Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cooper at Grams, pt. 1

Last weekend we made a trip to see Cooper's Grams and Aunt Lynn in Chapel Hill.

First, a stop to play at a rest stop:

The first thing Cooper noticed was all the super cool toys there from his cousins, including Evie's old doll stroller, which is perfect for our mini Cooper's height. And no, this doesn't bother me at all. Makes him happy:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cooper loves his Mommy!

We took this next one on Mother's Day after lunch, but Cooper was a little mad that we were about to put him in the car:

We took this in one of the mall kiosks. Again, Cooper? Not happy to be confined in that booth:

But bath time? Plenty of freedom to play and splash, even if Daddy's a "buckethead!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cooper looks puzzled

Looks like Mommy and Daddy left the 1000-piece puzzle where Cooper could get it, and now it's a mad jumble:

While Daddy cooks, Cooper gets into the cabinet that we left open for him. Lots of Tupperware, cutting boards and other unbreakables!

Now some blurry cellphone pictures ... First, Nana and Cooper watch the trees blow in the wind outside:

Cooper having a blast trying out dryers and washing machines at Sears:

Cooper and his Granddad play in the helicopter at the mall, and play their own version of the Osama bin Laden raid:

Notes from a Thursday


"Proof Heart Disease is an Ancient Problem: Autopsy Finds 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Princess Had Clogged Arteries"
If you live that long, does it matter what kills you?

"Dominique Strauss-Kahn Seems on His Way Out as IMF Chairman: Unclear How or When"
I'm going to say the "how" is "Against his will," something he's obviously familiar with.

"Scientists spot beauties in Bali"
It's easy to be a peeping tom when you have telescopes that see billions of miles into space."

"Pepsi: The Best Drink to Force on Restrained Mental Patients"
Fanta: The Best Drink To Force Terrorists To Confess.

"Scientists discover the two pathways to women's pleasure"
1. Hot baths. 2. Foot rubs.

"Was the 15th President Gay?"
As long as we're just widly speculating, was the 10th president a fan of musicals? Did the 25th president spill food on his shirt a lot?

* HOOSIER DADDY?: Gail Collins, New York Times columnist, gets her condescension on about Indiana:
"After all, a lot of Americans go for years on end without ever setting foot in Indiana even though it is a fine state, full of lovely people and some first-class universities, not to mention the RV Hall of Fame, the world’s largest ball of paint and the Dan Quayle museum."

Bill Quick retorts: "A lot of Hoosiers go for years on end without ever visitng New York City. Or reading the New York Times, either."

* WAR BETWEEN THE STATES: More Civil War-Era Memories from The Commercial Appeal:

May 2, 1861

Randolph Defenses -- We saw one of "the boys" from Randolph, yesterday. He was on furlough, and seemed as joyous as a schoolboy on a holiday. He says they now have four hundred troops at Randolph, that they have eight hours severe drill each day, that they stop all boats passing, and ascertain that they are "all right" . . .

May 8, 1861

The lady of one of our business citizens arrived here from Cincinnati in great distress yesterday; her son, who had been with her there had joined the volunteers at that place. On reaching Memphis, she found that her other son was on military duty in the Southern army.

May 8, 1861

By Telegraph! The War News! Glorious News from Nashville -- Tennessee Seceded! Five Millions of Dollars Appropriated for Defense -- 55,000 Volunteers Called for!

The Agony Over -- Our dispatches this morning from Nashville bring us the cheering intelligence that the agony is at last over -- the fiery ordeal passed -- and Tennessee . . . stands forth redeemed from the degradation of Federal vassalage. . . . All that remains to be done now is the mere formality of giving one hundred thousand majority in ratification of the measure on the 8th of June next.

We are confident that not one vote will be given against it in this city of Memphis, and West Tennessee, too, may be counted practically as a unit.

May 9, 1861

Secession -- A salute was fired on the bluff yesterday evening in honor of the secession of the State of Tennessee, with an extra gun for North Carolina. Ladies are busy adding two new stars to the Confederate flag, making 10 -- they take care to leave room for more.

May 10, 1861

(This New York Express story ran on this day in the Memphis Daily Appeal.)

