Pigeon

This morning, Edith and I were on the porch Facetiming with my aunt when a flock of pigeons suddenly took off from the yard and flew over the roof above us. Except that one pigeon missed the roof, flew into the porch instead, smacked into the living room window at full speed, and then executed a quick turn and flew off in the other direction at a wobbly tilt.

I can’t stop laughing about it — the way he was all “woohoo, part of the gang, here we go!” and then just…whiffed it in the most embarrassing possible way right out of the gate. And then the way he immediately flew off like he meant to do it, the way a drunk person falls over and then tries to pass it off like she just decided to sit on the bar floor all of a sudden.

I just really relate to this pigeon.

Lake Kyle

This morning, Edith and I checked out a nearby park with a catch-and-release fish pond. The day was a bit overcast, but the sun came out periodically, and in the low 80s, the heat felt manageable for walking around, although when I took Edith out of her carrier, her back was like a radiator. I’m never sure whether this is safe for her or not, so I go back and forth on taking her out much during the Texas summer. Her stroller is cooler, but I’d rather carry her if possible, as it’s more convenient and fine for any terrain, and also it’s a good workout for me. Babies are great weight training because they just keep getting bigger, so as soon as you’re fit enough to carry them comfortably, they add another pound and you’re working hard again.

There were a number of families fishing at the pond, but the surrounding wide flat parkland was empty.

After we’d walked around the lake, we headed off to the large expanse of flat mown land to the left of it, and at the end of that field, there was a lip, and over the lip was a wildflower meadow behind a gate, with mown paths through it. We were the only people there, and it was very autumnal with black-eyed Susans and various white and yellow weedy flowers.

Some of the things I most love about Texas are the broad flat fields and the scrubby colorful low vegetation and the massive sweeping skies. It’s very easy to find a deep sky and an empty expanse even within a dense urban area, and if you head outside the cities, it’s endless space.

Edith spent the entire walk fully focused on pulling the stem of the umbrella I was carrying for shade into her mouth. I don’t think she was aware of her surroundings at all. Still, I guess she benefited from the fresh air.

Clothes

When I find an item of clothing that works well, I buy 12 of them, because I’m only going to want to wear that one thing and I will want to have enough of it so that I don’t have to do laundry super frequently.

This philosophy, I am learning, makes no sense when applied to a baby. Edith keeps outgrowing her onesies. So I buy her 12 more onesies. But two weeks later, she has outgrown all of those. So I buy 12 more. It keeps somehow not sinking in that she is going to continue to grow in extremely rapid cycles, and that I do not need to stockpile clothes for her.

Or stockpile anything else for her, either! I find a bottle that she likes, so I buy ten of those bottles. But a week later, she is ready for a different kind of bottle. Soon, she won’t need bottles at all.

The thing behind all this is, I don’t like to shop. I always want to get all of my shopping done with all at once with the idea that maybe I will never have to do it ever again. I also feel deeply comforted by the idea of having just enough of something that I often use. I remember my Dad explaining to me one time that he was really excited because he had counted up all of his shirts and realized that, factoring in wear and tear, he had exactly enough shirts to last precisely up until the year he was most likely to die. He felt very satisfied by this. I take after him in this respect.

Those days are behind me, though! I had a child, and she’s going to need stuff forever! I am going to be shopping repeatedly for the rest of my life, and I just have to accept that.

NPC

Today I learned about the right-wing insult “NPC” which stands for “non-player character” and is meant to refer to someone who cannot think independently (so, like, you usually see it used for liberals who are afraid of diverging from woke group-think). I basically don’t understand any of the words in this Wikipedia article about this (which, I guess this is how it begins, old age, the first time you read something and you’re just like dagnabbit it, this is all just CONSARNED GOBBELDY GOOK!), but the bit that’s most confusing to me is, if an NPC is a character that the player cannot control, then…wouldn’t that mean the opposite of a brainwashed person who can’t think for themselves? NPCs are in fact the only characters that aren’t manipulated by an external puppet master.

So I don’t get the insult on a fundamental level, and the only reason I’m blogging about this is I literally spent like thirty minutes this morning trying to determine if NPC was an insult or a compliment.

Or is this like a “couldn’t care less”/”could care less” thing where the original meaning got muddy and now the exact opposite expression means the thing its opposite used to mean?

