Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poetry Month

April is poetry month: Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events. --

Well, April is about over. This month I was able to acquire a very rare 2nd edition of Marianne Moore's "Observations"--a much-sought book of poetry. It's difficult to get one's hands on a copy for much less than $1K, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this copy for $150.

I'll share one of the poems from "Observations entitled "Poetry:"

I too dislike it:
There are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
The bat, upside down; the elephant pushing,
a tireless wolf under a tree,
the base-ball fan, the statistician--
"business documents and schoolbooks"--
these phenomena are pleasing,
but when they have been fashioned
into that which is unknowable,
we are not entertained.
It may be said of all of us
that we do not admire what we cannot understand;
enigmas are not poetry.

So that's an argument enshrined in poetry on what poetry is not. I'd like to argue one point about what poetry is good for.

I drive to work along nearly the same route except for rare occasions. I've needed to take a different route and then remember this half-way and have had to turn around. For a variety of mysterious reasons the human mind forms conventions and then once established, not much thought is necessary.

The comparison with electric circuits is applicable. After all, the brain connects one synapse with another and is said to use electricity. The more a circuit is used, the lower the impedance and then a path of least resistance is formed.

Good poetry I think causes thought to jump the track of conventional thinking and can produce an episode of rare discovery and learning. This is not only possible with the concepts treated by the poem within the world of ideas, but also with the words themselves of which the poem is composed.

A poem can cause one to admit something like "Had I not encountered this poem, I never in a million years would have associated those two things together" or "I would never have pictured that scene in exactly that way" or "I would never have thought to use that word."

Reading, thinking about and writing poetry is a good panacea to brain rot. It's an active rather than passive endeavor and can constitute a strenuous form of mental exercise. Happy reading. Your brain will love you for it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm such a loser

In fact, the Biggest Loser! That's right folks, I ended up winning the biggest loser contest we had with friends out here. I ended up losing 16.58% of my starting weight. I can't help but feel pretty awesome about it. What really matters, though, is the state of my health. I feel like I am in a much healthier place than I have been in a long time. I'm stronger now- much more fit. I think I'm healthier than when I was this weight in the past. This is what's really important. Healthy habits and attitudes are what I want to pass onto my girls. From here on, I plan on continuing my healthier habits, but not obsessing so much over my numbers. Anyway, here's what I look like today. I had been rubbing my eyes a bit due to the awesome state of allergy itchiness I find my self in nearly constantly.

I'm reluctant to find a "before" picture, but know that I got some jeans just after Christmas that I can't wear now. When I bought them, I had to suck in a little bit to do them up. Now, I really can't wear them. they are simply too big.
Well, it's been a over a week since I've posted any pictures of my cuties. Here are some of the latest.
Cute, even when the top of her head is cut off. We got her six month portraits taken recently, and there was a mix up as to when. We had some time to kill and there were some killer after Easter sales. I ended up getting each girl a pretty outfit. The above is Alice in her new duds...

And this is Sally in her new dress. I love finding super sales on such adorable items!
Alice loves to play outside, though it' s already starting to get super hot. We need to play in the water a lot this summer.

I don't remember what she's looking at, but I love her expression.

Alice Marie is such a sweet girl! She loves bathtime, but usually not after. She doesn't like the lotion. this was probably pre-lotion. Super cute.
Even sweet with fingers in her mouth. Check out miss Sally's eyelashes- they are SO long and SO curly! She didn't get that from me, though I wish she did.
I'll leave you with a couple of funny and cute sleep pictures.
You can't really tell, but Alice's leg is much higher than the rest of her body. It was propped up against the side of her crib.

Today, I peeked in at Sally during her nap. This is what I saw. How did she fall asleep like that? Too funny.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Child's Prayer

Yesterday, Sally and I were sitting down to lunch. Usually, when she prays, she repeats after me, and then adds some things she's thankful for. Yesterday, however, she wanted to do it all by herself. This is what she said.

"Father in Heaven, thankful for this day. Bless the food, make us strong. Thank you that Jesus came back. Name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I was so moved and proud. I love to see my daughter grow in every way, but to see her grow spiritually is something special. I was especially touched by her being thankful for Jesus coming back. We talked about this a bit around Easter, but it's not something we say in prayers all the time, though we should. It really is the most important thing to be thankful for. Sweet and astute little Sally, thank you for making me remember what's really important.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pix from the Mix

This is pretty much pictures of my girls. A scrapbooking entry, if you will. There isn't much rhyme or reason, but lots of cuteness. Grandma's, enjoy.
Oh, and I love spring, but it doesn't love me back. My allergies are HORRIBLE right now. I look horrible, with constantly puffy eyes, and I swear my nose grows even bigger, if that's possible. I continually have people tell me I don't look well. That's an ego boost for you. Anyway, on to the good stuff.
I LOVE Sally's face in this picture. She is so loving those daddy tickles!

Can you see who is in the background? Thomas! I'm more impressed with Bill. Isn't he so handsome? We got to ride him at Six Flags. We were there for an afternoon because I played there with Ryan Casper. I think he got some good exposure. It was fun too!

Little Alice. What a cutie. I never really use headbands, but I thought she looked adorable.

Look at her, sitting up like a big girl.

This is hard to tell what's going on, but they are both dead asleep in the car- notice the slumped head. Also notice their clasped hands. Very sweet.

This is the best I could get of the girls in their Easter outfits. Neither was very cooperative, but they did look cute.

