Thursday, December 21, 2006

Abby 1993-2006

Abby died one week ago today. I've yet to download the last images of her, as it still breaks my heart to think about it. Just about every time I take Teeva out, I think of her and my eyes well up.

She was my companion for nearly 12 years. Four times longer than I've known my wife. Six times longer than I've known my son. One-third of my entire lifetime. She will be missed.

I got her from a no-kill shelter in Bumfuck, Indiana. She was one of approximately 200 dogs and 400 cats that were on this farm. The farm was, according to the toothless man running the place, owned by the animals. Apparently, when the owner of the farm passed, she made arrangements for the farm to be owned by the animals. Not a bad deal, really.

I had been in Indy for a couple of months, and my GF at the time had recently arrived to be with me. I think we had been in our apartment just a week when we went looking for a dog. I don't remember much of the details of the search, but somehow, we ended up at this particular shelter. The dogs were all about 4-8 to a 20'x20' or so run, set up in a horseshoe around a larger enclosed area. The first dog we asked about was "unadoptable" due to behavior issues - she was a shelter lifer.

I went one way around and the gf went the other way around the horseshoe, looking for another dog. All the dogs were barking frantically at the strangers walking through their kingdom. Then I saw her. Perched on top of her doghouse like snoopy. Standing, regally, quietly. When our eyes made contact, it was magic! I knew she was the one. We got her out and played with her a bit and fell in love. "Sonja", I think, is what her name at the time was. We were told that she was about 1-1/2 to 2 yrs old. She had come from a family that had had her for about a year before bringing her to the shelter 'cause she just didn't work out, and had been at the shelter for a good six months. Now, anyone that knows Abby would have to ask, "what do you mean, didn't work out". We never got an answer, but we figured she must have been beaten by her previous "family". Whatever the reason, we signed on the line and were told to come back in two days.

Two days later, the gf went to get her. It was the middle of January, the temperature had dipped into the teens (during the day!), the wind was blowing and it was snowing outside. She saved Abby from the weather and brought her home.

She'd been with me ever since, from Indiana, to Vermont, then back accross the country to California, where she lived out the rest of her life. She's been to both coasts, numerous mountain ranges, parks, lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

She spent the last hours of her life in our garden. She wanted to be alone, outside, in the rain. That was the sure sign that it was time. We had a vet come to the house and administer the shots that sent her off for good. She died in the garden, surrounded by those who loved her.

We will pick up her ashes next week and then figure out what to do with them. I'd love to scatter bits of them wherever she'd been, but that won't be possible. I'm sure a few will go in the pacific, some in the atlantic and I want to go back to the green mountains in vermont and drop some there, as well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Yesterday, when I went to pick Cobalt up after school, I was told that our little Rhodes Scholar-to-be decided that he would use one of his red chucks (that's his tennis shoes to those of you not familiar with the common name of the Chuck Taylor All Stars by Converse) as a bowl for his goldfish...

The other kids laughed, and then proceeded to remove their shoes and use them as bowls, too.

I always say that this kid is a born leader.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Santa Who?

Last year, much to my surprise, Kyle told me that she does not want Cobalt to know about or believe in Santa. I can't really remember which it is, but either way, I think it's kind of silly.

Me, I'm more or less a scrooge. Or at least for the last 30 years or so I've been. Whereas the missus is all about the holiday...singing carols, decking the halls, shopping, giving gifts. So now that it's almost the official christmas season, and time for me to be intoxicated for a month straight, I've been thinking a lot about this again.

Fortunately for us, it seems the kid is infatuated with snowmen. We've seen them out a few places like the zoo and on doors. And every time he sees one, he goes apeshit. It's incredible! It's his new big thing, after lions (roar!), a-bi-das (pumpkins) and motorcycles. So maybe that'll be the big mascot for us this year.

But the question I have is where does the love of the snowman come from? We live in California for fuck's sake. Last year we were in Boston after the storm, but I don't remember seeing any and I'm sure he doesn't. Maybe its the Boston-Chicago genes of his folks.

Anyway, not sure where this is going, but it'll be sure interesting to see.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cars, Trucks, a little art and a whole lotta love

On November 10, 2006, Cobalt turned 2. Kyle and I took the day off from work to hang out with the little guy. We had a fabulous day. We let Cobalt sleep in, which allowed mom and dad to have some "adult time" in the morning. After he got up, we took him down to Bean Bag for breakfast.
That afternoon, we took him to the zoo to see the Feeding of the Lions. However, we did get to see the Feeding of the Penguins, although not as cruesome, it was still quite fun for him. Cobalt did get to see the lions, but they had pretty much had their way with the bunnies by the time we got there. All that remained was some fur and a little hamburger. Cobalt loved the lions so much he kept running in and out of the feeding house until they closed us out.
He didn't nap that day, and he fell asleep on the way down to the zoo. However, being the good parents that we are, we decided to wake him when we got there. It was a calculated risk, and one that paid off. He loved the small primates, jumping around in their pens. The giraffes in the "african safari" area, or whatever the fuck they call it, were a hit, too. He even got to go to the petting zoo and feed the sheep. I think that was just a little too much like feeding the dogs and the thrill wore off pretty quickly. But he loved all the other animals, and go to see an owl eat some kind of dead fleshy thing, as well.
The next day, Saturday, was truly the Big Day. Dad baked a cake and mom decorated it, as only she can. This time, instead of an abstract piece of art she made the truck you see above. I've gotta say, that it turned out a hell of a lot better than I had expected. (She's really got a talent, that Kyle!) I also made the biggest lasagna I'd ever seen, but neglected to take a picture of it. We decorated everything with the Co-2 symbol you see at the right. Even the lasagna!
Anyway, the party was a blast. His oldest friend Zuby came down with his brother Benny from Ukiah. Sidney and Ian were of course there, as well as the ever-so-stylin' Beckett. His new friends Evan and Chloe brought their folks, and little Radlee is no longer little.
It's fun to watch the interaction of the young ones. At first, they are shy and cautious, most clinging to their parents. But after a while, once they realize that they are stuck with each other for the next few hours, they seem to loosen up. There was lots of running around, screaming, crying, laughing. The house was full and full of joy. The food was good, the beer and wine were flowing, and the cake was a hit.
In the end, Cobalt made out like a bandit with gifts or cars, trucks, trains, Darth Potato(e) Head and more. We're even thinking of cancelling christmas, but I doubt that will happen.
Thanks All and Happy Birthday, son!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Air Guitar

I just started to teach Cobalt how to play air guitar yesterday. After his first lesson, he kind of "got it". In fact, he was doing it without any prompting. Of course, trying to capture this on video was another adventure. So this is an edited down from the original 49 seconds.

Personally, I think he looks more like an LA Skinhead from Repo Man or something. Either way, HE ROCKS!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Halloween follow-up

Cobalt sent a little note to Kyle's boss, apologizing for breaking his vase. Bill sent this reply...

