Archive for the ‘Ramblings Off Topic’ category

this is only a test

July 31, 2017

So as you know, I have four adult children. Each is married. Thus there are eight people I am emotionally, or at least legally, attached to that I have gotten to know pretty well. And without exception, they are fine people.

But do they read my blog?

I don’t think so. Back in the day some would read Roundrock Journal and even leave comments on it. Snarky comments generally, but comments showing they’d read it. That practice seemed to fade over the years.

I don’t think any of them read this blog. So this post is a test, and a taunt. Let’s see if any of them acknowledge this post in any way.

(And to those of you who visit regularly and/or comment, thank you!)

babies and babies

July 27, 2017

You would think it was all babies around here, as much as I’ve been posting about this news (here and elsewhere), and it pretty much is. My wife came home from two weeks of grandma-duty in New York to bring more reports of the babies, their brother, my daughter (the momma), and her husband. So it’s been a high profile matter in my life recently.

You see Rett and Evie (Everett Travis and Elizabeth Viola) about a week old above. They actually made a trip to Starbucks this week, though I can remember the days when you didn’t dare take a newborn outside of your house for weeks and did your best to limit visitors bringing in nasty germs. The day my wife returned from NYC, their other grandmother arrived for a stay of more than a month. It happens that she’s an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, so she should be handy with mom and baby.

But these aren’t the only babies that deserve a shout out.

One day several years ago, my son and I returned from a weekend at the cabin to find new members of our family. Being unsupervised, my wife had gone to a bird show (there, apparently, are such things) and found herself in possession of a pair of love birds, whom she named George and Gracie. Lest you be misconceiving these things, love birds don’t coo and chirp. They screech! And they bite! There’s nothing lovely about love birds aside from their pair bonding and bright colors. But there they were, members of the family.

And the two made many unsuccessful attempts to expand the family. In an ill-advised maneuver to abet their plans, my wife added a nesting bowl to their cage. After a time, Gracie began filling it with sterile eggs. She would sit on them hopefully for weeks and weeks, and eventually my wife would remove the fetid things and crack them open above the garbage disposal, always finding them unfertilized. Yet it continued.

And it happened again in the weeks before her trip to New York. There was a clutch of three eggs in the nesting bowl, and my wife wanted to clean them out of there before she left, so the morning before her departure, she reached into the bowl and then tugged her hand back quickly, having touched something soft and yielding among the eggs.

As you’ve guessed, it was a hatchling. George and Gracie had finally managed to get it right. The trouble was, my wife, the primary caregiver to all living things in our house, would be leaving the next day, and would these unexperienced parents be able to care for their offspring as well as she could?

But go she did. And parent their offspring George and Gracie did. Behold below the two-plus week old baby love bird:

I was on duty as primary human caregiver for the first two weeks of Ronnie’s life (points to the first one to come up with the obvious source to that name), and in that time he (I say it’s a he, but I don’t know that, and “Ronnie” is sufficiently androgynous to serve) fell out of the nest twice, falling 10 or so inches to the wire floor of the cage to huddle in a corner, sometimes attended by his mother and sometimes not. I returned him to the nest both times, getting bitten for my trouble, but the third time I just left him down there, assuming that the fall was probably worse than whatever hardships he (she? it?) might suffer on the floor of the cage. Ronnie didn’t seem to be any worse for it.

When my wife returned and examined the situation, having assumed Ronnie would die on my tenure, we moved the nest lower on the side of the cage so that should Ronnie fall out again, the fall wouldn’t be as far.

And so the household expands. I was never too pleased to have love birds added to the mix, but seeing them finally work out how to bring forth offspring, I’m willing to concede them their success. (And what choice do I have anyway?)

name calling

July 26, 2017

I was (indirectly) called a Yankee once, and it was only because the woman who said it turned to me and quickly apologized that I understood I had just been insulted. I was at a bed and breakfast in Amarillo, Texas and the proprietor was chatting with another guest at breakfast, speaking of a past guest who was a know-it-all type, dismissing him as a Yankee. That was when she apologized to me, obviously having lumped me into that same group because I was from “the North.”

