Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gorton's Fisherman meets Dean the Dog

Jack finally figured out who Dean is, and ever since he's been laughing and grabbing and lunging for him. The poor doggie doesn't know what to do - he think's he's being attacked my a miniature Gorton's Fisherman:

Mob Hit

Apparently, Jack got our not-so-subtle message: Sleep, or we'll take it to the mattresses.

Thanks, Godfather.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sleep at last, Sleep at last!

Thank God Almighty, he's asleep at last!

I guess all it really takes is accusing your son of being a gremlin on a public forum to convince him to sleep through the night. We're surfing the crest of two consecutive 11-hour sleep-filled nights.

How glorious.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where did my sweet baby go?

Remember Gizmo? The sweet cuddly fuzzy little
love rodent that was impossible not to fall in love with?

Remember what happened to him when he got wet or ate after dark?

Well, I think I birthed a Gremlin.

Thing is, I can't quite figure out what it is that converts him to his disturbing alter ego. Like this morning when he was all set up to have a lovely day with Gran and instead began his 360-degree head-swivel exorcist-style about the time she walked in the door.

I think he can smell weakness.

I don't know which is worse: Jackson's insanely frustrating behavior or the glimmer of "Oh, payback is so much fun" in my mother's eye when she handed him off tonight and headed back home to her quiet and restful home...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"My Vacation to the Beach" by Jackson Shaw

I went on my first vacation last week to Pawley's Island with Mommy, Daddy, Bud, Nana, and Great Granny Franny. Here is a photo account of my trip:

Daddy bought me a joggy stroller in preparation for our trip to the beach. It's way too big but I still had fun riding around in it with the straps around my ears.

In the same vein, Nana bought me a car that is also way to big for me but I did have a good time trying to stay upright in it. It has a horn that Bud mashed for me a lot and eyes for headlights.

I spent a lot of time strapped to Mommy's chest because she didn't think riding in the Too Big Joggy Stroller was "appropriate."

Speaking of Mommy's chest, I enjoyed many naps on it. It's soft.

In fact, I like most all boobies. My Aunt Anna was nice enough to let me rest on hers, too.

And Bud was nice enough to let me borrow his thumb when mine got tired.

With plenty of free time, I was able to get caught up on my magazine reading...

...and my finger sucking...

...and my dog petting...

...and my boat driving.

All in all, I had a great time at the beach and can't wait to go back.

But I need a nap first.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Don't Tread on Me

It occurred to me upon posting yesterday that the Gadsen Flag might make a good subject to talk about this week. It is widely known as an early flag of the American Revolution (as well as a popular symbol of conservative groups such as the Boston Tea Party), but too often its origins in South Carolina and as an early symbol of the U.S. Marines remain shrouded in the mists of history and time.

In a 1775 newspaper op-ed (commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin), an anonymous citizen speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America:

"I observed on one of the drums belonging to the Marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, 'Don't tread on me.' As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America."
"She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."

"I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers."

"'Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living." 

It is very interesting to read that passage in light of 234 years of history. Ol' Ben was quite the prognosticator - I hope we continue to live up to his expectations.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Down the British, and pass the beer!

There is nothing half as fun as a good and proper celebration of Independence Day. The beach, bikinis, bar-b-que, cold beer, patriotic outfits, lawn chairs, 95 degree heat but you're under an umbrella, homemade icecream, and a flag-waving horn-honking people-dancing-in-the-street small town parade.  Oh, and family.

It has been quite a few years for me since I have been able to give one of my favorite holidays its self-indulgent due. For a couple of years I always seemed to be involved in fireworks of a different kind. But today was really the cat's meow. 

Not to mention, it was a day of firsts for Jack: first time at the beach, first 4th of July Parade, first time wearing American Flag Pants, and definitely the first time in a plastic toy push-me car:

In an unusual gesture of early-morning helpfulness, I hustled out the beach to set up the canopy and chairs, and managed to build a small sandcastle on which to hoist zthe colors. It was nice to be out there alone, just early-risers walking their dogs, none of the day crowd that would surface as the sun got a few hands higher in the sky. A porpoise came cruising by a couple of dozen yards offshore (how tempted was I to yell 'shark' for the benefit of the out-of-towners?), and I got to toss the ball for Dean and watched him broach a few breakers with reckless abandon.

A full day of fun wore everyone out, but fortunately one of Pawley's Island Hammock Company's finest was there to save the day. Momma and babe are well rested, and I'm being summoned for shrimp and grits. More to follow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

March or Die, baby!

In the pre-dawn twilight of 2 July, the Marines and sailors of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines conducted the opening combat helo assault into the lower Helmand river valley of Afghanistan. Led by Capt. Brian P. Huysman, this intrepid unit was the first khanjar in MEB-AFG massive escalation of combat operations in “restive” Helmand Province:

Thousands of U.S. Marines stormed deep into Taliban territory in an Afghan valley on Thursday, marking the start of a major new effort by the Obama administration to regain the initiative in the war.

The Marines met little resistance on day one of Operation Khanjar, or Strike of the Sword, to seize almost all the lower Helmand River valley, heartland of the Taliban insurgency and the world's biggest opium poppy producing region.

One U.S. Marine was killed and several others were wounded during the day, the Marines said in a statement, adding that they had not received any confirmed reports of civilian casualties or damage to property.

Brian and I were both lieutenants together with 1/5 during the early years of the Iraq conflict, when the media was quick to label Anbar as the "restive" province of the moment. Some things never change. Back then, Brian was affectionately known by his peers as Meat, or by his Native American name Webtau Yicau, which is Sioux for "Soaring Eyebrow"

I heard Larry Nicholson is leading the MEB - he was our CO for some time at 5th Marines, and a fine and tested combat leader. I think were in good hands, if we can just get MORE THAN TWO PEOPLE FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO JOIN IN:

"The Marines have also been vexed by a lack of Afghan security forces and a near-total absence of additional U.S. civilian reconstruction personnel. Nicholson had hoped that his brigade, which has about 11,000 Marines and sailors, would be able to conduct operations with a similar number of Afghan soldiers. But thus far, the Marines have been allotted only about 500 Afghan soldiers, which he deems "a critical vulnerability."...Despite commitments from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development that they would send additional personnel to help the new forces in southern Afghanistan with reconstruction and governance development, State has added only two officers in Helmand since the Marines arrived. State has promised to have a dozen more diplomats and reconstruction experts working with the Marines, but only by the end of the summer."

Enjoy your holiday, diplomats. If the Marines could come deliver your mai-tais on silver platters, I am sure they would.

More atReuters; updates to follow.


We spent a beautiful few days in Spartanburg this past weekend, showing off our boy to the world. He was Christened in his Great Great Grandfather's gown from 1902 at First Presbyterian Church on Sunday. Grandpa Bud introduced him and Jackson made it through the entire ceremony awake and without any vomiting, pooping, or chewing a hole in the family heirloom.

We also were lucky enough to steal some time with family and friends on Saturday. I think Jackson's particular favorite was rubbing noses with Bud and slathering on his face cereal while sitting in his lap...