Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The name is a slam dunk except for the dreadlock factor. We do not want to in any way communicate to our son that it would be appropriate for him to grow dreadlocks. We might be sending mixed messages by naming him Bob Marley.
You can carry the message of Bob's perfect love in your heart, you can wear it on your t-shirt, but you can't wear it as your hairstyle. Not if your last name is Lewandowski. Dreadlocks are an entirely unacceptable hairstyle for people of eastern European descent. Lotta options out there for our son. Dreadlocks not one of them.
We will not be able to name our son Israel Vibration Lewandowski for the same reason.
Karine informed me that our son may not even like reggae. Yeah, right.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I thought I'd take a few minutes to answer some of the questions we're asked most often about the pregnancy/birth of our firstborn.
Q: Are you in labor yet?
A: Nope. Not yet.
Q: Do you have any signs of labor yet?
A: My doctor hasn't "checked" me yet, so I'm not sure about the whole dialation/effacement thing yet. I do know that I've been experiencing Braxton Hicks (or as Tom likes to call them, Meyers-Briggs) contractions quite a bit lately. These painless contractions are getting my body all ready for labor. I've been feeling a bit more uncomfortable in the last 2 days, so I'll take that as a positive sign. I've also been napping quite a bit during the daytime after bouts of baking and organizing.
Q: When is Baby Lew actually due?
A: That depends on who you ask. Throughout the course of the pregnancy, we've been given several "official" due dates. These dates include Jan. 23, Jan. 25, Sometime in the last week of Jan., Feb. 2, Feb 5, and Feb. 15. This can be especially confusing for people who thought there was a specific date on which this baby is/was supposed to arrive. Based on our doctor's best guess, use of his little wheel/calculator, ultrasounds, and our own calculations, we expect him sometime in the next week.
We chose Feb. 5 to be our "official" date because it's sort of in the middle of all those dates, and yet is far enough out that we won't feel like he's really late if it's still a week after that. Please pray that this child does not adopt the Honduran laid back approach to time until after he is born.
Q: Does your doctor know what he's doing?
A: I hope so. :) Actually, he's a very experienced baby deliverer- over 3,000 here in La Ceiba! He's pretty laid back about me needing to come in often, but we're scheduled to visit again on Feb. 2. Hopefully we'll have some news then.
Q: How big is this baby?
A: According to Babycenter.com, he's about the size of a small watermelon. I would argue for a medium watermelon.
Q: How are you going to get to the hospital?
A: On Tom's bike. He's installed a big basket on the front. It's only a quick 3 mile ride to the hospital. No- really, we'll probably take a taxi if it's between 5am-1am, as there are plenty all around town. If it's the middle of the night, we've got 3 different good friends that are happy to come and get us!
Q: Will you post news on your blog right away?
A: Our intention is to be able to share the good news as soon as we can. We'll be taking our laptop and our cell-phone modem to the hospital. We should be able to post pics and news as soon as we've got some. (Who am I kidding- Tom will be posting pics and news. I will not be blogging at that point)
Q: Do you know about all the "tricks" to make yourself go into labor?
A: As an avid internet junkie these days, I am well aware of all the "tricks" involved. I'm not too interested in eating/drinking any weird concoctions, but I've been taking walks a few times a day. I've been following the advice of my favorite pregnant-lady bulletin board. The ladies on this discussion board are full of ideas about the best ways to make a 39 week pregnant lady go into labor. I'd like to be confident that this little guy will come quickly as soon as he's ready.
Q: Are you scared about how much it's going to hurt?
A: Thanks to Discovery Health, I've seen a number of births and c-sections on tv lately. I think it's a pretty decent dose of reality. I'm bracing myself for whatever comes, but I don't really want to hear anyone else's story about how much it hurt until after the baby is here. Thanks!
Q: Do you actually have a real name picked out?
A: Tom and I are about 93% sure of a name. We'll tell you all once we see the little guy and know for sure. I hope that everyone likes it as much as we do. If you don't like it, please just pretend you do for my sanity's sake. I've heard that new mothers can be pretty emotional.
So that's what I've got. These are the most frequently asked questions, but please comment if you have other questions. I'd be happy to answer! Also, proceeds of bonsai tree sales until the due date will go to support hospital bills. Buy a bonsai today!
We entertained each other as we walked with a series of escalating goofs until we were laughing like idiots. I can’t say what it was that we laughed at, except everything. The sunshine sky was funny. The crumbling walls around us were funny. The ground beneath our feet, hilarious.
We wished we had someone to share it with. Just someone to follow us around, walk where we walked, laugh at all of our jokes about nothing, and tell us we were the funniest people alive. We were prepared to pay for this type of service.
And then we realized that we could have all that for free. We just had to have children together. And we laughed at that one for a while too.
