warriorsavant: (Default)
Speaking of family traditions, we did the "camp out at home" last night. That's where we push 2 mattresses together on the floor, and all sleep together. Frankly it's a bit of a pain, but makes the kids so very happy, and soon enough they won't want to even be on the same planet as us, let alone same bed(s). I'm quite sick, and doubly didn't want to (having barely slept the night before), but with better living through chemistry, I managed just fine (imovane, not cannabis, thank you).

Hedgefund went to a birthday party yesterday, someone in her class. They had it at trampoline place not too far from here (think "bounce castle" writ large, like 100 sq meters/1000 sq ft or so). I think the parents invited the whole class. (Lots of fun, don't have to clean up, but I suspect costly.) Anyhow, HF had a blast. The last time she was invited to a Bday party for a classmate, which was at their home, she insisted that I stay the entire time, and really didn't play with anybody. This time, she had initially asked me to stay at least for a little while, but in fact, once we got there, she basically told me to go away. (I indulged in some Canadiana: went to the local Tim Hortons for a bad donut and worse coffee, and did my studying.) She played with several friends, had a blast, and I'm so happy about that. She was very, very shy when she was younger, and I was afraid she'd turn out unsociable and miserable. She's blossomed. I think daycare, even part-time like we are doing, was very good for her.

Nom is upstairs giving the kids a bath right now. They'd made brownies. At least half the ingredients ended up in the brownies, the other half divided between the kitchen and Wallstreet. He was most proud of what a mess he'd made.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I know development, and really any kind of progress, is never linear, but I'm amazed to see just how irregular it can be sometimes.

Wallstreet's language ability is literally changing day-by-day right now. Leading up to his 3rd birthday, we were actually worried about him. He was still only speaking in 1-2 word "sentences," maybe 3 on a good day. Now, just 2 months later, he is using complete sentences of 8-10 words, and stringing 2-4 sentences together into a comprehensible speech. Wow.
warriorsavant: Family Tree (Family Tree)
The kids were watching me shave. (The "You don't get out much?" concept of finding something trivial to be fascinating doesn't apply to small children, to whom everything really is new and fascinating.) After I finished, Wallstreet (age 3) decided that HE wanted to try shaving. Since I was using an electric razor, I let him "shave." He was delighted.


His next shave will probably be in another 8-12 years, unless he inherits his beard characteristics from him VN side. I asked my FIL, who said he has never shaved a day in his life, and my BIL who said he almost never shaves. Since Wallstreet has very few Asian features physically, I assume he'll get his facial/body hair characteristics from my side, which is to say he'll be able to grow a beard in a week. (Not a full beard, but clearly "I'm growing a beard," not "oh, you were too lazy to shave for a day or two.") 


Speaking of body hair, and speaking of things you really don't want to discuss with your mother (not that we were discussing the latter, but this is going to be a rather rambling, and I hope amusing post), I'm not the first White person Nom has ever been with. Every time she did date someone White, her mother would ask her, "Is it true that White people have hair all over their bodies?" Also, apparently, MIL once came across an article in a French language magazine (newspaper?), and asked Nom, in Vietnamese, to explain the term "le sexe oral." If there weren't proof that her parents had sex at least twice, Nom would doubt they ever had. For that matter, I know my siblings and I are the products of virgin births. 


Back to shaving. Many men like to shave. I don't. It's an annoying thing to have to do each morning. At various times of my life, I have worn a beard. When I was younger, that was more a function of whether my military time was Active or regularly drilling Reserve versus inactive Reserve. I was in the Navy when beards were permitted and did have one, shaving it off when they changed the regulations. Now I'm used to being clean-shaven, plus in modern society, being a graybeard literally as well as metaphorically doesn't confer gravitas, it makes you look scraggly. I frequently don't shave on weekends because I don't like doing it, and don't have to look professional. I use an electric most of the time, but after not having shaved for 3 days, the stubble is rather thick and rough, so I use a manual razor. Not really sure what to call those anymore. I grew up calling them "safety razors." They were so named in contradistinction to straight razors, at a time when electric razors didn't exist. I confess to being confused when I first read Jack London, with people fighting with razors. I knew they didn't have electric razors, but had never seen a straight razor, so had no idea how you could hurt someone with a safety razor. By the time I started shaving, I understood what a straight razor was, and wanted to shave with one. My father wisely pointed out that I'd likely cut my own throat, and got me an electric razor. Actually it was an old one that had belonged to our Grandpa Jimmy. Instead of an on-off switch, there was a little wheel that you flicked to start it turning. It was my brother's first razor, and then mine. I don't know what ever happened to it; both of us "graduated" to rotary-head razors, which do seem to work a little better.


