Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunshine and Saxophones

Q and I took a stroll in the sunshine today with Lara, visiting many fountains
and enjoying Jamba Juice. We visited Lady O and Uncle Cha in the evening, where he received the last of his birthday gifts - a toy saxophone! He looks very bluesy here, in his undershirt and jeans.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I Hauled a 734 Page Hardback Book to Ireland

Do you remember where you were when you read a favorite book? Last month, I wrote about my dancers reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince backstage, but I read that volume in one dazed weekend while nursing Q and I don't have any lucid recollections of my own. Amid the fanfare for the last Harry Potter book (the cover art was just announced), I thought back to my clearest HP reading memory, which was Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Book 4 was released just one day before a whole troupe of us flew over to Europe for a dance vacation/tour, and a surprising number of intrepid readers hauled the hardback overseas. I read the first half on the flight over, SwingDaddy read while we toured, and I read the second half on the flight back. Older dancers looked indulgently at the younger readers cramming on the bus. Those of us "younger" folks in our twenties were strictly forbidden to talk plot points to each other. Yum, good books!

Mayberry talked about reading during pump breaks, and Bubandpie read Book 6 right before Pie was born. Where were you when you read Harry Potter?

Also: Madame A was kind enough to translate the exchange between Pat and Stanley at the end of the toothbrushing video.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Real Moms Let Their Babies Grow Up

We're trying to change our habit of calling Q, "Baby." When I come home from work, I say, "Hi Q!" instead of "Hi Baby!" It's a really hard habit to break, partly because it's a habit, and partly because it's hard to think of him growing up.

I never, ever thought that I would feel that way. I do not miss his babyhood. He was an easy baby, but I'm thrilled at how we can communicate now. I love his new grasp on words, the endless chatter (well, mostly), and lengthy songs to which he's subjecting us. However, even un-mommy-like-I am going to miss "Baby."

That's what he calls himself. When he has us take turns playing his toy guitar, he'll say, "Mama do it," followed by giving it to SwingDaddy and saying, "Baba do it." Then he'll take the guitar himself and say, "Baby do it!" He's say his real name if you prod him a bit, and it's time to take that step.

Turning two, getting a real haircut, new sneakers, toddler activities. He's a not a baby anymore – he's a boy.

Real moms let their babies grow up. But when I hug you tight, I'll always call you my baby.

Karianna – thanks for inviting me to join the Real Moms meme!

Updated: Retitled for the Real Mom Truths Contest! More details here. The winner will receive this amazing 4G iPod Nano and Chocolate gift set, plus a link to their post on True Mom Confessions on Mother's Day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Talking Alphabet Hair

Diversity at its best: We were watching a Sesame Street episode where the Baby Bear character is getting his first haircut (ironically, about two hours after Q's haircut), and he asks the barber if he has ever cut bear hair. The barber responds, "Oh sure, I get a lot of business from Sesame Street. I cut human hair, animal hair, monster hair, even talking alphabet hair. All kinds of hair!"

Following the educational principles of Sesame Street, I'm going to make a strained segue into a video for those of you who are interested in education and creativity. It's about twenty minutes long, but worth it – thought-provoking content mixed with dry wit.

Are we "educating our children out of creativity" as the speaker proposes? How can we nurture their strengths, especially if they aren't in the norm of what is prized in school? The video clip is from TED, a legendary conference on Technology, Entertainment, Design, where Sir Ken Robinson points out that public education didn't exist before the 19th century, and it was created to serve the newly industrializing societies. Certain subjects were prized because they gave students the skills to get a job – writing and mathematics, for instance, rather than the arts and humanities.

SwingDaddy and I talked about this tonight. Technology has made the dissemination of information so fast, that a person no longer has to climb on top of the mountain of industry, to win the corporate game, before he or she has a chance to flourish creatively. Instead, post a video to YouTube, write a blog, make a stunning web page, or even found a tech startup . . . like YouTube or Blogger.

Now more than ever, people have an opportunity to make or follow change as fast as it's happening. This ability to innovate, to think beyond what is currently defined, is the skill children need to learn in order to be successful in the next 20, 30, 100 years. We will do our best to help Q thrive in traditional academics, but it's just as important for us to remember to give him space and encouragement to play music and pursue passions. Who knows where those will lead?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Old Madonna Had a Farm

Old Madonna had a horse
E-I-E-I-O
With a neigh-neigh here and a neigh-neigh there . . .

