Wednesday, May 31, 2006


In a moment of insanity my dear brother said I could continue to post to this blog, so here I am. Thanks!!!

I do not have the stunning and cutting insights of my dear bro. Even if I did I would probably keep them to myself. When you live in a small town you learn to keep your moutn shut. One never knows what can come back to bite one.

But I do have a 14 day old daughter. Little Evelyn is still doing fine. She is busy working on that whole focussing thing these days and has finally figured out how to follow things around the room with her eyes (did I mention that they are cute?). Sometimes it almost seems that she has figured out that those things that sometimes wave in front of her field of vision (her hands) are actually attached. Being a parent is really a kick and Linda and I are enjoying it quite a bit. It is so strange, but when it is your child the 4am pacing of the floor doesn't seem to be so bad. We have been taking her for walks in the nearby woods. She seems fascinated by the whole outdoor thing which is pretty interesting. She spends minutes just staring at trees and sky. I would love to know what is going on in her little head.

Enough for now. There are downsides to this 4am schedule.


It made me smile...

...on an otherwise depressing and discouraging day, to read this bumper sticker:

My child is an honor student,
But my President is an idiot

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 27, 2006

If you gotta ask

A couple of things about me:

So anyway, I had to go to the Post Office to pick up a package. I crept up in line until I was at the counter. The Post Office Dude went off in search of my package. I had nothing to do. So I looked for something to read. I read the menu of services and prices hanging above my head. Not that I haven't read this hundreds of times before: Priority Mail. Delivery Confirmation. Registered Mail. Express Mail.

The Post Office Dude still had not returned. I read the blotter on the counter, that describes those items that may not be mailed. As I had hundreds of times before. Just so you know, it is still forbidden to send explosives through the U.S. Mail.

The Post Office Dude still had not returned. I noticed that someone had left, on the counter, one of those pamphlets that young men are supposed to use to register with the Selective Service.

Have I mentioned that I will read anything?

I picked up the pamphlet. First I turned to the card the young men are supposed to send in, to see what personal information the Selective Service collects. The usual: Name, address, social security number. I thought it was kind of cheeky, though, that they require the young man to provide his own stamp.

The Post Office Dude still had not returned, so I moved on to what we would call the FAQ. Q: Will I be drafted? A: Registering with the Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military. Is that evasive, or what?

The Post Office Dude still had not returned, so I moved on to the section of the pamphlet that outlines who is required to register, and who is not. Some were not surprising: Persons who are incarcerated are not required to register. Though perhaps they should be. But there were some surprises: National Guardsmen and Reservists are required to register with the Selective Service. What's up with that? If there's a national crisis, the Guard and Reserve are going to be mobilized and gone long before we get around to drafting anyone, so why should they have to register? Dunno.

And then, as I was reading and waiting for my package, I came to the thing that's the point of this post (yes, Virginia, this post has a point):

I read that if you are an illegal alien in the United States, you are required to register for the Selective Service.

I am not making this up.

So, all you illegal alien young men, we won't educate your children in our schools, or we'll resent the hell out of it if we do. We won't give you health care if you or your family are sick. We won't provide you with social services, or retirement benefits, even though we'll tax you for them. We won't take care of you if you get hurt while doing the lousy jobs that we make you do for lousy wages. And if we happen to catch you we'll send you packing back to where you came from -- and if a bill pending in Congress gets passed then if we catch you we'll do worse: We'll throw you into prison as a felon. In a word, we'll treat you like subhuman scum. But! You must register with the U.S. Government anyway because if there's a war, instead of deporting you or imprisoning you we are entitled to draft your (probably) brown-skinned butt and send you overseas to get shot at and maybe killed defending the American Way. Even though you're too scummy to enjoy the benefits of that Way during peacetime.

What is wrong with us?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm back

I've been gone. Now I'm back. While I was gone, I had the opportunity to hear a wonderful new (to me) band called Liquid Blue. I heard them mostly cover other people's songs, but they do have a CD of their own, Supernova. Their lyrics are strongly activist -- no sappy love songs here! Check out this excerpt from the song If You Gotta Ask (it sounds much better with the music, by the way):

I think it's time we do some questioning.
If they did it back then we can do it again right now,
times they are a changin'.
Should we take a stand now?
Or just go with the flow.
Are things getting better?
Is the answer no?
Are we gonna speak out?
Or turn our backs and go.
Should you join the cause?
If you gotta ask, you'll never know.

Yeah, if you gotta ask, you'll never know....


Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Evelyn Grace

Evelyn, meet the World.

World, meet Evelyn Grace Smith.


Saturday, May 20, 2006


I guess it is a cliche that there is nothing to compare with the arrival of a child, but it is also so very true.

