Saturday, May 31, 2008


If you've hung out with Dylan in the past couple months and have not, by your very presence, caused her to cower trembling in the corner, you have heard her babble on and on and ON in her very own language. I never realized kids continued to babble nonsensically up through her age, but it has recently become clear that she has actually been keeping up a running narration of all of our activities. As she learns more words she substitutes them into her commentary, so now every three words or so is an actual English word that someone who is not me might recognize as such. The tone and inflection sounds pretty much exactly the same whether she's saying her words or ours. She doesn't have a lot of verbs yet, but you can still usually catch her drift. She's also starting to pick up on more abstract ideas like "if" and "or" and can answer questions with actual answers. So suddenly we're verging on having actual conversations that make actual sense. Weird. Whatever, we're still talking about someone who thinks she can tickle her own armpits.

Friday, May 30, 2008


There has been exactly one night in the past two weeks that we've all been at home with no one sleeping over. We have spent time with friends from high school, college, camp, and med school, as well as our families and a few extra dogs. We've traveled en masse to North Carolina and separated so I could sneak in a quick jaunt to DC. I'm up to 51 children enrolled in my study, and I'm closing in on getting my mitts on another big data set. We said goodbye to a large chunk of Rochester Local 645: Dylan Fan Club Chapter as they graduated and went off for more training in various cities. Last night we hosted a murder mystery and this evening we brought dinner to friends who have a six-week-old baby. Dylan is three months shy of her second birthday, and I'm starting med school again the day after that. Between now and then we have two weddings and our tenth high school reunion, Aaron's going to New York City for training and to DC for a conference, and I'm going to Colorado for four days. And I've been daydreaming about lugging Aaron up to the Adirondacks or the Thousand Islands without Sleeps-No-More. Mochi's staying with us this weekend and next, some of Aaron's family is coming to celebrate his graduation tomorrow (he officially graduated this year since he finished last summer), and Miss Maya's first birthday party is Sunday. So. It's all been really fun and my head is spinning a little and I suspect things may not get more relaxing with my return to med school. Luckily Aaron finds time every day to give things some perspective.

Happy Garbage Day to One and All

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Busy and Important

Sorry, sorry. The quality control around here is just terrible, what with the peasants coming in and mucking about the place with their posts and whatnot. Oh! Hi Aaron! Thanks for throwing that together while I was away on my very fancy and important whirlwind trip to DC. You really ran with the bleisen**** thing, eh? Actually, it was really funny. For a peasant.

Since we had a connection in DC on our way to North Carolina last weekend, I have now done the Rochester-DC leg four times in six days. I am seriously getting to know the route from 20,000 feet. Actually today I got a spectacular view of like six fingerlakes. Fingerlakin' good, right?

I started the morning with an 8am breakfast meeting at the conference and ended with a 7-9pm meeting at school in Rochester. I am a giant in the field of Working A Really Long Day On Occasion, Although I Did Hang Out With Dylan In The Afternoon.

Blah, blah, I know you're all just here for the pictures advertised yesterday. These are from last Sunday in the park with Dylan's friend Maya. It may look like a sweet little toddler running around playing with a ball, but really it was a conniving toddler running away with the ball so that Maya couldn't also get her hands on it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A view of you

Disclaimer: I know that we've done a post similar to this before, but I'm alright with that.   

Google has given us the tools to not only count the number of visits to the blog each day, but also to keep track of the cities from which the visitors are looking at the blog.  Every now and then I monitor this information for both enrichment and amusement.  My reaction ranges from a grunt of annoyance to a grunt of approval.  Yesterday I noticed that on May 22nd we had a total of 47 visits.  I also noticed that on May 25th we had 7 visits.  I suppose we shouldn't expect any visitors on days without any posts.  We're sorry we failed you those days.  

We who run the bleisenblog, and live in our bliesenhouse, and drive the bleisenmobile, and make smoothies with a bleisender, like to not only see many visits, but also see many visits from many cities.   We have a bleisenbelt that we make notches on every time we have a visit from a new city.  On the 22nd we had visits from 35 cities.  (See appendix A for a list of the cities that had more than 1 visit)   Now, as an exercise in self-indulgence (which this post really seems to be), let us take a look at the number of visits to the blog from from a year ago. Last year on May 22nd we had a mere 36 visits coming from a paltry 14 cities, all within the US.  It seems that either out readership has increased in number, or has increased their curiosity i.e. people need to reread the posts [or the difference in the two days happened completely at random].  

