Lil' Genghis, future world leader Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Isabella has an important announcement



Maybe we ought to get back to blogging, eh, guv'nor?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It was a rough day

Note: This post kind of got put in the wrong spot in the wrong way, so it's reposted here, where it was meant to be.

It was a rough day.

dad woke up and saw that someone else was posting some crap on Facebook about a U.S. military unit that had suffered awful casualties, only it was actually from a year ago, and it followed someone else's posting on Facebook about a bunch of Marines who'd supposedly just been killed that week without getting any credit, except some of the people didn't exist, some had their names spelled wrong and others weren't Marines, and all had been appropriately recognized. This isn't the kind of thing to get wrong, but someone with ill intentions spread this, and it got picked up by people with good intentions, and that just rubs dad the wrong way.

It was a rough day.

And just a few minutes later, news breaks that several dozen American soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan.

It was a rough day.

Not long after, Lil' Genghis woke up and didn't have a very easy morning. Then she wanted to leave the restaurant before lunch arrived, just grumpy and impatient. Then we went to the pharmacy and auto parts store, and she threw one hell of a tantrum in the auto parts store, because she really wanted a $4.59 Superwoman keychain fob, and she wanted it then. dad wound up carrying her out of the store, but still had to go into the pharmacy, which led to more screaming and tantrums as she waited in the car, followed by threats of throwing up on people or pouring water on parents.

It was a rough day.

So we got her home, and she napped, and she woke up and went to a movie -- "Pooh" -- with her good buddy Ethan, then ate some McNuggets and played around on the playground. Then threw another fit because Ethan had to go home with his mommy and get some sleep and time with his mom. Big screaming fit again, because Ethan was leaving and she wanted to spend ALL of her time with him, forever, and she wanted to have a sleepover and she just hadn't gotten enough time with him. (Mind you, she's hanging out with him Sunday, and had already hung out with him Thursday and Friday, so we're looking at at least a four-day streak.)

It was a rough day.

And so mom and dad are wondering if the first week of school wore her out, or she's getting a low-grade bug from one of her new classmates (99.1 degrees), or just what the heck is going on, because she's a sweeter kid than this and we can't explain it.

It was a rough day.

And so Lil' Genghis was supposed to be getting ready for her bath, and dad checked the DOD site to see if any more information on those dozens of soldiers had been released, and finds a new press release. In a completely different incident, a man from Lil' Genghis' town had been killed in Afghanistan. A few more phone calls and e-mails later, dad learned the man, Specialist Mark J. Downer of Warner Robins, Ga., had been a daddy.

It was a rough day.

So dad went in and hugged Lil' Genghis, who wouldn't look away from Woody Woodpecker, and kissed her, and told her he loved her, and left the room to walk the dogs, tears on his face. He came back and with mom did a group hug, loving someone so precious, and so innocent, and so wonderful, and maybe not so very different from another child nearby who just lost innocence.

It was a rough day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

... and she danced

Our little girl stood still, just a moment, dwarfed by the big gymnasium about her, just long enough for mom to take a picture.

And then she was off, running and dancing and gliding and dancing and running all through the gym. Her first school with a gym. Her first non-preschool school. Her first public school. Her first big kids' school.

With the poise and speed that comes to those who've mastered basic motor skills, but the fearless confidence that comes only to those who haven't yet had a big scrape, Lil' Genghis ran all around the gym, running and dancing and gliding and running some more. She made a friend or two in a jiffy, chased them, was chased. At some point she screamed, "I'm the fastest girl in the world!" as she ran. And when another girl got her in the impromptu game of tag, she decided it was time to change games.

She's a big girl now. Starting Monday, she's in the big kids' school for the first time, with her name and little symbol -- a heart -- on the back of her little blue chair, on the letter "A" on the carpet the whole class will stand on, on her cubby, on her coat hanger. This time, she'll be hanging up her coat all by herself, and she'll have to be better about paying attention in school, and she'll surely learn to write her name. And there's other cool stuff, with many syllables, that she'll learn -- improved socialization and cooperation, phonemic awareness, some self-discipline and focus.

