Baby Steps

May 6, 2012. The first time Lucy walked. Lucy and Momma were visiting with Great Grandma and others in Harrisburg when Lucy took 2 or 3 steps for the first time. I saw her do the same the next day.

Lucy

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A Day on Baltimore Ave

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Lucy: Year-1

When Lucy was born, one year and one day ago, I decided to try not to get too tied up with documenting everything. She is not a favorite historical subject, nor an outdoor hobby, nor an ongoing political argument with friends strung out across the continent; she is my daughter. Whatever energy I had, I wanted to spend connecting and interacting with her in the first person, not describing it in the third person. I felt like it was a solid idea.

As we approached Lucy’s first birthday party we decided to put together a DVD to show on our TV depicting video and pictures of her taken over the first year of her life. I sort of felt a little panic and thought, have I been taking enough pictures? Well, upon investigation, I assure you I have. And no doubt, after putting together a twelve minute video and slide show DVD in preparation for her first birthday party, I realized plenty of documenting by multiple parties has been going on. So I found there’s plenty of photos and videos, but little written context, aside from what Facebook’s “walled garden” timeline annoyingly and feebly provides. Luckily, we haven’t been anywhere exotic, and there are at least two of us to remember everything in the pictures and videos, but I can’t help but wonder — “what about in 20 years?”

About the same time I was working my way through putting together a DVD about Lucy, I came across an old photo album from when I was in Germany in during the summer of 1992. I was reminded that I made the same decision then. It seemed logical for me at the time to keep track of what I was doing in a journal. After all, I knew then I liked writing. Besides, it was writing that got me into the free program to tour Germany in the first place. But I thought it was more important to just experience everything directly and ditched my initial journal idea. I figured, how could something as cool as being in Europe at age 16 ever lead to having a single shred of memory be at risk of being forgotten?

Or so I thought.

As I paged through the photo album, it was really alarming that so many places and people who seemed to be so critical and and important at the time, are now just faded images of places I can’t name and faces of people I used to know. It really wouldn’t have killed me to have jotted down a few notes along the way. I really regret not having done that.

Anyway, I’m going to be posting here a bit more from now on. Otherwise, I’m afraid it will all just end up running together one day.

Lucy

The photo was taken at Clark Park today with my 2-year old Droid Incredible HTC using the “Amaro” filter in a really cool photo-app I’ve recently discovered, Instagram. It was a brisk Easter morning that included breakfast at the Gold Standard with Gigi and Grandparents Laepple, followed by more food and a gathering at my Aunt Kathy’s.

During our visit, I took Lucy out on the large back lawn and sat her in the middle of a patch of grass, clover, and purple and yellow wildflowers. Her fingers were dexterous enough to grasp a clover, as I showed her how to, but not strong enough to remove it from the soil. I had to do so for her, so she could sit still and grasp it close to her face and examine it. I felt for a brief increment that I would not feel a single moment of regret if the world and time itself were to end at that moment. Then she tried to eat it.

There was a brief moment with my father and cousin Jimi in the room where I thought Lucy would take her first step. I think she’s going to keep us on edge for a few weeks. She seems so close.

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This Child

“I will ask you to project the look on a child’s face when he grasps the answer to some problem he has been striving to understand. It is a radiant look of joy, of liberation, almost of triumph, which is unselfconscious, yet self-assertive, and its radiance seems to spread in two directions: outward, as an illumination of the world—inward, as the first spark of what is to become the fire of an earned pride. If you have seen this look, or experienced it, you know that if there is such a concept as “sacred”—meaning: the best, the highest possible to man—this look is the sacred, the not-to-be-betrayed, the not-to-be-sacrificed for anything or anyone.”
- Ayn Rand

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The Ascent of Baby

A few weekends ago we went to Jenny and Todd’s place for Audry’s 1st birthday party. There were many babies. Not quite as many when we had a pot-luck dinner a few weeks back with 15 babies (!) between 6 weeks and 10 months old, but there were many babies all the same. Here’s Lucy in this video at 6 mos, Audrey (12 mos), Molly (18 mos), and my college friend, Jenny (431 mos).

Amongst our crowd of friends we have a couple with a daughter who is about 24 months old and another from another couple who is 30 months in age. Think about that — we’re talking about the potential for a really funny pic or video of 5 little girls, all about 6 months apart, scattered at 6 month intervals from 6 months through 2 and 1/2 years old. I suspect getting them all to sit still, with the addition of two more to the crowd, would be exponentially more difficult than what goes on in this video.

