Month Number Five or Some Basic Truths And Maybe One That I Made Up

June 1

It is of course important that Maisie gets a well-rounded education so I have supplemented her baseball viewing with European soccer viewing.


Maisie, like her father, doing something productive around the house.

When not obsessed with European soccer, Maisie seems to be obsessed with the outside.  We sit in the early morning and she stares out the window to the front yard, taking it all in:  the flowers outside, the passing cars, Larsen’s bakery down the block, the statue of Leif Ericson in Ballard, the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, the Palouse, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, the Great Plains, Wrigley Field, Lake Erie, Appalachians, New York, Original Ray’s Pizza, the other Original Ray’s Pizza, Ocean, Eiffel Tower, Uzbekistan, the Beijing McDonald’s in Dongxiakhouzhen, Ocean #2, the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, the statue of the gnome with his pants down in the back yard, she sees it all.

June 2

What is it about traveling on an airplane with a four month old that strikes fear into the hearts of parents?  It’s everything.  The meltdown in the parking shuttle, the tantrum in line at security, the bigger tantrum at the full body scanner, the bigger bigger tantrum when the kid two checkpoints over starts to melt down, the all-out wail when we try to eat, the screams when we try to check in her stroller…

Yeah, none of that happened.  She was perfect all the way, asleep, slumped over in her car seat like she shouldn’t have had that last bottle of baby formula.

June 4


It became quickly apparent that this was not going to be a high school graduation ceremony that would go down in history for its brevity.  It was an hour and a half in and they were still introducing teachers, counselors and at least 250 “special guests,” all of whom had to be named individually.  These special guests were probably important, but at one point it seemed the administration of Madera High started inviting people off the street just so they could impress the other school districts with how many special guests they were able to invite.  Finally, after about another hour and a half, the students marched out.  Cousin Kyle walked by and gave us some type of cool kid salute, which I think was actually sign language for, “Ha ha, you’re stuck here until I get my diploma.”

Well, anyway it took about an hour more to get the kids, teachers and the special guests in their seats.  Then came the speeches.  OK, you can forgive the students for being corny, immature and not really all that funny because they’re, like, eighteen and still in those not-so-funny years.  But what is unforgivable is listening to the principal go on about all the “new fangled technology.”  OK, grandpa, now everybody in Madera knows you can’t operate an iPhone but your six year old can.

Following this, there were more presentation of scholarships, perfect attendance awards (aka the Lifelong Dork Award), and a song that was either “I still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” or “Hello Dolly” depending on which side of the stadium you were sitting.  So finally, three hours later, we finally get to the presentation of the diploma.  Now when I went to school, diplomas were given out in alphabetical order.  But Madera High does it differently, they split the students up into different schools to make it seem more collegiate I guess.  So there’s like the School of Science and Technology, the School of Health and Humanities, the School of Liberal Arts and Chili Beans, the School of Hanging Around Bowling Alleys And Sitting On The Hood Of Parked Cars, etc.  Kyle was in the School of Farm Equipment and Practical Jokes That Involve Lunchmeat and thankfully was one of the first “Schools” to get their diploma.  Which was a good thing because according to my calculations (324 diplomas @ 5 seconds a diploma), the graduation would be over by June of 2013.  Just in time to start all over again.


Gerard Dou, 53, of Madera, was clean shaven when the graduation began.

BEST LINE OF THE EVENING.  One of my sisters saying that when Maisie graduates they’ll have to wheel us out in wheelchairs.

June 7

PARTY WITH THE RELATIVES.  Maisie got to meet my half of the gene pool today, as my sister had a sort of coming-out party for the Maiso.  Cousins, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, the guy who cleans the pool, they all were invited out to officially welcome Maisie into the family.   Which they did with open arms and Maisie returned the favor by welcoming them with a shirt that read, “Are these people really my relatives?”   Now as much as I would love to cheerfully paint my extended family and friends as a bunch of hillbillies with a total of fourteen teeth between them, they are all actually a decent bunch.  Sure things can get scary sometimes (especially when the older guests start wearing the baby clothes), but at least the knife fights, hair pulling and pig wrestling are kept to a minimum.  This was a nice pleasant afternoon spent by the pool eating pork brisket, passing the baby around and drinking Bud Light to the point of falling out of the patio chairs.

After this picture was taken, Maisie clocked Marty for stealing her hat.

June 9

BABY CLOTHES.  I’m not exactly sure who designs baby clothes, but I think the person that does might be a bit distracted.   One of Maisie’s outfits has small purple and pink flower patterns with the huge face of a bear slapped on the rear end for no apparent reason other than to call attention to the fact that babies have huge butts.  There’s another outfit Maisie has with small polka dots plastered all over it, and, with no apparent reason, half a flower stitched on to the side.  It was kind of like when the seamstress finished the pattern, he or she looked at it and said, “you know what this outfit really needs is half a flower plastered on it.  Oh wait, look, there’s half a flower on the floor.”


Fig 1: A close cousin to the Purple And Pink Flower Pattern With Bear On Butt Pant: The Purple With Black Polka Dot Bear-On-Butt Pant

June 12

LITTLE CONVERSATIONS.  Maisie is now holding conversations with her mother, her father, her dolls, the ceiling, the light switch, etc.  They’re loud conversations and obviously important since it is common knowledge that the louder people talk, the more important whatever it is they have to say.  Maisie especially enjoys having these loud conversations at 6:30 in the morning in which seems to be giving out clear directives.  Like “Wor Pope Paw Mando Tye Pard” followed by that look that says you had better understand what I’m saying or I’m going to puke on both your shoulders just like last night.

