Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hello Again!

Hey, everybody! It has been a long time since either Suni or I wrote, so I thought I would do a quick post here and let everyone know that we have been doing great, despite our prolonged silence. We had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, not the least of which is healthy kids. Waylon is obsessed with Davy Crockett, the Disney version of which we have seen every day for months. He was Davy Crockett for Halloween!

Calvin is talking up a storm! He is finally even saying his own name. In fact, he likes to talk about himself in the third person right now. He is the sweetest and most devilish child imaginable. He is one of those kids it is hard to discipline because he makes you laugh.


 


Calvin the Pirate 1

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LIGHTS OUT? Oops! Maybe those California boycotts of Arizona were a little short sighted.

Quality Time

Today was a great day for Waylon and me. I took him to get a haircut at Keith Graves' barber shop in Friendsville, Tennessee. Keith gave me my first haircut thirty years ago. Waylon was perfectly behaved and held still the entire time.

Waylon is in Nashville with me tonight. I am taking him with me to a mediation tomorrow for no reason other than I just wanted to spend some time with him before I go out to Montana to backpack next week with my cousin Brad. Waylon had fun tonight playing with his cousin Aidan. After a bath and Cat in the Hat, he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, two hours past his bedtime.

Calvin got tubes today, so we hope this will mark the end of his constant battle with ear infections. I'm very fortunate to have two great boys and a wonderful wife. We have had a rough year or so, but things are looking up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heaven


Last Friday I hiked up to Charlie's Bunion with Mike Devore. It was an awesome day. There were officially 21 inches of snow, but it looked more like three feet to us. We pretty much had the trail to ourselves. I've been needing to do that for a long time.

This pic is Devore's ugly mug. That is me up on the rock in the background. The view from up there is one of the most spectacular in the Smokies.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween!

Here are are boys in their Haloween costumes. They had a big day today with a party at Mark and Val's house. Waylon actually liked wearing his costume this year. Waylon has had a big week - the first at his new school. Miss Susan says he is the youngest kid in the class but that he is "very advanced." She was impressed that he could spell his name and that he knows all of his colors. You can imagine her surprise when I told her he knew most of the fifty states cna could put them in the proper place in his State Puzzle!

Calvin is doing great, too. This kid has a motor that doe snot stop. We never even had to childproof the house with Waylon. Calvin is quite another story. He is only nine months, but we think he will be walking very soon. He has always been abnormally strong and extra motivated.

Suni and I truly feel lucky to have such wonderful kids.

More from Iowa

When we were back in the Hawkeye State, we went to Bloomsbury Farm near
Atkins, Iowa. The kids had a blast! Here are some pictures of Waylon jumping
on the jumping pillow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another one bites the dust...

Suni and I are both old souls. We like tradition. We are throwbacks. That is why this is a travesty. Gourmet was the only magazine to which Team Stinson subscribed. Goodbye, old friend. The question I have... if the magazine had survived a couple more years, would the NYT still have been around to report its demise?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back in Iowa


We arrived in Kansas City on time on Thursday, October 15. Suni’s mom and her boyfriend, Dan, picked us up at the airport. We went to stay at Dan’s house on Thunderhead Lake in Unionville, Missouri, just across the Iowa line. (It’s always been said that if you took the southern-most tier of Iowa counties and gave it to Missouri, it would double the IQ of both states). We had a great time! Dan took us on a tour of his hunting property in a Polaris Ranger. Waylon got to “drive,” and the glee is evident on his face.



Calvin, as always, has just been rollin' with the flow, trying to make sure he demolishes something every ten minutes or so.


Yesterday Suni and I left the boys in Missouri with Grandma and headed northeast. Last night we ate at Jake’s Steaks in Walker, Iowa. Jake’s is a typical slice of Iowa nirvana – a place where you can pick your steak from the cooler (where it just arrived from the meat locker across the street) and throw it on the grill yourself. The place was packed, so we sat around making each other laugh until there was enough
space around the grill to squeeze in.

As usual, my wife was aghast that I ordered the 24-ounce porterhouse. Actually, I think her amazement was feigned, as she has seen me unfailingly order the biggest steak available for at least eight years now. I’m being honest when I say I could have eaten at least 24 more ounces of that scrumptious dead bovine.

Tim and Jaime, Tad and Jeni, Brandon and Monica, and Suni and I went to Winn’s, across the street and heard the former mayor of Walker play some guitar. We also saw the current mayor nearly come to fisticuffs with some other bar patron! Now, that’s excitement in Linn County, baby!

Last night, Tim and I were discussing the merits of Camel Snus.

