April 29, 2005

Garden Planning

It's been in family talks for a while, ever since we moved here actually, that we'd like to have some kind of a garden. The back yard is big enough to do it, and there aren't any trees or rocks to get in the way, so it's really a pretty good setting for a garden. Time, that dreaded beast, is what has held us back so far.

Hopefully having me home full time can remedy that, as we're planning on having a garden this year. I'm gonna start small, so we won't have a ton of food (which is okay, really), but we'll get a chance to see how much gardening we can handle.

Here's our list, which will be cut down due to space:

Watermelon - needs lots of space
Sunflowers - they're just cool
Pumpkin - lots of space
Potatoes - a family favorite
Carrots - little space
Broccoli - ick (but Marion and Keleigh like it)
Tomatoes - only need one plant because they produce so much
Corn - gotta have corn on the cob
Cantelope - another space monster
Strawberries - yumtastic
Lettuce - easy to grow, or so I hear

I was thinking that we might be able to put one of the viney plants over in a corner, a bit away from the main garden (to give it space), and maybe it'll grow all crazy up the fence. I'll have to ask our neighbors if they mind having a melon plant on the fence. Although...melons can get heavy, if the fruit is hanging off the fence it might not be able to grow big enough before the weight pulls it off.

See, lots of decisions. I have until mid-May before things really have to get going though, as that's when the expected 'last frost' is. I need to get a soil test, and get the garden planned and dug before then though. Maybe I can enlist the help of a Master Gardener...which I believe my mom is.

April 27, 2005

Songwriting Homework

When you get the chance to get unofficial songwriting lessons from someone that's written a song for an album that went gold (for free), you better pay attention. I mean, seriously, there aren't many people that have won a Grammy that also happen to have sung at your wedding, so when you get that chance, make sure you get the most out of it.

Miguel, the aforementioned songwriter, played a couple of songs for me that he's written lately, and they're good. It's strange for me to see someone older than me play the guitar, just because I don't know anyone else that does. It's reassuring though, to know that he and I write our songs through basicly the same process. There's nothing wrong with the way I go about writing songs, it's just that I need more practice, and more training.

So Miguel has given me some homework. I need to write a 'question and answer' melody. I can't really explain what that is without singing, so you'll have to wait until I get something recorded, but I have some ideas. Now, melody has been a sticking point in my songs so far, so this could be tricky for me, but I think that I'll be able to put something together.

He also suggested that I listen to All My Loving, by the Beatles, and Rosalita's Eyes, by Billy Joel as examples of excellent question and answer melody writing. So I'll get on that, and move forward on my quest to become a better songwriter.

April 26, 2005

10,000

OpenAppleDumb.com has been around for over two years now. I don't actually remember the date of the first post, and it's long since been deleted, but I do know that it was somewhere in early-to-mid April of 2003, shortly after I got the job at the University.

It all started with just a couple people visiting per day, and it's grown to the giant media-conglomerate that you know today. People all around the world are drinking OpenAppleDumb cola, they're watching OAD-TV, Anchorage's football and baseball teams play in the OpenAppleDome, and I'm sure you rememeber our commercial during this year's Superbowl (the one without the monkies).

And today is likely to be the day that OpenAppleDumb has it's 10,000th visit. So if we estimate that this blog has been around for two years (365 days * 2 years = 730 days), that's an average of 13.7 visits per day. That means that there's a good group of you that have decided to make this blog part of your day, and I really appreciate that. It's certainly part of my life, so I'm glad that you've found it interesting enough to hang around.

We've been through four format changes (the bland original page, the computer screen apple, the house front apple, and now this), the birth of my daughter, the rebirth of the Naughty Frogs, my switch to being a full-time dad, and a lot of daily rambling. I've had a great time, and I hope you've laughed at least once.

Let's all break out our sippy-cups and have a toast to 10,000 more visits! (Which should happen in about one year this time, based on current visit rates, pretty exciting, eh?)

