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March 29, 2009


We used to drive from Massachusetts to Kansas City in one straight shot, switching off every four hours or so, and making it door-to-door in just about 22 hours. No motels. No sit-down meals. No snooping about at petting zoos or other roadside curiosities. We drove until we got there. And when we got there, we felt fine.

Things have changed. I have been so wearied in the wake of our return trek that I have not even had the fortitude to post. Here, then, are some disconnected items from the past week or so, things that will be lost if I don't get them out. So bear with me.

Last Monday, as we took a deep breath in the wake of four straight days of basketball, we went to visit some of my old friends in Kansas City. We stopped to see my friend Alison, who was meeting Alden for the first time.


Ali's daughter Margo was there, wearing an inspirational princess outfit.


Alden was inspired by the princess outfit.


Though she found out the hard way why princesses don't crawl.


Robbi was inspired by the princess outfit.


I was inspired by the princess outfit, but Margo wouldn't let me wear it. Apparently it was time to dance.

IMG_0920.jpg IMG_0924.jpg IMG_0922.jpg

After visiting Ali's we headed out for burgers and milkshakes at Winstead's, a Kansas City dining institution.


Note: the following is a recreation and not a photo of our actual meal.


While there, Alden was almost carried off by the mother ship.


Instead she was carried off by Grandpa John.


Who did his best to teach her how to walk.


She seems enthusiastic about the idea of walking, but has not yet committed to the mechanics. She may be getting closer. Today she stood independently for about twenty seconds.

While we were in Kansas City, Alden took great pleasure in standing on top of the Cookie Monster chair.


Grandma Judy got Alden this and four other headbands for her birthday (in a variety of colors, of course, mean to compliment her many stylish outfits.)


And I completely forgot to mention in the last entry about the birthday: Aunt Courtney got Alden a third eye (to match her own). It is an eerie and disconcerting thing, and fortunately, she does not wear it very often.


On our way home from Kansas City, we stopped in St. Louis to visit our nieces Laramie and Scarlett.


I admire Scarlett's piercing blue eyes.


Somewhere in Indiana, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel that had an Alden-sized rocker outside.


We arrived home and each fell into profound stupor.

The next day, Uncle Donald and Aunt Ann showed up to bring Alden yet another birthday present: a Radio Flyer trike!


Alden's enthusiasm for the trike is evident.


We took her on a ride around the block this afternoon. It did wonders for Alden's sense of self-empowerment and horrible things for my back. Her legs are about three inches too short to reach the pedals and so I must bend over horribly and push her to and fro. This in no way diminishes Alden's sense that she is completely in charge of the tricycle and its motions.

We went to visit Sarah at Bookplate.


Clearly Alden thinks the thing is a Harley and that she is now too cool for the rest of us.


I suppose I ought to get used to this. Now that she is one, it is only twelve years until she becomes a horrible teenager. Several people have advised me to enjoy these years before she knows me well enough to object to the embarrassing things that I do.

From certain looks on certain days, I get the sense that the downfall has already begun.


Posted by bogenamp at 10:05 PM

March 24, 2009

Birthday Girl

As previously mentioned, today was Alden's first birthday. Much of the day transpired like any other.

Even before breakfast, she was up to no good.


She went to Hobby Lobby with Grandma Judy.


She hung out with the dogs. Because it was her birthday, Iggy and Charley let Alden have her own bone.


Grandma Judy and Aunt Courtney spent most of the afternoon making an amazing cake.


After dinner, the party began.


There were presents.


Including a KU baby cheerleader outfit from Aunt Courtney.


And an extravagant noisemaking plastic thing in a box.


After opening presents, it was time for Alden to eat her cake. Fearing for its safety, we removed the cheerleading outfit.

At first Alden was tentative, not sure what to make of the goopy yellow mound before her.


She tasted the cake and she saw that it was good.


Very good.


She told us all about it.


Perhaps my favorite present of the day came from my grandmother, who included in her birthday card to Alden three photos of my dad's first birthday, 63 years ago.


It was a good day, one on which Robbi had considerably more fun than she did at this time last year.


Posted by bogenamp at 11:54 PM

Revenge of the Moonmen

I am sorry to preempt the post on Alden's first birthday with other news, but frankly something far more important has just transpired. The second of our One-Page Wonders has just been published on Tor.com. Revenge of the Moonmen is now available by clicking here.

