Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stairclimbing and garage doors

I didn't intend for this blog thing to be a Keegan update page, but the kid keeps doing things that I find worth talking about. And I couldn't think of anything particularly humorous and/or profound to write about. [Sorry for the prepositions ending those 2 consecutive sentences.] So Keegan turned 16 months the other day. No wild trip to Vegas to celebrate, but the occasion does seem to have coincided with some new-found tricks from the little guy.

Last night, I did the usual thing when I get home from work. I went upstairs to change clothes. I mean who wants to sit around and watch Jericho in a suit? (And is it me or has Skeet Ulrich been taking acting lessons from David Caruso's School of Overacting?) Normally, we keep a gate at the bottom of the stairs so Keegan can't climb up there and then fall back down. For whatever reason (ask Jen, because I don't know), the gate wasn't there last night. As I reached the top of the stairs, I looked back and K-Man was standing at the bottom looking up at me. He seemed a bit befuddled because the gate wasn't there -- thinking "Wait a minute. Is this a trap? There's usually a gate here. Will I get yelled at if I start climbing the stairs?" I just watched him ponder his situation. He looked up at me again and started climbing.

Now up until very recently, climbing the stairs for Keegan involved more of a crawling up the stairs. A few nights ago, I noticed him walking up the 3 steps from the garage to the kitchen. Holding onto the wall, he stepped up on each step. But the stairs up to the second floor are 16 steps. Can he make it that far without tuckering out and falling backwards head over heels forever doomed to fear staircases? Well, the first 5 or 6 steps allow him to hold onto the balusters (it's a word -- look it up). No sweat. We're just warming up. After that, he has to hold onto the wall with his fat little hands. Not an easy task. But he presses on. I'm just watching. Occasionally, he looks up at me to make sure I'm still there as if he might turn around if he no longer has this audience. Well, he made it the whole way up. I congratulated him. He barely acknowledged me. Once he reaches the top of the stairs it's all about finding the phone by the bed and hitting the buttons on it.

Although he might not see it as a huge step, it's one of those milestones of sorts that makes me pause. I think about when he first sat up in the swing. When he first jumped in the jumper. When he stopped using the jumper because he got too tall and would just dangle from it scraping the floor with his shins. When he pulled himself up on the coffee table to play with the phone and hit the buttons on it. All of those things "just happened." These events remind me that he'll be asking me for the car keys soon (cue Harry Chapin), and I'll be writing checks to some college for his room deposit. And I'll be yearning for the days when all he wanted was someone to hold him and feed him a bottle.
Oh yea, the post is called "Stairclimbing and garage doors." I know you want to know about the garage door reference. You will recall that Keegan has this obsession with wheels. Naturally, when we used to set him down in the garage, all he wanted to do was circle the car to touch the wheels. In the last few weeks though the garage now represents the place where the garage doors go "down." [We all know they go up too, but Keegan seems fixated on the word "down" for the moment.] So when we set him down now in the garage or we're just playing in the back of the house with the garage doors open, Keegan points up at the doors and says "down" -- like continuously. Down. Down. Down. Down. It's cute if not monotonous.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Music Monday

One of my favorite past times is buying music. See, I can't play an instrument like my wife or any number of my friends. But I really enjoy music. You would think that might motivate me to invest some time to learn even one instrument. In college, Jen tried to teach me to play the piano. That lasted about 20 minutes. She wanted me to learn scales and "Mary Had a Little Lamb." I quickly realized she wasn't going to teach me how to play the piano part from "Layla" and that we wouldn't last as a couple more than another day and a half if we continued this excuse to hang out on the couch in the lobby of her dorm.

OK, back to the music I bought. It was a big night for us. My parents took Keegan for the day (which ended up as an overnight trip for him). This created the perfect opportunity for us to see a movie . . . at the theatre! This has become the rarest of things anymore. We ended up seeing Blades of Glory. Which was freakin' hilarious. "We love you Denver . . . the city by the bay!!" After the movie, we stopped by Borders where Jen usually looks at books (what a waste!), and I always look for music.

