10.5.12: Eleven months old

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Mr. Pooper:

I don’t actually call you “Mr. Pooper.” I just like the idea of being able to say I was “hanging with Mr. Pooper.” Heh. You won’t get that reference but maybe if Google is still around, you can Google it.

So somewhere around month nine or ten, you went from being this laid-back, never-fusses-ever baby to being a little boy with big, vocal wants. That has been an interesting transition for mama and daddy. Watching you exert your will and get upset when you don’t get what you want is very interesting. I can see the little wheels in your head turning when you figure out that something is out of your reach or that I’m hiding something from you or I outright won’t let you have something you’ve got your heart set on. You used to just grunt when you were disgruntled but now you can shriek with the best of them.

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It’s kind of funny; you are such a ham at home but become very serious when we go out in public. You like to watch, to take stock of the situation before you will allow yourself to have much fun. I took you to River Day in Saltillo and you were a little weirded out by all the new people and new noises. Everyone was coming to say hi to you and there were rednecks revving their engines around us and you were just unsure of the whole thing.

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You also have finally started that good ol’ separation anxiety, so that if you notice us leaving the room, you let us know how much you don’t like that idea. Which means that peek-a-boo is, like, SUPER entertaining for you.

You really love animals. From puppies to kitties to your stuffed animals, to the animals at the zoo. You are very curious about them and I am trying to teach you gentle touch, because you like to grab handfuls of whatever you can and one of these days that is going to get you swatted.

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You got sick this month. A head cold, really, just a bunch of snot and sneezing and coughing. You were pretty pitiful, up every hour wailing for a couple of nights. We felt so helpless and then we got sick too. We were all pretty green there for a while. You finally surrendered yourself to the supreme command of the bulb syringe and we buckled and took you to the pediatrician when we thought you had an ear infection. Turns out you were A-OK, you had just discovered how much fun it was to try to pull your ear off!

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Your favorite food now is the remote and all other things you aren’t supposed to put in your mouth. Just today I came into the living room and you had a big canister of maple poofs turned up and the entire contents of the can were scattered around your head. You were having an awesome time.

You like drinking out of cups so much that more than once you have dumped the cup all over you. You like to try to drink from the cup in the bath tub. You are kind of weird!

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We have really enjoyed living so near the lake and all the parks around here. I take you for strolls pretty regularly on the weekends and Daddy goes running with you. We also like to take you to the mall so you can go to the kiddie play area and watch all those other tiny babies who climb all over everything. How do they do that?! Just the other day I took you and this one tiny girl couldn’t have been more than eight months old, but she was motoring around and climbing on everything like a pro. She came over to you and started grabbing at your shoes, as if to say “Get those things off and move around!” You just looked at her like she was some kind of freak. To be fair, seeing something that small move that fast IS pretty freaky.

Daddy and I are hoping that the peer pressure might get to you and you might start to crawl a little bit. But for now you’re content reaching as far as you can to get something and then pitching a fit when you can’t. You will roll, you will scoot, you will hump the floor. But you just are not feeling the crawling thing yet.

Can you believe it’s almost been a year? Boy oh boy, little man. I sure can’t.

Hoodie weather! My Buds Hanging with dad

Head games

Sky porn

Sometimes I ache so hard for a future life that it ruins my whole day.

Many people, most people(?) live their whole lives and they don’t get what they want. And that’s OK. Because no one is entitled to get what they want. Even if what they want is totally reasonable. Why the fuck should the universe align itself so that you get what you want? That is not the purpose or the function of the organism. Surely by now you have accepted that.

And yet.

My vacation is over, boo hiss

Fin #nofilter

Last weekday of vacation. I did about 50 percent of what I aimed to do so I am going to cram the remaining 50 percent into this weekend. Maybe.

Okay, probably not.

I voted and made a pot roast today so I figure we’ll call it even.

Commence vacation!

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I got my two papers launched so I’m taking a week off. This feels obscene in some ways. Like, what could a person do with an ENTIRE week off? This means I will likely squander it in pajamas, watching TV shows I don’t care about. But I am not going to allow myself to feel guilty no matter what I do this week.