I know that Madge has really gotten in to her English-countryside lifestyle, but somehow I don't think Q's song is what she had in mind.

In other news, we went to SwingDaddy's cycling banquet tonight, where he was awarded a first-place trophy for winning his category of races! Q was very well behaved, ate most of my dinner, and enjoyed his very first Hobee's coffeecake for dessert. I love eating at Hobee's, which is the only place I have a Starbucks-like order: "BDBIT, eggs scrambled, coffeecake, butter on the side." (The Best Darn Breakfast in Town features country-style hashbrowns (never greasy), two farm-fresh eggs served any style, and a choice of their famous blueberry coffeecake or toast. Mmmmmm.)

I was somewhat concerned about how late we'd be out, because we were approaching Q's bedtime with no sign of the extremely full awards table going into action, but the Race Director was truly impressive. He handed out over fifty trophies and awards with humorous commentary in twenty-one minutes flat.

Q draped himself over my back one afternoon this weekend, so I picked him up for a piggy-back ride. It's more of a daddy-activity, as I mostly carry on my hip, and he must have found it quite unusual. When I set him down on the couch, he patted my shoulder, and said, "Good job, mama."

Thanks, bud, We all need a pat and praise sometimes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'll See Your Pruning Shears and Raise You a Rusty Pitchfork

Q ran blissfully through Costume Conspirator's yard this afternoon, dodging between unfinished construction elements while I trailed after him calling out various warnings and feeling generally like Cassandra. He picked up some dirty gardening shears (Sharp!), tapped the barbeque handle (Hot!), skirted a few very large cacti (Prickly!), leaned on a slab of marble balanced precariously on three bricks (Careful!), tumbled a glass jar (Whew! Not broken.), investigated a battered pitchfork (Just look!), and dived towards a wheelbarrow full of implements of destruction. We let him play with a shovel for a while and retreated into the house, exhausted and ready for a delicious dinner.

We can't wait to see the completed landscaping, which will match the magnificent house, and either can Q. In the meantime, he's quite content to try to lasso the stone ball and work on taming it.

New favorite word: "Weckum."
Usage: Following someone saying, "Thank you."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Does A Hippo Say? Part II

Updated.
"In-the-jungle, the-mighty-jungle." A little background here: Q loves, loves, loves a video clip featuring Pat and Stanley, a hippo and dog team (not sure who is Pat and who is Stanley), singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." He now volunteers the whole first verse of the song, when you ask what a hippo says.

SwingDaddy wrote about it yesterday, and my parents called in to own up to partial credit/blame. Apparently, they had daily karaoke renditions with Q while we were gone earlier this month!

There are a whole series of Pat and Stanley shorts, and Q especially likes this one, an ode to tooth brushing. His whole body tenses up in anticipation of the two creatures spitting out their toothpaste, and then he cracks up, wriggling in delight when they follow through. I'm going to have to ask Madame A what they say at the end (it's all in French).

Q kindly provides a harmonica assist as Octy plays the Blues.

We have a bit of a musical theme tonight, so it's a good time to tackle the music meme, as kindly invited by Smiling Mom and Bon. I'm going to do it just a little differently though. Instead of "seven songs you're into right now," I have two different variations.

The Six CDs in My Car

Josh Groban, Awake: I've written about him previously.

Gwen Stefani, The Sweet Escape: I'm conflicted, because favorite author Meg Cabot reports Gwen denies that she is a feminist, which is a terrible example to young empowered girls (and boys), but she does write and sing catchy songs!

Pink, I'm Not Dead: Love the tunes, but I have to be careful about not playing certain songs with Q in the car, given the R-rated language.

Soundtrack to the movie Cars: All of us love Sheryl Crow's song especially, and Q requests it over and over again.

Back to Basics, Christina Aguilera, discs 1 & 2: Girl's got a great voice. Glad she got over the skanky phase.


Now for meme variation 2, a selection of the top played songs on my iPod:

Regency-style dance tune: Even though I haven't played it on the device since June 2006, it's still the #1 played song, since I listened to it endlessly while working out the choreography.