At first glance, Revenge of the Moonmen may seem to be nothing more than a silly comic, but look closer and you will see that it is, in fact, a macabre tale of ruthless dismemberment, mindless commercial exploitation, and bloody revenge. Bloody, I say!

Here is one of the hapless Venus People, blissfully unaware of the intergalactic whoop ass that is about to be unleashed upon her.


Take out your scissors and get to work.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:35 PM

One Year

Today is Alden's first birthday. To commemorate the anniversary of her arrival, I commissioned a portrait from our friend Emily Kalwaitis, whose work often focuses on capturing the inner life of young girls. Usually her work is quite fantastical and not based on actual subjects, but she accepted the challenge of painting Alden, and I think she did a remarkable job.


Here's the photo Emily used as a model, but I like the way she did not merely follow the letter of the law.


Certainly the portrait looks like Alden, but Emily went beyond capturing likeness. She somehow infused the painting with the spirit of the child. The impishness, the curiosity, the introspection.

I asked Emily if she'd be interested in taking on other commissions and she said that she would. If you are interested, you can email her. Apparently, if I include her email address here, she will get all sorts of nasty spam from the predatory programs that prowl blogs at night while we sleep. But her email address is posted on her site.

I'll include a few of Emily's paintings below, but there are many more to be enjoyed on her site.





Happy Birthday, Alden. It has been a very good year.

Posted by bogenamp at 01:33 AM

March 23, 2009

Dog Park

It was another beautiful day in Kansas City.

The flowers were in bloom.


The dogs were content.


Before the fourth straight day of basketball got underway, we decided to go to the local dog park. It was, after all, the birthday of Charley, my stepsister Courtney's very fine dog.

At the dog park, we walked around while the dogs frisked. Grandma Judy was in charge of the high-performance jogging stroller.


Alden was supposed to be wearing this green hat. But she doesn't like it when the hat fits snugly on her head.


No, she much prefers it when the hat sits haphazardly atop her head in such a position that it cannot actually do a bit of good.


She is a contemptuous little cuss. Nevertheless, the exploration of the dog park continued.

Iggy and Charley were particularly taken with the dog tunnel.

Iggy had more trouble with it than Charley did.



But, eventually she made her way through it.


While at the dog park, we let Alden try a few new thrills.

First we tried swinging.


She didn't really like it.


Nor did she think much of sliding.


She wasn't particularly keen on the jungle gym.


Rock climbing, however, might be her born calling.


At the center of the dog park, there was an enormous water tower.


It seemed unlikely that I would be able to jump over it. But the more I convinced myself that it couldn't be done, the more I wanted to try.


Back at home, Alden was attacked by a bear.


After recovering from that trauma, she settled in with Grandpa John to watch the Kansas/Dayton basketball game.


Meanwhile, Charley's birthday party was happening upstairs. Courtney made Charley a special dog cake out of dog-friendly ingredients. Naturally, the cake was shaped like a bone.


Not only did Charley get a birthday cake,


...but he ate it, too.

So far this visit has been overwhelmed with basketball. We have either watched or closely followed 48 games in the past four days. Fortunately, both my team (Duke) and my dad's team (Kansas) managed to advance to the sweet 16, and so both my dad and I are in relatively good spirits as we contemplate three days of no basketball. The powers that be require us to wait until Thursday for the tournament to resume. Good thing, because we are starting to unnerve and alienate the others in our lives, those who do not understand how 48 basketball games in four days can possibly be a good idea.

Fortunately, Alden is not one of these people. She fully understands the importance of college basketball, the tournament, and coming up with novel ways to express one's enthusiasm while cheering for the good guys.


I expect her patented "hand gnaw" move to be all the rage by the time the games resume on Thursday.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:14 AM

March 20, 2009

Day of Rest

Yesterday I watched far too much basketball at the new Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. Four games in twelve hours.


I could tell you about the games, but most of you probably don't care. ESPN.com has excellent coverage of the tournament, should you care to learn more about it.

Today I have been watching far too much basketball in the basement of my Dad's house in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Various of my uncles are here, and we are sitting around hoping for upsets, only a few of which have been forthcoming so far this year.

