Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sam's fave 8

In honor of Sam's 9 month birthday, being alive and kicking for the same amount of time he was kicking me from the inside we decided to document a few of his current favorite things. This is for babies everywhere wondering what the coolest 9 month olds are diggin'. Here you go kids...

1. Baby i-pod: plays classical hits from Mozart, Chopin and other great composers...bonus it plays them in an extremely high pitch without the option of headphones!

2. Cheerios: Nuff said.

3. Our door knocker: Who would have thought, but it holds us up by the front door at every trip in and out so that he can make it knock. Seriously.cheap.fun.

4. Little Duck Finger puppet book: Mom has it memorized so when Sam rips it from my hands I just keep going.....I hate to give away the ending to a good book, but little duck is swimming in a pond waiting for someone to come along....guess who his best friend is???? you! Lucky, lucky, you!

5. Stuffed salmon: Purchased on his first trip to the Pacific Northwest, fittingly, and it is a source of constant entertainment, especially when Sam lays on the bed and Paul lays on the floor swimming the salmon along the bedside, as if it were in the river.

6. Electrical Outlets: Good, safe, fun :) The child plugs were taken out of this one for photographic purposes, but still it is so fascinating isn't it? Ha.

7. Puppy Dogs: Anybody's, any shape or size he doesn't discriminate, although not a huge fan of ones that poo in Mom and Dads yard, but the rest make for an extremely happy, giggly baby.

8. Light switches: Fun to look at but even more fun to turn off and on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


On August 19 began the second most exciting thing to happen to us in the past nine months. Though still in its infancy, Elise Hanna Photography has already affected lives. And I am talking about more than just our own. Were it to end today, it would already be an unmitigated success, but I do not forsee the end to this venture for a long, long time.

I just wanted to tell my wife how proud I am of her. I apologize I am not always there when you need me to pose in the kitchen for you. I hope my stand-in did an admirable job. Tell him I want my bandana back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

hey hotties!

me in 1972 (looking a bit like my mom! speaking of hotties!)

who doesn't love a man-baby in a turtleneck!

1991 (this is really what Paul looked like, he still has the sweater! I promise!)

Check out http://www.yearbookyourself.com/ to pee your pants laughing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

iPods for Landscapers

A charity that both Elise and I feel very strongly about is iPods for Landscapers. Now, this, folks, is a charity truly worthwhile of your tax-deductible dollars.

iPods for Landscapers has as its goal to ensure the happiness and spiritual well-being of our areas landscapers by supplying them with iPods to listen to while they mow our lawns and trim our hedges. Some landscapers wear either fluorescent styrofoam ear plugs or the type of clunky ear muffs worn by baggage handlers on an airport's tarmac or '70's DJs. Most wear nothing, having to endure the annoying whine of their weed whacker or leaf blower. Wouldn't they much rather listen to music?

Long gone are the days of rakes and hoes. All their equipment is gasoline-powered and mechanized, so iPods wouldn't be a safety issue as it is for cyclists or runners, since landscapers can't hear over their machines anyway. The charity even acknowledges that most landscapers don't have access to a personal computer, so the charity uploads the iPods with mariachi music prior to distribution. What a service to the landscaping community!

So, the next time you see a flyer tucked under your windshield wiper for a race supporting iPods for Landscapers, don't delay, tell your friends to sign up today! I mean what else are you going to do with last year's outdated iPod?

(Unfortunately, due to style restrictions, the charity does not accept Sony Walkmen or those earphones that Richard Simmons might wear with the adjustable dial AM/FM radio. Thank you.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

120 Super Songs by the Super Stars

When I was a boy, my dad made me take guitar lessons from an old man in a small music shop on Park Ave. in Lake Park. I remember the shop smelling of old books. We would practice for an hour or so in a small room in the back of the shop. I didn't take the lesson seriously. But the old music teacher didn't seem to mind that we goofed off for 55 minutes only to spend 5 minutes or so in actual lesson. He reminded me of my jidou, a patient man who used to cut the crusts from the breads of our sandwiches. Though my specific recall of both men is fuzzy, I seem to remember them both having the same olive complexion, the same yellowing hair and same thick plastic glasses resting atop broad, cartilaginous, Mediterranean noses.

As I grew older (much older...like 25) I grew to regret not having taken those lessons more seriously, so I reapplied myself and signed up for lessons at Jupiter Music. I started to learn to read music (a skill I have since forgotten) and to play stuttering versions of the Eagles, Nirvana and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" from a slightly overweight, pimply kid who know doubt had aspirations of becoming the next Stevie Ray Vaughn or Clapton. Photos of rock icons cut from magazines filled the small practice room, and the discordant thrum of a bass guitar and the arrhythmic staccato of a snare drum penetrated the particle board walls. Every pre-teen in north county with rock star ambitions came in and out of that shop. I felt as though I was the oldest student by, at least, fifteen years.

