Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scars and All

photo by John Harrington


When they told me my daughter (and I knew she was a girl) had a big hole in her spine, I freaked out. I was terrified & scared, I doubted and questioned whether we could keep her, if I was capable of being a good father to her. Above all else, I was ashamed of what I was feeling, and wanted to vanish from it all.

Whatever perfect image of beauty, grace, function and ability that I previously carried with me have all been changed, altered, evolved and grown into an image that you see before you now. This baby, this whole human being, will know more, be more, and do more than I ever thought possible as she moves into the future. Her beauty is so bloody apparent to me, it is a palpable force that surrounds her, and makes my heart catch in my throat, which is probably a good thing, as once she takes my breath away, there needs be something in my esophagus.

If I know my daughter, and I am pretty sure I do, she is going to completely own everything about her, everything from being a little vain about how beautiful her eyes are, to showing off the ridge of her shunt and the web of scars that cross her lower back. I know that as she gets older, and her back gets wider, the scars that appear there will stay the same size, and thus be smaller by comparison, but it doesn't matter.

Millie, if this blog is still around when you are older, know this: I have always found you to be the most beautiful creation I have ever beheld. From the moments when they brought you into the world, and from every moment hence, you have become more and more lovely. When I put you to bed, fighting the urge to crawl into your crib every night, I go to sleep with the knowledge that the next day you will grace me with your smile, your warmth and your love that is unfettered by words. Thank you Millie, thank you so much.

Daddy loves you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stop Smart, Stop "F" Stop.

or...."In Praise of Professional Photography"

The Goodely Wyfe is a professional photographer, so is her boss and a number of our good friends. Also included in our good friends are a number of amateur photographers, and then there are folks like me, those what own cameras.

I have always understood on some level that anything done at a professional level is going to be far and away better than things done at the amateur level. It makes a lot of sense, kind of a "no brainer". Well, I must have been less of brain than the Scarecrow of Oz, because it wasn't until I myself was professionally photographed that I really grokked the entire idea.

We went as a family to the Goodely's boss's studio where we set up backdrops, all sorts of crazy illuminaition devices and I chatted with two delightful young ladies whilst the Goodely and John ooh'd and ahh'd over all the new camera equipment that came in. I heard things like "Oh, that's the D something or other" and "...and that is at 1600!" which I am guessing is photolingus for describing nifty new toys.

"We went as a family..."..how cool is that? I don't think I've written that before. I like the way it looks.

I ALSO liked the way the Goodely, Millie and I looked by the time we were done. The prcoess was smooth, easy and wonderful. John gave us small promptings that made a huge difference when we were looking at the images, subtle small changes that I would not have thought of, but then again, why would I? He is the fiddler, I am dancing to his tune. Millie smiled every now and then, cuddled and looked away at others, but John was super patient and we ended up with about sixty shots that will be coming our way. One is here for your perusal:


photo by John Harrington

I urge you, please go and have yourself and those you love professionally photographed. This image is one that I imagine I will treasure forever.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home for the Holidays



This may very well be Millie's first Piggy Back Ride! Hit the calendar!

I believe this is quite the oddity for the family, but we are staying home for the holidays. We celebrated Thanksgiving with a quiet affair at home, and Christmas will be celebrated likewise. We have many local parties and gatherings to attend, but the holidays, they will be rather low key. Typically we travel up to New Jersey to see La Familia, but it will just be too much. My parents will be staying with us for Christmas, which will be delightful.

I like it. Hopefully, I will be able to create the holiday gifts that I want this year, something crafty and hopefully blessedly low cost. In general, I don't like to do what I am "supposed" to do, and thus always fight buying presents around the holidays, preferring instead to buy everyday gifts and do little kindnesses all the time.

I hear that men in general are very difficult gift receivers, and I may very well fall into that category. Giving gifts, I'm also pretty awful at, I think, as I tend to get people what I want them to have, not necessarily what I think they will like.

"What??!!? You don't own a copy of Batman: Year One? Off to the store I go!"

To that end, I also am reticent to tell people what I "want" for Christmas or my birthday or whatever. Besides being on the receiving end of some very enthusiastic oral sex, there isn't much else that I can name that I "want". I like to use gift receiving time as that chance to gauge how people perceive me. Some people still, after many years, don't seem to "get" me at all, and some folk surprise me by getting me amazing gifts that I never would have thought of before. At the end of the day, I'm a VERY easy person to give gifts to, just give me a little something from your life, or the life that we have shared together, however minimally or completely that may be.

Or heck, don't get me anything this year, and just smile at me, give me a hug or whatever else come to mind. Who knows, maybe you will get a piggy back ride in return!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Good for the Soul

First, who needs a hug?

This kid gives some top notch snuggles.

Yesterday I had a chance to present one of my projects before a board of commissioners and an audience of about fifty people. I have been doing this kind of thing since before there was any gray in my beard, but I still get shaky and nervous when I do it. Luckily, I can do all this under the guise of being calm, cool and collected. Luckily still is when the project is one that I have strong feelings about, and really believe in.

Being an architect in one of the most affluent counties in the United States, my job typically entails making the lives of rich people better. That is all well and good, I have seldom begrudged anyone their money, and have only had brief episodes of jealousy about material things.

Side Note: When I DO get jealous of material things, I get REALLY jealous of them, and tend to beat myself up a lot because I do not have them. Then again, I haven't coveted much since the Lexapro kicked in, so maybe that's helping there as well.

Side Side Note: I think there is more than a bit of a placebo effect inherent in the Lexapro. I find myself thinking "Oh, that doesn't bother me, i'm on medication!", which is pretty funny.

Back on track: Anyway, the project that I was presenting was actually a WONDERFUL project that gives back to underprivelaged individuals on the small scale, and to society as a whole on the macro. I won't go into details, as since I don't have much discretionary powers, that if I feel I should be discrete about something, its usually for a good reason. Trust me on this, its a great project, decently designed, and rewarding for the community.

We were presenting to gain the support of local government to allow the use of the project in the zone we were building in. There are SO many rules and regulations governing building simple structures that they frequently make my head spin. One can get so bogged down in the numbers, the lawyers, the government and such, that at the end of the day, one could lose sight of the project itself, as it is just boiled down to base components, and there is very little groove left to it.

There was a lot of opposition to the project, which really surprised me. In the face of ALL of the evidence to the contrary, there was a lot of fear in the neighborhood about having this project "In My Backyard". This kind of attitude has always shocked me. I couldn't imagine what kind of project would have to be proposed in my neighborhood that would get me to get off my couch and rally forces to opoose it, but this project certainly was not the case.

In any event, the opposition could not refute anything that we were doing legally, that is, we hired a team of highly paid and accomplished experts to handle every aspect of the development, doing many parts of the project above and beyond the standards of practice commonly seen. Because the opposition could not attack the facts of the project, they came after the intangibles, and more specifically, the architecture.

"Its too big, it doesnt fit in the neighborhood, its ugly, its going to ruin everything!"

..and so on. Well, thank goodness I either have no ego, or ego enough to not give too much credence to these kinds of outraged attacks on my skills as an architect and as a designer. As all of the technical staff on the project, those that actually KNOW a lot more about the project than I sat uncalled upon, it was up to me to chat and talk about the aesthetics and the intangibles. Since our brilliance was understood, it was just up to our bullshit, I suppose.

We ended up getting our approvals unanimously by the commission, and afterwards there was a lot of handshaking, hugging, and maybe even a few tears. Yesterday I got to hug my daughter and play a role in bringing someone's dream of a better future into reality.

Yesterday was a good day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There has been a LOT going on...

Hello faithful readers, and a special hello to my Father in Law, or PopPop as he may become known around the Clutterhut, as it is his steadfast refusal to let me stop writing that brings me back to y'all today.

Our daughter is over seven months old now, and here is your picture for today:



We are fresh from the tub, and feeling mellow and snuggly.

