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.