Grandpa Jimmy died before I really have much memory of him, except that he was a good man, and the accidental cause of a minor linguistic confusion in me that lasted until my 20's. He was my maternal grandmother's second husband, and was born and raised in Italy. He came to the US as a young boy, and I believe served in the US Army in WWI. Like many Italians, even when speaking English, he frequently threw in the word capisce. (Heck, most New Yorkers of whatever background use it.) In my family, there were a dozen or so Yiddish words that we used frequently: mensch, kibitz, etc. (Again, most New Yorkers of whatever background use them.) When you're 6? (8? 12?), you don't think about the linguistic derivation of how you speak. I knew capisce wasn't English, we used it in my family, ergo it must be Yiddish. Some time in my 20's I began to find it strange that so many Italians used that particular Yiddish word, and eventually the had the light bulb/facepalm moment and realized the word was Italian.


Straight razors. I have a few times been shaved by a barber with a straight razor. It is partly luxurious, and partly scary. Someone literally has a razor-sharp blade at your throat. Especially considering that the first time was on a street corner in Pakistan. Eddy, my barber, said that when he was a boy growing up in Lebanon, 50? 60? years ago, it was normal for men to stop at the barbershop en route to work to get shaved. They'd wait their turn, get shaved, then stop for coffee (Lebanese coffee, which is what we call Turkish coffee), waiting their turn to get served for that. In short, leisurely lifestyle which did not involve a high work ethic. Many countries that people in First World nations are terrible workaholics; then they can't understand why they themselves are poor.

Eddy is a great barber, with a good work ethic, and also offers you a coffee when you're there. Not Arab/Turkish style, but at least a good espresso, and occasionally something stronger. 

warriorsavant: (Autumn-upstate NY)
Wallstreet’s 3rd Birthday. Nom is misty-eyed about her baby growing up. Birthday meaningless to him, but seems important to Hedgefund (who does, however, do the equivalent of pointing out that she is older than he is and always will be). She’s asking questions like, “well, will he be bigger tomorrow?” “are his feet bigger today?” At times she is very into being the Big Sister. Sometimes very endearing, and taking care of her little brother (and vice versa), sometimes much sibling rivalry. So, in short, normal relations between the bambini. Anyhow, dinner with Nom’s family. Went to Moishe's, Wallstreet’s my favorite steakhouse. Well, he actually does like steak, although frequently pronounces it “snake.” Clearly has a future in Special Ops.

First Fall weather. The air is crisp. And last week was the last kick of Summer, with sweating running down your back. Ah, Montreal weather, massively fickle. Supposed to have power outage at office today (working on the mains). Figure could just leave the blackout curtains open. Alas, heavily overcast. So far power still on (crosses fingers). At lunch went out to get cappuccino. Of course started raining when I was the farthest away from the office. S'okay, I needed coffee more than I needed to stay dry.

Went apple picking over the weekend. Kids had fun. Hedgefund went on the pony ride. Told me I had to wait outside the ring, what with her being a big girl now.