The cotton question -- the great question of this war -- must be looked at by our people dispassionately, as it will be regarded by the British people as one solely of interest. Manchester must have cotton, and we must let her have it; and the cotton States, in order to live, will have to sell cotton. Cotton is king, as yet -- but subject, as well as king -- like all kings -- to popular necessities, even in the cotton States, because cotton is the life and soul of Negro slavery.

May 11, 1861

The Confederate States -- We saw a letter last night that had come by mail from Ireland, the direction of which contained the first recognition, probably, that has been received from Europe of the existence of the Confederate States. It was directed: "Mr. Phillip Magevney, Memphis, Tennessee, C.S."

May 15, 1861

An application has been made by many citizens of Lincoln County, in this State, to change the name to something more respectable. Good taste that!

May 19, 1861

Leonidas Ketchum and G.D. Jones are attempting to organize a battalion of 500 men every one of whom will be at least six feet tall to defend the homes and firesides of the Southland against the ruthless invasion of tyranny. The force is to be known as the Tennessee "Six Foot Battalion."

May 21, 1861

... Military Rank and Pay ... Per month pay - Major General $300; Colonel of Artillery $210; Major of Infantry $150; Captain of Cavalry $130; Surgeon $152; Corporals $20; Sergeants $17; Privates $12; mounted non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates, 40 cents per day for use and risk of horses.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Miserables Here

Me, Val and Cooper returned home Sunday afternoon, getting home about 4 after a fun weekend in middle Tennessee!

Cooper had a BLAST with his Grams and Aunt Lynn in Chapel Hill. He just couldn't believe all the cool toys they have at their house! (So thanks to Stacy, Amy and Karla for all the older kids and their stuff!) He stayed up until 8:30 (two hours past his bedtime) both nights, cruising around the house with Evie's old doll stoller, although being a boy, of course he put stuff in the seat like his soccer ball, a boat and lots of cars. We'd lay out the twin mattress on the floor for me to sleep on in the living room, and Cooper bounced and bounced, and he'd crawl up on the coffee table and roll around the Hot Wheels truck.

Unfortunately he couldn't play outside, though. I'm not saying that cicadas and mosquitos are bad in Chapel Hill, but I'm pretty sure I heard a voice from the heavens warning about plagues of frogs and rivers of blood next.

The big reason we were in town was Saturday, Val and I went to see Les Mis in Nashville for her Valentine's Day gift. We left early to get lunch while downtown. We ate at an Italian place that looked more like a pizza parlor, but Val enjoyed lasagna and I had a big calzone. Afterward we had plenty of time, so we were looking for an ice cream parlor. Near the theater there's a fancy hotel called The Hermitage, and the bellman led us downstairs to the bar area next to a fancy steak restaurant (the Capitol Grille - you know it's fancy because they put an "e" after "grill"). It looks like one of those old cigar bars, with lots of wood, and leather chairs and couches. We sat on a couch and enjoyed dessert; Val had ice cream, I had ice cream with sweet ginger cheesecake and a glass of lemonade.

The show was at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center near the state capitol. It's more of a modern facility, so it wasn't as cool as seeing it in the old palaces like the Orpheum or Fox Theater in Atlanta, but that's just being picky.

This is the 25th anniversary tour of Les Mis, and the producers retooled it a bit. There are some obvious differences, such as the set doesn't sit on the rotating stage anymore, in the opening instead of a chain gang Jean Valjean is on a ship and the prisoners are rowing, etc., and a lot of songs have had their arrangement tweaked. For the most part I liked the changes, especially a lot of the songs. Instead of being fluid songs, they're broken up more to punctuate the action happening, and that helped me to catch parts of the story that I had either dismissed or misunderstood in earlier viewings. There was a lot of "oomph," if you know what I mean.

Cooper did very well on the drive up, but the drive back was a little less good, especially since he only napped for a half-hour during the drive, so he was a bit mad at us for the last 30-40 minutes. But all in all, with the help of the portable DVD player Mom bought for us, Cooper spent some down time watching lots of "Chuggington," which helped an awful lot.

Now we're looking forward to my family coming to visit this weekend!

On the way to Chapel Hill, we stopped at a rest area and Cooper was able to stretch his legs ...