Talk soon turned to tobacco of all sorts, and I told them about Papaw chewing his Red Ox twist. When the fellas informed me that twist tobacco wasn’t available in Iowa, I promised to send some Red Ox. I researched it this morning and learned the reason for unavailability. The crap is made by R.C. Owen Co., some obscure manufacturer in Gallatin, Tennessee. That crap probably isn’t available anywhere outside of Tennessee. I definitely owe it to the wives to make sure the guys get their hands on some of that stuff.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Talker

Tonight I had the pleasure of "interviewing" Waylon. I was dictating some letters tonight when he wanted to climb up in my lap and talk into my "microphone." I think he may have a future in radio. Some of the audio got cut off when Waylon was manning the controls, but I still love to hear him answer my very tough questions. Notice that he completely dodges the last one.

video

I have traveled an unprecedented amount this week, already having logged 1,020 miles with another 900 to go before the week ends. I couldn't wait to see the boys! I have a picture on my phone of Waylon holding Cal that I look at at least ten times a day. I'm so keenly aware lately of how precious these years are. I know that these are days for which we will long much too soon.

I can see Waylon maturing before my very eyes. He has developed a conversational tone to his speech that can be outright shocking. The thoughts that occupy his little mind is hilarious. Suni reported the following bedtime conversation tonight.

Suni lay with him in a bit in his bed and recounted his day, as is their routine. A bit out of the blue, Waylon asked "You have a vacumm cleaner?" Before Suni could even fathom the impetus for this question, Waylon answered it himself. "Oh yeah, it's in your bedroom."

They talked a while longer. Sensing Suni's imminent departure, he squeezed her neck to try to restrain her. (He is already experienced enough to know that he can do so under the guise of showing affection). Suni explained that it was time for her to go to bed, as well. Just as she was walking out Waylon's bedroom door, Waylon bolted upright in bed and cried out "Mama!?"

Suni's heart sank, as she expected at that moment to have to deal with a mini-tantrum. "Yes, buddy," Suni said, hoping for a reasonable request like a cup of water.

"Mama, I don't like wolves."

"Me either," Suni said, "That's why I'm glad there aren't any around here, buddy." Satisfied, Waylon lay back down and went to sleep.

Ah, that's our boy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Cole!!



Today is my darling husband's birthday and I thought I'd steal a great idea from my friend Jenni and make a list of 31 things I love about Cole. I also wanted to post some priceless pictures as well. I particularly love the one with him in his knit Gingerbread man outfit and brown turtleneck. Ha!!! Here goes....


1. He's a true friend (my very best) and very loyal to those he holds close to his heart.

2. He's passionate.

3. He loves the Hawkeye state. Anyone who's ever met Cole knows he's mildly obsessed with Iowa. Seriously, the man should work for the Iowa Board of Tourism.

4. He loves my family and friends. He feels just at home with them as he does with his own.

5. His family!

6. He loves his career choice and is amazing at what he does.

7. He doesn't act like a typical lawyer-type. If I had a dollar for every time someone in Iowa asked me if Cole was really an attorney I wouldn't have to work.

8. He doesn't take himself too seriously.

9. He's obsessive, and not just about Iowa. This can be annoying, but it really is endearing.

10. He's an incredible cook.

11. His sense of humor.

12. He's a dreamer.

13. Whether he's talking about a beer he's just been handed or the dinner someone has prepared, Cole will often say "I think this is the best I've ever had." The great thing is, he means it whole-heartedly every time he says it.

14. His desire to learn.

15. He whistles. This was actually the first thing that attracted me to him. Who whistles these days?

16. His favorite show is the Golden Girls. Probably the second thing that attracted me to him. When we met I thought I was the only person under the age of 60 that watched it.

17. He thinks I'm neat.

18. He's forgiving.

19. He's not afraid to admit when he's been a dumbass. Good thing, because this happens a lot.

20. He cries watching television. If something on tv is sure to make a teenage girl cry you can bet your bottom dollar that Cole's at home sobbing too. Ha! It's great!

21. He has traveled all over the US and Europe and his favorite place in the world is still Iowa.

22. He was a band geek. Okay, so some others of us were too for a short while, but Cole was what you might call a Master of the Brass. Just ask him, he's proud!!

23. He's a wonderful daddy!

24. He was country when country wasn't cool.

25. He loves to travel and is always up for a new adventure.

26. His intelligence.

27. The fact that after reading this post Cole will inevitably call me and politely tell me any spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes I've made. He just can't help himself.

28. His self confidence.

29. He fits in with most any crowd.

30. He's a bit of a Renaissance man.

31. And finally, to quote The Minosaur, one of Waylon's favorite books, "He's mine. Mine, Mine, Mine!!"

I love you, Cole. Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jonnie and "Johnny"

To say Waylon enjoyed having his Grandma in Tennessee for the week is an understatement.  Suni is going to post more later about Jonnie's visit, but I just had to put up a few pictures.  Suni is meeting with a mommy's group tonight, so I have a minute to post while Cal is sleepingon my shoulder.  (Waylon is at Nonna's house). 

