Friday, November 30, 2012

The Good, The Bad, And The In-Between

Time for a long, rambling update of everything that's going on in our lives at the present time. Aren't you lucky?


~  At almost 35 weeks of pregnancy, Mom and baby are doing very well. Mary's blood pressure is not high (that was initially a concern, but hasn't been an issue throughout) and she does not have gestational diabetes (also something they were watching for at first).

~  Baby is already head-down, he's practicing his breathing, his heart rate is normal, and he's very active.


~  Mary's job as a teacher requires her to be on her feet much of the work day. So...her feet and legs swell daily and it's very painful. I rub her feet and lower legs every night for at least half an hour, and it helps – for about ten minutes or so – but the swelling never completely goes away now. Sleeping is difficult for her, because no position is truly comfortable. Many "normal" things that she was able to do before pregnancy are more difficult or even impossible right now.


~  Baby already weighs approximately 6.9 lbs.! The doctor we met with this week told us that he is still within the normal range (accounting for an up to 15% margin for error on the ultrasound measurements), but that Mary will likely not be allowed to go past her due date (January 5th); the implication was that Baby Boy may be ready to arrive even earlier.


~  We have two possible names (first and middle name combinations) picked out for Baby Boy that Mary and I both like a lot.


~  We can't decide which name to choose. I have my favorite between the two, and immediate family members and close friends have also cast their votes in favor of one or the other. But Mary's name preference changes from day to day, and I'm truly okay with either one (which doesn't help much either).


~  It is entirely possible that Baby Boy may not have a name until he gets here. And that's okay. Apologies to anyone who may have been hoping to embroider a blanket or whatever with kiddo's name on it prior to his birth.


~  We are not going to have to move out of our house and into a new one before Christmas or before baby arrives.

~  Which means that we are going to be able to decorate the house for Christmas as well as set up the nursery for the baby.


~  We have this newfound flexibility because, unfortunately, the sale of our house fell through. The husband of the family who wished to buy the house found out – after we had agreed on a price and signed the contract (but prior to delivering the earnest money check) – that his job was going to be transferred to Raleigh. He did not wish to be transferred, and began the process of appealing the move to his employers. However, his workplace was extremely slow in getting back with him, and two weeks after we thought we had a deal, he'd still not received an answer back. With us already working on an extremely short time frame to find a new place to live, pack up our current place, and etc. all before Christmas and before baby arrives, the even shorter time frame was not going to work for us at all. With no earnest money check in hand, the deal was not official, and we chose to pull out, and subsequently to pull our house off the market until after we're a bit more settled with the baby.


~  Though not selling the house is disappointing, we now have more time to look for a house that's right for us, and more time to better determine what we can and can't afford to spend on a house, and what location would be ideal for us as well. (This point should probably be in the "THE GOOD" column, but let's not quibble over trivialities.)

~  We have left the door open for the prospective buyers to make a new offer if they find out in the coming weeks that he is not going to be transferred to Raleigh. If their family is remaining here and they still wish to purchase our house, we will make it available to them even if it's not technically still on the market. At that point, with us having the baby and knowing better how much time we'd actually need to be out without being rushed, we would set the closing date in order for a deal to be completed. It may happen, and it may not, but we thought it prudent to not completely close the door on a potential sale.


~  I actually have more vacation time than I thought at first and am going to be able to spend a full two weeks at home with Mary after the baby comes! This was very important to me – I was willing to take family medical leave if necessary – but fortunately everything worked out in our favor.


~  This is not technically a "BAD" thing for me, but it might disappoint a handful of people. Due to the fact that I will soon be helping take care of a brand new person and will be as involved as possible in all that entails, I will not be directing the Easter drama at our church this upcoming year. A replacement director is already being recruited and should be decided upon one way or the other very soon. I will be available to consult, but my "hands-on" involvement will be minimal at best. Will I miss doing it? Of course I will. I've been involved in the drama ministry in some form or fashion for over a dozen years now. Is it worth it to miss it? Absolutely! Those are the first few months of my child's life. I can't get that time back. I want to be there with him and my wife. And I will be.


~  I only get two weeks to be home with Mary and baby! I think it's a travesty that many employers (mine included) don't offer paternity leave. It is expected that men these days will be more involved in the care of their children. Many fathers, myself included, actually want to be very involved. And yet, we men have to burn all of our vacation time in order to do that. It's not fair, but that's the way it is. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.