Evelyn Grace Smith entered the world at 10:15 am on Wednesday May 17, 2006. And yes, she is absolutely adorable. Just be thankful, dear readers, that I don't know how to post pictures to this blog or you would be inundated. It was so strange - Linda and I both agree on this - we had been trying to conceive for almost a year, followed 9 1/2 months of pregnancy, followed by 14 hours of labor and still, when we looked down and saw that baby resting on the bed we were surprised. Nothing at all prepares you for the reality of seeing the long expected child.

Needless to say, we are both thrilled, extremely happy and very tired. Linda and Evelyn left the hospital Friday so last night was our first night at home as a family. Maybe that is why little Evelyn didn't want to spend the night sleeping!!! Mom and baby are both healthy, although Mom is still sore, as can be expected.

You may, in a future post, read more about labor, inducement, water birth etc., but seeing as Evelyn was up until 5AM, that is all for now!


Thursday, May 11, 2006


Glenn's stages of expectant parenthood, late baby edition:

Stage 1: Excitement. This stage starts when you first learn that the little tyke is on the way. It is a period of high excitement and activity. Rooms get painted, showers are thrown, cribs and car seats are bought, and names are picked out. It lasts until the due date. Even though the books warn that the due date is an estimate, plus or minus 2 weeks in either direction, the lure of having a hard and fast date to look forward to is too much.

Stage 2: Fashionably late. This stage starts at about 11:30 pm on the due date when the little bundle 'o joy hasn't arrived and you have finally accepted that it isn't going to arrive "on time". It is not dissimilar to when you throw a party and no one arrives on time. You convince yourself that the baby is in the gestation equivalent of a traffic jam and will be along shortly.

Stage 3: So what's the scoop? If you are still waiting about 5 days the sense of intense anticipation is gone and you settle into a period that is not unlike visiting a crowded doctor's office - every time the door opens you hope that they will call your name and the long wait will be over, but deep down you wish you had brought a good book 'cause you know it's going to be a while.

Stage 4: Negotiation. Last night I found myself conversing with my wife's abdomen, strongly implying to the little one that if he or she came out really soon then she or he could expect to see a little something extra in the weekly allowance a few years from now when we actually started giving out weekly allowances. No verbal response, but there were a few good kicks involved on the baby's part.

Stage 5: I'll let you know when we get there.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Still hangin' in there

Still Waiting. The baby is now 5 days overdue, and the days when Linda talked about liking being pregnant are over. There is a long history of late babies in her family, and while she always thought ours would be late I was of the opinion that 'it would never happen to us', and that the tyke would show up on time and ready to go. Certainly that is only the first of the expectations that will have to change with parenthood.

Linda and the baby are both doing fine, she/they went in for a checkup on Thursday and got a clean bill of health. The baby is in position and labor can start at any time. He/she is active, it is certainly amazing to watch her/him move around in there, pushing as if he/she doesn't know that Linda's navel is not the exit door. Linda is staying active, although these days 'active' means taking strolls instead of hikes on mountain trails. We are fortunate in that there are 3 towns in a 20 mile radius that actually have sidewalks to walk on! Although we live in Vermont now, for 6 years I lived in Santa Cruz, CA and although for the most part I don't regret leaving SC to come home to New England, it sure was a great town for walking. Oh well.....


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Many thanks to my big bro for the chance to guest-host this blog. Of course, I have only visited one blog and that is this one, so I don't have too much to go on as to how these things are supposed to go.

A little intro is in order: I am Greg's younger and better looking brother (he may disagree). I do not live in sunny and warm Florida where one can go to the beach in January. Instead I live, with my wife Linda, in eastern Vermont. To give you some idea of the contrast between Florida and here: last Sunday, on April 30th, I put the snowblower away for the season and took out the lawnmower. Of course, Murphy says that that is a sure sign that it will snow this week, but so far it has held off.

As Greg mentioned, the big news up this way is that Linda is due to give birth to our first child any day now. Actually, she was due to give birth to our first child last Monday, but apparently the little tyke never got that memo and has decided to hold on for a few more days. We don't know the gender yet, having decided that we didn't want to know ahead of time. That is when you find out what useful colors yellow and green are. Nice, safe gender nuetral colors. Yep. In any case, our bags are packed and in the car. The car seat is strapped into the back seat. The crib is assembled. The diapers are purchased. The onesies a all neatly folded (probably for the last time). We are about as ready as we can be, just waitin'

By the way, unlike my bro, who has a high paying high tech job in a cutting edge company in a rapidly growing area, I am the town manager of a small town. We don't have a single stoplight and the nearest multiplex is 20 miles down the road. We live on one of the main roads in town, which you can readily tell because its paved. Our kind of place! Linda teaches dance and gymnastics in a nearby studio, and only stopped doing handstands about a month ago.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


This post is going to be long, introspective, and boring. If you don't want to go to sleep, skip down to the heading And now some news.... and get the scoop.