Onward to business, Christian Soldiers. In the spirit of full disclosure, or as much disclosure as I think the Goodely is comfortable with, I tell you today that I am currently on anti-depressants. For a lot of you, and now for me, you might look at a statement like that and say "Wow, good for him!" or shrug and wonder why this is significant enough for a blog post. Well, to the latter I say that I have blogged about my wang, videogames and dopey pop culture enough that pretty much anything under the Goddesses umbrella ('ella 'ella 'ella..hey hey hey) is significant enough for me to warrant a post, and to the former, I say that this was a HUGE decision on my part, and I am very proud of myself for having taken it.

I guess you could say that I have "battled" depression and anxiety all my life, but not all depression and anxiety is crippling or dramatic. Sometimes depression can be small and insidious, like having Salacious Crumb as a pet when you really wanted a kitty. My depression has always been problematic but maintainable and manageable.

I have seen many therapists throughout my life, starting in college and peppered throughout my adult life. Some have been helpful, some have been awful, but overall the experiences have been positive. The biggest problem with therapy and I guess medication is that just when you really need it is when you are least likely to seek it out, especially when you are up against scheduling, insurance companies and other red tape. If I am feeling too blue to brush my teeth or to even touch myself (wang post, for the win!), the odds of me being able to navigate a voice mail system effectively to confess my depression to a total clinical stranger over a phone and beg them to "allow" me to seek help...well, its not very helpful, now is it?

Adding to this the overwhelming lessons handed down from father to son in my tribe that "We Don't Go to Doctors", and the idea that most brain drugs are hit or miss with potential for crazy side effects, and you have mixed for me a cocktail of "No thanks, I will deal with this on my own!" , served chilled with a light garnish of denial.

Luckily, the convergence of forces lately came to the fore where I had a doctor's appointment scheduled, a wonderful nurse practitioner that I was seeing for other issues, and unluckily, had a really weird "episode" at the Clutterhut that thrust my mental problems to the fore and allowed for the addressing of them to be done fairly casually and when I was feeling good. We prescribed Lexapro for me, and sent me on my merry. I am still in the market for a therapist, remind me one day to tell you about my most recent failed attempt to see someone, but the drug seems to be working well.

If you Google Lexapro, you will see a list of VERY scary side effects. Hair loss, laziness, suicidal tendencies, weight gain, sexual side effects including the inability to achieve orgasm....wait...what the hell? Is this an antidepressant, or some kind of conspiracy to turn all men into this guy:



Sure, he seems like he is having fun, but what is that last thing? Oh right....you can't drink alcohol when on Lexapro!

...

"Mr RobbyBlog? Hello? I think he's coming around."

...

Okay, okay, apparently its not recommended that you drink while on Lexapro, but its not going to kill you or put you into a coma. Thank goodness, as they just built a new bar down the block from my office, and the holidays are upon us.

Initial Prohibitionist shock aside, I have been on the drug for a month and a half, and it has really kicked the ass out of my lows, and has left me my highs, which is great. I find myself with more confidence, happier and thank the above mentioned all encompassing Goddess, not yet prone to any of those side effects. My desire and my wang are still performing quite well, as I am sure all y'all were primarily concerned.

So there you go PopPop, a little news from the Robbyblog, and hopefully something that might help anyone out there on a similar journey. Whatever depression or anxiety you might be feeling, please try to remember that it is a temporary thing. Maybe write down on a sticky to get help to remind you from when you have those dark periods. A very wise and hot friend of mine said that the trifecta of therapy, medication and the support of family and friends makes for a wonderful panacea for mental health problems, and I concur whole heartedly....but then again, I have always had a tough time disagreeing with hot women.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Standing On Stage With The Mic' In My Hand.

It has been quite some time since I have posted, and for that I do not apologize. I had been concerned of late that the ole Robbyblog was degenerating into nothing more than a photo dump for pictures of the most beautiful childe ever, and that I was just going to be repeating themes after a little over two years of blogging. Does anybody really care about my continued weight loss, trips to the renaissance faire, my relationships and my career? Do I even care enough about these events to re-hash them in written format for web digestion? Has the Robbyblog just become the ongoing version of those awful "family bulletins" that are included in holiday greeting cards, or is it really something more?

So, like my heros of rap, Run DMC, who made their career not out of busting caps in gangstas or slapping bitches and hos, but who rapped about rapping, I sit before you now in the most circular and perhaps futile effort of the blogging world, I am blogging about blogging. Is this really what it has come to? Perhaps it is time to retire the blog, and see if I can manage to stay in touch with people by actually talking to them or at the very least sending them personal electronic correspondence. Maybe not. I am not sure.

I have "met" new and interesting people from blogging, but not anybody I am likely to meet or interact with apart from the blogosphere. Are these new and interesting people actually my friends? Are they virtual friends? Is that really air I'm breathing?

Robbyblog, I hear the bell tolling for thee. For now, a picture of Millie to keep you company until I can decide if there is something "worth" writing about tomorrow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'd like to talk about other kids...

As tough as it may be, I will let Millie take the back burner, and move up my little cousins Sara and Nicole to the spotlight, or the front burner, or the bun warmer of my heart....whatever.

My friend from college Marc married my cousin Amy and they have two lovely little girls that are near and dear to my heart. This weekend pass'd, they all came down with Jeff and Maddie to the Renaissance Faire. This was a very different experience than the previous weekend, where we went bug nutty on booze and wenches, but no less enjoyable!

Sara, 8 and Nicole (Nickle Pickle) at 6 are most likely the perfect age for Faire. They had a wonderful time, and we all dressed like Pirates, with me being Captain Robby, Sara as Powder Monkey Karl, and Nicole as Chef Monkey Karl, but with an "N". All of this came up before we even left the house. The rest of the day found us engaging in the same tomfoolery, but with a larger audience!


Powder Monkey Karl, all up in her cups.


Chef Monkey Karl, with an N.

A HUGE tip of the hat to Marc and Amy. Your little girls are amazing, some of the sweetest people I have ever met, and a joy to be around. You are wonderful parents, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. I know the Goodley Wyfe had a great time, and Millie is very lucky to have such wonderful cousins to play with!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Never take Your Baby Skiing!



You would like to think someone would have told us. Well, the Goodley and I took an early vacation out to Vail, and encouraged Millie into skiing for the first time. I guess "skiing" is a loose term, as basically Millie just got rolled down the black diamond trail to the above photographed disastrous results. Stock Car Racing will be next, if the slacker can get out of those casts in time for the qualifiers.

Okay, simply enough, Millie has some casts for a few weeks that are designed to straighten out her ankles a bit. We thought they were going to be splints, but the splints might cause friction sores on her legs, and darn it, Emmett, I hate those, even worse than bone bruises!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"She'll Definitely Walk"

Yep, that is what we heard yesterday at Spina Bifida Clinic. Spina Bifida Clinic is a service organized through Children's Hospital in Washington DC. What they do is arrange for all the doctors associated with Spina Bifida patients to see you on the same day, so you do not have to schedule a bunch of appointments all over the place.

Neurosurgeons, dietitians, orthopedic specialists, urologist, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers all come in and see our little Millie and do evaluations and schedule tests. She totally holds court and smiles at everyone.

"She'll Definitely Walk"

Again, it just sank in this morning, and made me tear up a a bit and go get a hug from our HR director. Millie will walk. She will most likely wear little ankle braces or some other accessories, but she will be able to walk, which is a small miracle, again, considering the location and "openness" of her lesion.

They are going to be looking more closely at her bowel and bladder issues, but for now, lets focus on some positives.

"She'll Definitely Walk"

:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Letter Not to Complain, but as a Friend:




A letter I sent to the fine folks at Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash:

To whom it may concern, as it concerns me greatly!

First, let me start by disclaiming the bulk of this missive with the facts that not only am I a huge fan of Kevin Smith's movies, but I also kind of like the man himself. I read his blog, and follow his successes and trials as I do a good friend. I am also a late thirties displaced Jersey Boy trying to make good in the world, facing my own successes and trials.

