Thursday, May 21, 2009


This weekend was a big one in terms of family because we had Max baptized on Sunday. This meant My Fair Lady's family was in town (staying with us, naturally) and my family hosted lunch. It also meant that Max had to be on his best behavior in front of a large congregation while wearing a dress and getting what he might regard as a bath.

So the challenge unfolded before us. Should we continue his training in the finer arts of adult-baby interaction? Or should we instead assume that he had reached the pinnacle of his training and was ready to go forth on his own? We opted for the latter. It was just a question of how would everything turn out.

We raced about the house that morning, frantic to gather our equipment and our wits. Little Max opted to forgo sleep the night before, instead deciding it best to psych himself up for his debut on the world stage. An unfortunate by-product of this was tremendous suffering on the part of his poor, beleaguered parents who by this point should be used to him not sleeping.

When he finally decided he was finished with his bed that morning, he let us know via a steady stream of babbling to his frog. We got him ready, fed him, and proceeded to wrangle ourselves and the in-laws into our vehicles. The mad dash to the church began.

Down the Tollway we raced, our hearts beating in our throats. Would we make it in time? Would Max throw up all over the minister? Would he do worse? Would the minister throw up all over him, either through illness or retaliation?

These were the thoughts that began to drive us mad with worry.

Once we arrived, we confirmed the location of both family parties then headed to the room specifically set aside for baptism babies. There we met two other couples, one of which was in our orientation meeting the prior month. The ministers arrived, said their pieces, and we paused for a moment of prayer. Which was the exact moment Max decided he liked his daddy so much he just had to deliver a slopping wet Baby Kiss right then and there.

Normally when we say "Baby kiss!" to Max, he turns and opens his mouth wide and plops it up against our heads. Recently though he figured that wasn't demonstrative enough of the love, so he grabs our hair with both hands, opens his mouth as wide as possible, then pulls himself to our faces.

Consider yourself warned if you're ever holding him and the phrase "baby kiss" is uttered in your vicinity. You then have about a second to make your peace with God before your face is mauled by an over-enthusiastic six month old.

As everyone finished their prayers, I was struggling to free myself from Max's surprisingly strong grip. The ministers left, I wiped my face down and pulled a chunk of hair from each of his little hands, then made sure he was ready. Away we were ushered to the sanctuary. We sat in the pews to the side, and I spotted Diva and Brother G waving at me from a few pews over.

Then the worm squirmed.

Maybe it was the choice of hymns. Presbyterians have an odd assortment of hymns, and the current reigning minister of our church has eclectic tastes to put it mildly. Or maybe he took after his old man. He'd also never seen that many people in one place so he started looking around, eventually smiling at and making faces for the elderly woman sitting behind us. Then the singing started and his little head spun around to say, "Wassat?"

Then we were called up for the sacrament and the three of us followed the other families to the front of the sanctuary. The child to our left was five months, Max was six months, and the other child was closer to 10 months old. We stood in the middle and the minister began prattling on in his usual way (I'm not his most ardent fan) when an odd noise echoed through the hall.


The 10 month old picked that moment to realize moving his finger up and down rapidly on his lips produced a funny noise.


The congregation busted out laughing. The minister tried to keep a straight face but to no avail. He picked up the first child and began delivering his spiel as he baptized the child.


Next up was Max who looked at the man more curious than anything else. He seems fascinating by elderly people, I guess because their faces look so much different than ours. He's with us almost 24/7 so seeing something new is fascinating to him. He smiled a little bit as the water hit his head, and then he was officially square with the Lord.


Next up was Blabbermouth who also handled the water well. Then the minister closed with a lengthy prayer (very, very lengthy) and we were directed to our seats.


Max decided at that point that he'd had enough of sitting on our laps, so we quickly made our way out and dropped him at the day care. Fortunately, he was the only one there and a grandmother roughly 354 years old was anxious to hold him. Unlike last time, he didn't take a nap in those petrie dishes they refer to as "cribs" so illness failed to find him again. The rest of the service was perfectly fine up to the sermon, when the minister figured a mixing of several different hymns would illustrate his point. After all was said and done, I had no idea what the hell his point must have been.


