Monday, June 30, 2008

Your Comment Here

(Ones on yesterday's post count too, thanks everyone! Those pictures were some of my favorites ever.)

You can be anonymous if you want. Fell free to congratulate me on making it safely through the age of rock star death, or just say hi. It's just as well because I've been a little confused about how old I am since Aaron's birthday five months ago.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Gremlin in Summer

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My birthday is Monday so I suggest you start preparing now

For my birthday, I would like:
  • Knowledge. Specifically, knowledge of where to get some fridge magnets strong enough to hold up the voluminous amount of finely crafted art Dylan brings home from daycare.
  • Comments! Say hi. You can be anonymous or coy or passive aggressive or whatever. Let's go for 10 (on Monday's post), but more is better.
  • A month of buying stuff for myself in honor of my birthday. Check.
  • And finally, a new pillow. This one's sort of squirmy.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Relatedly, this explains A LOT.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Uncle Ducky

We have not one, but two sets of Dylan's grandparents currently gallivanting around the world right now (Singapore is apparently the destination of choice). Only one set, however, has managed to set up a blog, which is now featured in the links to your right.

The following post was originally written by Aaron, who was kindly trying to help save me time because I am spending most days trying not to hyperventilate about how much work I need to do right now. Sadly I can't help myself and subjected it to heavy editing (It's MY SPECIAL BLOG), so it is really a collaborative effort. So blame neither one of us in particular if it is not to your liking.


Zach, the baby in the Blumkin family [sorry Dylan he beat you to it], rode down with us to NJ. It was our plan to have him babysit Dylan while we went to the wedding. This was a weekend he had long been waiting for, as I'm certain he dreams of being a nanny someday. However, his excitement dissipated once he turned to look at Dylan, as we entered Pennsylvania, and she happily cried out "JOSH." I believe his words were, "Like every other woman in my life, she breaks my heart." Advantage Josh.

Once we got into NJ, Nana took over babysitting responsibilities and proceeded to porter Dylan around the hotel on the bellman's trolley. My daughter the valise. I know that Nana showed Dylan off to all of her friends in the hotel, and I'm sure that the rest of the fourth floor guests were happy to meet her as well.

When the wedding started, Zach was left to care for and corrupt Dylan all by himself. At the pool he impressively coaxed his young ward to dangle her feet in the water (seriously, this is impressive. she is TERRIFIED of pools). Unfortunately, once in the pool she became afraid of non-pool, and decided it was best to no longer come in contact with the ground if at all possible. This requires some contortion.

Some readers may have witnessed what has been termed the "traditional father-offspring call and response" that Aaron and Dylan do where they take terms saying each other's names in singsongy voices until one of them passes out. Sometimes they allow other people to participate, but only if they have two syllables in their name. Luckily Mommy, Daddy, Dylan, and Snuffy are all in the clear, but not so for Zach. With an added -y on the end and an inability to pronounce Z's, Ducky it was.

The day after the wedding Zach popped his head into the webcam while I was Skyping with Dylan from Boston. He was treated to an entrusted "DUCK." Also, sometimes duck can mean truck and sometimes it can mean duck. It is like shalom in that way, except shalom means hello, goodbye, and truck. Later that evening, Dylan Skyped her uncle Tom, who was meet with an enthusiastic "TOM." Although her last uncle (unless Annie has become engaged to a nice Moroccan gentleman without my knowledge), Josh, was not available, when showed a picture of him on the computer Dylan tried to talk to it by yelling, "DUCK." Advantage Zach. I guess he deserves it for allowing himself to be decorated, although there was some retaliatory stickering of Dylan reported.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Made it

Flying standby feels a little like joining a subservient lower class, then playing the lottery to better your standing. Now all ticketed passengers may proceed to the podium for boarding. As for the rest of you, off to the side so that you don't impede the passage of those who through good breeding and hard work have obtained boarding passes. I'll deal with you later.

Getting on the earlier flight was supposed to be the difference between seeing Dylan before she went to bed and getting in after I am supposed to go to bed, but it didn't quite work out that way. After scurrying subordinately onto the plane I was all excited, but that faded as the captain announced that we would probably push back and then hang out on the runway for an indeterminate amount of time because of thunderstorms throughout the Northeast. We did get a good start on the planting ourselves on the runway to wait, but it quickly escalated into "Now they've put a hold on all flights on our flight path and if you look out the right of the plane you'll see why [cue huge, dark, ominous thunderstorm quickly rolling in over Boston] and screw this we're turning off the engine." You know you're in trouble when they allow you to get your portable electronic devices back out again.

