Month: March 2005

Terri

Terri Schiavo has finally found peace. I’ve not written about her situation for many reasons. I don’t object to nearly every blogger needing to state their views. I don’t understand, though, how anyone outside the family can form a complete opinion since all the information those of us in the general public possess is third-party (at best), often based on conjecture or hearsay, and subject to the biases of the people sharing that information. In other words, we have no idea who’s right and who’s wrong, what’s accurate and what’s misleading. I’ve been sickened each night when confronted by talking heads screaming at each other on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox, trying to make political gains from this horrible situation. It maddens me that people who have no medical background, have never encountered the woman, and have not reviewed her complete medical file can somehow be experts on her case, her beliefs, and her desires. None of us outside the situation can even begin to know the truth of the matter. Yet it’s become a bigger story than the war in Iraq, Social Security, the economy, or any other of countless issues that actually affect the daily lives of every person in this country.

I feel horrible for the Schindler family, who regardless of what you think of their efforts, made a heroic attempt to save their daughter and care for her. I feel sorry that their cause was hijacked by narrow-minded political opportunists. They’ve been called zealots who can’t accept reality, which is the last thing parents fighting to save their child need to hear. It’s a tragedy their relationship with their son-in-law was so destroyed by events that they couldn’t share the final moments of the life they all loved together.

I feel equally horrible for Mr. Schiavo, who had to watch his wife die a horrible death and bears the responsibility of making the decision to end her life. If he was wrong, I think he knows that he will have to answer for her death when his life ends. He’s been called a financial opportunist, a wife beater, and a cold-blooded murderer, often with little evidence to back the charges. Again, when facing the death of the woman he wanted to grow old with, I doubt those labels are in any way comforting. Somehow I imagine what he’s been through over the last 15 years is not as cut-and-dried and calculated as people who have been blasting him would have us believe.

Most of all, I feel sorry for Terri Schiavo. Her life, spirit, and memory have been demeaned. Those close to her are more likely to remember the 15 years in a vegetative state or the horrific legal battle before her death than the wonderful moments they shared with her. She became a pawn in the modern political game where every single event must be spun to its ideological extreme, and then fought for ferociously by people who are paid to yell louder than their opponents rather than debate in a rational and respectful manner with a goal of finding a reasonable solution. She deserved far better than what her life became. Shame on the outsiders from both sides for what they’ve done to her.

I’m sure everyone around her wished that she had taken the time to document what her true wishes were should the worst possible scenarios present themselves. Regardless of what path that lead her down, it would have made the decisions of her family much easier.

Therein lies the lesson in this whole awful story. Think about how you want to be treated should something terrible happen. What measures do you want taken medically? What do you want to happen to your body should you die? Who should care for your children if your spouse is not able to? How should your financial assets be distributed? They are hard but essential questions that anyone who loves their family must consider. To fail to do so is a criminal act against your loved ones. When you have answers, write them down. Get them organized in a manner that will stand up in court. Then share those answers with your loved ones so there are no questions. The more clearly you document and publicize your requests, the less likely people who never knew you can attempt to sway grieving family members into allowing your life and/or death to be used to push a political agenda you may never have known about, let alone supported.

Rest in peace, Terri.

Twins? No Thanks

We survived our little baby sitting experiment. Sorta. I went to bed around 12:20 last night (or this morning, I guess) and found guest baby sleeping on S.. As I shared yesterday, he’s got some health issues and had woken screaming and trying to breath, so she just brought him to our bed and held him until he passed out. Shortly after I got into bed, she took him back to his room. That lasted roughly ten minutes. He starts screaming again. About 30 seconds later, M. starts crying. We both jump out of bed. “You take M., I’ll sleep in guest baby’s room,” said S. as she stumbled down the hall.

Poor M. was in need of some Motrin, which I procured and offered quickly. I sat with her in her rocking chair, and she just dissolved into my chest. I held her until she was breathing deeply, then gently placed her back into her crib. As I was walking out the door, I heard her stir. I looked back and saw her peeking, tiredly, back at me, with a weary smile on her face. Melted my freaking heart.

When M. woke me at 6:15 Monday morning and I went to make her a bottle, I found S. and the guest baby in our living room. S. was sleeping on the couch, guest baby in his car seat. Poor little guy loves to sleep in his car seat! I guess having his upper body slightly elevated helps him breath easier.

Today was a constant juggle. We tried to get them to nap three times, with limited success. One baby would be happy, the other cranky. When the cranky baby was soothed, the other baby started fussing. When I left for class around 1:30, guest baby was sleeping in his room and M. was sleeping on her mom’s chest in our bed. I must have been the problem, because they were down for 2 1/2 hours. S. did get the pleasant experience of trying to feed two babies at once, too. She put guest baby in his car seat and held his bottle, while M. was in her exersaucer sucking down hers. When I got back from class, guest baby was in his car seat, S. and M. were on the couch, all three watching a Baby Einstein DVD.

