Monday, March 31, 2008

Our little quacker...

It’s been nine billion years since I last posted (and 7,999,999,999 times I’ve opened a blog with that sentence), where to begin?

Hmm, how's this…if you’ve seen CoffeeMate’s Vanilla Carmel Creamer in your dairy aisle, get it. You’ll thank me later. I got a bottle for my mini-fridge at work and forgone the coffee all together. I’m now just sipping the creamer through a straw. I see an intervention in my future.

On to the good stuff.

Let’s start off with ducks. Easter came and went, and with it, so did Tenzin’s first duck costume. The Whetstone library holds their annual duck parade right outside of the Park of Roses. All of the little quackers (and some very interesting looking parents) line up in costume, assembling at the bottom of the hill to march their way to the library for stories, puppet shows, and crafts. Here’s our man:

Yes the costume is homemade, but that’s a whole different story. You see, I’m still bartending one night a week, so it’s a little odd to find yourself clutching a hot glue gun in one hand and an embellished feather in the other, making an elaborate duck costume just hours before you shove libations down the throats of Columbus’ 20-something set. Batik and bourbon, weaving and whiskey, repoussé and rum, liquor and lapidary, quilting and quinine…they don’t really mix, you know?

What’s worse?

Paula Dean was cooking her usual butter and bacon in the Food Network-background, so basically I was macramé-ing a duck costume to a paper bag whilst watching (listening to) a cooking show. Oh how times have changed.

Needless to say I had to grab a beer to man-up the festivities (later, I scratched myself inappropriately and talked about the Craftsman Catalog to customers. Initially they thought the scratching was rather unfitting of a foodservice worker, but soon identified with its necessity when I told them of my night of crafting…some of my customers have kids, thank God).

The next day, Tenzin marched along with the other duckies, admiring his older cousin the entire way. I love watching them together, because you can see Tenzin learning from Henry’s every move. He watches him intently, looks where he looks, and runs when he runs.

Unfortunately, the costume didn’t last too long. The Zen wasn’t as mobile as he’s used to being, and began to trip on his bag-bottoms. Some tears were shed, but they were mostly a result of the nap-free morning.

After that it was on to the library, but the little man was waaaaaaay too tuckered out to continue. Check him out, all glaze-eyed in the young adults section. He can't read yet, but he knows that's where all the ladies hang out.

What else?

Rachel's mom (West Coast Grandma) stopped out for a spell and got some Tenzin time. We wish she could have had a little more fun but a tooth was bothering her, and we all know that nothing says fun like a dental vacation. So, unfortunately, she had some work done, but made it through and convalesced like a champ. Tenzin made sure to hug her back to health.

This is the first time we didn't do anything super exciting. The weather was still too cold to do anything warm-related, and too warm to do anything cold-related. It's unfortunate, because everything is finally starting to clear up. Yesterday it was 70 and sunny, the birds have been chirping like crazy, the grass is beginning to grow (I'm not ready to mow, yet), I think Spring is finally here. Maybe next time (no thanks to Skybus...RIP) we'll have clearer skies.

In the meantime, I'll give you what you came's Tenzin being a goob:

And his first Charlie Brown cartoon:

Friday, March 21, 2008

No more snow days, please!

Here's the link to all the albums in the Kodak Gallery. They should be in order from newest to oldest. It's a fun little walk down memory lane. I'll also update the sidebar link.

And here's a picture of Rachel being a goob.

Click for larger.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

70 to snow to 70...and so on....

Time for a family post. I’ll bring this train back around to the Thornburg Station for a little while. The Zen is growing so fast that we’re having a difficult time following along. Where to begin?

Rachel’s done an excellent job teaching him about his body parts. He’ll now respond correctly to various questions by pointing to the corresponding part in question. As of today he knows his hair, head, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and (the cutest of all) his belly button. For the belly button, he’ll actually lift up his shirt and shove his finger knuckle-deep in his former food tube. It’s pretty funny.

Unbeknownst to Rachel, I’ve been teaching as well. I’ve begun making up various body parts in which Tenzin now points out. She will soon discover that Tenzin’s beaderbopper is near his Adam’s apple and his floozelflazzel is on his butt. Can’t wait till his first Kindergarten singing of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”

We’ve finally dug out from the blizzard of aught eight and I don’t think I’ve ever had heavier cabin fever in my life. Everyone --and I mean EVERYONE-- around us is in a funk as a result of the weather. We’ve been given glimpses of 70 degree days on more than one occasion, only to be doused in snow 3 days soon thereafter. Last night was no different, with a smattering of midnight snow freezing our doors shut by morning. It’s ridiculous. I’ve got this slovenly, bloated, overweight sensation like I’m preparing for hibernation. At least a bear wakes up 100 lbs lighter after a winter’s rest. I, however, feel like I’m carrying our next child. It’s a Cheeto.

There have been a lot of shenanigans, but I’m drawing an I-haven’t-blogged-in-way-too-long blank. Let’s see: we had a wonderfully traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Bilek’s, Rachel’s brother and sister will be flying out here in June, Rachel’s mom will be here any day now, we have Tenzin’s first Park of Roses’ duck parade on Saturday, Tenzin’s gone two weeks without an ear infection, he’s itching to get his new Xmas golf cart out on the town, his hair is crazier than ever and we’re debating about cutting it when Rachel’s mom flies in...