Had our annual cutaneous lymphoma conference Friday. We didn’t really have our act together, but went okay in the end. We bring in a couple of visiting experts. The first half, they see patients with our group, our most difficult cases. For the second half, we invite outside doctors for CME lectures. Fewer general attendees for the second half than last year. For the first half, we enjoyed the interaction, but can’t say we got a lot out of it. Not that the experts were bad, but we’ve gotten good enough that unless we’re getting one of the top 10 people in the world, they just don’t have that much to tell us.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Wallstreet is in heaven. We're finally doing the driveway and backyard, and there are "diggers" and "tractors" (backhoes & mini-dozers) at work. At our house! Go to the park? No. Play in the basement? No. Sit at window or on front porch and watch construction machinery? Sit there by the hour! He's a (almost) 3 year old boy. Gender stereotypes? Maybe, but if so, it's innate, nothing we've pushed on the kids either way. When he was a little younger, he would be fascinated just to stand by the side of the road where there were trucks going past. Anything mechanical: trucks, trains, airplanes, he loves; but construction equipment most of all. He's in heaven right now. Maybe only 6th heaven; 7th heaven would be if we could bring in a crane also, but so far he hasn't the workers to get one.
warriorsavant: (Default)
Or, I could have just titled this "various: mostly about family."

A small boast. The other day I had to do an excision on a 7-year old. I usually defer these until teen years when the child is ready and wants it, but the lesion was physically hurting her and mom talked her into doing it. I managed to do the local anesthesia (eg by injection) without her so much as saying "ouch" or otherwise seeming to be uncomfortable even once. Pinch the skin, keep talking to the patient ("talkesthesia" - which is not easy for me), and inject very, very, very slowly.

I don't know how I'd handle one of my kids going in for major surgery or other serious medical issue. For doctor's visits, Nom is the designated parent; I usually go too, but not always. For minor, but more-than-doctor's-office stuff, I'm the designated parent, and Nom sometimes goes also, but not always. Hedgefund, for all her fussiness has been fairly good with blood draws, ultrasounds, and other other more-than-doctor's-office stuff. Some of that credit goes to the staff at Montreal Children's Hospital, some she picks up from my attitude that medical things are normal, and some is she just has different things that do and don't bother her.

When Wallstreet describes / refers to something as "big," he always makes his voice BIG when he says it (eg "that big truck"). I don't mean louder, but he purses his lips, deepens his voice slightly, and makes the word resonate.

We have a Vietnamese landscape painting that belonged to Nom's paternal grandfather. Her father, who is a bit of a pack rat, had it at home and gave it to us when we moved to the new house. He had also tried to unload a bunch of other art on us which we declined. However this piece is a bit of family history. The grandfather had been in the Vietnamese Army, rising up to Colonel. He was initially in the Army under the French and a prisoner during the Japanese occupation, then when the country was divided in 1954, was in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The painting was a gift from his junior officers when he was promoted to Colonel, out of their personal respect for him. I love history, and family history, and so am interested to know about this piece. Last night, I sat with FIL and asked him about the painting and about his father, which I think pleased him. BIL, other than having some self-identity as VN, doesn't care at all about VN history, culture, family history, etc (which is why we got that painting, not him). Nom cares, but not in an organized way. I am going to do a small write-up about the piece. I've done that for several items I've picked up over the years that are either antique, or have a personal/family story, or are otherwise unusual. I am doing this part for myself, but more so some day I'll be able to tell the kids about their great-great grandfather.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Forward: Wallstreet can actually talk now. Before he could "talk," in the sense of single words, maybe stringing 2-3 together appropriately, but sometime during the past month he began using full sentences. Medical school is just a step away.

Back: We had reason to go to the old condo. Still not sold. Grrr. Anyhow, we ended up giving the kids a bath there. (Sounds strange, but sort of made sense, however too complicated to explain.) I got all nostalgic about giving them baths there, Hedgefund especially adored taking a bath with her Papa with more bubbles than water. Partly nostalgic for the condo itself; I'd lived there for over 10 years, had many good memories (and some horrid ones), and that is where we first lived together and had our children. Partly nostalgic for when the kids were little. Yeah, I know that at 4 and 2-1/2 they are still little, but little-er.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
I was working in my study and Wallstreet came to sit in my lap. So much easier to use a laptop, not to mention make notes on paper, with a child using you as a sofa. He picked up a pen, scribbled on some scrap paper, and announced proudly, "I working." I grinned back at him, "yes, son, you and me working together."