Hi Cobalt. Howyudoin? Hey,, I just opened your note tonight when I found it in my sportcoat pocket. I guess I put it in my pocket last week at work expecting to open it when I got home. It was great having you here last week. We hardly ever have interesting people like you over cause my kids up and went and got too darn tall. Short ones are a whole lot more fun. Actually, they are just as interesting at any age, they just get different, but equally challenging at any age. Now for instance, my son just decided (after $32,000 of flight time), that flying is too boring for him. You wouldn't do that to your parents would you? . I suggest you pick something nice and cheap like Neurosurgery.

Ok, back to Halloween, not to worry about a stupid pot, stuff happens all the time. I can tell you for sure that my mistakes cost a whole lot more than a pot, and a even a whole lot more than my son's escapades.

Have a great week, I will be in DC on work and visiting my perfect
Daughter (all daughters are perfect)--you won't need to remember that, cause your mom will remind you.

Some day when you make a pot in school and it's not worthy of saving in your memorabilia box, send it my way and I will but it on a the shelf

Come back next year but wear Michigan colors, not Stanford

Uncle Bill

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Halloween Post

Well, I supposed I need to post about Halloween. I should have written this post that night, or perhaps the day after, but I am swamped with not much time on my hands. But since I need to have it fresh in my mind, I'm taking a little bread from work right now to take care of it.
This year, like last year (I think), Cobalt went as a clown. He wore the costume that his uncle Mark and his father both wore when they were kids. Although I think we wore them when we were about a year older. His Great-Grandmother Strahle made the costume, and and have kept them in a box in their crawl space all this time, just waiting for the day that they could give them to a grandchild. Thanks Mom and Dad!
We didn't really go all out this year, or at least that was the plan. Both Kyle and I have been busy with work and things like workin g on the yard and fixing my car that we haven't really had that much time to worry about Halloween. In fact, we were lucky to get out at all. So we didn't even bother to put any clown make-up on the boy, or even try to get him to wear the cap that goes with the outfit. The pom-pons on the front of the jumpsuit were not put back on, either. We've also blown off going to a pumpkin patch and carving punkins, as well. But none of this was lost on Cobalt. I think he knew something was up. Afterall, he got to carve punkins at school, and everytime we've passed one in the last couple of weeks he's screamed, "ABIDAS!"
For what I think is the first time ever, Kyle and I were able to pick Cobalt up from school, together. What a treat! We even brought the dogs with us, so that we could wander back through the park in order let them do their thing so that we could stay out with me worrying or having to rush home or even take them out when we got home.
This year, we had plenty of options for parties and trick-or-treating, too. We had an invite over to Beckett's for his annual monster bash. The neighborhood had a party that included fun and games at a local cafe' as well as a blocked-off street party. And lastly, we were invited over to Kyle's boss's house for cocktails, too. Because of Kyle's recent accolades and title-promotions at work recently, we opted for the latter of the three.
So we headed out to 29th and California, out close to the area of San Francisco known as Sea Cliff - an exclusive neighborhood that overlooks Baker Beach, the Presidio and the Marin Headlands and is home to many famous wealthy folks like Robin Williams. And since I mention him here, I continue by saying that yes, we did stop at his house (Kyle wasn't very impressed by it) to get a glow stick but more on that in a moment.
Apparently, unbeknownst to myself, Sea Cliff is like a Mecca for trick-or-treaters from all over SF and elsewhere. The three of us were a minority in this neighborhood for the following reasons: we are neither rich or in high school, and english is our first language (bet you couldn't tell from my grammar, huh?). The streets of the neighborhood were swamped with people. I'd say there were at least a hundred or so folks outside of the Robin Williams house at any given time. And the neighbors definitely take advantage of it.
I didn't get many pictures of the decorations, but probably should have. Many of the homes had displays, ranging from large inflatable pumpkins to dracula climbing from a coffin (Bill's and Ruth's). Many, many houses had jack-o-lanterns out, indicatint that they had candy for the kids. Some of these people must have spent a few hundred dollars on candy there were so many visitors.
So I mentioned Bill's & Ruth's above. For those of you that don't know, Bill is Kyle's boss at work. The reason we were out in that neighborhood in the first place was that they had invited us and other colleagues, friends, neighbors, etc. over for adult treats. We were outside in front for a while, watching Coffin Guy scare the bejeezes out of the kids (and some adults, too). His schtick was that he was kind of mechanical... almost fake, but very real. Cobalt stood about 8 ft away, staring at the guy, trying to figure out what was going on. The person in the chair next to Coffin Guy was the Candy Phantom...a lady with a mask like the Phantom of the Opera's, sitting with a bowl of candy on her lap. He would make a move, then go back. Their was another kid there too, and he stood behind his mother. Coffin Guy was taking it easy on the little guys, not really stirring or trying to scare them. Cobalt started to make a move, and the cast and crew urged him on...but he came back. A few moments later, however, he made his move. While staring straight at Coffin Guy, Cobalt made a bee-line for Candy Phantom's bowl. Coffin Guy stayed laying down, barely moving his eyes, as Cobalt scored the swag and returned with his prize. The other boy (who was 3-1/2) was still behind his mother when the amassing crowd cheered and applauded Cobalt for his bravery. What a guy!
We then entered Bill's house, studying it as we enetered (it was our first time there). We made our way to the gathering back by the kitchen and breakfast table. (Where else, but in the kitchen? Why do parties all end up in the kitchen. Cobalt made us sit down at the table, after Kyle got a bit of food. Cobalt was playing with the chips and dip, while we were enjoying our break with a glass of wine. Just as we were settling in , we heard the sound...cccrraaaaasssssshhhhhhh.
I'm sure a stream of profanities left my mouth when I turned to discover what I already knew. Cobalt had found the clay vases on the credenza and smashed one on the floor. What were we to do? Cobalt had just broken a valuable at his mommy's BOSS's house!
Thankfully, Bill is a swell guy. He simply swept the shards out of the way and said "don't worry about it...I guess our house is no longer child-proof." Then he went about with the party as though nothing happened.
After a while, Cobalt started to get antsy again, so I decided it was time for us to go, so as not to have anything else ruined. I honestly, thought that we were going to go home. But when we left the house, Cobalt turned left instead of right and headed for the next Jack-o'-lantern. He contined to hit what seemed like every house in a 2 block radius, filling his bag with candy and not slowing down. He would occasionally let out a "trk-trt" and always "bye-bye". When we went passed the car, we got in and headed home.
Back in our neighborhood, Cobalt wasn't done. He didn't want to go in the house and we wanted to see what the rest of the neighborhood looked like. We headed out and right next to the apartment building where I used to live, and Cobalt was conceived, was an open garage filled with people, food (a buffet), drinks and candy. Cobalt got some goodies, and we continued on to see the rest of the hood. By then it was mostly shut down, and we heard tales of the loads of people and just about everyone ran out of candy. Overally, it looked like a success! We decided that we would stick around the neighborhood next year.
We stopped again at the garage down the street for a nightcap and some non-candy food. We got back home just before 11 and Cobalt examined his treasures:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Broken Glass

Last Saturday, Cobalt put his fist through the front window.