~  Today is the 335th straight day that I've blogged! Which means that I only have 31 days to go (it's a Leap Year, remember). I don't know about you, but even I am impressed with that! And amazed, frankly, considering all the craziness that's gone on this year. Did I know in advance that this – of all years – would be the year that we'd finally have a kid? Nope! Or that this would be the year we'd finally get our act together and actively try to sell our house? Negative! Did I anticipate any of the other strange and wonderful things that have happened throughout the course of this year? Not at all! It just worked out that way. But hey, it's given me plenty to blog about, right?


~  Ugh! I still have 31 days left! What else is left for me to write about at this point?


~  Don't you worry about that! I still have plenty of ideas. Not good ones, mind you. But ideas nonetheless. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fat Birds

Today's post was inspired by my wonderfully wacky, one-of-a-kind sister-in-law who recently revealed her affinity for fat fowl. Sit back...relax...and bask in the beauty of these delightfully chubby birds...

(NOTE:  The caption beneath each bird's picture is not the scientific name of the bird. It's merely an amalgamation of the bird's common name and a size-defining modifier of my own determination. Not that you couldn't have figured that out on your own.)

Blubbery Bluebird

Bulky Booby

Chunky Chickadee

Corpulent Quail

Dumpy Duck

Fat Finch

Flabby Flamingo

Fleshy Pheasant

Jelly-Belly Blue Jay

Meaty Manakin

Obese Ostrich

Oversized Oriole

Overweight Owl

Paunchy Pelican

Plump Penguin

Portly Parrot

Pudgy Pigeon

Roly-Poly Wren

Round Robin

Stocky Sparrow

Stout Starling

Swollen Swallow

Tubby Turkey

Weighty Warbler

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fantastic F-Words To Mutter In Mixed Company

Don't fret! I'm not going to start dropping F-bombs to and fro. Instead, I'm going to fire off a flurry of words -- a few familiar and a few forgotten -- that all start with the letter "F" and that won't be frowned upon by your friends and family. Fabulous F-words. Fascinating F-words. Fashionable F-words. Favorable F-words. And if you think I'm frittering away a flock of F-words in this foreword, and that there will be too few left to file, you will fast find that you fancied foolishly. Here we flow...

1)  FUNIPENDULOUS:  Hanging by a rope or a cord.  Use it in a sentence:  "When he takes a shower, he always remembers to bring his funipendulous Gnome Soap On A Rope."

Well, that's kinda creepy...

2)  FABIFORM:  Shaped like a bean.  Use it in a sentence:  "Hey, wanna come swim in my pool? It's fabiform!"

Sure, sounds like fun...

3)  FUGACIOUS:  Inclined to run away or flee.  Use it in a sentence:  "The prisoner was denied bail, as he was deemed to be fugacious."

But he looks so trustworthy...

4)  FABULIST:  One who invents fables.  Use it in a sentence:  "Hans Christian Andersen was one of the greatest fabulists of all time."

He was also one of the ugliest...

5)  FRUMENTARIOUS:  Of, like, or pertaining to corn.  Use it in a sentence:  "My wife made corn pudding for Thanksgiving, and I found it to be extremely frumentarious."

 This isn't hers. This is "stolen" from the Internet. My wife's corn
pudding was too tasty to photograph. By the time someone grabbed
 a camera, the corn pudding would already have been in my stomach.

6)  FARROW:  To give birth to piglets.  Use it in a sentence:  "Hi-ho, Kermit The Frog here, reporting to you live from Old McDonald's farm, where my sweetie pie -- Miss Piggy -- has recently farrowed. Wahoo! I'm a daddy!"

They would make some weird-looking kids...

7)  FRITINIENCY:  The noise of insects.  Use it in a sentence:  "Experiencing nightly fritiniency is a major plus about living in the country."

8)  FECULENT:  Covered with filth; filthy.  Use it in a sentence:  "No matter how often he bathed, the boy continued to appear as feculent as ever."

Poor Pig-Pen...

9)  FOSSICK:  To search by turning over earth or rock.  Use it in a sentence:  "I've been fossicking all day long and I still haven't found a single dead body."

What kind of cemetery is this anyway?