Alden has spent the day crawling around on the floor, amusing and delighting us while we watch. So far, she seems not to be much of a college basketball fan. I am working hard to change this.

But today is special for a reason beyond mere basketball. Today is Iggy's fourth birthday.


We gave her a bone.


And took her for a walk.


It is the first day of spring, and we all felt it.


The flowers were out.


Alden stopped a while to smell them.


She was unimpressed.


But then I informed her that Kansas had just won its first-round game against North Dakota State, and she beamed.


Perhaps she's wiser than I thought.

Posted by bogenamp at 05:46 PM

March 19, 2009

On the Road

We spent the last 24 hours driving to Kansas. It is so far from Maryland.

We stopped somewhere in Western PA last night. Alden beheld the dawn from the doorway of room 316 at the Motel 6.


We drove and drove. Eventually we stopped to eat. Alden appreciated that the pies at the Blue Belle Diner were, as promised by the billboard, "one foot high."


She was floored by the generous, family-style portions.


As was I. Six hours later, I'm still feeling a little unwell. But we are here, safely arrived at my dad's house. Tomorrow I will watch four Division I men's basketball games. It's what my dad and I do this time every year.

Posted by bogenamp at 01:41 AM

March 17, 2009

Idiots'Books and Bombadil: Sneak Preview

At the most basic level, what interests Robbi and me artistically is collaboration: the thing that happens when two minds set themselves the task of wrestling with the same question, problem, or mystery from two fundamentally separate starting points. In most cases, the collaboration involves Robbi's images and my words. Recently, we've had the opportunity to add an entirely new dimension to the equation.

I have written here previously of our friends in the band Bombadil. We met them when they came to Chestertown last winter, and quickly we discovered that we and they shared a compatible sensibility.


We loved their music and they loved our books and so it seemed to them a natural fit to have us design and name their new album. Bombadil let us operate with a fairly blank slate, saying only that the album art should be some sort of story with pictures. They shared demos of the new material and gave us a bit of insight into what they were thinking when they wrote the songs, but for the most part they charged us with doing what we do. And so we did.

The result is Tarpits and Canyonlands (which the subscribership will come to know as Volume 22) an album wrapped in an illustrated story which will be released July 7th of this year. The band has started publicizing the album and has released the cover artwork, which I am happy to share with you today.


We'll post the entirety of the album art after the release, but for now you can savor the anticipation along with the rest of Bombadil nation.

Here's their MySpace page, if you want to listen to tracks from their last album, A Buzz, a buzz (you can download the whole thing via iStore) and see more of Robbi's album art for Tarpits and Canyonlands.

And here is thier website, if you want to learn how to be a better groupie.

These guys are amazing. And they take really good promotional pictures.

Like this one, for instance:


And here's another:


I mean, doesn't this make you want to be 25 and in an up-and-coming rock band?

Posted by bogenamp at 03:35 PM

March 16, 2009

Idiots'Books on USA Today's Pop Candy: Hip and Hidden

Friends, the triumphant march of Captain A-OK continues! Just now, we have been blogged about by Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Pop Candy. Click here to see!

Here is Whitney (isn't she cute?):


Her blog is devoted to:


Following this line of reasoning, Robbi and I must be...hip. Such a thing had never occurred to us. Naturally, we're hidden, by dint of living in Chestertown. But hip? Little old we? Does she know how we dress? The mind reels. Thank you Whitney Matheson for making our day. And for initiating a minor identity crisis.

Posted by bogenamp at 01:13 PM

March 14, 2009


I have spent most of the last couple of days in production mode. If all goes according to plan, we will be mailing Volume 20 to the subscribership on Monday. Which means that I have to make 200 copies of it.

The first step is printing it out. This step is more complicated than you might think. The printer is a finicky beast. Robbi has to spend a lot of time making sure that the ink heads don't get clogged and cause unsightly streaks, for example. But fortunately, the printer is capable of collating the pages so that we don't have to set all of the individual pages out on the work table and order them by hand.


Unless Robbi forgets to push the collate button. In which case we do have to set all of the individual pages out on the work table and order them by hand. Robbi really hates it when she forgets to push the collate button.


