Second Tree Blog

Semi-regularly updated musings from the Tim, Julie, Benton, Carson, and Alana Wilsons.

Friday, December 28, 2007

"Stop it, Carson" -- Practice Makes Perfect

Alana wandered into my office this morning to ask if I would paint her nails purple. I painted her nails purple at lunch yesterday...but that was apparently the wrong bottle of purple nail polish. I've held her off until lunch today.

She stuck around to do some drawing on my whiteboard and listen to the music playing in my office. As I continued to work, she prattled on about this and that. Fairly nonsensically.

Then, I heard, "Stop it, Carson. Stop it, Carson." Carson was not in my office at the time. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure he was down in the basement. Apparently, she was just practicing -- knowing that she'll be making the statement at some point in the likely-not-too-distant future, just as she's made it in the not-too-distant past.


Friday, December 21, 2007

"Afterlife Shoes" Now Up on MIT's OpenCourseware Project

Back in August, I wrote about being contacted by MIT's OpenCourseware project about using a play I wrote in college. I forgot about, but a fellow on Twitter mentioned the program, which prompted me to go take a look.

And, it's there! It's the last of four example scripts: "Afterlife Shoes."

Warning if you open it up: if it was a TV show, it would be rated "R" for L (language) and possible AS (Adult Situations).


Picture-Free, Unfortunately -- Alana's Stunt of the Week

I only captured half of this as a picture. If it happens again, I'll make a matching set and post both.

Early this week, Julie and her mom went out to see a movie. Alana was in bed before they left. I got Benton and Carson down at 8:30 and then headed into my office. At 8:45, I heard someone coming down the stairs. It really sounded like Benton, but when I went out to check, it was Alana. She needed help with her belt.


She'd gotten out of her crib, taken off her pajamas, found a pair of jeans and a shirt, and gotten herself dressed.

But she needed help with her belt.

After some discussion, I determined that she was well aware that it was not yet morning, but she wanted to play and, thus, had gotten herself up and dressed. It took a bit of negotiation, but I managed to get her back into PJs (different from the ones in which she had gone to bed) and to bed.

The next night...the same thing happened.

The next rest time, Alana decided to get undressed...and put on pajamas!

For the time being, I don't fold her laundry any more, as, every time she is in her room alone, she empties her dresser across the floor and changes her clothes. Multiple times.


Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

It's been over a week since we posted on this blog, which is, unacceptable!

For me (Tim), I've been spending what free time I've been able to find working on a bunch of internet-related projects that are not this blog:
  • Completely changing the underlying platform (from Blogger to Wordpress) for my other blog (and adding content and categories there)
  • Setting myself up with an effective Netvibes page -- I now can check news, my personal e-mail, the Woot deal of the day, my Facebook account, all of the blogs I subscribe to, and get to my tags all at a single location; recommendation: find some kid like Kristin Farwell and figure out what technologies she uses...and play around with them!
  • Fiddling around with Twitter and Pownce -- I've been a sporadic user of Twitter (but I still think I'm doing better than Chris Wilson on that front!); I jumped over to Pownce for a bit when Connie Bensen rallied troops to temporarily migrate during a 12-hour planned Twitter outtage
  • Working on changing my habits to really use consistently -- it's come in handy with all of the above well as Christmas shopping collaboration with Julie!
All of the above falls under the heavy blurring between my work and personal life, which, overall, is pretty cool in my book (although I realize your head might be spinning at this point).

"Social Media." Have you heard the term? Every link in the above list counts as an example. But, one thing that's not included is "social media for social good" -- a great, current example is the Frozen Pea Fund, which is a Twitter-driven effort to both raise awareness and raise funds for breast cancer research. If you follow no links in this post but that one, you'll be in good shape and, I hope, be somewhat inspired/moved by what all this technology can do.

With that, I'm going to wrap up this post. I'd intended to throw kid updates in...but I'll do that separately.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anecdote Blitz

It's been too long without a post, so here are some quickies: wildly into jigsaw and similar-type puzzles these days. Her favorites are: a puzzle of the U.S. with each piece being a state, a Winnie the Pooh (and friends) jigsaw puzzle, and "the silverware puzzle." This last is what she calls the silverware basket in the dishwasher. She jumps up and down with excitement when she sees that the silverware puzzle is ready. We pull the silverware drawer out, bring her stool over, set the basket on the counter, and she sets to work "solving" the puzzle. Entertaining and helpful! heavy into doing "research" on the U.S. presidents. This started as a discussion on our outing two weekends ago. As you might expect from Carson, he first wanted me to tell him about "all the Presidents who got shot." But, we expanded it to a routine where we're starting with George Washington and printing out the Wikipedia entry for each President and reading through it. Carson has a log where he writes the President's name, which number President he was, when he was born and died, when he took and left office, and "interesting notes." For George Washington, he noted that George and Martha were both 27 when they married, and that George fought the British. We've only made it to John Adams so far, but he is very excited about the exercise (and I'm certainly learning a thing or two!).

Benton...loves to make buckeyes. Mix up peanut butter, powdered sugar, and some other ingredients and roll them into 1/2" balls. Then, dip them most of the way into a chocolate/paraffin mixture. The result is a Reese's-like treat that really does look like a buckeye. I think we've made them three times since we moved.