Grandma took Waylon to the Aquarium of the Smokies, and W did not like the sharks.  I don't think it is an inaccurate to say they actually scared the piss out of him.  I missed a momentous event while I was stuck in Purgatory (Memphis).  The same day they went to the Aquarium, Waylon peed in his potty!  I was absent for this urination event, but I am extremely proud.  It will just be a matter of time before Waylon is peeing in Gatorade bottles on road trips with Dad. 

Below is a picture of Waylon beside his golden treasure.  Counter-clockwise is Waylon and Grandma this morning before she left; Waylon, Grandma, and Briggs at bath time; and Waylon walking Briggs, or, as Grandma correctly characterized it, Briggs walking Waylon. 

IMG_1919   IMG_1950

IMG_1885 IMG_1945

Grandma may be gone back to Iowa, but her presence lives on.  She left a bottled water that Waylon insists on drinking from.  He just dumped it all over himself. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snowy Day at Home

Only in Tennessee do law offices close for weather - in this case, about half an inch of snow.  I'm not complaining, as I was privileged enough to work from home today, which allowed me to spend some time with the family.  Here is a picture of Calvin getting ready to go to the doctor.  Notice he is donning the headwear of his future team.  Here is one of Waylon sporting his own weird hat. 

Cal_Hawks hat_1

Here are a couple of shots of our boys in the baby basket. 

boys_in_basket_1 boys_in_basket_3

It's supposed to snow more tonight.  Guess we'll see...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Good Big Brother

Suni and I were more than a little concerned about how Waylon would receive Calvin.  Our fear was that his emotional response would either be callous indifference or outright hostility.  Waylon is generally well-behaved, but, like all children, he can be quite jealous.  Thus, our concern.  Well, for the first time in his twenty-two months of life, Waylon’s parents sold him short. 

Waylon has been so sweet to Calvin.  He actually shows Cal genuine love, to the point where it has been moving a time or two.  Granted, there is plenty of time for jealousy to develop.  But, for now, we couldn’t be prouder of our little man.  In  the future, I hope Suni and I make a conscious effort to trust Waylon’s good nature.  I think there is some truth in the adage that “children behave like you expect them to.” 

The only interesting post-Calvin development is demonstrated in this picture.  Waylon has never put things in his mouth that don’t belong.  I know you don’t believe it, but even when he was an infant, he just didn’t explore with his mouth the way most babies do.  Well, today, he has put everything he can find in his mouth, including his colored Sesame Street Fizzy Bath Colors.  This picture shows the result of that experiment.  From  the look on Waylon’s face, the red one must not have tasted very good!  We both laughed, and he rinsed his mouth out.  I hope those things aren’t toxic.

Come to think of it, I think I will tell people this is Waylon’s Ozzy Osbourne impression.  It looks like he just bit the head off a bat.  The “blood splatter” on the bathtub wall adds some authenticity.  (Did anyone know Ozzy actually pulled that stunt in Des Moines?)   

Bath_7

A few more photos

Here are a few more of the kids today. 

swaddled kiss

1-29-09_2 IMG_1764

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We’re home!

We got home from the hospital today around 11:00.  Cal and Suni are both doing great.  Cal has a big appetite.  He’s doing well with feeding and we are supplementing with a syringe.

Several people have asked about Suni’s hernia.  It was a non-factor during the birth, and Dr. Metalka, Suni’s obstetrician said that surgical repair may not even be necessary. 

Here are some pictures taken while we were still at the hospital.

cal_2_web cal_web

Family_web suni_and_cal_web

Here are some pictures I took after we got home today while my sister was holding Cal. 

sissy_cal)web sissy_cal_2_web

I can’t stop taking pictures, so there will be more. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Arrival

Calvin is here, and I was off by a mile on the ETA. I had barely posted my last blog entry when Dr. Metelka came in and talked to us for about thirty minutes, all the while monitoring Suni’s contractions. The nurse came in at 12:12, and Dr. Metelka announced, “She’s full and at plus two station. Let’s deliver this baby. If I had quit talking to them, he would have been born on his due date.” The nurse thought he was joking. So did we. He wasn’t.

The room came alive with activity and people materialized out of nowhere. Dr. Metelka left the room to scrub in, I presume, and the nurses told Suni to push. After two pushes, Dr. Metelka came back in and told Suni to stop pushing. It was 12:16. Two minutes later, Dr. Metelka told Suni to start pushing again. At 12:20, Calvin was delivered. I cut the cord at 12:21. All in all, the speed with which this baby was delivered was stunning!

It has really been a great experience. The nurse with us all night, Renee, a Cleveland transplant, has been wonderful. Suni is doing wonderfully. Despite having to have a total of six stitches, Suni is reporting pain that is “not bad enough to take a Tylenol or anything.”