Providentially, we had just received our federal tax refund. I figured it must be a sign from God (you know, a Blues Brothers kind of sign) that I was meant to purchase music on this night. So I set out in search of some new music and some music that was not necessarily new but that I had been wanting to pick up for some time.

Here's what I found:

1) Guster -- Ganging Up on the Sun
I have a song, Satellite, from this CD on the playlist that plays on this site.

2) Brandi Carlile -- The Story
You may have heard one or two songs from this CD on Grey's Anatomy. She has a great voice.

3) James Morrison -- Undiscovered
I've been listening to a couple of songs from this English singer-songwriter for about six months on Virgin Radio, a London radio station that I listen to at work sometimes. Willoughby has been touting Morrison for months, and he is excited that he's part of the opening act for John Mayer in August at Philips because he bought some tix to the show. Mind you, I was the one who told him about the show, but he didn't ask me if I wanted to go. No, he invited Nan instead. Whatever.

4) Mindy Smith -- One Moment More
Mindy has an incredible voice. I've always liked Ginny Owens' voice, but I think Mindy's voice is better. The first song on this CD is one of those songs you hear and think, I've heard this song before. It just sounds so familiar. But it's not a remake. It's a song Mindy wrote. It's called "Come to Jesus." I've heard it for more than a year on Organic X on 99X on Sunday mornings. It's an incredible message. I think what is familiar about it is the truth that she's singing. I've added it to the "Smile" playlist for the website too. I hope you get to hear it.

5) BONUS MUSIC -- occasionally, Borders offers these free CD samplers. I think it's a response to the free tunes that iTunes offers each week. I picked up one for James Morrison that had 2 live acoustic versions of his 2 most popular songs. But I also picked up one from Jon McLaughlin who is with Island Records (home of U2). The 2 full songs on the sampler are piano driven songs. They are somewhat Gavin DeGraw-ish, but it was better than a lot of the free tunes that Apple gives away.

There were so many more CDs that I had to leave at Borders. It was sad really. I guess it's like visiting the animal shelter. You can't bring all the animals home even if you might want to. Jen has to lay down the law though or I'll be bringing home every stray CD I find!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Welcome to Moe's!!!!

If you've ever been to Moe's you are familiar with that greeting when you enter the restaurant. Tonight, I took Keegan to Moe's for a little boys night out. It was a simple dinner, but I think it will stick with me for years to come.

Kee got his usual -- the Mini Me (the kid-sized cheese quesadilla), fruit punch and a chocolate chip cookie. I got the Atkins-friendly Joey Bag of Donuts in a bowl. I ripped off Keegan-sized pieces of the quesadilla, and he proceeded to scarf them down. In between bites, he took huge swigs of the fruit punch. The kid loves using a straw! Then out of nowhere, as I was watching him eat, he leaned over to me with his bottom lip sticking out ever so. It was his way of offering me a kiss. He's just started responding with this when we ask him for a kiss or ask him to give someone else a kiss. Although even then, he's a bit stingy with the love. This is the first time I've seen him offer kisses unsolicited. I was more than happy to accept his offer. And my acceptance was met with 2 more kisses. Well worth the $12 for dinner and the poopy diaper I had to change when we got home!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Being "that guy" worked out . . . .

I know you have been waiting for the update on the infamous baseball-pants-wearing old man playing softball. Well, we played last night . . . and I wore the pants. First, I was somewhat surprised at how comfortable the pants were. Second, the pants worked. In the second inning, I charged a short fly ball and slid in an effort to reach the ball. I slide the same way whether I am sliding to make a catch or sliding into a base. When I got home at the end of the night and checked my knee, I was pleased to see that there was no fresh bleeding, no ripped scab, no new oozing and no sticky goo. All tolled, the pants proved to be a solid investment. Further, I was able to go gauze-less in the suit pants today for work.