But sometimes she's going to wind up in the gym. And she's going to run. And dance. And glide. And run some more. And as she runs sometimes she'll laugh, like the sweet innocent girl she still is, but running in a direction she's helping set herself.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Deluxe dinner out: A haiku

Race-car waterfall?
Golden showers in the Arches?
Close the PlayPlace NOW

Monday, April 11, 2011

Deep thoughts with Lil' Genghis

So Lil' Genghis was enjoying a rare dinner at her favorite restaurant, the Noodle House, with a grandparent from either side of the family.

At some point she started using titles, like Mr. and Mrs. And then she corrected us when we called her Miss Isabella. She insisted she was Mrs. Isabella.

"Isabella," we asked, "do you know what the difference is between a Mrs. and a Ms.?"

She didn't pause. "A picture frame!"

Which, come to think of it, is actually a pretty good explanation.

Anyway, you're probably here for pictures of Lil' Genghis or something. She's back from Brazil, you see, leading to all sorts of interesting family reunions. For example, there's this:


boydog looks just a little too happy, doesn't he? And note the school bag and unicorn. We can run, but we can't hide. Even in our dreams.



Some day you may owe her a favor. But take the cannoli.






No, this isn't her first alligator.





It's amazing how much small mammals like to pretend to be small mammals. And this was really cool.





No salt.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Growing so big so fast

So a couple weeks ago Lil' Genghis celebrated her 4th birthday, in Brasil, with Norwegians. It confused dad, who wasn't there, but clearly didn't confuse her.

"I'm not three any more!" she said into the phone. Such a mature way of phrasing things, no?

Or so dad thought. Yesterday, mom left an electronic message for her husband. It seems mom and Lil' Genghis got talking about Cassie, a stuffed unicorn Lil' Genghis considers her daughter.

Mom, I am not married to Cassie's dad anymore. We separated.


Really, Bebel? I'm sorry to hear that.


Yes, but we still sleep together.



What the heck happened to the little toddler we had?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Thoughts on the meaning of life

IMAG0403 from album 110303-Eating Bebel head



Some days, you just have to chew on your daughter's head.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Night To Remember


mom for some reason married dad seven years ago tomorrow, so we got a babysitter, for the second time in the year and a half since we landed in Georgia, to celebrate A Night To Remember.

You may wonder about the weird capitalization in A Night To Remember, and it's because we're trying to evoke a classic book. You know, the Walter Lord one. The one featuring incredibly refined luxury and high-class, well-attired guests. Most of whom die after the encounter with the iceberg. That night with the RMS Titanic was memorable. It's safe to say we won't forget the end of this anniversary.

Through a complicated set of factors, we wound up at a redneck country Irish bar. The bar owner later introduced herself, explained the Irish name was her familial name, her brother started the bar, and died two years ago Monday, and he was a bit of a redneck and she's still trying to turn things around. Apparently two years in, she's just about one week away from actually getting beer on tap.

mom upgraded her Diet Coke to a Malibu-and-Diet not long after this conversation. dad sought an Irish beer on draft and found a Yuengling instead.

It's worth noting that the front windows of the place are shared amongst shamrocks and Budweister signs, with a sole Miller sign to top it off.

So there's country music playing. And there's offers to let us sing karaoke, but we were worried we'd bother the other six patrons.

But other patrons began trickling in, including this one guy. Next thing we know ...

The bar owner's hopping on the microphone to say, "Hey, you all know me, and I'm not going to hold back. Can you check the bottoms of your shoes now for dog shit?"

That didn't work. Aerosol cans of some sort of chemical warfare agent were employed, but found ineffective as well. So then she has the DJ play "Who Let The Dogs Out (woof woof)" followed by a worse song with a chorus of "So you think your shit don't stiiiaiink."

But it wasn't dogshit, it was the guy. And at some point the owner dutifully reports that another patron reported someone's ass exploded in the bathroom.

After some strong drinks, this was funny. And it was a damned long leap away from finding out mom had a Diego sticker on her shirt through dinner.

We wound up having an appallingly good time at our neighborhood redneck country Irish bar. We laughed like we haven't in quite a long time. It wasn't exactly like we had planned, but it was fun in its own way.

We can't tell you what the hell we did for the sixth anniversary. This year's, though, truly, was A Night To Remember.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What a difference 47 months makes!

It's not really spring here, but the thermometer hit 65 degrees today in Georgia. (Massholes: Come visit. Really.) And what was today? A perfect day to celebrate 47 months with Lil' Genghis.