At birth, Calvin weighed 7 lbs. 9.5 oz. He is 19 inches long. He has a pretty full head of dark hair. Here is a picture I just took with my phone. 

calvin

Monday, January 26, 2009

Calvin is almost here!

Well, this is too rich.  Blount Memorial Hospital has a strong wireless signal here in the Family Birthing Center (FBC), so I am blogging from Suni’s birth suite. 

At about 6:00, as Suni, Waylon, and I were sitting down for dinner, Suni said, “I think I’m starting to have labor pains.” 

“Okay,” I said, “I’m going to call my mom.”  That is a man’s reaction to anything even slightly traumatic… or at least this man’s.  So I did just that, at which point the wife said, “Let’s go to Target and get Waylon some toys.”

Now, I found that to be an odd response to labor pains, but who I am to argue with a woman in labor?  So, my mom picked up Waylon, and off we went to Target.  There we saw my Aunt Judy and Uncle Ronnie, bought Waylon some toys, and went home to watch House.  The House intro has not yet begun when Suni emerged from the bathroom and said “We need to go to the hospital.”

Ten minutes later we walked into the FBC.  We were in triage less than forty-five minutes, then they moved Suni in a room.  I ran home to get the camera, and returned to discover that there were some developments.  It is now 11:20, and the epidural is starting to kick in.  Much to Suni’s chagrin, she got no Stadol this go ‘round. 

My ETA for Calvin Ford Stinson is 06:15.  I’ll keep you posted.  I wanted to photoblog this, but Suni said I could either do that or stay married.  I guess there will be no pictures. 

Is today the day?

We go in to Women’s Care Group here in Maryville this morning at 9:00 for Suni’s regular 40-week checkup.  Today is the due date.  We’ll see what they say, but I am thinking they will want to induce tomorrow or Wednesday.

My pal Nick has been kind enough to take my Memphis trip for me on Wednesday, clearing the way for me to stay home this week.

We just sent Waylon off to daycare, but we have to pick him up and take him to the ENT for his tubes follow-up.  We’ll keep you posted on the developments (or lack thereof) of the day.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waylon at 22 Months

Here are a few recent pictures of our little man.  Here he is coloring with his markers, helping me take ashes out of the fireplace, posing having completed that task, and running under the parachute at “’nastics.”    

 

Waylon’s at a fun age.  He seems to be a pretty bright little guy.  He can count to ten and knows many of his letters and all his colors.  He has long known all the Backyardigan and Sesame Street characters by name and color.  He knows almost all shapes, and I did satisfy myself last night that he can differentiate between a pentagon and an octagon.  (He is still having some trouble with the hexagon).  My mom is amazed at his ability to work puzzles.  Of course, this probably has no correlation to anything much, but it sure is entertaining!

W is doing pretty well with his manners, as well.  “Please” is pretty reliable, grover_mannersand “thanks” is coming along.  He has started routinely saying “excuse me” and surprised me a little when he genuinely apologized to me last night when he accidentally hit me in the head with a block.  Suni and Grover must be doing a heck of a job with that subject.  It’s sure nice to have a polite young’un around the house.       

Waylon assigned Calvin a chair at the dinner table last night, indicating to us that he does “get it” on some level.  Counter-evidence of that, however, is the fact that he continues to insist that, while Mama has Calvin in her belly, Waylon has “Carl” in his belly. 

Come on out!  Despite all the helpful advice from Tim Whitehead (Thanks, buddy!), still no baby.

Where’s the dough?  As my cousin Adam pointed out yesterday, there is still no cash dropping from the sky here in East Tennessee following yesterday’s inauguration of Mr. Obama, or “BHO,” as I believe Adam dubbed our 44th president.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In like a lion, and other things...

Well, our baby could come at any time, but I sure hope it isn’t tonight. I have to stay in Nashville tonight. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed. In between appointments I thought I’d write a quick post of some things that were on my mind.
  • We've decided on a name. The poll results notwithstanding, our baby will be called Calvin Ford Stinson. We will probably call him "Cal." He will be named after my dad's dad. Ford is Suni's mom's maiden name and the Ford family boasts some of the best people I've ever met. We're delighted with the name.

  • I am really impressed with Florida State football player Myron Rolle’s decision to put the NFL on hold for the Rhodes Scholarship. Smart move. This guy graduated with a pre-med degree in 2 ½ years?! Are you kidding me?

  • Everyone’s bitching about the cold here. Please. Iowa is like Antarctica right now. Wind chills of -51 degrees. This morning, Cedar Rapids was literally colder than the North and South Poles. I understand global warming isn’t as simple as its name suggests and as some people try to make it… but, seriously, this doesn’t exactly jibe with the Al Gore scenarios. Of course, Al Gore probably invented weather, so he knows.

