Don’t call us, we’ll call you

December 29, 2011

Love/hate sick babies

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — llcall @ 9:34 am

It’s probably good that Addison isn’t sick very often.  All Neal and I would do is fight over who gets to hold her calm, quiet sweetness.

We got free passes to SeaWorld for Friday, so I really hope she’s better by then.  But is it wrong that I hope she miraculously recovers Thursday night and not a minute sooner?


December 24, 2011

She kinda missed us while we were gone, I guess . . . maybe

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 6:12 pm

Do you love daddy?


Do you love mommy?


Who do you love more — Daddy or Mommy?

Damps.  [Gramps.]

December 20, 2011

Three days, two nights

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 4:05 pm

Despite my ambivalence about moving to Southern California, there is at least one aspect (well, there’s more than one, but this is the biggie today) I was really looking forward to: getaways.  And finally, the time is here.  In a couple of hours, Neal and I will be off, leaving the babe with my parents for a few decadent days.  The last time Neal and I both spent a night away from Addison was July 2010 — and now we get two whole nights!  Amazing!  As we debated what to pack last night — games, movies, books — the possibilities seemed so . . . so endless.  I mean, we could actually watch a whole movie in one sitting!  We could watch two!  We could watch a whole trilogy!  Or complete a game of Risk or a thousand-piece puzzle!  Crazy, right?  The only thing we’ve decided for sure is that our getaway will include visits here and here and a matinee of this.

Let the games begin!

December 19, 2011

2011: Our year in three words . . .

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 5:02 pm

Lindsay: Grandpa. Thesis. Roller-coasty.

Maybe I should have put roller-coasty first? 2011 brought some sad times and personal challenges for me. My wonderful Grandpa Horton passed away in late June; I miss him tremendously, but feel incredibly lucky to have spent so much time with him during his final months. His last big outing was my thesis defense the week before, which meant a lot to me because, truly, completion of my thesis would not have been possible without his and my Grandma’s support. Despite the ups and downs of the year, I’m relieved that I can look back and say that I finished writing “Exploring Financial Knowledge, Behaviors, and Economic Socialization in an Incarcerated Population: A Mixed Methods Analysis” (is it wrong that I totally blanked on my thesis title and had to look it up?!), got that Master’s wrapped up, and have been able to turn my attention to more pressing matters like bubbles and crayons.

Neal: Stressful. Busy. Transitions.

You can’t fully appreciate Neal’s words unless you know that they are just about his least favorite things in the world. For someone who loves rigid schedules and unchanging routine, 2011 wasn’t the best year. But he finally graduated from college (a double major in English and film) and we completed our move to Southern California (we live 15 minutes from Disneyland, so come see us and Mickey, in that order), so there’s hope that 2012 will be calmer and more predictable (that’s Neal’s hope anyway, Addison and I like a little spontaneity and chaos).

Addison: Dubbies. Buzz. ME!

For Addison, the year seemed a bit simpler, mostly because her beloved bunny (alias Duba/Dubbies) was ever-present. She also developed a deep and abiding love for Buzz Lightyear, which was intensified by a recent visit to Disneyworld where she got to see Buzz in real life (through a window – but she’ll never remember I refused to wait in a 45-minute line, right?). And ME!, well, what can we say about that? She still can’t stand the thought of not interacting with us or the world for a second and so whenever we say anything we are going to do (use the bathroom, take out the garbage, etc.), we hear an emphatic “ME!” and see her running off in the appropriate direction so she doesn’t miss out on the “fun.” Having her is definitely the most exhausting fun we’ve ever had!

We hope you have some good words to describe your 2011, and even better ones next year!

Thanks to the lovely Cat Palmer for the photograph!

December 13, 2011

We take our coloring pretty seriously around here . . .

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , , — llcall @ 7:10 pm

Neal and I shift responsibility for Addison at 1:00; he has the mornings and I have the afternoon/evenings.  On this particular day when 1:00 came, I found that Addison had wandered off while Neal was still engrossed in their coloring activity.  And indeed, Neal continued to color on his own for a full 20 minutes.  Pretty dang good, right?  (My lackluster photography skills don’t quite do it justice.)  Too bad you can’t make a living off crayon art — or can you?