...we’re growing out of our house/car, Tenzin won’t be going to college due to gas prices, we’re going to a Peace Corps reunion in Washington DC in June and can’t wait to get touristy pictures with the Z in the capital, we went to Chuck E. Cheese and were INCREDIBLY dissapointed …

...and so was Tenzin...

And I’m sure I’m forgetting 5000 other things, but I’m easing back in to this blogging thing…give me a break!

I’ll try to update more when I can. This will need to do for now.

If you want to see some of the newest pics, here's a Kodak Gallery link.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Prayer Part 2

I know I should have updated the last post a long time ago. I'm sorry I didn't, but it isn't easy to transition from a post you're uncomfortable writing into a post you're uncomfortable writing.

What can I say?

I'm uncomfortable talking about another family, but the fact that a lot of you responded with interest makes me want to say something. What? I'm not sure. But I think I'm still crossing a line by talking outside of my own personal family.

Here's the update...

They are still going as strong as they can. The father and mother still have drive. The child is fighting.

Imagine a boxer after a fight. Well, this kid has gloves. He's scrapping.

And while there are other complications that continue to come with the territory, I need to first and foremost point out that I'm amazed at their emotional buoyancy (all of them). Such levity, be it from a child or parent staring chance in the face, overwhelms me.

They're holding on by completely letting go. They know the odds. Hands are in the air. Prayers have been made. Remade. Reremade.

Long story short, their son is still fighting. And he continues to fight - just as his parents continue to hope. What more can they do?

Keep sending you prayers to whatever God you keep in your address book.

Monday, March 03, 2008


No sarcasm today.

No funny.

We have a friend who's son is now having his second heart transplant.

I don't even know if I should be typing this, but I don't care. I might be over-stepping my bounds, invading, I don't know. I just want others to think.

Actually, I just want to write. It's selfish. I can feel this weighing on everybody and I don't know what to do. So I write.

Moving forward...

At twelve days old, our friend's son contracted an infection. It spread throughout his body and he was was admitted to the hospital. It's attacking his heart.

The infection has a long name that I've long-since forgotten, but the child's father is (now) one of the foremost experts on the subject. The virus wasn't a a consequence of Ebola or exposure or SARS or something so was from dirty hands. Dirty hands!

Somebody, maybe a nurse or friend or family member or doctor had one tiny germ that completely corrupted this child's heart. One nanospeck of a piece of dust.

This isn't me blaming, I'm just me stating odds. It could have been any family's baby. It could have been me as a baby. It could have been you. It just kills me to know that an extra dash of soap or an extra second at the sink could have prevented this. Odds. Bad odds.

Can you imagine? With his boy at two weeks old, our friend found out that his son had reached half-life. Two weeks to live. Without a heart transplant, he wouldn't make it. I don't think my ears would be able hear those brain wouldn't understand.

He told us all of this over a couple of beers at the Pointe and we could barely keep ourselves together. It was just the three of us, sitting in a bar talking about various ins and outs of his new life: odds, Purel, waiting lists, procedures, parenthood, hope, anxiety, love. It was surreal. He was living by another watch.

Our friend couldn't sleep from 2:00am to 4:00am (the doctor told him that that's when 99% of all transplant calls come in). He now carried vats of hand sanitizer and only shook hands with gloves on. He couldn't stop reading. His life is now upside down and there is nothing he can do other than rest, stay clean, and study up. In is the new out, up is now down. Everything is spinning and beyond his control.

He spoke to us with faith and fear, anxiety and optimism. The weight of the situation enunciated with each and every syllable, every word, heavier than the one before it, now lighter with it exposed. It was heart wrenching because you could feel him reaching as he talked, almost grabbing, like he was trying to stabilize his life with his voice. The more detailed he became, the more he was able to his words were training wheels.


Emotionally-long story short...

The call came in that night that his son had a heart (like he thought it would be, at 3:30 in the morning). It's always difficult to celebrate, because you're forced to look at both sides of the equation. That call is inevitably a victory for one family, and a tragedy for the other.

It was to be the third heart transplant in the history of Children's Hospital. New ground. We relaxed a bit, crossed our fingers, and prayed it would take. Everything seemed to be going well.


He started out OK but when they took him off of life support, he began to fail. The heart was not taking and the virus was winning. Everybody took a step back. The odds of another heart were beyond slim.

Miraculously, they received a call and his son was taken to surgery. The chances were staggering, but it looked like his son was going to have HALF of the heart transplants EVER performed at Children's. None of us could believe it. Please.


That was two days ago.

He's now in ICU. Rachel called earlier today and that's all they could say. We're still waiting for friends to call with some kind of an inside update, but we've yet to hear anything. And the last thing we want to do in a situation like this is prod.

I wish I could give better news. Actually I wish I didn't need to share any of this with any of this, but like I said I'm selfish. I told Rachel (yesterday) that I don't think I would be able to make it through something like this. I would have cursed numerous people/places/entities. I would have been angry. I would have imploded. I would have cut a lot of people off. I'm sure of it.

Our friend and his family are so strong. They're amazing. That's why I wanted to put this out there. I hope I haven't over-stepped, but I probably did. If any of you think so, give me a call and I'll take the post down.

Please, just think about this little guy today. Think about his mom and dad. And if you are a parent, hug your child. If you are devout, please pray. Suggestion, prayer, hope, belief. Optimism is very powerful.