Now, let us take a look at where, you, the readers are viewing this blog (click the map to make it larger):

From the map, we see that the Bleisenblog has really gone international, with quite a few readers outside of countries where our siblings live.  (For those who are bad at geography see Appendix B for a list of the countries).  Although this is an impressive start, as we all know from the board game Risk we don't have the most strategic spots yet (Australia I'm looking in your direction).  

Anyway, I think that all of you should be proud to be part of such a diverse group - the Bleisenmunity.

Sneak Peak for tomorrow Wednesday the 28th: Kate comes back from a 20 hour jaunt to Washington DC and then probably posts pictures of Dylan. 

Appendix A:
Cities with more than 1 visits on May 22nd:
Ithaca, NY (5 visits)
New Haven, CT (4)
Rochester, NY (3)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2)
Greenlawn, NY (2)
Woburn, MA (2)

Appendix B:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend, in bullets

  • Snuffy and Bear Bear #2 were both here when we got home, thank you very much. (see comments on last post)
  • **Public Service Announcement** The following items are available for sale in the SkyMall catalog:
    • "Do you have little trouble keeping track of the hour and even the date, but the day of the week eludes you?" It's DayClock!
    • I like to call this the "I hate myself" brownie pan. Why would you even make brownies without a gooey center section?
  • Dylan + sand = FEAR. This is what she does if you try to put her down on the beach:
  • Dylan + airports/airplanes/other attendant heavy machinery/the wedding photographer = love.
  • Aaron and I had to tag team to play in the Bride v. Groom Beach Ultimate Frisbee Game because of a cowering Dylan. There was a rumor we were playing to decide who in the couple would change his/her last name, but that turned out to be sadly false. Although it did prompt a debate among the wedding guests about who had the better last name.
  • All pictures over the weekend, aside from those filched from the in-flight catalog, were taken with a non-digital disposable camera. I am so confused about how to get the pictures out of the camera-machine onto my computing-machine.
  • You may remember Dylan's penchant for not sleeping during travel from such events as Christmas 2007 and NYC March 2008, after which I swore off having Dylan sleep out of her own bed for more than two nights in a row.
  • Which is why we traveled to the coast of North Carolina (2 planes + 4 hours of driving each way) on Friday and came back yesterday.
  • We shared a hotel room with my ultimate frisbee superstar friend Annika. Sorry about all of Friday night, Annika!
  • I pre-paid for the gas in the rental car, which meant we made a valiant effort to return it with zero gallons in it. At one point the display said we had 12 miles remaining before empty, but then we wimped out and bought 1.5 more gallons. I think we returned it with less than a gallon in it though.
  • My pathetic attempts to get Dylan to sleep on this trip (and at naptime at daycare also) have centered around the coolest sleeping bag ever. Seriously, this picture does not do it justice, it's got all these different textures and fabrics. (child not included)
  • The wedding itself was also on the beach. It was in the evening, and that morning we woke up to a raging storm. We were disappointed, and also not too sure there was a plan B. Then around 4:00pm the skies cleared and the birds chirped and it was perfect out and all was well.
  • I'm sure Dylan meant no disrespect by talking through the whole ceremony and scribbling all over the program. Congratulations Anne & Pat!
  • Our Memorial Day Plans include: staring at the wall in a tired daze.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're out

We're headed to North Carolina this weekend. And by the weekend I mean Friday morning. Which is...right now. We are, for once, not bringing our computers, so we may be incognito...no...incommunicado, and also possibly incognito, for a few days. In our absence, I expect a lively and heated exchange in the comments section. It will be like improv, so you can even choose your own topic. Have fun kids!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dogs and Baby Dylan


It must be something in the water, because the next morning Bear Bear got the same treatment

Who's up next? Real Dylan? Snuffy? Aaron?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This week I went to orientation for my third year of medical school. Never fear, this does not mean finishing my dissertation is imminent, but it's on the horizon.

First we learned how to access the online radiology system (not supported by Vista, sucker). The women giving the demonstration walked us through it, from finding the link on the intranet to working with the timeline of the patient's medical history. She finished by asking for questions. The first one that came up was, "how do you find the link on the intranet?" Ah med students, how I have missed you.

