April Photo Update

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Abraham and Adam Harvey - Photo taken by Becca Riker on 26 April 2011.

Abraham turned the buck­et in­to a hat on his own. Photo by Becca Riker.

Whiskey Island

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

On the first day
we're free to be together,
on a beach that won't be sand
anytime soon,
I'm sifting
weathered bits of glass
from the scree.

A shadow beside me, you pick
at pebbles.

     We hunker

from the last lift
presses air
each leaf
on Whiskey Island.

     Your eyes turn into Adam's
     at his first sight of Creation-
          and you've heard the sound
          of the Lord God walking
          in the garden.

          I bear you toward it
          swift as
          His Breath.

We almost miss the freighter,
but I hoist you
up and we crest
the last hill
to watch a tug struggle
to true the Calumet's bow.

     At this moment
     you first learn what
     Boats Are.

At last
her prop begins
to churn and
as she greets the wide lake, you

carried on my shoulders
to the mouth of the Cuyahoga.

This po­em has been sim­mer­ing for near­ly a year now, and the day that in­spired it will al­ways be spe­cial to me. I was very con­cerned that it not be mawk­ish or cliché. I’m still not con­vinced I made it work, and I think it could still use some pol­ish, es­pe­cial­ly clar­i­fi­ca­tion of sub­jects & ob­jects. Since it has been sim­mer­ing so long, I fig­ure I’d bet­ter pub­lish it be­fore I nev­er pub­lish it. Thanks to Steve Goldberg & Milenko Budimir for the work­shop help.

A Good Day

Monday, 17 January 2011

I was chas­tised to­day for not writ­ing on this thing fre­quent­ly enough, so here’s what to­day was like.

Bram woke up and crawled in­to bed with me around 7:15 AM and then I got a call from my mom with a com­put­er is­sue around 7:30. Washed, break­fast­ed and bored by 10, we head­ed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and heard the fol­low­ing jokes while on the heat­ed tram be­tween Northern Trek & the Cathouse:

  • Q: Where does a kan­ga­roo go for break­fast?
    A: IHOP.
  • Q: Where does a kan­ga­roo go for din­ner?
    A: Outback.
  • Q: Why don’t seag­ulls fly over the bay?
    A: Then they’d be bagels.
  • Q: When an ele­phant goes on a trip where does he pack his clothes?
    A: In his trunk.
  • Q: How do you stop an ele­phant from charg­ing?
    A: Take away his cred­it cards.

Incidentally, the zoo is half price ad­mis­sion when the tem­per­a­ture is be­low freez­ing, so we both got in for $6 to­tal. We saw a go­ril­la eat­ing its own fe­ces in the same man­ner that a oenophile en­joys a nice glass. I told Abraham not to get any ideas. I al­so ran in­to my friend Alice, which is al­ways a nice sur­prise.

Had lunch and sat with Bram un­til he fell asleep for a long nap, dur­ing which time I goofed around on the in­ter­net. After nap­time we went sled­ding at Clark Fields, which is per­fect for tod­dlers but ex­haust­ing for dads car­ry­ing tod­dlers & sleds back up snowy hills. Since I car­ried him through­out the zoo as well, I got a pret­ty good work­out to­day. After din­ner we watched the Sylvester Stallone episode of the Muppet Show & put to­geth­er a big Thomas the Tank Engine puz­zle (he’s get­ting re­al­ly good with puz­zles).

UPDATE: I al­so pro­grammed two macros in­to my re­mote (some­thing I should have done ages ago) and lis­tened to my vinyl of Baroness’ Blue Record which made me ful­ly ap­pre­ci­ate the mon­ey I shelled out for nice speak­ers.

Once he conks out I’m ei­ther go­ing to have some hot choco­late with Bailey’s or a bour­bon & Dr. Pepper.