This is the men's restroom next to the Capitol Grille bar in The Hermitage Hotel. I have to take a picture when the restroom has a plaque by the door talking about how the restroom's 1930s art deco style has inspired lawmakers to wheel and deal, and music vidoes and movies have been filmed inside. The plaque even says that you may invite your women-folk to take a peek inside, which Val did.

In front of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in downtown Nashville. A nice day, a nice setting, a great day for me and Val to spend quality time together!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cooper and his cousins, pt. 2

More pictures from Sunday's lunch with Val's cousin Will and his family ...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cooper Scootin' Along

Cooper and his cousins

Val's cousin Will and his family were in town this past weekend, including lunch at Old Timer's after church ...

Cooper sure does like applesauce, but getting him to slow down long enough to eat a few bites is not easy!

If Val wasn't already pregnant, then holding seven-week-old Olivia would give her the bug!

Sara says, if Maleah wants some lemon, let's let her try it!

Cooper spent much of the meal looking out the window. Cars and trucks are obviously much more interesting.

And if he's not looking outside, then Grandaddy's going to take him into the main dining room to watch the train ride around. Cooper has lots of wants, and at 18 months we're not ready to say no yet!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jeff's Spring TV Update

Happy Finale Season! How are our shows doing? Let's review, and potential spoiler warnings for those who have a lot on their DVRs ...
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - That little trickeration - the "psyche!" after saying "that's how I met your mother" - may doom the show with a lot of frustrated fans. I've quit shows like "Friends" before when I felt like the characters weren't growing any and things were the same ol' same ol' week after week, so don't test me! This was a complete waste of a season. Barney and Robin didn't do squat, Ted and Zoey were a terrible couple and we didn't care about her one bit, and if Marshall and Lily were the only ones who actual did something (his dad died, they finally got preggers), then let's just spin them off on their own show since we actually care about them.
NCIS - Thankfully the P2P Killer story didn't end in a cliffhanger and except for Mike Franks, no one in the main cast was killed. Next year looks to be the typical "Looking for a mole but can't tell anybody so there's a lot of mistrust and shifty eyes in the division" plot.
THE MENTALIST - This week's finale is two hours, so we may not get to see it for several days. But it's about Red John, so you can guess how it will go. Will we see the redhead "psychic" who disappeared last year? Good to see Rigsby get some closure with Agent Van Pelt.
CASTLE - Val's hoping Castle and Beckett will get together sooner than later. I'm worried about it turning into "Who's the Boss," where I don't care after two seasons. The best part of this season had to be when they visited the Hollywood set of the Nikki Heat movie, with Beckett staring at the actors portraying Ryan and Esposito as perfect doppelgangers.
HAWAII 5-0 - We're several weeks behind. I'm guessing we're still dealing with McGarrett's father's killing? I like having Wo Phat on, if only because I can make references to him as The Chairman on "Iron Chef America." Every time he's in a restaurant I can yell out, "The secret ingredient is ... LETTUCE!!!!!"
AMERICAN IDOL - Since January I've said that if Lauren doesn't win, it's a terrible season. It's still a terrible season, since she's the only one who should win. I haven't liked Haley since L.A. and can't figure out why others do, Scotty's mugging of the camera is embarrassing and I can't even remember who else was in the top ten.
DANCING WITH THE STARS - Not watching anymore. Enjoying Ralph Macchio sticking around, however, if only to make countless "Karate Kid" references.
PREGNANT IN HEELS - Rich, spoiled people having kids, with the kind of challenges every pregnant couple faces. I know Val and I are going to hold a focus group to figure out a name for our new baby, and will ask someone from British royalty to be a godparent.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Joys of Children

Reasons The Kids Will Be All Right

1. They hardly remember anything before age 2.

2. Your toddler is too small to understand what you called the #&*%! who cut you off on the parkway.

3. Your tween is big enough to understand what you said - but smart enough not to repeat it in front of Grandma.

4. Sooner or later, your child will come to see a larger purple dinosaur as unsuitable marriage material.

5. There must be at least some trace minerals in chips.

6. Losing the spelling bee or suffering through a few years of braces actually does build character.

7. At some point, he'll be interested enough in girls to bathe voluntarily.

8. Because unless she's the next Jennifer Garner, her awkward yearbook photo won't haunt her for the rest of her life.

9. Because there are a million and one ways to raise kids right, and only a few ways to screw them up royally.

10. Because they've got the world's greatest parents. That's you!

(From Parenting magazine)


"Before heading on vacation, I went to a tanning salon. I was under the lights so long the protective eye shades I wore left a big white circle around each eye. Gazing at myself in the mirror the next day, I thought, "Man, I look like a clown." I had almost convinced myself I was overreacting -- until I was in line at the grocery store. I felt a tug at my shirt and looked down to see a toddler staring up at me, "Are you giving out balloons?" he asked."

