Entries in Personal (20)
I enjoy snacking on pickled Jalapeno peppers. Jalapeno peppers are tasty and mild--about 2500-8000 on the Scoville scale of hotness.
One of the best things about having a kid is the experience of seeing the world afresh. I was reminded of that yesterday when I suggested to my almost five-year-old daughter that we go to visit the cucumber plants we had started in the backyard garden patch this spring. I was rewarded by visible excitement as she danced her way to the back of backyard, exclaiming.
Ella is wonderful and fun and smart (she'll be four in July). Example:
This weekend, for the first time, I had a passenger on my bicycle, my three-year-old daughter. I purchased one of those seats that attaches behind your own seat. Also, a helmet for her; it is pink and covered with strawberries, just like mine. (Actually, not just like mine).
Nights with a small child in a tent. My almost three-year-old does not want to go to sleep right away—she wants to go outside and play with the flashlight, or read a book. She does not want to sleep inside her small orange sleeping bag. In the middle of the first night, she sat up and said, “I’m cold.” She’s never cold, but it was freezing. I asked her if she wanted to get into her sleeping bag or join me in mine, so I ended up with two people in my bag. Consequently, we were both warmer.
As I undertook the forty-minute drive to Saturday’s soccer game in Anacostia, I was in a grumpy mood and I started to wonder about retiring from the sport completely. I will be forty in the fall and I questioned whether it made sense to drag my body around the field again with people half my age. Given that it was ninety degrees outside, and I have a lot going on, I felt some incentive to leave it all behind.
Next to the couch in my living room is a rectangular plastic container with a green top whose original use was to hold ten pounds of “Deli-Cat” cat food. That container now serves as a place to keep moist a similar weight of grayish pottery clay. It is a significant improvement over the plastic bag I used to use for the same purpose.
Yesterday I decided that I was going to reestablish a small garden plot in my back yard so that my daughter can learn how plants grow from seeds to flowers or edibility. Gardening has taken a back seat to other priorities for me in the past couple of years, but I know my way around that territory, and I want her to as well. I got out my small rototiller from the garden shed.
Nowadays, when I meet or hear about someone new I often “Google” him or her. That is how I discovered that David Bennahum, with whom I have had one telephone conversation about politics and technology, had written a book called Extra Life, about “Coming of Age in Cyberspace.”
We have way too many books in our house. I have many plastic containers in the basement full of them, plenty of bookshelves, and piles of them everywhere. My wife and I both have years of being students; too many years of reading. Sitting in the living room right now I can see at least forty books piled around. Books on manhole covers, Roman history, product strategy for high tech companies, a collection of poems, on political targeting, on movies, on how to play go, a mystery, on Gauguin, on clay figures, and a stack of kids' books.
Because we wanted a reasonably unusual name for our daughter, I used the web site Behind the Name to find the frequency of the various contenders. Ella was born (and named) on July 17, 2002. At the time I was a little concerned, because her name had moved, according to the Social Security Administration, from 377th place in 1999 to 268th in 2000 and then to 195th in 2001. But 195th was still very uncommon. I should have known what was coming:
2002: Ella is .179 of girls’ names for 92nd most common.
2003: Ella is .294 of girls’ names for 44th most common.
2004: Ella is .409 of girls’ names for 29th most common.
I have only one thing to say about this: Stop naming your girls after my daughter!
I will be even more peeved if I find out that her middle name, “Qian-Qian,” is taking off.
With apologies to the many charming people who say or believe it, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is absurd.
I just read about a craftsman who worked appealingly outside of time and technology in Shoji Hamada: A Potter’s Way and Work, by Susan Peterson. Hamada was the most famous ceramic artist in Japan, and, according to Peterson, one of the most important ceramists of the 20th century. I saw a different book, Hamada, Potter (which I have not yet read), on the bookshelf of my aunt Phyllis, who I wrote about in this previous post.
When I was a kid, I read and reread the adventures of Robin Hood and his merry men. I knew every detail about quarterstaffs and longbows and Will Stutely, Will Scarlet, Little John, and Guy of Gisbourne. In third grade, I wore a green shirt and green pants to school day after day because I knew that Robin Hood and his merry men preferred “Lincoln green.” I read different retellings of the stories and came to strong opinions about which were the correct versions.
As I become more comfortable with writing online, I am tempted to write about things that have higher stakes for me, for my family, or for my company. So this post is to help me consider what I should not write about—a quick exploration for my own purposes about the proper boundaries should be for public writing by the owner of a company.
There is in me something highly resistant to self-promotion and marketing. For years, I have been comfortable—to a fault—with anonymity for myself and with a low profile for my company. It took me years to move from a plain black and white business card to one that had two colors. Most of my company’s business proposals have been simple one page black and white letters. The user-interface for our software and the format of our software manuals have been as unflashy and monochromatic as possible. We have not produced fancy marketing material to sell our products and services. I do not wear a suit and tie to a demonstration. In somewhat the same vein, my humor tends toward self-deprecation. I have wanted success to come from the substance of our work, not from our presentation skills. And it has.
On perfect weather days, such as we have had of late, I want to be outside, doing something athletic or active. As a boy, my best days were outdoors: playing soccer, basketball, catch, touch football, softball, volleyball, tag, whiffle-ball, ultimate, box-ball, ten-step, and other games made up on the spot.
It is hard for me to break my routine and take a vacation. I do not know how I got this way. During my first years of self-employment the only time I ended up taking off was a single week in the summer with the family in Vermont or occasional brief visits to see family.
Came home at 9:00 pm tonight from a meeting, hoping to catch a glimpse of my kid (two years eight months) before she went to sleep. I was sad when Connie cracked the bedroom door and whispered “Shhhhh, your daughter’s asleep.” I peeked in the door – and there was suddenly a commotion of giggling -- they had tricked me. Ella was still up, excited to see me; so cute, so much fun.