Two songs from High School Musical ("When There Was Me and You" and "We're All In This Together, " if you must know.)

A contribution from a boy band.

Wizards in Winter, by the TranSiberian Orchestra. There's an excellent YouTube video by a Christmas-light fan with insane amounts of time here.

Have I embarrassed myself sufficiently? Is there anyone who hasn't already been tagged who wants to play? Please consider yourself invited!

It was an eventful day, with a first official haircut for Q and many, many musical games. More on that later.

P.S. On a totally different note, how cool is it that all three of the main Harry Potter actors are coming back for the 6th and 7th movies?!


Updated:
Madame A was kind enough to translate the exchange between Pat and Stanley at the end of the toothbrushing video:

Hippo: Eh, on assume?
Dog: Oui, on est des brutes!

Meaning roughly

We're all over this?
Yes, we're brutes!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Internet Time Capsule

I caught a glimpse of my internet past yesterday. I was having problems with the Firefox browser and was forced to bring up clunky Internet Explorer, for the first time for non-work purposes since last spring. The vintage bookmarks were an interesting reflection of what I was reading back then.

My Blogs bookmark folder was merely a subfolder to the Entertainment category and hadn't sprawled into zillions of links. I'd started reading Mary P, but hadn't found HBM, Mom-101, and Mayberry. I hadn't run into the BlogHers or been reunited with elementary school friend Mir. Lady O and Lara had blogs, but we didn't talk about them much. I was reading a lot of sites by writers from Television Without Pity, the best place for entertainment snark online. NBC seems to agree, since TwoP was purchased by Bravo Channel this month.

Mostly, I realized how many friends I hadn't yet met. As various folks have discussed whether blogging encompasses too much navel-gazing, I would say that a little self-centeredness in a safe place is just fine, and the community is darn terrific. Thanks, bloggy friends!


Photo time capsule from the autumn: Q learns how to enjoy a slide - with abandon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Water, Water, and Some Milk Too

Happy Vernal Equinox! It's the one year anniversary of my quarterly emergency readiness check, and I've run out of ways to rephrase its purpose. Instead, I'll rely on a quote from the last one:

Sometimes emergency plans look so daunting that it's easier to do nothing. So, my goals are modest. I'm going to do a few small things each season to put us in better shape to handle an emergency.


This round has really been more about maintenance than new additions. Q just outgrew a size of diapers, so I replaced all the size 4's that I've stashed on our cars, diaper bag, and mini diaper bag with size 5's. He's been wearing the same size for so long that I haven't needed to update the car kits in ages. In fact, I threw out packages of formula that have been there, unnoticed, for the last year! The dude can live off the land like his parents now – goldfish crackers, raisins, and we're good to go. He's graduated from whole milk to 2% too.

When I opened our household emergency supplies to swap out the baby wipes for fresh ones, I discovered that two of our gallon jugs of water had cracked and leaked, fortunately contained by the heavy duty plastic bin of the kit. We poured the remaining water onto the lawn, and SwingDaddy got some new water jugs. I should probably rotate water supplies more often.

And that's about it. Nothing exciting this round, except that I managed to find the kiddie ID bands that I ordered a year ago for Q. He's mobile enough to potentially get lost and need them, so I think it's time to fill out our info and attach them to his shoes.

Call to action: Do you have enough water to last your family for three days, the amount of time you should be prepared to survive on your own before help arrives in case of disaster? At the very least, pick up some gallon containers of water to have on hand. More great info at 72hours.org.

Q's contribution to the effort: He's going to feed the family from his tomato plant!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Come Back Here With Mommy's Pills

Mr. Q has gotten enterprising with his rapid moving-of-footstools and sudden access to higher shelves. Items that were safely out of reach are not anymore.

Many things went through my mind while trying to convince my offspring to return the packet of birth control pills he had seized. The foremost was, dude, the way you're behaving right now? I really need those.

More random thoughts today: Do you remember how pleased I was about mastering the post office stamp machine and getting all stocked up? It turns out that first class mail rates go up in May, so I may be stuck with a couple of months of adding 1 cent stamps to envelopes. Oh well.

