Somewhere, Alfred Hitchcock is smiling

We’ve had a lot of involvement with birds as of late.  On Saturday afternoon we were adopted by a bluejay who my sister affectionately named “JJ”.  He likes to hang out on the deck, poop on chairs, eat watermelon and pine nuts and taunt Elise.

Hopefully he can hold his own around the back yard and maybe even make friends with the cats.  My money is on yours truly sweeping up blue feathers by week’s end.

Purple Martins

Last night Elise and I took Maly out for a captivating evening with the roosting purple martins from the seven oak trees at Highland Mall. This mesmerizing swarm easily rivals that of the Mexican free-tailed bats that fly out from under the Congress Avenue bridge at dusk during the Summer.  Even better, there were no other spectators around.  We were the only souls being shit on by martins in a mall parking lot!

Fun then and fun now

I called Elise at 1 p.m. this afternoon and probed, “Guess what we were doing right now, exactly one year ago today.”


“We were signing the documents on a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas.”

Summer has been sort of rough for us this year. We’ve both been suffering from severe bouts of nostalgia. Late last June we built a deck in the back yard. In July we went to Vegas for six days, came home for three days and then to Cabo for a week. We were on-the-go and having a blast.

Now fun has been taken to a whole new level: “Hurry! Come here! She just farted and it totally smells like a big person fart!”

It’s a different kind of fun but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Proof that Austin is one of the fittest cities

I was scrolling through the iPhoto library on my computer this evening and stopped to look at a photo of the sauder desk that my parents gave to me as a present while I was still in college. It was a great desk that stuck around for years.

Six or so years ago Elise and I decided to move in with one another.  We moved from our one bedroom apartments to a larger, two bedroom unit within the same apartment complex.  That sauder desk was one of the heaviest and most awkward pieces of furniture I owned and one of the most complicated to take apart.  Instead of disassembling the desk, I decided that it would be most efficient to angle it and squeeze it through the door, down three flights of stairs and to the other side of the complex to our new apartment.

It was an interesting site to see; us pushing a sauder desk with little plastic wheels a quarter mile though a poorly paved apartment complex parking lot.

Halfway to our new apartment we came upon a man who was walking to his car.  He looked at us, smiled and pointed and said, “Hey! You guys movin’?”

“Nope.  Just taking our desk for a walk!”

What’s not romantic about combat martial arts?

Do not set a wedding date if there is the slightest possibility that five years down the road, on that very date, the World Combat League comes to your town for the West Coast Playoffs.

“Let’s go to the World Combat League at the Erwin Center for our anniversary!”

“Umm… it’s not very romantic.”

“And Phantom of the Opera was so super awesome wicked rad.”

“Hey! You bought the tickets to Phantom, remember?  And besides, that was for my birthday, not our anniversary.”


Required baptism class #2

We attended our second required baptism class this past Sunday. I feel as if I maintained my open mindedness as I quietly sat and listened with Maly on my lap. The high points of our second class (for yours truly) were:

  1. Elise approached the fill-in teacher from our last class and had him write the “Bwana, anakuita” song on a peice of notebook paper AND sing it to me quietly in close quarters. I felt very dirty afterwards.
  2. Our teacher pointed out that she is the church’s webmaster
  3. There is a liturgical calendar that I was not aware of. Here all along I thought liturgical were the books that doctors had to buy to learn how to use scalpels.
  4. Our teacher pointed out that she is the church’s webmaster
  5. Cheese, crackers and Tropicana orange juice
  6. Our teacher pointed out that she is the church’s webmaster

Our teacher went on to tell us that we, as parents, must become the priest or priestess of the house.

“It is your responsibility to set a good example for your children and tell them the story of Jesus”

Elise leaned over and whispered, “I’ll go buy the Lincoln Logs.”

Monthly Maly Letter: Month three

Dear Maly,

You turned three months old this past week. You’re changing so fast and have become so bewildering that I’ve put away most thoughts of giving you away or leaving you outside until you figure out how to venture off and raise yourself.

This month you finally managed to shart on me. Mom does 95% of the diaper changing so your managing to finally hit me with your excrement is quite a milestone. With breakneck speed I attempted to dodge your flying poo as I watched it hit me on the leg. Surprisingly I didn’t gag. Here’s fair warning though: I will get you back.

You giggled for the first time this month. There are no words to describe how that made me feel. That was, by far, the happiest moment of my life. Your giggle was the only sound that mattered in the world at that moment. Your giggle fits you perfectly — It’s short, infectious, intentional and defined. You’ve only giggled for me – not your mom. She hates me for this. I can tell, just by your giggle, that you will be the one who will make others laugh and be able to easily laugh at yourself.

Your mom and I decided that it would be my job as your dad to bathe you every night. It’s our time to bond. I usually sing Guns ‘n’ Roses or Doors songs while giving you your bath and you stare out toward the sky through the kitchen window. We can’t figure out what you’re looking at. Personally, I’m convinced that you’re sending a beacon to the others from your planet, telling them that we are weak and gullible and their planned descent to destroy us should commence.

