a certain level, I don't want to produce at all. Maybe that's why I thought of myself as lazy for so long; I didn't start producing until later when I was confident that I could live up to some standard. And then there is always the fear of missing the mark along the way. Is this why it took me seven years to graduate college? It was torture to turn in homework the whole time, only slightly less painful to drop out several times in my first years of college. Maybe I should have told myself it's more important to do something than to do it right. Maybe just doing is good enough to start with, and doing it well should be a goal later on down the line. That's the thing about aphorisms and advice, even two contradictory ones can sound full of truth and insight. This I do believe to be true; the more comfortable I have become with failure, the more initially scary, and ultimately interesting, experiences I have had.

All-righty Kid. I'm ready to fail with you. But I'll try to do well. Who knows, by the time you're 30 I just might be doing the father thing right.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Santa,


I can't say for certain how you run your operation, but I can guess a little. I assume being good will qualify one for most gifts. But for some of the gifts out there, I assume one has to DO GOOD. That gift you see in the picture, clearly that is one of the ones you really have to DO good for. I've not done that much good this year. But, I imagine good deeds are like crimes committed in a year- cyclical. Perhaps this year there was a really low turn out on good deeds and that would move me up on the list. Also, maybe the top couple tens of thousands of truly worthy individuals aren't even interested. That would be crazy... but who am I to judge the noble? So, it's a long shot, but I thought I would put my name out there on the list of interested people. There are only twelve of these available so I'm not holding my breath. What are my qualifications? As I said, they are not that much, but I truly have worked this year on seeing the world from the perspectives of others. I've considered how my thoughts and actions affect others, how I sometimes propagate injustice and how I reap rewards without being the most deserving. And, I've started working to reverse such injustice. Humble beginnings, but I am happy to have actually done some good this year. That's my whole application. Now, Mr. Clause, just in case you don't know what is in that picture, let me tell you. THE F'N MOON!

So here is the deal. A book called Moonfire is being released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo II and there are a couple of special editions available. Twelve of these special editions include a rock from the moon! Now Santa, I have all that I need and then some. I certainly do not need my own moon rock. I'm quite okay sharing the one in Washington D.C. with the world. So, this is not a matter of need, it's a matter of "holly wow- I would love to touch that every day!" And to be fair, I have way more than my fair share of wants satisfied already. But, wouldn't you know it, every time I look there is a little more want left. Want is like room for ice cream. There will always be more. Now, I would be happy to acquire one of the twelve myself or pass on the request to family, but the $90,500 price tag is a little much. So, if you and your elves think you can work something out, and enough of the do gooders out there took the year off, and if those that didn't are just too crazy to appreciate this magic rock, well... somewhere a few hundred thousand names down your list of good, please find my name with moon rock written next to it.

Here is the link to learn more about it.

Thanks,

Randy

P.S.
In the mean time, my beautiful wife and I have started preparing our Christmas tree. I'm including a picture of the work in progress so that you'll recognize it if you need to know where to leave a certain rock. That's our Kid with Tami. He may be out and about by Christmas too. He's a good kid, I have a hunch. Feel free to get him a rock, too.

P.P.S.
We don't have milk. We sometimes have rice milk or soy milk. Once in a while, almond milk. Just a warning before you take a big gulp. It's good though. Also, I can leave out cookies, but I tend to eat them when they are out. So, get here early if you want a cookie.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kid Doing Great

I love my kid. I know, he's our kid. And, I'm sure Tami loves him too. But this is my blog. And I love him. I havn't even met him yet, face to face, but he is so great. He's perfect.

We just went to our doctors appoointment, 37 weeks pregnant. He is healthy, active, and doing well. Very active. He moves around a lot, every night, all the time, and when ever Tami eats.  His legs move a lot and a few days ago I laid my head on Tami's belly and I could hear his heart beating. Sweet!  No wonder the ancient Egiptians thought the heart was so important. Ever wonder where the term "know it by heart" comes from? It's that impressive.

I think pictures are important for blog posts, but Tami went off to"pregnant-lady-yoga" before I took a picture. So, what you have hear is an anatomically correct representation thanks to Tami's sweatshirt and one of the (many many) pillows we have acquired. The kid is turned, ready to go. I asked if he would turn around more and we were told he might, but he's filled out most of the room so he will probably be in this position for the rest of his stay in Hotel Tami.

The cool thing is that he is active, Tami and he are doing well, and I can hardly wait to meet him. Tami says "20 days to go, plus or minus 10."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 28 - Campbell, California


My cross country trip of 2009 is officially over. More than I had hoped for over this weekend, I actually rode from Phoenix to the coast at Santa Monica (on Day 27), completing a coast to coast to coast motorcycle trip months after I had begun it in June. It almost did not happen. There was a point back on Thursday night when I nearly called off this weekend's trip thinking I would not even be able to make it sitting in a truck for 12 hours to get to Arizona. I'm glad I went through with the trip. Part of working through Panic Disorder is to challenge avoidance behavior, to keep the associated fear of panic from becoming too strongly associated with a trigger (such as driving far from home) and ultimately to overcome the avoidance behavior and the anxiety itself. The therapeutic goal is not to focus on a belief that one will never again experience high anxiety or have a panic attack, but that if anxiety arrives and if a panic attack occurs, it's okay because one knows how to work through the anxiety. This is what I had to work on, being certain that if anxiety struck while I was on a long drive from home, I would be okay. And I was. Sure, anxiety levels did rise several times on the drive to Phoenix, but I dealt with these episodes reminding myself that panic attacks and anxiety are uncomfortable but they can't kill a person and they can only last so long before they go away. I never did get a full panic attack, but I grew confident that I would be able to handle one if it occurred. And eventually, I became at ease on the drive and just enjoyed the time hanging out with my friend. That gave me a lot of confidence. And, our conversations were interesting, too. The topics ranged from my anxiety and the strategies I am using to to deal with it to how American society affects people of color and women as opposed to white males. Eventually, we even found a Waffle House (YEAH!!!) and had a light dinner and sweet tea (YUMM!).