On taking confession:
When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the “I” whose predicate can be “love” or “fear” or “want,” and whose object can be “someone” or “nothing” and it won’t really matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around “I” like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else. But quick, and avid, and resourceful. To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned.
To live in perpetual wonder at the miracle of existence. That's the real trick, isn't it?
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Stop motion animation with humans. Karine guesses 40,000 pictures. I think it's less. More like 4,000.
We'll have to wait until next Christmas to see if we start punishing each other with undesirable books. This year we each picked something we thought the other would actually enjoy. Karine did a better job picking a book for me than I did for her. She chose Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson.
This book is one of President Barack Obama's favorites. It's about fathers and sons, a topic close to his heart. Mine too. The novel takes the form of a collection of letters written from father to son in 1956. It's all in there: God, country, work, family, duty, history. The thing that blows me away though is the voice of the narrator, the father writing to his son. It reads like one long, beautiful prayer.
The father, a pastor, is dying. He's writing these letters to his seven year old son, so the boy can come to know him when he gets older. The pastor tells his son about the sermons sitting in boxes up in the attic of their house, forty-five years worth of carefully crafted pastoral guidance, sixy-seven thousand pages of handwritten sermons. Those sermons are his life's work. With the weight of all those words above his head, the pastor chooses very carefully what words he'll leave his son:
I don't write the way I speak. I'm afraid you would think I didn't know any better. I don't write the way I do for the pulpit, either, insofar as I can help it. That would be ridiculous, in the circumstances. I do try to write the way I think. But of course that all changes as soon as I put it into words. And the more it does seem to be my thinking, the more pulpitish is sounds, which I guess is inevitable. I will resist that inflection, nevertheless.President Obama is absolutely right about this book. It's a treasure.
If you shop Amazon.com regularly, you can use the link on this blog to get there. We get a small commission for every item purchased. Here are some of the items that can be purchased at Amazon.com: books, movies, gloves, fanny packs, lunch boxes, computers, plasma TVs, underpants. All that stuff.
Whenever I write about music, and I love to write about music, I will put a link to the iTunes page for that particular artist, album, or song. You can use iTunes to hear a snippet of the song. If you end up buying the song, we get a few cents.
Bonsai Trees. This one is going to be fun. The link on the upper left connects you with Bonsai Boy, the largest online retailer of bonsai trees. I have never owned a bonsai tree. But I like the idea of owning one. Karine tells me that if I make enough in commissions from selling other people bonsai trees, I can purchase one for our home. We are going to make commercials.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I've been thinking about this sort of thing because our son is going to be born any day now. He'll be a citizen of Honduras. Karine and I are technically resident aliens. He’ll also be a citizen of the United States. This, I guess, makes him a Honduran-American or an American-Honduran. But those terms don’t really make sense outside of the United States. Here, all Hondurans are American, because Honduras is part of America.
Or is Honduran-American a classification of race rather than nationality? Is he in fact a Polish-Irish-French-English-Swedish-Norwegian Honduran-American? It’s enough to make your head spin. Well, to his parents I guess he will just be Bonsai Tree. Or Thelonious. Or Trike Obama.
Monday, January 26, 2009
In my paranoid twenties I thought the idea of of drinking animal milk products was a giant conspiracy foisted on complacent consumers by the sinister dairy industry. More recently milk has seemed like a rather strange and unnatural source of nutrition. But that was before I discovered horchata.
Horchata gives people who don't drink milk a reason to start. It is very popular here in Honduras. I drink bottled horchata at school, home, the movies, resurants, and at the gas station. Sometimes I even drink it while I am riding my bicycle!
It tastes like almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's just about the best flavor that's ever hit your lips. I am a very satisfied customer. Every single time.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
We're pretty sure the circus is in town. We love the circus.
Karine tried to follow the tiny clown car to find out where the circus was. But she couldn't waddle fast enough. There is a circus somewhere in La Ceiba. I just need to find it.
Friday, January 23, 2009
This business of naming our child is starting to get a little intense.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This is the first record that John did after the Beatles broke up. He was a little pissed. There is a lot of raw emotion in these songs. That's an understatement. This is one of the best sounding albums I have ever heard in my life.
This album was written after Beck got dumped by some gorgeous woman. Beck is a genius so he worked through his feelings by creating an absolute masterpiece.
This one is a little bit over the top in its emotional rawness. But sometimes a little over the top is exactly what you need. Connor Oberst grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. That alone makes him awesome. He is also an exceptionally gifted lyricist and tunesmith. The voice of his generation, some say. That makes him awesomer.
Whatever problem you may have, Stevie understands. He understands better than you do. He knows where you've been and he knows where you are going. And he knows that everything is going to be okay.