I have small goals:

• Give the cats a bath
• Watch the debate
• Get a haircut
• Carve a pumpkin
• Take the Buds on some adventures
• Get supplies for somebody’s big First Birthday Party
• Finish up some design projects
• Not check work email
• Go on a date with my man
• Take some dang pictures

Shane McDermott, ###

Day 141: Captain Arnold

Yesterday, my former employer laid off one of my close friends and one of the most talented people I have ever met.

I remember when he was hired. It was a few months after I had started and the art director sent out an email to everyone telling us we’d hired a new artist named Shane McDermott, so be on the lookout for some dude walking around, wearing a beret. Get it? He was an ARTIST.

Shane sat over and away from the rest of the design department on a little cube island with the art director and the other artist. Yes, folks, in 2005, The Commercial Appeal had TWO graphic artists, one of whom made maps and downloaded stock and weather graphics for a living. Can you imagine? I didn’t speak to Shane very much but I remember that first Christmas, he came around and dumped a little pile of chocolates on everyone’s desk. Obviously, we were destined to be good friends.

We also worked together like gangbusters. When I had my stint as assistant art director/Sunday Viewpoint designer my favorite part of the whole week would be when Shane and I got to sit down and talk about his illustration ideas. He would always come over to my desk with his sketch pad in hand and go over the intricate thumbnail sketches he’d come up with. Then I’d make a face and he was always really good at reading when I wasn’t into any of them. Sometimes he’d have something that was just perfect. Sometimes we’d settle on a combination of two thumbs. Sometimes we’d brainstorm a totally new but freaking brilliant idea, sitting right there at my desk. He’d go back to his desk and scan in the thumbnail and I’d place it on the page and design around it. He’d stay up all night making an amazing piece of art that would be printed in the Sunday paper and eventually end up in people’s trash or at the bottom of their birdcage (herf derf, we newspaper people love hearing that joke!). It’s so fleeting, making art for newspapers. You get one shot to make it count. Shane was fantastic at knocking it out of the park, visually, in that one shot. I have so many portfolio pieces with his work on them.

Shane’s art made The CA better. So much better. His touches were all over the paper. When they laid off the graphic artist responsible for doing maps and stocks and weather, Shane picked up those duties on top of his already substantial illustration load. I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled to be spending some of his hours making locator maps, but it was something he did with skill anyway.

Having Shane on staff made the paper more colorful and more engaging every single day. When the holidays rolled around, you could be sure there’d be a sweet story that would unfold in his advent calendar. And he could take a two-dimensional concept and turn it into an entire (and adorable) papercraft franchise. One of the few things I carried from my old desk to my new desk here in Nashville is my CA newsbot. It sits proudly beneath my monitor, looking pretty busted because it’s taped together and not glued, but proud and fucking rad nonetheless.

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Day 180: Independence Bot zombot2

And having him as a work friend was the shit. For a long time I saved almost every email he sent me at work because they were all hilarious. We worked in this surreal space where there were nosehorn trumpets and foot stompers and people humming and clearing their throats and clicking their fingernails on keyboards and sing-song yawning, and had I not had him there to make incredulous faces at and field my frustrated emails, I never would have lasted as long as I did.

Shane is an incredible talent and a damned great person. It shows the desperation of the company if they are getting rid of him, frankly. Shane’s artwork helped set The CA apart from and above other news outlets. It makes me so incredibly sad to see the paper — which gave me my first job out of college — go this route. Several other people I admire and respect tremendously lost their jobs yesterday in the same round of brutal layoffs. I’m so sick of being a part of an industry that just keeps cutting and cutting with no end in sight. It’s heartbreaking.

The good news is that Shane will be fine. He is going to be plenty busy and I hope it’s with stuff that doesn’t involve a LICK of school mergers and politics. Because he’s illustrated enough of that stuff to last a lifetime.

Shane, my friend, seeing that picture of you loading your stuff into a shopping cart made me cry and laugh at the same time. That is entirely you. Absurd and funny and wacky but always with a baseline of utterly heartbreaking sincerity. You will be missed by an industry that didn’t even know what it had.

Dear reader, go visit his blog, where I hope he’ll be updating us on what’s in store for him.