One such trial that Mr. Smith (can I call him Kevin?) and I face or have faced is in our weight. I had gained a significant amount of weight since my marriage, and have worked very hard, as Kevin is working hard now, to lose a remarkable amount of that weight. I am so happy for where I am now, and have good folk around to remind me that I look good and that the weight loss was worth it.

Imagine my surprise then when I see all of my Kevin Smith collectibles suffering from, well, I can only call them weight issues. My collectors item black and white Silent Bob Clerks inaction figure slowly succumbed to its highly disproportionate weight to ankle ratio, to the point where I had to fashion braces made of paperclips to keep him upright!

I had thought this design flaw was simply a result from early and untested production issues, but in a recent trip to the Red Bank Secret Stash, I purchased not only (among other things) the slimmer version of Kevin in his Red Bank exclusive garb, but also the Silent Bob Bobble head. Not three days after purchase, Kevin's miniature effigy ankles bent such that his svelte form had no recourse but to hurl itself off of my display shelf, ending another series of mockery by the production staff. The bobble head? Ankles were fine, but the bulk of this figure has since driven its feet into the hollow base to the extent that the leaning form of our dearest iconic character results in a head that no longer bobbles, but simple hangs listlessly from side to side as if to say "Why me? Why must the modeling staff denigrate me so?"

I ask for no rebates or replacements, View Askew folks. I only ask as a former heavy guy myself to give your figurehead a bit more consideration, and make his toys such that they can stand on their own two feet, ankles braced, and ready to take on the world.

Humbly submitted,

Robert

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Rumors of the Death of Robbyblog....

Have been greatly exaggerated.

Hello loyal if miniature fan base! I am back, and in the finest fettle. Let me get a picture of my now FOUR MONTH OLD baby Millie up quickly to keep you maniacs at bay:



I think with a little resizing, she will make for a lovely desktop. Give it a whirl.

Lets try to get some news up here then, to play some catch up, then hopefully I can start posting the nonsense that you are used to.

1. Millie: She is doing very, very well. She laughs all the time, and is sleeping in her own crib, in her own nursery. It is adorable, but makes the Goodely Wyfe a bit sad, which is only normal. Millie has a bunch of physical therapy stuff she still needs to do all the time, but its fun, stretchy and doesn't seem to bother her too much.

2. The Goodely: This incredibly amazing woman is dealing with her own version of my fractious views of things, trying to discover what it means to be mother, wyfe, career woman, friend and family member all at once. September marks the end of our backup savings for her to be home, so it is off to some kind of work soon. She may start shooting weddings again, as this would involve more work on the weekends when I can watch Millie, but that also means the two of us will have a tough row to hoe getting good face time together. I am sure we will work something out, of course, as we always do, as long as this round of working things out does not involve thousands of dollars in psychotherapy.

3. Working Out: I am doing very well staying on track to be able to say arbitrarily "I am forty years old, and in the best shape of my life". I am thirty nine now, if you want to keep track, having celebrated my birthday on 08/08. Next year, of course, my birthday will be 08/08/08, again, random numbers fun!

I am in the gym every day now, as it turns out, doing cardio and weight training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and taking a yoga class on Tuesday, Thursday and when I am around, Saturday. Well, I WILL be taking the yoga, I had my first class a few days ago, and loved it, so I hope it lasts.

All of this working out takes its toll in other ways, so to get that balance back, I steal hours away from my day in the mornings, and get up every day at five. It is insane, I know, but I love those early morning hours so much, and miss them terribly when I sleep through them. I wonder if Millie and the gang will let me sleep in on Sundays? That would be nice, if you are listening.

Okay, I think I will try to get more frequent postings going on...I still owe you the Grandma Millie story, and the "Was Robert Always Beautiful" treatise. Let's see if we can get those done, alright?

Monday, July 30, 2007

For the baby that has everything.

There is a lot going on in my life right now, but apparently, blogging is not one of them. Until I get caught up, here are a few pictures of Miss Millie, wearing some fool's chain that she snatched at the rap show.









foh shizzle, Miss Millizzle.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Three Months Old!

Hello!

Millie Isabella turns three months old today. She is doing quite well, she can find her toes, and is turning into quite a chatterbox.



Health wise, the shunt seems to be working just fine, and the physical therapist has us doing some more focused stretching exercises to torque her feet into the correct position (they are rotated kinda "up and in", if that makes any sense) and to get her head straightened out (she kinda favours the side with the shunt now). I have to say, i am very glad for the help we are getting. A lot of this stuff I never would have picked up on without someone helping out.

Millie is definitely going to be a very popular girl, as everyone we know seems to be having boys right now. Certainly her family is off limits, but the boy next door, the two boys next to next store and even the "King of the Universe" that I met this Friday will certainly be trying to make this little darling his Queen. Ha, now that I think of it, with all these boys around, she will most likely go gay. That will show them all!

Hetero or not, she stands to be quite the heart breaker. After all, she already has Mommy and Daddy wrapped up tight. Then again, maybe not SO tight, as to celebrate her three month birthday this weekend, we left her! Yep, Parents of the Year left her with a total (but professional) stranger to have dinner, drinks and a little of that Harry Potter movie. It was wonderful to date the Goodely again. I hope we can do some more of that, and soon.

I cannot post pictures for some reason, so I will try again later. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paris Hilton Gay Porn

Please don't pay much attention to the title, I am just trying to get more traffic to the RobbyBlog! ;) I am not saying those are MY most frequently entered search keywords, but I am led to understand they are fairly popular.

I am having a lovely little life over here. So many small factors all rolling down the snowy hill of bliss leading to an immense avalanche of glorious joy. Starting with my Millie, ending with my Millie.



As I said, I am back in the gym. The discipline of getting up early and the resulting endorphin release sets me up to be in fine fettle for the rest of the day. I actually came in here singing "What the World Needs Now". How many people can say that about their work experience.

Speaking of my work experience, I am becoming more and more "into" being an architect. Don't tell the bosses, but I have really been dialing it in for the last few to six months. My dialing is better than average, don't get me wrong, but recently I have been much more desirous of doing good work and realizing how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to design buildings, and what a groovy job that is. I can see again why the parents of the few girls what were kind enough to take me home to meet them were impressed when I told them what I was studying in school. "Oh..an architect...very nice...please, feel free to savage ".

After work, of course, was home. The Goodley's Father, Millie's PopPop was over again, as he is every week, being a remarkable help around the house. Because I can be kind of a jerk, I initially resented the idea that he was there, taking it as a slight that I needed help, and that I couldn't take care of my own household and family. You know what? It isn't always about me, oddly enough. The Goodely's dad is very handy, very helpful, and is possessed of an almost maniacal amount of energy that you don't see in men half his age...though is dwarfed by the size of his heart. I would be a fool, a knave and a boor to deny him the opportunity to spend time with a few generations of women in his family in the grandest notion, and to mow my lawn in the most trivial.

Well, I made a lovely dinner for us, and we sat around and chatted. We had the FIOS television installed yesterday, so for the first time we have "cable" television is a dozen years or so. I watched a lovely documentary on the Chrysler Building on the History Channel, then we watched the Wedding Singer. Anywho, we chatted about the install, the number of channels, and I even talked about my day at work. Hmm...maybe it is all about me anyway.

Oh no, I suppose its not, because it is all about Millie. She is amazing, simply amazing, even when she is wearing the cranky fusspants that she had on last night. I could go on, but it would jut be a list of superlatives that would read like a thesaurus entry for "sublime". Lets just say she's great.

I cuddled up with the Goodely last night, and we made "the spoons" for a little while before my somnolent twitchings made it impossible for her to go to sleep. I prefer to think of it as cute....if you were married to me for nine years, you might have had about enough of it.

So there was a bit of my ordinary day. I suppose for the sake of truth in advertising, I must provide not only this picture:



But this link to the "gay porn", the July 12th entry, which is actually an NYPD rated "R" picture of yours truly :) yep...it's all about me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back from Vacation!




