Archive | January, 2011

Night moves

10 Jan

I’ve spent a lot of late nights at the O’Colly. This is just one more of them.

We publish for the first time tomorrow (spring 2011, that is) and I’ve got a really competent staff this time around. Not that others haven’t been good, but each semester there’s a certain personality that attaches itself to the editorial board, and this one is all business, which suits me just fine.

Tomorrow they’ve got a killer picture of the men’s basketball game on the front, as well as a story about charges against our mayor being dropped. Not sure what all else will be in there, but it’s already (from what I can see peaking over shoulders unobtrusively) pretty clean and strong.

I take this job way too seriously. I don’t think my staff has any inkling how emotionally invested I am in their work. I feel so many responsibilities that it sometimes feels overwhelming. I feel responsible for their futures in journalism, which is probably the scariest part. I feel responsible for the role of the O’Colly on campus, both as part of a free press and as an institution that I have to educate people about. I feel responsible for the campus reaction to what my students do, and a responsibility to educate that public about the mistakes and why they happen. I feel responsible for their grades and their finances, and of course I feel responsible that they learn about journalism and working in general.

That, as I said, is a lot of responsibilities.

But when I spend an evening in my office watching them slowly get the paper out the door and overhear their comments and conversations and laughter, I am reminded that this job is a blessing, as is our republic and our right to free speech.

What students learn down here about themselves and their community and world can’t be replicated by any other experience. The late nights and stress suck, but you leave here changed. The people you meet, the stories you tell and the experiences you give to people just can’t be understood by those who haven’t lived through it.

And I am just happily reminded of that when I spend an evening in this basement that has once again become my home.

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“They were covered in this white film, so I looked away.”

9 Jan

I am happy to report that my brother is a daddy, twice removed. Rather, twice involved.

Here’s Genevieve, the problem child:

(Problem child: Supposedly only one kidney, possible calcium deposits around her heart, low amniotic fluid, loves Justin Beiber.)

Here’s her twin sister Analiese:

Those are some cute preemies, if I do say so myself. I think they look like my brother, but then also like my sister-in-law. Of course, I’m convinced you can make any baby look like a parent if you think hard enough about it. In fact, I could probably convince myself they look like Ralph Nader.

Here is Mom with her girls. She had some issues in the day following the birth feeling pretty miserable without them. Happy here to be holding them both at the same time — my sister V caught this shot when she went to the NICU this morning:

I think momma-and-baby pictures in the hours following birth are super unfair. Here’s a picture wherein you can see how hot she is in real life.

Is it considered poor form for bloggers to transition into photos with “Here’s a photo of …”? In other words, are you guys getting sick of me saying, “Here is a picture of …”? Well, screw you. Here’s a picture of me licking my third neice, Mera:

See how much she loves me? I’m an awesome aunt.

But back to the new nieces. Turns out both babies are happy and healthy, and while Genevieve may in fact have only one kidney, Analiese has eight, so she’s going to give one to Genevieve and auction off the others to help offset hospital costs. In all seriousness, though, we are all thrilled that the babies are thriving. It was truly an emotional group effort, whether the parents liked it or not. There were some issues with gettin’ the little ones goin’ in the first place, and once they were up and running, it seemed like the parents had to deal with information overload along with possible issues (most of which, obviously, turned out to be totally null and void). This took a toll on the people who loved them, and the overwhelming relief we all shared Thursday evening was cause for celebration.

Vivian and I drove in from Stillwater and met everyone at the hospital as soon as we found out the C-section had been scheduled. It turned out to be a late night, and Vivian didn’t end up getting to see the girls, but we were both soooo glad we were there to share in the true joy these two families felt.

I know babies are born every day, and they are all special, but these two little gals had a lot of people pulling for them, and a lot happy to see them in the flesh.

My favorite moment in all of this was the text I got from my brother moments before the Caesarean: “This shit is about to go down.”

So, what have we learned from this birth?

  • When they come into your hospital room and take your food, that means this shit is about to go down.
  • You can most certainly have beer in the Hilcrest Women’s Center.
  • If you look up over the sheet at the actual operation as it’s taking place, you will see a gash in your wife’s side from which doctors are pulling out your first-born female child, who is going to be covered in some white film, at which point you’re probably wise to just look back down at your wife and smile like this is the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, not the grossest. Hands-down grossest.

 

Dogs and cats, living together …

4 Jan

I have a puppy. His name is Baxter. Here he is guarding some turtles (Dirk Diggler and Linda Lovelace are their names):

Baxter is a very smart and loyal little guy, but he’s mostly (apparently) Jack Russell. Oops. Not such a good choice for a family with no fenced yard. That is to say that Mommie has lost some meat from her bones running this dog around and around and around the neighborhood.

Also sharing our household is Petey, a cat:

Because I want to stay married, I’ll withhold the photos of Billy and Petey snuggled up on the bed. This happens daily. If Billy continues to stay thin and neat, his relationship with this cat is going to put him well over the 50 percent mark, if you know what I’m saying. (His vast porn collection, of course, is testament otherwise, but I digress).