By the time I woke up Saturday at my Nina and Nino's house, I was feeling very good. I was enjoying the trip and the visit with family.

I knew I was there to both pick up my bike and to challenge my fear of anxiety. Also, I knew I had a golden opportunity to prove to myself that I could truly handle anxiety if I would just ride through the Arizona desert and pass the location where I had pulled over in the summer and from where I was taken by a kind stranger to a clinic, and from there by ambulance to the hospital, where I was treated for dehydration. This was my chance. So, I took it. After saying goodbye to my family, I rode the bike west. My hands were soaking wet with perspiration and my anxiety level did rise and stay high for an hour, but I talked myself through it and I made it. About ten miles or so past the place I had once pulled over feeling ill, I was able to take in how beautiful the surroundings were and to congratulate myself for this personal accomplishment. I was not just riding to beat my own anxiety at that point, I was riding in a beautiful place heading west and it felt good. Breaking through to that state of mind, I wanted to keep on riding to enjoy the world and I did, all the way to the coast. It wasn't necessary to ride all the way to the coast to feel satisfied, I told myself, but I am glad that I did it. It added a sense of completion to my cross country ride.

The next day, Day 28, I decided I had nothing else I must prove to myself and it would be better and more fun to ride with Nathan in the truck and finish this road trip hanging out together. I had already gone coast to coast to coast on a motorcycle, challenged my avoidance behavior, and found again the pleasure that goes with a good ride free of anxiety. Also, I have ridden highway 1, 5, and 101 from my house to Santa Monica several times before on motorcycles, including on the Valkyrie, so it was well covered territory. I double checked with myself, to be certain I was not making an excuse to avoid riding anymore for fear of anxiety as that would undermine the efforts I was making to overcome Panic Disorder. I was convinced I was not. I knew, and know now, that I can ride to Canada or Mexico or back across the country today if desired. Well, except that I wouldn't because I'm not missing the ever expanding belly of my pregnant wife this close to the big day. But theoretically, I know I can do it. In fact, I feel like my old self again. Sure, anxiety may continue to rise once in a while, but I know what to do when it does. And, I know I am not limited as to where I can go in a car or on a motorcycle or as to what I can do because of anxiety or a fear of a panic attack. So, after completing 7,561 miles coast to coast to coast, Nathan and I loaded the Valkyrie on to the trailer and headed to Campbell, enjoying the drive together. Tami asked if I wouldn't mind waiting to deliver the Atlantic Ocean water to the Pacific Ocean until she could be there, so we're going to do that Wednesday.

This trip was great for many reasons. But the big deal is that I have this confidence back, a confidence that has been missing for four months since early July. That's a long time to carry around a fear that is conquerable but seems too big to take on. It almost seems silly, this irrational fear, when I am feeling normal. But it is horribly uncomfortable, frightening, and disconcerting when the anxiety level is very high and during a panic attack. It has not been easy psychologically. Four months is a long time to feel different from the way I like to feel.

Right now, I feel good. Arizona has provided to me many gifts and challenges over the years, after which, I believe, I have always changed for the better. The opportunities have made life more interesting and have helped me to build up and to tear down parts of my identity as I mature. Thank you Arizona, for all of the opportunities, including this one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Home sweet home!

Home is where your pregnant lady is.  And I'm happy to be here.

Day 27 - Santa Monica, CA

It's Sunday morning now as I write about yesterday, day 27 of my cross country trip.  Day 26 was way back on July 9th. That's quite a break between road trip days.  One interesting advantage to the long break is that riding west is a lot easier now as the November setting sun is not straight in front of my eyes, but further left.  I can appreciate the color changes without squinting to see the road in the last hour of day light.  Of course, the sun is going down a lot sooner now then it did in the summer.

I love riding the winding roads one finds in the mountains and I look forward to enjoy them again. But the day's ride reminded me of the value in riding a long straight road in the desert.  Have you ever listened to trance or techno music? It's that repetitive dance music with the constant beat and the songs tend to last twice as long as anything else on the radio.  Well, if you have a chance and willingness to appreciate a song like that, you'll notice something.  The repetitive beat, a beat that would keep time in another song, is so repetitive and continuous that it no longer keeps time.  Instead, those occasional variations in the sound that come in once in a while serve as the time keepers while the repetitive beat alows you to fall into yourself and look around, see what you see.  There are interesting things in there.  That is driving in the desert.  The miles go by and time is not kept by the majority of what is out there, only by the occasional variation.  And in between, there is a lot of one's self to explore.  I fell into myself for a long while riding in the desert between the day's start in Phoenix, Arizona and the day's end in Santa Monica, California where I am writing this now.  I remembered how good it is to ride, I felt myself normal again on the road, I felt my body relax and my mind settle in to an alertness that is simultaneously contemplative. And occasioanly in the desert, a helicopter or a new rocky hill on the horizon would remind me that time was still passing and that I had travelled miles in my mind and on the road.

That meditation mind set changed when LA showed up.  The alertness necessarily become more important than the contemplative mind as the traffic increased.  Nathan and I came into civilization with the sun already set and worked our way to Santa Monica where we got a hotel near all the excitement.  We went on a walk through The Promenade and talked while we took it all in.  The Promenade is a beautiful street with trees lit up, shops, restaurants with sidewalk seating, street performers litteraly in the street because it's closed to cars, and so many people out walking and enjoying it all.  We also met up with Nathan's friends, Sam and Caroline, at a restaurant-bar on top of a hotel. I had a good time talking with them until very late.

I would say it was a very good and full day. It started with family and ended with friends.  In the middle, I challenged my fears and remembered what it is to flow and enjoy the world passing by in my mind and on a motorcycle.