SwingDaddy and I watched the first episode of Dancing With the Stars last night, a flurry of sequins and fringe with the usual wacky mix of celebrity dancers. No one truly embarrassed himself, although you can tell that some will not be long for this ballroom.

Cheryl Burke is back, partnered with former Beverly Hills, 90210 actor, Ian Ziering. She's the professional dancer who has led her last two partners to victory, first Drew Lachey and then NFL star, Emmitt Smith. Her success is not due primarily to her dancing. She's obviously a great performer, and she's been lucky to not get stuck with someone hopeless, but SwingDaddy and I think her winning talent is choreography. She's turned out engaging numbers week after week that highlight her partners' strengths and coaches them to dance with confidence. There are some other strong celebrity contenders this season, so we'll see if their professional partners can do as good a job as Cheryl.

Hint to the pro who's dancing with the beauty queen – don't call yourself "young and hot." It just doesn't sound good.

Photos from my fountain tour with Q a few weekends ago. He was very damp and happy, splashing around. Lady O and Cha were quite tolerant of our meandering walking style.

Monday, March 19, 2007

In Which I Postpone Writing About Serious, Hard-Hitting Topics Once Again

And instead tell you how much I love IKEA.

We were in search of some small plastic tumblers so that Q can transition away from sippy cups, and where else is there besides our favorite Scandinavian purveyor of clever storage units? Plus, Momma to LG had alerted me that there was a new plush sealife collection, and it wouldn't do to miss that.

After navigating an elevator larger than my first apartment,


And following the circuitous path around the store, considering various media storage and darling toddler beds,


We did find the sealife. There was a bright yellow crab, a flock of turtles, and a wall of demented octopi.


Amazingly though, we escaped with a record low in purchases – just the cups, some matching flatware, and a box of gingersnaps. $4.26 total for an hour's entertainment.


Tomorrow, I'll tackle narcissism in blogging, the balance of praise for children, and curing cancer. Or maybe just some cute pictures, we'll see.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ketchup and BucketHeads

I put ketchup on a hamburger for the first time today. I guess parenting teaches you to be adventurous in many ways, including putting goopy stuff on perfectly good food. The weather was so good this weekend that SwingDaddy opened up the grill and cooked homemade hamburgers, including a tiny one for Q. The little dude munched away happily, pausing to put down the burger and flip open the top bun with a casual I've-done-this-a-million-times move when offered ketchup (by his father, of course).

It was a good weekend, filled with trains and Lego. At one point, Q started throwing Lego, ignoring my admonishments, and eventually one hit me in the face. I sternly instructed him to say sorry, and he refused, lying down and making theatrical sobbing noises into the ground. Eventually, he came over and rubbed his teary, snotty cheek against mine and I was glad to hold him, aware that slobber doesn't bother me the same way it used to, as long as it's our slobber.
Some Mommy Group friends got together for coffee today, and we had a lovely chat. Plus, I was reassured that I am not the only parent who has not registered her child on pre-school wait lists since birth. We can have a little more time at home to do important things like wear buckets on our heads.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

C'Mon Ride the Train

We gave Q a simple remote controlled train for his birthday last week, and we now have an alternating music and train-centric household. The only thing better would be to get to play music on a train. We'll work on that.

With enough concentration Q can pull the trigger on the control to get the train going.


Although at first, he tried to take his temperature, since the control device is admittedly shaped somewhat like an ear-thermometer.

Not sure why we're holding boxcars to our noses, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

After Q went to bed, SwingDaddy and I went set up some cool track configurations and played with the trains ourselves for a while. It was a good second birthday for all of us.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Disturbing Trend in Plush

You know how weird it is when you see a red carpet pictures of a favorite movie star and her face looks oddly . . stretched? At first, I'll think – well, maybe that's just an unflattering hairstyle. Later, however, there's no denying that someone has had some work done.

Well, these favorite friends have gone under the knife, and it's a bit odd looking. As seen at Walt Disney World – an almost unrecognizable Piglet among Poohs, as well as rotund Donald Ducks. It's hard to tell from the photos, but they are almost perfectly spherical. I'm a big fan of round and cute, but I think they've gone too far!