  • I’ve been listening to the audiobook The Shack, the Christian allegory that has seemingly been everywhere. I’m intrigued by the clamor in certain Christian circles about this book. I have definitely taken something away from it. It is pretty well written, and there is significant spiritual value in reading (or listening to) it. Maybe it’s my own aversion to spiritual philosophy, but it seems to overly simplify some pretty heady topics. That is my only real criticism. Through hefty dialogue with the anthropomorphic trinity, the main character will arrive at some conclusion – the “Oh, I’ve got it moment,” followed by his restatement of whatever mind-blowing lesson the trinity was trying to teach him. And I’m like “Wait a minute! How the hell did you get that out of the conversation you just had?” (I don’t mean to be irreverent, but this is just how I think and talk). So I replay the CD track, but I’m just as mystified as the first time I hear d it. I’m earnest when I say that my own denseness is probably to blame here. Anyway, if anyone has read that book, I’d love to chat about it when I’m finished. As for the hullabaloo over it, those nutjobs are what turn so many of us away from organized religion. Look up the definition of ‘allegory,’ people. This author was not trying to supplant the Bible with this work of fiction. Chuck Colson, I’ve admired you, but lighten up.

  • After ignorantly thinking Facebook was a ridiculous waste of time and something only teenagers do, I have been proven half wrong. There are old people on there, too. I have reconnected with some good friends I haven’t seen in a while. And it’s free.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yet another reason to like the Indianapolis Colts.  Like Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, and Dallas Clark aren’t enough. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is what I was afraid of

If Charles Krauthammer is right, last  November’s election result is exactly what I feared.

He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about -- his domestic agenda.

Don't be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn't get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it.

If this is how he’s thinking, he better wake up.  Like I said, I voted on foreign affairs.  It won’t matter that the economy sucks if we’re all having to learn to speak Russian, or Chinese, or… you get the idea.

Ready for takeoff


Waylon and Charley on the airplane.
Taken tonight, January 11, 2009
Posted by Picasa
Suni took this picture of Waylon and me back in the fall. The three of us took a drive on back roads up to the Foothills Parkway. We had gotten out to stretch our legs and look over Maryville from an overlook on the Parkway.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Take on Alexander

I like this take from Southern Beale, a Nashville blogger on our state’s senior senator. 

I’ve long believed that Lamar Alexander is one of those people who is riding a “moderate” image that is completely undeserved. He talks the talk but when push comes to shove he doesn’t walk the walk.

She is taking him to task on energy in the context of the Kingston spill, which, quite frankly, I am too far behind on to make any useful commentary.  You may remember my post about why I wasn’t voting for him.  Regardless of whether an informed version of me would agree with her on the ash spill, I think her summation is right on point.

Lamar Alexander hit his popularity peak with me when I was about nine years old.  I won some division of the Young Tennessee Writers’ Contest and was invited to a luncheon with the governor.  I was fit to be tied, as I knew all about how he had walked clear across our great state when he was running for governor.  I couldn’t wait to ask him a bunch of inane questions about his walk.  On the morning of the big day, I woke up not feeling so good.  For good reason… I had chicken pox.  I didn’t get to meet Governor Alexander that day.  It seemed tragic at the time.  Now, I’m not sure I missed anything. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Please…

Please pray for Taylor Whitehead, the baby niece of our friends Tim and Jaime Whitehead. Taylor and her family need your prayers and well wishes. you can track Taylor’s progress on the blog Tim has created for that purpose. I will continue to keep this post on top until Taylor is home. Please see below for newer actual entries.

Update: According to Tim and Jaime’s last post, there are some positive signs. Please continue with your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Successful Surgery

Waylon’s surgery went well, and he has been sleeping since early afternoon. I was not able to make it to the hospital, so Suni continued the heavy lifting she has been doing for some time now. As is usually the case where a toddler and anesthesia are combined, there is an amusing story. Let’s hope Suni tells it here.

In the meantime, Waylon and I want to thank Big Mama for all she does, but especially for what she has done the last couple of weeks. I worked like a dog the last part of December and have been completely out of commission for the last week. I have been a pretty absentee father. Suni has been her usual amazing self in taking care of Team Stinson, and that should not go unheralded. Thanks, Big Mama!!

Update: To the extent my post and Suni's comment constitute the ever dill-received public display of affection (PDA), we wish to apologize!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

We love the ENT doctor...

We went to see Dr. Garman, our favorite ENT doc today.  It was determined that Waylon would need tubes re-inserted in his ears.  When scheduling his surgery around the birth of the new baby and my work schedule became difficult, Dr. Garman stepped in and said, "Well, we could do it tomorrow!"  This must have been news to the staffperson trying to schedule the surgery because she gave him a "what in the hell are you talking about" look.  But, Dr. Garman was not deterred, and Waylon has his surgery tomorrow.