April 22, 2005

Need More Funny

I seem to recall that I used to write posts that I thought were funny. I don't feel like I'm doing that anymore. Have I lost my touch, have I lost my way, have I lost my funny? Now, let me remind you that I said that -I- thought they were funny, that dosen't necessarily mean that you thought they were funny, as it appears that I have a different idea of what 'funny' really is. So, maybe you never thought I was posting anything funny.

So, I'm gonna throw in some comic relief, somehow. Once I get the juices flowing.

Yep.

Gonna be funny now.

Any time now.

[pause]

Hmmm.

Well, maybe next time?

For now, know that all is going well, and things are getting back on track. The family is healthy, and sleep is returning to my world. I'm a big fan of the sunny weather too, so that's helping a lot. The Naughty Frogs are planning on practicing tomorrow morning, Marion's four upper teeth are becoming a real part of her image, and the cats are still playing like they've been best friends forever.

April 20, 2005

Impressive Compulsive

I took the chance to go out to the garage while Marion was napping (she's actually still napping) to check and see if I could figure out how to get a part off the Probe that I've been trying to figure out for a while. I did this today because I got the replacement part in the mail, so I figured that I could figure out what I was missing from the new part.

I quickly found the hidden bolt, and took it off, with the tensioner assembly falling to the floor. "Excellent," I thought, "A job well done." But then, because I couldn't resist, I started to put the new one on.

Now, I expected Marion to sleep about 40 minutes, and I knew that I wasn't going to get much done, but as it turned out, Marion decided to sleep a long time. She's still asleep. She's been asleep for more than two hours now, when her normal afternoon nap is anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes. She didn't sleep well last night (went to bed late and got up early, silly girl), but I certainly didn't expect this.

With that bit of work done, I can move on to putting the belt on (note to self: there's a pully that needs to go back on too, it's sitting under the car), and once I get that done, the car is only one step away from being on the road again. All that will remain to be done is to get a new clamp for the CV boot on the driver side, and then finish putting on the boots.

Yeah, it's the coolest thing ever, and Marion made it possible. She must be excited about the Probe getting back on the road. It's no fun to see her Momma driving down the road in the ugly Saturn, her Momma needs a shiny sporty car.

Vrooom!

April 19, 2005

AIr Conditioning

I feel like it's official now. I mean, once you use the air conditioner it's no longer winter, right? It was getting up around 80 degrees in our bedroom last night, and I didn't want Marion to get too hot, so we cranked up the old air conditioner, and that cooled things down pretty quickly. I'm glad it still works.

It's not going to snow, right? I mean, I know that I live in Michigan, and with that, all things are possible, but...seriously, I don't have to worry about salting the driveway anymore do I?

My neighbors put up one of those all-in-one pools. The crazy lawn guy across the street has already mowed his less-than-green lawn. I'm thinking about landscaping (thinking, but unlikely to be actually doing).

It's not winter.

Sick Lee Update

Well, it appears that everyone that we've touched since we were sick has now been ill. So, my advice to you fine reader, is to stay away. We've struck three people down with the nasty, and I don't want you to be next.

I plan on staying away from people until Wednesday night, as I have to pick up Keleigh's parents from the airport, so hopefully that'll be enough time to kill off whatever it is that we're passing on.

April 18, 2005

Sickly Weekend

Marion started vomiting at 5pm on Friday, and was sick until about 11pm that night. It was scary, because we've never had to deal with her being that sick before. She fell asleep in between bouts of vomiting, and we tried to keep her hydrated, but it was a tough night. We figured that it was some kind of food poisoning, as it was over so quickly, and she didn't really seem to be sick in any way other than the vomiting.

Then on Saturday evening I started to vomit, which wasn't fun for anyone as we were in the car at the time. I had a fun time getting rid of everything in my stomach for a couple of hours, and then I switched over to having a fever of around 100.5 degrees. Keleigh was taking care of me, so it wasn't too bad, but I was feeling pretty terrible.

And, to complete the tri-fecta, Keleigh got sick at 1:30 am on Sunday morning. As I was already sick, I couldn't do much for her, and we just tried to make it through the night. Marion slept rather well, which was helpful, although she woke up earlier than we had hoped and I took her out to play. I was feeling better, so I thought it would be okay.