Well, we are back from our fourth of July week and weekend adventure. Okay, so only the ladies went away for the week, and Papa Bear Lach stayed at home to keep the appropriately named fires burning.

It was very difficult being without my girls, and I thank all those that took turns playing the home version of "Someone Babysit My Husband." I didn't realize it until just this evening after my ladies were here to stay that I really didn't like being here without them, and LOVE being here with them. Perhaps I am the sweetest man in the world, perhaps I am trying to rationalize my going out every night that they were away. I leave the judging to all of those what hath ne'er committed a sin and all that.

In other news, I am back in the gym, full time. I go every day now, awaking at 5am to do my workout. I am happy to say that even though I got a bit softer during the months between Millie's birth and now, I am still dancing about in the 160s, poundswise, which tells me all that Weight Watcher malarky about it being a way of life and not a diet is pretty spot on. I don't think I will be losing any more weight, but I would like to move some of it back up from my waist to my chest and shoulders. So far, so good, and we can put the abdominal muscle visibiity level back to "slightly" after dropping to "barely" and even "rumored" in the last few months.

We have lots of photos coming from The Goodely and the Millie (she needs a nickname, eh?) soon. I will say that to our credit, we are doing a good job of sending our photos off to the ye olde print shoppe right away. I refuse to not have pictures of my Wyfe and Chylde (and of me! yay!) in case of the inevitable hard drive failure. So many people I know have thousands of pictures, but not one actual photograph. Having recently gone through the purging of the Clutterhut (I must be careful with my nicknaming, I can't shake this one) and finding and saving all the old photos we have, I cannot tell you how wonderful and magickal it is to have them. Print, I urge you, print like the wind!

Oh, I also took my cell phone for a swim in the ocean...more on that (moron, not by coincidence...snoogans) after these messages...

Oh, and the fourth was our ninth wedding anniversary...more to do with that story...again, after a few local announcements, and your weather on the nines...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Not Exactly Whiskers on Kittens...

..but I have recently been talking with a lovely and emerging good friend about my favorites. I confessed that I do not have many favorites of anything, ice cream flavours, movies, underwear preferences, books, food, etc. I frequently latch (pun!) onto whatever happens to be in front of me, and run with it to its logical or illogical conclusion. On the days that I am feeling unhealthy and dour, I consider myself scattered and unfocused, but since today is not that day, I consider myself capable of finding joy all around, willing to try new things, and adventurous.

Now, having disclaimed my lack of favorites, I would like to discuss one of my favorite books. Not necessarily my favorite story (though it is a cracker jack tale), but my absolute favorite tome that I own.

Harken back if you will with me, and take a peek all Ebeneezer style to a little boy named Robbyblog in the 5th grade. Ms T-- is teaching, and we are giving our book reports. I was doodling, as usual, and not paying any attention, drawing X-Wings and Tie Fighters locked in their epic struggle that continues on papers that fall under my pen to this very day. Some delightful raven haired little girl is up at the front of the class, and we barely listen as her book report really is just a feat of memorization, and she manages to rattle off all the dwarves' names in one big breath, ending of course, with Thorin Oakenshield.

She walks past our desk, and is she a little upset that I wasn't paying attention? No, that is just me now, projecting flirtation where there really wasn't any. I do remember, however, that some tiny bit of awareness managed to permeate my ray shielding, and that she was talking about a book that involved goblins, dragons, dwarves and elves, and that this might be something I could be interested in. I turned around (she sat directly behind me) and started chatting with her about her book. I don't know why we had downtime right then, but for some reason, I not only had time to talk to her, but I also absentmindedly doodled on the book itself, filling in the "O" and the fat parts of the "B"s with swirls and other designs. Yes, I know, I was defacing a book, me, childe of the town librarian, but I was really nervous, and this gave me something to do and keep me conversating. Back off a little, and give our hero some slack on the vandalism charge, and we can move the story along, okay?

Alright, thanks for quelling your outrage. As it turns out, this book was none other than The Hobbit, by our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien, THE hands down gateway drug to everything fantasy related. I had no idea, so much so that although I meant to get my mommy to bring it home from the library once the dark haired girl brought it back, I never followed through, and promptly forgot about it for years.

Those years were not idle, and that slight opening of the door to that fantasy world was soon blown wide open. We played Dungeons and Dragons, read all sorts of fantasy books, including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and I developed into the uber-dork that now ends this very sentence. Those were delightful years, coming home from school, spending a few hours in the library drawing, reading and creating our fantasy worlds, then walking our mom home. Fleeting years, to be true, only to be savoured now, like the remembrance of fine wines.

A quick fast forward, if you would indulge me. After middle school, we went by bus to the high school, and spent almost no time in the local library. I miss the smell of the books, the bones of the fossil in the well in the atrium, and the time spent among the stacks. It wasn't until the end of my first year of college that I returned to the Lincoln Park Public Library. I was amazed at how small it looked, the way the whole world, and especially your home town looks the first time you return from the "wide world" of college. I walked those aisles, pulled down some favorites, strolled the children's section, and checked out the used book sale tables.

As I write this, I am getting that tingly feeling I get before I cry from emotion, but there on the table of books for sale, books that the library was trying to get rid of, for $.25, was the very green fabric covered copy of The Hobbit that I encountered all those years before. I reverently lifted the book up, deeply inhaled the scent of old paper, ran my hand over the cover, the spine that had been torn and repaired many times, caressed the embossed letters, inexpertly filled in with childish doodled designs. I wanted to shout in triumph, an exultation of glee and joy, but had to keep it all in, the way you had to keep quiet while making love in your parent's house, that joy and pleasure somehow heightened further by the inability to express it fully. I bought this treasure immediately, and took myself outside to the "reading tree" as we called it as children, sat and devoured the book as the sun was setting, as if I were lounging in the waning light with an estranged best friend, only to realize that he or she missed you just as much as you missed them, even if neither one of you knew it. I imagine that we must have looked not quite unlike the opening scene of the Fellowship of the Ring movie, where Frodo sits beneath a tree reading in the Shire. Our re acquaintance was just as beautiful.



That very copy has been with me ever since. I have read the story therein to my college friends outside during a meteor swarm, have lent it (guardedly) to friends and lovers, and recently, read the story to my darling daughter Millie as she lay in the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit. You ask me if I have any favorites, and now I can confidently say "Yes, yes I do."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Synergy of Systems

Last night, I had the opportunity to weave many aspects of my life together into one lovely package. After work, I went with "other Robert (the O.R.)" to his house to play "My Two Dads". His own wyfe can be quite the world traveller, and this leaves the O.R. alone with his five year old daughter and two year old son from time to time. As one that has solicited DadAid in the past, I felt it was my duty, honour and pleasure to heed the call to partner up for the evening.

I love going over there. The children afford me celebrity status, and it is good "pay it forward" practice to see how folks handle older children. the O.R. may not know it, but he is the model of fatherhod that I aspire to.

The night really drove home the idea of "ordinary lives well lived". In fact, we had a bit of discourse about that self same fact. The odds that either one of us is going to fundamentally change the world for the better, that is, curing cancer or eradicating some huge social ill, are pretty slim (not compleatly nil, of course) but at the same time, we have rich and rewarding lives, like multifaceted jewels in their own right.

So many of those facets came out last night too....we did basic dad stuff, shopping, grilling, bathed and put the kids to bed, but then our own wonderful chic geekiness came to the fore. We hit his new and very well stocked bar, discovering the joy that is a well mixed cocktail, in this case, the Havana Sidecar. I am anxiously awaiting the discovery of the rest of the motorcycle, as this drink was like sunshine in a glass. I hope I have the stones to order one the next time I am out on the town.



We had cocktails, then played silly card games, the kind that I spent SO much time and money playing a few years ago, and most of which I recently (with a bit of trepidation) packed up into the attic believing that that era of my life was over.

Well, there it all was. Robert, family man and Rookie Dad, hanging out and playing silly games mere moments from reading fairy story books to children and helping to load the dishwasher. It was a lovely integration, and I thank the O.R. for hosting and giving me a forum to express all this stuff.

