Friday, February 27, 2009
Cool - an engine that looks like a flower! Woohoo - what the heck am I going to write about that. Turns out, though, that the caption to today's photo on Flickr was like a mini-lesson on the engine. I just thought it was cool looking. But it is more than just pretty. It is Innovation and Invention realized.
The engine was designed to be lighter thereby making planes faster. This engine was in the Sopwith F.1 Camel , the plane of everyone's favorite World War One flying ace - SNOOPY! Of course, Snoopy's plane was really his dog house, but no one really cared. Believing in Snoopy's imagined adventures is a much stronger instinct than shooting them down.* Imagination is where Innovation and Invention are born (maybe Necessity is the other parent in that equation?). Do we (that is a collective "we" as humans) do enough to encourage Imagination? I say, "No, we don't." Do we do enough to encourage Innovation and Invention? I say, "No, we don't." Do we stifle our natural inclination to let imaginations soar?* I say, "Yes. Yes, we do." Even if you are too jaded to let your own mind go, open yourself up to someone else's inner Snoopy - let him fly or at the very least, don't try to ground him. You never know what you might learn.
* Pun: optional
Photo credit: cliff1066 on Flickr
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I opened the Flickr page and started crying. Most of the nonsense on Flickr makes me roll my eyes, not dab at them madly with a tissue. Both the strength of this image and the surprise of something so moving was a shock. We've all witnessed a scene in a public park where the pigeons are swarming, clucking, flapping, vying for position near the food - so much chaos. This image captures that chaos, yet there is a stillness here too. As if the birds are lined up, waiting their turns. As if they have been invited to join this man for lunch and they know they will get some so long as they are patient. As intent as this man seems in eating his lunch, he doesn't look like he minds sharing. Even if he is sharing with pigeons.
I have never been a big fan of pigeons - regardless of how patient they are. I have become more tolerant of pigeons largely because of Mo Willems. I haven't read all of his books, but he has written about the pigeon going to bed, driving the bus, having feelings, and a whole host of other things - including hot dogs. I do not think, though, that he has answered this question: Do pigeons eat bananas?
Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 on Flickr
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Well, in yesterday's mail, addressed to the Boy was a talking Valentine's card** from his Granny featuring none other than . . . Elmo. We weren't too concerned: the Boy had never been exposed to Elmo before so this "blip" wouldn't have much impact on his delicate psyche, right? Upon seeing the fuzzy red creature and hearing that helium-filled voice the Boy exclaimed, "MELMO!" as if they were old friends. We parents were stunned - stopped dead in our tracks. How had this red devil infused himself into our sweet boy's brain? How could this be? We were so careful.
Getting ready for bed, I decided to do a little test. Maybe the "MELMO" outburst was a fluke - like a little Myna bird mimicking what it hears. I held up a clean diaper which is obnoxiously tattooed with depictions of our furry Satan. "Who is this?" I asked, teeth gritted. "MELMO, MELMO, MELMO, MELMO!" came the enthusiastic response.***
We have officially entered the Eighth Circle of Hell.
*I am not counting licensed character diapers. Sensitive skin has prevented us from using diapers that do NOT depict our nemesis (and his friends) in some form.
** And seriously, U.S. Postal Service - what was the deal with EVERY Valentine card from grandparents arriving at our house POSTAGE DUE.
*** Investigation into the source of this foul affliction is ongoing.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
The Boy is really becoming a climber of sorts. I fear that soon I will have to make sure that every piece of furniture that has even a remote chance of tipping is anchored to the wall. Not to mention our new ginormous TV. I guess it isn't really as big as big could be but compared to what we had it is huge. The Boy has been climbing the ladder to the slide at the park. He climbs on stacks of pillows to get to onto the couch. He tries to climb up into the corners of the bathtub or over the edge (as an aside, I always wonder where he thinks he will get to by climbing out of the tub - I am right there, the bathroom door is closed, and the whole bathroom is as big as a minute. Maybe it seems like a big adventure when you are under three feet tall. I don't know.) Next will probably climbing out of the crib - I do not look forward to hearing that "thud" for the first time!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Bodhi is gone. Beautiful Baby M is here! This is not Bodhi in the photo. This is not Beautiful Baby M in the photo. They aren't even connected in life through any means but me.
Bodhi was the canine love of my dear friend, Liz. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and had large and numerous masses in his lungs and abdomen. Within a few hours of the diagnosis, Bodhi asked Liz to let him go. [it was his time and he decisively told me so. I wont go into details but if anyone says you wont know when its time, you will. Believe me and trust your gut you will know and they will tell you and you will not doubt it and through your tears you will urgently say "its now, we have to go now"]** I know it was one of the hardest things she has ever had to do. She wrote a beautiful tribute to her boy [I knew we were in trouble. This wasn[']t "I stole too much butter" not eating. This was serious.]. He was a special, goofy, loving dog [- and when we gave him the shot, I told him to go find Dante (his buddy) and then he threw his head back and howled - and I mean HOWLED like we would always "sing" in the car anywhere we went or in my house- you could aroo and he would sing along..... anytime I "arooo'd" he would start in and even match my pitch . . . I just knew it was my boy saying he was ok. "we always sing together like this" I said, and I wasn't just saying that. I knew he was talking to me. His last breath was his singing. It was Bodhi. There was no other way he would have gone.].