After taking several pictures outside (and the weather was perfect), we headed to my parents' house for lunch and more pictures. Max was a doll through this whole ordeal, doubly funny considering his behavior the night before. We can only hope that eventually he'll get to where he can be with lots and lots of people and not get stressed out.

But since he's apparently my clone, fat chance of that happening... ever.

The extra good news from the day's events though was getting a rare picture of both our families together. My Fair Lady has moaned for years that we never did that during our wedding, but fortune smiled upon us Sunday and granted her wish.

Oh, and Diva threatened to abscond with Max back home to LA due to his increasing adorability. Yes, he's adorable and grows more so every day. No, you can't have him Diva. Steal someone else's.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now Playing: Star Trek

They finally did it. But first a quickie history:

"Star Trek" began in the 1960s, ran for three years, was subsequently canned despite solid ratings (an imprecise science back then), then brought back to great fanfare as "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in the late 1970s. The film was meant to be the rebirth of "Star Trek." Yet for all the money hurled at it, and director Robert Wise's misguided, though bold, idea to make the film a genuine science fiction picture, the result is best summed up by comic writer Harlan Ellison's derisive dubbing of it, "The Motionless Picture."

A few years later, gold was struck. The budget was considerable slashed for the sequel, sets and effects were all reused, but it didn't matter. What mattered was the greatest villain of the series, Khan, was brought back and Ricardo Montalban delivered one of the single most legendary performances to grace cinema. Good villains are a dime a dozen but the great ones are near mythic in their infrequency. Khan was such a villain and that set the stage for the rest of the film series. There would be highs (parts IV and VI) and lows (part V and some of part III), and of course there would be new shows.

I wasn't as big a fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as my friends were because I understood, even if I lacked the proper TV lingo, what a "reset button" was. Every episode would do something drastic then by the end everything was fine and on their merry way the crew went. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But then came "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and suddenly "Star Trek" was dangerous again.

For the record, the show did not start well. It took a season and a half for them to find their footing despite some stellar one-offs mixed in. But once the show figured out what it wanted, it never looked back and by the end of it primary characters were dead, worlds left in waste, and half the Federation starfleet was decimated by a war that was so large it took two (almost three) seasons to cover. The show demonstrated that creator Gene Roddenberry's vision of a Utopian human society could be achieved while still bringing some awesome drama. Unfortunately, the staggering amount of lexicon developed over the preceding decades peaked here and all subsequent shows relied more and more on tech-speak and less on drama.

The less said about the "TNG" movies, "Voyager," and "Enterprise" the better.

JJ Abrams must have said "Screw all that!" because the first thing he did with his brilliant resurrection of the franchise is ensure that it is first and foremost a "Star Trek" for everyone. This new film is confident, swaggering, and filled with so much energy and passion and rich, rich emotional drama that I can scarcely believe I saw just one film instead of five. It brings back the original characters fans grew up with and reinvigorates them with an mission sorely lacking from the most recent shows.

In short, this film is filled with win front to back and I can't wait to see it again.

It kicks off with an event that brought My Fair Lady to tears - an attack on the USS Kelvin. Through an act of selflessness, the newly minted captain goes down with the ship in a last ditch effort to at least hurt their unknown attackers. The survivors include his wife who managed to give birth and leave enough time for the captain to participate in the naming of their son - James Tiberius Kirk.

That this singular event is what changes the whole of the "Trek" universe is genius. In the original storyline, Kirk's dad was his inspiration for boldly going through the Academy. So what happens if you remove the inspiration for someone whose actions later in life would literally shape the future of a galaxy? What sort of future would you be left with?

Oh by the way, this is indeed a time travel film in the sense that time travel is involved. That it opens with a game changer and throws another one at you roughly every 15 minutes or so is par for the course. You never know what to expect here and any film that can keep viewers this on their toes deserves all the accolades one can lavish upon it.