The our backyard has been spotted again after several weeks with no sitings. The last time we saw him, he was limping fairly severely, so we were afraid that the local coyote or something else might have ended his existence. But, Carson, Thomas Schinabeck (Carson's second-cousin), and I went on an impromptu hike behind our house last Saturday, and we saw the buck just as we were returning to the house.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

[Julie] Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Our backyard at about 10:00am this morning......

Finally!!! After asking many, many times about when it would snow, the kids awoke to a pleasant surprise this morning. The snow started falling last night and had accumulated to about 2-3" by the time Benton was up. More snow was predicted for the rest of the day, so about 140 different schools in the area were closed or had a delayed start. Of course, that did not include our district, so Benton could only play in the snow until the bus arrived at 8:40am. This meant a quick breakfast and out the door for us. We were outside by 8:00am ready to shovel the entire driveway into a sledding hill. We succeeded to make a small hill.

At about 8:30 am, Carson awoke devastated that he was going to miss the snow. He fussed loudly enough about my not waking him up to come outside, that Alana was up in no time and ready to head out. Fortunately, Grandma Marilyn was here to help ensure they had some cereal and clothes on before heading outside. So, while I trotted to the bus stop with Benton, they got ready.
At the bus stop, we were the only people not sitting inside a warmed up mini-van awaiting the bus. The 4 kids that catch a bus about 5 minutes before Benton's arrives were not so enamored with the snow, apparently. Benton got on the bus with assurances from me that we would continue our snow play as soon as he gets home.

By the time I returned, it was time to suit up Carson and Alana. We headed out and had a great time piling snow, sledding, and throwing snowballs. At one point, Carson tried to teach Alana how to make a snow angel. It was a very sweet thing to witness. Needless to say, I had a great time playing "kid" in the snow and am looking forward to the arrival of the bus at 4:00pm so I can enjoy it with all 3 kids at the same time.

Of course, I am not fool enough to think this will be everyone's reaction after our 10th snowstorm, but for now, let it snow, let it snow, LET IT SNOW!!

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another Outing with Carson

We were out of deer feed for our backyard visitors, so Carson and I made a run up to Delaware (Ohio) to Champaign Feed and Supply yesterday. On the way, we stopped off to check out the Ohio Wildlife Center satellite facility that I'd noticed on my last trip up to Delaware. It's just 10 minutes from our house, so it seemed worth a look. It turns out that it's a wildlife rescue facility. There was no one there to actually talk to to get details, but we got up close to a number of rescued animals: a barn owl, two horned owls, two American kestrels, a squirrel, a couple of raccoons, a red-tailed hawk, and even a coyote!

Carson, of course, identified the barn owl just by looking at it ("I recognized it because of the heart shape on its face") and the red-tailed hawks. And, he spent a good amount of time studying each one. We then moved on to what looked like a hiking trail that led off behind the buildings. It has not been highly used or maintained, but it had signs at various spots explaining the different types of trees and flora in the area, which Carson was interested in stopping and reading. And, of course, anything that looked climbable really held his attention!

We found a side trail that went down 50-80 feet to the water's edge. I'm not entirely sure what the body of water was -- part of the Scioto river, part of some reservoir? I simply don't know. But, it was frozen and 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick (the temperature was in the high teens). I gave carson a stick to explore it with, and he proceeded to break through the ice for a good 30' stretch of shoreline. He also occasionally "posed" for a picture that might get both of us in trouble when later viewed by his mother:

We also discovered that, if we throw a stick out on the ice, it would skitter along for a good, long distance (even to the other shore), which was pretty fascinating for a couple of warm weather natives! We agreed that we will be going back for further exploration!
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Holiday Hop -- By Golly, We Live in a Pretty Cool Town!

With Julie's mom in town for a few weeks, we've been doing our best to take advantage of the free sitting to get out a bit. From little things like making an ice cream run to bigger things like pulling off a bona fide date night, it's been nice! Of course, I'm flying down to Austin this evening for the week, so we won't get to take advantage of that again until next weekend.

Last night, we headed to downtown Columbus to an area called The Short North. Last night was the first Saturday of the month, which is the monthly Gallery Hop event -- or the Holiday Hop due to the season. In Austin terms, the area/event has a Sixth Street feel with South Congress-like galleries in place of music venues. Julie picked up a World AIDS day ribbon, and we both signed a petition to get Barack Obama on the ballot in Ohio (no guarantees that he'll get our vote in the primary, but he ought to at least have the requisite signatures to get on the ballot!). We had drinks and an appetizer at one restaurant, then did some more gallery/shop-hopping. Julie was quite chatty -- striking up conversations with the staff in at least half of the places we stopped!

The most interesting conversation we had was with Paul Palnik. He is a cartoonist/satirist who does elaborate, poster-sized comic-like pieces. Many of them are heavy on words. Many have a ton of cartoon people. And many have both. Palnik is a lifelong cartoonist who, he said, actually taught art at several universities but gave that up because simply being an artist was more lucrative and that's what he really loves to do. The pieces were fun, in that you literally could stand in front of them for an hour taking in all the details and chuckling here and there. The music playing in the gallery was a CD of Palnik's son, Elijah Aaron, who is finishing up at the Berklee College of Music. We bought his CD and, I suspect, will be buying a piece or two of Palnik's work down the road.

Over dinner -- our favorite "dinner composed of a couple of appetizers with a shared light main dish" -- we wound up kicking around some of our "relationship anecdotes," including a story that I've told to many, many people over the years...but never to Julie, I realized. And, it's about Julie. That may be a subject for another post, but I'll need to get clearance from the main subject before that happens!

Stay tuned!