Wednesday, June 25, 2008


True, we're swamped these days with adjusting our house to its newest inhabitant, but that doesn't mean we haven't been thinking about you, our reader. So here quickly are two Samisms from this week.

First, I knew that I'd be sharing birthday celebrations with Noah since our birthdays are only 12 days apart, but I never knew I'd be sharing them with Sam. On Monday, Joy asked him whose birthday it was and Sam pointed and me and declared "Yours!" He then thought and moment and followed up his answer with "and Mine!" I suppose he has been getting presents and lots of chocolate cake recently.

Second, last night I was bathing Noah when Sam wandered up. He stared at Noah's shriveled umbilical cord stump and exclaimed "Baby Noah's penis is black!" I really have no witty comeback for that one.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Why Sam is so Busy

Sam is a constant blur of motion. He's constantly climbing on something he shouldn't, pulling something out of a cabinet he shouldn't, playing with something he shouldn't; he never stops moving. Joy and I have laughed at him on more than one occasion as he kicks his legs in bed to stay awake or simply shifts in his seat twenty times during supper, but we've never known the reason for his energy.

This morning he enlightened us.

We were lying in bed, trying to wake up and keeping an ear on Sam when we heard silence, then Sam proclaim, "When I stop moving I poop."

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day Out with Thomas

With all our posting about Noah, you might have thought we had forgotten about our other son.

You remember him.

His name is Sam?

He certainly hasn't let us forget about him, and has been amazingly open to having another person living in our house. We weren't sure how he would respond because when we were in the hospital, Sam ignored Noah. But since getting home, Sam has been extraordinarily thoughtful towards Noah, kissing him goodnight, looking for him to tell him stories, and even calling out for him to come and play trains.

Still, we wanted to do something special for Sam to remind him that he remains an important part of our household. So for Father's Day, Sam's Granddad and I took him for a Day Out with Thomas.

A Day Out with Thomas is a carnivalesque experience where young children and their parents are overloaded by Thomas. You get to meet and ride on Thomas, sure, but there are also Thomas games to play, Thomas storytimes, Thomas videos on continuous loops, Thomas temporary tattoos, Thomas coloring and stamp pages, Thomas train tables, Thomas balloons, and even a petting zoo and magic show. Sam is nuts about Thomas and was in heaven from the moment we arrived. He walked around in a daze for most of the day, wandering from one event to the next. We went to get his tattoo and he muttered that he wanted a Henry tattoo and then stared at it for several minutes, mesmerized. When we rode on Thomas, he sang train songs to himself under his breath while taking in every detail through his wide blue eyes. Seeing the experience through Sam's eyes was a delight and made my father's day.

I was most pleased that even though there were boys and girls everywhere all vying for a position at the Thomas train table or wanting a seat on the train, Sam remained polite and shared as much as possible. When he got his picture taken with Sir Topham Hatt, he walked up and shook his hand, taking the character a bit aback as he flustered around getting Sam in position for a picture (you can also see his Henry tattoo in the picture). When he was playing at the train table, a kid took Henry from him until the mom made the kid share. That sharing took the form of splitting Henry from his coal car and letting the kid play with Henry and Sam play with the coal car. Sam knew Henry couldn't function without coal, so quietly reattached the coal car to Henry and found another train to play with (but not before dropping the kid and making him beg for mercy. Not really, but some of those kids would have). All in all, Sam behaved himself and stayed right next to us and had a grand day out.

As you might imagine, our house has been nothing but Thomas since Sunday. So you'll forgive me if, due to lack of sleep and immersion on Thomas, I call you Henry or whistle at inappropriate times.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We're Home from the Hospital

Look! We're a Chinese food dish! Happy Family! (I know, it's the lack of sleep. You can kill me later.)

And because you need a daily dose of cuteness, here it is:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Because What the World Needs Now is Cuteness, More Cuteness

Yes, his shirt does remind you what he is in case the flailing arms, unfocused gaze, and sweet, sweet baby smell doesn't give it away.
Mom and Noah enjoy a picturesque moment - after Mom's finally had a shower, of course.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to the World

Noah Andrew Granade

8 lbs, 7 ounces
19 1/2 inches long

Saturday, June 7, 2008

D-Day + 1

Yesterday was D-Day, and there was no baby.

I'm not sure why we thought we would have a baby by now - roughly 5% of women deliver on their due date and only 3 out of 10 deliver before that day. You know what that means.

Noah is average. He's firmly in the majority (along with his brother) in his delivery date.


Go figure.

A Granade who isn't an overachiever.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Playing the Building and Other Found Music

I've long been fascinated by homemade instruments and the use of objects not originally intended for musical purposes for composition. Perhaps that explains part of my interest in Harry Partch but also goes a long way toward understanding why one of my favorite pieces of music from the past fifty years is Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room. In the work (which you can hear here in its original recording) Lucier actually plays the room the work is recorded in. He took a microphone, two reel-to-reel tape recorders, an amplifier, and a loudspeaker, and recorded himself reading the description of the piece:

"I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but, more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have."