Happy Easter and Joyeuse Passover to whichever of my Gentle Readers so celebrate.

Dec 31

Dec. 31st, 2017 11:02 am
warriorsavant: (Time)
Wallstreet is upset because we won't let him draw on the walls. Hedgefund is upset because she can't just have chocolate for breakfast. We wanted to have kids, right?

Meanwhile, the expertly designed heating system for our new(ly renovated) house heats very, very unevenly. Some rooms are so cold need a sweater, some are so hot can scarcely breathe. It's a forced hot air system, and it either isn't zoned properly, or there aren't enough dampers to properly regulate the flow of air, or both. Either way, right after the holidays I'm going to have a little sit down with all the parties involved and "suggest" they fix it. I have the bad feeling that means more holes in the walls, and more plaster dust, which will very much not make us happy. Along the same note, there seems to be a frozen pipe in one part of the house (out to the extension). Only the hot water pipe is frozen. The plumber has been unsuccesfully working on it for 2 hours. Add this to our little post-holiday sit down.

We're still in the midst of the cold snap you might have read about. I've always had cold hands and feet ("but a warm heart"), but I can't take my gloves off outside for more than 10 seconds without my fingers aching with the cold. We wanted to live in this country, right?

Nom & ba ngaoi took the kids out for a couple of hours (a bit of grocery shopping and a bit of running around the mall driving other people crazy, but at least they get out of the house for a bit). I can post this, have a peaceful cup of coffee… then dig into the piles of home fixing-up, and paperwork that I promised to do over the holidays.

Tonight is New Years Eve. The start of the new year is defined by when the ball drops in Times Square in NYC (no matter where in the world you happen to be). Or in our case, when we get up the next day and watch the recording of it.

Happy New Year to all my Gentle Readers. May it be full of happiness, health, and good things.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)

1. Silly people. I frequently tell the young'uns that they are silly children. Tonight, I spilled a glass of water, and muttered something like, "silly Papa." Hedgefund responded that "we're all silly in this house." Uh, yeah kid. Astute of you to notice.

2. That makes sense. I noticed that my office phone bill was 20$ higher than usual (for base charges). I called them, and they said it was because I was no longer on contract, I was month-to-month. Say what? I've been with them for 20? 25? years, and as far as I knew, there was no lapse of contract (not even sure I was aware there was a contract, as opposed to standard charges). They found a note that I, being an old and valued customer (not quite how they phrased it) was eligible for a promotional (which they hadn't bothered to tell me about up until that very point). If I put in a 3rd phone line, my base chargers would be 35% cheaper/month, plus have more free long distance than I actually use. I wouldn't have to actually use that third line, or even connect it. Uh, okay, that makes complete sense (not), but I'm all for saving money.

3. Illness in the household. WS has been very cranky lately. Part is the "terrible twos," if such a thing actually exists. But really, really cranky past few days. Clearly sick yesterday. Took to Peds today, who found he had strep throat. Ah, the joys of kids in day care.d

4. Slowing down a bit. Things are always a bit slower mid-winter and mid-summer. More mid-winter, as the snow birds are away. Now is when it hits the slow down. (Not actually "slow," mind you, just not-constantly-frantic at work.) Snow birds are starting to leave town, and people are gearing up for the overly-busy, overly-stressed, depressing time known as "the holidays." There will be a sudden rush of people calling me just before said holidays, when they realize they've been neglecting whatever in the rush of preparations, and now-it's-urgent-and-what-do-you-mean-you're-too-busy-to-see-me. My last week is usually fille with follow-ups that I wanted to check on before I'm closed for 2 weeks, and if you were silly enough to prioritize parties and shopping over your medical problems, then said problems weren't really very urgent. (Or, as we say in the Army, "p*** poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.")

5. Speech. HF is displaying same. He's had a few scattered words for a while, but now is starting to fairly consistently string 2-5 words together. Sometimes intelligibly.

6. Renos2. Final bit of reno finished at the house. Well, never really finished, there's always something, but have installed the cabinets and connected the sink in the extension. The office renos are moving swiftly, expecting to move mid-January, reopen for business Feb 1.