Yep, she's just one moon away from her 4th birthday. And she'll be in Brazil for that birthday -- unfortunately, away from dad, but fortunately, with like, a brazilian Brazilians and even some vikings, but that's a different story) for her birthday.

Anyway. Where were we? Oh. Today. 47 months. Springlike.

So Lil' Genghis wanted to go hiking, so we set out for Brown's Mount, a 500-foot, er, mountain rising opposite the Ocmulgee River from Macon, Ga. It's a nice relatively fast hike, unless you're Isabella, super explorer! She learned all about moss, and some other stuff, along the way. Let's take a look.

IMG_2948 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2948 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep

Here she's guiding us up the hill. She also learned about trail blazes, and we talked some about trail blazers.

IMG_2949 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2949 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep

Do you go around obstacles, or just over them? Another nice lesson ...

IMG_2953 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2953 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep

Yes, she was running. She was happy!

IMG_2957 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2957 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep

After she learned about moss, she started seeing it everywhere, and wondered who chopped down the tree. We learned about decay, and also stuff that's neat to touch.

IMG_2959 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2959 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
Mom wanted a picture, but Lil' Genghis wanted to keep looking around. Macon rises in the background.

IMG_2969 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2969 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
Holding hands, mom and Isabella thread their way between fallen trees, rocks and black bearsmoss.

IMG_2971 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2971 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
On the way down, she started to get tired. Gravity sucks.




After we got off Brown's Mount, we went to The Hat (sorry, Aunt Sharon) for lunch. Then we went to The Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, which runs sorta through Macon.

Lil' Genghis picked up her first stalker there.

IMG_2975 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2975 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
The boy was determined to catch her. "I'm going to catch her!" he stated, vowing to catch her.

(Uncle Joe, sound familiar?)

IMG_2977 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2977 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
Lil' Genghis strains up a small rise as mom is left in her dust.

mom was busy taking pictures from other angles:


All in all, it was a beautiful, beautiful day. Lil' Genghis learned quite a bit about nature, a city she often visits, ancient seas and her inner strengths. She heard the relative quiet of woods, let her fingers drag across moss, climbed a rock, touched fossils, got chips and salsa, made several friends, ...

and most importantly, wore herself flat out.

IMG_2979 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep
IMG_2979 from album 110213-Browns Mount, Ocmulgee trail, early sleep

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Those first few moments ...

We've had cause to remininsce about Lil' Genghis' first few moments on earth. There's a lot of little boys and girls out on their own or ready to see the bright lights.

Aunt Becky became an aunt the other day, as Aunt Jennifer's boy arrived. And we were at a shindig the other day, and by the time there were four women there, mom was the only one not pregnant (not very pregnant? awkward to write, and yet so appropriate.) And then a couple hours later little Cousin Madeline made her first public appearance.

IMG_2029 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut
IMG_2029 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut


We met her as Uncle Chris appeared to be breastfeeding -- not that there's anything wrong with that. It seemed like kind of a magical moment.


IMG_2032 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut
IMG_2032 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut


She seemed pretty sleepy, and not real focused on Uncle Chris. Sometimes dad used to feint weariness to avoid speaking with Chris as well -- looks like Cousin Madeline has not only the beauty of her mother, Aunt Heather, but her intelligence as well.

IMG_2037 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut
IMG_2037 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut


Here, Chris appears overwhelmed by this beautiful, perfect little girl, wondering just how he could have helped create her and bring her into the world. We know the feeling!

IMG_2040 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut
IMG_2040 from album 101218-Madeline makes her public debut


Here, they're both almost actually in focus, sort of.

You'll note the utter lack of photos of anyone else, including Aunt Heather, holding Cousin Madeline. Chris seems to want to enjoy every magical moment he can, and isn't that new dad who wants the mailman, the neighbor's dog and the neighborhood pharmaceutical voyeur to enjoy her company. Well, that, and he's completely wrapped around her tiny little clingy finger.

We tried sharing some of the basic advice (no guests who don't bring food, no feeding Chris after midnight or letting him get wet, sleep-n-play outfits look a whole lot better after you debate cutting off the shit explosion'ed onesies so you don't have to bring it over her face, sleep when baby sleeps).