That's it; the work describes the process by which it is created. But hearing that process is endlessly more fascinating than the description. When he begins to play the work back into the room at first you don’t hear much, but by the third recording, it begins to get a little fuzzy. The sonic fingerprint of the room, its own chord if you will, begins to reveal itself. As you move along, pitched drones appear, the result of particular frequencies being re-enforced by the room. If the shape of the room is compatible with the wavelength of a particular sound that is played into it, that sound is magnified – if not, the sound reflects out of phase with itself and begins to disappear.

Now, thanks to Misty, I've found another artist attempting a similar musical experiment. David Byrne (yes, he of Talking Heads fame) has recreated an installation he originally put together in Stockholm, Sweden in an abandoned ferry terminal in Manhattan. In the project, Byrne took an old organ, wired it to the building's columns, pipes, and girders, and made it literally play the building by striking or blowing air through its materials. The result is a keyboard that allows you to experience how these materials sound in combination:

The result is like Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room but instead of hearing the room's frequencies slowly reveal themselves to you in an elaborate audio striptease, you hear those sounds immediately. It also is different in that Byrne's idea is a communal experience, not the isolated one of Lucier. In other words, instead of creating music, he has created a space where music can found. And perhaps, ultimately, that is the appeal of found music for me. Think of it this way - children are fascinated by the piano and instinctively want to touch it and see what sounds they can caress out of it. By the time they are nearing adulthood, that impulse has been pulled out of them; music is something for professionals or those who know what they are doing. With found music, that childlike desire to see what sounds, what music you can create is restored. The cultural aura of a musical instrument is missing and anyone and everyone wants to play, wants to make music. Found music helps put music making back into every day lives.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Small Suggestion: Things not to say to an 8-month-pregnant woman

Joy is a small person.

Babies, placenta, fluid, etc. all take up a lot of room.

When you mix Joy and babies, you'll always notice; Joy doesn't hide pregnancy well. That said, she is more content than most pregnant, and even at this late stage feels good, has energy, and enjoys being up and about.

But just because she is obviously pregnant and out at Target shopping doesn't give you the right to make strange comments to her. That's right, I'm talking to you crazy creepy old man oggling her belly. I'm serious - you wouldn't believe the strange things Joy has had directed at her the past few weeks while in public, often by older men who should know better. Here's a small sampling:
  1. "You got twins in there?" (Really, as though she doesn't feel big enough already since people for months have thought she was due in a few day's time and have said so.)
  2. "When are you due?" yelled across said Target store, quickly followed by "Oh my gosh!" (Do you really think that's encouraging? At all?)
  3. "What are you looking for?" Joy's response, "Mailing labels." "No, a boy or a girl?" (The man's wife quickly ushered him away murmuring about how good Joy looked. I can't imagine the conversation in the car on the way home for that couple.)
  4. "It looks like you're going to pop at any minute!" (Are you like the man who gave Joy a pedicure and afraid her water's going to break at any minute? If not, be quiet.)
  5. "That's so big, it looks like it hurts!" (Not as much as my foot in your groin will if you don't back off.)
I've long been amazed at what people will say to small children that they won't say to adults' faces and the license they feel to be rude to pregnant women. At least no one has felt her belly in public. I think they're afraid it will burst if they do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Big Boy Room - Almost Finished

After writing last week about the latest round of additions to Sam's big boy room, I realized that I had not given ya'll what you really wanted - a picture of what the room currently looks like. So here, in all its Roman-shaded glory is how Sam's room currently stands (I even added a Sam head in for perspective:You may remember what the room used to look like (at least right before we painted it):
(You can find the gradual transformation by searching for all the Big Boy Room posts.) Now it has a definite car theme, as you can see by the quilt, and buckets for the shelves. Those buckets were the best idea in the world - at night we grab them and Sam helps put all his toys (which are always strewn all over his bed and his table and his floor, not to mention the rest of the house) in the buckets and back on the shelves. It also has accomplished its two primary goals: Sam no longer thinks of the nursery as his room and he likes to play and read in his room and spends a great deal of time there. We can now tell when he likes a person because he'll look at them seriously and shout "Come up to my room!"

We've still got to find a rug we like for the floor and I have a chalkboard to build, but we're all pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Almost, but not quite

In case you're wondering, Joy's still pregnant. I wanted to let you know because I can't go anywhere without people asking and we're only four days away from D-day. But I know Noah's birth is getting close. How do I know, you ask?


This evening after supper, Joy looked at me with wild certainty in her eyes and declared, "We must go to the Post Office. Now!"

Only a nesting woman can't wait for the mailman to come by tomorrow.