May 29, 2004
A Day with Daddy
On my first day of summer (Scottish accent: Freedom!), I got to take care of Molly all day. As always, she was easy at first, but as the day wore on, she gets more active and needy of attention. I'm glad to give it to her. We watched some sports, but mostly she helped me configure my new Linux box (Fedora Core 2), which she seems to be learning rather quickly.
And yes, that's me in the picture.
Two new sets of pics:
May 28, 2004
Molly's physical progress has been steady and her personality continues to develop. She responds to our expressions and sounds, and since we've stopped giving her iron supplements, her crying has subsided from "Panic!" to "Attention!" level. She's able to be consoled most of the time and appears much more content for longer periods of time. Thank heavens!
She mostly sleeps through the night, although the stream of sounds she emits as she sleeps is constant and humorous to say the least. A sample: "unh," "blahk," "wunnn," "kack," "phhhhhhhh," "gunck," "choo," "gaat."
The most significant change for me, besides her weight, has been her strength. Her little body, which before had been soft and pliable, is now becoming a little bundle of very strong muscles, able to pull toys toward herself and resist a clothing change very effectively. She's not wasting any time leaving the title "premie" behind.
May 15, 2004
Free Software Update
I've written before about my quest to use free/open source Windows software exclusively on my computers. I'm still looking for an Adobe Acrobat replacement, but I have found some more effective software that I'd like to share with you.
Spybot Tools: I discovered the joys of Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster, two top-notch spyware prevention utilities. The latest Spybot S&D actively guards your registry and running processes. Nice.
Firewall: Changed to Sygate Personal Firewall. It's more cofigurable and informative than the free version of Zone Alarm, and it enables Windows shares to be seen while still protecting your computer.
Desktop Publishing: Sodipodi is a high-quality Publisher/Illustrator replacement with a funny name.
Backup: A good, automatic backup utility for light home use is hard to find. Cobian Backup 5 fits the bill nicely. Automatic, over-the-network backups that automatically zip up your chosen information.
Open Source Sources: This guy provides a monthly, up-to-date CD iso of quality open source software. And this guide charts commercial products with their open source equivalent. Don't forget the OpenCD project!
May 14, 2004
Happy Three Months, Molly
Molly's been around for three months now, and Denise and I both agree we can't remember how we occupied our time before her. Being charged with a little life gives one pause to think about how, rolled up in one little eight-pound body, a baby contains all the lessons of our human potential, frailty, spirit, and resilience. They are the little, everyday miracles that reaffirm that, yes, it is all worthwhile, and that we must all work to deliver a better world than the one we were given.
I make it a point to watch things the U.S. news won't show me. I made it a point to view the photos of the soldiers' bodies from the ambush in which Jessica Lynch was captured, and I purposely sought out the video of Nick Berg's murder on the internet to view.
Why? Because I want to see what the Arab world and others are seeing. I want to see reality, not some sugar-coated version from TV talking heads. I watch Arab TV news broadcasts on LinkTV, which is on DirecTV and probably other distributors. I read alternative news sources, like Information Clearing House, to get a wider perspective than one gained from Peter Jennings. Some of the most enlightening sites are the unglamorous, apolitical counter-spin sites, like SpinSanity and Daily Howler.
The mainstream media is not serving the public, and we must resist the soothing "human interest" crap they feed us daily and seek out real information, from many perspectives, if we are to be citizens of the world and not just consumer automatons.
Ambrose Bierce said, "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." His cynical view of our pitiful lack of awareness plays out in our current international mess. We hate what we don't understand, and we revel in our ignorance.
May 11, 2004
Molly has found her voice 100% now. She seems to have three states of being: sleeping, staring cow-eyed at me or Mom, or crying bloody murder. I prefer the unbearably cute staring myself, but unfortunately that lasts about five minutes, immediately followed by a grimace and then the crying. Her feeding varies widely, and I think she's enjoying playing "I'm hungry, I'm not hungry" games with Denise and me. I swear I can see her smile while she's refusing the newly-warmed formula, only to drift serenely back to sleep in our arms, unfed.
She's pushes up and looks around often, and she enjoys going outside. Her mobiles hold her interest now, as does any window or light source she's close to. Denise said she spent several minutes focusing on various hanging toys on her playmat. I can see the mind developing swiftly.
Her face seems to change daily, getting longer and more distinct in its features. She's wearing nothing but newborn clothes, and her swaddling diapers are beginning to get a little small. She's probably around 8 1/2+ pounds now, but we can't be sure until we figure out how to weigh her accurately.
May 09, 2004
Are We Becoming a Fascist Country?
Which characteristic do we NOT fulfill?
Let Me Be Honest
Let me be honest for a second. In a real, no facade kind of way. The happiness that accompanies the birth of a child I've discovered also holds some difficult, negative emotions that probably shouldn't see the light of day, but they nevertheless are there. I'm talking about not wanting to hold my child because she won't quit crying and I don't know what she wants. I'm talking about coming home after teaching school all day and not wanting to feed Molly, even though I know Denise needs a break from caring for her all day. Getting frustrated when she's hungry only an hour after we've fed her. Three in the morning and she only sleeps when she's held.
Don't get me wrong. The majority if the time everything is fine. But those feelings are there and I needed to share them. Thanks.
May 05, 2004
Do the Math
Bush's request for another $25 billion for the war in Iraq brings the running total to about $185 billion.
There are approximately 80,000 school buildings in the U.S., many in pitiful condition.
That's about $2.3 million dollars per school building in America.
Arlington ISD, where I work, has 73 school buildings.
May 03, 2004
I got to take Molly to the doctor for her well-child visit today, which included her first vaccination shots. The good news is she weighs 8 lbs., 2.5 ozs. and measures 20 1/4". The doctor put her on regular formula and complimented her progress, although she's still on the small end of the scale, which is expected.
The bad news is Molly got her first set of vaccination shots. I *never* want to go through that again. She erupted in cries that ripped my heart apart at the same time it made me chuckle at its sheer energy. I think we could solve the nation's energy crisis if we could harness all that fury.
May 01, 2004
Business as Usual
Molly's acting like a normal little baby now, asserting herself and wriggling all over her crib, making us get up at all hours to hold her for a few minutes to put her back to sleep. She's in newborn clothes, too, but the amount she's eating varies pretty widely, from as little as 40ml to as much as 100ml. Her moods are developing, too, and it doesn't take long to figure out how high when she says, "jump." Her eyes are becoming inquisitive and focused on us, with a glimpse of understanding starting to show, hinting at the mind developing behind them.