Going home was tough, but only because I realized that a whole day had passed where I did not hold my own daughter. It was around 11pm when I got home, and I didn't want to disturb her. Well, I WANTED to, but I didn't, and did a few chores and iPod updates, then went to bed. This morning, Millie and I had some quick cuddles, and Millie was all smiles for her Daddy, so that set a nice tone to the morning. She either didn't know or didn't mind that I was cheating onher with an older woman, as long as I came home to her. Speaking of which, I want to go home RIGHT NOW to her!

Cursed gainful employment!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

m17713 0f b0rg



Designated 1 of 3, Unimatrix 8008135.

Millie is home safe and sound from the hospital, brain surgery was completed expertly and efficiently.

Again, my trip to Children's National Medical Center was an eye opener. Millie gained a quasi cybernetic implant, and yours truly gained renewed persepctive. Yes, many men get to go through life without their children having to have brain surgery, but there were many, many children there that WISHED they had Spina Bifida. To them I wish many hugs, warm support, and hopefully good insurance.
In other news, yours truly is undergoing a bit of a pradigm shift, and I am kind of enjoying it. I say "kind of" , as the shift, like any change, comes with a bit of pain, and a bit of doubt. Why doubt? I am not sure, but it is how I roll.

The shift that is coming may finally reconcile some bits of me that were up to now, out of phase. You see, much like in the very dated movie "The Matrix"...I think we all carry an image of ourselves in our minds...in their parlance "a digital projection of our physical selves" or something like that. Well, The Robbyblog doesn't really see himself as being much past his early to mid-twenties. Perhaps this is why I look so youthful, it is definitely why I act so youthful...hopefully by "youthful" we imply "child like" and not "childISH".

the Goodely shares these visions...most times we feel like lunkheaded kids...pretending to be grown ups. We pay a mortgage, keep our jobs, but at the same time have hand me down furniture, eat ice cream for dinner and sit at the kids table. Alright, that last one is a stretch, but there you go.

Now, enter the MillieBorg. With Millie, I am home a lot more than I ever was, and I am starting to find myself in many "typical suburban man" situations, that is, acting like an "adult"...talking to the neighbors about this and that mostly, getting invited to neighborhood parties and social gatherings and hanging out in the park with the other parents. I plan little projects around the house, and have a naked lady calendar over where my home workbench will be.

Am I ready for this? Am I ready to offer up the sacrificial lamb of happy hour with the girls for backyard barbecues with the neighbors? Will gaming be the next to hit the abattoir of home life and daddyismhood?

Or will it be another bit of integration? Our model of parenthood is based on what OUR parents were, a whole other generation before, so naturally some new model, some new pattern must be created. Will there be an ice chest with wine and cheese in my stroller for when we visit the park? Will my "small projects" around the house be to install a stripper pole in our basement?

In the movie Dogma, the Metatron tells Bethany as she is trying to reconcile her new relationship with HER world, that she must be the person she always was, but she also needed to be this as well, from time to time.

So, what is the end result? I think I will become more than I ever thought possible as a result. Yes, some shifting may occur. I may go on fewer happy hour events, or play fewer games, but if I have learned anything from my eight and thirty actual years (regardless of my matrix image) is that there is always MORE of me that can happen. I CAN be all that I was before, and now be Super Father and Suburban Neighborhood Guy. I am hoping to be a nifty "Super groovy suburb guy for the year 2010 and beyond", so cool that Millie will have no choice but to roll her eyes and giggle maniacally with her friends at what a dork her father is.

but...being a dork is cool now, right honey?

...honey?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You would think they would have a better word than "Shunt"

But, there you go.

Millie dear has an operation scheduled for Monday, the 4th of June. Its brain surgery, but a mild, routine form of brain surgery. Yes, that makes it sound like a mild routine form of fighter jet combat, but yes, apparently this little operation (and everything that is little is cute, right?) will keep Millie in the hospital for an overnight, then we take her home on Tuesday.

Before anyone goes all freaking out on us, please, just relax. We have known about this for a little while, but I take it as a fabulous sign that I would rather post about MDWy2k7 than about Spina Bifida stuff.

But, into every garden of Millie, a little Spina Bifida rain must fall. I went through some websites for you , looking at shunts and hydrocephalus and such, and finally found one that wasn't all doom and gloom, prophecizing infections, complications and trouble at every turn. Can you believe I had to travel all the way to Australia to find a decent, "happy" pro-positive outcome website?

While you read up, here is another picture of Millie...Millie O Millie....



For those non-reading types (myself at the head of that backwards class) basically they are going to put a relief valve in Millie's head with a drainage tube down to her abdomen. Its really important, so in it goes. That's pretty much that. She will have it in there all her life, and she will probably end up "owning" it, if I know us at all, so it will be okay to ask her about it, and even stare a little. Considering the head of unruly moppet hair that she has now, you best come over and stare now, or it will be lost to curls and pink ribbons soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MDWy2k7.....Dippity Doo!

Alright, I will just assume you all bought the CD, or were having a silent chuckle at me being the last one on my block to buy it. Fine!

We went to the New Jersey Shore for Memorial Day Weekend 2007. You may recall from previous posts that the family decided to not have Memorial Day Weekend at my parent's house as the biggest to do in the history of familydom. Well, Losing one Millie (Grandma Millie Torre) and gaining our new Millie (Millie Isabella Lach) kind of set the scales to imbalance towards doing it one more time.

Well, let me tell you, it was amazing. I have the material for SO many posts now...but the first and foremost has to be about Millie Isabella.

I knew the family was pulling for us to have a baby for a very long time, but I had no idea how important this particular baby would be to some of my family. The Goodely and I were looking for a good traditional name for the baby, and when Grandma passed away, it seemed like common sense that we would name her Millie. We joked about getting brownie points with the family here and there, but just tongue and cheek stuff. Its a kick butt baby name, and a touching tribute as well.

Well...the family went crazy for Millie. There were some tears, but mostly laughter and holding, cooing and canoodling, cajoling and cannoli. More than one person commented that bringing THIS Millie to the family was a big help in letting the other one go. When I told another person that every time I thought of someone calling OUR Millie "Grandma Millie", well, the floodgates opened.

No trip to my parents house would be compleat without at least seeing the beach (right, Cousin Mike?) or dipping our toes. Dipping ALL the family toes, that is.

Here are the pictures, good friends one and all!



Cousin Mike..never did see the beach, but we certainly pounded on some bar doors to open them up bright and early!


Lots of pictures of me and the baby, it is MY blog, after all!

I think I look pretty good....snoogans.

Alright, I will shut up now...THESE two look amazing! For those playing at home, this might be the first clear picture of the Goodely. Gentlemen, eat your hearts out! Squee!

The big dip...yes, the water was cold, but one of the big upsides to SPina Bifida? She probably can't feel her feet...nooch.
A few of the Grandparents....

Now, there is a man that LOVES it when you call him...Big Poppa! The Notorious B.O.B.!

I am the only jerk in America that can make a beautiful picture of Gramma and her Granddaughter all about ME.....but that baby LOooOOooooooooves me!!!
I hope this holds you over for a bit. Coming back from vacation on a short week has me stressed and flailing about like a twitchy kid hopped up on pixie sticks playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" on Ritalin Day! Hopefully I can get some more posts up...like the "13 year old" comment....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hammered Dulcimer? I nearly killed her!

Do yourselves a frickin' favour already, and buy this Compact Disc!

You can take a look at the artist, her calendar and other musical offerings at her homepage , but for the love of Bob, buy her CD!

Darcy is rapidly becoming a good friend of mine, and it is odd to me that she became friend first in my mind, and crazy talented musician second. I have seen her perform at the Maryland Renaissance Festival of course, but either I have been too silly, too costumed or too tipsy and distracted by all the shiny items and pretty colours to appreciate how scary talented my new friend is.

I feel I am ill qualified to give an informed review of the CD, but I really like it, and some of the songs make me weep openly every time I hear them.

