Two Years

Two years ago today, I had just gotten out of a meeting and was sitting in my office. The phone rang. It was my wife, and she thought she was going into labor. I dutifully drove home, though I expected it was a false alarm. After all, it was her exact due date and everybody knows babies are never born exactly when the doctors predict they will be. In fact, read my post from that morning: Somebody is Gonna Be Late. Here’s my post from the next day: Spoke Too Soon.

Baby two came into the world much faster than baby one. I think she was only in labor a few hours. I don’t remember exactly. I do remember that she had to wait a while in the visitor’s lounge while they got a room ready for her. Once she got a bed I didn’t even get to spend those first few moments with her because I had to hang out with my daughter while we waited for my Mom to arrive (45 minute drive). Crazy times.

I think we all had head colds when Mr. T arrived in the world. Sleepless nights and illness. Great combination. I remember having a little cry when we got home from the hospital, fueled in part by lack of sleep, but also from an overwhelming feeling that things were changing. My wife and daughter were so close before this new guy arrived, and now that would be different, if only slightly.

The little guy has grown on me, obviously. He learned to talk a little later than his sister, but learned to walk sooner. He now knows his letters by sight, and can say most of them. He’s stringing words together more and more regularly. A favorite sentence of his lately is this: “Daddy’s home!”.

He loves trucks and cars and also the movie Cars. He loves doing what his sister is doing. He even loves Barbie and especially Barbie’s car. He loves pizza and fruit and juice, and touching me with his slimy hands. He’s a pretty cool little guy.

I think year three (counting from zero, right?) is gonna be a pretty interesting year for all of us. We’ll have to cross that potty bridge, and begin the “terrible two’s” journey. On the plus side, he’s going to settle even more into this whole sleep thing, I’m sure of it. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting ride. I can’t wait.

I’m with The People of Wisconsin

What is happening in Wisconsin the past week is amazing to me. I applaud those who are standing up to Governor Walker, who is, it seems, very much trying to kill organized labor in his state.  I also applaud those Senate Democrats who refuse to vote on that terrible bill until there is proper debate. I do not live in Wisconsin, nor am I in a union. However, that thing passes in Wisconsin then there is no doubt it will be tried elsewhere.

This goes to show that power can only put their thumb on the working class so much before people get fed up and finally fight back. It’s happening in Wisconsin and really all around the world.

Philip Pullman on Libraries

I came across this defense of public libraries by Philip Pullman on boing boing today. I think it’s worth sharing here. His defense is in references to cuts in libraries in England, but we’re going through the same in the States. Seems they always find money to blow stuff up in other countries but have empty pockets when it comes to libraries and education.

Some excerpts:

But one of the few things that make life bearable for the young mother in the second community at the moment is a weekly story session in the local library, the one just down the road. She can go there with the toddler and the baby and sit in the warmth, in a place that’s clean and safe and friendly, a place that makes her and the children welcome. But has she, have any of the mothers or the older people who use the library got all that hinterland of wealth and social confidence and political connections and administrative experience and spare time and energy to enable them to be volunteers on the same basis as the people in the first community? And how many people can volunteer to do this, when they’re already doing so much else?

Market fundamentalism, this madness that’s infected the human race, is like a greedy ghost that haunts the boardrooms and council chambers and committee rooms from which the world is run these days.

In the world I know about, the world of books and publishing and bookselling, it used to be the case that a publisher would read a book and like it and publish it. They’d back their judgement on the quality of the book and their feeling about whether the author had more books in him or in her, and sometimes the book would sell lots of copies and sometimes it wouldn’t, but that didn’t much matter because they knew it took three or four books before an author really found his or her voice and got the attention of the public. And there were several successful publishers who knew that some of their authors would never sell a lot of copies, but they kept publishing them because they liked their work. It was a human occupation run by human beings. It was about books, and people were in publishing or bookselling because they believed that books were the expression of the human spirit, vessels of delight or of consolation or enlightenment.

This one gets me the most:

The greedy ghost is everywhere. That office block isn’t making enough money: tear it down and put up a block of flats. The flats aren’t making enough money: rip them apart and put up a hotel. The hotel isn’t making enough money: smash it to the ground and put up a multiplex cinema. The cinema isn’t making enough money: demolish it and put up a shopping mall.

The greedy ghost understands profit all right. But that’s all he understands. What he doesn’t understand is enterprises that don’t make a profit, because they’re not set up to do that but to do something different. He doesn’t understand libraries at all, for instance. That branch – how much money did it make last year? Why aren’t you charging higher fines? Why don’t you charge for library cards? Why don’t you charge for every catalogue search? Reserving books – you should charge a lot more for that. Those bookshelves over there – what’s on them? Philosophy? And how many people looked at them last week? Three? Empty those shelves and fill them up with celebrity memoirs.

That’s all the greedy ghost thinks libraries are for.

The entire article is worth your time. The pessimist in me says that no matter what we do, libraries are doomed to the forces of money and greed. The optimist in me says that people can make a difference, if we make our voices heard loud enough. Sometime smart really does win.