Alleged

One thing that drives me bonkers when I read news reports is the misuse of “alleged.” My understanding is that “alleged” should be used when referring to someone who is suspected of a crime, but has not yet been found guilty in court. So, “the alleged perpetrator,” “Mr. Jones allegedly strangled the victim,” “the company allegedly defrauded its clients,” etc.

But I often seen it used applying to criminal situations just in general. For example, I often see something like, “Mrs. Jones was brutally beaten and robbed on Friday. The alleged victim claims her assailant was wearing a green raincoat.”

But…she’s not an alleged victim. She was either beaten up and robbed or she wasn’t. And even if that’s in doubt, she’s not accused of being a victim, she’s saying she is, so there’s no need to guard against jumping to conclusions there. Being a victim is not a crime in any event; she’s not going to be found guilty or innocent of victimhood. The use of “alleged” here seems to be just there because this story is about a crime, and the reporter is confused about why and when to use the term “alleged.”

For example, you wouldn’t say, “Local child alleges she sold lemonade in the park last weekend. The alleged lemonade salesman says the weather was very nice!” It’s similar because while you might not have actual proof that she actually did sell lemonade in the park, you wouldn’t feel the need to be extra careful not to just assume she did if she said she did, because selling lemonade is not a crime (I mean, ok, sometimes it is if the park doesn’t allow vendors without a license, but now we’re getting off the point).

Similarly, I saw a report describing a robbery or something, and the episode itself was described as alleged. “The Stop ‘n Go on Fifth Street reports that a teller was held up at gun point last Friday. The alleged incident took place at 9:00 p.m.” I mean, was it or wasn’t it? That seems like something the reporter could establish. Is there some reason to fear that the Stop ‘n Go might be fabricating this incident?

But am I wrong about this? I very well might be! Are reporters meant to refer to every aspect of anything to do with any kind of criminal activity as “alleged” until the trial? If so, I feel like they don’t do it consistently.

“Alleged grandmother Rita P. Bunch alleged that an alleged man snatched her purse last Wednesday. The alleged purse snatching took place outside the Save Rite supermarket. The alleged purse snatcher allegedly wore jeans and a T-shirt and a ski mask, and the alleged victim alleged that she felt frightened. The allegedly stolen purse allegedly contained $5 and a set of dentures. Allegedly, purse snatchings are on the rise recently.”

Roomba Baby

Reading this post about a roomba‘s amazing ability to immediately run into a lamp and get stuck despite having a wide zone of open floor to clean, I was reminded of Edith in her walker.

My furniture is all still at my old house for staging, so currently, there’s a huge great room and a massive long hall, both entirely clear of obstacles. Edith has all the terrain she could possibly desire for running around in her walker. And yet, every time I put her in it, she immediately plows into the nearest wall and gets stuck there.

On Saturday, I experimented with this for some time. I placed her walker in a variety of different locations — at one end of the hall or the other, smack in the middle of the living room, in the entrance to the living room — but no matter where she started off, into the wall she went. I wouldn’t have believed it would be possible had I not been watching her.

It seems there must be some principle of physics at work that I don’t understand. Like the atoms of the walls exert some magnetism toward smaller things in motion. Something to do with vertical and horizontal planes? I don’t know, I’m just a humble idiot, but something has to explain this, because the experiment is infinitely reproducible: I consistently achieve the same results every time (or Edith does).

Try it yourself: put a baby in a walker and let them loose in an empty room. See what happens.

Toys

Everyone will tell you that babies do not need a lot of stuff. Specifically, they don’t need a lot of toys or books. A baby can entertain itself for a long time with a saucepan, or a cardboard box.

Well, those people are right. Babies don’t need a lot of stuff. BUT I DO! Edith can play with the same three toys for weeks on end, but I fucking can’t, if I have to sit on the floor and waggle an object in front of an infant’s face for hours, I am going to at least need a wide variety of objects of different colors and sizes to waggle. Edith doesn’t know one book from another, but there are only so many times I can show her the same damn black-and-white photos of a cat before I need a new book to patiently point at.

So my advice is different: kids are dull as hell, so buy yourself an infinite variety of toys and books to play with.

100

With this post, I have now written on my blog here for 100 days in a row! I did not make any kind of resolution to do this. I just started doing it, and then kept doing it. I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing it. It’s kind of nice to write a little something every day, since I’m not doing much creatively or intellectually right now, and looking back over these posts gives me a nice record of what Edith’s first year has been like (or part of it).