Alright, look....here's the deal...no more baby pictures until you buy the CD! I mean it. It was nominated for a Grammy for the Sake of Peter!

You go...you go buy now!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy One Month Old!



Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nothing to see here...

Just some random postings. Everything is getting to some semblance of normalcy here. I am sure the Goodely Wyfe would disagree with me, but then again, it is her that is getting savaged by Millie the Nipple Ravager every "coupla too tree" hours and not me. The wee little bugger latched on to yours truly during some tummy time, and let me tell you, it was not pleasant!

She is a dear. We were to go down to Children's Hospital for our first Spina Bifida clinic last week, but wouldn't you know it? The frickin' Queen of England was there! That's right...because the lead figurehead from some sovereign nation whose heiny we kicked (and are so proud of, sheesh, what are they, the size of New York?) a few hundred years ago comes to town, my little girl doesn't get medical attention? Apparently, to my sleep addled mind, that is exactly what transpired.

Well, not exactly..compounding any "Imperial Entanglements" was a simple error on behalf of this "technological terror we've created", the fact that our appointments, which were set up by some of the most advanced medical minds in our country, were not even in the computer. Yes, I KNOW, without the computer, I would not be able to share half naked pictures of myself, talk about my wang, my life, and my Wyfe with all of you, but at the same time, it appears that even the most simple tasks are now more complicated than ever due to our computational overlords.

Oh yes, I could shuck the whole deal. Goodness...did I just throw a gauntlet down in front of myself? Am I man enough to enact a "no personal computing vacation"? I don't know...for how long? A week? Two weeks? A month? It seems crazy. Actually, it seems really crazy. Impossible and "inconceivable" (and I DO know what that word means, thank you, Giant!). There are folk in this universe that only get to experience me through this medium, folks that I have met, carried on with , fallen in and out of love with, all without even seeing each other, well, except for the above mentioned blog pics, etc. Denying myself the simple pleasure of worldwide narcissism is an anathema to me. I am just needy enough to want to stay connected, and you are apparently just needy enough to have me.

Thanks for that, by the way, and keep checking in. More on Millie the Mangler when we return!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I think you are all going to have to call or drop by....



Because all I do now is hold the baby...and can think of no better way to spend my time, than with Millie in my arms.



I love this child. I am listening to a friend's CD, where she sings and plays her hammered dulcimer, and crying while I type. This little girl that the Goodely and I have created is so wonderful and precious to me. I wish you all could be here now...mostly to hold me.

I just want to be good enough. Goddess, Lord, whoever is out there....well, according to my spiritual practice, its YOU, my family, my friends, and the complete strangers that I meet along the way that I pray to and hold holy. Please then, please help me to be the person I want to be for this child....for myself, for my Wyfe, and for you. I think I have it in me....I hope I do.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

So we....

..feed
and we feed
and we change
and we burp
and we feed
and we change
and we burp
and we sleep
and we feed
and we change
and we burp
and we feed
and we feed
and we feed
and we feed
and we change...











..and then we get cuddletime.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"My Water Broke.."

Well, I never got THAT particular phone call, but today at 11:38a.m., I got this call:

"Robert, they are letting Millie out of the hospital...TODAY!"

And we rushed downtown to get her. It was an amazing trip down Georgia Avenue, to the hospital and into the Intensive Care Unit...highs and lows as the enormity of taking another human being home with us finally crashed against my shores, leaving me eroded but enriched. It is a breathaking experience, one many of you know, and one many of have decided not to know. I walk hand in hand with the former, and do not begrudge the latter, as again, it is an enormous prospect, and I cannot help but be shot through with doubt and fear...

...and love and joy! We ARE going to be great parents! This does NOT mean the end of Robby as we know him. In fact, sitting on my front porch earlier tonight, sipping the last of my Scotch (my father, who had been visiting, cleared out my inventory of scotch, except for the bit belonging to "Robert, NEVER take another man's last drink") I was thinking of many things, from how to best strategically position baby gates to keep our dog (who seems to like putting baby heads in her mouth) and our infant separated, but appreciated, AND the notion of turning my basement into an ersatz speakeasy to host Happy Hours every Friday for the neighborhood. Heck, with its own side entrance and new lounge aesthetic....it could be a grand, grand idea.

Eight years ago we decided to have children. Eight years have passed, with us living good lives, having fun, sleeping in and being little kids. We will still take our little kiddedness with us forward, but now we have a little playmate to help us remember what it truly means to be a child, and to experience this world for the first time.



Firsts? Well, Millie's first breath of "fresh" air was an underground parking garage and noxious pipe effluence. I was glad to get her home, and onto the front porch, where she could smell grass, and new rain.

Welcome Home Millie!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Movies....

I suppose it is tough waking up to find that your pig has bogarted your best meds. A helping hand from mommy settles things down nicely.




Yep...I imagine eventually I will get back to blogging about my nethers and such.....be patient!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hiccups!

So, here we go, I have become the Ultimate Baby Blogger! This is Millie with the hiccups. Apparently, Cecil B DeDaddy has no idea how to capture sound, so you have to look for visual cues!




Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Consider yourself, at home....



..consider yourself...part of the family.

Millie Isabella Lach
April 16, 2007

Mille came into our lives a little bit early, so around 12:40 pm on that Monday. She is a delight, and everyone fell in love with her. I cannot describe what when on in the operating room when she was born, or my Goodely Wyfe will kill me, but suffice to say, it was very, very messy.

The hospital staff at both the Washington Hospital Center and Children's Hospital of DC were all very , VERY attractive, young and professional. If for a second you ever think that we are raising a bunch of screw headed no nothings, go to a hospital and check out the resident staff. They will amaze you by their skills and talents, which actually do manage to overshadow their hawtness from time to time, but just barely.

I loved how the extremely sexy anathesiologist got all up in the Goodely's chicken, flirting with her and practically cuckolding me right in front of my eyes, but all of this was to somehow make the idea of a huge needle going into her spine palatable. I think he could have shown her the joys of forbidden love at that point, and she would have agreed. I think Suziehulaloop and I would certainly have!

Millie came out, all sticky, hairy and wet, at a comfortable 7 pounds 5 ounces, but with a bright and shining golf ball sized open lesion just above her heiny. Just looking at that thing made me cry. It is odd how you know what you are going to get, but the seeing of it makes it all the worse.

Crazy though, because very quickly, as we waited to have her transferred to the other hospital to get her stabilized and prepped for surgery, what made me the most emotional was not all the silly little things she may NOT be able to do, like walking, whatever (she does have a lots of good mobility signs) , but all the things she was going to BE able to do. I had WAY too much time to wait for the transfer, but as I cupped her little head, and placed my other palm at the small of her wee little back, I thought of all of you. I thought of the Traveller, of the Maestro, the HulaHoop and the NOVA Hivemind. The Chatty Kathy, The GTM...family, friends, the gamers, the lovers, the dreamers and me. I thought of her namesake, and how Millie Torre, my recently passed grandmother, would be happy to know that someday, long after I am gone, someone will ask this little "Grandma Millie" to tell her stories to them, and how her stories will be our stories.

Children's is non denominational, so there were few icons or prayers in evidence (from the institution, that is, we had everyone from pagans to catholics lined up) and the inscription at the bottom of the picture posted above her super sci-fi incubatrix read "Children are the messages we leave for the future." I encourage you all to feel free to "leave a message with Millie" however and whenever you want.

Some nitty gritty bitties: Millie has the "fuck a bunch of Spina Bifida" as one of her step aunts put it. The neurosurgeons did some preliminary testing, and so far Millie is showing decreased sensations below her waist, but has some..

..oh hell....you know what? All y'all has to know is that she is beautiful, healthy and ours. The rest of it will work itself out, and after 3 days in hospital, i have heard it way too much to type it all out again. I know many of you are curious, but isn't your curiosity satisfied by FINALLY knowing the sex? For those of you that I told already, do NOT tell the Goodely that you knew, or she will take steps to ensure we will never have another child of our own, by de-testiculating me. That's a medical term, by the way...that much I remember.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Manscaping and Impulse Control Troubles

So, I love my girlfriends, or friends-what-are-girls so much. Y'all are so very open and chatty about a wide range of subjects. I have recently been doing some self-beautification and alteration (tatoos and such) the most recent of which has been a round of manscaping.