I’ve always considered myself a Midwesterner, a beast apart from a Yankee, which I associate mostly with New England and Abolition, neither of which I have much experience with. Nor had I ever considered the term Yankee to be pejorative. I mean, I understand there was that little bother of the War Between the States with its residues lingering to the present day. But I didn’t understand ┬áthe weight that was in that word.

I still don’t consider myself a Yankee, but I didn’t correct the woman because I don’t suppose you want to be seen as a know-it-all in front of a Texan.

coincidences, of the obstetric kind

July 17, 2017

Yesterday, thirty-three years ago, my twin sons were born. Also yesterday, this year, my twin grandchildren were born: a boy and then a girl. So my twin sons’ twin niece and nephew were born on their birthday.

It also happens that I was born on my mother’s birthday. And I have twin sisters, so that’s three generations in my family with twins.

The coincidences go on: my twin sisters were born on Thanksgiving day, one of my brothers was born on Easter, and another was born on the Fourth of July. (A friend once told me that my mother planned it that way to get out of cooking for those holidays.)

The twins were not due until next month, and my wife happened to be up there in New York this week caring for my grandson Kenneth while his very pregnant mama got some rest. It was a lucky coincidence that the babies came while she was in town. She returns to Kansas City tomorrow,* but the twin’s aunt arrives in New York tomorrow as well to take on the elder childcare duties while mama and the babies come home and get settled. After their aunt leaves, their other grandma arrives for possibly a month-long stay. Coincidentally, she is an OBGYN Nurse Practitioner, so she will pretty much be the right person in the right place at the right time.

The girl twin was showing low oxygen saturation levels soon after birth and was shuttled off to the NICU. Apparently this is routine and easily dealt with, so no one is worried much. But Dad went with his new daughter to NICU while Mom stayed in her room with her new son. And because they were separated for much of the day on Sunday, they waited until the afternoon to announce the babies’ names, by texting, of course.

And here they are:

  • Everett Travis, who weighed 5 pounds and 9 ounces
  • Elizabeth Viola, who weighed 6 pounds and 3 ounces

(For those of you keeping score, I have five grandchildren, and all but one have a name beginning with “E”: Kenneth, Elaheh, Emmett, Everett, and Elizabeth.)


*Plans (and planes) changed. My wife is now staying another week in NYC to help with the babies and their older brother. This will make the sleeping arrangements in their house a little challenging since someone is going to end up on the couch.

it’s Iris Murdoch’s birthday today

July 15, 2017

but you probably already knew that!

lessons I’ve learned

July 13, 2017

Not many, but a few have managed to stick.

I run in Hoka Bondi 5 shoes. (“Run” is a generous word to describe what I do, by the way.) I began running with this brand when they were selling the Bondi 3 shoes, progressed through the 4s, and am now on my second pair of the 5s. They seem a good fit for me, and I no longer have the ankle ache I had when I wore a different maker’s shoe. But I did have a problem with the Hokas. The insole would slide back when I ran and bunch against my heel. (This is no longer a problem, not because they fixed it, but because I remove the insole and replace it with rigid arch supports that I’ve been running in regularly for more than a year.) Anyway, when I went to the expo for the Portland Marathon, there was a Hoka representative there, and I asked him about the insole problem. He was immediately familiar with it. This bothered me a little since there was obviously a design flaw, but no one had bothered to mention it when I bought the shoes. Otherwise they have been fine shoes and I’ve remained brand loyal. (And at the price of running shoes, I can’t afford to experiment with other brands.)

Similarly, I recently got new glasses. Once again, I stuck with the same frame (a lightweight, flexible titanium arm on each side of frameless lenses). The optician who was helping me suggested that they could simply put new lenses in the frames I already had, thus saving me some money. I said that I wanted to keep my current pair as back ups (since I will soon have five grandchildren, and grandchildren have a free pass to crawl on my head). I added, as I was talking with the optician, that both of the titanium arms had broken at different times and needed replacement. He smiled and said something like “So you know about that little problem, eh?” Again, a design flaw that would not have been revealed to me had I not mentioned it first.


By the way, this is the 1,000th post on Lucky Rabbit’s Foot.

it’s Thoreau’s birthday today

July 12, 2017

but you probably already knew that!