This blog will turn one year old tomorrow. A year ago I created a blogger account so I could commentinate on Liz's blog. Personally, I don't care to observe anniversaries --I prefer to not recognize even my birthday -- but they are supposed to be a time for reflection and consideration, and I've been doing a little reflecting and considering. And I'm torn about this blogging thing.

On the one hand I like to write, and like almost everyone who likes to write, I like it when someone reads what I write. So I like that about this blog. It gives me a chance to say, Here, I wrote this! Read it -- you'll like it! Look at me! Look at me!

On the other hand, blogging hasn't come easily for me. As I said in yesterday's post (and again, despite what you might think), I'm a very private person. I don't like talking about myself (like I'm doing now), and when I do I have to think long and hard about it (as I have now). (I know, those of you who have read my travel albums will say, "You sure talk about yourself there!" Yeah, I know. I can't explain it. It's like when I'm on a trip I'm someone else, and when I come back I can talk about that person and not be embarrassed, because that person wasn't me. Go figure.)

I also have some rules about what I will and will not post about. I've already mentioned that I will not post about my job or coworkers. I also will not post about my family or friends -- I feel weird telling stories about people publicly without their knowledge or permission. Besides, if they want their lives on the Internet, they can start their own blogs.

I also will not post about politics, because politics is purely a matter of faith, and attempting to hold rational discourse about a matter of pure faith is like attempting to use a knife and fork to eat a brick. I have better things to do.

Ditto religion.

Given all these rules and neuroses, it's often hard finding something it's okay to post about. And I believe that if a blogger expects to be read, then he or she owes the readers some kind of regular content, because I know it's a bummer to come back to a blog time and again to find nothing's changed. Myself, I won't read blogs like that (except for Clara's).

Furthermore, when I'm writing for this blog I don't feel like I'm "in my own skin," if you know what I mean. I'm always asking myself, "Is this appropriate? Should I talk about this? Am I going to look like an idiot? (Am I going to sound like I'm whining, like I am right now?)" I don't feel that way when I write fiction. Fiction comes to me easily and naturally.

The real kicker is that when I look at the blogs that I read regularly, they are all just the opposite of mine: They're full of news about family and friends, and what so-and-so had for dinner, and the woes of work, and politics, and whatever else is on the bloggers' minds. I like these blogs because I come to know and like these people. And so I'm left with the nagging suspicion that if I wasn't me but instead was someone just like me, I probably would not like my own blog.

So on my first anniversary I'm reflecting and considering whether this blog was just an interesting experiment and should I move on.

But I do like having people read what I write.

What about you? Do you have any rules regarding what you can and cannot talk about on your blog? If you want to post an answer on your blog, please let me know at gss at att dot net.

Anyway, it's time for some news!

And now some news...

For the next several weeks I'm going to be completely cut off from the Internet. No email, no blogs, no eBay, no nuthin'. So, obviously, I won't be posting here. However, my brother has agreed to guest blog in my place. Yay! I'm not going to tell you anything about my brother -- he can do that himself, and you know it makes me feel weird :). But I will tell you that his posts are liable to be very different from mine. I am not holding him to any of the rules that I impose on myself -- he can post about anything he wants, as long as he doesn't get us kicked off Blogger. And he should have a lot to post about (if he wants to) because... well, alright, I will tell you this much:

He and his wife are expecting their first child, like, any day hour now. Like, it might be happening now.

And with that, I will bid you adieu, and I'll be back by the end of May.


Labels: , ,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Uneasy poster

I have a bit of a problem with memes, because, whether you believe it or not, I'm actually kind of a private person, and revealing stuff about myself does not come easy. But Wen tagged me, so how can I refuse? Here I go!

5 Nicknames you've had (or have):

When I was a kid, I was called "Ears," because I had big ones that stuck out. I didn't like it. But that's another story. As I grew up, they stayed big, but somehow flattened back against my skull, like normal people's, so now they aren't as noticeable.

Other than that, I don't think I've ever been called by any nickname other than Greg. Not to my face, anyway.

5 Sweet Treats You Like to Eat:

I'm not much on sweets, so I'll fudge (pun intended) on this one a little:

  1. Plain vanilla ice cream

  2. Plain cake donuts

  3. Plain potato chips

  4. Plain cheesecake

  5. Lime-flavored Tostilla chips in refried bean dip

5 Things People Would Be Surprised You Have:

  1. Beagle socks!

  2. A pith helmet (don't ask)

  3. A blog (most people know me as a very private person, and would be surprised that I post any of my thoughts on the Internet)

  4. Reiki Master certification (most people think of me as a Spock-like geek, and are surprised when they find I'm involved with something "weird")

  5. Four cases of Forest Glen Chardonnay stacked in my living room (hey, it's good stuff -- when it goes on super-duper sale, you have to stock up!)