(From Reader's Digest)


"It began as an innocent game with my toddler son, Robert. I'd get in the fighter's stance and start shadowboxing. Jabbing with both fists, I'd say, "One-two, one-two," and he would imitate me over and over. I never thought about the consequences of this little exercise until my wife took our son to a birthday party. When the boy's mother was handing out noisemakers she leaned over to Robert and asked, "Would you like one too?" It took my wife a while to explain her way out of what happened next."

(From Reader's Digest)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday morning stuff

- PEOPLE WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS ALERT: Osama bin Laden is dead! Quick, find a connection to Harry Potter! And, wait, Transformers?

- JUST LIKE THE MOVIES: From Jeremy Fugleberg: "I know from movies that the Navy Seal who killed Bin Laden is a loose cannon who often clashes with his by-the-book commanding officer."

- CRAZY LIKE A FOX: Animal "experts" argue that we should start calling pets "companion animals" and stop using insulting terms against "free-living" animals. Jonah Goldberg of National Review goes to town: "I think my pro-animal views are pretty well known and I don’t want Cosmo to think I am a snake in the grass, but you’d have to be crazier than a loon, if not downright batty, to buy into this monkey business. I don’t want to rat these guys out, but they should understand that they are the canaries in the coal mine leading to the end of civilization. If we listen to this bull we’ll all go to the dogs. I mean seriously, don’t have a cow, man. I am all for treating animals humanely, but this is a horse of a different color. When I read it I felt like a deer in the headlights. This dog just won’t hunt."

- PRETTY SURE THIS WOULDN'T FLY TODAY: More Civil War-Era Memories from the Commercial Appeal:
April 25, 1861

A large crowd of ladies and gentlemen assembled in the counting room of the Appeal office, to witness the presentation of a beautiful flag of the Confederate States to the editors, at the hands of several ladies.

Miss Florence Otey spoke as follows:

...Your paper has always been a welcome visitor to our firesides, its pages perused with pleasure by our fathers, our brothers, our friends and ourselves.

We bid you God's speed, and hail you as champions of the cause of freedom.

April 26, 1861

"Germantown Ladies organize to help protect the fatherland"

Although the City Council several times has tried to legislate against the custom of persons living on flatboats at the mouth of the Wolf, it seems in vain and a "hard class" still lives on the boats within the Chelsea limits.

April 30, 1861

We made a flying trip to Fort Harris yesterday, which is situated about six miles above our city. This fortification is destined to be a formidable barrier to the invasion of the firesides of our citizens by any fleet which the Goths and Vandals of the North can send against us.

May 1, 1861

(Written by Gov. Isham Harris to the Tennessee legislature on April 25, and appearing in the Daily Appeal on this day.)

The President of the United States -- elected according to the forms of the Constitution, but upon principles openly hostile to its provisions -- having wantonly inaugurated an internecine war between the people of the slave and non-slave holding States, I (enable) you to take such action as will most likely contribute to the defence of our rights, the preservation of our liberties, the sovereignty of the State, and the safety of our people; all of which are now in imminent peril by the usurpations of the authorities at Washington...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cooper's Bubbles

My mom-in-law and Cooper playing at her house with the bubble blower. My boy loves bubbles. The last photo breaks my heart, because while he should be watching the bubbles, he's watching Daddy and Mommy drive away and leave him at Mammaw and Grandaddy's for the night. I know it's good for us to spend some time alone and Val's parents want Cooper all the time and Cooper has a good time over there, but every weekend I almost cry as we drive off and he has this look on his face like, "Where are y'all going?" I just love my boy!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cooper at Cordova park, pt 3

Some other kids were bothering him, but Grams was there to make it all better!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cooper at Cordova park, pt 2

Forgot to add more pictures from Mom's visit last weekend!