Luckily, he neither cut himself badly or fell through. He's had this habit, that we were never very fond of and always discourage, of pounding on the windows with his hands or any object he may have in them. This incident took place, while Kyle and I were outside trimming the big tree, in order to get more light into the back yard. Cobalt was inside playing with Rui, our homestay student from China.

I had escaped into the garage to get or do something, and when I came back out, Kyle came running out for me to come inside. She said that Cobalt had broken the front window. Apparently, Rui was about to get in the shower and she heard the glass break. I was right below the window and didn't hear a thing. Cobalt didn't scream or cry, amazingly. He apparently just went about his business.

Lucky for him, he ended up with just a little cut on his finger, that did require a bandage, but didn't require a trip upstairs to The Dr. (Uncle Pat) or to the emergency room.

Luckily for us, we had a window that sort-of fit to replace the broken one. Previously, we removed the window between the kitchen and the laundry porch. That window was about 1/4" wider than the one in the front. (You see, all the windows in this place appear to be custom size. I don't think that we even have two identical!) I decided that it would be easier to trim the wood frame of the window than the glass itself, as the glass is old and kind of fragile. So I spent the next couple of hours, trimming and fitting the window back into place.

So much for a relaxing Saturday.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Now that Cobalt is "talking" a bit, he's decided that his name is to be "Bobalt". Don't know if he actually knows what he is saying, or if he is mimicking our intonations, or if he just can't say the hard "c".

In other news, he can count to five this way: two...five...two...five...two...(yay!, clap, clap, clap)

Too cute.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Last night, I realized why we have such things as strollers...

I got home from work a little early last night, so I picked up the dogs on the way to get Cobalt from school. I figured that we could go to the playground or take a walk (I've been needing the excercise) after we picked him up. Well, I must have had my head up my ass in the garage, 'cause I didn't notice that the stroller was there and that Cobalt did not have the stroller at school.

Upon picking up the little bugger, we decided to brave it and go ahead and hit the playground. We made it over there alright, had fun and got dirty at the playground. The dogs even made some little premie kids happy by allowing a loooong and tenuous petting session to take place.

Then it became the time to leave...

After giving Cobalt a few warnings that we were going to have to go home to bake the bread that was proofing on the counter, I made the move to leave. You'd have thought that I was trying to pull his fingernails out, slowly, the way he was wailing. He kicked as only he can kick. He even pinched my face so hard I thought I was going to bleed. Finally, I pulled him up and tucked him in my arms like I was the Heisman Trophey, unleashed the dogs and made and end run.

It only took us about 1/2 hour to make the 5-block walk. Battered and bruised, we finally made it. And the bread? Fabulous. No pictures, however, as the comera fucking broke and I have to send it back to Canon for repair/replacement. I will NOT be buying another Canon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Oh Shit!

The other morning, while Cobalt was out in the back with his Granddad's wife, Elizabet, we heard the scream...

"ABBY...SHIT...EW...STINKY" (or something along those lines)

At that point I thought: "well, better clean up the LAWN".

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pictures for a rainy day.

It's been a rough couple of weeks and I need to smile...

...there, that's better.

The first image was after painting at the NOPNA Block Party, and the others were after a bath. Cobalt wanted to wear the shirt that mom wear's to sketch faces.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

How early is too early?

There is a lot in the news lately about early education. I just finished reading this article in the SF Chronicle about the decisions to either start your kid in Kindergarten at the age of 4 or "redshirt" a kid until they are six.

You see, Cobalt was born November 10. The current cutoff in California is December 5. That means that, if we want, Cobalt could enter Kindergarten while he is still 4 (three years from now). As far as I can tell, we would have the option to hold him back if we don't think he is ready. Apparently, there is legislation on the table that would move the date up to September 30 by the time he is "ready" to start kindergarten.

Now, I think it's too early to tell whether or not he will be ready for kindergarten in 3 years or 4. But Cobalt is big for his age, seems to be a "nice kid" (at least that's what everyone else tells me) and he doesn't appear to be dumb. However, he is, compared to other of our friends, a late-talker. Just recently he began to use words for most things, and can go through the Richard Scarry books and shout out his words for planes, trucks, cars and even chicken!

Since I've never been around kids of this age, I have no metric for where he is supposed to be, development-wise. So I have no idea if he is actually "smart", "slow" or just plain average. I think we've always assumed that he would enter school early, due to the simple fact that he is so big. Even if he were able to start Kindergarten when he is still 4, he will most likely be one of the bigger kids in the class. If he has to wait another year, he will almost certainly be the biggest.

At this point, it seems almost absurd to think about it, but after reading articles like this, it comes to the front of the mind. Furthermore, we are hoping to start him in preschool next fall, as well.

Only time will tell.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Premature blogging

Well, I guess I spoke too soon. I had nothing to do with his bedding behavior. He woke up with a nasty snotty cold. I guess he was just tired.

Mom is now back and so is the bottle. We'll see how his sleep goes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006!

Shit, things seem to be progressing fast around here. I posted before about him starting to talk more. But that's not even it. Every thing he does every day seems to be new and improved over yesterday. Let me shoot off a few examples here...

Dogs...Just today, he started to call Teeva, "T.C.", which is what I use sometimes when calling her (it stands for Teeva Chiro). Not only that, we were getting ready to take (all four) dogs out for our evening walk and Teeva was, of course, lagging behind. So he started yelling down the hallway, "TC...cmn", which I translated as "come on". Furthermore, after we got outside and TC was waiting on the top step and Cobalt was half-way down already (by himself and upright, thank you very much) he turned around and went back up and pushed on her butt to force her to get down.

Sleep... I suppose I should mention that Kyle is out of town, working on a courthouse renovation (she's the Project Architect, and defacto PM) in Fresno. (Apparently, they need more courtrooms to handle all the meth cookers in the area.)
Anyway, Cobalt's still been having a hell of a time getting to sleep at night, usually requiring a bottle of two of milk and his father having to put him back to bed a couple of times and/or his mother lying with him in bed until he falls asleep. Well, for the last two nights, it's been dad reading him a couple of stories and then goodnight. Last night, when I went to leave his room, he wanted a bottle (after refusing one 1/2-hour previous). Tonight, when I put the little angel down, he gave about 4 kisses, and as I got up to leave, instead of crying or getting out of bed, he just gave me a little wave and rolled over to go to sleep.
My friends, you have no idea how big this is for us. We've tried a number of things to get him to go and stay asleep at night. First, we tried a "routine"...that didn't last long as neither Kyle, me or Cobalt could adhere to it. Then we found him a new bed on craigslist. Then Kyle made some blankets for him... the first one was great and the second one, well, I really don't know what she was thinking.
So last week we went comforter shopping. After spending nearly an hour and a half in the stupid Bed, Bath and Beyond, we came out of there with nothing, as all they had was either shit or out of stock. I then went to Ikea to pick one was cheaper and nicer. After getting the new comforter, he has slept through the night, without getting up to snuggle with mom, several times. I guess I can't take all the credit for his better sleep, but I'd like to think I helped in some way.

shoes... he has been very unwilling to wear any shoes on his feet for several weeks, or has it been months. We'd gotten him several pairs of chuck taylor's as they seemed to be the best for his high instep. We also have been buying him Teva sandals, too. Both have helped, but for the last couple of weeks, he didn't want the sandals or the chucks. Finally, last week, I took him up to the shoe store on Haight that has the chucks. Even though I hate Haight street, I was already there to pick up some contacts for Kyle, so I figured "what the hell". And I wheeled the boy over to see if he'd be interested in another pair. Lo and behold, he wanted another pair of red high-tops. So I got him a size 8 this time, up from the sevens. He put them right on and wore them out the store. They seemed a little long, but after a few trots, he was no longer stumbling.
This past weekend, on our shopping excursion to the gap and old navy, namely for jeans for me and pj's for him, Kyle found some high-tops on sale that were even better for his high instep than chucks...they lace down just as low, but they are more wedge-like than ankle-fitting, so his foot doesn't get smooshed. After two days at school, he reportedly has only taken one shoe off once.