I'm looking forward to day 28 today.  I'm looking forward to the traveling and to seeing my wife with her giant pregnant belly.  The traveling part won't get started until Nathan wakes up.  He stayed up talking a lot longer then I did last night. 

In the mean time, I'll enjoy this very comfortable bed in a room that looks out to the ocean.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'm riding in the desert!

I've made it all the way through the Arizona desert and into........ the California desert; on my motorcycle.  Sweet! it's been a great day.  Woke up in a house I love to be in. Visted with family and ate an excellent breakfast that Nino made. Then decided I would go for it and ride at least past the place I got sick when last I was here.  And I just kept going all the way past the Colorado River. It feels good.  A beautiful day in the desert.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On The Road Again


Last night I took the RC51 out for a ride to Santa Cruz since Tami was at "pregnant-lady-yoga." It was good. I lack both the technology and the writing skill to transport you to Santa Cruz at night but I would like to recommend it to you. There I find the ocean crashing against the beach to be a sound so loud and yet I can happily fall asleep to it. The smell of salt water infused air is some how healing and the wafting smell of bonfire mixed in, ever present along the Santa Cruz beaches at night, adds warmth even when the fire is out of arm's reach. The stars were out last night, but that's just one type of beauty you may find there. Equally grand are nights blanketed in a soft down of cloud cover. The air, the smells, the sounds have a way of working their way through openings in clothes and stresses in the mind. Like tiny fingers, they work their way through until they surround a person from within, beyond the walls of any barriers real or imagined, and sooth like a loved one running fingers through one's hair after a long day. It makes me happy, I suppose, is the easiest way to say it. I wish I could compile that experience and attach it to this blog so that others could feel this from anywhere. Instead, I'll just recommend to you a visit.

And this weekend, I'm going back. Yes, but I'm going the long way, via Arizona.

Nathan and I are heading off Friday morning to Arizona in his truck. We're going to pick up my Honda Valkyrie that my Nino and Nina have been holding for me since our cross country motorcycle ride this summer. I had an AWESOME time riding around the United States for a month during summer. The trip was so memorable and full of new experiences, that I have yet to finish processing them. The motorcycle, however, had to stay in Arizona when I decided to fly back to California. That was after being treated for dehydration and knowing that I was not recovering quickly enough to ride home in time to make it to Evan and Sarah's wedding. One thing I have not discussed here, and that I hope to address in this blog in the future, is that I developed Panic Disorder and have been experiencing panic attacks and high anxiety episodes since then. This is what has prevented me from getting back to my bike and riding home. But there is a time limit if I hope to get my bike back, ridden or on a trailer, before The Kid is born and that time is now.

I've been working on strategies to cope with and move beyond panic attacks and high anxiety reactions through a workbook recommended by my doctor and I have seen a lot of progress. I've not had a full blown panic attack in weeks. The anxiety is still great enough that even driving to Arizona, or anywhere too far from home, will be a challenge. There are several triggers for me, but the adrenalin tends to flow most often when I am on the road. The first 20 miles of riding to Santa Cruz last night required a lot of internal monologue to work through the anxiety before it went away for the night. And now, it's time for me to challenge myself with a drive much farther. Thankfully Nathan is as excited for another road trip as I am. We are veteran road trip companions. In fact, we've driven to Phoenix more than once together since getting our licenses. I must admit, I'm a little sad to be trailering the motorcycle home instead of riding it, but I am convincing myself that it's okay to take small steps with this recovery therapy/process. While I won't be ridding home, I will have the opportunity to challenge the anxiety that has been limiting me for months and practice some of the strategies I have learned to use. I'll also get in a brief visit with my Nina and Nino, hang out on a road trip with a very good friend, retrieve my motorcycle, finish the cross country trip by land, and enjoy an interesting weekend.

What about getting back to Santa Cruz this weekend? Nathan and I made a stop in Santa Cruz the first day of our cross country ride this summer and picked up Pacific Ocean water that we carried all the way to the east coast. That water was added to the Atlantic in Miami, Florida where I picked up Atlantic Ocean water and brought that back as far as Arizona. That water is still with the bike but will be in the Pacific Ocean by this Sunday in Santa Cruz, California. Whatever happens, the weekend will be another interesting adventure.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"...a series of rediculous attempts to be alive..."



It's interesting that I feel worse today, but today is the day I feel better. Um.... that sounded more real and less pseudo-profound in my head.

Backing up a little, I've caught a cold or flu. There is so much talk about H1N1 flu and how dangerous it is, especially to pregnant women, that I've been taking extra precautions to protect Tami from my germs. Actually, I've been a lot more careful not to get sick at work and bring it home for several months. Now that I am sick, I'm doing all I can under the circumstances to protect Tami and The Kid. From what I hear, pregnant women are very susceptible to colds and flus, regardless of weather it is H1N1 or not. So, I have to do all I can. I live on the couch now. That's the first big action. I've been living on the couch since I came home Wednesday feeling less than good. I haven't gone to work or ridden a motorcycle. What I have done is watch a lot of video over the internet. You see, in my effort to isolate my germs until they die, I live on the couch, avoid contact and close proximity with my wife (it is very difficult to go so long without a touch, kiss, or hug), avoid touching everything not on the couch, going into any other rooms, or sitting where Tami would sit. There is no TV in this room and the discomfort makes it difficult to read much, so I have discovered the wonders of internet video. Fascinating.

