Almost there

Zelda’s definitely moving faster than Noah: she’s discovered how to pull herself up on, well, just about everything – and is getting closer and closer to standing up.

At this time Noah was still a month away from even crawling, yet alone standing or walking. And while I used to constantly worry that he might miss a milestone or be late,  with Zelda I barely even think about them – but lo and behold, things still happen without me freaking out about them.


Where’s Rey?

I came across Target’s new Star Wars The Force Awakens action figure pack the other day, and it struck me as weird that two huge characters are missing: Rey (who’s female, and arguably the main character), and Captain Phasma (also female). Turns out, I wasn’t the only one to notice:

Included in the set are Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Finn, Poe Dameron, a First Order Stormtrooper, and a First Order TIE Fighter pilot. Yeah. They decided to go with two generic troopers instead of putting Rey–one of the main characters–into the set.

And of course, that’s not the first time this happens. Time and again, toy companies and retailers have decided that it’s better to have generic males as part of a figure pack rather than strong female characters.

Companies make it actively hard to give children (girls and boys) strong female characters to identify with, instead subconsciously pushing a world view that is rooted in the 1950s. It’s a tiny aspect that proves how far we still have to go as a society.


Sunday scare

We had a pretty good run when it comes to the kids and accidents for the past two-plus years. No broken bones, no long hospital stays – a combination of luck and sturdy kids.

We are still squarely in the “very, very lucky column”, but Sunday was scary nonetheless. Zelda took a tumble out of her crib (completely my fault – the famous “looking away for one second” thing), and refused to crawl or bend over afterwards. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the sheer terror you feel when you see your kid hurt and in pain – realizing that it’s your fault. Of course, rationally speaking, I knew it wouldn’t be anything horrible: we would need to get her checked out, but the consequences of the fall would hopefully be minor. At the moment, however, I was a complete mess – in retrospect it feels like I was holding my breath until we finally got the x-rays showing that nothing was broken (about 5 hours after getting to the hospital).

While we were waiting, I could see all the other families coming into the emergency department: sometimes walking in, sometimes a child on a stretcher being rushed in by EMTs. I can’t even begin to imagine what the family of a child that is truly hurt has to go through: Zelda ended up a bit bruised, and I felt like the world was ending.

There’s a quote by Elizabeth Stone that is mentioned so often it has become cliché:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Until yesterday I never realized what that truly meant.

Drowning Miami

For more reasons than one, this article in the guardian is utterly terrifying.

Of course, the article doesn’t skimp on the overly dramatic, with lines like

Miami and its surroundings are facing a calamity worthy of the Old Testament.


 Nor will south Florida have to wait that long for the devastation to come. Long before the seas have risen a further three or four feet, there will be irreversible breakdowns in society, he says.

But the truth is, even if things don’t turn out that grim – they will be bad nonetheless. I moved here four years ago. In those four years, I have seen more and more flooding – Miami Beach turns into a giant pool during high tide. And even billions spent on a new drainage system only turn the water level on Alton Road from knee high to ankle high.

By now, it might already be too late to avoid climate change. However, we might be able to deal with it; just like human ingenuity has managed to deal with forces of nature throughout its history.

What might save Miami is some of its ultra-rich inhabitants (who typically also happen to live in areas most affected by rising sea levels) putting enough resources behind measures to deal with climate change. Meanwhile Florida’s politicians remain busy pretending that the problem doesn’t even exist.

Under the Iron Sea

Some songs and albums just get ingrained in your memory. Of course, this is no original thought – perhaps no one did a better job writing about it than Nick Hornby).

For me, one of those albums is Keane’s Under the Iron Sea. I remember listening to it, multiple times in a row, on drive from Jacksonville to Atlanta; the album playing on a black & red U2 iPod, driving down the highway in a ’93 Chevy Blazer (my first car after moving to the US).

That was 2006, and it already seems like an eternity ago. How far away will today feel nine years from now – when my kids are well on their way to being teenagers? Together with Keane’s songs, that’s enough to start feeling a little bit sentimental.