Addison is pretty preoccupied with the concept of work.  When my Aunt Holly was living with us, she taught Addison the sign for work and would explain that Grammy, Gramps, etc. were at work.  When we visited my brother’s house, he was at work quite a bit and now one of her common phrases is “Tio working.”  Indeed, she assumes that anyone who is not with her must be working (why else would they voluntarily choose to be away from her?!).

A couple of days ago, we were going through the drill:

Where’s Tio?


Where’s Grammy?


Where’s Gramps?


What’s Daddy doing?


But this time, I added a few new questions:

What’s Addison doing?


What does Addison do for work?

Pictures.  (Sounds more like birt-tur, so it took me awhile to decode.)

What cracked me up is that I have kinda been running a little baby, coloring sweatshop out of our living room — making thank you cards for the people we stayed with on our vacations, her babysitters at Neal’s gym, etc.  I guess I didn’t realize just how onerous it had become; now it’s like she’s punching a clock when I tell her we’re going to make cards.


During dinner on Sunday, Addison turned to Neal and gently put his face in her hands.  It had all the makings of an adorable moment.  And then she said, “Face.  [thoughtful pause]  Yucky.”

Perhaps there was some schmutz on his face, but still, there seemed to be some kind of cosmic significance.  I’m told that as a child he once looked at himself in the mirror, and then asked his mom, “Do I have a yucky face?”

December 10, 2011

Pictures for the Weekend: She’s an angel . . .

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 6:36 pm

(Except sometimes.)

December 7, 2011

The Occupy movement, part II

You didn’t really think I was just, like, never going to offer any opinions about the Occupy movement, did you?  No, I didn’t either.

Of course, there’s too much to say to cover it all, but probably a good place to start is to tell you something that my brother-in-law Tristan said to me during our conversation about the movement.  I was telling him about how, for the most part, I was annoyed reading the now-famous Tumblr page We Are the 99 Percent.  Annoyed because many of the frustrated writers seemed painfully unaware of the privilege inherent in their problems.  [The student loan debt issue that my friend Sabrina mentioned in her comment on my first post is as good an example of this as anything for me.  To have had  the opportunity to accumulate student loan debt is something that many people I have worked with will never experience.  I mean, any type of meaningful education has completely eluded many of them through little fault of their own.  Do I think there are predatory lending practices in the student loan industry?  Yes, definitely.  But I’m really not convinced that the majority of students who have huge debt were victims of such practices.  I feel this way particularly in regards to graduate student debt.]  Anyway, back to my conversation with Tristan.  I think our exchange went something like this:

Me: I’ve heard a sob story or two in my work — and I work with impoverished people in the United States where our poor have a better life than many in other countries — and so many of these “99%” are not even in the same ballpark as a sob story.  I would be more sympathetic if I felt that more of them were addressing the real inequalities I have seen, but my incarcerated men can’t post things on Tumblr.

Tristan: Well, your frustration is because you’re more of a radical than the majority of Occupy protesters.

I really had to chuckle because it’s been a long time since someone called me a radical (this was not that uncommon in my late teens/early twenties, but I have mellowed emotionally and become more of a centrist politically in the intervening years).  But you know, Tristan’s right to an extent.  I don’t think acknowledging structural inequality or institutional racism in our society is particularly radical, but I own that some aspects of my beliefs and the way I am trying to live my life might be considered radical, even by other radicals (since Tristan is definitely one of those).

I’ve been staring at that last sentence for awhile, trying to figure out where to go from there.  To explain those “radical” beliefs further would require answering questions like, How do we want to live now and in the future, and where?  How will we make a living?  And the one we get asked a lot, what are we even doing in California, living with my parents?  It’s not that I don’t want to address those questions more fully, but the topic feels too expansive and work-in-progressy for the present moment (of course, articulating more about our goals and plans would no doubt help me make progress, but it also feels too time-consuming for these naptime musings).  I guess as simple a way as any to give a sense of where I stand is to briefly dissect one of Samantha Bee’s interviews in the Daily Show clip I posted last time.  She’s talking to a young man and asks whether he would share his iPad 2 (which he’s holding) with some of the “hobos” in “downtown” Zuccotti Park.  He’s says no, but that he does support a society where everyone has access to technology.  The exchange continues:

Samantha: So it’s not so much about sharing, but about everyone having an iPad 2?