Geez, I wonder what he's going to do tomorrow...start drawing?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ham and Potatoes

Last night, after putting hime to bed, Cobalt got up and started crying. We were in the backyard, enjoying the clear skies and fresh air. We put him back...he got back up. Turns out, he had a poopsie-diapie.
While I was changing him, and we were holding our noses and saying, "stinky! stinky!", I asked him what he had for lunch that made him so stinky. Well, he started to mumble and I could swear that what came out of his mouth was that they had ham and potatoes and that it was "mmmmmmmm".
Now, maybe I was halucinating or just had wishfull thinking, but I think he really did make that statement...of coarse, it could have been hamburgers with tomatoes, too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

More Opera

This past Sunday was Opera in the Park. I forgot my camera, so forgive me for not getting any pictures up. The weather was fantastic, I even ran around showing everyone my big fat white hairy belly. Cobalt was fantastic! Only ate (or tried to eat) the neighbor's picnic food twice. He had no tantrums, was very quiet the whole time, and learned how to buckle the buckle on the stroller. I couldn't have asked for a better day out of the kid.

A strange thing, though, happened as I took him for a walk around the park during intermission. You see, he and I went barefoot. Well, we are in SF, and it was a beautiful day, and well, have you ever tried to put shoes on Cobalt when he doesn't want them? Anyway, we were walking around like a couple of hippies, just enjoying ourselves and the little bit of excercise and minding our own fucking business. A number of people we passed, however, made snide remarks about his feet beeing cold, or careful of the grass, etc. Fuck them! It's my kid and if he wants to walk around barefoot with my permission he fucking can. He's not cold, he hate's shoes and has leather soles, and mind your own fucking business.

Sorry about the rant.

Next stop, another ball game on Wednesday. I think he's really going to enjoy the slide this time...

F***ing Dogs

Ok, so we got asked on Labor Day to dogsit a coupld of dogs that we've sat before. As it turns out, we have these dogs for almost 2 whole weeks! We've taken these dogs in before, and always have little problems with them, but we can usually deal. This time, however, I think the problems are getting bigger and I don't know if we can deal anymore...

Dog A, who has bitten my toe before and sent his mother for stitches twice, bit Cobalt the other night. The dog was lying on Cobalt's bed and Cobalt went over and gave a pat and he put a whole in the kid's hand. Nothing bad, but there was blood and this is entirely unacceptable. This dog has a 4 month old baby at home, and once the kid get's into the discovery age...look out! I hope he doesn't lose any digits.

Dog B, whose only usual problem is pissing on furniture or the floor, has taken to eating the back door. Now that we have a yard, we've been putting the mutts in the back yard during the day with Teeva, so as not to cause any distress or destruction. Well, the door is fuct but fixable (I hope) and I've installed some gurads to hopefully prevent it from doing any more damage.

I fucking hate small dogs!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The next time we fly

I heard this story on Marketplace on the way home yesterday. It's a new seatbelt-type thing that just got approved by the FAA for flying with a toddler.

It looks just like a half-way normal seatbelt that converts the airplane lap-belt into a 5-point harness. It's just $74.95, which I find a little steap for what it is. But compared to lugging a carseat along, it's gotta be worth it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Keeping my youth

Another non-kid related post...

When I first moved to California, I really got into seeing live music again. For a while, I was going to 3-5 shows a week, probably. Well, after settling down and making Cobalt, that all came to a screeching halt. I didn't give it up for any other reasons except that I now had a family and enjoyed spending time with them, I am fucking tired at the end of the day and we are basically broke, or have very little expendible income these days.

So when I saw that Soul Asylum was playing again after Karl Mueller's death last year, I thought that this would be a good show to see. To top it off, Tommy Stinson (formerly of the Replacements and G'n'R) was playing bass on tour with them. How could I not go?

I won't say that I was disappointed. In fact, I thought they played quite well. Some of the new songs off their new album were good, and I thought one, in particular, sucked. They have more of a bluesy/bar-band feel and I'm not always into that stuff. They reached back a lot to Grave Dancers' Union, and played just the big two (cartoon and sometime...) from Hang Time, but nothing from ...and the horse... They were definitely into it, and after popping one of tommy's pills halfway through the show, Pirner was back to running around the stage like a maniac. Although the show seemed a bit short and I was kind of glad about it, I would have preferred a few more from the older library.

One funny thing was said by Dan Murphy that didn't quite make sense. I thought he said that back in the day, they used to play in gardens ant the this place was a dump. Don't know if I misheard him or if he was joking or if he was serious. Maybe it's just that there wasn't much of a fan-base there.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I rented the Showtime series, Weeds, from netflix last week, as it popped up as a recommendation and I'd seen some online ads for it. We popped it in on Friday night after we were disappointed with The Fantastic Four. We were so into it, even without smoking pot, that we ended up watching all 6 of the episodes on the first disk of season 1.

Each episode starts off with Malvina Reynolds singing the song "Little Boxes" over a visual of a typical SoCal suburban neighborhood, complete with every house, car, pet and person looking exactly the same. This exemplifies one of the problems I have with America at the moment. (Apparently, for season 2, the producers are getting different artists to perform the song every week. Elvis Costello and Death Cab for Cutie are the first two listed.)

So the show uses the scheme of a widower in this typical american suburb selling weed as a way to maintain her "lifestyle". It's a pretty good premise for a show, and the story lines expand way beyond the main premise, which, however, is always around in the background somehow.

The stories are good, the acting is good. I can't wait to get the next 6 episodes for another marathon session. Almost as good as the real thing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A kid was shot in our neighborhood the other day...

One of our young neighbors was shot and killed on Monday afternoon. He was 17 years old and about to start his senior year. Here's some links:, NOPNA blog.

