Tomorrow Janet will be with APA and I am so excited for all of them! No news on the baby front, except that Heather is really tired today and is now napping, having chosen that over lunch, so it can't be much longer. Porter's here now, so that accomplishes all but one of the things she was hoping would happen first—the one remaining is the arrival of a minivan, which some friends are kindly lending us as the Labor-Mobile, assuming it gets back from the shop on time.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 1:54 pm | Edit
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We gave Jonathan a copy of the Three Billy Goats Gruff story, and if the words aren't exactly as I remember my father reading them to me ([sung] "Who's that tripping on my bridge? Trip, trap, trip, trap on my bridge? [spoken] Oh, it's YOU, little Billy Goat Gruff. I'm going to EAT YOU UP!"), it's still a fun story to read. Jonathan asks to hear it a lot, and has some of the lines memorized already. After he'd only heard it twice, however, he didn't quite remember the title, so he asked if Grandma would please read him "Two Horses Woof." (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 8:03 pm | Edit
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In honor of my father, who knew to display an iris on this occasion.

irises
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 6:59 am | Edit
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I'm too busy playing with Jonathan to write much about him, but here are a few delightful Jonathan-isms:

I'll friz it to you and you friz it to me. If there's a word for what you're doing when you throw a Frisbee back and forth, it can't be any better than Jonathan's.

There's an emery board in there. He was looking in my travel kit, and he was right; I just didn't expect "emery board" to be in a 2.5 year old's vocabulary.

The baby's head is pressing on my bladder; I need to go to the bathroom again. His baby brother or sister is due in less than two weeks, so I guess he's heard this phrase a few times....

Oh, you DO have nipples! He took a nap with Grandma, and I had to explain to him that, unlike Mommy, I couldn't provide him with any milk. Later, he was with me when I was changing into my pajamas, and that's when he came out with this statement, an expression of amazement and perplexity on his face. Boy did that make me feel old: all the right equipment but totally useless.

While Mommy was cooking, Jonathan and I made up the Word/Horse game. We spread some of his word cards around on the floor, I get on my hands and knees and he climbs on my back. Then he directs his horse, pointing to a word and telling me to go there: Go to "Mommy," now go to "Aunt Janet," now to "loves." He made the game more interesting by asking me to make new cards for "tickle" and "fall off"; you can imagine what happens when the horse and rider arrive at those cards! He also has great fun with the difference between the cards and what they represented. For example, if I trot up to the Mommy card and say, "Hi, Mommy!" he laughs and says in a "how can you be so silly" voice, "That's not the REAL Mommy, that's the WORD Mommy!"
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 6:20 pm | Edit
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When I was in high school, a semester course in economics was required for graduation. I managed to convince the school to accept an advanced physics course instead, so I can't claim to know much economics. Yet being married to a guy who majored in that field in college helps, and in any case the following scenario not only makes no economic sense, it makes no sense at all. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 12, 2006 at 1:05 pm | Edit
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Any extravagance around the time of a birthday counts as part of the celebration, and thus comes without guilt. Thus when Porter wanted to attend the Mad Cow Theatre Company's It Was a Very Good Year, part of the Orlando Cabaret Festival, and even suggested we get the special dinner package, who was I to complain? (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 1:30 pm | Edit
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Last year I was well prepared for Ash Wednesday, with a rather extensive personal program planned out for Lent. This year, what with company and an intensive two weeks devoted to reroofing our house (and not done yet), it came as a shock this morning to realize that February is over. We were thus saved from having to decide with which of our two churches to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, a small blessing but one we could have done without. No crawfish gumbo, no pancakes.... :(

Maybe I'll dust off some of last year's ideas...they worked pretty well.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 8:40 am | Edit
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Most of you will hear about this sooner or later—it was on the front page of the CNN website tonight, so no doubt it will be on the evening news. So yes, that's our Milwee Middle School at which a student brandished a pellet gun that had been modified to look like a 9mm handgun. There was a brief hostage situation; the school was "locked down"; and the student isolated and later shot by the SWAT team, after which the remaining students were sent home. The gun-wielding student, who was labelled "suicidal," is currently in the hospital on life support.