After some pleading I convinced Karine that we should see Twilight at the mall. She read all the books. I read the first one. The spanish translation of the title is Crepúsculo. I thought the movie was going to be Craptaculo, but it was really quite good. We liked the haircuts that all the vampires had and we liked their outfits. We especially liked the emo soundtrack.
The best part of the movie for us was the audience participation. The romanic climax of the movie is where Bella and Edward kiss for the first time. Their lips slowly move toward each other. Edward warns Bella not to move. It was pretty exciting for us. We didn't know if Edward, who is a vampire, was going to freak out and bite Bella's face off, or what. As their lips come together, some guy in the back of the theater cries out. His timing is perfect. "GOOOAL!!!!!" The whole audience burst into laughter.
Say what you want about theater etiquette. I know shouting at the screen is generally frowned upon in the states. But Karine and I had a richer, more memorable experince because of the guy in the back of the theater. Thank you unknown Honduran jokester!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I’ll tell him first how much I used to bother his aunt when she was a teenager. I used to sneak into her room after she left for school in the morning and listen to her Def Leopard and Run D.M.C. tapes. While I was standing in her room singing along I looked at all the pictures on the walls. These were pictures of really cool things. Because they were in Anne’s room. I risked her wrath to go through her stuff in the morning because anything she had was something worth knowing about.
I tell my son how I shaped my identity based on what I thought Anne would think was cool. She wore a jean jacket with little circular buttons on the lapel, I would do the same. I stole my sisters shoes and wore them to school. On more than one occasion. She was friends with boys who skateboarded. I would get a skateboard. I would get a flop haircut. Or at least comb what hair I had over my eyes in an approximation of a flop. I would look just like them. Because Anne thought they were cool. And the definition of cool was whatever Anne thought was cool.
Anne went off to school and I was left to figure out what was cool on my own for a few years. That didn’t work out very well for me, so I decided to follow Anne to college. She went to St. Ben’s and married a Johnnie named Jon. Anne told me that Jon lived on the fourth floor of St. Thomas Hall his freshman year at school. This she said, was the cool floor. And so it was. I met my best friend in the dorm room next door. He introduced me to my wife at the end of our freshman year.
I’ll tell my son these stories and hundreds more. This is just a small sample of Anne’s superpowers. I’ll tell him how Anne gave me three-hundred dollars one Christmas to buy presents for the rest of the family, so they wouldn’t think I was a deadbeat. This is not a loan, this is the kind of thing our dad would do, she told me.
I’ll tell him how much his aunt Anne would have liked to meet him in person. I know that she did, because she told me so. I told her that she was going to see him, that she was going to see everything. Because we know, in my family, that when someone leaves, they are never really gone. You just have to know where to look for them. That’s the trick.
So we’ll tell our little guy that if he wants to see aunt Anne’s smile, he can watch his uncle Jon play with his cousin Christopher. He’ll find it there. On two faces at once. If he wants to hear Anne’s laughter, he can tell a joke to his aunt Karen. He’ll hear Anne’s laugh. If he wants to understand Anne’s determination, he can go fishing with his Uncle Doug and his cousins Sam and Natalie. They’ll come home with monsters or a minnows, but they won’t give up. If he wants to hear Anne’s voice, he can listen to one of grandma’s stories.
He’ll find his aunt Anne in all of those places. But what I really want him to do is to look for his aunt in me. I want him to see me working as hard as she did to let her children know how much she loved them. I want him to see me doing all the things that Anne did to make those around her feel valued and important. I want him to see her in me everyday.
And I want him to ask me to tell stories about my big sister, Anne. I love telling stories about her. I stopped stealing her shoes and wearing them many years ago. But she is still my hero. He’ll see the light of her eyes shining through mine as I remember her. And he’ll be able to find her in that sparkle.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
While he was re-potting, a kid around 10 years old came down the street selling cotton candy. People often walk down our street selling stuff: bananas, window screens, brooms, hammocks, fish, ice cream, and occasionally cotton candy. The boy saw Tom working out front, and this was the conversation (translated from Spanish) that I overheard from inside the house:
Cotton Candy Kid: Hey- buy some cotton candy from me.
Tom: No, Thanks.
CC Kid: Come on! Buy some. 10 Lempira (roughly 50 cents).
Tom: No, Thanks.
CC Kid: Why?
Tom: It's a little early in the morning for cotton candy.
CC Kid: You don't have to eat it now. You can save it for later.
Tom: (pauses, considering the kid's logic) Okay.
(Hands over 10 Lempira and takes his pink cotton candy).
Here's a picture of Tom, his new banana tree, and our faithful dog, Ruby.
Friday, January 16, 2009
We just wanted you all to know that we're doing alright here, and we've spent the past 2 days remembering Anne together. We've found comfort in being together, reflection, and in some good old-fashioned comfort food.