I love the Joy on Alice Marie's face- she loves playing with her big sister!

Funny that They were making the same face.

Sally will put two tiles together and ask you to read her these "books". Sometimes, she tells stories too. Today, she told Bill a very in depth story involving wolves and houses, treats after dinner, and the words,"you'll always be a part of me." It's so fun to see her play like this. I love to peek in on her when she doesn't know I'm there. Her stuffed animals are mostly nice, but occasionally get time-outs. Very cute.

We got to meet all the Looney Tunes characters- which was a real treat for me. I LOVE them! Sally wanted to get close, but then got nervous. She kept her fingers in her mouth most of the time.

The camera was on a weird setting, so it's black and white, but who doesn't like to meet Foghorn Leghorn?

Alice was cute in her summer hat.

I love seeing cardinals about. I never saw one till we moved out here.

In the previous post, I mentioned how Alice will suck on my chin on occasion. Apparently, too hard. Yes, that's a hickey given to me by my six month old.

Pretty in pink

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Things to Remember

I just wanted to take a moment to record some things about my great girls that I want to remember. Here are ten things each.

"Dad, you're the best." I loved seeing this. It was out of the blue.
She'll ask us questions she knows the answers to, and when we respond she'll say congratulate us with a "Good Job!"

"Mama, can I (fill in the blank)? Yes or no." If the answer is no, she'll respond, "Yes?" over and over again. She starts this very calm, but sometimes gets frantic if the answer continues to be no. The girl is persistent.

She still talks about playing the cello. Whenever I talk about me playing the violin, she always talks about how she's going to play the cello. I'm excited she has the desire now! I hope it will last. I would love to have a string quartet in our family, she can definitely follow in Uncle Deej's footsteps.
"I'm getting bigger! And Alice is getting bigger! And you're getting smaller!" I hope that's true.

She loves to build things and line things up in trains, We recently were the lucky recipients of some magna-tiles. I love to see her play with these. She makes lots of shapes and pretends they are all kinds of things- dogs, trains buildings, airplanes, faces. I love to see her imagination work.
While watching conference, she would get so excited when anyone would say anything she's familiar with. "He said Holy Ghost!" "He said Joseph Smith!" "He said temple!" Each time she'd be wicked excited and continue saying it until we responded. That's very much her style.

When we pray, I love to hear the things she says she is thankful for. She'll always say each member of our little family, and a sprinkling of extended family members and friends. She usually will say something in nature like flowers or butterflies. Teletubbies and books- especially "You can do it Sam" and "Goodnight my Angel", very often make the list. Sometimes, it's yummy treats.
She loves helping Alice. She'll give her toys (though sometimes take them) and give her a binky. She'll get me diapers and wipes. She will tell her she loves her and give her hugs and kisses and holds her hand.

She independently declares her love for us and gives big hugs.

The girl LOVES food! She only hasn't liked the turkey, which is pretty much like cat food- I don't blame her. Other than that, she can't get enough of eating.
She will put her hands on either of my cheeks and "kiss" me.

Sometimes, she'll suck on my chin or nose.

She's sitting up on her own. She does better when she has something in her hands, otherwise she's searching for something to put in her hands.

She's very good with her hands, her small motor skills rule! She can easily do all the activities in her exersaucer and pick up her binky and put it in her mouth

She can twist her tongue in a way I can't- turn it upside down. She does this a lot.

She's starting to move- but backwards! She'll kind of get on hands and knees (only for a moment and much more hands than knees) when she gets down, she'll move backwards. She's moved off several blankets this way.

She's a cuddler. She'll burrow into my shoulder or neck and then come away for a moment to give me a smile. Then, she'll go back to that sweet cuddling.

She's a mama's girl. When I'm around, she's a pretty "easy" baby. Very laid back and easily soothed. When I'm away, however, I guess she sometimes struggles. That's what they tell me at the gym. Sometimes, I get called out of my workout to take care of her. As soon as she sees me, everything is okay again. I know that isn't the best thing, but it makes me feel good to know we have that special bond.

Her smile is so bright. It's easy to come by and impossible not to give one back.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Take on Portland

Emily did a nice post on Portland. I'd like to add a post since it's my home town.

It's not hard to have a good time in Portland! We managed it this year in March while it rained and snowed.

Go east about 40 minutes, you can drive up the Columbia River Gorge, a high-end scenic drive with great lookouts, parks, hikes and waterfalls.

Any fans of the movie Twilight out there? Well, I noticed a picture of the Multnoma Falls in the closing credits. That's the more famous waterfall that we visited in the Gorge. It's got a nice lodge at the base where we had lunch.

It might take an hour going east to be at Mt. Hood where there's snow year-round. So, if you need mountains, the Cascade Mountain Range is there for you.

Feeling land-locked and want to go to the beach? No problem. Head west for under two hours and you're at the Scenic Oregon Coast.

Portland is one of those cities with a river running through it with bridges going across the river and waterfront parks. In March, the Saturday Market opens up down by the waterfront in the historic district.

I hope that gives you some idea of why this is a cool city to live nearby.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Technical Print Article Published

I wrote a technical article on T-SQL techniques in 2008 on They round up some of the best articles of the year and publish a "Best of book each year." The 2008 book is volume 6. Red Gate Software makes this publication available. My article called "Owning the Spelling Suggestion Feature" is in there. I'm excited to have a technical article published in print!