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We live on a fairly busy street. Lots of cars drive by our house in the morning commute. There is a ‘T’ intersection that stops just outside the picture window to our living room. There are also a lot of people running or walking their dogs down the street as well.
We have shades for the picture window. We keep them up all the time because they are broken due to our dogs inability to contain their excitement for new mail, new packages, and the sexy dogs of the neighborhood who are walking their humans. This despite the fact that they do not get any mail and the neighbor dogs are seemingly not interested. We could replace them, but the excitement of the dogs would not end there.
I know that the commuters, particularly the ones who stop at the ‘T’, can see me sitting here most mornings in my boxers if they are lucky (less if they are not) reading books on my book reading technology while waiting for others in my family to wake up. Then I have to wonder what the reaction is.
Do they avert their eyes from the overweight, hairy, tattooed, pierced, aging man that they see? Do they change their morning commute in order to do so? I have noticed no decrease in traffic (yet). Do they shout obscenities at what they feel violated by having seen without their permission? I have always contended that when someone looks into a window of someone else’s life, what they see is their own responsibility to deal with.
I am not here trying to be looked at. I just want to read my book and watch the cars drive by. I am in my house reading my book. Why should I have to make myself less comfortable in my private vicinity for their comfort on a public street?
This afternoon Chris and I were spending some time in the backyard with Tsunami. He seemed to be in an independent mood and was wandering about the yard in full discovery mode. I personally love watching him when he is doing this.
A few days ago we put plastic eggs all over the yard and let Tsunami and Jupiter hunt for them. It was all part of some sort of Spring holiday tradition wherein folk celebrate everything from simple sugar overdose to sex and fertility to even walking dead deities.
Tsunami really enjoyed this egg hunting part of the holiday because, to him, the eggs look a lot like balls. At this stage in his life, he is very obsessed with balls. With the ‘ball’ hunt in mind, he was out to find some again today.
His ability to find balls in just about anything is pretty amazing to me. Today he was not off the mark by any means. He found some plants in the yard that were growing purple balls at the flower and started picking the balls off of them.
As I watched him I started to appreciate his natural curiosity in the world around him. He was driven not only by his appreciation of cylindrical objects, but also discovering textures and interacting by testing the limits of the things he saw. He was feeding his scientific curiosity by testing his own limits too. As he climbed up on a table which was near the place we were sitting he wanted to see how far “up” he could get.
I spoke to Chris about how valuable the uninterrupted exploration of the world is for kids (and everyone, really). How kids naturally employ the scientific method, and how sometimes parents might prevent them from doing so when we think we know better.
Certainly there are times when we know better and our fears for their wellbeing are legitimate. For example if a child is new to walking outside alongside a street, they may lack the experience to know why wandering into the area where cars are driving is probably not the best plan of action. That is truly where the role of the parent to step in is indisputably part of the job.
However, there are other times when taking control of a situation can be harmful to development. Indeed, a few minutes later Tsunami did fall down and hit his head on a piece of landscaping wood and got hurt. I suppose if we had not been giving him the freedom to wander around the yard or had been hovering over him the painful incident could have been averted. But then he would not have had the pleasurable experience he had just before that.
I think even in hitting his head he learned something too. He learned that he can try, fail, and live to try again. He learned that the pain will pass. He also learned that he has people to support him and help pull him out of the hardship of failing as Chris ran over to comfort him just after the incident occurred. He now has a little more reassurance than before that his mother will be there to help pick him up when he falls and confidence to explore even more. Certainly, the more one falters, the better that person gets at pulling themselves back up.
We decided to enroll Jupiter into preschool. He is developing fine all on his own, but we want to see if he strives in an institutional environment. Chris and I have discussed and agree that we should not leave any options off the table as to how he will be educated going forward, so this will be a good indicator to help us decide how to proceed when the time for kindergarten comes.
It is a two hour and forty-five minute class three times a week. It has already shown to be disruptive to his exploratory time. This morning he was telling me that he wanted to go to the Science Center. I told him that we would try to fit it in, but we had other priorities that needed to be complete before we could go. Well, time was short and Jupiter dragged along this morning, so we did not go to the Science Center.