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Lucy and the Babysitter(s)

Kate is still working two days per week. So when Kate’s in the office, Lucy is in the primary care of a neighbor. The woman is a former elementary school teacher who stays at home and home-schools her 7 year old daughter. Not only do the babysitter and her daughter keep Lucy busy daily, the babysitter’s mother is often at home, thus meaning Lucy is often in the care of three generations of females from a local family that has been in the neighborhood for nearly 20 years.

Here’s Lucy with Victoria, getting some lessons in how to play with dolls.

Here’s Lucy with the grandmother of the family.

Part of Victoria’s education involves the vigorous study of music and playing the piano. Lucy gets to sit in on lessons.

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Pumpkinfest 2011

Doylestown was within the sphere of where I’d travel when I was in high school. I had a lot friends up that way, and I was always more interested in driving towards the mountains, than the city, so I spent a lot of time in central and northern Bucks County back in the day.

The Moravian Tileworks was this odd sort of place that my friends and I who had a band always fancied we’d use some day as the backdrop for a really cool album cover, in the tradition of Led Zeppelin.

Thus, I present to you a day at the Moravian Tileworks, accompanied by Led Zeppelin’s “Out on the Tiles.”

The band broke up before we got around to a second photo session, so you’ll just have to settle for the abandoned railroad tracks photo session.

Check out this photo. Just imagine all of the people gone, and imagine the above five lads spaced out randomly on the hail bales (or throughout the frame?) all looking in different directions. Totally cool, right?

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East Broad Top with Wayne and RT

Wayne, I, and Wayne’s old rail buddy, RT, took a trip out to East Broad Top in September. RT was a long time rail enthusiast, with a long career history in the rail industry, a long-time friend of Wayne, and an all-around nice guy. As it would turn out, RT, aged 80, passed a few weeks after our trip out to East Broad Top in Rockhill Furnace, PA.

East Broad Top Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotive #15

After the train passed through, we stood and waited for the whistle to echo through the valley. Amongst the late summer grass and wildflowers we held our breath in silence as the train lumbered through. And then it came, loudly at first, then it repeated and faded off into the distance, slowly drowned out by distance and crickets and wind. And then it was just gone. RT was the most animated I had ever seen him. I thought to myself, this is a guy who knows his bliss; this is a guy who can die happy. I reckon he most likely did.

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Trying Out the Raft

I haven’t abandoned the Porta-Bote. The Porta-Bote is great. I even upgraded it this spring by purchasing a well-maintained, used 5HP motor for it, making the Porta-Bote even more awesome. The thing with that boat is that I pretty much need a 12-15 hour day to use it. From the time I get up, til I get it on the car, til I get it to the lake… and on and on… til I’m done and home… my day with the Porta-Bote starts at 7am and then ends up at 9pm. I don’t necessarily mind all that, especially if the weather is right and the fishery adequately productive. But with Lucy at the age she is now, and with Kate home all week, and with having only one car… now is not quite the time to be out of the house on a boat on a Saturday for 12-15 hours this year. But, you know, I can do 4-6 hours easily. That’s where the Excursion 5 raft comes in.

I met my friend K at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at 11am. I hooked the air pump to the car’s 12 volt charger and inflated the boat’s 3 distinct, physically isolated bladders. We had the boat in Darby Creek in pretty much no time, which isn’t too bad considering today was the first time I actually put the whole thing together. We cruised around, took some pics, threw some lures in the water, and generally enjoyed nature as much as two fellows could under blazing sun and near 100°F temperatures. My electric trolling motor attached perfectly to the motor mount kit and even the heavy marine batter was easily tucked under under my arm while I navigated up and down the creek. The ride was pretty comfortable, especially considering the whole thing is essentially a huge pillow. The sturdy vinyl material effortlessly made its way up and down the creek with the help of my Minn Kota electric motor. The boat easily could handle 2-3 adults plus 1-2 (< age 10) kids, or about 1,000 lbs of people, however you decide to do it. I'm not exactly eager to ram it into rocks in turbulent water, but as far as something to cruise around on little creeks and ponds and lakes, I'm totally happy with this boat.

As far as time and effort is concerned, I got what I wanted to out of this boat. I took it out of the car at 11am. We were able to inflate it and get everything together without even looking at the manual in no time. We then spent plenty of time on the water, came back, deflated it with the same device that inflated it, and wrapped up our trip by 2:30pm. Not bad — 3.5 hours from the time I took it out of the car til I put it back. Like I sort of indicated — its a heck of a lot easier for me to get out on a river or lake for 4 hours than it is to do so for 12 or 15 hours.

My friend and I used today as an experimental test run before taking it up to the Delaware River Water Gap in August for a fishing trip on the river and camping trip on one of the islands. No doubt, the test was successful. This is a great boat, and today was a great day on the water.

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Greensgrow CSA Began Today

Oh, sure, we’ve got vegetables. 

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