The thunderstorm turned out to be quick moving indeed. I wasn't looking out the window and suddenly the plane started rocking back and forth. Soon it was just like being in a car wash, but for planes! Imagine that! It really was pretty crazy and the lightening seemed really close. Then all of a sudden it was totally clear and we were ready to go and I barely had time to shut my computer down (which admittedly takes a long time, Vista I'm looking in your direction) before we took off.

Aaron leaves tomorrow for almost five days. The chaos factor would have been more impressive if he left several hours after I got in, but close enough.

On standby

Plan B is another 4-hour stint in the airport.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lessons Learned, 6/23/08

1) Dylan may sleep for 10 hours in a row at night when traveling, provided I am in a different state.

2) I will sit and diligently work in the evening under the circumstances that I am staying at my brother-in-law's ("ducky" if you're Dylan) cool apartment in Boston and have no childcare or other responsibilities even though he may need to tend to many many household chores while I plop myself in the middle of the living room and peruse the World Wide Internet.

3) Jug handles! They'll get you every time.

4) I am so tired I am starting to see stuff that's not there in my peripheral vision. I find this adds spice to an otherwise routine day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

About that routine...

One or two or three of us will be traveling from yesterday until next Sunday. We did a brief stint in Ithaca last night, where Dylan threw her traditional 10pm-3am All Awake All The Time Travel Party, accompanied by her colleague Snuffy's 6:30am Let's Get Up And Play Right Now And Also I'm Hungry routine.

Hmm, I was feeling a lot more inspired when I believed that I would be lovingly crafting posts from my hotel room this evening. Instead, this post is brought to you by a two-hour flight delay and by-no-means-free wireless at Newark International. I did get to attend a wedding this afternoon (Congratulations Ellie & Conan! Sorry I had to leave to go sit in the airport!) and have a nostalgic train ride on the Northeast Corridor that I used to ride all the time in college.

Full disclosure here: this part of my trip is to pick up some data. Yes, I am a huge nerd, and no, I'm not entirely clear as to why an actual in-person trip is necessary for this. Perhaps all will be revealed tomorrow.

The screen's getting a little swimmy and the letters keep morphing, so I think it's time to focus my efforts on staring at the Departure screen until it bends to my will. Over and out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

World Refugee Day

More info here.

Related really well done movies to add to your Netflix queue:

God Grew Tired of Us
We had a panel this year for World Refugee Day of four Lost Boys, who said they didn't need to say much more about themselves because the movie told their story so well.

Rain in a Dry Land (not technically available through Netflix)

I am impressed that the UN agency that runs the refugee program, UNHCR, is on Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, etc. I guess they know what the kids like these days.

Less chatting, more tickling

Not THAT much tickling. Aaron.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Grind

For the first time ever we have stumbled into a routine. When Aaron was at the bakery his hours were crazy and erratic, and before that there were jobs searches and working at camp and moving. Then a new puppy and a master's and planning a wedding and a stint in South Africa and then some kind of child showed up in our house. Med school and grad school change all the time with different courses and projects and exams. Before Dylan I always liked to have a lot of sports and things going on, and we would travel on weekends a couple times a month.

When Dylan was born my activities and any semblance of knowing what was going to happen on a given day went out the window. For a year. Then she started sleeping on occasion and became very dependent on going to sleep at certain times. Eventually that segued into staying asleep for a certain amount of time and that led to me not being such a grump all the time. But that's another post.

To summarize, as of about six months ago we ended up with: no planned activities, little travel, a child on a rigid schedule resolutely opposed to sleeping outside the home, a high maintenance dog (Snuffy, I'm looking at you), Aaron a few months into a new job (Aaron, I'm looking at you), and me in the middle of my dissertation (Kate, I'm looking at me). And suddenly everything was a lot less chaotic than in the previous five years.