It wasn't terrible, but I wasn't really feeling good enough to follow her around and really be an active parent. I went back to Keleigh after a little and we recruited her sister (Jaime) to play with Marion. This was a -huge- help, as Marion was bored with her slow moving parents.

My fever broke at about 2pm on Sunday, and Keleigh's sickly-ness stuck around until somewhere through the night on Sunday. So, Marion definately was the quickest in-and-out of this intestinal illness, proving that children are just about invincible.

So, we start Monday with a messy house, and with no one feeling their best. Hopefully today will bring us some sunshine and good feelings.

April 14, 2005

Big Bran

On occasion, I purchase Raisin Bran, because I like the yummy combo of raisins and bran flakes. I never remember if I like Post or Kellogs better ("Do I like the two-scoops one, or not?"), so I just buy whatever is on sale.

Today, as I poured the first bowl of my Kellogs Raisin Bran, I noticed the largest bran flake that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of bran flakes, let me tell you.



I'm thinking of having it bronzed, or maybe sending it to NASA so they can send it into space as a representative of our superior bran quality.

April 12, 2005

Grand Adventure

Today, my daughter and I are taking a trip down to Toledo to visit WGTE (the radio station that I worked at from 2000-2003) and Miguel (our songwriter/producer friend). I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the people at WGTE, as I haven't seen most of them in over two years and I do have ... [sorry, had to pause to get the oat cereal away from crazy Nora cat, she doesn't seem to realize that the little oat circles belong to Marion, not the kitties] ... Um ... Ah, yes, and I do have some good friends there still, although most of the people that I really liked have moved on.

And it'll be nice to see Miguel. While we did see him on Sunday, it wasn't really much of a visit, because he was hosting the party and doing all sorts of party-host things. Today we'll get to see his studio, and really get to spend some time there. I'm bringing my guitar and a couple of song ideas. Miguel suggested that we could work on writing some children's music together, which would be quite cool. I'd certainly be excited to work with him on just about any songwriting project, as it means that I'll get to learn a lot.

The drive to Toledo also means two hours in the car, which Marion still isn't entirely fond of, but hopefully she'll use the time to nap, and all will be well.

So, I have things to get ready, I should head out on my way. If you didn't visit this site yesterday (or if you visited after 2pm, you should check out the latest baby-potty update).

April 11, 2005

Tales From the Potty

Coolest Potty Story Yet:

Marion went to sleep for her mid-day nap about 1.5 hours ago, diaperless as is the norm now, because she tends to stay dry through naps. She just woke up about 10 minutes ago, and I wasn't able to soothe her to sleep with the normal procedure, so I picked her up, took her to the bathroom, and put her on the potty. While she wasn't very happy with this, she did pee right away (and quite a bit, too). I then put her back down on the bed, and she was asleep within three minutes.

How freaking cool is that? Tell me she doesn't know how to hold her bladder. Tell me that she doesn't prefer to use the toilet over wetting herself. Yeah, I'll show you a little girl that would rather use the potty than wet in a diaper, or on her favorite blanket.

Peace Be With You

I happened to go to a Catholic church service this weekend, because it was Miguel's son's first communion, and I came away with a couple of realizations, some that aren't worth sharing (these people do the stand up-sit down thing a lot), and some that are.

There's a part in the service, and I get the impression that it's part of the regular service, not a special add-on just for this day, where everyone shakes hands with the people around them and says, "Peace Be With You". Now I know that it's just a script, and most of the people have done it so many times that it probably doesn't mean anything to them, but to me, as an outsider, it was impressive.

There aren't many times in a life where a stranger will shake your hand and wish you peace, just because you're there. It's refreshing, and I think it's great. We need more of this, and we need to have it outside of the religious trappings, because there are a lot of people that are so put off by the whole religious thing, that they're never going to get this.