In other news, I have resorted to outright bribery for kisses from Q.
"Goldfish crackers, mama?"
"Kiss mama first."
Worth every cracker.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stunningly Unoriginal

My brother-in-law is recovering from surgery on his shoulder, so we went over to visit and help out a bit tonight. We brought Lady O's own casserole recipe for them to share, in a move of stunning unoriginality. We're going to have to work on broadening our food base. SwingDaddy did remind them to take off the plastic wrap, given my last experience with the dish.

On a completely unrelated note, did any of you collect stickers obsessively as a kid? I kept mine in a special scrapbook and never used any of them. My mother found the collection and Q is having a great time with googly-eyed food. It's interesting to see which ones he names in English (apple, carrot, cheese) and which in Chinese (watermelon, grapes). Not sure why, but I suppose he'll let us in on the secret at some point.

On yet another tangent, I'm having trouble not posting. Really. I made a one-year commitment to myself to write every day, and that ended last week. However, I Can't. Stop. Blogging. I'm really going to try to take a day "off" and not write. Obsessive a little?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yes, Doctor, He Has Two Word Phrases

Setting: Pediatrician's office, 2 year check-up
Cast: Two-year old boy, just stopped crying. Unruffled father, note-taking mother, patient pediatrician.

Doctor: His weight is at the fiftieth percentile, and his height is about sixtieth percentile. He was wiggling so much that it's hard to tell. How is his mobility?

Dad: He's climbing everything.
Mom: And pretending to do tai chi with his grandparents.

Doctor: Good.

Two year old: Waaaah!
Dad: It's ok honey, we'll be done soon.

Doctor: Does he eat well?

Mom: A decent variety. He's a pretty happy kid, when he's not in your office. Sorry about the wailing!

Doctor: Don't worry about it. Does he use any two word phrases yet?

Two year old: GO HOME!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rejoice, Pregnant Fashionable Hookers

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the mall, not having any luck finding some new business clothes. All the mannequins were standing swaybacked in the shop windows in babydoll dresses and other drapey things. Fashion-wise, it looks like an excellent year for pregnant hookers.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Other Lady M

When friends are working through injury, illness, and trouble, it's time to count my blessings again. I complain about stress at work, how impossible it is to keep our household organized, or keep temper tantrums at bay. Overall though, life is good, good enough to remember to pinch myself.

Months ago, I had done a search on my blog name to see if friends would be successful finding me. I found my site, and also another Lady M. In the way of the blogosphere, I stepped right into a drama in progress. Her last post was hopeful – she was beginning treatment for liver damage – and said that she wouldn't be writing while she got used to the procedures. That was in August. I don't know this woman, but I hope that she recovered and that she's too busy with her happy life to blog. I'll probably never know.

I hope that all of you who are struggling in one way or another find your way into the light. I'm rooting for you.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lions and Dragons and Bears, Oh My!

I found our big family outing today via an archaic form of communication – the newspaper! There was an ad for a "Lunar New Year Unity Parade" not too far from our house, and try as I might, I could find nothing useful on the web besides an article about the same event in 2003. So, we just drove there and hoped for the best. It worked out perfectly. We had just enough time to find a nice viewing perch, offer Q a cup of juice, and see the arrival of the first dragon.

The community martial arts schools were good marketers and handed out flyers for their classes. Most don't start kids until they are four years old, but one has a "parent and toddler" class, which sounds interesting. We think Q would enjoy it! Maybe we could become Lion dancers. I think the ruffley pants are pretty cool.

The local elementary schools were well represented with meandering throngs waving banners and beating drums.

Q was fascinated, observing the action from SwingDaddy's shoulders and waving to the passers-by. He was rewarded with friendly smiles and not one, but TWO, firetrucks as the finale.

P.S. As the post title states, there is indeed a bear in the photos. Can you find it?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mickey Mouse-Shaped, Chocolate-Dipped Anything

I see by the distinct lack of comments that my readers aren't interested in mostly-naked men. Accordingly, we return to our usual diet of cuteness!

We brought Q a Lightning McQueen cookie from DisneyWorld, since he loves the movie "Cars" so much.


Yum.

We got some other treats too. Mickey Mouse-shaped, chocolate-dipped ice cream!