Today is his second day of preschool. He seemed to like it yesterday. I barely got a goodbye from him as he was already deep into playing with the other kids. I think it will be good to spend time with kids his age on a consistent basis. Sure, Chris and I take him places and he plays with kids his age quite a lot, but he seems to want to be forming more in depth relationships with others of his age. Preschool will provide an opportunity for that.
He was pretty wore out by the end of the day yesterday. This is throwing his routine in to upheaval, and a little adjustment phase is to be expected.
I am going through my own adjustment about this as well. For one thing, I might be able to find more time for studying, writing, and housework. I really can use the extra time. However, even though it is only a few hours a week, I miss him.
Do you know someone who does not mind giving away free music? According to the music industry that idea is just stupid. Someone should always be squeezing profit out of music.
Another group that likes to give out free music is the birds. The ones in the trees. The ones that sing as you are walking through the woods. Sometimes I pay the birds for their music though. I pay them a convenience fee for coming to my house to sing by putting bird seed out. Sometimes I feed the ducks at a pond too. The genre they play is called waddle-hop.
I like the idea of pay it forward or sideward or upward or whatever-ward-you-want-ward. The way I do not like payment is through IOUs that come with restrictions and allow for hording and inflating and holding fees and expenditures. Those sorts of payment are just really no good. They seem to create inequalities and authorities and junk.
I suppose the point of this post is that I do not think that I have done anything for my cousin in awhile and I probably owe him a pack of cigarettes or something. He is always the type of guy who is as giving as anyone can be. And I cannot recall the last time I did a favor for him.
Yesterday we took the boys and met Antijen and Tom down at Mangia which was a prime place for us to enjoy brunch and the Pride Parade on Grand. I had never seen such a tight knight community of people at a festival before this. Of all the fests, parades and other events that we have been to so far since moving here, this one was my favorite.
St. Louis is most certainly a party town with a lot of party opportunities for binge drinkers and sober fun lovers alike. It is Chris’s work week so we did not get to spend a lot of time there, but it is important to us that we expose our kids to a variety of people and lifestyles, and the St. Louis Pride Fest was no better way to do it.
We hung around Mangia for a little while and ate our brunch. I had a couple of delicious Bloody Marys and a Belgian Waffle. Do not ever go to Mangia for brunch without getting a Bloody Mary. They make one of the most delicious ones I have ever had.
Next we started toward the Tower Grove park. Since Chris had another overnight shift on the horizon, we had to cheer pride as fast as we could and get back home so she could sleep before she had to go back to work.
On our way to and through the park we met a few interesting characters. As my friend Greg said when he saw this picture, Tsunami officially now has a WTF look after seeing a few gay clowns. Jupiter was definitely a fan of the balloons and even a pup got in on the enjoyment.
I also saw some dominatrix action, some cross dressing, a lot of hand holding, and definitely a lot of love.
The theme of the festival this year was “Be You”. I really like that theme a lot. It speaks for so much more than only people who have issues with a certain subset of society because of gender preferences and roles. Everyone has something that is uniquely them, and I felt that is what this Pride Fest was about.
I think we will keep taking the kids to festivals like this one. It is very important for me and Chris to raise our kids to be accepting of all people no matter what or who they are. It is also important for us to teach them to be themselves no matter who or what that may turn out to be.
I have had a fascination with tuxedo T-shirts since I got married. Okay, I will admit, it is more of an obsession, but let me explain.
When Chris and I got married, we decided that some marriage traditions were just stupid and we were going to do it our way. Somehow we came up with a lesser toured island called Water Island on the Virgin Islands as the place to do it. My brother-in-law, Tom, officiated the ceremony. We paid him in drinks. He did a pretty good job, and he got his reward in full.
I told Chris that I always thought it would be neat to get married in a tuxedo T-shirt. Without a blink or bat of the eye, she agreed. I was pretty sure that I picked the right one, but her reaction showed me that I would have no regrets. That was to be my attire.