It's sad for a number of reasons, and has gotten me to thinking a lot. Here are some of the lowlights of the situation:

  • It happened at or around the corner of Baker and Grove. This is about one block in each direction from our abode.
  • Pacific Primary is at that corner, and apparently, the shooting occurred right out in front. Something like 30 shots were fired, including some from his buddy running down the street towards the incident. Luckily, nobody else was hurt. This is where we are hoping to send Cobalt.
  • Aubrey lived in the neighborhood. I think it was just down the street on Grove accros from the fire station, but I'm not sure. I know that many times I've walked by and said hello to a group of young men hanging out in front. They always seemed polite.
  • As is the case with many crimes of this nature in this city, no witnesses are coming forward.
  • There are several pot clubs on or around divis, just a couple of blocks away. I don't think it's related in any way, but I do see young black men in fancy cars popping in to do some shopping, even though they sure don't look like they have a medical necessity for it.
  • There is also some kind of dealing that has gone on a few blocks down at central. I have not seen them there in the last couple of weeks, however. Again, not that there is anything wrong with it, but some of the traffic it brings is stereotypically comical.

I always feel safe in the neighborhood, even when walking late at night. I don't think that's gonna change any because of this, but I don't know if I can't help but be a little more wary about slow moving rides.

Monday, August 14, 2006

When did he become some cute?

The last couple of times at the playground, Cobalt has done some things, unprompted that he has never done before that just made my heart sink. I'm sure every parent has these moments, but they are just too cute to pass up writing about...

First, we always used to have to prompt him to climb the jungle gym and go down the slide. Now, the last couple of trips, he not only has gone willingly, but doesn't want to stop! He runs up the stairs as fast as he can, and decends the slide with a "weeee" every time. He also learned (but has since forgotten), that sand on a metal slide make it more slippery.

Second, we witnessed him playing catch with another kid yesterday. Kyle and I were sitting at the edge of the sand pit at the panhandle playground as we sat in wonderment at our son (the formerly non-inertactive playground kid) tossed a soccerball back and forth with another kid. We sat in total amazement and just put our arms around each other. We were like "is that our boy?"

And lastly, we've been trying to teach the boy to throw things in the trash. Every once in a while, while walking home from daycare, he decides he wants to pick something up that he finds on the sidewalk, e.g. bottlecap, cigarette butt, etc.) Last Friday, our friend Andrew graciously volunteered to take Cobalt off our hands so we could go see An Inconvenient Truth, a.k.a., the Al Gore movie (perhaps more on that later). Anyway, when we got home, Andrew told us a couple of things that happened at the playground. First, the kid was the last one standing (See first item above). Second he found a cigarette butt in the sand and Andrew told him to put it in the trash and he ran across the playground and stood on the fence to try to throw it in the trash bin. He missed, but wtf? He ran to throw out a butt? How cool is that?

And lastly...the other night we ran out of milk and I had to walk down to Ray's on Divis to get some. Mom was working around the house, so I decided to walk Cobalt with me, even though he was in his fleece sleeper. For the first time ever, he held my hand the whole way down. He never does that, and reluctantly holds my hand to cross the streets. The only time he paused was to say high to the folks at the dispensery. He must have caught the munchies after passing the pot club, because inside the store, he wanted some popcorn and it took him a while to decide which flavor to get.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Kyle and J spent last Saturday baking and assembling (respectively) the cake you see above. It was a surprise for Dera-Jill's birthday. The cake is a white cake with almond paste. Daquois (meringue) was used to give it some crispy. Marzapan was used to make the shapes. Homeade Raspberry sauce and almond-butter-cream frosting was used as the glue.

Kyle wanted to make an abstract representation of their house...
I think she did a pretty good job. It was quite fun, actually. Because of the rare warm summer in SF (see half-naked man to the right), she had to put the cake in the freezer to help the butter cream firm up.

We brought the cake over when Zach took D-J out to dinner, with her family from MA.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Better than the Flea Market

Ok, so we've been busy lately. Haven't even had time to blog. Is blog even a verb? Well, what have we been up to? Besides work and the "heat wave", we've been buying more stuff for the house.

Why do I care about shopping? And why should anyone else (not that anyone actually reads this)? Frankly, we've been getting some killer deals, thanks to craigslist, garage sales and friends. Here's the list for the last two weeks alone (est. retail in parenthesis):

1) Toddler Bed - $30($75) from craigslist.

Cobalt slept in his bed the very first night we put it up. At 32lbs and 36-1/2", he was getting a little big for crib. This is a very basic IKEA model, but hey, what the hell. It should be good for a year or two.

2) Bicycle Trailer for the little guy - $30($130) from craigslist.

I fixed Kyle's bike last fall, and cleaned mine up around Bastille Day (aka, Toby's Birthday). Now that we had working bikes, what would we do with the boy when we went for a ride? We decided to go with a trailer rather than the back seat, due to his extra-large size. This is about the bottom of the line (of the acceptable brands, anyway). It's better than the ones one can get at Target, Walmart or Costco, and not as good as the trailers at REI, for example. We've already gone on 4 rides: the first night was just around the panhandle, because we didn't have a helmet for him yet. After finding a helmet (and fighting with the little guy to try it on), we went for our first ride out to the ocean. This is a picture from that Sunday morning. Note that it was about 80 degrees at ocean beach. On 2 out of 3 trips to the beach so far, Cobalt has fallen asleep on the way back. So it can't be all that uncomfortable.

3) Picnic Table for the back yard - $100($200?) from garage sale down the street on the way to pick up Cobalt's helmet.

We were all set to build one of these puppies, and had been searching for old or extra decking wood on craigslist when we came across this just down the street. It was a no-brainer and a god-send. We broke it in with visits from those escaping the heat...Wei, Russ and Radlee up from San Jose on Saturday and Kyle, Rox, Zuby and Benny coming down from a scorching 112F in Ukiah on Sunday.

The table and chairs and in good shape. We cleaned them real well and just need to oil them.

4) Sideboard-type antiquey thing - FREE ($40-$400) from Kyle's co-worker, Lise (congrats on the new house!)

We got the best possible price on this lovely item...FREE. Lise just bought a house in Glen Park with her partner and decided that after 20 years (plus additional from her sister before her) or so that it was time to part with it. Not sure how to describe it, but we are using it as a sideboard. We now have the commode that came from vermont and this thing flanking the "fireplace". Much better than the stack of ikea cubes we had there before. I think we now have room for all of our linens and candles and then some. Of course, Kyle has already filled it up.

5) Futon, twin-bed size - $10 ($150?) from craigslist.

After my Parents come to visit in August, we will have a homestay student from China staying with us for a month. This will give us a little bit of added cash so we can keep Johnny and Cari for the dogs, while we try to save money for our housing default account, future repairs and Cobalt's college fund. Kyle has stayed at homestays in the past and has had several students stay with her back on Lyon street, one of which was partially responsible for Teeva's "nails" incident. Here's to hoping it doesn't happen again!

The picture above shows the futon in the living room, but we plan on putting it into the studio/office/junk room as soon as we get it cleaned up and painted. It's actually quite comfortable, and we like it wear it is. Maybe we'll replace the rocker that usually sits there.

It's funny, the night before I found this, I said to Kyle that I didn't think we were going to be able to find what we were looking for on craigslist, and might have to buy a new one or settle for a cheap twin bed that we could sell again after the homestay leaves. And what do you know, not an hour later this was posted and I picked it up on the way home from work (on a Sunday, yuk!).

