Valerie and Scarf

Scarf is a cool one Deb made, experimenting, that ended up as basically a kid toy. Val is a natural superstar.



This is a picture of Henry on my shoulders at the mall after we’d both gotten haircuts. Deb took it with her phone. Not bad, eh? Love how the hair doesn’t look that good once it’s had a chance to be mussed after leaving the barber. The piggybacking didn’t last more than a few steps because of the silly back. You can see he looks more like Deb than me, more than people usually note when they see him.


Henry on Dad

This is from the set of pictures downloaded off the camera on February 3rd, which means it was taken sometime between then and January 5th, date of the prior download. I’d lost most of the weigh, but not what I added to the tally in this last burst. It documents my role as his favorite place to sleep.


Artist At Work

I have piles of Sadie’s drawings waiting to be scanned and/or stored better. She’s amazing.


Henry and His First Haircut

Wednesday we took Henry for his first haircut, as I needed one sufficiently and he really needed one, more than these pictures make obvious. Back when we were going to trim it the first time, I knew the first cut would be free, Deb thought it was a significant ritual worth waiting for, and I had enough history with home haircuts that we decided to do that. I spent most of my childhood with absolutely awful home haircuts to save money. I saw my nephews get nothing but home haircuts and that being the subject of much amusement. Not that it’s wrong to trim his hair ourselves, but it’s a loaded thing for me, and a good cut from a pro starts you with a basis to make it come out better in between times. We lucked out, getting there with almost nobody in the place ahead of us, and Henry’s tears notwithstanding, had a fun day, following it with a walk around the mall to fight youthful stir crazy.

Anyway, here are two before pics, three during pics, and three after pics.



This was about a month ago, at her birthday.


Me Before Haircut

We didn’t get a picture of me after the haircut as I’d planned, except possible on Deb’s phone, but I thought I’d post the before ones anyway. You may be able to see how thin I’ve gotten, not that I post a lot of pictures, but some readers have seen me in person as well. The shirt is one of the less baggy of what are now tents on me – it was a tighter fit than it ought have been for its size. In the second one, she had described how goofy I looked when I squinched my face in anticipation of the photo, and hand over mouth was my reaction. The second one also serves as an additional pre-haircut picture of Henry. Who is, come to think of it, 19 months old today.



We are planning to take Henry for his first haircut, same time as I get mine cut. He needs it bad. I kind of need it. Mine is in that stage where if it’s washed, brushed into place, allowed to dry, and doesn’t get mussed, it looks especially good but is about not to. I always assume people think I am fat and hopelessly ugly, but even I can sometimes see when… not so much. The other day I was out and in peak appearance, plus for some reason feeling excellent and confident entirely at odds with circumstances. Caught a cashier spontaneously reacting to me when she saw me. Not like that never happens, but for some reason I am impossible to convince. It’s as if everyone has to be impressed always, or I take any who aren’t as gospel. That left me pondering for the next day. Or more, since apparently I remain ponderous. At least in the volume of words I produce about it when it’s not necessarily the topic at hand.

Anyway, it’s time. He looks like a budding rock star, in addition to action like the kid who’ll want a guitar when he is four. I am right at the correct point without going much, if any, over.

It’s Deb’s day off that we generally designate as my day for whatever I want, and in that sense I made no plans. However, it enables everyone to go, so the kids all get an outing and there is someone to occupy/watch Henry while I am in the chair. She gets to experience the first haircut that way.

Also easier for getting pictures, which we’ll try to do. Since that is the case, I’m going to try to get some of me. Intentionally! Before and after. Recently realized lack of recent good pictures of me, or any, and I am down 75 lbs, to 233, with my only remaining goal being to get into the 220s and never to rise above the 230s again. Let alone pics good for a head shot/avatar or an informal portrait. I don’t have a way to show what I currently look like. As much as I hate pics of myself, I’d like to change that.

And it’s late and I need more coffee but have barely time to get dressed and leave dammit! Guess it’s post and off to the package mines for me.

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American Idol Blogging (and way too much else)

Let’s see if I can sneak in a quick post around my daycare duties. They (and by “they” I mean Henry) tend to know the difference between my fingers hitting the keys for anything substantive and not, so I can type a tweet or something like a Google query or URL, but not a post or e-mail. Haven’t tried the in-between of writing or revising a resume or LinkedIn desriptions lately, but they fall more to the substantive if only in terms of concentration and here he comes, like clockwork. Well yay, he… nope, he started walking off until I started typing again. Okay, he left. And Val drew him back. Score! He couldn’t get to my lap so he gave up. Go me!

You will have noticed a distinct lack of American Idol blogging. Or other TV blogging. I mean, ignoring for a moment the limited blogging generally, which is a combination if things, partially overlapping, which see a subsequent post, if not a full explanation therein.