But more importantly, I made the catch!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I have become "that guy."

Well, I am now "that guy." See, I play softball in a men's league. I played a few games with this team in the fall. The spring season is now underway. For years I've played softball in various leagues. To this point, I've always played in shorts or sweat pants. But a few weeks ago, I had to slide. The problem with sliding in shorts was that it opened a nice wound on my shin and knee. I am an attorney which requires me to wear a suit to work most days. It's hard to wear a suit with an oozing knee and shin. I did the whole gauze bandage routine to protect the inside of my pants from the sticky mess on my leg. So last week, I decided to try sweat pants just in case I had to slide. Sure enough, the game required a slide. And not only were the sweat pants ineffective in protecting my knee, but the slide tore a hole clean through.

In my quest to solve this problem, I crossed a line that I thought I would never cross. Never say never. I went today to one of those sports mega stores . . . and bought a pair of baseball pants. I will now be "that guy" who plays softball in baseball pants. My prayer is that I don't resort to wearing eye black or spending $200 on some new ultra-lightweight bat that makes it easier to get around on those speedy underhand tosses from the pitcher.

So the next time you see a grown man playing slow-pitch softball in baseball pants, don't assume that he's trying to relive his glory days by playing softball. He could simply be trying to avoid ruining his suit pants.

Keegan meets the Easter Bunny

When last we met, Keegan was at his phlegmatic best ignoring the easter egg hunt experience. In some respects, however, his indifference to things like that comes in handy when faced with 6-foot-tall bunnies with football-helmet-sized heads. As you can see, Keegan was unfazed by the size of this deliverer of Peeps and malted robin's eggs. He touched the bunny's legs to feel the texture of the fur. He stared at the giant feet of this HGH-enhanced animal. He was so focused on observing the rabbit that the green egg the bunny handed him was an afterthought. ("Yea, whatever. Why are you so freakin' big?") And for whatever reason, I was a little proud that the K-Man didn't collapse in a ball of weeping goo at the site of the Easter Bunny. He knew that his mom and I were right there. He felt safe enough to test his curiosity. It's humbling to provide that for another human being.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Not crazy about this Easter egg hunt thing!

A couple of weeks ago, we took our son, Keegan, to an Easter egg hunt that the city was hosting. We were intrigued to see how he would respond to all the kids, the eggs, and the giant Easter Bunny. Keegan is 15 months old. He's been walking since 10 months, so he is relatively adept at getting around at this point -- except of course when he is tired which is when he looks like a tiny drunk man stumbling about moments away from some head-first plunge into the coffee table, floor or wall. From about 4 months old, Keegan has had an obsession with wheels. Some friends of ours (the Fritchman's or Fritchmen -- however you pluralize that), gave him a bulldozer when we brought him home. At four months, he could care less that a bulldozer could be used to plow into things and move them around. All he wanted to do was flip it over and spin the wheels. Which we did regularly for the next 8 months. What does this have to do with an Easter egg hunt?

Well, this obsession with wheels has grown. It's like any addiction really. You build a tolerance. Hot Wheels cars don't do it for him any more though. Larger Tonka bulldozers don't faze him either. He's moved up to full-size tires now. He can't walk past a car and not reach out to touch the tires on it. We're saving money to send him to a clinic for his addiction -- one of those where you have to shave your head bald, get a tattoo and forego undergarments to gain access.