I have finally experienced the pain and agony everyone told me would come with my tonsillectomy.  After nearly five full days of doing well, I decided to ask Dr. Garman today if he could give me a less potent painkiller and see if I could make it.  I could not.  Dr. Garman gave me Percocet, but it hardly does anything.  As soon as my next does comes up at 9:00 tonight, I am switching back.  The breakthrough pain let me know what these narcotics are masking, and it ain't pretty.  I pity the more people that are left to fend for themselves on Percocet from the get-go.   

Dr. Garman did reiterate today how badly I needed my tonsils out.  His exact words: "When I just grasped them to prepare for the surgery, puss squirted everywhere.  It was really gross."  Uh, yeah, truly. 

Iowa's brain drain, via Sullivan & Ward's Iowa Law Blog.
Things lost in the flood: a poignant reminder that, despite its utility, money is just not that important.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Role for Richardson?

President-Elect Obama indicated he would make New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson his Secretary of Commerce.  Richardson, however, has withdrawn his name from consideration.  Richardson is one of my favorites of all the Clintonites.  I had hoped he would get the nod as the Democratic presidential nominee.  As one-time New Mexicans, Suni and I appreciate the work that needs to be done there, and I think Richardson will continue to serve that state well.  There is plenty of work to be done.  There is an underlying hint of scandal here, though. 

"I felt that duty particularly because America is facing such extraordinary economic challenges. The Department of Commerce must play an important role in solving them by helping to grow the new jobs and businesses America so badly needs. It is also because of that sense of urgency about the work of the Commerce Department that I have asked the President-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time. I do so with great sorrow. But a pending investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico state government promises to extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months," the governor said.

I'm not sure how that will all play out, but I hope nothing comes of it.  Regardless, Commerce will be an important post in the Obama administration.  In the November 19, 2008, edition, the New Republic staff put together an "O-List," comprised of the thirty names of folks people most likely to "matter most" in Obama's Washington.  The list is available online here.  No one on that list jumps out at me at this point. 

Update: Reynolds says there is more to the Richardson scandal than he thought.  Hmm...

I like this take on Richardson:

I’ve been a fan of Richardson because he has shown himself to be a good representative and honest broker on the world stage for the United States.  He’s become an expert on foreign policy and as governor has had a decent record.  I hate to see that he’s just another singular example of a well-meaning, seemingly honest, intelligent Democrat distracted by the shine of that Wall Street gold.

Seems to be the case. 

Update: Of course, the Obama team says Richardson wasn't forthright, but the NY Times pointed out that the investigation has been going on since August. It will be interesting to see who else wasn't forthright with the transition team and just how many end up having to withdraw their names from appointments. 

Michelle Malkin says "Looks like Barack Obama’s vetters haven’t gotten any better since the campaign."

AP Writer Ben Feller writes that Richardson's public life "one of rumpled imperfection but plenty of opportunity.  Reminds me of someone else. 

Timeline by AP via Denver Post.

Um, yeah... because Norm Coleman is the creepy guy in the Minnesota senate race. The fact that Al Franken could be elected to... well, anything... is a sad commentary on the state of politics in the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Shockingly, the Huffington Post is advising Coleman to concede the race.
Talk about a dumb stunt. This poor kid will have some embarrassing class reunions.
Tim, Brandon: You guys have an alibi?

No Zzzs

Well, another sleepless night for Suni and me. It isn’t so much the pain as the intense itching from the hydromorphone. It makes me scratch constantly, and poor Suni cannot get any sleep. We take Waylon in to see Dr. Garman on Monday. I will see if he will switch up my meds. Hopefully I won’t need painkillers a whole lot longer. Suni needs some sleep!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

For you college football fans, you may have noticed that Tennessee is putting together one hell of an impressive football staff. But this may be the biggest story yet in terms of actual impact. Rodney Garner is one of the best in the business, and it was a big blow to Tennessee when he left for Georgia years ago. If this happens, it could be the biggest coup of all.

Update: You think football's serious in the South. One blogger has been tracking the UT plane and predicting Garner's fate based on who was and wasn't on the plane at a given time. Crazy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

He's under-appreciated in the Hawkeye State, but I agree completely. Give Kirk Ferentz every reason in the world to stay in Iowa City. The guy does amazing things with a fraction of the talent that many of his colleagues have at their disposal.
Some government intervention I condone.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thinking of an old friend in a new year

One of mine and Suni’s favorite people on this earth is Mary Berdo. Suni and I have each been Mary’s roommate, albeit at different times. She is responsible for Suni and me getting together back in 2000. I really got to know Mary in the summer of 2000, when I was living with Travis Carlson and her in Iowa City, broke and waiting to get into law school. The next fall, when Mary was playing basketball at Iowa, Suni and I went to watch her play twice on the east coast – at Mt. St. Mary’s and at George Washington in D.C. The girl had better long distance range than AT&T. I got to know my future wife during travels in and around Washington, Gettysburg, and Eastern Shore of Maryland. Those are fond memories.