I'm sure there'll be more to come and we'll keep you posted. Until then, happ shopping.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Grown' Grass, Pt. 2

IMG_1257 Kyle cuts the grass by hand Abby enjoying the freshly cut grass

Kyle's modest lawn is growing so well that it is now ready to be cut. So she bought some shears at Sloat and gave the grass a cutting.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Growin' Grass

Kyle's been working hard at getting the back yard together. The plants that we brought over from the inner sunset seem to enjoy the panhandle much better. The lemon tree has lots of buds, the rosemary and lavender are turning into bushes and the azalea is flourishing. Furthermore, we mounded and seeded the little area under the pine to grow some grass. Here are some before and after...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

I'm not going to write about father's day except to wish it to my father, for being there more than I thought. And also to thank Kyle, for doing a second coat and the accent on the kithen yesterday. Such an ipmrovement.

We rushed Cobalt to the emergency room the other night. He woke up coughing and sounding like choking. Kyle and I were watching a movie and well... when we heard him start to choke, Kyle freaked a little and put it into automatic. We were to Kaiser within 10 minutes of Cobalt waking up. I guess it's a good thing to have your hospital just up the street a few blocks.

As it turns out, he has a case of croup. Nothing serious, and probably not worth the trip to the emergency room, but that's ok. He's still barking and breathing.

Oh, and the grass is growing in the back yard. I'll have pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorable Day Weekend

Wow! What a weekend! Where to begin...

The weekend started out fabulously on Friday night. We had To Kill a Mockingbird at home from netflix and I fell asleep watching it. (I ended up finishing it on Saturday morning.) I had niether seen nor read the story before. I don't know how I could have gotten through jr high or high school without at least seeing it in some literature class. The characters are all fabulous: Atticus Finch(Gregory Peck), the single father of two and lawyer to those who cannot afford one. Scout and Jem, his two kids, ever so smart and yet quite innocent. Dill, their new friend who spends the summers with their neighbor, his aunt. (I think he must have been based on Truman Capote). And what a surprise Robert Duvall as the young, retarded Boo Radlee.

It's such a beautiful story of giving and acceptance and simplying doing what is "right". I find it amazing that it was written in the fifties, about a time in the thirties, and is still contemporary to this day, in 2006! Although the atmosphere is not the same today, and racicsm and classism are not as overt as they once were, but when you scratch the surface, its not hard to find it.

We also spent a lot of time working around the house, as well. J cleaned out the storage closet, again, made some terrifically awesome oatmeal cookies and prepared for a Saturday night picnic at the opera and a Sunday BBQ with the Connors. Meanwhile, Kyle worked her magic in the yard, pulling Jades, chopping the palm/yucca thing in the corner, and planting many of the plants that we used to have in pots on the porch of the old place in the inner sunset.

Saturday night, we went downtown to see Madame Butterfly. It was the first performance by the San Francisco Opera to ever be simulcast live. The projected the opera onto a big screen with terrific sound in the lawn out into the civic center plaza in front of City Hall (where we got married ;)) The performance was absolutely spectacular. Butterfly and Pinkerton meshed quite well together...their voices complemented each other beautifully. Furthermore, the image on the screen was crystal-clear, as was the sound. We packed another spectacular picnic of wine, cheese, salami and pasta salad, with strawberries for dessert.

When the sun went down over city hall, and the opera started, something or someone woke Cobalt up and he stayed up and stayed awake for the entire opera. We wondered to ourselves if it wasn't his grandmother, as Butterfly was one of her favorite roles. He only started to fade towards the end, during the musical portion of the night when Pinkerton returned and Butterfly waited up. At that point, daddy and he went over to play on the playground.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Last night, none of us could sleep very well. I think I was battling a cold. Kyle's been up to her ears in work and LEAP activities. And Cobalt, well, I think he's having growing pains! The poor kid is so big, and keeps on growing. He's been waking in the middle of the night crying, but not wanting to get up for anything. We've been bringing him to bed with us and that usually works.

Last night, however, mom started rubbing his legs and knees, and that was the only thing that calmed him down enough to go back to sleep. He's such a big softie. I hope he stays that way, well, maybe toughens up a little bit. After about fifteen minutes of Kyle working the legs and me on the arms, back and stomach, he finally went back to sleep.

On the other hand, the boy hasn't been doing the dookie much lately, and has been eating up a storm. So he might be slightly stopped up. It's really hard to say. I guess he could be using all his food for growth. But the farts that kid has are something else! Its almost as though he has a trumpet in his but.

Anyway, we did all finally get to sleep. I had strange dreams, including some that might indicate we have ghosts...good ghosts.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Cobalt is now over 18 months old and still not talking. Some days its a bit disturbing and disheartening; others, its just fine.
Yesterday was one of those days where I just wish he could talk. Mom was away at a retreat for the LEAP Board of Directors and I had Cobalt all to myself. Although he can communicate quite well, it would have been nice if he could actually tell me what he wants with WORDS! Instead, he would do things like run to the refrigerator, or point to the fruit basket, or scream his lungs out. After eating Mac 'n' Cheese for lunch, I thought he'd be ready for a nap. But after he asked to get out of his chair, he ran to the front door as if to say "take me to the playground". BTW, at the playground, the little guy climbed the ladder for the very first time!
What got me thinking about this was an article I heard on the radio on the way home from work on Friday. It was about how kids, er, infants, are being taught sign language between 7 and 12 months. I'd heard of this before, but have never thought much of it. The people running the program claim that children develop their vocabulary sooner and read earlier as a result of learning ASL. But then they had some parent commenting on how they now know when the kid wants milk because he makes the motion of milking a teet with his hands, and I thought "shit, Cobalt's been doing that since before he was one, what the fuck's the difference?"
To some extend, communication is communication no matter what form it takes. As long as we know what he wants, it just doesn't make a difference whether he's communicating in english, spanish, sign, german or whatever. He's still communicating, and that's what matters.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Black Jellybeans

Last night, we went to an opening for Julie's cousin, Teddy at the John Spence Gallery here in San Francisco.

Cobalt was fairly well behaved. He ran around a bit and liked one sculpture in particular, which was a square with a hole in the middle. He also got to run around with a little 19-month-old named Hugh. To quote Hugh's father, "We named him Hugh so he'd never sleep alone. But with a name like Cobalt, he'll never sleep alone, either."

In addition to having wine, water, pellegrino, etc for refreshments, the gallery also had a fishbowl of Jellybeans. And thanks to's easter gift this year, Cobalt loves jellybeans. After eating several, his hands became quite sticky. These must have been the Brach's brand, because they melted in hands. So in order to try to break his new-found addiction, Kyle decided to let him try a black one. Now personally, I don't like the black jellybeans as they taste like licrorice. The only person that I know that likes black jellybeans is my mom (a.k.a.,

Well, the little experiment didn't quite yield the results we expected. Cobalt actually couldn't decide if he liked it or not. Instead, he kept pulling the black jellybean in and out of his mouth. The dye in the jellybean was so strong, that for the rest of the night, his face and hands were stained black. If you were to see his hands afterwards, you'd swear he had been working on his car.