Soon we got a goodie bag full of sharp medical tools and a stern lecture about not cutting ourselves or others with haphazardly disposed-of sharp things. To practice, we uncapped and unscrewed and peeled open one sharp thing after another. I can now call myself proficient at not harming myself with a scalpel.

In the morning we had to fill out a bunch of forms. I promptly incorrectly filled out the one to check if I'm on the child abuse registry (answer: not to my knowledge) and had to slink up front to get another one.

At one point all the outsiders like myself who will be joining the current second year class had to stand up for easy application of scarlet letters. I didn't notice for quite some time that everyone else was already sitting again, so hey! I really want you all to know who I am.

All in all it was a sort of surreal experience for me because I kept thinking about how my original medical school class had been in the same place three years earlier. Then I walked out into the hallway and there was their class graduation picture looking down at me and it felt like I had traveled through time. And then it was back to my office to keep slogging away at collecting data so I can graduate too. Eventually.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm having this problem lately where I spend the day thinking of clever and funny things to post and then when the time comes my mind goes blank like Dylan's face in front of a camera and all I can do is scrounge around for cute pictures to put up and hey look! A truck!


This week and last Aaron went to trivia night at the English pub. On the one hand, what could be more fun than trivia night at the English pub? On the other hand, what could me more foolhardy than encouraging Aaron to think about/bring up useless trivia any more than he is naturally inclined to do? It's sort of a wash, I guess.

In a spate of activity-attending, Aaron also joined a softball team. The first game, scrimmage actually (Annabelle: [who is now living with us for a week] they have scrimmages in a rec league?!), was tonight, and he came home (figuratively) weeping because the team is stocked with real men, men who can throw and catch and don't hit accidental bunts because that's as far as the ball happens to go when they hit it. He also described one of his throws as a grounder. At least he went out for burgers afterwards. That's pretty manly, right?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend Update

Much of the weekend involved thiswhich led to various and sundry moments like this

Dylan got attacked by a rogue, yet itsy, spiderand also got slowly but surely lured into the pool

Also, I won $20 on a rare impulse scratchy lotto game purchase and my brother won $10 moments thereafter. I can only conclude that those dispensers are actually ATMs. Tommy suggested that immediately reinvesting the profits in more scratch off tickets would be the only prudent move, but I have resisted so far. I usually prefer to invest in bars of chocolate.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Flashback: Dylan remains awake at daycare against all odds

Ever since Bleisenblog's inception, I have been very careful about what I post so that I won't have to worry about who happens to find their way here, with the very large exception of people associated with her daycare. At some point I became fairly uncomfortable with that situation. Although I haven't gone back and edited the relevant posts since that would be like every single one for about six months, I'm not going to go nuts anymore when problems come up there. Which really hasn't happened for a while anyway, but obviously has now or else why would I mention it.

So I won't get into that part of it too much, but in short Dylan didn't nap at all for three weekdays last week, and only slept a little the other two. Do not even try to tell me she is outgrowing naps, because by 11am she starts looking like she would conk out if I directed sleepy thoughts in her direction. By the end of the week she was completely exhausted. I have a couple ideas of how to try and help, but let us all hope this is just a blip. Or else you have a lot of vague grumpy posts in your future.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Orders of Business

1) Has everyone figured out by now that attending school in Rochester has simply been a front to cover up our real estate speculation?

2) I had the ironing board out in the kitchen all day yesterday. Every time I walked in the room I thought it was a person and got startled.

3) Have you played Quelf? It's like Cranium, but psychotic. Best Game Ever.

4) Our favorite snack of the moment is bread dunked in balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil. It's like we're at a fancy restaurant all the time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just Woke Up

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Car Talk

1) Aaron cleaned out the car (= Mother's Day present). The smell is gone. Whoops.

2) I mentioned a smell in the OTHER car. Which Aaron also cleaned out. His advice: look for old bags of poop when the car smells like "garbage."

3) Driver's ed

Monday, May 12, 2008


The reality of Mother's Day at Bleisenblog was not glamorous self-timed pictures of us frolicking in the garden. Oh no. Those pictures are actually taken a couple weeks ahead of time, so as to allow time to send them to our actual mothers. No, a more accurate picture of what we did is: eat. And have another go at the Lilac Festival.