After printing (and collating), it was time for trimming. Ever since my acquisition of the large, impressive guillotine cutter, my life has gotten a lot easier on the trimming front.

Behold the guillotine cutter:


I put the paper in:


I pull the big lever:



Producing a neatly trimmed stack of pages.


Which I place on the table to admire.


Sometimes I admire them up close.


Next up, I staple each book along the spine. We did not photograph the stapling, though I have to wonder why. Stapling is a very sexy part of the process. My stapler is very powerful. If I asked it to, it could staple through 210 pages at once. I have never asked it to.

After the stapling, I had to pound down the stapes to make them flat. I do this with a hammer and a concrete floor. We did not photograph the staple pounding either. I am glad that we did not. Kneeling on a concrete floor pounding staples is an undignified affair.

The final step in producing this particular book is adding a strip of binding tape to form a spine. This part is best done in near-darkness, by a single bulb.

First I have to trim the strip of tape.


Next I contemplate an untaped copy of Jericho.


And then I place the tape along the spine.


I do this 200 times, and then I'm done.


There is a certain pleasure in seeing the finished books all stacked together in neat piles.

Next up, we prepare the mailing. This is another wholly unphotogenic enterprise.

Which means we will conclude with something that is photogenic, a small child proudly baring her two-and-a-half teeth.


Thanks to friends Peter and Veronica for snapping this shot. And for taking this one, in which the babies in containers contest continues.


Note the backdrop for this shot: Veronica is an ardent Red Sox fan. Peter is a lifelong Yankees guy. Notice the prominent Boston "B" on the side of the bowl. I'm guessing that Peter won't be inviting Alden back to their place any time soon.

No matter. She's needed around home. As soon as she can hold a hammer, she is going to take on the role of staple pounder. Though she tells me that she'd much prefer to write the books.


Posted by bogenamp at 01:03 AM

March 12, 2009

Barn in the Snow

It occurs to me that we often talk about the barn but seldom show what it looks like. Many people who come to visit us are disappointed (or at least disoriented) at the gulf between the picture that they have in their heads and the reality that they find when they arrive. Mostly, they are thrown off by the fact that the barn in their minds is in the middle of a field surrounded by open acres and grazing animals. Perhaps at one point our barn was a solitary structure, but now it finds itself smack in the middle of the Chestertown Historic District. It is lucky that the barn is used these days for purposes like making pottery and writing books instead of being part of a grain or pork-producing venture.

We took some pictures of the barn just after last week's snowstorm. Here is our home. And our factory.


In spite of being nestled among other old wooden buildings, the barn is lovely and rich with character. When renovating, we managed to preserve much of the original feel. Please come see it if you happen to find yourself on route 213 with some extra time on your hands. We are almost always home. And if you happen to come by way of Annapolis, please bring a Chipotle burrito.

And here is your reward for three straight days of book-related posts. A picture of two babies in a cat tower.


Not exactly a container, but still...

Posted by bogenamp at 10:55 PM

And Now EphBlog!

Capping a three-day string of self-congratulatory posts, we are happy to announce that Captain A-Ok Fights Blug-Glub-Glub has now been posted to EphBlog, a blog dedicated to the dissemination and discussion of all things related to Williams College and its wide universe of people (of which Robbi and I are two).


Click here to read a very nice post by Ronit Bhattacharyya. (Raise your hand if you know anyone else with consecutive "Y"s in his name.)

If you have been a faithful reader and clicker these past three days, the story in question might by now start to seem rather stale . Resist the temptation to let familiarity dull delight. If you haven't actually printed Captain A-OK out yet, if you haven't actually folded and cut the paper to see how the various narrative combinations arise, you might want give it a try. It's really kind of neat.

Be sure to check in tomorrow to see us posted on Drudge Report. After Tor.com, BoingBoing, and EphBlog, what else is there?

Posted by bogenamp at 10:40 AM

March 11, 2009


Friends, it has come to my attention that our new story, Captain A-OK Fights Blug-Glub-Glub has been posted to BoingBoing, which is, according to my friend Stella, "the internet's greatest consolidator or DIY, art, news, politics, and ephemera." We are pleased to have been considered worthy of such company.