How Becoming a Parent Changed Me

Friday, 1 October 2010

Becoming a par­ent does change things. I’ve heard that near­ly my en­tire life, but no one has been able to suc­cess­ful­ly ex­plain what the hell the state­ment means. It just rings a bit hol­low as an un­ex­plained tru­ism. However! I think I’ve fig­ured out a cou­ple of ways to ex­plain things; or, at least, ex­plain how be­com­ing a par­ent changed me.


Watching Bram dis­cov­er the world al­lows me to dis­cov­er it again. I used to boast that I’d nev­er lose a child­like sense of won­der, but watch­ing the lit­tle bear wig out over a train or an or­ange car shows me just how much I’d lost of that amaze­ment. One of the com­plete­ly un­ex­pect­ed and un­de­served ben­e­fits of be­ing a par­ent is the abil­i­ty to re­live those first mo­ments of won­der vic­ar­i­ous­ly. This vic­ar­i­ous feel­ing is sweet­ened and en­hanced by a nos­tal­gia born of re­mem­ber­ing things you’d for­got­ten you’d known. Being with Bram when he saw a freighter leave the mouth of the Cuyahoga from the Coast Guard Station at Whiskey Island pro­vid­ed me with lay­ers and lay­ers of emo­tion stretch­ing from my own child­hood: nos­tal­gia at that lev­el of en­thu­si­asm, the joy of re­mem­ber­ing some mo­ments of my own tod­dler ex­pe­ri­ences; and in­to the present: vic­ar­i­ous­ly ex­pe­ri­enc­ing that emo­tion again, grat­i­tude at be­ing present for your own child’s mo­ment of satori, and pride that you in some way fa­cil­i­tat­ed the process.

Extrapolating from here, I imag­ine that grand­par­ents feel much of the same; a third chance to ex­pe­ri­ence child­hood with the added bonus of a sec­ond chance to ex­pe­ri­ence par­ent­ing.

Reference Manual

I’ve gained a whole new per­spec­tive of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the par­ent­ing ex­am­ples of my par­ents. When I find my­self in a sit­u­a­tion where I’m un­sure of how to pro­ceed, I can think back to what worked and didn’t work on me, and adapt those lessons to what­ev­er I’m try­ing to fig­ure out with lit­tle bear. If I find my­self sec­ond-guess­ing or un­sure of my de­ci­sions, I know I’m just a phone call away from a to­tal pro.

So, par­ent­ing has changed my life by the ad­di­tion of con­text; vic­ar­i­ous nos­tal­gia by al­low­ing me to com­pare my child­hood to my son’s & a whole new ref­er­ence man­u­al of be­hav­iors com­ing from what I ob­served about par­ent­ing be­fore I be­came one my­self. I un­der­stand that some folks don’t get why oth­ers would want to be par­ents, and that’s cool. For me, it’s al­ready pro­vid­ed a wealth of new and old ex­pe­ri­ences that I nev­er would have ex­pect­ed, and that I ex­pect will nev­er end.

Cumulative Review Part 2 — The Yeah!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Instead of writ­ing a post about all of the great things that hap­pened in the last decade, I fig­ured the fol­low­ing video is just as elo­quent.

Guest Blogger

Friday, 18 December 2009

This has been one crazy week. Abraham's regular babysitter has been in the hospital for over a week now, and he's been shuttled all over the place (including a new temporary babysitter) until DeeDee is back home. I've been baking in every spare moment, and work has been hectic with last-minute high-priority site building. So. I'm gonna sit back and let Bram type the rest of this post.



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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

I had to take the day off of work be­cause Bram has an ear in­fec­tion. First we had to spend an in­ter­minable 2.5 hours at MetroHealth, but get­ting his $3 pre­scrip­tion one door down from the pe­di­atric clin­ic was nice. It’s that pink stuff that tastes like bub­ble gum.

Instead of study­ing for my Intro to Public Adminstration fi­nal, which is to­mor­row, I baked. Dark choco­late brown­ies (so dark they look like coal), 7 lay­er bars, and choco­late-dipped pret­zel rods. So much to do, so lit­tle time left be­fore the hol­i­days.