Today, Edith and I spent the morning on the porch and I saw a new HUGE lizard — this one lives over behind these three plant pots in a clump of trees to the right of the porch. I saw some movement behind the pots yesterday and I wondered, but I figured it was a bird. But today, the lizard showed himself and he is the size of a kitten. I also saw a bright green lizard undulate across the grass and flit up a tree. I’m not sure if it’s the one I brought home from the restaurant or not.

In the afternoon, Mom and Edith and I all drove to San Marcos and had dinner on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the river, which was packed with swimmers and tubers and kayakers and dogs and a single unbothered duck. I had eggs benedict with no meat and bread pudding and an IPA, and then I had half of Mom’s IPA, and then I was WASTED. Edith threw two toys on the floor, stuck her hand in my beer, and then licked the table before I could stop her.

Another fine day.

Yard Day

Edith and I spent most of today lounging around on the back porch. It’s finally cooled off a bit, which for Texas means that it’s in the 80s rather than the 90s, and before noon, it’s quite cool in the shade. The sky was lovely, blue and cloudless, with a visible white moon until well after 11:00.

Edith mostly stared at me and chewed on the blanket, and I was on lizard watch. The little lizard was at his usual post atop the sideways plant pot, doing his sun salutations and preening. I saw at least one other little lizard in the rock bed, and possibly more than one. It’s difficult to say whether it’s another lizard or the same lizard unless you see them at the same time.

I had grown concerned about the large lizard because my mother accidentally flattened a lizard in the driveway (not the green one I brought home from the restaurant), but we hadn’t been out back very long before he ventured down from one of the trees. At least, I think it was the same lizard. It could have been another one — there’s at least one more large one who normally hangs out on the back fence. But I think it was the same lizard I’ve grown attached to, and I felt relief.

Other critters we saw today: lots of birds of course, including a bright red cardinal; hornets, unfortunately; several massive yellow butterflies; and a hummingbird who came right into the porch and hovered there for a beat looking down at us. Also, I saw a squirrel chasing a lizard along the fence line, and I realized that this was the first squirrel I’d seen here! That’s weird — everywhere else I’ve lived in Texas has been teeming with squirrels, but there don’t seem to be many here.

Mom says there’s a large toad who lives out front and waits at the front door every night hoping to slip inside when she goes out to put the sprinkler out (so far, he has been unsuccessful).

I haven’t seen any snakes yet, but I know from the Facebook group that we should be aware of them — other than the usual rattlers, there are water moccasins in the lake, and someone took a photo of a large coral snake (the toxic kind) by the pool! There are also armadillos and coyotes. The other day, I was telling Mom about how something in the yard might have been caused by an armadillo, but I kept saying aardvark, and she was like, “I…do not think that is likely.”

We had a very nice day. The neighbors weren’t out and the construction behind us was paused, so everything was still and peaceful.

What We Do In the Shadows

After my second full week of work and baby, I don’t have any mental capacity for writing, so I’m going to try to talk about my favorite television show, which seems a simple enough task. Let’s see how I do! I will put my struggles in brackets.

My favorite show right now is What We Do In the Shadows. The show is [here I want to say something like it came from or it started with? It is an iteration of, an expansion of? Another version of?] the 2014 movie of the same name, which was also extremely funny, and which I recommend watching, but you don’t have to watch the movie to enjoy the show.

The premise of the show is extremely simple [here I would ordinarily summarize what that premise is, but I can’t now. what if vampires?], but it provides a surprising [here I want to say something like it gives a lot of joke from small thing? How do say? Can get lots of episodes from what you’d think would be a single bit? I keep thinking “deep vein” for comedy which is also a vampire pun! That would be good…but I can’t…put it together. Are veins even deep? Is “vein” spelled right?] fodder.

[I want to say something about how because of the very simple premise the writers are free to explore clever digressions without it taking away from the world of the show or seeming overly self-referential/inconsistent with characters] [then I want to provide examples of them doing that, like Vanessa Bayer’s emotional vampire last season or this season where Colin Robinson explains the origins of the universe to Nandor in a Vegas hotel room, which was my favorite scene of the entire show so far] [laughed till I cried but less cliched way to say…?]

[then I’d end this somehow] Anyway, you should watch it.