7. Renos (addendum). Had to have the HVAC (Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning) system rebalanced in the house. It's been installed and running, but some rooms were way too hot, and some too cold. It's really a matter of adjusting various control valves on the system to route the heat where it is more needed. The tricky part is that opening the flow to one part of the house decreases it everywhere else, so it is literally a balancing act. Couldn't really be done until the heat went on to really know where the flow had to be re-directed. Likely will have to do it again in summer when A/C comes on, but at least I now know how to do it.

warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
So it seems our new block is a big Hallowe'en block. Our neighbors had warned us. The municipal Haunted House is at the end of the street, plus many houses on this block go all out. The prior owners of our house, some of whom were in theatre, really, really went all out decorating and making their own haunted house. We still have the coffin in the garage. We weren't sure we were going to do anything ourselves. In past years, we've gone out to Nom's brother's house and gone trick-or-treating with their girls. They love their little cousins, but there's a level at which they're baby-sitting, and it's an imposition that they taking them around instead of going around with their friends. Add to that that we're tired and didn't feel like driving out there, so at the last minute we bought some candy and stayed around. Glad we did.

Hedgefund was very excited to do Hallowe'en. In the past years, she was either a passive observer from her stroller, or just going along because parents were walking around around. Last year, Wallstreet was the one in the stroller. This year, he was too young to care (and got a bit scared by some of the costumes), but she was old enough to understand and really wanted to go out. She picked a Nemo costume for herself. We'd gotten Hedgefund a Spiderman suit, but he didn't want to wear it, and the weather turned cold & it didn't fit over his jacket, so we pulled out the pumpkin jacket that she'd worn in the past. It fit, but he really wasn't interested. I pulled out my wizard's robes from the costume chest (I'd made them years ago), and there was a useful broken branch on the front lawn just the right size for a staff. Hedgefund and I walked up and down our street a bit. (Nom came out a bit later and basically carried Wallstreet.) Hedgefund enjoyed getting candy, but really wanted to give out candy herself. I think she likes being in charge. I put chairs on the front porch, and she really did enjoy it. She seemed to be deliberate about which candy she give to which person. Like many things in little kids, I just accept that she had a system and a reason, and it was her show. We really had fun. Next year will do up the house with more decorations. Probably never to the level of our predecessors, but a fair amount.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Seeing language deveope in the bambini fascinates me slightly as a doting parent, but mostly as a scientist. (Yeah, okay, 90% doting parent. Shut up.)

Wallstreet manages 3 word sentences. With one word in each language. At less than 2 years old has a limited vocabulary, but is very clear and insistent in what he means to say, when he can use words. Encore nuac now: encore = French for more, nuac = VN for water, now = English for now. "I want more water now."

At 3-1/2, Hedgefund amazes me with how much language she knows, and how she can think to work around what she doesn't know.
   Some clearly imitating what she's heard:
   HF: "I very hungry."
   Nom: "What do you want to eat?"
   HF: "What's ya got?"

   Some are entirely logical use of language from her perspective, even if not quite how the words are used in English. She wanted a blanket, but she didn't want the warm (heavier) blanket, so she asked for the "cold blanket." Makes sense logically, as cold is the opposite of warm.

   Some working around her vocabulary, waiting for dumb parents to catch on.
   HF: "What car doing?" (while we're driving)
   Us: "What car honey?"…. when she couldn't explain, we asked her to point. She pointed out the front window, at what we thought was a car with a trailer in front of us.
   Us: "It's a trailer, so that car can carry more stuff."
   HF: "No, what car doing?
   Us: "Sorry, we don't understand." She made a back and forth motion with her arms. Then it clicked, she wanted to understand about the wipers being on on our car (which we then explained). She's bright, she wants to understand things, and she will sensibly keep asking until we explain.