Young Man: Or at least everybody having access to the material wealth of life.

I don’t doubt this young man has good intentions, but even beyond some sense of hypocrisy, I personally feel that he may be aiming for the wrong things.  And this is a sense that I get from many of the Tumblr posts as well.  People believed/thought/were told that hard work and education would get them a nice home, a good retirement, college-educated kids, steadily-increasing wealth, new technology, etc.  and now many are mad because it hasn’t panned out.  But to me, we ought to be in the business of scaling down our own personal expectations, especially if we are concerned about inequality.  I just don’t believe that we will live in a world where everybody has access to all the good things available, and so I’m personally trying to want a more modest life.  Even though I think iPads are cool, I know they’re not a part of my current or future life, so I don’t let myself think about wanting one (the iPad and most technology is easy for me, accepting that the kind of travel I would love to do is probably not in the cards for us, that’s definitely more difficult).  I’m not invested in telling individual people what they should or should not have since every life experience is different and one person’s need is another person’s luxury, but I just don’t believe that the kind of consumption and scaling-up that was happening just a few years ago is sustainable — especially if we care about access for everyone and not just ourselves.

Having said that, I do agree with some of the aims of the OWS movement.  The idea of getting money out of politics seems to me too broad an objective (as my friend Emily got at in her comment on my last post), and on its face, just impossible.  But I support, for example, closing the loophole that allows congresspeople to participate in “insider trading” that would be illegal if they were not elected officials, as well as a number of other particular proposals that would make our elections more about public service and less about wealth accumulation.  As for the question of corporate personhood, I remain conflicted.  I sympathize with the frustration about corporate money in politics, but I also think that many people fail to acknowledge some of the benefits and innovation that exist because of the laws governing corporations.  I also wonder, is it really a consistent position to say, I want to limit corporations in this way, but I will still contribute to their wealth by buying and using their products?  I don’t know, those are still issues I’m grappling with.

When it comes right down to it, occupying and protesting are not my preferred methods of political involvement, so in that way, it’s just not a movement that really resonates with me.  And I definitely sympathize with the point that the author of that Washington Post op-ed about low black participation in the movement was making when she said:

Why should they [black Americans] ally with whites who are just now experiencing the hardships that blacks have known for generations? Perhaps white Americans are now paying the psychic price for not answering the basic questions that blacks have long raised about income inequality.

Sadly, the stories of so many of the black men and women I’ve worked with, known, and loved, are much, much sadder than those of so many of the Occupiers and I worry about obscuring some of those issues that I find more troubling.

Still, I think most of the protesters are good people who are trying to do something meaningful.  I was undeniably moved by Rossana’s simple statement: “Do I think this is going to change things, in the government?  No, probably not.  But it’s changing me, it’s changing us.”  I respect her recognition that, at the end of the day, life has to be mostly about changing ourselves because there is so much out of our control.

This morning’s conversation:

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 6:55 pm

Me:  So, are you agnostic?  Wikipedia says: “Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable.”

Neal:  No.  I don’t think the existence of God is unknowable.

Me:  You’re not an agnostic anymore.  High-five on that one!

As you can see, some Wednesday morning conversations are more fruitful than others.

December 2, 2011

Opinions needed . . .

Not on Occupy Wall Street. (Though I have to say, I was sure I had more opinionated friends ready to dish on that topic . . . occupation fatigue?)

It’s something like a thought experiment, though most of you will know that it’s not purely hypothetical if you’ve been following along on here.  So here’s the question:

If you had to choose one or the other, which would you choose:

Letting your child watch 3-4 hours of TV/movies every day while you take care of them


Having someone else take care of your child all day, in a place where they don’t watch TV but do more interactive play with the caregiver and/or other children

(These are the only options today . . . because I said so.)

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