So we made it through ok. A little tired, and a little frazzled at times. I used to think twins were a great idea. One pregnancy, two babies! Since our plan/hope is to have three, we could be done after one more pregnancy. I take all that back now. One infant is hard enough. I have no idea how people with multiple births do it. And I realize I’ve cursed us into twins next time. Remind me about this post when it happens.

One final note, a very wise couple here in Carmel told us a year ago that Baby Einstein is baby crack. Put in a video/DVD, and you’ve got 30 minutes to do whatever you want. You kid will sit transfixed in front of the TV. M. is finally old enough for it to work on her. She calms down, sticks her binky in her mouth, and watches in mostly silence. Some things make her laugh. Today, she started rocking back-and-forth anytime music played. But she sure seems to love them. I’d much rather have “Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes” going through my head than some Barney bullshit.

Easter

We hosted our first big Easter dinner today. Nine people were seated around our tables for an early afternoon meal. We dropped the obligatory honey ham on them, two quiches, pasta salad, deviled eggs, two fruit plates, and a lemon cake for dessert. For some strange reason, I decided I needed a nap at around 3:45. Next thing I knew, it was 6:00. So there’s little chance of me getting sleep anytime in the near future tonight.

As an added bonus, we’ve taken on a four-month-old for the night. We’re babysitting for some friends who are out of town just for the night. Unfortunately, the poor guy isn’t nearly as healthy nor as happy as M. is. It could be a long night.

I have to say, once again, my daughter is completely hilarious. Consensus at dinner today was that she’s going to be a politician or some other person who does a lot of public speaking. Her new favorite thing is to sit and “talk”, loudly, and for a long time. While “talking”, she will wave her right arm like she’s trying to make a point forcefully. She’ll hold her left hand palm up, as if she’s pleading for her audience’s support. She’s convinced me to vote for whatever she’s pushing.

Finally, I was feeding her tonight just before her bedtime. At the same time, I was trying to watch the very end of the Michigan State – Kentucky game (the only 10 minutes of basketball I watched all weekend). I noticed she suddenly got very quiet; there was no more slurping of that tasty Similac. I look down, and she’s staring at me with a big grin on her face, and formula dripping down each cheek. As soon as my eyes met hers, she completely loses it. For the next five minutes, anytime I looked at her, she giggled hysterically. It is moments like this I wish she could express herself. I would love to know what makes her so giggly.

 

Easily Amused

We’ve been trying to wean M. off the generic, hospital-issued pacifiers for a couple weeks. We’re hoping to get her to use a store-bought binky that has a strap that attaches to her clothes so she can’t lose it. She hasn’t seemed all that interested in the new model, and after a few minutes we inevitably replace it with the old one. This morning, however, she came up with a new trick.
She now likes to place the new binky into her mouth, then pull it out by the cord, producing a satisfying “pop” each time she does it. Giggles ensue, and she repeats. $3.99 for easy entertainment.

Pisser – Kansas Loses

Appropriately Wayne Simien’s shot to win the game fell short at exactly the stroke of midnight here in Indianapolis. In years past, I would spend the next five or six hours laying on the floor without movement. I mean, Bucknell in the first round? OK, I might have been preparing to leap from a tall building. I’m bummed, but not devastated this year. I didn’t expect much from this team, who for whatever reason could never find their identity this season. My moment of clarity a few weeks back definitely worked, at least based on my reaction tonight.

The seniors were part of a great era of KU basketball. Aaron Miles was the best pure point guard the program has ever seen. Wayne Simien became the classic “What if?” player; he was robbed of being one of the all-time greats by injuries. Keith Langford provided four years of incredible memories. And Michael Lee did all he could the last two weeks to keep the team alive. It’s almost as if they were destined to disappoint, though, since they weren’t good enough to keep Roy in Lawrence where Kirk Hinrich, Drew Gooden, and Nick Collison were.

Now the program is officially Bill Self’s and we’ll see if he’s really as good of a coach as he’s supposed to be. I think he would agree any hype of his coaching abilities has been greatly reduced by both his and his team’s performance this year, but I’ve also had some suspicions ever since he arrived that we wouldn’t see his best teams until Roy’s players were gone. I hope I was right. A new era of Kansas basketball officially begins on March 19, 2005 at 12:01 AM. It’s going to be interesting, exciting, and like nothing we’ve been through since the early days of Larry Brown’s tenure in Lawrence.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk

(Let’s hear it for the smart kids big programs didn’t want. Vermont and Bucknell advance, Syracuse and Kansas go home.)