I loved the introduction of the characters (especially the hilarious throw-away line that describes where McCoy gets his future nickname). I loved how Uhura gets more lines in the film than the original did in the entire series. I love the awful and hilarious fate of the red shirt, as well as the entire setup for the joke. I love that Christopher Pike is not just in this film, but is a key player. I love that we get to see the test by which Kirk made his name, and it is every bit as hilarious as we'd hoped for with a punchline that left me howling. I love the advanced-yet-retro feel for the equipment and the costumes. And most of all I loved the way the cast absolutely nailed their characters.

Chris Pine is going to be the next Brad Pitt, albeit with more range. I think Pitt does brooding and crazy well, but the in between is where he repeats himself. Pine has the looks for sure, but he simply oozes confidence throughout which is exactly what he has to do as one of the biggest alpha males Hollywood has ever come up with. He's not playing Shatner either. He's playing James T. Kirk and he is note-perfect. Ignore how rapid his ascension to the captain's chair is for a moment, and stand in awe at how wonderfully Pine plays it. He's also got rock solid comic timing. All of this bodes well for future installments.

Zach Quinto has the toughest job in the film. Not only does he have to play a more emotionally conflicted Spock, he has to do it up against the actual Spock. Taking on a legendary character is one thing but doing so while the original actor is in that same character has to be terrifying, but Quinto is perfect. He even has the vocal mannerisms down pat, despite lacking the timber Leonard Nimoy adds to words like "fascinating."

Karl Urban has never left much of an impression on me other than "hey, it's that guy." But he resurrects the great DeForrest Kelly and gives us Dr. McCoy anew. He's older, been beaten down by life, and Starfleet is his only recourse. His banter with both Kirk and Spock is classic and I can't wait to see this trio continue.

The other actors do what they can, but they're limited in this installment. My one major beef is that Scotty shows up over an hour into the film and he's barely given enough time to breathe. That being said, when he's on screen he kills and the way he fits into this universe is perfect. Of course, the only question regarding Simon Pegg as how funny he would make Scotty and the answer is "very." Oh, and of course he uses one of Scotty's catch-phrases at exactly the right moment.

Despite a few things worth nitpicking (the entire sequence on the ice planet, for starters, may as well have been labeled "insert exposition sequences here") this film is so filled with goodies for movie lovers that it is worth seeing again and again. I haven't even spoken about the villain (who is functional but not memorable), or the references to past "Star Trek" lore, or the way there is no sound in space, or the genius of the entire space diving sequence, or the way this film fundamentally changes the universe and keeps going at the end.

They finally did it. They finally made a "Star Trek" film the eshews the problems that plagued the various shows. They finally made a "Star Trek" with an insane budget where every cent appears on screen. They finally made a "Star Trek" that my non-Trek fan wife can't wait to see a second time. The finally made a "Star Trek" with real danger and real consequences that pulls no punches and sets the stage where anything is possible.

They finally made a "Star Trek" for everyone and it is GLORIOUS.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady celebrates her very first Mother's Day this year and now is a perfect time to tell her thank you for everything she does:

1) She keeps me grounded. I have the attention span of a flea and historically jump from one project to the next to the next without finishing much if anything. As much as I hate it when she reigns me back in by reminding me about project X, it ensures that I maintain focus and ultimately complete it. I've become infinitely more productive since meeting her.

2) She's fun to mess with. She's a genuine sweetheart but sometimes lacks a sense of the obvious. This combined with me having a solid poker face means I can usually pull the wool over her eyes regarding something that may obviously be outrageous. The trick is to see how long I can string her along with an ever-increasing series of bogus claims without her figuring it out. This usually provides remarkable entertainment.

3) She's dedicated. When she decides she's going to do something, she attains it no matter what or when. Her path to becoming an attorney would have made lesser men and women quit in disgust but she persevered. It is a testament to her determination and will serve notice to Max and #2 in the future that she won't back down from them, regardless of how unruly they become.