Yep, I give a trim up to my down there on a fairly regular basis, so was wondering what the current trends were in the distaff groundskeeping.

I was very surprised to see that there is still a wide range of nether forestation in evidence! My field research has only been in the form of oral exams....hmm...ahem...has only been in a question and answer format, but the data is conclusive. Everything from the hardwood floor to nigh-topiarian designs to the rampant hippy verdancy was represented in our sample audience. It was very heartening indeed.

Heartening because as much as I have my own preferences (which I will not state, as a clinical observer, I must remain neutral) I still hold to the notion that we gentlemen prefer a variety in all things. Needless to say, we are all to be EXTREMELY grateful to whomever allows us to get close enough to romp through the flora whatsoever that the length and breadth of the surrounding copse is more or less moot, it is still nice to know that folk are switching it up, and trying new things. You never know what you are going to get, and isn't that part of the true fun of passion? It is difficult to keep your paramour guessing after all the years of marriage and dating, so perhaps a little surprise in the lawn maintenance can go a long way to kindling or rekindling the moments in a safer way than a stray pinkie finger might.

Alright, perhaps I won't state my preferences, but I was "raised" on mid-seventies Playboy magazines, and thus it isn't very surprising that the well edged equilateral triangle is one of my favorite geometrical shapes.

There is no point to this post, obviously, so you can read into or out of it anything you wish. I am glad that I use the titles of my posts to keep me on track, because I almost forgot to mention the "impulse control" portion of the show. On a whim, and since I was recently thinking of the Playboy magazines of my youth, I wondered how difficult it might be to lay hands on one such journal issue, or perhaps an even earlier copy...perhaps the month of my birth? Well, Robbybloggers, apparently it is as easy as E-B-A-Y! I found this gem for a mere pittance, and it is on its way to the house.



The finest that August 1968 had to offer. As always, and the along the same lines of why you tune in here....I do indeed read it for the articles. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

As If I were Not Sexy Enough..

I went and got a tattoo last monday!



I KNOW! Who would have thunk the late thirties Robbyblog would go under the needle, the NEEDLE for the love of Bob, and get himself some ink? Well, most of us, actually.

Before:

I had wanted to get a tatoo like, forever. Forever-ever? Forever ever EVER! I think they are sexy, stylish, spiritual and nifty as all get out. Yes, I am sure whatever culture invented lifetime pain-inking hoped that someday some soon to be daddy would call the process and the result "nifty". Like any major decision I have ever made, I thought about it foryears, then pulled the trigger in mere moments.

There was some thought to my process that these kinds of things (going to London, getting a tattoo, lion taming, etc.) are my Last Gasp before the Wombrider makes his or her arrival. You know, there is a little something to that, but there is so much more as well. I am not breathing my last before the baby comes. I have become, in some ways, a better person than I have ever been. If you are looking for the ModestyBlog, you know by now that this isn' it. I love me, and I really love the person that I have become these last nine months. I feel more empowered than any kind of feeling like the end is nigh. The beginning is nigh!

The bear paw? Well, as I said at The Traveler's going away dinner "The bear has always been my animal to call". Although the monkey and I have many similarities as well, it has always been the bear that I have seen in my visions, and feel in my heart. Even the most superficial traits of the bear seem to apply to me, cuddly, sleepy, ferocious in anger, hairy, growly, protective, etc. Heck, I likes me the bears, and I likeys me the tribal look.

During:

The Bethesda Tattoo Company was delightful. Of course it took longer and was more expensive than I expected, but everyone there was very talented, polite and clean. As usual, I projected my preconceived notions on the tatoo parlour, and was intimidated and scared at first when I got my estimate and made my appointment. When I went back, everyone seemed a little smaller, and less scary to me. We started chatting a bit, and everything was cool.

My artist was some "kid" (just a few years younger than me) but was every inch a true professional. There was a ritual washing and shaving of the intended area, heavy "old school" metal playing (is that Judas Priest I hear?) and he recommended some breathing exercises for the pain and said we could take as many breaks as I needed to.

I am very happy to say that I ended up "sitting" (I was laying down) like a champ. his words, not mine. We did two hours of the stinging inking non stop and from start to finish. I did, of course, sweat so much I went right through my clothes and all over his bench, but as we know, that is what my people bring to the table. yes, it hurt like crazy, no, it wasn't unbearable by any stretch.

After:

OMG...I got a frickin tattoo on my chest! What the heck was I thinking? How long do I have to live with this? Forever?!?! Really? Okay, breathe. I do actually love it. I love it a lot, and I like the placement, as I can see the "+12 Bear Paw of Power" every morning during my usually foppish toilette. I can't wait to read stories about bears to the little one, and have him or her look up and see that Poppa Bear is right there, ready to love, cuddle, and to proceed with the rending should anyone try to invade our territory. ;)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

In Which I Make a Promise I Cannot Hope to Keep...

That's right Robbybloggers. I hereby vow to post EVERY DAY for a week! In the words of the immortal Wayne Campbell:

"Sh'ah...right!"

Let's get started then without further ado with the Giggles Farm. Yes, the baby's room is compleatly complete! For that matter, the entire house is in what I consider "showroom readiness", and has attained a level of cleanliness and organization such as it has never seen before. I am prouder than a hung peacock, I must say. It is an amazing feeling, as I was putting the last touches on the baby's room, I found that I needed a screwdriver. Well, I went right downstairs to the basement, directly to my new tool-chest (thanks, parents!) and opened the drawer where the screwdrivers are kept, and voila! There was a screwdriver! I KNOW! Can you imagine such a thing? Honestly, three months ago, nobody in this house could.

I de-fragged the house this winter, much like you would defrag a hard drive. I opened every box, uncovered every layer of miscellaneous belonging we had, divided it all up into easily definable categories, and then threw it all away. Okay, maybe I kept some of it, but in the end, we have much much, much less stuff, and all of said stuff is now more or less where it belongs.

Amazing, absolutely amazing. The Goodely Wyfe and I have been having some discussions about how nothing is ever "perfect", and it seemed to me that she was advocating that we never try for perfection, as since it is never attainable, why waste effort trying to get there? I think that if you don't try for perfection, however, you will never know how far you can actually go. Doing one's best is laudable, its true, but how will you know what your best is, if you don't at least try fotr the best imaginable?

Its disappointing some times, to be true, and i am constantly "failing" to create perfection at work, at home, in the gym or wherever, but striving for the ideal , or whatever the ideal is in my mind, has led me to tackle some projects and create some things that I did not think I was capable of. The latest project of course, was the Giggles Farm.

Since I know the sex of our baby, and the Goodely does not, we needed to keep the room gender neutral, but I wanted it to be homey and festive. We decided on a farm theme, or a barnyard theme if you will, and here are the results:



Whoops! Alright then, that must be the "before" picture..lets try again, shall we?



No, still before...ah, here's the ticket!



And a few more....





Many thanks to the Goodely Wyfe for her encouragement and support, the Maestro for his unimaginable talents and brushwork, and of course, Giggles, for being my inspiration.

Thanks to y'all for reading and waiting somewhat patiently for posts! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I thought it worked the other way around!

I have fallen pretty far behind on my plans for the baby's room. The Giggglesfarm is coming along nicely, but it will be a panting photo finish at the end of the race. In hindsight, I couldn't quite figure out why I felt I needed to do all of this work myself, and not either 'write the check", or have some of the troops over to help out. It really is just one room, and I am sure we could have banged it out in a day.

Being an architect, I can be a little controlling, but never to the point that I have refused to solicit assistance in the past. No, something else was at work here, besides me. A large part of this is the nesting bug that I caught, wanting to create from my own two hands and imagination a room, a space for my child to live in that would be my gift. I don't get to have the womb, and cannot nurture quite so directly, so in this way, and architecturally, I can create an environment for my child to create his or her first memories.