Back to the Easter egg hunt -- this will all come together, I promise. So we arrive and get out of the car. But I made the mistake of putting Keegan down in the parking lot. Yes, I am an enabler! First thing he does is start touching the tires on the adjacent car. But that's not enough. He has to touch all four tires. At 15 months, he's figured out that every car has 4 wheels -- and they must ALL be touched. But we're here for the egg hunting and cute moments of toddlers falling all over themselves in search of candy representative of the Resurrection of Christ! SO I pick him up. Fit ensues. I persevere. Wiggling kid in tow. I put him down on the grass closer to the nice petting zoo set up by the city -- because what is more symbolic of the Risen Lord than penned rabbits, a baby goat and a rooster? When I put Keegan down, he just stood there. Angry. Angry that I had deprived him of the full enjoyment of running his hand across radial tires. And maybe a bit unsettled by all the commotion of expectant kids cornering barnyard animals. Whatever he was feeling, it was captured in the above photo. Priceless.
As for the hunt itself, like many things that parents await with anticipation, the result was rather anti-climactic. The hunt was scheduled for 10:00 to 12:00. We arrived at 10:00. Unbeknownst to us, the hunting would not commence until 11:00. So we had to kill an hour. We played on the playground. Walked on the trail. Walked up and down the bleachers -- which was very exciting when we realized that by stomping, we could make a lot of noise on the metal bleachers. After an hour though, Keegan was wiped out and ready for a nap. Oh, there will be no napping. We came out here to gather eggs. You will hunt eggs son. So, we lined up with the other parents along the right-field line of the baseball field set aside for kids under 2. On the signal, we walked in search of our bounty. "Disinterested" doesn't describe how little Keegan could have cared about this thing at this point. We walked away with 4 plastic eggs -- and 2 of those ended up in our basket because a little girl didn't realize which basket she was using. Three of the eggs didn't even have candy in them. They were filled with plastic gold coins. What's the message there? Are you calling my kid Judas? "No sir. Those are the eggs with the plastic silver coins." Is this some sort of prosperity gospel message? Believe and you will find gold coins laying about the local ball fields. OK -- that was a bit cynical.
All in all, the morning was fun if for no other reason than it gave us a great story to tell about Keegan's first Easter egg hunt. It also gave us that great picture. And I am sure there will come a time in the not-so-distant future when I will be wishing for the days when he could care less about all the stuff that comes with the holidays.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's one more blogger?

This is my long-delayed foray into the world of blogs. I say "long-delayed" because more than a year ago, I attempted to launch a blog by this very name. I reserved the web address. I arranged an account with a service to host the site. I even spent money on fancy software to help build the site. The problem was that I knew nothing about building a site -- even with the relatively easy-to-use yet sophisticated software. I enlisted the assistance of my friend, Mike, to help me because he knew far more than I did about the software, but sometimes, even the best teacher can't get the student's light to go on.

Recently, I noticed that a couple of friends had started a site on this service, and it got me thinking: "why reinvent the wheel?" Just use the templates that are here and launch. So here I am. I apologize in advance for anything I may post on here that offends you or that you may find is a complete waste of your time. (I am confident my apology will come in handy on more than one occasion.)

There is no real purpose to this site. I won't be focused on celebrity gossip or personal finance or sports, but it is possible that certain posts will include any or all of those three topics as well as a number of others.

That latter idea is a great segue into how I chose the name for this blog.

It started with a free association -- hearkening back to my undergrad study of psychology -- about my favorite season: fall.


Deciduous . . . deciduous. I like the colors of the deciduous trees in the fall. I know that a deciduous tree sheds its leaves in the fall, but what does the word "deciduous" actually mean. I looked it up in Webster's, and there were several definitions there: (1) shedding the leaves annually; (2) falling off or shed at a particular season, stage of growth, etc.; or (3) impermanent; transitory.

There it was. Impermanent or transitory. Like my thoughts. I like to just spout off on topics. Just ask my wife. Deciduous Thoughts. I've been having them my whole life. Under this framework, I can take whatever position I want on something and not apologize. I told you up front that my thoughts are transitory.

Or it could be a play on words in that while I may think that my thoughts are transitory, in reality, I am a fairly staid person who doesn't much care for change. And by placing my thoughts online, are they really impermanent? They are at least semi-permanent until the server runs out of space to hold the old thoughts.

So there you have it. I'll stay away from the obvious Paul Harvey reference.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and hope to hear from you in the comments section.