The eating went well, thank you. Although it is getting ever more tenuous taking Dylan out to restaurants. She is a loose cannon, that one. At breakfast we sat at the counter and she stayed on Aaron's lap the whole time and that worked out well, except for Aaron. I was like, oh, we ordered WAY too much food, and then I was like, oh, you haven't gotten to take a bite yet, have you?

At dinner she pulled the same trick of hanging out on Aaron's lap, but! He can learn, and made her get off when the food came. We were at a pretty nice restaurant (albeit at 5:30pm), one that I get the sense doesn't get a ton of 1.5-year-olds, and we, along with the waitstaff and other customers, were eager to have her be silent quiet. When she started to put up a fight at being detached from Daddy the waiter sprinted to the kitchen and came back with a couple cookies. As soon as we told her he was going to get her a cookie she shut right up. And a couple minutes later said "cookie" clear as a bell. I have never heard her say 1) the word cookie 2) anything clear as a bell. Little sneak. The trick was on her though because they were (really good) oatmeal raisin and she wouldn't eat them as soon as she realized it. Actually she and the waiter became best buddies and he gave her a whole box of toys to play with during dinner and they had a little trouble parting when we were leaving.

The Lilac Festival was better. Dylan got to ride the little train, as no race fights were occurring. And a pony! That was cool. And she remained cage-free. Free range Dylan, we call it. Then we happened upon another set by the Dinner Dogs, who were experimenting with inserting their cheerful music directly into the children's skulls via LOUD, which rendered Dylan too terrified to even look at them. Since the playground and the trucks and the backyard are more unequivocal fun and less predatory pricing, maybe I will learn my lesson for next year. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day at Bleisenblog

Brought to you courtesy of the camera timer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dear mom: let's stick to truck-watching. Love, dylan.

When we went to the Lilac Festival last year, it was pretty low-key and we mostly enjoyed sitting and listening to the music. This year, I thought, would be even better because Dylan would enjoy all the kid activities more. Right. The 20-month-old will be able to enjoy the bounce house along with the 12-year-olds.

First off, the festival was so crowded I had to take over pushing the stroller from Aaron because steam started coming out of his ears, what with the maneuvering and the steering and the navigating. We sized up the rides and the enormous inflatable slide seemed a bit much for the small one, but we thought the wee train would be just her size. We stared longingly at it for a while, but no one emerged to serve as wee train engineer, so we decided to try out something else and come back later.

I recommend a google image search of the phrase "kiddie ferris wheel" if you want to give your child a taste of incarceration but don't know where to start. I should have sensed that the enthusiasm for this idea was mostly mine, but Dylan did at one (brief) point seem interested. So she was caged in along with TWO other little girls who the guy must have thought were also in our family, because otherwise WHY? and right away the wheel rotated them all to the top so other kids could get on. I ran around to the other side while they were going up so I could take pictures, so Dylan lost track of where I was. By the time I was on the far side (which, you know, is only about ten feet since the whole thing could fit in my living room) she had lost it completely and was clutching the grate and wailing and looking around wildly for me. The other girls who were trapped in there with her began whimpering as well, because who wouldn't?That's her on the right, before she sank down off the seat for a more effective breakdown. The ride operator brought her down right away and refunded the eye-gougingly expensive ride tickets so we soon could be off in search of MORE RIDES.

The big non-inflatable slide was a slight success, in that no one cried. This picture is called "Go Limp And It Might End Soon"
The pony ride we came across next seemed like it really would be just Dylan's speed, but you had to pay for it separately from the precious ride tickets and there was a big line and the theme of today was torturing the child, so we skipped it, but maybe we'll take her tomorrow.

Then we made our way back to the little train, where there was someone operating it, but not right at that moment because there was some kind of racially-tinged heated argument going on about who did or did not get to ride twice in a row, so that didn't end well and we were on our way.

We finally decided that hanging out and listening to the music was the way to go. I can't say the Dinner Dogs would be MY choice, exactly, but Dylan enjoyed them quite a bit from the safety of Aaron's lap.

Friday, May 09, 2008

FAQ: What has Dylan been up to lately?

You may have seen a recent anonymous comment in reference to Dylan's child stardom, which I believe was from her agent. She had a cameo in the 4th year medical school class play as: young child appalled at the foul-mouthed doctor's foul mouth. We refer to her as the talent now.