Meanwhile, Heather and Chris and Madeline will continue to figure things out on their own, getting to know each better, grow with each other, and finding more room in their hearts and diapers for each other.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to stalk employers

This was supposed to have been a more comprehensive guide to getting some extra help with a job search, but it was rushed into production too quickly. Sorry. Good luck.

Some could call this time "The Great Recession." Too many people we know probably have other words, such as "The Giant Ball of Suck."

Here's a random collection of ideas that may help you find employment:

Have your computer do the work for you


OK, pick your favorite Web browser. No, not that one. I mean Firefox. Look, it's not a religious experience. It's a Web browser. It'll help you find a job. You can go back to using your 10-year-old version of Internet Explorer or the special browser made by Viking hermits in ice caves after you get the job. So if you don't have Firefox, get it. That'll help you in the next two steps:

Install the SiteDelta plugin for Firefox from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4337/.

When you get to the page, you'll see a long green button, "Add to Firefox". Click this and a new window pops up, with a countdown over the word "Install" -- they really want to make sure that you're installing legitimate stuff and have a few minutes to think it over. Don't trust us? Well, you're pretty smart, then. But you still need the job.

Then install Feed Sidebar for Firefox from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4869/.

This is it. If you're new to Firefox, you may want to take a look at just two other things: IE Tab Plus and Adblock Plus. The first lets you view Web pages in Internet Explorer from within Firefox; read that a few times and it'll make more sense. It comes in handy mostly for older Web sites with lots of bad coding, like the places with weird custom job application programs that run within the browser. Adblock Plus, er, blocks ads. You need to get a list of ads, called a subscription; try EasyList, which may be the default.

OK, now you've installed 2, 3 or 4 plugins. You'll have to restart Firefox for them to take effect. Restart Firefox.

Near the address bar at the top of the screen is a mostly orange box with little white waves emanating from a star; that's Feed Sidebar. This handles what's called RSS feeds -- mostly used in blogs, but used in some job sites and such. You can click it to peek inside, then click again.

In the bottom right corner of your browser is a little triangle, just hanging out. That's SiteDelta. It won't do much right now. We're going to use these to stalk jobs online. First we have to get some ideas.

Coming up with the first slice of jobs


If you're reading this, chances are you're not so much looking to drive a forklift, though you may be willing. Chances are you've got education and a career. So let's move ahead on that premise.

Are you a reporter? You probably know about JournalismJobs.com. A teacher in Georgia? TeachGeorgia. There may be other job sites oriented toward your specialty; take a look.

Because we've got to start somewhere, let's point your browser toward JournalismJobs.com. Use this as a learning tool, alright? If you go there and click on the Alert button, you see you can set alerts for new jobs -- show me only part-time jobs in Wisconsin, or full-time jobs in Arizona, or whatever. This is good to know.

But try clicking the "search jobs" link. Up pops a new screen (here). Toward the top is a new orange button with white radio waves coming out -- just like your Feed Sidebar button. Click that button. A new screen comes up with a list of jobs. At the top is a "Subscribe Now" button. Click that. A small window pops up asking if you want to bookmark it. Hit Subscribe. Close the windows. Your computer will now automatically check for new jobs posted here.

Once you learn to pay attention to that little orange icon, you'll see it in more places. To see what's new, click the Feed Sidebar button near the link bar in Firefox, near the top of your screen and the navigation commands. You can tell to check the sites you subscribe to regularly -- say, every 20 minutes.

But most employers still have just a list of jobs. This is OK; this is where SiteDelta comes in handy.

Now, let's say you're living near Macon, Ga., and thinking there might be a job at Wesleyan College in Macon. Can you find the employment page? First you have to find the right Wesleyan College, then hunt down the employment link on the main page. Eventually, you should get to http://www.wesleyancollege.edu/NEWSINFO/Employment/tabid/1009/Default.aspx. There's separate links to open faculty positions and open staff positions. But if you scroll down, you'll see it's the same page.

Remember that SiteDelta icon near the bottom-right corner of your browser? Click that. Once. A new bar appears at the top of your browser: "Page scanned. Click SiteDelta icon on next visit." SiteDelta will now be stalking this on its own schedule. (You can force the schedule by right-clicking the SiteDelta triangle icon, opening the sidebar, clicking Pages at the top, selecting SiteDelta Settings, then the Scan Schedule tab, then explicitly setting the frequency -- hourly, every 20 minutes, whatever.)