NOTE:  We think Maisie is actually trying to form words, but it’s kind of tough to make it out when something that sounds like “Mommy” also sounds like “Mogedishu.”

June 14

GRADUATION UPDATE.  The School of Chemistry and Pants Zippers are currently receiving their diplomas.

June 15

WORTH EVERY PENNY.  There is nothing quite like waking up in the morning, walking into the bedroom and being greeted by the biggest, most cheerful smile in the world.  OK, a big stick of salami comes close, but still not quite the same.

Also better than zungenwurst.

June 17

UNCLE EARL.  A couple days ago, Uncle Earl stopped by to say hello to Maisie.  He showed up at the door with a six pack of PBR and a children’s book about The Cuban Missile Crisis (actually it wasn’t a children’s book but in Uncle Earl’s mind anything lying around his house that he’s already read and doesn’t have to buy qualifies as a children’s book).   Upon meeting Maisie, Earl opened one of the PBR’s and said “Why that is the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen in my life, let’s see if she likes beer.”  That was the first of many interventions we had to do over the next hour, but when Earl finally sped away in his Ford Taurus, there was only minimal damage in the form of some spilt beer and a couple new additions to Maisie’s swear vocabulary.

“Well, thank God, he only stayed an hour,” Aimee said.

“ Yeah, no kidding.  I do love your family but your uncle is crazy.”

“My uncle?  He’s not my uncle.  I thought he was your uncle.”


Uncles Earl and Merle

June 19


This morning was my first Father’s Day ever as a father.

For me, Father’s Day was always one of those holidays that I figured I would never get to celebrate.  Kind of like Women’s Suffrage Day or Hannukah or Benjamin Harrison Day.  But the best laid plans for holiday non-observation often go astray.  So I was greeted this Father’s Day morning by Aimee carrying a couple Father’s Day Cards and something in a bag, and Maisie carrying two long packages of Nerds Rope like she was one of my childhood drunk neighbors ready to shoot guns into the night sky to celebrate Christmas.  She came over and banged me on the head with them, her way of saying, “Happy Father’s Day Daddy, enjoy your quart of sugar.”

Happy Father's Teeth Falling Out Soon Day.

June 20



In the Alaskan Tundra where the temperatures rarely get over freezing and the sun disappears sometimes for months, there is a small group of little known mammals known as the Butt Ox.  They are a member of the Bovidae family, and are close cousins to the Musk Ox.  But unlike the Musk Ox they do not emit a strong musky odor to attract females during the mating season.  Instead, they raise on their hind legs and extend their sizeable posteriors and move them around in a counter-clockwise circle.  Often times the ritual movement will be accompanied by a guttural sound in the throat not unlike the call of the Angus Boob Cat.  If the male Butt Ox is extremely aroused, the guttural sound will be accompanied by sudden and violent expulsions of gas from the posterior region, which is known in Inuit Circles as… Lhoutfarrhtstusaatsiarunnanngittualuujunga.  Lhoutfarrhts is untranslatable from Inuit to English, but tusaatsiarunnanngittaualuujunga translates literally to “from the Butt Ox.”  So some of the more assimilated Inuit tribes in the Arctic have married the two Inuit and English phrases and now refer to these audible Bovidaean sequences as “LhoutfarrhtsfromtheButtOx.”

OK, so maybe there wasn’t much of a story there, but like she’s going to remember any of it.

June 22

BABY LOGIC.  Here’s how Baby Logic works.  Say the Baby wants a pacifier, this is how it works in their mind when they see the pacifier.

  1. I want my pacifier…
  2. Therefore I’m going to grab my pacifier and throw it across the room.

Or if they’re really tired and want to go to sleep.

  1. I’m really tired and want to go to sleep…
  2. Therefore I’m going to scream and cry and keep myself awake.

Or if the baby is nearing capacity at feeding time.

  1. I’m starting to get full…
  2. Therefore I’m going to drink a bunch more until I vomit.

And that’s how it works.  Get used to it.

June 25

THE AMAZING REVERSIBLE BABY BIB/SUPER HERO CAPE.  Yet one more brilliant product idea to make us all rich…



June 25

As she gains more control over her hands and arms, I’ve found Maisie has found new ways to express herself.  If she likes something she will stick it in her mouth.  How much she likes it, depends on how far in she sticks it .  So you can easily make the assumption that she somewhat likes her stuffed giraffe or Hello Kitty doll but she really really likes the band attached to the pacifier, the box that the Julius stroller cards came in and my driver’s license.

P.S.  I do feel somewhat sorry for the giraffe in that he probably wasn’t expecting to lose his right ear when he first came to the house.

June 28

ROCK A BYE MAISIE.  Last night Maisie was cranky.  So I put her in her bed and turned on the “Rock A Bye Baby” jungle mobile music box thing above her crib.  Then I began to sing it to her.  As I was singing I thought to myself, “has anybody actually listened to the words of this song?”  Here’s the gist.  A kid in his cradle somehow ends up in a tree.  Breeze comes along which causes the cradle and kid up in the tree to rock precipitously.  Then suddenly the branch holding the cradle breaks off and kid and cradle plummet to the ground.

What the hell?  This is a lullaby?

So I did a bit of research and apparently back in the olden days, parents would hang babies in birch bark cradles from tree branches, which would allow the wind to rock them to sleep.   This may explain the origin of the song, but still doesn’t redeem the parents for sticking their kid up in a tree.

June 29

I believe they may just be halfway done at the Madera High School graduation but don’t quote me on that.

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