5 Fabulous Celebrations:

The last five holidays -- Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Independence Day, or Memorial Day -- that Judi held one of her fabulous cookouts, stirring up her gourmet food in quantities that exceeded by four or five times the capacity of those present to consume it. Leftovers! Yay!

5 Things You'd Like to Have:

  1. A beachfront condo in Miami Beach. South Beach.

  2. Wealth (kinda goes with #1)

  3. A chance to relive the last few years of my mother's life, so that I could treat her better than I did the first time around

  4. A picture of Missy's face in the window, greeting me as I came home

  5. Love

5 Cool Presents You've Received:

  1. A ring

  2. Thirty years ago my brother gave me a sweater. I'm not kidding -- it was so long ago that he doesn't even remember anymore. It's a cable knit, and buttons up the front, kind of like a Mr. Rogers sweater. After all this time, I still have it. It's missing a couple of buttons, and has a couple of holes, but I still keep it at work, where I need it because although my company preaches conservation and environmentalism up one side and down the other, they also over-air-condition my building so it's as cold as heck.

  3. When I was a child -- I don't know how old, maybe ten or so -- my parents gave us a sleeps-four tent for Christmas. It was meant for camping, of course, but in the mountains of New Hampshire in December with I-don't-know-how-many-feet of snow on the ground, putting it to use right away didn't seem to be in the cards. It was a disappointment. But then my father decided that it would be alright put the tent up in our living room. We had solid wood floors. He got a hammer, and nails took the place of tent stakes. That Christmas night, and I don't know how many nights after, my brother and sister and I slept in sleeping bags in our tent in our living room. We camped in our living room. It was way cool. I can't tell you how great it was. I have lots of great memories of growing up, but this is among the greatest. Since then, my life has taken such a course that I didn't have children of my own, but if I had, I would have wanted them to have memories like this. Like my parents, I wouldn't have worried about the nail holes in the floor. Memories mean so much more. (The cool present, in case you're wondering, wasn't the tent, it was the memory.)

  4. A pair of Birkenstock Wicklow shoes. These are awesome shoes. They are so comfortable. I love these shoes. And this is coming from someone who doesn't even like to wear shoes. When I die, these are the shoes I would want to be buried in, except I don't want to be buried, I want to be cremated, and why incinerate a wonderful pair of shoes? Nope, cook me naked, and give these shoes to someone else who has small feet.

  5. Love

5 Things You've Collected:

  1. Orchids

  2. The Nero Wolfe stories by Rex Stout

  3. The Brandstetter stories by Joseph Hansen

  4. Maybe I should just say books. Did I mention books?

  5. Love, not "collected" in the sense that I've displayed it on poster board attached with a pin, but collected in the sense that it adhered to me some, like dust. Magic dust.

5 Books you've read in the past 5 years:

This is easy. I've been slowly plowing through Joseph Hansen's Brandstetter mysteries, in the order they were written, and so here are the last five that I've finished:

  1. The Boy Who Was Buried Yesterday

  2. The Little Dog Laughed

  3. Early Graves

  4. Skinflick

  5. Fadeout

Some of Hansen's works are better than others, but always he forms words into structures that are like perfectly clear and cut crystals, even when the passage itself is relating a mundane matter. This is a quote from the opening page of The Boy Who Was Buried Yesterday. Enid and Roy are co-owners of a "paintball park" near Los Angeles. One of their customers was recently killed by a for-real gun, and Enid is worried that it will scare other customers away:

He [Roy] said proudly, "Only the Combat Zome gives you ground fog for your action pursuit games."

"Paintball," Enid Saddler said. She had a flat, prairie face, crinkled around the eyes, a flat, prairie voice. She wore a plaid cotton shirt and blue jeans. Her hips were skinny. She crossed her arms over flat breasts. "Paintball games," she told Dave [Brandstetter]. "That's what we'll be calling them from here on."

"Maybe you," Roy grunted. "Not me. Fancy-ass word. Shaves all the hair off. Men don't play 'paintball.'" He sneered. "Men play action pursuit. Search and destroy. That's what men play." He coughed, hard, racked by cough, bloated face turning red. He dropped his cigarette, stepped on it. "'Paintball games.'" He wheezed. "Shit."

"Shaves all the hair off." Isn't that such a great turn of words?

5 slang terms you use regularly:

Strictly speaking, I think these are jargon, not slang, but I'm going to bend the rules a little bit. You may not get these if you aren't a geek:

  1. Strike

  2. Under

  3. Whack

  4. Pipe

  5. Splat


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?