So now you're wondering -- what have you done?

Well, you'll want to open Feed Sidebar every day or two to see what new jobs are posted through your RSS feeds. And you'll check SiteDelta when the triangle turns red -- that's the only real notification you get. When SiteDelta shows up, you can right-click on it and select Open Changed Pages. If SiteDelta isn't checking as much as you want, you can tell it to scan your pages.

Now, on to other specialized job sites


Think for a moment about your industry and where you'd be willing to work. Think about how those skills may translate into other kinds of employers, if at all. Say you've got a background in marketing. Well, lots of businesses -- and even charitities -- need help with sales, marketing, public relations and the like.

Think about the steadiest employers in your area, if you're not willing to move. City government? County government? State government? They've all got Web pages, and they've all got listings of jobs (when they have spare jobs). The little communities within a 30-minute drive have the same thing. And then there's the weird quasi-government jobs, such as the local water authority or the regional planning agency. Make a list. Brainstorm. Think some more. Then find the jobs pages; hit 'em with SiteDelta or get the RSS feed or the subscription.

Other steady employers? Well, healthcare's big. You may not have training in nursing, but your skills may cross over there. Check the local hospitals. Arguably check nursing homes. SiteDelta and RSS feeds. Get your computer working.

Well, what about big employers? Most of American employees are with small businesses, but it's tough to find those jobs one-by-one. So let's keep stalking major employers. Your local Chamber of Commerce should have a list -- it may be online, it may not -- of the area's largest employers. Find the Web sites. Sign up, SiteDelta, RSS. Then find the Chamber of Commerce for your county, and the next few counties around, and the cities in those counties. SiteDelta. RSS. Whatever. Get it done. Check on it once or twice to make sure it really is working. And keep looking.

There are other ways to find jobs -- including those that are traditional, such as networking through friends and colleagues, or maybe standing on the corner in a business and/or chicken suit trying to get attention. There are plenty of books in your library and probably some resources online. But this is a great reason to check out the library, where odd-looking people are welcomed during the middle of a business day. And you can check out the Sharpe's novels on audiobook.

And we're outta time. Good luck!





Education

Indeed.com

Monster to post resume

State Web sites to post resume

Networking

Call a friend

Get references out

Get reference letters out

Draft resume, cover letter

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Some steps to a special kind of happiness

As with everything in life, there are different degrees of happiness. mom always sets the bar high.

Witness this:
To get kind of a happy belly:
  1. Go to the grocery and buy a jar of meat sauce


To get a fairly happy belly:
  1. Go to the grocery store and buy a pound of beef, a jar of Prego and a packet of Lipton onion soup powder.
  2. Combine


To get the most amazingly happy belly from some authentic bolognese sauce:
  1. Have a person born to parents of mixed, but largely Italian and French descent, in an area with heavy Mediterranean but multicultural influences
  2. Have said person grow up with some self confidence
  3. Have said person grow up with an unusual amount of determination, which gets her through night grad school
  4. which gets her an MBA
  5. which gets her a position as one half of her company's representatives in another country
  6. where for no apparent reason she falls in love with a guy
  7. then agrees to marry him
  8. then moves with him to a place not known for its high levels of immigration from her nation of birth
  9. who then links up with all eight people in the area
  10. one of whom invites her to a farm for a child's birthday
  11. where said husband points out a basket of nice tomatoes
  12. that somehow she magically turns into one damned good bolognese sauce.


The third option's a lot more complicated, but entirely more rewarding. And sometimes there's a kiss at the end of the meal!

Fun with a criminal

An old buddy of dad, who became a new buddy of Aunt Selle, had his Gmail account taken over by a scammer who was asking for help because he'd just been mugged in London. Suffice to say Uncle Jim hasn't been mugged, but he's probably ready to run the guy over with his tractor in Georgia.

This has little to do with Lil' Genghis, but, hey, it's entertaining to dad at least.

The astute among you will note carefully that dad's name is not Mark. Also, "JACKASS" isn't an insult so much as an inside joke with Uncle Jim, but the scammer just tried to ignore it.