Up to this point I had never gotten around to owning a tuxedo T-shirt, but had always admired those who had them. I guess the reason they appeal to me is because of what they represent. You can be classy all the time and ready to party all the time as well.
Since then my tuxedo T-shirt collection has grown quite extensively. I have the blue one that I am wearing today. But I also have a purple one for that kind of a night. I of course have the one I was married in. I have added several black ones with various styles and configurations including an 8-bit one and a more relaxed one that has the tie undone.
I do not know why I became so obsessed with these tuxedo T-shirts. Sure the message is clear, and I like that. I want to be classy relaxed all the time. I feel good when I wear one though.
You know, I bet I figured out why they make me feel so good. It must be because I was wearing one on the best day of my life.
Today I finally broke down and did it. I cooked a frozen pizza on the grill.
I put it on a piece of aluminum foil so that the ingredients would not fall through the rack. Since it is pretty close to the flame, I went with 100º less than the oven instructions. I would say that one could safely go maybe 150º below since I had a slight amount of burnt crust. Nothing inedible though. I also went with the low end on the time.
It turned out pretty good. I will experiment further to find the sweet spot, but I am pretty impressed with my guesswork this time around.
Sometimes when my mom sees how involved I am with taking care of my kids, she will say something to my dad about how he did not change the diapers, or something along those lines, when my brother and I were babies.
My dad was the breadwinner of our family, so naturally he did not do as much of the dirty work with parenting as my mother did. Sometimes though, I think she does not give him enough credit. I have no memory and no idea about who changed all the diapers, but I do have photographic evidence that my dad was an active and involved dad.
In this picture, my dad, Patrick James Augustine, is feeding me. I am, according to the back of the picture, nine months old here. Not too far from the age that Tsunami is currently.
I have plenty of other photographic evidence that my dad was involved in my brother and my childhood as well, but not even this picture is needed in reality.
There is no way that I would be near the dad I am today without him. He showed me a lot of things that I did not even realize I took in until I became a dad. Every time that I go out hiking on some trail with Jupiter and Tsunami, I think of many things that my dad taught me and my brother when he took us out to discover nature. On a daily basis, there are so many little things that I remember my dad doing for me as I am doing for them my kids.
His interest in astronomy is one gift that he gave me that I now happily share with Jupiter and hope to someday with Tsunami. I can remember the first time I saw an eclipse and he started taking basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls out to help explain what was going on. He really took the time to make sure I was getting what he was saying. I appreciated that.
I do not think that my dad reads my blog, but I hope he has a good Father’s Day, because if anyone has earned it, he has.
I snapped this photo of Jupiter the other day at Suson Park.
It was a fun day. Chris had told me about a “Farm Fun Friday” which was going on that day and included a hayrack ride. Jupiter loves hayrack rides, or “tractor rides” as he calls them. It was a great idea. We both enjoyed it. There were also a lot of farm animals to see, which are featured there every day, so we will likely go back.
In this photo, he is bored and waiting for the tractor to come back so that we could get on the hayrack. I was not thinking about it when I took it, but later something about it reminded me of the Smashing Pumpkins music video for their song 1979. After looking at the Wikipedia article on the song, I realized it must be the look of boredom and loneliness.
The video follows a day in the life of disaffected suburban teenagers driving around in a Dodge Charger. It is based on a concept Corgan created, featuring an idealized version of teenage life, while also trying to capture the feeling of being bored as a teenager.
While Jupiter is far from being a teenager (although his sense of entitlement sometimes says otherwise), he knows that sometimes to get to the exciting tractor ride, you have to wait through a painful boring and sometimes lonely period.
I have been reflecting on this idea a bit lately myself. Sometimes the members of my family have a lot of personal stuff that they need to take care of. Things that will help us all out in the long run. Sometimes I need to remember to be a little more patient and relax. Sometimes I need to remember to take advantage of these moments to think about and do things which work on my own personal life. Things which will also be advantageous to all of us in the long run if I take time to work on them.
I really like this picture.