How To Get Your Baby To Nap

Having trouble getting a baby to nap during the day? First, wear them out by letting them play for 60-90 minutes. Then, put them in your lap and play Beatles music, singing along softly. After about 15 minutes, cue up “Hey Jude.” Guaranteed, but the extended fade-out, your child will be nodding off. I’ve always been a Lennon guy, but I will give McCartney credit for once.

Baby Update

Time for an update on the doings of Baby M. As documented over the past couple weeks, she now has two tiny teeth peeking through her lower gums. She likes to scrape them on things. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Her sleeping patterns have normalized slightly since the teeth popped through, and she’s kicked her nasty Motrin habit. At least until the next teeth start coming in. It’s hard to get a pic of the teeth. Believe me, I’ve tried.

As the picture I’m posting here and the new ones I’ll add to my picture site show, she’s sitting up on her own consistently now. As with rolling over, she just started doing it one day. We had been able to prop her up next to us for a couple months now, but she never seemed interested in doing it on her own. Then, suddenly, one day she stayed up for 15 minute stretches. I’m starting to think she practices these things at night when we aren’t watching, then busts them out after she’s mastered them to see how we react.

I would guess she’s pushing 26 inches and 20 pounds now. Last week, we dropped her crib down a level and took the bassinet tray out of the pack ‘n play. Dropping her bed has been a little problematic. There’s no more room in her crib than there was before, but apparently the added distance between her eyes and the top rail have given her the impression of greater space. Where we could just lay her down and expect her to sleep in one spot all night two weeks ago, now she’s rolling around, spinning her body 90, 180 degrees over the course of the night, often leaving her blanket behind. If she’s not super tired now, when we put her down she’ll play for 10-15 minutes, then start shrieking because she’s got her blanket wrapped around her legs three times and can’t move.

The other big size-related news was the swapping of the car seats this weekend. Gone is the infant seat and in its place are the big seats that will last for the next few years until she’s ready for a booster seat. I enjoyed my last Mr. Mom day with the infant seat on Saturday by taking her to Starbucks. She sat in her seat, flirting with all the other people in line, completely immobile. From now on, though, it’s either carry the baby or make sure we have the stroller with us. They grow up so fast!

Finally, the next big milestone will be crawling. My mother-in-law thinks it will happen this week. I would not be surprised if it is in the next ten days or so. M. likes to pop up on her hands and knees and do the rocking motion kids that are about to take off love so much. I’ve been putting things just out of her reach to try to get her to move. She can lunge a little if things are close. If they’re a little farther away, she’s an expert at rolling 3-4 times until she’s moved her body far enough to grab the doll, book, whatever. Most impressively, when she’s on her blanket, she’s learned how to grip the blanket, pull it towards her, and then get the goodies. Smartest kid on the block, I tell you.

I’m sure there’s more interesting stuff to share, but because I got three hours of sleep last night, I napped from 8:30 until 12:30 today, am drinking beer to try to sleep tonight, and have struggled to keep my train of thought together tonight. If I missed anything, I’ll get you next time around.

 

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

There are a few developments in the world of on-line music that have got me all geeked up of late. I mentioned in my year-end post the glory of the MP3 blog. Thanks to people who are much hipper and better connected than I can ever hope to be, I’ve managed to develop some idea of what is going on in the alternative music world.

The second development that I think is great is the growth of quality, streamed music options. There have always been funky, cool radio stations who streamed their materials. However, they were often difficult to find, some outlets used odd formats for sharing their audio, and were generally low budget afterthoughts making the streams erratic at best. That’s changing as non-mainstream outlets attempt to find a voice in the corporate radio dominated world. There are a number of excellent alternative stations that now provide high quality streams, often without commercial interruption. WOXY and KEXP are two streams I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

Finally, for several months, I had been reading all about the phenomenon known as Podcasting. I won’t go into the guts of the medium here (check the link for that) but basically Podcasting is a method in which any Joe or Jane Blow can record and disseminate their own audio broadcast. Think of it as audio-blogging, which I’ve done on occasion, only on a grander scale. The nascent format already provides interesting programs that cover almost any topic you can think of. Most are definitely amateur in quality, laden with poor audio, nervous laughter, and minimal production, but therein lies the beauty of the format. You don’t have to have the perfect radio voice, an expensive recording studio, or even a distinct format. Fire up some audio editing software and you’ve got yourself a show.

(A quick aside, contrary to what the name may lead you to believe, you need neither a Mac nor an iPod to listen to Podcasts. It just happens that one of the driving forces behind Podcasting is a Mac geek. Check the article linked above to see who that person is. Who knew an 80s quasi-celebrity could make good in such a cool way?)