Berdo is one of those rare individuals that attract people effortlessly through the sheer magnitude of her personality. I don’t even remember when I first met her because I feel as though I have known her forever. And I’m sure everyone else who knows her feels the same way.

Mary never talks about herself, which is why it wasn’t surprising that I learned more about her background from this New York Times piece about her family than I ever learned from talking to her. The article was written and published around the time I met Mary, I believe, but she never mentioned that one of the most famous newspapers in the world was doing a piece on her Iowa farming family. I stumbled upon this story this morning while doing some research.  I’ve never met her family, but I sure would like to.

Mary, if you read this, we miss you. 

Happy New Year and Good News!

Happy New Year, everyone! We all had so much to be thankful for in 2008! On the last day of the year, Suni and I learned that the baby flipped on its own, meaning a cephalic version and/or C-section is probably going to be unnecessary! What a great way to end the year! We hope everyone had a great night. Here’s to a wonderful ’09!

We look forward to watching the Hawks play today. 

OK, so it's not Julia Roberts that is coming here? Dammit!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Bates in K-Town

So close. My best friend from high school was offered the offensive coordinator position at the University of Tennessee by head coach Lane Kiffin. He turned it down to remain with the Denver Broncos, but Broncos head coach was fired last night. I was desperately hoping Jeremy would return to Knoxville, but nervous about the situation in Denver. Now it appears he will be retained in Denver. I haven't talked to him in a long time, but I am very happy for him and eager to follow his career.

Stupid Michael Newdow is at it again.  Honestly, can we put this clown on a ship with Oprah and Al Sharpton and sail it to Antarctica? 

The tonsillectomy

Suni and I arrived at the hospital at 10:45 a.m. yesterady, where we were seated in a waiting room and assigned a pager. (Yes, a pager… like you get at busy restaurants). We waited forever.  When I was finally called back, a nurse named Connie prepped me by having me disrobe, put on the hilarious hospital gown. Then she started an IV and gave me Keflex, an antibiotic, as well as a liquid dose of a steroid for inflammation, both via IV. I do not think I was given anything to clam me down, although I did talk her ear off out of sheer nervousness. She gave me phenergan (promethazine) for nausea. The anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist then came and took my history, explained everything to me.  I talked their ears off, as well.  (Maybe they did give me something for anxiety?)

Next, the surgeon, Dr. Garman, appeared.  His first words were, "Do you really want to go through with this?  I can't believe you showed up."  Again, what the hell?  Just when I was ready to make a "run" for it, he ensured me that he was kidding and told me I needed to have it done.  (The condition of my tonsils as observed in surgery would indeed confirm that opinion).  

He then informed me about my drug regimen. Dilaudid!! I am so relieved that I don’t have one of those masochistic doctors who would have prescribed me Tylenol 3. He also have me some tetracaine lollipops that should help me get food and drink down.

They wheeled me down to the surgery area. The anesthesiologist explained that it was time, and she wheeled me down to the surgical suite.  The next thing I knew I woke up in the triage area. A new nurse was taking care of me. Surprisingly, I talked that poor lady’s ear off. I don’t remember this, but they reported that my first words as I was coming out from under anesthesia were “Can I please have a pen and paper?” The nurse brought me a pen, and I proceeded to write on the back of my medical chart. Only I would insist that I be provided these things immediately upon returning to consciousness. I also don’t remember writing what I wrote, but the nurse made a copy of my scribbling for me, and this is what it undeniably says.

I know Garman Garman,” it begins. What the hell? Dr. Garman is my doctor, and I think I meant to write "I love Dr. Garman... but… what the hell? Beats me. It continues: “This is not neurosurgery.” Um... no, nor was it a labotomy, but, why did I feel the need to state the obvious? Seriously, what is wrong with me?  Finally, something that makes sense: “Nurse told me to shut up, and she was well justified in doing so,” I next mused.  OK, so I was getting somewhat coherent and self-aware by that point. But I still wasn’t finished. “Persistently asked for pen and paper – embarrassing.” Definitely. Finally, “Don’t understand my compulsion to talk to this poor nurse.” Wow, I am weird.  The nurse came to the recovery room when I got down there just to meet Suni.  She said "I had to meet the woman that actually married this guy."  I wonder how many people have made that bewildered inquiry over the last nearly four years.   

I am 20 hours post-surgery and my pain is actually non-existent, except when I swallow!  Although I was warned that things will get progressively worse, I assumed my baseline would be more pain than 0/10 on the pain scale.  I did not think I would be able to blog or get any work done, but, alas, here I am.  I am so glad I had the surgery done.  I can breathe through my nose for the first time in years!  As crazy as it sounds, I feel much healthier already!

Happy New Year's Eve, people!!