4) She's a sweetheart. I've never met anyone so enamored of the "can't we all get along?" side of life. She's a genuine, honest, and forthright person that always has to do the right thing because to do otherwise is simply unacceptable. Even skirting a gray area gives her considerable pause. You don't find many people like this in the world and the ones who exist should be cherished.

5) I still crush on her. We've been together seven years, five of which are married years come August, and I still have a crush on her. I like the way she walks, and the way she holds herself, and for some bizarre reason I enjoy her refusal to ever "reveal anything." This sometimes includes anything that even remotely hints at cleavage, of which she has an ample supply. I find this endlessly funny, but hey - more for me. :)

6) She's the mother of my son. The fact I can say that I have a son continues to astound me, especially as he rolls on the floor while I type this. It's wild and terrifying to be a parent, and the journey we've already taken with Max has been a game changer for me. I love him dearly, and I love her for giving him to me.

7) I love her. I do. Plain and simply, I do.

Happy First Mother's Day to My Fair Lady, and I hope that you continue to enjoy all the rest to come. Now if you'll excuse me, Max is grunting with such gusto that he's either passing his body weight in poop or is more in need of a laxative than anyone else ever.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mom's Musings Part II

Bear with me - I don't bring the funny like other contributors to this site - but I am a numbers gal (despite the fact that I am a lawyer) and my dear sweet hubby is the wordsmith.

Anyhoo, I need to blog more - enough said! Max is now five months old. He has evolved from a tiny baby who would lay about and sleep most of the day to a very active baby. Gone are the days where you put him in one spot, walk out of the room to get a drink, and return to find he hasn't moved an inch. Now, we put him in the middle of our big living room, I walk out to get a drink, and he has moved five feet from where I put him. Oh, the joy of baby proofing begins!

Max and I enjoy reading alot. I read to him every day however, not at bedtime. I find him more engaged and interested when I read to him during the day instead of at bedtime. He turns the pages of the book and has since he was three months old. His Tootsie thinks this is amazing. I just thought it was typical. I recently bought him some soft books so that he can turn the pages and chew on them at the same time. :) So, hopefully I am turning him into a lifetime reader like me. I have read all my life and I hope he does as well.

I am so excited about this coming summer! I love to be outside and go on picnics and whatnot. Max, being the outdoorsman that he is, should have so much fun this summer playing outside. We took him to the Arboretum for their annual spring flower festival and he was such a happy camper! I have scheduled quite a few outings for this summer including the Fourth of July parade. Yeah!! We also recently acquired a very nice jogging stroller to take him for walks. I run 5ks - and will be doing one in four weeks - but I think he is too small for me to run with him. When he gets bigger, I will jog with him for the 5ks, but for now, his Daddy will watch him while I run. There will come a day when I hope to run with him. We can start on one mile fun runs and work our way up. :) It is funny - part of me thinks he is growing up WAY too fast and the other part of me is so excited about what the future holds when he is bigger. I guess that is why everyone says that your baby is always your baby no matter how old he is.

Mom's Musings

Mom's Musings. Max is now three and a half months old. WOW!! Time flies! Every day he is becoming so much more fun to play with. Max recently discovered his toes and now seems fascinated with the fact that he has feet. His pediatrician told us that first babies realize they have arms, then hands, then fingers - I assume the same holds true with the discovery of hey - I have legs, to hey I have feet - then WOW I Have TOES!! Imagine that! Max is such a joy and I love how he coos and talks. He also is starting the process of learning to crawl - two weeks ago he started putting his cute baby butt in the air and then trying to scoot forward. I am still trying to explain to him he needs to put his weight up on his arms to move. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)

Progress of sorts

Last night was an odd one. For us at least. Our tale starts as Max began a full fledged meltdown at 4 p.m. that turned into a baby laughing fit and ends with a remarkable amount of sleep for both him and for My Fair Lady while I was unable to sleep due to a massive rain storm for only the second time in my life.

Two weeks ago we had three trees cut down in our front yard. Piles and piles of large branches were lined up behind our fence per the city's instructions on where to leave such refuse, but there was still a massive collection in our driveway. The city tagged it and moved on expecting us to call out a cherry picker, or I could take a few days and cut down the pile myself.