First, I found BBC America's Top Gear web site devoted to the popular show Top Gear that so many of my friends comment on. It's not part of my cable package so I had not seen it before Wednesday, but I found it on the internet. Awesome. It's a show where three guys in England are, for example, given 1,500 pounds to buy a Porsche and then they compete against each other on various tasks as their beat up old examples of cool cars fall apart. Quality entertainment. Who would have known one man on a couch could get through so many episodes so fast. Then, Don told me how I could mix it up a little with videos from Jay Leno's Garage. That's where Jay Leno shows off and talks about various vehicles that he has or gets his hands on. Some very cool stuff like a turbine powered car that he has had custom made and various exotic cars and motorcycles. Excellent. Still, a man's time on a couch stretches on so I remembered all this hubub about a website called Hulu.com. I didn't know what it was about exactly but I knew it was an online free video source. Fantastic. I may be locking myself out of the TV room, but I've got plenty of video to help me pass the time. A box of kleenex and one and a half rolls of TP to substitute as kleenex later, I've watched two documentaries and several episodes of current comedy sitcom. My favorite discovery is a line or two from a show called Community.

I should say that I avoid watching new shows on television. I don't like to get hooked on shows because I don't like to spend too much time thinking about watching or actually watching them when I'm feeling good. I went through a faze of watching Scrubs, South Park, Simpsons, and Family Guy. I've gotten over all of them except Family Guy which I will still watch when I'm in front of the TV. But there is only one show left that I actively look forward to and will be sure to see each week, The Office. I love it. And, I would like to keep it at just one show. But life on the couch makes one venture out a bit, and I tried the show Community. It has been pretty darn entertaining. The gem of the day? This great line when one friend is trying to cheer up and talk down another friend who basically feels old and like he may be wasting his life away.. and he is on some unknown drug at the community college dia de los muertos party:

"And more importantly, you're dressed like a gladiator in a desk fort that you built during a bad trip. If life is just a series of ridiculous attempts to be alive, you're a hero to everything that's ever lived."

I love it! What a novel idea to define life, against all good logic, as an attempt to be alive through a series of rediculous attempts at living. Cheesy, funny, and as horribly extra cheesy as it may seem, motivational. And that got me to another horrible cheesy line from the movie Shawshank Redemption (I love that movie), I think it went something like "Get busy living, or get busy dieing." And that's it.

I feel worse today. My headache is worse. My sore throat is worse. My cough is worse. But I have turned that point psycholigically where I don't feel like wasting away on the couch anymore. I may feel like crap and I may be forced to once again tell my wife that I love her from five feet away when she gets home from work. But I feel like moving. And that feels good.

My plan? Start with a shower, try for a walk outside. If this doesn't clear up by tomorrow, I'm shoving TP in each nostril and going for a ride.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"You'll become an expert on it," she said, referring to types of baby poop.


Only a few days left in October and it continues to be eventful. I changed my first diaper! Sure, it was on a plastic doll, but I did it.

My sister was born on the second day of my Sophomore year in high school. And, I did watch her for a couple of hours on a few occasions. Turns out, I happened to know most of the words to Walk on the Ocean by Toad the Wet Sprocket and my sister just happened to like the song well enough to fall asleep to it. So, two minutes after parents walked out the door each time, I would start singing. Then, set Katrina down gently and wait for parents to come back, check on my lovely sister, and change her diaper if needed. Brilliant, really. But, I had already told this story to my wife so, she was wise to me. Figured I better learn to change a diaper. And that's not all I learned at the new parent class held at Kaiser. Apparently, we will become experts on baby poop. There are a lot of rashes and skin stuff that may appear and is perfectly normal for a new born. There are times when a parent should be concerned such as with fever. I'm glad we went to the class as it put a lot into perspective; things I had never considered before. As Tami said, she knew we would wash the baby, but she had not thought about how or considered that we should start gently with the eyes and work our way down and that we should only sponge bathe him until the umbilical stump falls off. Practical things we had not considered. Then there is the video we watched about colic. Wow, if our kid gets colicky and I survive the experience, I may have become a buddha.

Tami and I are still going to Birthing from Within pregnancy classes at Harmony and I am still enjoy them very much. At our last class, an exercise we did caused Tami to say "and I realized the baby is just happy." Wow. I've been thinking about that concept a lot lately. This kid has all he needs right now. He has the comforting embrace of Tami surrounding him, the melodic rhythm of her heart beat, the warmth and nutrition he needs, all the time he wants to rest and grow and move around. He's got it all in his nourishing world. He wants for nothing yet. And in less than two months from now, he'll want to get out and then he's in for quite an adventure. He'll have a life time to explore this Universe and never run out of aspects to discover, understand, or admire. This makes me smile. The Kid just hanging out happy right now. The Kid that will come out some day to explore this side, the outside, of Tami's gigantic belly. How cool.

Speaking of Tami, she has cut off her hair and donated it to Wigs for Kids. This organization makes wigs for children with cancer. The wigs are specially made not to fall off and to look natural when kids swim, or play, or do gymnastics. Turns out they have to hand tie each and every hair individually to a cap that is custom molded to match each child's head to meet the criteria. Impressive. I do believe that when the time comes, I'll donate my hair as well. The donated hair has to be 10 inches long, so I have some time.

The number of motorcycles in the family of friends has increased. Sam and Pat were given a Harley Dyna and Yamaha Rode Star (respectively) for their birthday last week. This freed up Pat's Yamaha V-Star and Don bought that from him. A whole bunch of fun bikes. So, off for a Sunday ride with friends. There were eight of us on seven bikes. I had never ridden with so many people before, though I had ridden with all of these friends in the past. Pat, Sam, and Don were on their new bikes. Nathan and Laurie took the Goldwing. Matt took his Goldwing. Eric was on his VFR and I borrowed Sam's KLR for the ride. I love that bike. It was my second motorcycle. I became friends with Riza whom I bought it from and we rode to Mexico soon after, me on the KLR and he on his BMW GS. I eventually sold it to Don to be his second bike and then bought it back after a time (it would have been my 5th bike had I not already owned it before). Since then, I sold it to Sam as his first bike. I still have first buy back option on this lovely motorcycle. Needles to say, it was a good day. Riding a favorite bike, hanging with good friends, enjoying the beautiful hills and Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose.