Sometimes the two of them are having what we regard as conversations in nonsense words. WS will also talk to us like that, which HF used to when she couldn't speak as well. Well, nonsense to us. They seem to understand each other, which goes back to my question to myself when HF was talking to us like that, which is whether it is only nonsense to us, but clearly defined language to them.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
As his moniker indicates, Nom is planning a career in high finance for him. I'm planning on the Army and Medicine.
Kids always have their own ideas. It's beginning to look like fashion design. I was holding him, and he was drooling on my shirt. Systematically. He work up some saliva, then press his face for against my shirt, then repeat it in another spot. Haut coutrier. Either that, or he was marking me as his. At least he wasn't piddling on me. Oh wait, he's done that too. Sigh. Time will tell.


Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:40 pm
warriorsavant: (Couch camouflage)
Am playing hooky today. Went out for what was supposed to be breakfast, but ended up brunch or lunch by the time we got everyone mobilized. I used to be able to move out an entire medical company in less time than now takes to get two toddlers on the road.

After breakfast, were going to go food shopping, but got waylaid by swings and slides in a vest pocket park. Also they were doing road repairs, and Wallstreet needed to watch the machines doing their thing. Finally got to supermarket and kids fell asleep in car, so I'm watching them / typing this while Nom buys the provisionsJ
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Wallstreet is starting to learn words at prodigious rate. Sometimes I even know what he is saying. Today, he clearly said a very important word: "Read."  (Papa does the happy dance. Well "dance" as much as possible with a toddler sitting in my lap demanding to be read to.) Wallstreet is curious, strong, adventurous, and loves books. Excellent!
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Lovely weather over the weekend. Shirtsleeve weather. Enjoyed taking the munchkins out of the house to frolic about on the streets and byways and parks. Wallstreet is of that age where a walk (toddle) down the street is a voyage of endlessly fascinating discovery.

So it's spring... which means probably at least one more good snowfall before summer.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Hedgefund: Just got an email from Nom. Hedgefund drew her first letter this morning. She drew a very good letter ā€˜zā€™ by herself and came to me and said,"Mommy, here is the letter z;" it looked exactly like the letter z. I am so proud of her :) (Yup, me too. This morning she told me she didn't want me to go to work. According to Evil Secretary, she was probably getting even with me by displaying this achievement after I went to work (well, actually teaching) after she forbad it.)

Wallstreet loves books too, but isn't up to writing yet. He's managing 1-2 word sentences, mix of languages. His favourite word is tracteur, which seems to apply to any large road machine (tractor, truck, construction equipment, maybe trains). We have a book with all kinds of really and imaginary vehicles, and he can look at it for hours, exclaiming, "tracteur, tracteur." He's started to differentiate cars, which he calls sair(sp?), which is (moreorless) VN for car. Motorcycles can sometimes be tracteur, sometimes sair, and sometimes just looks blankly at them.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Hedgefund seems to channeling Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. She was sitting somewhere and informed me that that was her spot, and no one else was allowed to sit there. She is also highly obsessional about things needing to be put back in the right place, or things to be done in a certain order. On the other hand, that could also be normal for toddlers, who are just learning "the way things 'sposed to be" and don't want it mixed up. Certainly not because she's my daughter (*looks innocent*)

Everyone is sick except her. I have visions of her nursing the entire family. Sometimes she does like taking care of her baby brother, Wallstreet. Today she was teaching him to read. No, she doesn't know how to read either, but that wasn't stopping her (again, certainly not my daughter there… again *looks innocent*). It was more she was showing him the pictures and teaching him individual words. *Kvells.*
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
I mentioned my computer having died. Only took them 10 days (and several calls and visits from me) to diagnose, fix, and restore from backups. Grrr. I have over 130 emails waiting that have to be attended to. I did do a couple of posts typing from my phone, but that is too slow, so here is a quick summary of The State of the Warriorsavant:

1. On call )

2. Valentine's Day dinner. )

3. Books. )

4. Battle of the hair. )

5. Contracting out. )

6. Is real or is it a film? )

7. Big brother is watching. )

8. I'm here for the veterans. )

9. Better to curse the darkness? )

10. Renovations. )

11. Nostalgia already. )

That's all the news from warriorsavant, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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