I chose the latter.

As I chopped and hacked and slashed my way through the better part of Saturday, My Fair Lady reorganized the garage while Max sat very patiently in his stroller. He just watched us both very pleasantly and continued to prove that he's an outdoorsman. I swear, you take this kid outside and he's golden for three or four hours solid. Such was the case yesterday up to the point where it was time to feed him cereal.

We'd been inside and done with yardwork for about an hour when My Fair Lady reminded me that he needed his cereal. So I took him into the kitchen and put him in the Swedish Chair (his high chair) and that's when the meltdown began.


I yanked him out of the chair and he immediately stopped.

"What the hell was that?" I asked him. He just looked around. I put him back in the Swedish Chair and the result was the same. This time I finished the process of strapping him in and assembling the chair. Then I dragged him over to the kitchen sink so he could watch me preparing his meal. This whole time he's crying, by the way.

My Fair Lady walked into the kitchen concerned by the goings on and all I could do was shrug.

"He's fine," I argued. "One second he's good the next, this. I'm prepping as fast as I can."

Once his cereal was ready (two tablespoons worth of rice cereal), I slid him over to the table and used the crying to my advantage. He would rear his head back and I slipped the spoon into his mouth. He wasn't expecting that. He knocked it back and tried to cry out again. Again his mouth encountered my spoon, loaded for bear with cereal. This process went on for some time at which point it became increasingly clear that the amount was insufficient for him.

"Um... hon? How much should I feed him of this?"

"How much has he eaten?"

"About to clean his plate and he's still going strong. Thoughts?"

"Try another tablespoon and see how he does."

So I prepped another tablespoon worth of cereal. Again, he cleaned it right up. Again, he continued to fuss and cry though with slightly reduced intensity. So I made him round four which again he knocked back with ruthless efficiency. Desperate to fill the black hole that apparently my son has for a stomach, I snagged the remaining bottle of formula, slapped a nipple on the top and plugged it into his mouth.

"Snarf... snarf... snarf."

The formula began to rapidly disappear. My Fair Lady and I just watched mesmerized by how much this five month old being had consumed. But then his drinking began to taper off. With an ounce left to go in the bottle, he was finally sated. I withdrew the bottle and Max and I just stared at each other. Then, like the four year old I am, I made a farting noise with my mouth.

That cracked him up. So I did it again. He cracked up again. Oh, we had a happy baby again and yet more proof that when he cries or is fussy, feed him. This is something we seem to be reluctant to accept or comprehend for some bizarre reason. My Fair Lady, of course, snagged the video camera and captured the extent to which a dad will go to amuse his baby.

In my case, that would be 10 minutes of farting noises. I assured My Fair Lady that at no point in the future will Max ever grow out of laughing at this. We men are a simple folk.

After that it was a matter of playing with him until he went down. We've really nailed his night routine and now he's adopted a morning routine as well - which is great except on the days when we have to blow it on account of circumstances.


Last night we put him down no sweat by 6:45 p.m. My Fair Lady nursed him, patted him, put him to sleep - nothing out of the ordinary. He wakes back up shortly after 9 p.m. at which point we feed him a 6 ounce bottle of formula (or a Baby 40 as I call it) and then he conks right back out. He wakes back up at 10 p.m. but puts himself back to sleep. He wakes up again at 11:45 p.m. and for 15 minutes coos in his bed as he tries to soothe himself back down. Ultimately he was unsuccessful so I went in, picked him up, patted him on the back for five minutes and he went out again.

He woke up again at 4:30 a.m. Almost made it through the dead of night and went over six hours between feedings. This is a win for America.

Last night we had a major rain storm in the Dallas area, so much so that minor flooding was a genuine threat. Instead of sleeping peacefully through it as I used to do, I couldn't sleep at all due to constant panic that the storms would wake Max up. Yes, I can't wait for him to sleep through the night without worries.

But baby steps is what it will take and our progress continues.