Sadly, for the moment we have settled into a reasonable combination of Deb working 2:00 to 11:00 PM, while I work out of the house 3:45 AM until somewhere between 6:30 and 8:00 AM, normally to just after 7:00 AM. Her 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM shift didn’t work well, though it could have if I’d set a strict bedtime for me and the kids of 7:30, and not worried as much about her getting supper of whatever we’d had not long after we’d eaten, or making her something when she arrived. In the last few months I struggled with being boxed into the role and slipped a bit, but generally I take the “feed everyone” job seriously. (On that note, Sadie says “more apple!!!” and I am called away…)

Where was I?

Right. I don’t know how I was doing the “FredCo” job well enough to be retained as permanent, because I almost never got enough sleep the whole time, and I sleepwalked through every day between shifts, which come to think of it may not have helped my enthusiasm for my domestic duties. Oddly, though, I had faith I would become perm, while Deb wasn’t so sure I’d even last the seasonal stretch. Doesn’t take so much: Don’t let anything stop me from going to work, focus, do the job well, be inexorable, try not to get so hurt I have to stop. The new policy is get to bed as early as possible and even if it were tempting to wait up for Deb, 11:30 PM would be out of the question. It means easier to have a routine that gets us there, with flexibility the 7:30 thing would not have afforded. So the target bedtime is 8:00 PM, but if it takes until 9:30 sometimes, oh well. If we are asleep at 8:30, that lets me sleep potentially as long as 6.5 hours, which is amazing. I was routinely getting 4 and under. If I got more, it was by Deb being the evening parent and the morning parent. She routinely got too little sleep, and had less time for herself than needed, let alone customary from before I had even a job tucked into a theoretically out of the way, brief time slot. Interstitial employment?

(Pause to peel another apple because Sadie wanted more. Apparently the Pink Ladies are a huge hit.)

(And he is on my lap.)

(And saved by Val needing to be wiped.)

(And finally closed door to try to finish this quick, since my solution of doing dishes to feel unencumbered went far worse than this did, with two of them mothing me.)

Now where was I?

I go to bed before Idol, and Deb works during Idol. Part of the charm was watching together. We also are too busy to tape and watch. Thus I have been catching highlights via Rickey, except for having caught bits of some of the audition rounds. I have some idea who is participating and how the competition stacks up, know some of the drama, know details of how they’ve changed things this year, and so forth, but the viewing experience? Not getting that this time.

Not to mention the TV problem

(Sadie pounded on door to roust me because Henry changed the channel and messed it up. He will not learn not to do that.)

Not to mention the TV problems we have had, which I troubleshot yesterday, resulting in a revelation as well as the expected.

The signal comes through rabbit ears, and through the miracle of cables and splitters we could record something on the VCR on one channel while watching another channel, or watch a tape. The DVD player hooked directly into the requisite red, white and yellow jacks, rather than the antenna jack.

It barfed a couple months or so back. Ended up having to feed antenna to VCR and VCR to TV using DVD cables, or leave the DVD cables on the DVD player. Switching between them had to be a physical act of moving cables, so it was a big deal to watch TV as it happened, or to tape it, which couldn’t be done while watching a DVD anymore. If the kids picked something we had on tape, like Mary Poppins, we’d make a proverbial day of it and watch multiple tapes, maximizing the benefit of the cable swap.

I’d meant to try the “old” TV, which is the newer TV, which is smaller, else there’d have been no reason to switch to the other.

(They just busted into my locked door. So Val could ask for help with one of her new belts she got for her birthday. Then succeeded herself. Then left him in with me, closing the door behind her, Go Valerie.)

It was fairly apparent that the antenna jack on the big TV was more or less fried, but that wasn’t beyond all doubt.

(Pause to let Henry out and stuff.)

Thus the desire to test, if not automatically, definitely switch.

I confirmed the diagnosis, leaving us a good working kind of small TV that can be used as we used to, and a bigger, older TV that isn’t good for much besides hooking to a DVD player. Which might be viable if and when it could go in a separate room for the kids, or if one of us had space and preference for it versus the fact we can watch DVD on our computers (or will be able to, in Deb’s case, once I put in the drive that I ordered), and versus the watching of Hulu that can and does happen on our computers.

Having started on the course of not being able to watch AI this season, I can’t see us suddenly starting to tape it, but at least now we could.

Except… we can’t. Not yet.

You know how Obama has an advisor on such matters who worked for a company that benefits from a delay in the switch to HD, so mysteriously a delay has in fact been invoked? That was not enough to stop Fox. Home of American Idol.

In my A/V geeking yesterday, I found that

(Pause to wipe Sadie and hand out snacks to the bottomless children and be amused at Sadie’s declaration she didn’t want to miss much of the show she was watching, ‘I’m watching PBS Kids!”)