And then a stop in downtown Campbell to relax and admire the machines.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Kid's name- A little Closer

As Matt pointed out yesterday, our method of narrowing down the name list a little each day was basically a way for us to unintentionally sadden/anger every one who likes us in a slow and painful way as their suggested names fall off the list. So, we changed strategy and decided to narrow it down fast. Like ripping off a band-aid. There were a lot of good names. The difficulty lies in taking a bunch of good names and trying to figure out which name belongs to this particular child of ours. Not easy at all. Tami and I sat down today and worked on imagining our child with these names and did our best. We're all the way down to 20 names. We did modify a couple of the names slightly. Tami is, even as I type, talking to The Kid and calling him different names from the new list of 20. It's amusing. Thank you for so many great suggestions.

But before working on the name list, I fueled up on a spaghetti and meatball lunch (I should be able to eat spaghetti and meatballs every day this week- sweet!). Before that, I went on a great morning motorcycle ride with Sam, Nathan, and Pat up to Alice's Restaurant on Skyline. Cold foggy mornings in the coastal mountains make coffee taste better.

Alice's and the parking lot across the street are great places to ride to, eat, and look at bikes. It's a bit like a free motorcycle show every weekend. When I first bought my first bike (the 12 year anniversary is 6 months away), I rode to Alice's every Saturday, rain or shine. It was my way of learning to ride and my way of learning about bikes through asking questions from the experienced riders. I remember one day riding up on a Wednesday morning and seeing just three riders (most people would have been working) who were chatting and having a good time in the parking lot. I joined in and they were so fun. After a while I asked how the three of them managed to not have to be at work. They told me how they had gotten word the day before from a friend that they would be laid off at the Wednesday morning meeting. They worked together in San Francisco and occasionally rode together so they decided to ride to work and, after being laid off, go enjoy a ride. They certainly were enjoying themselves. You can meet a lot of good people with great outlooks on life up at Alice's.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spaghetti Day


And Grandma said "Let there be spaghetti sauce" and there was, and Grandma knew that it was good. And Grandma said "It is not right for such delicious spaghetti sauce to be eaten alone, I shall make the greatest meatballs ever." And she did, and it was excellent. And grandma said, "I'll even add sausages and my magic cooking skills to this perfect sauce and these perfect meatballs and make it all so deliciously perfect that even my otherwise mostly vegetarian grandson will eat this every year for his birthday." And she did, and he does. Amen.

SOOOOOO GOOOOD! Again, the spaghetti and meatballs are everything I hoped for and worth every ounce of anticipation. Thank you Grandma. Delicious!


Friends and family that stopped by throughout the afternoon and evening to enjoy the deliciousness agree.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Birthing Class


We went to our first birthing class tonight. We are taking the Birthing from Within classes- who knew there were multiple philosophies to choose from for birthing classes? Turns out there is a lot more than just breathing. Tonight was a getting to know each other night with a little introduction to what the birthing process is like. Our class takes place at a great location called Harmony in Campbell, California where they offer birthing classes, yoga classes, meet the Douala nights, and every type of support and relaxation a pregnant woman could want. Even prenatal massage. In other rooms we heard mothering classes and yoga classes going on. The place has a good vibe.

Imagine a meditation room with cushions and candles and flowy curtains and everyone sitting on the floor with bare feet. That's what our class looks like. And it's comfortable and interesting. There are three couples and our instructor who is engaging and smiles often. Also, she's good at telling stories and giving examples: "when your four year old looks soulfully into your eyes.... and asks for a snack.... while you're on the toilet...." There is also a guy in the class named Joy and he smiles and laughs so often it's a bit contagious. His wife does the same. A good and interesting group of people.

At home, The Kid's room is beginning to look like a nursery. The crib (thanks Laurie, mom and dad), night stand and dresser (thanks grandma), firefly (thanks Katrina), Hawaii painting (thanks Phyllis), lavender stuffed dog and pillow (thanks Mitra), Jerry Rice autographed football (thanks Matt), room decor (thanks Stephanie), and much more (thanks 'much more' people) are all in. We have plenty more to add from the other room but I'd say we've done well for the day. It is exciting to see our son's room coming together and imagining him in this space. I think he'll like it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Kid has a Name!


(The Kid has a name...
we just don't know it yet......)

Okay, the heading for this post is pretty miss leading. I know. Shameless ploy to get your attention. We have no idea what his name is. There are a lot of good names on the list to choose from (136 names) and we need to pick before The Kid learns English. Or Spanish, for that matter.

So, here is our plan to make this interesting. You may keep adding names until we choose The Name. In the mean time, we will begin forcing ourselves to narrow down the list every single day, beginning today, until The Name finds The Kid. Yes, every day, the list will narrow and you can open up the list to see the names we are still discussing. Tami and I are as excited as many of you to find out what his name is. We are looking for two names. Our current plan is to pick a first name, pick a middle name, his second middle name will be Tami's last name, and The Kid's last name will be my last name. So his name will be: Something Something C. S.

Thoughts Counting and Piling High


In the last couple of days, Tami has surprised me with an engraving in my wedding ring, flowers delivered to my work, and a home baked giant chocolate brownie with a candle in it. She is excellent; I'm enjoying all three.

An interesting thing about that candle. I take birthday wishes fairly seriously. In my mind, I word them like a lawyer's contract. I clarify and specify so that the powers that be in the universe, the cherubs of coincidence and fortune, will have no misunderstanding should my wish win the birthday lottery. This year, as soon as my contract was signed with an extinguished candle I realized that this was the first birthday candle wish I have ever used to benefit another.

Good luck son.