Last night, however, my purely altruistic notions of "why I was working so hard" crumbled into dust, and I am now experiencing quite a bit of melancholy. It seems that a lot of the force behind all of my hard work comes from guilt.

Yep, guilt, the prime motivator passed down from parent to child for all generations. How could it be then that my unborn child could make me feel this way, so powerfully and before the little tyke is even born? Well, back when we found out our child has Spina Bifida, I was VERY scared, and advocated heavily for terminating the pregnancy. I did not want to bring this child into the world, this wonderful child that now I love more than I could possibly imagine. All of this work, all of this love, all of the emotion and anticipation of having a child would not have occured if we decided to terminate. I feel horrible and guilty about what I was feeling at the time.

Yes, I KNOW I felt that way for just a week, a week in which I was scared and looking into the Abyss. I KNOW that I came to the decision to keep the baby on my own terms, and I just needed to travel through that darkness to get to the light of acceptance and love. Knowing, however, is not "half the battle", nor is it an eigth for me...FEELING is where my battlefields are, and that is where I frequently lose said battles. As we mentioned last night, it is not your feelings that are right or wrong, its what we do as a result of them that matters. Even if we came to the decision to terminate together, it still would have been the right thing to do, but I am now so glad that we decided to keep Giggles.

So, I am faced with this guilt. Considering how powerfully it hit me last night, I can only surmise that it was lurking patiently and building all this time, while the rest of me was happy and expectant. When it pounced, it pounced hard, and I could barely get my hand around it to hold it up to the light and have a look at it. I hope that I can now take a good hard look at it and deal with it in the next month or so, as I do not want guilt to be a driving factor in how I deal with my child. I may be seeking professional help at some point, as I have off and on throughout my life, but for now I will seek your semi-professional help in this, as I have found the help of my family and friends to be far more productive, my apologies to the mental helath professionals out there. :)

Today, the Maestro will be working in the nursery, and I am not only okay with that, I am elated. Perhaps having him there today will break the seal of "I have to do all of this by myself" and allow me to solicit other help as well. Be aware, Robbybloggers, as I may be calling you soon! :) The more people that I allow to help, perhaps, the less pressure I will feel upon myself to "make it up" to my baby that I wanted to end his or her potential life.

Thanks for listening, and for being my friends.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Finally...London!

I owe you all many posts and updates, and will get to them in good time. Look for such entries as "Most Brief Snowman Ever", "The Death of Grandma Torre" and of course "Was I Always Beautiful" and "The Giggles Farm" to be coming to this space soon. For now, however, my latest crush has demanded that I post my experiences in London. In a fabulous comic book series called The Enigma, the main character had an intellect so vast that he could actually take a full day to remember a previous day, completely reliving it in his mind. I would like to be able to tell you everything I thought and did while in London, but my own cranial prowess is lacking in that regard, as is my ability / desire to type that much, so you will have to settle for a few random thoughts and notions.

London is, simply put, much like the best science fiction ever. The world you find yourself in is just foreign enough to make you anxious and bewildered, but also familiar enough that you can actually get around on your own. Everything from the money to the movies to the clubs to dining was familiar enough in that I didn't have to point at stuff and grunt or make hand motions like "feed that to me" or "no, I don't want that in my mouth". The differences were startling, however, when you realized that every sign, every socket, every taxi and every phone was "different" than what you are used to. Add to that the fact that they have swarming bands of Meerkats roaming the streets to such a degree that they have to post signs warning against them:



This bewildered soul succumbed to both these feelings of alienation and familiarity resulting in me being stirred instead of shaken.

Yes, stirred! The vast metropolitan landscape was amazing to behold, filled with, well, SO many non-British people that my imagined novelty status as a foreigner went right out of the window of the tube. Hmm..good notion there...are you Brits? English? Citizens of the United Kingdom? Sorry, love, this ugly American never took the time to find out, so you are all Brits to me. I hope you can forgive me if there is any slight. Speaking of our ugly yank, here he is at none other than Big Ben:



I look happy enough, and that is because I was! The Traveler was a wonderful guide to the City of Lights, or whatever they call London. We actually went to a salon type place on my first night in, and exclusive dinner club to meet and greet the Brits in their natural habitat. It was delightful, and very odd, as one of our dining companions actually was a student of...get this...American Studies! Who would have thought America warranted studies? I thought the world just grimaced at us, the buffoon in the wrong clothes stuffing his face at the buffet that everyone tolerates because you never know who he is going to punch. In any event, some American celebrity was assigned to me, and I did my best to give this bloke a good impression of Americans by drinking way too much and hitting on his woman. Hitting on his woman WELL, I might add.

I keep meaning to state "over the next two days, we visited many sights", but, truth be told, we saw everything on Saturday. Saturday was a whirlwind of museums, the Thames, drinks, many, many pubs, and much shopping, both indoor and out. For those of you what know London can guess as to which very obvious tourist places we went to, so i will not list them here. Needless to say, I loved the pubs the best. Here is one named after the famous Dr. Dominic Santori:



Wherein we watched a rugby game (trying to figure out the rules to that game was like trying to explain why a boar's penis rotates) while having Fish N' Chips served by a lovely eastern euorpean "lass". Again, the multicultural metropolitan feel of this place was very similar to our own Washington DC. After our big day out, we went back to The Travelers flat to freshen up, and check out the rules to rugby and the secrets of porcine penises online, then went out to Soho.

Ah...to be young, handsome, and super-gay. Oh, wait, I am older, handsome, and super married, with a baby on the way. Well, that never stopped me before, so off to Soho we went! I cashed in on some more American celebrity status, and had a chit chat with a few of the boys of Soho, and we all had a good laugh. With London entertaining about ten times the population of Washington DC, i was surprised but delighted to see that when a group decides to invade a neighborhood, they do it en masse...en massy to a degree I haven't seen before. I really couldn't tell the difference between the crowded bars and the crowded streets. It was a living, seething mass of pretty boys, and me. Oh, then we went to a hetero strip club, which was also, oddly enough, deep in the gay streets of Soho.

Sunday was....well, Sunday we wrote off almost completely, and here is where another odd dichotomy or juxtaposition or quandry or chestnut or attercop or flip flop chicken hop or well, something that came up on my trip. "Going to London" was a huge crazy thing for Bob & Lorraine's youngest son, an amazing trip across the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to a European city of history, culture and wonder. At the same time, I was going to visit The Traveler, just like if i was going to hang out with him on a Sunday afternoon right here in Silver Spring. Sunday found us just enjoying each other's company in the flat...watching dopey movies on his wondorus big screen and properly taxed telly, and chit chatting now and again. It was delightful, and as busy as I have been, long overdue. Sure, there was more to see and do in London proper, but at the same time, the main reason i went there was to sit in the presence of my dear friend, share my energy with him, and just kind of "be". It was wonderful. We did, not to sound like a total lump, head out to the London Eye, this huge ferris wheel type thingy that you can Google up and see what it is all about. You can see it in the background of the picture of me and Big Poppa Ben (he LOVES it when you call him that) above. Yes, its HUGE! Here is a shot, a poor one at that, from the high up at night.



Very cool, and very fun, and very nervy. I guess you could say that about all of my experiences, as brief as they may be, in London. Very cool, very fun, and very nervy. I am very proud of myself for going over, seeing my friend, and not making it into a stressful "I have to see everything and do everything" kind of trip. It was delightful, pleasant and just ordinary enough to reinforce that going to London is not the big deal that it sounds like. it was very easy, very possible, and something that I hope I can reinforce in my friends and my family to be. London, the whole world for that matter, really is just kinda "over there", and you can get to it very easily.

So please, I beg you all...GO!! Go down the street, to the other coast, across the seas, over to a friend's. If Bob & Loraine's youngest can do it, so can you! The best part? When you get there...they give you sausage.