In Boulder, I again signed up for lessons. The instructor at Woodsong's on Pearl--a miserly man in his mid-40's who know doubt had a Phd in music theory--asked me what my goal was in taking lessons. I told him, "I want to play the whole neck of the guitar. I want to jam." (I might have used the word 'improvise' instead of 'jam', but you get the picture...) So, he taught me the blues, and I strived to become the least melancholy blues guitarist in town.

Since Sam was born, I will, on occasion, pull the dusty Aria acoustic guitar my dad gave me and play a song or two for Sam. I haven't played enough to keep the callouses on the tips of my fingers intact. I mostly play sputtering versions of Dave Matthews tunes, i.e. the opening lick of "Satellite" over and over and over again. Sam doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he often, when I attempt to sing (which I do not do well, I am reminded), joins in.

Recently, in an effort to expand my repertoire, Sam and I took a trip down to the garage and rescued a few more music books from the moldy cardboard box to which they had been relegated. (This particularly distressed Elise, as it know doubt meant introducing ants and silverfish into our home) What did we return with? "120 Super Songs by the Super Stars".

Everything about this book is OLD. The pages are yellowed and tattered. The spine has completely dissolved to little more than threads of glue. But, best of all, it is filled with my dad's unintelligible scrawl. This is the book he took to Park Ave. for his own music lessons. The staffs are scribbled over in red ink. I don't know what the slashes and scribbles mean, but he dates the lessons. They go back to 1983.

So, now I sing "Homeward Bound" and "Daydream Believer". And fight not to choke up when I sing, "I wish I was, Homeward bound, Home...where my guitar is playing, Home...where my Hewie's cooking, Home...where my Sam lies waiting...Silently for me."

BUT the best (or the worst, depending on how one looks at it) is Cat Steven's "Father & Son". I won't even attempt to sing this song. I couldn't do it without balling before Sam was born, so there's absolutely no way I could pull it off now. I can't even type the words without tearing up, so you'll have to google the song for yourself, but grab a kleenex first.

Sam's 1st visit to the ER

11:01 p.m. Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Elise and I woke to Sam crying.

Anyone who knows Sam, knows that this, in and of itself, is uncommon. When he learned to roll, he might find himself on his stomach, unable to turn back over. Now that he, Big Toe, Little Toe and Red Toe (his Ugly Doll posse) often throw soirees late into the night, the sound of Sam thrashing around in his crib is commonplace and rarely cause for alarm. He only calls out when his pacifier mysteriously goes missing (occasionally down the front of his sleep skirt which makes it difficult for a bleary-eyed parent to find in the dark). A begrudging mom or dad pulls themselves from the warm confines of bed to find Sam waiting, staring up at them like a carp gasping for air. Even these intrusions have become fewer and further between.

This was CRYING.

That lasted--in fits and bursts--all night. Elise and I contemplated teething, hunger, swimmer's ear, a bad dream, gas. Only Elise could mollify Sam's distress. When we changed his diaper on the floor of his room (sometimes easier than a changing table when your child thrashes like a bear caught in a trap), he just laid there. We looked at each other. We knew he didn't feel well. We put him in his crib, and he just looked up at us as we stroked the back of his hand, hoping to comfort him.

As dawn broke, his right eye swelled. We called the on-call pediatrician. She didn't like the sound of any swelling of then eye, so she sent us hurriedly packing for the children's ER on 45th Street. 45th Street...in West Palm Beach...on a Sunday morning...greeeeaaat. Maybe we could score a hit of crack on the way to the hospital.

I needn't go into details as to the nature of the wildlife inhabiting the ER (even the children's ER) at St. Mary's. Little 18 month Destiny Desiree was up all night throwing up and yet she breakfasted on Dunkin Donuts hashbrowns. To no one's surprise, one of the father's in attendance sported a tattoo of two teardrops below his eye which Elise later informed me meant that he was twice a murderer. Lovely. Also to no one's surprise, the minute we arrived in the ER, Sam brightened, smiled, giggled and wanted to make friends with all the other babies. "You're supposed to be sick," I had to keep reminding him, but no. Evidently, he was feeling much, much better, though his eye wasn't any less irritated.