At about the same time on very the same day, my friend Holly's baby was being born. Holly and her husband are in the process of adopting a girl. They have been through so much to arrive at this point (read about their journey here). They are the most resilient, level headed, practical people. As far as I know, they are on the way right now to meet their daughter who the nurses have dubbed "Baby Beautiful" pending the parents' (Holly and her husband are parents!!!!!) final decision about the name.
With a heavy heart, I bid farewell to Bodhi Odhi Oh. With a heart full of joy, I say welcome to the world Baby Beautiful. You both are loved.
* This was not the first photo on the Creative Commons page but today's content required a relevant photo. Also, the dog pictured here is not the same breed as Bodhi but he looks pretty darn close!
** Italicized text are excerpts from Liz's eulogy to Bodhi.
Photo credit: Dan Harrelson on Flickr
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In the last week Mother Nature has both taken away and given freely. First the Groundhog saw his shadow bringing the promise of six more weeks of winter. The week also brought nasty snow and freezing temperatures that reinforced Puxatawney Phil's prediction making it seem more like a threat than a promise. Then this weekend the sun was shining and temperatures were in the high 50s - walking with the Boy, swinging and sliding at the playground - no jackets required. Winter is far from over though. So was this weekend's weather a cruel tease or a sweet, delicate taste of what is to come in the next few months? Let us be positive today and say that the little glimpse of spring was a joyful reminder of the fun we will have as we leave Old Man Winter behind and welcome the loamy smells of Spring.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Here is my 4th in my 4th photo:
This pic, which I pulled off a long-forgotten blog post, was the first place I saw the poster that was the primary inspiration for decorating my son's nursery. I knew I wanted a modern vibe that wasn't babyish but was still child-friendly (and gender neutral since we didn't know the Boy was a boy until he was born). When I saw this poster, I knew I had to have it. The grey and orange were exactly what I was going for, the alphabet is classic nursery, I loved that the things used for the letters were a mix of traditional and odd - "D" is for dog but "A" is for Ant; "E" is for Elephant but "V" is for Village; "X" is for Xylophone but "I" is for Inch worm. The walls of the nursery were painted white with wide horizontal grey stripes; the furniture is plain and mostly white; the bedding is orange & white; I found cool UFO-looking lamps; and I found some cool orange art for the other walls; and interspersed some classic things that my husband and I had had in our rooms as children. The final result was better than I could have hoped for and I love being in that room.
Aside from falling, my most vivid memory of my first time skiing is curly fries. My dad took us skiing, my brother and I. The three of us bundled into the car (I feel like it was our orange Beetle but maybe I am just being overly nostalgic? somehow 1983 Nissan Sentra doesn't have the same magic to it and the heat worked well in that car and I remember being cold) on the drive to Hunter Mountain. My dad had been skiing only once in his life and, according to his version of the story (which is corroborated by my mom) he spent the whole trip at the bar in the lodge. My experience skiing that first trip left me with the notion that future ski trips would be spent much the way my dad liked to spend his. I did put on ski boots and skis. I held ski poles. But I could not stay vertical. I fell. And fell. And fell. And fell. My brother skied like an expert right from the get go. My dad waived to us from a bench on the sidelines. When I couldn't take it anymore, we went to the cafeteria and had hot chocolate and the curliest curly fries we had ever seen. They were the kind of fries that look incredible - curlicues galore, golden brown, glistening, steaming - yet taste like cardboard. We ate them anyway because they looked amazing.
Several years later, I tried skiing again on a family trip to Vermont. The conditions were terrible - the instructors and ski patrol people were telling us that it was the coldest winter on record and that even hard core skiers were staying away. Not being one to like failing I gave it a go again. I put on ski boots and skis. I held ski poles. But I could not stay vertical. I fell. And fell. And fell. And fell. My brother skied like an expert right from the get go. My dad wived to us from a bench on the sidelines. When I couldn't take it anymore, we went to the bar and had hot chocolate with Baileys. Who needs curly fries.
Photo credit: Leo-setä on Flickr
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Jeff Han: "Touchscreen demo foreshadows the iPhone"
Blaise Aguera y Arcas: "Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo"
Sir Ken Robinson: "Do schools kill creativity?"
Johnny Lee: "Creating tech marvels out of a $40 Wii Remote"
I, for one, am intrigued. I was also intrigued to see what kind of person is attending TED and I found the (English language) blog of today's lens man. I spy there is much more to the contents of the TED bag - and TED - than meets this little eye.
*To see what is really in the bag look here.
Photo credit: loiclemeur on Flickr
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Now snow mostly means two things: dodging drivers who drive like it isn't snowing and wishing for a snow day. Fortunately for the practical me (who does a fair amount of driving on my daily commute), there isn't much snow where I live now. I do, however, miss the joy of the snow day. Sure, schools close for snow days now and again but a "snow" day is called if there is an inch of snow predicted. More often though fog (yes, really) is the cause of school delays. Somehow "fog day" just doesn't have the same ring to it. What does a child do for fun on a fog day? Play Marco-Polo?
Photo credit: Haxxah and KraZug on Flickr