Also, a couple of days ago my friend Matt tells me he bought a new bike and I could take it for a few days. Suspecting nothing odd, I was pretty excited to take it out for a ride. This Honda RC51, a superb motorcycle, and I got along particularly well and we've had a lot of fun together (see pics from my last post). Little did I know that I was test riding my own birthday present. Yeah. Matt, Mitra, Nathan, and Laurie presented it to me today as my birthday gift. Wow........ Ssss-weet.

And when I got home with that big smile after riding the RC51, my smile got a little wider when I filled it with home made brownies. Good for breakfast AND for dinner! Yes, it was a very good day. Chocolaty & Motorcycly. Yummmm.

Chocolate, motorcycles, ocean, family, friends..... a grand October by any measure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It’s The Holy Month of October


There are several calendars that I am aware of and that affect me. There is the annual calendar, the fiscal calendar, the academic calendar. And then there is My Calendar, the Randy Calendar. The calendar by which I count the days of my life, by which I consider the experience of my days, and by which I examine my... examined life. My Calendar, like the Aztec calendar, has several special days of festival, ceremony, and celebration before the New Year begins. My special days begin October first and my new year occurs several days later. Then, I just keep on going and keep celebrating my birthday for the whole of October. It ends with everyone wearing costumes and giving little gifts of sweats to strangers. It's a good time.

I began this year’s festivities, Day One, by wearing all of my favorite comfortable brown and orange clothing. It was a good day, I started early, and I felt great. October is also orange and brown and comfortable. Interesting.

Day Two was a very special day in the month. There are two days in the Randy Calendar on which I do not work. The second of these is on the first convenient good-riding-weather work-day after the cold part of winter. The first, is an early October day, on or about my actual birthday. This year, this special all day event fell on October 2nd. On this special day of reflection, I make my annual pilgrimage to Java Junction coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California. There, I read, reflect on my life, consider my past and future, write out my reflection, read the previous year’s reflection, then go down the street to commune with the ocean. It is a special day of reverence for the experience that I am. A day to take it all in and place this time in relation to all of the rest of time. It is a day that adds the base note and the solemnity to my own true new year that follows and to my whole celebration of my self. It adds flavor and gives me time to enjoy the flavor. I love this particular ceremony and it is one of my favorite days every year.


Very soon is another special celebration day that I look forward to for weeks in advance called Grandma’s Spaghetti Day. YUMMMM!!!! This year it falls on October 10th, and I can hardly wait for it. Really, I think about it every day for weeks leading up to it.

Today, Day Three, has been excellent too. It’s pretty easy to accomplish this with a motorcycle where I live. In just a fifty mile winding ride through the hills on the way to the Sea you can enjoy so many types of gorgeous. Here are a few examples.

Trees along Hwy 35

Bend in the road on Alpine Rd.

The marshes near Pescadero

The Pacific Ocean

Have I mentioned that I love October?

I am now so close to the 33rd New Year of Randy. These have been good years and I have been fortunate. I have lived a life I would want to live; a vacation in the Universe that I would want to take. I have been given opportunities, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages that have made for an excellent experience. I’ve been lucky in family and in friendships. I’ve met neat people, been to cool places, seen beautiful sights, touched interesting things, and taken in superb smells.

Here is to the year that is soon upon Me. May it be another Wonder-Full experience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby Gift Registry

Many have asked us about gifts and we have finally created a Baby Gift Registry. The difficulty is that we really prefer used items as part of our general philosophy. And when items are new, we are looking for solid woods, non-toxic paints, organic cottons, non plastic, non chemical coated, non off-gassing items that are environmentally safe and sustainably made. It's not easy to find just one registry that will handle that, but we found one. Wishpot.com lets us link to the websites of other companies and also create items on the registry that are not on any web site. That's neat because then we can say we want a onesie and not have to pick a particular one, leaving it up to the giver to decide on a design for The Kid.

If you feel like buying The Kid a gift from the registry, you can click it to reserve the item so that The Kid does not get duplicates. Then, you can look around your local thrift store or buy the item from craigslist.com or any company you choose. Wishpot does not make you buy the item from the company listed in order to check the item off the list. Cool.


Most importantly, there are very few things in life that are truly needed. We're hoping for love and affection to be given to The Kid above all else. Tami read somewhere recently that, while there are lots of neat things for babies, a baby only truly needs 1) arms to hold the baby, 2) boobs or bottles to feed the baby, and 3) a warm place to sleep. When it comes down to it, we've already got what The Kid needs to survive.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Painting and Races

They say you learn something every day. And that's why I like you. You're smart. Me? I don't know if I learn something that often, but I do pick things up here and there. For example, when painting the dresser that my grandma gave to The Kid, I learned not to try and correct apparent paint blemishes while the paint is still drying. Turns out, most of what looks bad on drying paint looks great once dry... except all those places one tries to fix. Those spots stand out. Lesson learned. That will come in handy when I paint the drawers.


But before the drawers get painted, some friends got together to hang out and watch the Isle of Mann motorcycle races on DVD today. A good time. There is a racer named Guy Martin (see his picture below) and if you ever have a chance to hear him talk, I highly recommend it.

As Don said, he talks like Brad Pitt's character in the movie Snatch. Guy was almost as entertaining as watching the motorcycles and they were extremely entertaining. A good time all around and I'm reminded that I have good friends. As a lucky bonus, several have motorcycles and they share which explains how I have ridden four bikes in three days while the only bike I own is with my Nina and Nino in Arizona.

Yesterday I rode by the reservoirs after work and I was so happy to get that smell of water, grass, and bay leaf. Today, Nathan and I rode up HWY 9 for some nice curves and more good smells including trees, bay leaf, and bar-b-q. Tomorrow? Who knows. But the roads in California are as beautiful as those on the Isle of Mann, so I can't go wrong.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Look, he's moving!