A few hours later, we were guided to an examining room for...ta da...more waiting. After 2 long hours, we were eventually greeted by Dr. Pierre, a Haitian pediatrician that reeked of Drakkar Noir and reminded both Elise and I of a witch doctor. At that point, I wouldn't have been surprised if he had pulled out a tiny voodoo doll of Sam. Fortunately, Dr. Pierre ruled out pink eye. Sam had scratched his eye in the middle of the night. They put an iridescent dye in his eye then shined a black light on it to look for scratches on the cornea. For a brief instant he looked like Malcolm McDowell from Clockwork Orange. All with nary a peep.

3 hours passed before we were allowed to leave. Sam slept on the way home. We both, starving, craved Dunkin Donuts hashbrowns of our own. We both, relieved, were thankful it wasn't something more serious. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg and the first of many more visits to come. It was comforting to know that it was something visceral and tangible that hurt Sam. A scratch, even an incredibly painful one that we couldn't seen, was better than a mysterious, nebulous ailment like an earache that we can't see with our own two eyes. We don't know when it comes on or when it gets better. A scratch you can see heal. This is incredibly important to me when Sam can't tell us what is wrong.

Sam went back to sleep. Elise made sandwiches and we did the same. As I drifted off, I felt incredibly fortunate to be a part of this family, a family that tries to make even trips to the ER fun (Sam got a kick out of trying on Elise's giant Prada sunglasses on the examining table and becoming Baby Bono, "Ohh...you sooo cool. You Baby Bono.") And incredibly thankful for Elise who has a masterful sense of knowing when to be patient and when to be urgent.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Tonight we are having Mini-Thanksgiving. We do this occasionally throughout the year, it is always a small bird and a select few of the must have Thanksgiving accoutrement. Tonight we're having a Cornish game hen, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I never really thought it was strange, I mean who couldn't use a couple mini-Thanksgiving dinners to get you amped up for the big one?

That, and we have a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sam's Greatest Hits--Vol. I

I didn't know many nursery rhymes before Sam was born. I had no reason to. Even now--with a small, small baby boy gleefully willing to listen to my off-key crooning--I seem to have the power to summon only the very first few words or bars of even the most popular children's melodies.

For instance, 'This lil piggy went to the market...'. I know he went to the market, but where did the other 9 swine go? When Dad does it, they end up at TJMaxx, Starbucks, getting their peds done and the mall. Elise does such a heart-warming rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" it brings Sam back from the brink of hysterical caterwauling to a state of such soporific calm you thought she'd hit him with a tranquilizer dart. I can't even sing "Ba Ba Black Sheep" without devolving into an unintelligble mumble by the 2nd stanza.

Some may find cause to run to B&N or click on Amazon and order a book or nursery rhymes to fill this substanital gap in their child's upbringing. More often than not, we make up our own nursery rhymes, instead.

The following ditty is sung to the tune of the Eagles' "Take it Easy":

"Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Jupiter, Florida

such a fine sight to see

It's Sam Hanna in a Mini Cooper slowin down to pick up his daddy

Come on, daaaaddy, don't say maaaaybe

I gotta get you to the office before

Mr. Paaaaul Beeeeeeee

Jidouou...jidouou...jidouou (ad infinitum)

Sam is gonna saaaave me, oh oh oh"

(footnote: Jidou is Arabic for grandfather, i.e. my dad :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


For those of you craving pictures of Mr. Sam, this ought to satisfy! I had to get a few pictures before he loses his cartoon baby mouth. His 5th and 6th teeth are coming in already! The tooth fairy better start saving (ahem...Paul).

9021.....Oh... no you di'nt!

Back in the day we had 90210 parties on Wednesday nights, my brothers, their friends, myself and my high school boyfriend glued to the TV to see if this would be the week that Donna would give it up to David or keep the poor man starving. We would make bets on whether Brandon would truly become my husband or some other dark and handsome man. Together in front of the old box-shaped TV of yester-year we learned about all the issues facing our youth (which was maybe only slightly different in Cheney, WA than in Beverly Hills) drugs, sex, and excessive spending on Rodeo Drive. Popcorn was usually involved and we were usually banished to the basement because my parents couldn't stand to hear the super sweet intro music.... you remember, it still rings in my head on a daily basis. Those were the good old days.

Tonight is the season premier of the new 90210. I don't know how to feel about it all. Really. The new show, I am almost positive I won't be watching it, look at these kids. I see no David Silver, no Donna Martin, not even an Andrea Zuckerman . How can these little kids possibly sit in the old booths in the Peach Pit and be served by Nat?
Times have changed, I am a touch older I have other things to worry about now, like who will win the next season of So You Think You Can Dance and to be sure that Sam is fed. But, if I were to watch, you know, just to see how it compares, I think I might like her:

she seems pretty hip but also probably a little bitchy. And I may also have an "if only I was 10 years younger" crush on him:

If it is good, just saying........90210 parties at our house everyone is invited! Popcorn and wine for all!