She often gets on the scale and wants me to tell her how big she is. Obviously I will continue this until she is 18.


She actually gets a little height when she jumps instead of just enthusiastically and abruptly bending her knees and shouting jump.


She is OBSESSED with trucks. After one drives by she'll give it a loud "HI" and look up at me and wildly sign and yell MORE MORE MORE. I try to explain about how I am not in control of all that occurs, but it never really sinks in for either one of us. It often takes me a while to catch on to what she's excited about since she doesn't articulate "r" or "k" sounds. Like at the farmer's market yesterday she got all excited and I didn't know if it was the music or the flowers or the food or the dogs, but no, it was the produce trucks everywhere.


We haven't kept the toilet paper on the wall since she learned how to walk because the temptation to pull it all down is irresistible (I think we've all been there). However, having the roll unattached allowed her to make off with it entirely the other day while Aaron was on the toilet. Heh.


At daycare this week they said her vocabulary had tripled over the weekend. She suddenly got less shy about talking for some reason, and is picking up new words really fast. She could use a few pointers with the pronunciation, however.


Her crocs are like the hit of the year (thanks Mac!)(the ultimate croc early adopter). It's like the combination of the small child and the bright yellow renders people incapable of doing more than babbling incoherently about the cute.


She likes to imitate Snuffy by standing on the curb and pretending to poop.


She is (slightly) less picky with the food and a lot more cheerful, although still clingy.


She tells us to sit all the time, especially when she wants us to eat with her. Her word for sit sounds suspiciously like the sound the monkeys make when Aaron reads Caps For Sale.


We have noticed that Dylan and her classmates interact with each other a lot more than we would have expected. Aaron says they sound like Furbies when they talk to each other, and you know? He has a point. Also, as I am now remembering, he was always really creeped out by Furbies.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Public Humiliation II: The Tables Have Turned

A few days ago, astute reader Amy C pointed out that the curious maple syrup smell in the car should be taken as a sign that the car is in urgent need of automotive attention, rather than an oddity to be casually discussed over bon bons and hot tea, as we had been doing. Luckily, five years into our tenure in Rochester, we have recently (last month) found a mechanic we trust. Which is good since for a while there we were down to zero cars that were acceptable to drive (the windshield wiper snapped off the ford in mid-rain storm last week. and the inspection was up).

We called on Monday and brought the car in on Tuesday. The guy at the desk (who wears a mechanic's uniform but seems to...man the front desk, albeit very cheerfully) noted the same dire potential diagnoses as Amy, particularly the heater core, although he did note that "sweet smell" is pretty common, while "maple syrup smell" he had never heard of. I don't know about you, but I am not one to mess around with the heater core (MELTDOWN! EVACUATE!), so I was really glad we were able to get the car taken care of so soon.

At lunchtime I got the first of several phone calls indicating that there was no evidence of any actual coolant leak, and was it possible that we smeared syrup on every surface of the car? Maybe with sausage? And then forgot about it and freaked out and called a mechanic?

They kept it overnight for observation, but still didn't find anything. To their credit, they resisted the urge both to 1) charge us a bunch of money anyway and 2) mock us too heartily to our faces. Maybe they think I have that thing where you take your car in to get looked at all the time because you like the attention.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Up through the atmosphere

On Sunday, Kate, Dilly, one of our friends named Kate and I went to the local kite festival. Although it was a lot of fun, our pictures weren't able to capture the essence of the event. Yesterday's post was going to be all about our outing, but Kate kept editing down the pictures until we were left with Dylan standing on the pier looking frightened. Although the intent of yesterday's editing was to save you, the audience, from the kite pictures, today's post is intended to expose you to the very same pictures. Why the sudden change in heart from the editors here at Bleisenblog? Well, mostly because Kate has decided to take up baker's hours and I didn't know what else to post. Here are a few of the kite pictures that won't diminish our standards too much:

After seeing the kites Dylan wanted nothing else but to be in the water.

So we went to the pier. Where Dylan and one of our friends named Kate had fun splashing around in the puddles.

After that Dylan spied the playground and skillfully went down the slide.

Perhaps tomorrow's post will have better pictures and won't be as self-deprecating, but I doubt it. Kate seems to be getting sick, so you might be stuck with me for a few days.

Monday, May 05, 2008

At the big puddle