We are now past the point of just being able to feel the kid jiggle around in there. We can now SEE him jiggle around. Awwww, just like his daddy likes to dance. It's pretty cool. Not the dancing, well... that's cool, too. I mean specifically that THE KID IS MOVING... and WE CAN SEE HIM! Little pushes in every direction. Excellent.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One of those Days


You know those days when you wake up slowly, have time to stretch and just lay in bed for a bit? Then you walk outside to a world that smells good and you have plenty of time to enjoy a cup of coffee? And even your metephorical ducks out of the row don't really bother you, because you're okay with them being where they are right now? And work goes well and people are nice and you just happen to own matching brown and orange argyle socks and shoe strings and you decide "Well, if there was ever a day to wear argyle, this is it!" and you do, and life is good? Yeah, I had a very good Thursday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's in a name?


(photo taken at Evan & Sarah's wedding)


We've been talking about what the name of The Kid is going to be. We've done this on four occasions and you would think we would be getting pretty close, but we're not really. In fact, two of those four discussions were spent on what we are going to do about his last name. I assume the majority of parents don't need to spend much time on the last name, but we do and we're not done yet. What's in a name is not the same for everyone.

I'm just not attached to my names. Together, they are a convenient tool. If I needed to change mine, I don't believe I would require much time in adapting. Through my names I do not feel a connection to history, ancestors or identity, though I know that they have helped to shape me.

I think of all the males and females through time that added their genetics in the cosmic intermixing that led to this body I call me; my own private room in the Universe. And I think of this last name I cary that randomly traveled through this mass of genetic donors. It dose not seem so much me as it does an accident of who happened to have the Y chromosome when these men and women got together. Like a pebble bouncing down a cliff, side to side, my last name flowed through history and landed on me. It's not me. It's just mine. I am amazed at the connection to history, ancestors and the people of the world that I posses through the DNA of every one of my cells; and merely amused at the odd path my last name took to get here.

Tami sees this differently. In simplest form, she does sense a connection to history and family through her name and this connection is something that she feels is very valuable and worthy of preserving. Neither of us changed our last name after marriage, so what do we do about The Kid's last name?

Tami would like four names for The Kid. A first and two middle names, one being Tami's last, with mine as The Kid's last name. I would prefer he have fewer names and proposed it would be better if The Kid is to have either her last as the only middle name or her last name as his last, rather than have four names. Two names or even one would suffice. Four seems a little extravagant for a boy to whom I hope to teach the benefits of simplicity. Tami still wants the four names with mine at the end. It's an interesting discussion when two people, not exactly alike in thinking, try to negotiate with each other based on rationale that was, at least in my case, only recently negotiated internally between personal philosophy and accepted traditions.

I wonder how our choice of names will affect our son as he develops his personality? How much will the name contribute to his experience compared to the genetic code we are passing down to him, developed by a strange mix of chances and forces over the millennia? I wonder what The Kid will think of this whole discussion some day. I wonder what name he will be pronouncing when he considers it's connection to his own identity.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Contact



What an exciting week in the world of our baby. On Tuesday, I felt The Kid move for the first time! Amazing. Exhilarating. It's not like I didn't already know The Kid was in there, I've seen the pictures. And Tami's been able to feel him move around for a couple of weeks. But just to feel him move through Tami's belly, with my own hand, was AWESOME! I am looking forward to when The Kid's movements are more pronounced and easily felt from my side of the womb. For now, I am as happy as can be that The Kid said hello to me. This first contact feels grand. I know so little about The Kid, that this little movement constitutes a large percentage of my assessment of who he is and what he's like. Silly, but my mental picture of the kid right now is the little push against my hand, a little dance he did for the ultrasound when Tami giggled, and the beat of his heart heard through an ultrasound.

I wonder what he'll be like when he gets out. I can hardly wait to meet him in the open air.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Four Years of Marriage



Usually Happily, and always interestingly, married for four years.

We celebrated our day by visiting the place we were married in Los Gatos. You can see that in the picture. Then we walked, we talked, we ate, and we enjoyed. It was a great day.

I have no idea what will come of our marriage but I have had such an interesting, intriguing, maturing, perplexing, thought provoking time of it so far.

Thanks Tami. The next time we celebrate our anniversary, there will be a baby to celebrate with us. Cool.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mariachis at a Quinceanera




I went to a quinceanera for the first time. That is the traditional 15th birthday party of a Mexican girl where she is presented as a young woman instead of a young girl. This one was pretty impressive and resembled a wedding except that it centered on a single person. Ever see a movie musical where a bunch of kids all start dancing in sync and you think "that could never happen"? I don't think it could either. But I saw something at the quinceanera that looked close and that was fun. The birthday girl and her entourage of ten boys and girls performed a complete choreographed dance routine to modern dance music. Sweet. Then, they did it again with a salsa. Impressive, and oddly musical like.

One of my favorite parts of the event was listening to the eight piece mariachi group. There is something so cool about hearing the horns wail in person with that repetitive thrum of the strings. And, there is the voice conveying varying sentiments in a language I don't understand. I love it. My wife leaned over and assured me we would have mariachis for an anniversary some year. She remembers that I wanted mariachis at our wedding but it didn't work out and she knows how much I enjoy listening to them. Thanks love.

Thinking about mariachis and all things in Spanish at the quinceanera, I got to remembering that I didn't always like mariachi music. Some things change and they are obvious like grey hairs popping out where only dark brown ones use to be. Other things are more subtle like how I get excited to hear mariachis and I like listening to talk radio and I cry a lot more.

I remember thinking that talk radio was so boring. "It's a radio grandma, it's supposed to have music." Her counter was "What about those music videos, it's supposed to be a TV." Touche, grandma. Touche. Now, I listen to NPR talk radio half the time I am driving.