10)  FILIOPIETISTIC:  Marked by excessive veneration of ancestors.  Use it in a sentence:  "Their filiopietistic culture disallowed them from appreciating their present families, causing much strife among their offspring."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"A Little Tied Up," "Unusual Jewelry," And "Prison Pen Pal": Three New Drabbles

Okay, so it's been far too long since I've done some original writing on this blog. Being a writer by trade and by hobby, I can only go so long without getting an idea or two (or three) for a story. Once the idea is there, I simply have to write it. These three drabble-and-a-half's (150 words each) are hot off the presses, so to speak (meaning I just wrote them this morning). They're all a little twisted, but I think you might find something interesting in one or two or all of them. Enjoy?

"A Little Tied Up"

I'd like to tell you that I'm fine. I'd like to say that I'm confident everything will be okay, that this too will pass. I'd like to be able to give you hope that when you wake up tomorrow morning, I'll be there beside you. But my hands are bound behind my back, a filthy rag is stuffed inside my mouth, and a gun is pointed at my head. I don't know the identity of my captor. I'm trying not to look at him, hoping that if I never see his face he'll let me live. But I've seen all the movies and TV shows. This never ends happily. The cops are not on their way. You aren't racing to my rescue, because you don't even know I'm in danger. I'd like to say I'm alright, but I know I'm not. So I'll simply say goodbye, and I love you.

"Unusual Jewelry"

My bracelet stinks and may already be rotting. My necklace is cold and wet against my chest. My ring is cutting off my circulation, and I'm pretty sure I just saw it moving a bit. None of this makes any sense to me, but I'm doing what they told me to do. Our leaders said that the garlic, the mint leaves, and the earthworms would protect us from the evil ones. But I don't feel protected. I feel crazy. What's worse, I look ridiculous. I can't go out in public like this. But then again, I wouldn't anyway. The silent ones, the sleepwalkers – they're out there waiting for us. The darkness is their domain and I would truly be crazy to venture out into it. So I'm sitting, and I'm waiting. All dressed up and nowhere to go. But at least I'm alive. And for now, I suppose that's enough.

"Prison Pen Pal"

Dear Babycakes,
I can't wait to see you this weekend. I hope they'll let me stay longer this time. Probably not. Jerks! I wish you was out here with me so we could spend every single second of every single minute of every single day together. I just know they're going to let you out soon. I pray for that day. I dream about it all the time. People keep telling me all these crazy stories about you, about how you killed all them kids and burned their bodies. Well, I don't believe a word of it. I know you, and I know you would never hurt a fly. You told me yourself you were innocent, and I believe you. I know you'd never hurt me like that, neither. You're a good person. And I can't wait till the day when I get to become your wife.
Yours forever,

Monday, November 26, 2012

10 People I'll Bet You Didn't Know Were From New Hampshire

DISCLAIMER: Before you go "wow" at my wonderful wordsmithery, please note that I copied much of the information below verbatim from each of these people's respective Wikipedia pages. I cannot claim that the verbiage is my own. (I did, however, write this paragraph in its entirety, so feel free to "wow" at the phrase "wonderful wordsmithery" all you want to.)

1)  Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  This doughface Democrat (in pre-Civl War terms, a "doughface" denotes a Northerner with Southern sympathies) was a congressman and later a senator prior to joining the Army and taking part in the Mexican-American War, where he attained the rank of brigadier general prior to resigning his commission to return to politics. Franklin ran for President under the slogan "We Polked You In 1844; We Shall Pierce You In 1852!" And for some reason, it worked! His presidency was ultimately ineffective and quite forgettable. President Pierce was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.

2)  Dan Brown, novelist

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  The bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and several other thrillers, Brown is known for writing stories which are, in essence, treasure hunts typically taking place over the course of 24 hours and featuring the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories. Dan was born in Exeter, New Hampshire.

3)  Mike Flanagan, baseball player

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  Flanagan pitched for 18 seasons in the major leagues, 14 with the Baltimore Orioles and 4 with the Toronto Blue Jays. After his long career – in which he won 167 games and struck out 1,491 batters – Mike continued working for the Orioles as a pitching coach, executive vice president of baseball operations, and color commentator (though not all of these at the same time). Reportedly depressed and distressed about financial issues, Flanagan took his own life in August of 2011. Mike was born in Manchester, New Hampshire.