We neglected to post that we loved Cibo's in Cedar Rapids, a eclectic place recommended to us by Monica Hahn.  Other than the overcooked calamari, the place was amazingly good.  Even the calamari was a positive, as the very knowledgeable waitress addressed it head-on with us, apologized, and made it right.  We sampled several things and were impressed with everything else, including the Rum drinks and Italian ices.  Thanks, Monica. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Iowan is Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff.  Not a bad gig for someone who has known the soon-to-be First Lady less than two years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If this Russian professor is right, TeamStinson will no longer share a nationality with all you Iowans. The breakup of the United States seems unlikely, but this guy actually has points on a few things… which is very scary.

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.

The article is worth a read.

Update: While in the surgery waiting room today, I read this article in Foreign Affairs. Although this article is not dircetly related to Prof. Panarin's breakup prediction, it addresses the concerns I have about America's perilous position in the global geopolitical system. To me, the internal and external threats of destruction of our democracy are inseparable. I think Kagan makes some really good points that I hadn't considered. In short, it gives me some realistic hope.

A Word: I realize I blog about some things that don't interest all (or many) of you. I apologize for this, and if it is too much of an annoyance, I will just start another blog. In a sense, foreign affairs and politics doesn't mesh with our family blog. I recognize that, but I don't have the energy to start another blog right now, and Suni simply does not have the time to blog, not to mention it has to be uncomfortable for her to sit at a computer. So, if you visit our little blog simply to see what we are up to and see pictures of Waylon, please don't be put off by my ramblings. And, if you are, please let me know.


Here is an interesting little story about an amateur Iowa photographer in today’s New York Times

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fingers Crossed

I don’t know whether to be encouraged or discouraged, to laugh or cry.  But Charles Krauthammer, one of the most astute political commentators out there, in my opinion, makes some interesting observations (and predictions)about Obama’s apparently centrist administration.

Environmental Disaster Nextdoor

In Harriman, Tennessee, in neighboring Roane County, there has been an environmental disaster that will likely be the worst in southeastern U.S. History.  One writer says it is fifty times worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  If you haven’t even heard about this you are not alone.  I didn’t know until a friend of mine who is a TVA employee told me yesterday.  The national media has done a terrible job of covering this.  (Suni points out that the local media has been all over it, and that I have been under a rock.  Although I haven’t done exhaustive research, both of her observations appear pretty accurate). 

The NY Times finally did a piece, and a second one confirms that the amount of waste spilled was nearly three times what TVA originally said the pond could hold.  Scary.

Meanwhile, the bastards at TVA are collecting their fat bonuses and financing them with rate hikes.  I bet we’ll see another rate hike to pay for the cleanup of this mess. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photo shoot at Nonna’s

Waylon stayed at my mom’s yesterday so I could get some work done and some things done around the house. Suni had to work. Mom got a new SLR camera – a Canon Rebel – for Christmas, and she took some pictures of Waylon yesterday. I thought they were really good (he needs a haircut), so I decided to post them here.

We hope everyone has a merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Team Stinson visited the Kings in Nashville this weekend.  Brad and I went to the Titans game, which was great.  The whole way to Nashville, Waylon was clearly under the impression that we were going to visit his cousin Brayden in Iowa.  The names are just so similar to a 21-month old.  No matter how many times we explained it, he didn't get it until he laid eyes on Aidan.  Here, clockwise from top left, are Waylon and Aidan cruising in Aidan's car; Waylon looking through the View Finder his Aunt Pam sent him (he sees "Grandma, Briggs, and Mama" in every slide); another pic of the boys (Waylon taking the wheel); and our boy last Christmas.  

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I am finishing Carol Felsenthal's book, Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House.  I have enjoyed the book, which relies heavily on the author's interviews with certain of the Clinton presidential and post-presidency "team," some of whose identities are revealed, others who remain unnamed.  It fills in some of the gaps left by Clinton's revisionism evident in his memoirs, My Life, which starts out interesting and devolves into hundreds of pages of defensive chronology.   

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Suni's reading Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman.  I read this book in Colorado back in my freshman year but had forgotten about it.  We found it when we cleaned out our attic to blow insulation last weekend.  It bore an interesting stamp: "Coe College, Stewart Memorial Library."  Oops!  Wonder how much I paid for that damn book? 

Update (12/24/08): We went for Suni's 35-week checkup and learned that the baby is breech.  Next week, we'll discuss the options, but I think Suni is really hoping a C-section is not the reality.  I'm not yet educated enough to know what we're hoping for, other than hoping that the baby turns on his own.  I guess there is still time for that.  We still have no name for this kid.   

I have to have my tonsils removed on Tuesday, and I am not looking forward to that.  It's hard to believe it will be my first surgery ever.  Nobody has spared me the horror stories about adult tonsillectomies.  My Granny warned, "The first three days you'll wish you were dead."  Considering my Granny is the toughest person I know, I'm nervous about being a pansy-ass.  I think I am most nervous about the anesthesia. 

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!