Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to Completely Engage a Four and a Half Month Old

One of my brothers mozied his way up to my parents house with his family during his Thanksgiving break. We were able to spend time with them on Saturday night. In the words of Junie B. Jones, Munchkenna "got all jazzied up."

Munchkenna is starting to become quite interactive. She smiles and sticks out her standard issue chameleon tongue (yes, it seems that long) when someone she recognizes talks to her. She coos and talks to you as well. When she gets really excited, her fists ball up and lose some of the limited control she has mustered. Her leg often starts pistoning up and down as well. But there is something that completely entranced her that my brother's family brought—a chiwawa.

I don't know if it was the fact that there was something smaller than her that was highly mobile, or jingle from his tags, but Munchkenna was GLUED to Mojo for a good 30 minutes. Her eyes would enlarge when she spotted him, then she would hold still as a statue until Mojo moved.

Once Mojo moved, everything in Munchkenna's power came to life. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit surprised she didn't break a sweat. Her arms waved, her feet stamped in the air like Thumper, and she started to try to sing her siren song to get Mojo's attention. I guess husky voices just don't work as an irresistible siren's call for a tiny dog. Every once in a while the treble range would come out in the form of a squeal, but other than that, Mojo was aloof.

She sure got everyone else's attention though. Next time you are looking for something to get your baby engaged, try a chiwawa. And pull out the video camera.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nice Try, Wifey

It is no secret, but this time of year is not exactly my favorite. With the holiday season approaching, it comes as no surprise that the stores start to market their wares in preparation for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (read Christmas). I understand consumer spending was up more than expected, but there is one important bump in the road before the jolly old elf comes—Thanksgiving.

It seems to me that stores attempt to bump Christmas up a bit every year. I am already seeing snowscapes painted on storefront windows. One if the local radio stations has been playing Christmas music since November 12th. I even saw some Christmas decor before Halloween this year in a non-specialty store.

I have a rule for myself that I don't listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. We should be thankful and celebrate what we have before we start asking for more. And don't try to pull the "But I'm thankful for Christmas" stunt. Wait until it gets here to be thankful.

Wifey knows about my rule, generally adhering to it when I am around. Tonight, she tried to pull a fast one on me though. Don't think I didn't notice, Wifey.

On our ride home from my parents, she told me that she wanted to tell me something. She then proceeded to turn the radio dial to the obscene station that won't stop playing Christmas music. In an appeal to let her listen, she informed me that Munchkin loved listening to the music.

All I have to say is that there is a reason one of the eight famous reindeer is named Vixen...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Golden Retriever Mastermind

At work recently, my boss has been having us do some personality tests. I have taken some before, but I ran across one that I haven't done before. The test results listed you as a type of animal. My strongest trait was a golden retrieve, followed closely by a beaver and otter, then a large gap for the last classification (lion). My supervisor charted the scores of everyone on our team, and I realized that I was the most straight line out of anyone, as well as the the one with the lowest overall scores. I found that quite interesting with my recent blog post about engaging with people that I was the one that had the lowest overall scores. It didn't bother me that I was the lowest score, but I thought it noteworthy. We also took the Meyers-Briggs. I had taken this one before, and got the spread of INTJ. The bucket they stuck me in was Mastermind. I thought it sounded a bit nefarious, and that was supported when one of the famous people I was lumped in with by having this personality was Ghengis Khan. I was happy to be lumped in with C.S. Lewis, Sir Issac Newton, Nicola Tesla, and Gandalf. Okay, so the last one isn't a real person, but he is pretty cool anyway. I had to laugh when it said that my personality type makes up 1-3% of the population. Wifey has always told me that I am Type B, and this supports her observation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


With the recent flood of work that has been coming my way, I have had no hope in keeping up. Someone asked me how I was doing yesterday, so I told her that I felt trapped between Scylla and Charybdis.

All I got back was a quizzical stare.

Because of that incident, along with other random words I throw out there, we got a new whiteboard in our cube. The heading matches the title of this post, which happens to be Words That We Don't Know That John Knows. Not the most straight forward writing I've ever seen in my life, but I'm not about to correct their acronym.

The new girl to the cube called up her husband after the board was up and going with a few words. She quizzed her husband on them, and after he threatened to hang up on her because he didn't know the first one, she explained that the word (Scylla) was from the Odessy, then asked him if he remembered reading it in high school. His retort was something along the lines of, "I won't read the Odessy because it will never get me anywhere."

What a pity.

My retort to him comes from the introduction to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. "Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about ourself.

We recently saw the final Harry Potter movie, and it kind of bothered me that I was a lot more emotionally invested in the characters in a book written for young adults than I was with many of the people in my life who are friends or acquaintances. Thanks to Mr. Card, I now have my answer.

I feel a bit bad for my co-worker's husband who won't know the thrill of living a thousand lives and making a million vicarious mistakes through books. I have hope to eke past my own personal Scyllas and Charybdii in my life because someone has already blazes that trail for me and shown me that it can be done.

Keep making friends you'll never talk to, and keep imagining places you'll never see. You might be surprised one day to realize just how familiar your situation might be...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Impaired by Hearing

The girlies have been sick the past few days. We had to cancel Wifey's birthday party because Munchkin was coughing up a storm and Munchkenna was too hoarse to cry. I think they are both on the mend, but we'll see.

Wifey and I didn't get much sleep last night. Munchkenna kicked me out of our bed so Wifey could take care of her. I took Munchkin duty.

Since we were both pretty tired tonight, Munchkenna decided to wake up about 10:00 to disrupt a good night's sleep from happening. Knowing that most of the local tv stations had news on, I sought something more entertaining on PBS.

Independent Lens had a program on tonight about deaf poetry slams. I've never been to a poetry slam, and I don't know that I would ever go. Poetry feels too contrived to me. I would be interested in seeing a deaf poetry slam though.

The first thing that struck me was how emotive the poets were. Their poetry was like dance, but with concrete meaning. I didn't feel like someone was looking down on me because I didn't understand their poem--instead, I felt like someone being told a story These high school kids were passionately showing emotion and engaging in a way that most adults could not do today. They wanted their voice to be heard.

This message resounded in me. I have felt stifled at work lately. I give feedback in hopes that things will change, but instead I get to repeat myself as my workload mounts. I want my voice to be heard--not only because I am trying to make things easier for everyone around, but also because I believe what I have to say.

It was a bit odd for me to find my voice tonight through a female high school senior from Israel who spoke only one word I could understand, but I did. Now I just need to keep letting my voice be heard and using it with a hint of the same fervor that she had.