9:29 PM Jim: Hi Mark
me: JACKASS
Jim: how are you doing?
me: fine, and you?
9:30 PM Jim: not too good...why dont you reply to my email about my plight ?
me: was thinking the other day about our old boss ... what was his name?
I didn't see an e-mail
Is there a phone number I can reach you at?
9:31 PM Jim: Oh
I sent an email that i got mugged in London
me: That's terrible!
Jim: And that i want you to loan me the sum of $2450 usd till am back home
yes it was
9:32 PM Are you there?
me: How do I get it to you?
9:33 PM Jim: through western union money transfer on my name in London
Where are you now?
me: You've got a common name.
Jim: Jim (Name)
9:34 PM me: I know your name, yes.
Jim: Name: Jim (Name)
Location:Craven Hill Garden, W2 3EA ,London, UK
me: No more address than that?
Jim: yes
me: European addresses always confuse me
Jim: that is all needed from western union
9:35 PM How soon can you make the payment?
9:36 PM me: What time is it there?
Jim: it is 2:34 am here now
there?
9:37 PM me: 937pm
OK, just got off the phone
9:38 PM Jim: Oh Ok...Can you still make it?
me: They say you can pick it up between 4:30 and 5 a.m., but the system's going down for maintenance after 5 p.m. ... Can you be there then?
er, system's going down for maintenance after 5 AM rather
Jim: Ok
me: It'll take 2 hours to process
Jim: Ok
9:39 PM Ho do you know that?
me: That's what they told me on the phone
Web site wasn't going through for some reason
Jim: Ok
Ok
9:40 PM me: Something about credit card authorizations as a cash advance or something
Jim: You can go to any western union Location arround you and make the payment
me: Never had a friend get mugged overseas before!
Jim: it was a bad experience so far
9:41 PM me: So far? You think you'll get mugged again?
Jim: i dont pray for such thing anymore
i mean since i was born
me: Well, why did you say it was a bad experience so far?
9:42 PM Jim: i mean that was the most worst experince in my life ever since i was born
9:43 PM me: Well, there was that thing with the stripper who turned out to be a hooker who turned out to be a cop
I'll never forget that story
Man, remember how much we laughed?
Jim: yes dude
9:44 PM Mike can you try and see if you can get the money send to me at a western union location right now ?
me: They said they'd get it to that whatever garden thing in 2 hours
so should be 4:30 a.m. there
between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.
9:45 PM I think the delay may be the computer problems that are making them take the system down at 5 a.m.
No one gets mugged at a good hour, you know?
Jim: yes
9:46 PM so Mike how will you give me the info to get the money here ?
me: Is there a 24-hour one near you?
9:47 PM Jim: i really dont know
But am not sure
me: What was that postal code again?
9:48 PM Jim: W2 3EA
why?
9:49 PM me: Trying to find a Western Union near there
http://www.westernunion.com/WUCOMWEB/staticMid.do?pagename=agentLocator&method=load
Jim: ok
9:50 PM me: There's a place on Queensway?
Damned British make all the streets sound the same
Jim: yes
9:51 PM me: Do you know where that is? They're saying only .26 miles
from the postal code, anyway, don't know how that relates to your address
THE INTERCHANGE ORGANISATION LTD
12 Queensway
London, W2 3RX
+44-0808-2344572
You want to give them a call and make sure they're going to be open?
Or want me to call?
Jim: what did you post on my facebook?
9:52 PM me: What?
Jim: Ah, was just gonna warn you -- on the line with the guy now on Gmail. Jim, there's a
9:53 PM me: Aww, gee, did I make your bitch-ass moron self waste more than 30 minutes of your life for no gain?
I'm a bad, bad boy
But you're an utter loser moron
You're in Gmail chat real time and not even checking the e-mails as they come in?
Do you have the IQ of a syphallytic rhinoceros?
9:54 PM Can one man truly be this stupid?
I guess you can.
Fine work, fine work.
Jim: do you know how much i realise from this gmail account?
me: Well, if you weren't a complete idiot you wouldn't have wasted 30 minutes here
Nor would you open a conversation with the WRONG NAME
9:55 PM Give it up, guy
You're too dumb to be a criminal
And trust me, the real Jim and I have known lots of criminals over the years
and we laugh at them all the time
But we'll be laughing at you for a longer time
And still you talk
Face getting a little red?
9:56 PM Embarrassment? Anger?
Do you feel like your brain is smaller than your penis at the moment? Isn't that hard to do?
9:58 PM Awww, did I hurt your widdle feelings?
Go back to Lagos.