Even if you've already found the story on Tor.com, feel free to check it out on BoingBoing by clicking right here. Following the principle that leftovers are sometimes even tastier than the meal itself.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:54 PM

March 09, 2009

Captain A-OK Fights Blug-Glub-Glub

HIGH EXCITEMENT. CLICK HERE NOW. (Then read the rest once you've come back down to earth.)

A few months ago, we were approached by the folks at tor.com (major scifi publishing house) about producing a series of stories for them.


Apparently, the folks at tor.com are convinced that the printing of books as we know it (on paper and sold in stores, for example) is soon to come to a crashing halt, and so they have committed themselves to amassing a body of quality online literature/art/comics, etc.

Robbi and I put our heads together and tried to come up with something interesting that would work well in this context. Our solution: a single page of words and pictures that can be downloaded, printed out, cut once, folded three times, and then recombined into ten separate stories (with pictures). For those of you who are familiar with our books Ten Thousand Stories and After Everafter, here is a one-sheet riff on that idea. We call them One-Page Wonders.

Over the next few months, Tor.com will be publishing a series of four of these. We are happy to announce that the first of them, Captain A-OK Fights Blug-Glub-Glub is available now. By clicking here. So do it. And click here to see our glorious prominence (for the short-lived present) on the tor.com homepage.

Here is Captain A-OK.


Isn't he dashing? I think Robbi must have modeled him after me.

Be sure to take a moment to watch the nifty instructional film (with soundtrack by Drew Bunting and mad banjo by Brian Slattery) that Robbi produced to teach the teeming masses the various ways to combine the One-Page Wonders.

Get some scissors. Warm up your printer. Have fun.

Posted by bogenamp at 11:26 PM

March 08, 2009

At the Flower Show

Alden and I are here in Philadelphia for the last two days of the Flower Show. She has been very helpful...


...at drawing customers to the booth.


We received several offers from customers wanting to purchase her. But we decided to let her grow for another year in hopes of fetching a higher price next year.

I have taken more pictures, of course, which will be posted when time allows. The show ends at 6:00 tonight and then we pack up the truck for the trip back to Chestertown.

Posted by bogenamp at 05:43 PM

March 06, 2009

Seeking Advice

The Christmas before last, Robbi's parents gave me a set of drinking glasses for Christmas. They are rather nice-looking glasses, and when I opened the box I felt very adult being the kind of person who had a set of matching and nice-looking drinking glasses.


Some months ago, we picked our friend Josh up at his house en route to seeing Tropic Thunder at the Chester 5.


Josh was eating some sort of high-protein homebrew smoothie when we picked him up. He finished the smoothie on the way to the movie and then left the glass on the floor of the car, where it was forgotten when we dropped Josh back off at home after the movie. Over days and weeks, it was gradually covered with sediment, eventually becoming one with the general disorder of the car's interior. When we sold the old car and bought the new one, Josh's glass was unearthed. We brought it inside, nursed it back to health, and gradually incorporated it into our family routine. Although our earnest plan was to return the glass to Josh, I started using it more and more frequently, taking great enjoyment from its sturdy construction, its pleasing contour, and its overall appearance--so prosaically exotic in contrast with my matching set of elegant, adult drinking glasses.

Here is Josh's glass.


Josh came over for dinner the other night, and it occurred to me when he was here that it was probably appropriate to reunite him with his missing glass. I pulled it from the cabinet and ruminated wistfully on the time that the glass and I had spent together, telling Josh how much the glass had meant to me and that, even though I was parting with it willingly, there was a tiny part of me that would perish with the passing of the glass from my life. Josh looked at me as if he understood. He insisted that I keep the glass.

"I couldn't," I said.

"Dude, it's ok," he said. "I think you love the glass more than I do."

"I couldn't possibly," I said.

"I really think you should," he said.

"Ok," I said. And that was that. The glass is mine. Forever.

But there's more. Not only did Josh give me the glass, but he decided to endow it. Placing four quarters on my kitchen counter, he decreed that the money be used to start a fund that would contribute five percent annually to the filling of my glass.


Josh understood that the fund was modest, but that it represented a solid start toward making sure my beloved glass was always full of something good. Josh is that kind of guy.

So my question is this: how shall I invest this dollar, to maximize my options while also guarding against high risk? Given the state of the markets, I'm anxious about making a bad choice.