Here's a local version of the story:

http://www.wftv.com/news/6056445/detail.html
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 13, 2006 at 5:16 pm | Edit
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Time spent celebrating the season precludes (for the moment) collecting and publishing my thoughts on Christmas and culture. That will come later. In the meantime, please know, or remember, that hidden deep within and behind and under and through and above all the traditions and chaos and commercialism of the season lies meaning and purpose and hope and a story unequaled. And have a

Merry Christmas!
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 5:06 pm | Edit
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Jonathan has his own small electric screwdriver, which he uses to remove and replace the tiny screws on the back of his (non-working) computer keyboard. I would be amazed enough at his physical dexterity, but what really blows me away is his knowledge of when and how to reverse the direction of the tool.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 9, 2005 at 12:46 pm | Edit
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I could write so much more about the great things Jonathan is doing, and I probably will, eventually. But what impelled me finally to write was watching him peel, perfectly, a hardboiled egg for his lunch today. He only just turned two years old!
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, December 7, 2005 at 9:33 pm | Edit
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As promised elsewhere, I am finally printing the recipe (actually, a couple of recipes) for Bay Punch, absolutely the best drink in the world to serve with pizza.

Bay Punch was invented by John Lefor and Chip Nimick for Pizza Night at the Towne House computing center at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. The name came from the original pizza source, Bay & Goodman Pizza. It did not change even after we switched to Cap'n Tony's Pizza. The traditional punch bowl is a large dishpan. John says that if it tastes as if it needs more pineapple-orange, add more cranberry, and vice versa. The punch is better if it ages a bit before serving. We used to start making it just as someone left on the 45-minute round trip to get the pizza. Another tradition is the punch ladle, a simple soup ladle, which must be hung on the outside of the punch bowl, and woe to him who puts in inside, where it will slide down and disappear into the drink. Of course this is all tradition—Bay Punch tastes great in a traditional punch bowl, too. But you must squeeze the limes and lemons, not just float them artistically on top. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 at 10:54 am | Edit
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I would not do well on one of those music school "drop the needle" tests, in which one needs to name a piece of music based on hearing a small excerpt. It's not that I can't recognize the music—often just a few measures, even a few notes, is enough to bring forth, "Ooo, I know this piece! What is it?" I know that I know it, but identification often eludes me. What's more, I sometimes recognize brief motives from one piece of music in another, and that's even harder to pin down. I had no trouble identifying The Phantom of the Opera in the praise song, You Are My Hiding Place, but the hymn, Jesu, Jesu (1982 Episcopal Hymnal #602) was another story. There are four measures in the verse part that stung me on first singing with that "why do I know this?" feeling and I was never able to determine an answer. One day, listening to Vivaldi's "La Primavera" (from The Four Seasons), I finally found it: there in the third movement, clearly the same motive. Not that there was any sharing between Vivaldi and the Ghanaian folk song that is the basis for the hymn—it's a simple phrase, bound to show up independently in many places—but I was thrilled to make the connection in my mind and resolve the mystery.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 6:46 am | Edit
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Jonathan is never cold. Our pool was a Florida-warm 77 degrees for his visit, but it didn’t take long for the rest of us to feel chilled when the sun was not shining. Not so Jonathan, who never flinched when entering the water, and was still happy after three hours’ immersion. This is the same child I watched run outside on a bitterly cold Pittsburgh winter day, shoeless and wearing only a diaper. His only unhappiness was with the killjoy adults who brought him back inside. Looking at Jonathan’s portly body, one might think his imperviousness to cold was related to excessive insulation. However, I have plenty of that and it doesn’t keep me warm in the pool. Infants, I have learned, are born with brown adipose tissue (“brown fat cells”), which unlike the white variety actually produce heat. This phenomenon is also seen in small mammals that live in cold environments, and in hibernating animals. I venture the claim that most of Jonathan’s plethora of fat cells are of the brown kind! Brown adipose tissue also helps protect against obesity, which may explain why so many mothers have told Heather stories of their own children, now grown and thin, who when young were as large as Jonathan. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 5:17 pm | Edit
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I just heard from Heather and Jonathan, who have safely navigated car and plane and bus and foot and are home in Pittsburgh. I didn't get any details because they are having problems with their phones at the moment. We miss their cheerful faces and voices!

What a memory Jonathan has. We haven't mentioned pretzels at all this week, but in the car on the way to the airport he suddenly declaimed, "Airplane, pretzels!" Obviously he was more impressed than most people with the in-flight food.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 4:55 pm | Edit
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