Part of the problem though, is that most people woundn't pause long enough for you to with them well, and they'd likely think that you were selling something (either magazine subscriptions, or your religion), or that you're just looney. So, how to approach this without getting the "what's that crazy man doing" stare? I'm not sure, but I suppose I could just give it a shot.

Peace be with you.

April 08, 2005

Teeth (mostly)

Well, it's been quite a week. Marion has had a pretty tough time getting these teeth out, and it's made it difficult for her (and therefore Keleigh and I) to get sleep. She hasn't been her normal happy self during the day either, so the whole parenting experience has been less enjoyable over the past few days. I know that it's something that we have to get through, and I know that we'll all be okay on the other side, but it's hard work caring for a child that has teething pain for much of the day.

I think, however, that we're most of the way through. Marion's been much happier today, and yesterday wasn't so bad. When she lets you peek, you can see four of her upper teeth poked through. I think, but I'm not sure, that the first part of getting the teeth to poke through is the hardest part. I certainly hope it is.

So, that's pretty much been my week. We also had Marion's 10 month appointment, and she's really grown. She's now over 28 inches tall (almost 2 and a half feet), and she's nearing 20 pounds. She's healthy in all ways (not a single ear infection, ever), and she's desperately cute.

It's starting to come into my mind that she'll be one year old soon, which is almost unbelievable. Most of the other babies that we hang out with were born in April, so they're all having their birthdays, and Marion isn't far behind. May 31st, that's the day that my baby isn't such a baby anymore. I will cry. I will cry so much. I will need to drink a lot on May 30th, because I'm going to dehydrate myself.

My dear baby, how can you be nearly one year old?

April 06, 2005

Teething!

Serious teething going on, no time for posting. Marion is getting five or six upper teeth, and they're not making her very happy.

Soon, she'll be done, and all can return to normal.

April 04, 2005

As if in Response: Baseball

Baseball opens today, and while for the past 27 years of my life this has meant nothing, I'm trying to get into it today. I want a sport to hold me over in the football offseason, so I'm giving baseball a try. Last year I thought about watching basketball, but never got into it, and with hockey not happening this year, baseball wins by default.

So I signed up for a low-intensity fantasy baseball game with some of the guys that I play Diplomacy with, and we're getting the season started.

And what do you do when baseball starts? You watch a baseball game. Now, I've tried to watch baseball before, and I've found it amazingly boring. Well, as if in response to my lack of interest in baseball, the Detroit Tigers have brought out the fireworks. Jeremy Bonderman is pitching a great game, and the batters for the Tigers already have three home runs. Dimitri Young hit two homers in his first two at bats of the season. That's pretty amazing. It's the top of the sixth inning, and the Tigers are up 8-1.

As if in Response: Marion

Marion's teething, and has had a hard time getting to sleep lately. This morning it took a long time to get her to nap, and then she woke up after about 30 minutes, where she normally naps for at least 40 minutes.

This afternoon though, she went to sleep quickly, and has been sleeping for almost two hours now. She did wake up once at about 50 minutes into it, but I was able to help her back to sleep quickly.

I gotta keep this in mind at times when it seems that she never goes to sleep easily.

April 01, 2005

Found Miguel

Remember a while back, when I was talking about how I was trying to track down my friend Miguel? Well, he's been found.

I contacted Adam (who has a podcasting blog at YippieShow.com), a friend of Miguel's, that I found on the internet, and he gave me Miguel's new phone number. It turns out that he didn't move to Mexico, Miami, or any other crazy-far-off-place. He moved to Maumee, Ohio, which is just a couple minutes from Keleigh's parents.

So I gave him a call, and we had a great talk. He has a 4 1/2 month old daughter (and two sons, eight and six), and he's a full-time dad. How crazy is that? He's still writing songs, and his production group has secured a record deal for his brother Frank (Frankie Biggs, Universal Records next big thing).

Marion and I are planning on going down there on Wednesday of next week. I'm pretty excited, and I'm so happy to have found him. He's someone that I could learn a lot from, both as a musician and as a dad.

I also found out why I can't find anything about him on the internet. In his words, "The internet is the devil."