In any case, I've got the glass itself, which is something these days. Due to the generosity of Josh's endowment, will always be at least half full.

Posted by bogenamp at 02:10 PM

The Invitation

So Alden and I went to visit Cannon yesterday. Cannon and his very small dog.


It was clear right away that the babies just wanted to be left alone. Alden was like, "Dad, you are so embarrassing."


Did I leave them alone? I did not. I had an obligation to capture every moment with the camera.

Apparently, Cannon had something for Alden.


It was an invitation.


Alden, who has never been invited to anything before in her life, didn't get the concept. And so she tried to invite Cannon to his own party.


The babies had a moment of mutual misunderstanding. It was very moving.


Cannon was like, "Dude, no paparazzi. I'm trying to have a moment here."


Moments later, things took a turn. Swords were produced, and the situation got dicey.

First Cannon did battle with his mom.


Then Alden was pitched into the fray.


Then she did battle with Cannon's mom.


I was just glad no one asked me to take up arms. I surely would have harmed myself. After soundly defeating Alden at swordplay, Cannon's mom delighted her with bubbles.


Then Alden mowed the living room lawn.


And tried valiantly to enjoy her first piece of turkey jerky before realizing that her two and a half teeth were unequal to the challenge.


And then it was time to go. Because I was exhausted. And still am. The little punk woke me at the crack of dawn this morning, ate, and promptly went back to bed. But once I'm up, I'm up. And so I'm up. Bracing myself for the next slate of demands from the tiny dictator.

Posted by bogenamp at 08:44 AM

March 05, 2009

Model Student

Robbi and I are teaching a class at Washington College this spring. The course, called Pictures and Words, aims to get writers and artists to collaborate with one another, working across media to think about ways in which word and image can work with, against, and in spite of one another to create interesting, interdependent expressions that neither one alone could accomplish. Last week, each writer/artist pairing was asked to pitch three ideas for the major project that will consume the rest of the semester.

One of the groups pitched an idea in which a seemingly lovable teddy bear named Commerce would embody the insidious influence of commercialism on unwitting youth. Or something like that. The main point was that Commerce had Freddy Kruger/Wolverine knifefingers, which delighted me considerably.


Ultimately the Commerce approach was not the idea we selected, but I was so smitten with the idea of this lovable, yet homicidal teddy bear that I pleaded with the illustrator in question to draw me a picture of Commerce mutilating one of his victims. I was merely expressing a wish for the sake of expressing it, in the manner that one will often yearn wistfully for things that will likely never come to pass.

But late last night, even though he didn't have to, Mike sent me the following:


It is cultivating such expressions of intellectual energy that make teaching so rewarding. This is better than an apple any day.

Posted by bogenamp at 10:53 AM

March 04, 2009

Moment of Clarity

Note/Warning: today's post has nothing to do with babies and actually contains subject matter that some might consider mildly offensive. If you have come for cute baby pictures, go here instead.

I was driving to the grocery store yesterday and was stopped at a red light. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a peculiar message printed on the front of the huge white pickup truck directly behind me. The message read,


The message itself was astonishing enough, but then I realized . . . given that I was reading the message in my rearview mirror, it was actually printed in backwards lettering. I glanced behind me to confirm that what logic suggested was, in fact, correct.

In spite of being clear, neatly aligned, and entirely legible, the lettering did not seem to be a professionally manufactured decal, but rather a homespun creation. (A subsequent Google search has confirmed my suspicion that "Bassin', Bud, etc" is not a household phrase.) No, someone had evidently decided of his own imagining that it would be a really good idea to write "BASSIN', BUD AND POONTANG, OH YEAH!" on the front of his truck and had summoned the wherewithal and follow-through to actually realize his dream. At no small amount of effort, I venture.

Needless to say, I was awfully impressed. But still, I was left with searching questions:

1) what was I to make of the phrase itself: was it advice, endorsement, or a personal philosophy?
2) what was the meaning of "bassin'"? A Google search quickly confirmed my suspicion that it had something to do with fishing.