I found that channel 64 was on an endless loop announcing you were not seeing their programming because they had switched, so get off your asses and get a converter if you don’t have cable or a new set, here’s how. That’s Fox in Providence. Channel 25 was gone entirely. That’s Fox in Boston. It’s a tossup which will come in better for us, so normally we’d watch whichever was clearer that day. Not that Fox was alone, since it appeared channels 10 and 12 were gone as well, essentially eliminating commercial network television as an option for us.

So much for the delay.

And TV watchers or not, HD transition delay or not, the coupons for $40 of a $48 converter box expire, so I will need to get one or two sooner rather than later. For an extra $8 I’m inclined to get a spare, just in case we use a second TV or one dies or whatever.

In long, that, folks, is why you have not been and probably will not be seeing breathless commentary here about American Idol this season. Maybe sometime in the season we will manage, or I will manage, to do some actual watching of it, live or taped. The “FredCo” job can’t be forever, if you ask me, just because it’s too little to be so much of what I rely on, and it’s too physically demanding. The trouble is that I have to transition to work that pays so well that daycare is not an issue, or that is “work” not a “job” and can actually fit in with the kids and dishes and stuff, either being relatively interruptable, or doable during time Deb can and will cover me as if I had left the house and was no more available than I am now Tuesday through Saturday mornings 3:30 to generally about 7:30. I’ve been interested in working from home at times in order to be available to help, but mostly that just doesn’t work. A couple of saving factors are that we live in a 24 hour, 7 day world, and that we won’t necessarily overlap hours entirely for the foreseeable future, even if I extricate myself from domestic box into corporate cubicle.

Now. I have another post in mind for here, and maybe I can put that forth today, but also I have a post I started last week, elsewhere, directly relevant to getting work, potentially to be seen by tens of thousands of people, potentially meme-setting in scope. But at least self-motivational and all that. I was white-hot inspired and then wasn’t able to work on it and lost the feel, but at least it can be done enough without the heat, so long as there’s time and permission to actually work on it.

Money Pictures


Speaking of money, and related to the lack of pictures lately (notwithstanding the Christmas backlog), our camera is dying. It’s been fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Kodak. In fact, I will go out of my way to buy another Kodak like it.

However, until we do, there’s not much photography happening around here. A couple weeks ago we found there’d been basically no pics taken of the kids for a month, because the camera is so balky.


Upside-Down World

Humor Job Hunting Kids Medical Money Pictures Totally Random

Curls Galore

Speaking of Valerie’s hair, we trimmed it for the first time the other day. No pics yet, but it came out fantastic. And speaking of pics, I still need to create an online card from. well, less to work with than I’d like. On the plus side, it’s not limited to the size that will look good and fit on a printed version. And speaking of limited funds, I need to get a job that doesn’t result in a new bruise – mystery or otherwise – or other injury each day, and that doesn’t pack a full day or two of physical effort into 4 hours.

Food & Cooking Pictures

Beef Stew



This ended badly for Sadie. Valerie is more than capable of beating the crap out of her bigger sister if she gets riled. Not to mention having possibly the sternest schoolmarm look and command voice I’ve encountered.

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I have a list of about 140 or so people to send our now traditional Christmas cards to this year, including the addition of a lot of people who generously helped us out, by way of thanks.

We ordinarily get picture cards printed, featuring the kids, which is a challenge. I mean, three of them, together, looking at the camera, perhaps smiling at the same time? It’s not pretty. I don’t really have one I’m happy with yet, though one is close, except for being too dark without adjusting it.

Well, that’s almost $60 in postage and almost $50 in printed cards. I expect that to be enough to cover stuff needed for the Buick. Or it covers the preliminary look see at the truck, which will then tell us what we have to raise to get the check engine light off and the poor thing sounding better.


This will be the year without a picture card, or not many of them. and without a snailmailed card, or not many of them. There are some pretty decent cards we have left from years past, of the traditional variety. But then, it’s getting late even to send them. I keep forgetting Christmas is here already. Ten days? That’s nothing.


Look for no card in the mail, most of you who might normally get one, and instead I will attempt to post the card/picture we would have used in a special location I will disclose to those on the card list I can e-mail or give the info in a traditional card. Stay tuned, if that’s you.

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The OTHER Hero of Canton



Art Kids

Sadie Art: Bunny People

This was done in crayon, in a light color, but I resisted the urge to enhance or darken it. It’s one of her typical family of five drawings, but with bunny ears. This predates the miniature ink drawings I posted recently by a fair amount, while still being relatively recent. Instead of retouching, I include here a closer in image of the parental bunnies to make the best part of the picture easier to see.