Monday, May 17, 2010



Two peas in a pod, because that's what they were.

The first time that I met Adriana, ... I just remember the long hair, the big smile, and she had this shy demeanor at first. What you couldn't miss was how connected she and Bernardo were.

And now that she's gone way too early, I'm glad they got to live this story together, and I'm very glad I got to meet her and Isabella got to meet her. We will miss her.

I don't understand why things happen this way sometimes and it seems so unfair, but it's got to be a reason and a plan that we are unaware of, and I know for sure that she's in a good place right now, and I just hope that her family and Bernardo, they'll be OK.

Bernie, I love you. Be well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Newly American

It was cliched. It was kind trite. It was pretty darn sappy.

Black-and-white photos of immigrants past filled a big projection screen. There was the obvious German, the cute little girls, a sailing ship simply crowded with people wanting part of the American dream. The screen froze on a flag filtering out the sun -- then became a color photo, and pictures of more recent Americans filled the screen. The elderly immigrants, the kids, the soldiers.

Then it was time for the people in the room.

Australia ... Belgium ... Bosnia ...


Some stood.

Botswana ... Brazil ...


Suze got up, looking around a little, to stand with the others.

Cambodia ... Canada ... China ...


All these people, from so far away, wanting part of what I was simply born into.

Cuba ... Dominican Republican ...


Brown people. Maybe not rushing to be part of Arizona right now, but wanting to be part of the United States. Thinking that they've got a good chance here.

El Salvador ... Ethiopia ... Germany ...


And what of Arizona? These are people who, unlike the rest of America, know how many amendments there are now (27), how many voting U.S. representatives (435) and how long they have to wait before they're eligible to run for the House or Senate.

Malysia ... Mexico ...


These are folks who believe in our government, in our economy. If something's not right, it can be fixed. The states are the laboratories for democracy, yes, but the United States itself has also been a laboratory.

Nigeria ... Pakistan ... Panama ...


Will these newly minted Americans be the last to lose faith in democracy, the last to grow so cynical? Will they be the last to turn away from the American justice system despite modern threats like non-state terrorists?

Sierra Leone ... South Africa ... Thailand ...


No idea. But that's up to them, I guess. They've got the choice. In a few days they can all be voters. They'll probably more likely to vote.

Vietnam ... Yugoslavia ...


Is that the end? 117 new Americans, coming from 50 countries? No, not quite Americans yet.

I hereby declare ...


Suze has one hand up, taking a pledge.

support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America ...


And it's over. Suze is now an American in every way. How will she vote? It's up to her. How may she do on a jury? I guess we'll find out. How will she be as a mom? Heh, we already know that. How much will she participate in our nation? I'm not quite sure, but I fear for the parent-teacher organization she'll sure to take over in a few years.

It's up to her. At last, at long last, it's up to her.











Suze, with her new American-South African friend





Hey, look: It was cliched. It was kind trite. It was pretty darn sappy.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A note to another mom


So remember I said Suze and Bel were next door taking care of the
neighbor's dog? I went to tell 'em about the hall of fame ... and
found them sorta scattered over the neighborhood. Isabella on the
neighbor's lawn, Suze farther down, the dog farther than that and
running. And the neighbor's alarm was going off rather loudly. Later
found out Suze had set the alarm, tried to go out the door and the dog
bolted.

I grabbed Bel and tried to catch up to Suze and the dog, but the dog
kept going. Suze eventually caught up to the dog, which had no collar,
of course. So I took Bel, went to get our dog collar and leash, barely
stopped our big dog from making an escape of her own, grabbed Bel and
the leash and collar and tried to meet Suze and Cocoa. It was fun
getting her back in the house and then getting out after, Suze called
the neighbor in Michigan, then started changing Isabella while I
waited forever for the cops to show up. Cop wanted to get the story
from Suze directly, and that's when I found out her asthma was going
badly. So I think she's almost ready to go out the door now, maybe.

Life with a toddler tends to be interesting!