It is at this point in the winding down of your day that you turn into Satan. I pull you from the tub, wrap you in your towel and walk you into our bedroom. The moment I lay you on the bed to put your diaper and pajamas on, you start in with your constant, pouty crying. I try to distract and console you to no avail. I’ve even threatened to walk around in Speedos when you’re in the seventh grade and have your friends over to get you to stop crying.

I quickly apply a dab of A&D ointment to your butt, put your diaper and pajamas on and walk you about the house and talk to you about absolutely nothing meaningful so you’ll stop crying and fall asleep. You will have to do the above steps for me one day and I’m looking forward to it.

I do look forward to our nightly ritual. It’s not what I would have expected or even wished for, but it’s our time together and it’s better than having to explain to the police why I thought it was a good idea to leave you face down in a bed of fire ants.

You experienced your first Fourth of July this month. We drove out to Lakeway with John, Christine and Jack and watch the fireworks display from the inside of our truck. I was excited that you were going to see large fireworks for the first time. Instead you stared blankly at the digital clock on the dashboard.

You’re holding your head up quite well now. Your hands have managed to find each other so you’ll occassionally hold your hands together. You also found your middle two fingers with your mouth. You’ve begun to soothe yourself by sucking on these two fingers. You mom’s boobs are thankful.

You drool. A lot. Experts say that this is because as you grow older, you produce more saliva and just don’t know what to do with it. Us non-experts concur. I was thinking that at three months your snake-like tongue would find a happy home inside your mouth. That is not the case. I guess you’ll break your tongue sticking out habit when either 1) the other kids start making fun of you or 2) you bite it off after you get teeth and fall down onto your bottom jaw. If the latter occurs, I will buy your first replacement tongue but after that, you’re on your own.

Your mom has a degree in photography. I have many credits in photography from college as well. We are friends with quite a few professional photographers. We also own a pretty nice camera. So we did what any pair of photography-savvy, resourceful parents would do: we took you to JC Penney to have your portaits taken. Talk about crazy! I don’t know how JC Penney portrait photography employees can do their job without being hopped up on lithium. You did well at your sitting so we took you to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.

I keep meaning to arm myself with a witty rebuttal when someone asks, “How’s Maly?” or “How’s that little daughter of yours?” I’m genuinely thankful that people are inquisitive as to your overall well-being, but there’s not a whole lot to report. “Well, she’s just finished up her French lessons and will be starting her interpretive dance lessons next week.” Or “We’re training her to be a ninja and are actually going to pick out grappling hooks and short blade katanas tomorrow.” My response is usually limited to, “Well, she eats, sleeps and is growing like a weed.” Maybe it’s because I want your day-to-day discoveries and interactions to be your gift to your mom and me alone.

You are growing so fast. It’s very scary. I can’t stop time no matter how tightly I shut my eyes and clench my fists. I look at the pictures from just three months ago and see a tiny little baby resting on my chest, looking up at me and taking in all that is her dad. I give everything of myself to you and want nothing more than to provide for you and let you experience life with laughter.

Everyone says, “Enjoy it now because they grow up so fast.” That’s so very true. And I am enjoying it. Every minute of it.



Don’t you just hate it when you get a Swahili song stuck in your head?

When I asked Elise’s dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage, I made mention of, “…and if we ever have children, I’m fine with Elise raising them in the Catholic church…”

In order for Maly to be baptised in the Catholic church, her parents are required to take classes. Four classes to be exact. I’m not going to name names here but her dad is not happy about this.

We attended our first baptism class on Sunday. Our teacher went into seminary school years ago but decided he couldn’t live a life of celibacy. He also spent two years as a missionary in east Africa. He sang us a tune that went something like, “Bwana, anakawuita. Bwana, anakawuita. Bwana, anakawuita, all the live long day.” I made that last part up but I do have “Bwana, anakawuita” stuck in my head. He went so far as to grammatically dissect the song and translate it on the dry erase board. It means something like “He is a part of us all” or “I don’t have any food for you, white man, but you’re welcome to one of my small goats.”

Elise and I had a “discussion” when I was told we had to take 8 hours of baptism classes. She pointed out that I have a tendency to approach things like baptism classes with a closed mind and don’t allow myself to gain anything from the experience. So I made a wholehearted effort to attend our first class with an open mind.

From our first baptism class I gained a miniature blueberry bagel with pineapple cream cheese and vision of small African children dancing with goats and singing, “Bwana, anakawuita!”

Wish you were here

My parents were in Cabo San Lucas last week with my sisters and their families. Everyone was able to celebrate mom’s 65th birthday while there. Elise and I joyfully reminisced on the week we spent last year in Cabo: The walks on the beaches, the great food, the booze, the cruise, the fishing, Land’s End, the Sea of Cortez and the no worries life we lived for seven days. It was a tough ordeal having to suffer from extreme nostalgia that left us shaking uncontrollably and crying while blaring Van Halen’s “Cabo Wabo” from the stereo as we envisioned my parents enjoying themselves in Mexico. We stayed home, sulked in jealousy and secretely prayed that my parents would come home pregnant or new owners of a timeshare.