While I know I cried plenty as a child, I went through a long and comfortable dry spell. No longer, apparently. I cried like a baby at my wedding. And reading To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend, I must have wiped my eyes ten times or more. I left sunglasses on sitting in the shade so I could keep reading at the coffee shop. I hear older men can become sensitive and cry easily but I assumed that would not hit until my 70's or later. What do I know. I choose to blame it on my buddy Don. Once, he brought over some tear-jerker movie, don't even remember what it was, but neither of us jumped up to turn the lights on when it was over. The water works turn on fairly easily now.

So things change. Some obvious, some not so obvious. I'm okay with liking mariachis, talk radio, and even wiping my eyes more often. For now however, I'm going to keep plucking the grey hairs. I look forward to head full of grey, but I don't feel qualified just yet.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peeing in Flip-Flops




Now that I know we are having a boy, I'm starting to think about boy-specific issues as a father-to-be. For example, I will have to teach the boy the art of peeing in a urinal while wearing flip-flops. I suppose most women readers will not know what I am talking about. I guess men that don't wear flip-flops won't either. When you wear shoes in front of a urinal, the only evidence of the fine urinal mist that splashing pee creates is the rust pattern on old metal dividers in public restrooms. But with flip-flops, you can feel it. I know- gross. Peeing on one's self isn't extremely bad, but splashing the residual pee of others is pretty undesirable. That's why, as a loving father, I'll have to know when the time is right to take my son aside and say "Son, aim for the inside edge of either side so it will swoosh around the back and make a whirlpool." That's important information and different from the technique when peeing at home. At home, it's always best to aim for the middle unless feeling particularly scientific and experimental. The bowl is deeper and so feet are safe from splashes and the center provides for the largest margin of error in case of distraction.

There are of course other issues to consider, some that are time sensitive. The most pressing issues I can think of are to circumcise or not and how to change a baby boy's diaper without getting peed on.

From the research I've done so far, it looks like circumcision is the wrong idea medically. It certainly does not sound appealing physically. I have to weigh this against the fact that we live in modern times in the U.S. and there is value in fitting in with one's time and place. Here and now, circumcision is the norm, but it sure seems like an odd thing to do to a person. Tami and I will definitely be talking through this before The Kid comes.

As for the diaper changing, I'm not certain there is a trick, but there must be. I've heard how boy babies can pee up on to the person changing the diaper. With so many thousands of years behind us, surely someone has figured out a fool proof trick to counter this phenomena.

Those are two issue for my wife and I to consider and discuss between now and December 17th-ish. Feel free to comment if you can think of others, have an opinion on the above, or know the trick to changing a baby boy's diaper.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lying Around



It's odd being a useless member of a sleeping team. I use to be a helpful partner to my teammate with an arm here to rest a head, an arm there to warm, a leg over there to prop up a foot, a body as a barricade against my partner falling off of the last three inches of bed that I am left defending.

But all that has changed with pregnancy. My wife's body is morphing and along with that comes discomforts. Discomforts that are apparently reduced, according to what she heard and now practices, with the aid of approximately 100,000 pillows propping and shoring her up from every direction. Ever seen a large ship hoisted above water in dry dock? I'm afraid to get too close less I knock a critical support and send my wife and unborn child toppling down. I'm especially concerned now that I used a large ship to represent my pregnant wife in that analogy. I'm not sure our marriage would withstand both that analogy and a toppling.

Steering for safer ground.... One of the goals in raising our child environmentally responsible is to try and acquire most of the various kid stuff we will need as used items. To this end, a special thank you to Stephanie for the entire car load worth of kid stuff and maternity clothes (a less considerate, but more funny, husband would have said ship siding) she passed on to us while I was on the road. So much stuff; swings, changing pad, infant car seat/stroller, bath, decorations, play mat, bedding, and more. I didn't know what a boppy was before Stephanie gave us one but I am now very familiar as it has already been put to use in the dry dock. See picture above for one way to use a boppy. I don't know what else we will need but I can not imagine there is that much more. As much as possible we'll try and find those items used, organic, non-plastic, sustainable, and with minimal materials. Surely it will start to rush by closer to the day, for now there is plenty of time to find out what we will need and to acquire it all.

I told myself I would not buy The Kid anything until December but I did crack and bought The Kid an organic cotton A's baseball onesie. Tami tells me The Kid loves it. Some couples fight over what culture, discipline practices, or religion to raise a child with. Tami says we'll get through it all so long as I agree to let her raise The Kid an A's fan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Name The Kid "Contest"



That's right, you can name our kid. Just click on the Name our Kid link on the left and you are on your way to winning. You can also see what names have already been submitted by clicking on the Suggested Names link.

The Grand Prize winner receives the knowledge that she/he named a human! How cool is that? Cooler than naming a stuffed animal, to be sure.

For now you can suggest names for a boy and/or a girl. We'll post with The Kid's gender as soon as we know, late in July.

Post as many names as you like, as often as you like.

Looking forward to reading your suggestions.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 26- Phoenix, AZ

My ego and my logical mind got into a bit of an argument today. Not a long fight, my logical mind won but then my ego locked itself up in it's room and started moping. When the ego came back out, we all made an agreement.

My recovery is not going as quickly as I had hoped and I was not able to leave this morning. In the afternoon my cousin Anthony went with me to get the bike and he followed me back to my Nina's. It was obvious to me that, while I was okay on that short ride, I am still a little too fatigued to ride home if I intend to be smart about this. Other than a headache, a desire to sleep a lot, and a little weakness, I am mostly recovered. My mind feels clear. But physically, I just don't feel as good as I should be.

So, the ego and the logic came to an agreement. My bike stays here with my Nino to guard it, the ride takes a break, and I fly home tomorrow. After several birthdays, a wedding, a fourth wedding anniversary, some recovery time, etc., I'll fly back out here to finish the ride. So Day 27 of the ride will take place in an unknown number of weeks.

The Atlantic Ocean will stay with the bike as I think that is really part of the ride and not just my movement. As for the adventure, that continues with me always. Even this experience enriches it.