So here’s the word ratio, or algebraic equation, or whatever the hell they call this on the ACT. I wasn’t, frankly, paying attention.

Baxter is to Bob as Petey is to Billy.

That is to say that I love my dog, and Billy loves his cat. As it just so happens, I, too, love Petey. She is a truly awesome cat. She’s sweet, purrs if you look at her, loves to cuddle up and watch TV or nap, but also loves to play — she even puts up with Baxter chasing her and trying to lick all the hair off her head.

But Billy? He’s not so in love with Baxter. I feel like if Baxter would shit in a box and purr instead of bark, he’d be golden. But until he can do that, he’s in for an uphill battle in getting Billy to love him. Not that Baxter doesn’t try. It’s like he senses Billy’s intense disinterest in him — like Billy is the quarterback and Baxter is the fat cheerleader who hopes if she just jumps high enough or splits wide enough, she’ll finally win his love. Except Baxter is neither fat, nor a cheerleader, and frankly I think it’s uncool to make fat jokes. Maybe Fantasy Cheerleader Transgendered Baxter has a thyroid disorder, OK?

And, to be totally honest, maybe Bob didn’t exact ASK Billy’s permission before finding a free puppy on Craigslist and bringing him home. Maybe she was so desperate to find her child a playmate/guardian that she didn’t really bother to fully discuss this with her life partner. So I’m just suggesting there’s a tiny bit of resentment on Billy’s part that Baxter is even in the house at all. Just on background. Billy has been kind, as he always is, but there’s just not a lot of love.

Anyway, over the break I talked Billy into taking a hike with me and Baxter at a lake near here. During that time, Baxter did the following:

  • Ran around like crazy
  • Kept pretty close to his people
  • Waded in a pond
  • Chased a terrified armadillo
  • Rolled in feces

I feel like we made some real progress with Billy and the first four items on the list. The fecal matter was somewhat off-putting, as we had to ride home with a creature that smelled like a slaughterhouse. However, since that day, when Billy got to see my little buddy in his true state (not crammed into a little house begging for attention) I feel like maybe he’s turned a corner into perhaps learning to really love the little guy.

I mean, I don’t expect to see them curled up in bed any time soon, but still …

Eleven seems so big

3 Jan

So my baby girl turns 11 in two days, and to celebrate, we had a New Year’s Eve slumber party with Gracie, Vivi’s best friend from Tulsa, and her new friends here in Stillwater.

Gracie and Vivian got things started earlier in the week with a dress-up party at my mom’s while the grown-ups watched OSU win in the Alamo Bowl.

The party itself started with a pasta dinner followed by ice skating at Stillwater’s temporary holiday rink. This town, I must admit, does have some cute traditions.

However, the night of the party, it was LITERALLY 8 degrees with the wind chill. I sadly suspected this adventure would last all of a few minutes. But no. They lasted almost an hour and a half.

Here they are before:

They had a great time,

 

Especially these two, who’d never been skating before:

WordPress ate the rest of this post … I’ll try to re-update later.

Grandbaby lottery

2 Jan

So I was thinking that if my brother and his wife had their twins on Jan. 4, that would mean that officially one half of my parent’s grandchildren would be born on the same day. What are the odds?

What you need to know

2 Jan

1. I’ve spend years justifying why I should or should not write about my life. It’s always more fun when I do. And it’s always more fun when people can read it. I guess those who roll their eyes at other peoples’ self-promotion (myself included) should lighten up and just go with it. It’s 2011. People are going to talk about themselves, increasingly exponentially from now until the apes take over.

This is a picture of turtles having sex in my yard. THAT'S how interesting shit can get around here.

2. Even though it goes against my true self, I feel like I should tone down my language. For example, I wanted to type above “Motherfuckers are going to talk …” but what if children read this? Children should be asleep by now, anyway. What? It’s noon where you are? Try drugging them. That works for me.  Google “safely drugging children.”

3. Don’t really do that. I’ve never done it. But frankly I’m curious now. Let me know what you find.

4. Let’s face it — my life isn’t terribly interesting, but it’s more interesting than the shit I could make up. Example: I’ve been like, “Surely I could write a novel. There’s so much tripe out there.” And so far the best scenario I’ve come up with is a series about a housewife who develops superpowers because she’s friends with God. Who the fuck is going to read that? Besides my mom?

5. Still, my life is kind of interesting, and while I probably can’t always be totally honest (there are some heinous, HEINOUS assholes I’ve had the misfortune of knowing, and they know who they are but I can’t really go into details) I can still hopefully weave a good yarn.

6. And maybe post some photos? And videos?

7. Google “Barbara Allen.” It’s a song. It’s where I get the title. It’s about a girl who breaks a guy’s heart in a bar. He dies of said broken heart. Is that me or what? Hanging out in a tavern, I mean.

8. Here’s what I look forward to all year:

This photo has not been edited in any way.