3) given the poetic possibilities established by "Bassin'" and "Bud", did the author of the phrase consider "Booty" as an alternative possibility for the third item, for the sake of alliteration?
4) given the evident importance of the message, why did the author of the phrase obscure its meaning by printing it in reverse lettering?
5) did it mean something that I was one of the lucky few to find himself in the exact right spot to read these words and potentially learn from their wisdom? If so, I am still scratching my head, plumbing the depths of my soul for the underlying message. That I may teach others. And understand the wide world just slightly better than I did before.

I was sorry not to have had my camera with me. If I were Robbi, I might draw you a pleasing sketch or use Photoshop to mock up a visual to help you understand how surprising and gratifying the whole thing was. You will simply have to use your imagination. And I must rely upon my memory.

Before I was ready for the moment to end, the light changed, I turned into the Acme parking lot, and my friend the philosopher drove his truck down 213, out of town and on to who knows what adventure.

Posted by bogenamp at 09:10 PM

March 02, 2009

Two Suprises

It doesn't snow much on the Eastern Shore, and when it does, it usually doesn't stay on the ground for long. It was 61 degrees here last Thursday. Dog, baby, and I were out running around in the fields, celebrating the arrival of spring. Winter must have thought our glee premature and unseemly. He has brought his mighty vengeance on Chestertown. And the rest of the East Coast, apparently.

Here is the view down Queen Street at midnight last night.


It was so beautiful and unexpected, I had to take Alden out for a look.


From all evidence, she loved the snow in her face and the strange look of the world.


Every so often she'd catch a huge snowflake in the eyeball and would look up into sky, attempting to see where it had come from.


We had at least six inches at that point, and must have at least four more this morning. Apparently, we're going to get a foot. It must be some sort of recent record for the Shore.

The other surprise? We had a mystery visitor yesterday, who rolled into town just before the snow began to fall:


Apparently news of my reckless, inadequate single parenting had made it all the way to Philly, and Robbi rushed home as quickly as possible to rescue Alden and me from the depths of sloth and gluttony. The baby and I are sorely disappointed. Who knows how long these snows will keep her in our midst...

Posted by bogenamp at 09:10 AM

March 01, 2009

Single Parenthood

Since Robbi departed early Thursday morning for Philadelphia, it has just been Alden and me. All told, it has been a smooth and uneventful span of days.

Fortunately, Alden seems to be her mother's child when it comes to sleeping. She has not been waking up until almost 10:00 each morning, so I've managed to get a few hours of work in before she wakes. When she wakes, the eating ritual begins. Hot cereal with frozen cherries. Cheerios. Baby yogurt. The kid can chow. She makes me proud. After breakfast we play with plastic objects in the living room until she's ready for a nap. While she naps, I work. When she wakes, we go for a walk and complete some minor chore (post office, bank, grocery store). When we come back, we play some more, eat some things from jars, and then go down for another nap. I work. She wakes. We eat. We play some more. She goes to sleep again, this time for the night. I try to do a bit more work, but eventually submit to the day and turn in myself. And so on. It has been nice, really, to spend so much time together.

We have been having our share of fun.

Alden has lately been very interested in getting to know her animal friends. To our shock, Lily, who is always surly, has uncommon patience with the baby.


Even when her tail is pulled with glee.


Iggy is far less certain that she has any interest in getting to know the child.


Alden, however, is incredibly motivated to learn about Iggy, especially her ears.


Iggy, because she is good and patient, quietly suffers the indignity. But it is clear to me, from the look in her eye, that all she wants is to be left alone.


I don't know how to break it to her that there are years of this to come. That this menace is only going to get bigger, and quicker, and ever higher on the food chain.


As I mentioned, we've been doing a lot of eating.

Alden has been exploring frozen peaches.


And I have been exploring heaping pans of nachos.


It must be hard to be a baby, not yet eligible for nachos. Consigned to suck on empty spoons.


Yet make no mistake about it, Alden takes great pleasure in repast.



Just now we had a bit of a breakthrough, Iggy initiating a bit of contat, I thought. Moments later, I discovered that what I had mistaken for affection was mere gastronomical impulse. Alden had a bit of food in her ear, which Iggy gladly helped remove.


Baby steps, I say.

Thanks to those of you who have written with words of support (or was it concern?). The child and I are doing very well. Only one more week of this to go. If the current pace holds up, we both will be very fat and very well rested when Robbi comes home.

Posted by bogenamp at 07:14 PM