Click on the image for the complete flickr set.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Too much fun

Originally uploaded by 2Dogs&aBaby.
Cobalt decided today that he'd be super-cute. His mother was at a board of directors meeting, so dad had him all to himself. As usual, he did his eating and drinking as soon as he got home.
At some point in time, after he stopped feeding her, Cobalt wanted to just roll around with Teeva on the floor. This was the result.
I don't even think I need to add much to this post, but to say that I'm so happy that Cobalt has such wonderful dogs to grow up with: Abby the disciplinarian and Teeva the playmate.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


OK, well its not quite as dramatic as the tagline, but it's still one of the biggest days in my life. Today is our Second Anniversary (and for those of you keeping score, Cobalt is now 17 months old).
I still remember the night Kyle told me that we were pregnant...She was commuting to LA during the week for work, so I had just picked her up on a Friday night. As soon as we got back to my apartment she said, "J, I've got something to tell you...". Of course, the first thing that came to mind was that she found someone LA of all places.
Thank god I was wrong! She continued on with telling me that she, er we, were pregnant. For some reason, I think I knew this because on Valentine's day, I remembered having the distinct feeling that I just slipped one past the goalie (or in our case, we had no tender.)
So it was really a no-brainer that what followed was our getting married. Not just because of what would eventually become Cobalt, but that I did truly and deeply love her, and I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
We then decided that we would get married City Hall, so we applied for our license and set a date. We then realized that we needed rings, and found a good deal downtown on some platinum bands, and had them engraved with our date - 4-16-04, 2pm.

We ended up having a small ceremony, with guests including my mother and brother (dad had to be out of town on business and we didn't give him enough notice). Kyle's brother, Todd, sent a representative (friend that was going to be in SF anyway) along with a photoalbum and musicians. Also included were a few friends, photo-Glenn and Julie and Lisa C.
About a week before our appointment, we decided to have a little dinner celebration, too. We made a list of somewhere around 25 people, and then tried to figure out where to have it. Our first call, to Millennium, proved successful, as they had a room that accomodates up to around 30 people. Just as we were getting
ready to send out invites, we received an invite from lbs to celebrate her birthday on the same night. So after consulting with her, we argreed to meet at the Hemlock Tavern for her birthday, and bring everyone down the street for dinner.
It all worked out like a charm, many surprises, a full room, live musicians. We couldn't have planned a better wedding if we would have had a year, instead of a week. Our only regrets are that we couldn't have our entire families there, due to the short notice.

Friday, April 14, 2006

On Reading

Even though Cobalt isn't speaking yet, he sure seems to like his books. In fact, reading is one of his favorite things. I got to thinking that one of the reasons is that we no longer have a TV (well, at least it hasn't been hooked up since the World Series and I have it listed to sell on craigslist.)
Then, I saw this post today by Dutch about how he's gets so much shit for expressing his opinion about moderation and TV viewing. So I thought I'd go a little deeper about it here.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, in a good Lutheran household. We had the TV on from the moment we got home from school until the last person went to bed. In fact, I had a 12" black and white in my room, and would stay up to watch Letterman and endless hours of M*A*S*H every night. This continued through college. Although my father was an educator, I can't remember ever reading anything for pleasure. Just the thought of reading for pleasure was such a joke. So anyway, I'm a bit bitter about it, and have been for some time now.

Along with improving my reading skills when I got older, I also had to work on my conversational tactics. With the TV on all the time, it was rare that we got past "how's your day, dear?" I don't blame TV or my parents necessarily for that one, but I'm sure it didn't help. I feel that that is more the result of self-esteem issues than anything else.

I regret that I was never pushed to explore a creative side. Now, maybe I'm just not as creative as I'd like to be, I don't know. Afterall, I was given some opportunities, like being enrolled in a Talented and Gifted program between 8th grade and high school, but never really pushed to take advantage of it or explore it. I'm sure part of the blame rests on me, and probably more blame goes to my older brother and his influence on me.

So anyway, I'm hoping that by minimizing his exposure to television, and giving him time, patience and opportunities to explore creative paths, Cobalt will come to realize that there is more out there than just what is considered normal, standard, in the box or whatever the hell you want to call it.

Bring on the Sun

Yesterday, we finally had a nice day, including a long-awaited revisit by the sun. In fact, I wore a sweater to work and was actually sweating!

One of the reasons we settled in San Francisco was the weather. I love it here. Sure there is that rumored quote from Mark Twain about "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Twain may not have said this, but if you ever have to go up onto Alamo Square at around 3-6 in the evening in the summer time, you'll know exactly what this quote refers to. The wind as virtually a straight shot of Golden Gate Park right through to the Hill, where it slams against the western slope.

Last night, however, when we walked up the hill with the boy and the girls, the wind was calm and the sun was shining. And this morning, when I brought the girls out at's like heaven: the full(ish) moon was setting, large, in the west, while the sun was giving first light in the east. Mornings such as these are better than coffee. The feeling I get when walking the dogs through the quiet park is so exhilarating and zen-like. I feel sorry for Kyle for not being able to wake up in the mornings to enjoy such moments.

So last night, we're up in the park, letting Cobalt walk around a bit. He discovered the shoe garden behind the gardner's shack and found in enthralling and engaging. He found some little stones up the path and brought them over to plant them in front of Mr & Mrs Snowperson. He also tried to pull some of the shoes off their perches, but found them to be screwed down. He loved the little garden so much, that he didn't even want to leave it to go to the playground. And when we went back by (to look for Kyle's watch, which I think we finally lost for good this time), he kept wanting to go up the path to the shack. At last we had to put him back in his stroller to get him out of there and go to bed.

San Francisco, Postcard Style
Originally uploaded by vonvonvon.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Ok, so I wasn't really on Sabbatical, as that seems to last officially for one year. But nonetheless, I've been AWOL since we went to Kauai. So here's what's been going on...

Kauai was absolutely gorgeous. We even had sun on the day we arrived and the day we returned. It rained all the days in-between. We were apparently lucky, however, because two weeks after we were there, a damn broke and the flood apparently took out some roads, homes, and a couple of people, including a 22 year-old woman from Washington state there for her wedding.

We could have been seriously hurt by the rains, as we all do things that are a little dumb. Take, for instance, the day my camera got flooded. We wanted to hike the powerline trail one day, even though it was just drizzling where we were staying. There are two parking lots, separated by a bridge going over a small stream. When we started our trip, the bridge was dry. We hiked for a couple of hours, had a nice picnic in the rain and then went back down the hill. Along the way, I took some ok photographs, but as I mentioned above, that was the death of my camera. When we got back to the bottom of the trail, there were a couple of SUV's on the trail-side of the bridge, with people in them, just hanging out.

As we approached the bridge, we noticed that water was flowing over it. Since I noticed that there was a big pothole right in the middle of the bridge when we came over in the morning, I figured we'd be safe if we just avoided the hazard. Of course, the water was so deep, up to our knees in places, and flowing at quite a good clip, so it was hard enough just to walk, especially with cobalt in a backpack on my back! In retrospect, it was probably stupid for us to cross. But at that time, we needed to get into something warm and dry.