4)  Alan Shepard, NASA astronaut

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  In 1961, Shepard became the second person – and the first American – to travel in space. Ten years later, he became the fifth person to walk on the Moon. In between his only two space flights, Shepard – whose flight status was interrupted for five years by Ménière's disease, an inner-ear disease which had to be surgically corrected – served as Chief of the Astronaut Office. Alan was born in Derry, New Hampshire.

5)  Ray LaMontagne, singer/songwriter

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  Folk rock/blues singer LaMontagne's music has been compared to that of The Band, Van Morrison, and Tim Buckley, among others. To date, he has released four studio albums, including Trouble, Till The Sun Turns Black, Gossip In The Grain, and God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise. Ray was born in Nashua, New Hampshire.

6)  H. H. Holmes, serial killer

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  One of America's first documented serial killers, Holmes designed and built a hotel in Chicago in the late 1800s specifically with murder in mind. Holmes took an unknown number of his victims from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which was less than two miles away, back to his "World's Fair" hotel where he mercilessly slaughtered them and disposed of their bodies. Holmes would later confess to 27 murders, though the actual body count is estimated to be as high as 200, based on missing persons reports in the vicinity at that time. H. H. was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire.

7)  Sarah Silverman, comedienne

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO SHE IS:  Comedienne, actress, writer, singer, and musician, Silverman has just about done it all during her career. Sarah's satirical comedy addresses social taboos and controversial topics such as racism, sexism, and religion. Silverman first gained notice as a writer and occasional performer on Saturday Night Live. Later, she was the star and producer of The Sarah Silverman Program. Sarah most recently performed as the voice of "Vanellope von Schweetz" in the 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph. Silverman was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

8)  Bode Miller, alpine ski racer

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  Miller is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, a two-time overall World Cup champion (in 2005 and 2008), and can therefore be considered to be the most successful male American alpine ski racer of all time. Bode's 33 World Cup victories also rank him among the greatest racers ever. In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Miller stirred controversy when he spoke publicly about his Olympic experience not in terms of the sport itself so much as applauding the fact that the Games offered him the chance "to party and socialize at an Olympic level." Bode was born in Easton, New Hampshire.

9)  Ronnie James Dio, rock/heavy metal vocalist

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  Over his fifty-plus years as a musician, Dio (born Ronald James Padavona) performed with bands such as Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, as well as his own band Dio. Ronnie often flashed "the sign of the horns" while performing, the use of which he is often credited with popularizing in heavy metal music. Though the symbol is also commonly associated with occult practices, Dio claimed that it was an Italian gesture used to "ward off the evil eye." Dio was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

10)  Horace Greeley, newspaper editor

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  Founder of the Liberal Republican Party and outspoken opponent of slavery, Greeley is probably best-known these days as the man who popularized the phrase: "Go west, young man." Also a reformer and politician, Horace crusaded against the corruption of Ulysses S. Grant's Republican administration while running against Grant (as a Liberal Republican, of course) in the 1872 presidential election. Despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party, Greeley lost in a landslide – which is just as well, since he died before all the electoral votes had even been counted. Greeley was born in Amherst, New Hampshire.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Interesting Quotes By Famous Guys With Big Chins

1)  "I think high self-esteem is overrated. A little low self-esteem is actually quite good. Maybe you're not the best, so you should work a little harder."  ~  Jay Leno, comedian

2)  "Actors who say they can dive inside a character are either schizophrenic or lying."  ~  Bruce Campbell, actor

3)  "I'm kind of comfortable with getting older, because it's better than the other option, which is being dead. So I'll take getting older."  ~  George Clooney, actor

4)  "If you've got a big mouth and you're controversial, you're going to get attention."  ~  Simon Cowell, television personality

5)  "There are unwanted emotions and pain that goes along with any birth."  ~  John Travolta, actor

6)  "I don't really like filling my brain with a lot of stuff."  ~  Jim Thome, baseball player

7)  "Love has more depth as you grow older."  ~  Kirk Douglas, actor

8)  "Actresses have more fear of being disliked. I, on the other hand, revel in it."  ~  Michael Douglas, actor

9)  "It's a free country, and I can keep my mouth shut whenever I want."  ~  James Van Der Beek, actor

10)  "I don't like looking back. I'm always constantly looking forward. I'm not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I'm too busy looking for the next cow."  ~  Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef