Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ladies and gentlemen, please clear the runway

We made it to Salt Lake - and just in time. We headed west just as the winter storm that paralyzed the Midwest and Northeast headed east. Luckily we flew through Dallas and avoided the 250 delayed flights at O'Hare. Zoe's preferred mode of travel is now the airplane. She slept longer and more peacefully in a crammed airplane at 30,000 ft. than she ever has in her car seat around town. Admittedly, we were a little anxious about air travel and a four-month old, but things went very smoothly. One incident, however, is worth reporting though it doesn't involve Zoe. On our way to Dallas I had to relieve myself of a little pre-flight hydration. As frequent travelers of all stripes know, airplane lavatories are, without a doubt, the place to avoid. They invariably appear on lists of "germiest" places and frequently feature sights and smells of which nightmares are made. Anyway, I walked all the way down the aisle under the gaze of the other passengers and entered the vacant stall. Turbulence didn't make it easy, but it was, in the end, uneventful. Immediately after returning to my seat, the flight attendant's voice came blaring, rather incoherently, over the loudspeaker: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats, the toilet is clogged." Needless to say, I turned bright red and watched with surprise as the captain emerged from the cockpit and rushed down the aisle toward the restroom. He was either in dire need of a pitstop or pilot training includes a course in unclogging airplane toilets. So, we're still debating whether the pilot couldn't wait and needed a clear path to the washroom, or if I have magic urine that clogs toilets. My guess is the former, but I think the crew on American Airlines flight 327 could have concocted a more tactful plan to get the captain to the bathroom.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

cold unconsciousness and snowsuit paralysis

Ice was the story this morning. For those not familiar with ice storms or freezing rain, it's a meteorological phenomenon nearly unsurpassed in resplendent charm. I found the best way to survey the effects is on one's back. The return to consciousness cast a glittering aura around the heavy, ice encrusted tree limbs; and it was there, at the bottom of our slippery stairs, that I thought of the blog. We bundled up Zoe, who suffered from a bit of snowsuit paralysis akin to Randy Parker in A Christmas Story, and took some pictures for our faithful readers.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Maa Maa and Peanut Butter Poop

Since we recently discovered Zoe's intolerance to both soy and dairy-based formula, we've been considering other options. One suggestion we heard frequently from both friends and medical professionals was goat's milk. Zoe seemed to like it. After all, despite the odor, the can claims it has a "gourmet taste" and that it's easier to digest than cow's milk. After finishing her first bottle, she took special notice of the goat picture in her flip-a-face baby animal book. Interestingly enough, the goat makes a "maa maa" sound, which made us wonder whether Zoe was getting a little confused about her true progenitor. Two days later, after a few bottles of premium goat's milk, we noticed a suspicious lack of dirty diapers. "What are you feeding me," she said? Well, soon thereafter, we discovered that goat's milk was not the solution to Zoe's eating woes. After returning from the pediatrician, we became aware that Zoe needed to be changed, and it was, naturally, my turn. Unzipping her hoodie, I detected something out of the ordinary up around her chest. POOP! Jenny later said it looked like a 24 oz. jar of peanut butter exploded in her diaper. It took 16 wipes to scrape it off. I considered taking a picture, but two things stopped me: I couldn't let my daughter wallow in her own filth and I feared the repercussions of posting inappropriate content to blogger. Anyway, the verdict on goat's milk: STAY AWAY!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ye Olde Gastronomic Adventure

Today's CU Sighting is located just north of campus at the crossroads of Green Street and First Street. Ye Olde Donut Shop and Hickory Pit Barbecue is sure to satisfy even the most insatiable appetite. Nowhere else but right here in Champaign-Urbana can the gastronomic adventurer be favored with the distinctive fusion of sugared pastries and spit-fired meat. Don't let the Old English deceive you; you won't find Grendel quaffing a cup of mead or a dress code calling for chain-
mail armor
, but shoes and shirts are a must. Zoe's first trip didn't turn out so well. We didn't make it in time to eat, but at least the parking lot was empty.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

meggan in bunnaland

This weekend we played host to Meggan. She got a brief respite from supervising those tiresome octogenarians and Zoe got to meet another aunt. So it was a pretty good deal for all of us. Zoe took to Meggan right away and we assume vice-versa.

We had beautiful fall weather today, which made the tour of campus both fun and, I might add, historically accurate!

It also provided us the opportunity to tour another of Champaign- Urbana's numberless places of interest. Tucked away in a quiet corner of campus, the grounds of The Institute for Genomic Biology feature a rather singular spectacle which represents today's CU Sighting. An undergraduate experiment in biomass conversion gone terribly wrong, these fellows stand as constant reminders of the frequent underestimation of the instability and biocomplexity of plant genomes and proteomics. You can also play a little game of "where's bunna?"

This one is for the grandparents.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

milk or beer? why choose one when you can have both?

Many of you have scoffed at us because of our faith in alternative medicine. We've heard the laughter as we administer our tinctured treatments from those tiny droppers; we've remained undeterred by the jibes about apple cider vinegar baths or avoiding red and yellow food dyes; and endured the countless jokes about a squirrel and a metal rod. Our homeopath's latest prescription for Jenny is by far my favorite. There's no telling what a bottle of beer before each feeding will do for milk production, but you can't beat the beer breath! Since Zoe gets what mom eats in one form or another, I suggested we dispense with a few steps of the process and try a more direct approach. She's had a steady diet of non- alcoholic beer today and things seem better, but we're out of pretzels.

Monday, November 12, 2007

bunna a fraud, mustache not real!

Ever since the second annual white trash party, I have been carrying an enormous burden. The only way to redeem myself and pay complete restitution to the deceived is to share the trade secrets of fake mustache application and grooming - an art revealed to me by one Captain Potassium. Here is a list of the supplies you'll need:

hair clippers
your wife's toothbrush
a paper towel (you may substitute a kleenex or toilet paper)
lotion or moisturizer

The first step in applying any type of fake facial hair, as any professional in the counterfeit whiskers industry will tell you, is to guarantee an exact color match. This can be achieved only by using your own hair. There are many ways to harvest the hair you'll need. Some collect stray clippings in the sink after shaving (though this can take weeks and you never know just when you'll need a fake mustache) and some swear by a product I'd rather not endorse: the Mangroomer. In the case at hand, after shaving my head in the shower, the stray hairs were carefully gathered with the toothbrush and swept onto a paper towel. The next step is more difficult and may require years of practice before your fake mustache goes undetected. Apply the lotion in the desired shape of your handsome new handlebars and press the trimmings to your face until you achieve the coverage you fancy. Here is where most impostors go wrong. Be careful not to over apply as excessively thick or patchy mustaches are easily recognized. Then, remove excess whiskers with the toothbrush until the Keiser Wilhelm inside you shines through. Oh, don't forget to rinse out your wife's toothbrush when you're done.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me; or, yer books are overdue, matey!

Today's CU Sighting is the monocular guardian of the library's main stacks. Strategically placed at the entrance to the university's enormous collection, this book-loving buccaneer gazes down at would-be library patrons in what could be considered the current library administration's version of Big Brother. Hugh C. Atkinson, University Librarian from 1976-1986, suffered a tragic reading accident in which he lost the use of his right eye and left hand. Atkinson was always fond of the hook prosthetic attachment, which he sheepishly concealed behind his back, yet preferred the freebooter fashion so accurately depicted in his portrait to other methods of ocular re-presentation. Atkinson, who strove tirelessly for tighter book binding regulations including blunt cover corners and edgeless paper, found his place recently in that Library of Congress in the sky. So, Bunna and Biff salute you, Captain Hugh C. Atkinson, (Arrrrrrgh!) for keeping reading safety your administration's first priority.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the perfect storm, too!

While two of our best friends were enjoying the breathtaking views of Canyonlands (a backpacking trip one of them called "The Perfect Storm"), we were busy stuffing 8 adults, 3 kids, and a newborn baby into our tiny house for Zoe's baby blessing. It was, you might say, a perfect storm. Really though, it was great to have everyone here for the special occasion and fun for Zoe to meet grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for the first time.

Grandma and Zoe in her beanie
Grandpa holding Zoe for the first time
Grandma and Grandpa spending a little time with Zoe
Garth, Ane, Gallagher, Atticus, and Eleanor pose for a picture with Zoe
Mom and Dad finally get to hold her!
Rico and Erin came all the way from Pittsburgh - thanks ya yinzers!
Gallagher and Zoe
All the cousins

Friday, November 2, 2007

another item for my cv

Today the university conferred on me a very prestigious award. Granted every university and state employee received the same honor, but after I failed the ethics course last year for completing the rather fatuous quiz too quickly (and was, furthermore, reprimanded by the Illinois State Ethics Committee and required to complete remedial ethics training), today's receipt is monumental. I think I'll frame it and hang it next to the certificate I received for my hole in one at the put-put course - the one I lied about. [Note: I have removed my last name from the certificate to protect my anonymity. If you would like to certify its authenticity, I welcome your perusal of said document.]

I don't want to feed her. You feed her!


We just found out Jenny's milk supply is running low. So when it comes to feeding Zoe, we've all had to help out a little. Since we couldn't miss the new episode of The Office, Zoe had to get her own food tonight. Lucky for us she's pretty good at feeding herself. The lactation consultant recommended an herbal supplement called Fenugreek that makes Jenny smell like maple syrup. Now I call her Aunt Jemima. I tossed and turned all night dreaming about sausages and silver dollar pancakes covered in maple syrup. I was as "a hungry man that dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty" (Isaiah 29:8). I'll have to make my way over to the IHOP tomorrow before I teach.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Today was Zoe's first Halloween! We had already come up with sweet pea as a little nickname for her, so this costume was the clear choice.
She worked one of the styrofoam peas free.
She wouldn't take her eyes off Mom for a picture!
Dad's pretty scary and he's not even wearing a costume. I thought we could go trick or treating to feed my sugar addiction, but her eating schedule got in the way and I didn't think most of our neighbors would take kindly to a 30 year old with an eye patch, a plastic sword, and a pillow case on their doorsteps. Arrrrrr! Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Swine Research Center Not to Blame for Stench...

I stepped outside on our back porch to enjoy the beautiful fall weather we've been having and discovered the origin of the ghastly odor that has been plaguing us the past few days: several of Christopher's dirty diapers mouldering in the unseasonably warm fall sunshine! Those filthy swine are off the hook for now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Swine Research Center

We've decided to add a new feature to our blog - something we call CU Sightings. As many of you know, since moving to Champaign-Urbana we have been enamored with the resplendent beauty of the verdant landscape and smitten with the rich cultural diversity of East Central Illinois. To celebrate and publicize the obscure and unheralded idiosyncrasies of the bustling metropolis that is Champaign-Urbana, we will be sharing with you, from time to time, some of the features, nay, monuments, that we hope will make this little neck of the woods your next vacation destination. Our first sighting, the University of Illinois' Swine Research Center, is right here in our own Village of Savoy. Sounds romantic doesn't it? When the barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature reach certain conditions, there wafts a particularly fetid odor through our quiet little village. No dirty diaper, no dog poop, no waste disposal facility can match the stench that hangs like soiled yellow underpants above the rooftops. Call ahead for your appointment and make sure to schedule your visit on Wednesdays. Free samples are available from noon until three.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zoe's Halloween costume came today. After a lot of consideration, we decided to go with the Sweet Pea costume - it was either that or a ridiculous monkey or an elephant with enormous ears. The package said 0-6 months, but I think a two-year old would fit inside this thing. I tried on the little hat. Maybe I'll go as the Sweat Pea. I can't really get my OJ Simpson costume to work.