So we waded back across, slowly, to the other side and returned safely. After we got to the car, a rather large 4x4 came barreling through with a group of pre-teens in the bed, having a blast on someone's birthday. Apparently, the driver worked there and was experienced in this kind of flooding. A little later, a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 barely made it through, returning from boar-hunting.

The rest of the trip was spent hiking, snorkeling and overall trying to avoid the rain. We finally caught a little bit of sun on our last day as we made our way to the western-most part of the island to queen's pond beach. The road was so bad that we had to ditch the car and hike in to the beach. On the way back, Cobalt got his first taste of hitch-hiking. Well, we didn't exactly hitch, as some good folks stopped and offered us a ride. And since they could only take us half-way back, as they were headed out another road than our car was on, we no sooner got out of their convertible when an SUV stopped and delivered us to our car. Thank you good folks from Michigan and Seattle!

BTW, writing this several weeks afterwards, I realize that my memory isn't as good as it used to be (or should be, rather) and that if I don't write here more often I'll just let it go away, which I'd prefer not to do. So here's to updating my blog more often...CHEERS!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Getting Baked

So I haven't smoked pot in a while. Decided not to after we ran out the last time.

Anyway, that's really off-topic as this post is about baking. I don't know if anyone is reading this, but if you are, you may have noticed that on Valentine's day, I posted about making an upside-down cake. Since then, I've done some of my best baking ever!

Now, I'm not really a baker per-se, I just enjoy spending time in the kitchen. I've always been a much better cook than baker, but recently, have started baking again more. This is especially true since we moved into our new flat that came with a new kitchen. You see, the oven has a thermocouple in it that actually reads the temperature inside. I don't know how accurate it actually is, but it makes one feel alot better. Especially after having a tiny oven/stove at our old apartment.

But since I've been out of work, I've had more time to patiently bake some goodies. Just this week I made an excellent batch of Country Bread on Thursday and some fabulous Banana Bread on Friday. Both were probably the best that I've made in a long time.

PS...according to Kyle, they taste even better than they look.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


In celebration of the job and daycare searches ending, we decided to go to Hawaii for a week or so. More specifically, we are going to Kauai.

Yes, the job search is over. I'm sitting on two offers right now, both are good, but both are in the South Bay. Oh well, I guess I will have about an hour commute for either one. It might be slightly shorter if I can manage to drag my ass out of bed and get to work by 7am. That way, I get to (hopefully) beat most traffic.

It seems it all will work out in the end, because I will end up gettting a raise, getting unemployment for six weeks, and I'll be going back to work in about half the time that the severance from the last place will cover. The job may not be all that glamorous, only time will tell on that front, but the place has potential, and I'll be the one trying to turn that potential into something kinetic.

Back to it turns out, this trip should be relatively budget-friendly. We got a good deal on the flights, with a short stop in Honolulu. We are getting a car for the week at a reasonable rate. I wanted to get a convertible, but Kyle thought it might be better for Cobalt if we had a solid roof. We are also getting four nights in a friend's time-share for a song! All we have to do is find a place for the first couple and last couple of nights. And with it being the off-season, that shouldn't be much of an issue. We'll see when we get there.

Neither of us have been to Hawaii, so we are not sure what to expect. We do expect, however, to relax and have a good time. We'll try to both hit the beaches and do a few hikes. I'm sure we'll run into both sun and rain on the island, as well. So it looks like we'll pack light, with raingear. We went to REI last weekend and picked up a slicker for the boy. A nice, bright, lime-green one from Sierra Designs. Now if we can just remember to bring it...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St. Valentine's Day

So yesterday was valentine's of those days that Hallmark has made important to all female Americans, and possible those of the entire developed world. So us of the male gender feel that we have to acquiesce, and try our best to make the best of that day. This year, since I was fortunate enough to be home with the boy, I decided to surprise his mother by showing up at her work. Unfortunately, right before she left for work in the morning, she asked, "why don't you guys come down and have lunch with me today?" Nonetheless, I said we were planning on surprising you by doing that, and now I just don't know if we can. But we did anyway...

We walked from home up and down to the financial district, seeing the sights along the way. We walked through the area of Market Street I sometimes call the zoo, because there are so many different types of animals there, you never know what you might see. Besides, I'm not a big fan of zoos, mainly because of the funny feeling I get seeing "wild" animals caged up for my pleasure. I know that some of them are better off, and they are such beautiful creatures, but I also feel bad. I guess I'll post more on this when I actually take the boy to a zoo. On our trip from City Hall down to Montgomery Street, we got to see all types of losers, junkies, freaks, schizophrenics and the like. All the time warning Cobalt that if he grows up to hang out down here...

Anyway, we brought mom some flowers and a gift certificate to get her nails done and more. Since it was so nice outside, we all decided to get some deli sandwiches and sit out down by the ferry building.
Afterwards, we came home to make dinner. Since we walked both there and back, we decided that our time was better spent making a delightful desert, and for dinner we'd just make what we were going to make the day before. We attempted to make an upside down cake, since we had some kiwis and apples in the fridge. Now remember, not only have I never made an upside down cake before, but I don't think I've even ever had one either. Seeing as how we didn't have any eggs in the house, and we were beat from all the walking, we decided to combine for the fruit courtesy of Alice Waters, and one for the cake, from Millenium. Well, I think it looked a little better than it tasted, as it seemed a bit underdone in the middle, but all in all, it turned out a success.

Even Cobalt loved it...

afterall, he was conceived on this day two years ago.

Friday, February 10, 2006

History of J, part I

So here you are...welcome...I don't actually know if anyone will read this, but then again, there are a lot of lonely people out there, right?

I'm J and this is 2DogsAndaBaby. I also have a wife, but the title doesn't flow as well with her in it. I've been a lurker and rare commenter for some time, mostly on "daddyblogs" and haven't found the time to start my own...until now.

I was laid off a couple of weeks ago, on my birthday of all days. Not only that, but my folks were coming to town that weekend, and with my brother being out of work for the last year-and-a-half, I thought it'd be best not to tell them. Talk about see, for the last 6 months or so, I'd known that my job would go away, so I tried to prepare them (and me) for that, by dropping hints like "you know, I could loose my job one of these days...the boss keeps saying how he'd like to bring his own people into the company". But that doesn't work with those midwestern roots, who just respond with "well you better keep your job, you know the market's tough". Ahem, I already have an offer, and another interview next week with an inevitable offer to follow. Besides, it's not like I'm wasting away doing lines all the time.

So on top of losing my job, we just bought a flat. Well, we bought more than a flat, we went in on what's known as a TIC here in SF. In other words, we have ownership in 1/3 of a 3-unit building. So far, it's worked out ok. It's back in the 'hood where the wife and I met, and just down the street from where Cobalt was conceived.

Anyway, here I am, the boy is taking a nap, and I thought I'd start this blog. Hopefully I'll keep it going...we'll have to wait and see.