I know what many of my regular readers are thinking. “This sounds right up your alley! When should we expect to see your Podcast posted?” Well, funny little problem with Podcasting: the RIAA is already getting involved. While there have been no crackdowns yet, I’m sure soon we’ll be hearing about some 15 year old kid that records a podcast in his bedroom in Kansas getting arrested for illegally using copyrighted music. As cool as the concept is to me, I’m not ready to drop $300 on an RIAA license to legally use music. It’s one thing to file share. It’s another to slap something on a server that can be traced directly to you and basically beg the lawyers to shut you down. So sadly my broadcasting career will have to wait until either the rules change, I take over IUPUI’s broadcasting facilities, or, of course, I win big in the lottery.

For the time being, I’ll continue to listen to shows like Insomnia Radio, Preserves, Jellies, and Jams, Each Note Secure. Most programs lean to the indie and unsigned side of music, but they’re opening a whole world of music that I would probably never come into contact with otherwise. It’s certainly not music that’s played over the air here in Indy, nor stuff played on the Music Choice channels on our cable system.

How’d That Epiphany Thing Go?

I’ve not shared how my week-long vacation from college basketball went.  I indeed managed to avoid almost all college basketball coverage for a full seven days.  I didn’t watch games, read about them in the paper, or follow columnists online.  Tuesday morning at about 10:00, I checked the Kansas-Oklahoma score but did not read any stories about the game itself.  And that was it.  A week to attempt to regain some perspective, to try to remember I’m not actually playing in the games and thus should enjoy it when my team wins and be able to move on quickly after the lose.

Sunday dawned and it came time to test what I had learned over the previous week.  Kansas and Oklahoma State were squaring off in Lawrence in what may well have been the Big 12 championship game.  (The answer is no, I wouldn’t not have watched this game if they had played on Saturday.)  I settled into a seat three minutes before tip-off.  When the UCLA-Notre Dame went long, I didn’t panic the way I used to.  I calmly read the paper until CBS went to Lawrence about two minutes into the game.  It turns out the paper may be the key to retaining composure.  Every extended dead ball or television timeout, I worked my way through some more of the Indy Star.  Reading about wars, terrorism, disease, and corruption are good ways of remaining level and centered, I think.  When KU kept hitting shot after shot, I didn’t get too fired up.  When OSU matched every shot with one of their own, I didn’t get frustrated.  After a thoroughly entertaining first half that left the teams tied at 39, I calmly went about collecting the trash to take out later in the evening (There’s an analogy there just waiting to be made).

In the second half, KU went up by eight at one point and seemed about to put the game out of reach.  Calm.  OSU came right back and minutes later lead by seven points with 5:00 to play.  Still calm.  The only time I lost a little composure was at around the 3:00 mark when Aaron Miles threw a horrible pass to Christian Moody when KU had a chance to cut the lead to two.  Unlike a week ago, when I would have thrown things, yelled, and paced, I just sighed and muttered something PG-13.  I have to admit, my pulse did finally quicken over the last 2:00 of the game, but who’s would not have?  A fantastic game came down to two equally matched teams seeing who could execute best.  Wayne Simien hit a shot.  John Lucas hit a shot.  John Lucas missed a shot.  Aaron Miles hit a driving lay-up.  JamesOn Curry hit one of two free throws.  Miles did the same.  Then John Lucas missed a three pointer that would have won the game by a matter of inches.  I clapped twice, pumped my fist, and headed upstairs to start getting dinner ready.  No hyper-analysis of every wire story as they were posted on-line.  No listening to the post-game show.  Be happy, move on.

“Sure,” I can hear you saying, “It’s easy to say you’ve changed your ways when you get to watch a great game like that.”  I can’t argue with that argument.  I do think, however, if OSU had won by one or 20, my evening would have been much different than how I’ve spent other evenings this season after close KU games/losses.  I would have been able to talk to my wife immediately.  Play with my daughter.  Read a book.  Basically do all the things normal people do after games rather than obsessing as if I was a coach or player on the team.  I don’t think my reformation is complete by any means.  It will surely be tested in a couple weeks when the emotional ringer that is the NCAA tournament begins.  But I do like to think this was the first step in finding a balance between being a huge fan of a team and managing that fanaticism in a healthy manner.

By the way, contrary to a rumor started by a loyal reader, I will never, ever become a Big Ten fan.  If I was left with nothing to watch other than Big Ten basketball, I would surely never watch the game again.  Of course, the source that started this rumor has been known to prance around the greater Kansas City area wearing shorts that across his ass spell the name of a Big Ten school that is his favorite team’s arch rival.  So consider the source.

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