Ever since our honeymoon, where we spent a few nights at a Disney hotel and found that the turn-down service left Mickey Mouse-shaped rice krispy treats with chocolate-dipped ears, I've been on the search for more of the same. Earlier in the day, we'd found a Main Street lunch place with allergen-free rice krispy treats in the shape of stars (gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut-free. SwingDaddy wondered, "Taste-free?") and we'd been talking about the treats so much that I almost settled for one, in spite of the disappointing star shape.

Fortunately, we found the real thing in the checkout line. Mickey Mouse-shaped, chocolate-dipped rice krispy treats!

And what do you do after enjoying sweets? We brush our teeth, of course.

Q ran to our bedroom and carried the stool into the bathroom, so that he could brush his teeth all by himself. Everything was going great until he decided he wanted our toothbrushes too.

It's good to be home. Endless thanks to my parents, Ama and Agu, for taking care of Q while we were gone. He had such a good time! Pictures of the "electric" guitar, airplane bread, and tricycle parade to come.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Even Airplane Food Will Be Fine

We’re packing up, getting ready for our 6am flight tomorrow to go home. Can’t wait to see the Q-ster!

The trade show was exhausting, but very successful. A few random tidbits:

1) I think I have a residual image of the company logo on my eyeballs. I keep seeing it everywhere! Tonight they sponsored a basketball game on ESPN, so I saw the logo a whole bunch of times for real, which didn’t help.

2) No company logo mint on our pillows tonight, since the show is over. I was getting kind of fond of those.

3) The hotel soap has some kind of gravel embedded in it. For exfoliation, perhaps? A closer examination of the packaging says that it’s an “Oatmeal Bar,” which sounds more like breakfast than a beauty product.

4) After an extended day of hundreds of people trooping through conference rooms, the air gets rather . . . ripe. Ick!

5) SwingDaddy and I were able to meet his parents for dinner one night this week. Can you believe that they were in Orlando for an entirely separate purpose exactly this week by coincidence? True thing.

We had a nice chat while enjoying some seafood and then I got an urgent call from my demo team. I dropped my fork and ran off to deal with the issue, which didn’t take too long, and then headed back sheepishly to apologize for being so rude. It occurred to me a moment later that SwingDaddy’s dad and stepmom, if anyone, would be totally understanding of sudden and urgent work demands, being in the business of trauma surgery.

The photo is of a balloon fish created by an entertainer at the restaurant, along with some interestingly crooked glassware. It’s probably not a good idea to use it, if you’re planning to drink anything strong.

Time to pack up the computer. Home soon!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

300 Sets of Great Abs

Those of you who travel know that USA Today is the hotel staple when you’re munching a breakfast bagel. They don’t have much in terms of hard hitting coverage, you get the occasional nice human interest story. Today’s Entertainment Section cover story featured the movie, 300, a retelling of the battle fought by 300 Spartans to the death, which inspired the rest of the Greeks to defend their freedom. Or something like that. Herodotus wrote a lot more about the battle of Thermopylae, but this film is more about Frank Miller’s graphic novel interpretation.

By all accounts, the movie has gorgeous visuals, handsome heroes, and a compelling story of self sacrifice. However, I have mixed feelings about the high gore level, which given its Miller source, will certainly include many dismemberments, decapitations, and other gruesome fates. I’m not a big fan of bloody movies, but somehow give a bye to favorite storytellers. Is that fair? Apparently, it might be worth seeing. From the newspaper review:

As for anyone who thinks 300 is guys-only fare, consider those half-naked Spartans. At test screenings, the film tested 100% positive for women of all ages.

Says (the director): “The studio was like, “What the hell?” We don’t even get this at our romantic comedies.’”

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Step On It

Thanks for all the cheery birthday and blogiversary wishes! Our hearts are warmed. Lara even wrote a lovely post for Q at her place.

It’s been another long day of giving demos and answering questions in my best professional manner, but things are going well. I am glad I’m not going to Germany on Friday for the next tradeshow and instead get to go home to Q.

A few more pictures from the weekend: Q and I are playing a new game that involves me finding things on the ground that are in the direction in which I want us to travel. I encourage him to run over and step on it, and while it doesn’t eliminate all disagreement in where we’re going, it helps a lot.

Celtic knot pattern at the mall.


Decorative storm drain cover


Time capsule marker.