We get up and Aaron walks Snuffy while Dylan and I eat breakfast (Aaron is some kind of weird monster that doesn't wake up needing refueling). Then we all walk to work/school/daycare/upupinaplaneinthesky and stay there the appropriate amount of time. Sometimes I wander around town trolling for little refugee children to enroll in my study and sometimes Aaron and I eat lunch at home and sometimes I take Snuffy running at noon. Then we come home and Dylan and I eat our afternoon meal and we all go for a WALK or maybe to the park or market. Then dinner and bed for the wee one and one of us non-wee ones takes Snuffy out running. In the evening I might go back to do a little more work or I might grocery shop or clean the house and Aaron reads rumors about Apple products or whatever it is he does behind all that hair and maybe we'll hang out and I'll make him watch Top Chef or Top Model.

On weekends we do house stuff and make big yummy meals and go biking and let Dylan be OUTSIDE as much as she wants. Snuffy gets to play with the other big dog-uhs and sometimes people come visit us since it takes a pretty big set of pliers to pry us out of here these days (Dylan, I'm looking at you). My mom mentioned not too long ago that when I was ten she asked if I would like to quit one of: skating or swimming or soccer so things would be calmer and I said no because I liked all of them. And I think ever since then when faced with such a choice I have made a similar decision.

To summarize, recent posts about a smattering of crazy summer travel plans aside, we are now boring and predictable, and this is new for me and was not something I would have planned out myself. But here we are and I am ten times less anxious than usual and we're having a lot of fun with our creatures and we're outside all the time and all my posts have been pictures lately because I can't think of anything to write because it's like: Today we were out in the yard. Then we had a snack. Then Dylan was cute and so was Snuffy. The End.

So speaking of The End, if all goes as planned I have about eight weeks until I go back to med school. And apparently that's hard and unpredictable and takes a lot of hours. More importantly, it's going to mess with our Schedule. So I'm not sure where I'm going with this except to suggest that you stay tuned for the Summer 2008 Bleisenbergs Return To Chaos Countdown.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boot model

Job requirements: knee-high cankles, skinned knees, a love of puddles

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

His pony name would be Sparkles

Aaron feels the book he got for Father's Day, My Father the Dog, is patronizing. I don't know what he's talking about. We told him what a good boy he was for reading it and everything.

Perhaps he prefers to think of himself as a pony?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The votes are in...

...and Internet porn has it! Starting today, Bleisenblog will feature, for your viewing pleasure, *&%$ ^#$* ^**&$! Just kidding! Actually, it was a tie for first place, between porn and a pyramid scheme. I think the logical option is to combine the two--make one adult video, send it to your ten best friends, receive thousands over the next ten years! It's foolproof! And also send me your credit card information!


You know how in disney movies elephants are scared of mice? That gives you a good picture of what Dylan is like with ants. She'll see one on the sidewalk and point to it and do a little scared dance and yell NO NO NO and scamper away with her penguin-run-waddle.


The cat two houses down used the opportunity of Snuffy's absence to express his undying love for Dylan. I didn't know it was possible for cats to run over excitedly to be petted. My impression was that they generally hang out in the corner disdainfully ignoring you. But I'm allergic so I don't have much real world experience on this one. Anyway, this cat (possibly named Mr. Cat) will come running if he sees Dylan and flop down next to her for a belly rub. She is delighted because most of the furry beasts of her experience outweigh her by a good 50+ pounds and this one is more her size. I've noticed much less cat love since Snuffy came back, with his stereotypical views on the cat subject.


And now, a little Art by Kate. I think you can assume that these little sketches will be worth a pretty penny one day, as will early drafts of blog posts jotted on cocktail napkins.

This one I drew while Aaron was away to explain where he was ('up up in the sky in a plane' for three days, as it turned out). There is still some lingering confusion when he goes to work as to whether that involves a plane flight.
This one was for when Snuffy was out of town, possibly in a plane. He's a dog who has a lot of business to attend to.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I hate to narrate from Dylan's perspective, but I'm only human

Here is my new bike-uh
I better go get someone to put me in it
Daddy, the bike-uh is over there
See? Right here?
Are you daft, man?
Daddy, that is your bike-uh
Wait, what about MINE?
Here it is. Right here.You guys suck
Faster, woman

Questions under consideration at Bleisenblog Headquarters

1) Does our new bike attachment mean that we need to get fancy new bikes to go with it?

2) Which contractor should we choose to repave the driveway? Or should we get more estimates? Or should we just end it all rather than deal with this?

3) Should we rush out first thing tomorrow morning and adopt this guy (sorry no photo)? Should we? Should we? Should we?

Friday, June 13, 2008

We need some leather jackets

Dylan and I took a 45-minute bike ride before work today. Bike? was the first thing she said when I picked her up from daycare. Best toy ever.


Waiting for Get Smart

"I finally called the garden hotline about the peach trees."

"Oh, what did they say?"

"It's hard to diagnose things like this over the phone. Why don't you bring it in to our diagnostic lab for $15."

"Ah, the old garden-hotline-diagnostic-lab-referral racket. That's the oldest trick in the book!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MAMA could perhaps be a little nicer

Snuffy's at Camp Have My Parents Take Care of Him, so no picture of the new haircut for a few days.


Summer ultimate league started tonight. There's a big fancy new playground right next to it, and Aaron and I at first couldn't figure out if we'd never noticed it before because we didn't care about such things or if it was actually new. Last summer I was in a co-ed league and my team was sort of lame, as often happens with the co-ed leagues around here. This summer I'm just doing the women's league and it was so much fun and I've been doing this long enough to be the one bossing everyone around and you know how I like that. Stop by tomorrow if you want to hear about how sore I am.


Lesson of the day: if you alternate bites of cream cheese and buttercream frosting, it tastes just like cheesecake.


Here is a picture of Very Angry and Slightly Injured Dylan. It wasn't supposed to be that way, because what kind of jerk would I be then, running to get the camera all the time instead of helping? Oh.What I was trying to capture was Sort of Dumb But Cute Dylan, because you see how she has her arm looped around the table leg? She was holding the blocks like that and couldn't figure out what to do and was stuck there for a long time in some confusion and it was funny until she dropped the whole thing on her foot. I guess there's really no way around me being a jerk for this one. Tomorrow's a new day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Aaron has been out of town since Sunday morning. 5:30am Sunday if you want to be exact, as those of us who drove him to the airport were required to be. If I had mentioned it earlier I was concerned that ruffians would descend on our house, knowing that the patriarch was gone, so I can only safely reveal his absence now that he is back. Thankfully, he learned a lot of detailed statistical methods that he has enthusiastically relayed to me in all their great detail.

Dylan and I went to the airport this afternoon to pick him up after an exceptionally cranky day on her part. At least, she was cranky for me, she always seems to be an angel at daycare on those kinds of days. While we waited she was writhing around unhappily on a bench, whining all the while. When Aaron came into view it took me a while to get her attention over all the cranking, but eventually I succeeded. She saw him and screamed DADDY at the top of her lungs and sprinted over to the glass security wall that he was on the other side of. The whole crowd of people waiting there started cracking up. She couldn't actually get to him for a while because the glass wall is sort of long and he is a slow-moving kind of guy, but eventually they had a joyous reunion. Aaron says it's nice that she can remember stuff for more than 24 hours (like her father, for example).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Then she saved the princess

The poll will stay open through the weekend in case you need some time to carefully consider your options. Venture capital also welcome.


All of a sudden it's summer (see: three days of complaining about the heat/not-heat-humidity) and all of a sudden we have an actual kid who likes to do actual kid things. Maybe fun summer activities are cosmic payback for the spitting up in lieu of napping phase?

Anyway, Saturday we went to a festival right at the spot where we took Dylan on her first real excursion when she was a few days old. I remember that day really well because I was SO EXCITED to get out and it was a nice fall day and there was dessert involved. Aaron also remembers that day fondly because: gelato.

We had just as nice a time this time, although different things appealed to each of us. For me, it was hard to top the discovery of mayonnaise-soaked corn on the cob as a street food. True to her love of heavy machinery, Dylan was quite fond of the shuttle bus we took from the parking area. Actually, I don't know what was in it for Aaron, my charming company aside.
There was one other thing it in for Dylan, though. Did you know they make little kid bounce houses? They do.
My skills as your constant photowoman were sorely tested, as the mesh made the auto focus not work and I had to do it manually and that's backbreaking labor you know.Dylan weaseled her way around the time limit and spent about 20 minutes in there.

I eventually realized the bounce house had a giant mushroom, turtle, and a flower that looked like it could provide fire power.
Shortly thereafter she did a unintentional, but nonetheless impressive, full body flip over the turtle's head.She didn't seem to mind. Or notice.

Tragically not pictured: Aaron going in after her and dragging her out by the ankles. She's learned a thing or two from Snuffy.


"Oooh, look, a duck race! Sunday at 3pm. What time is it?"

"Saturday. You need a day clock."