Posts from June, 2009

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.


Tuesday, 30 June 2009


funny thing happened last night:  I rolled over and went back to sleep.

as i have been whining about for months, ever since baby sparklet became a twinkle in the lady sparkler’s eyes, I’ve been sleeping like crap.  

And while she is the one getting up to pee every three hours, i’m the light sleeper who is awake for 45 minutes after she crawls back in bed (the last 35 of those minutes listening to my beloved snore contentedly.)

so, last night at 2am when emily the cat emitted a huge shreak, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter, and prepared to be up … forever.

when I made it to the hallway, there was a rather startled (perturbed?) cat who had fallen asleep in front of the air conditioner intake.  the system obviously came on during the middle of her sleep cycle, and she was less than pleased at the disturbance.

however, emily-the-cat-going-senile is not news … me patting her on the head for ten minutes while she calmed down, and then going *immediatley* back to sleep is the real story.

four months ago, something as benign as movement would have (or more specifically, *did* have) me up for 45 minutes.  trauma (with the associated adreline rush) would have me up for two hours, minimum.

but this time?  trauma.  10 minutes of head patting. back to sleep before my head hit the pillow.  

I’m finally ready to be a father.



the five rules of baby names

Sunday, 28 June 2009

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photo.jpg, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
there has been a lot of talk about baby names, now that we know the gender of baby sparklet.  

we have our favorites, but are very much in the “exploratory” stage of the naming process … and we are still adding as many names to the list as we are removing.

before last week, we had only discussed one rule of baby naming: 

  • the “last name” test —  each first name has a last name, and it’s got to match.  with a last name like “Parker,” that means the first name needs be something from the same Anglo school … and while “Mariella” is a beautiful name, “Mariella Parker” is just crazy.

originally, the lady sparkler and i thought that one rule would guide us home, but now that we have spent some serious time talking about names, we have a couple new rules to add to the collection:

  • the “CEO” test — sure we want the baby to have a cute name worthy of babydom, but will it look rediculous on business cards in twenty years?  for some reason “Kaylee” comes to mind.
  • the “elementary school” test — will the child be able to spell her name by the start of school?  will the teacher be able to call her name without a phoenetic guidebook?  I think “Nevaeh” manages to fail both at once, as I can’t spell or say without serious assistance.
  • the “gift shop magnet” test — while personally i hate those personalized rainbow magnets you find in gift shops, I fervently believe sparklet should have the ability to find her name if she’s looking.  this means no bizzaro names (“Estrella”, “Willow”) and no bizzaro spellings (“Nataly”, “Madisyn”).
  • the “place in the family” test — if history (or the lady sparkler) is any indication, baby sparklet will be a force of nature … and likely the alpha dog of the household.  as a result, we can’t use any flowery names (“Lily”, “Emma”, “Ashley”) that are ultimately better suited for a second baby sparklet.

I think those are all the rules, though there are one or two corollaries we are also keeping in mind:  

  • there has got to be a workable nickname (all I ever wanted in life was a nickname);
  • have to watch those initials (“Isabella Constance Parker” would have the initials “I See Pee”);
  • there will be no gender ambiguity (“Chris”, “Taylor”);
  • and no stealing names from nieces/cousins (which is a shame, because I *love* the name “Natalie”);
  • our M.O.H. won’t let us name the baby after the cat (which is also a shame, because “Emily” is my favorite name ever).

aside from that, it’s open season.  let me know what you come up with … 

Explore the Photo Set:
Album: the lady sparkler, Sue and Jeremy (facebook)



found photo: retreat, lake accotink, virginia

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


photo.jpg, originally uploaded by [ecpark].

ultrasound 2: the revenge of baby sparklet

Saturday, 20 June 2009

ECPA20090619_0002_lgnaturally, we didn’t find out that baby sparklet is a girl until yesterday morning during the ultrasound, but the dirty little secret of blogging is that i actually wrote the “it’s a girl” announcement post the night before the doctor’s appointment.

(otherwise, it never would have been posted by 10:15 am … it takes me hours to write, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite each post, so i would have had to skip work entirely on Friday and it still wouldn’t have been done until, you know, July.)

instead, i just wrote two posts. one if it was a boy, and one if it was a girl. considering that, as parents, we won’t pick out both a boy’s name and a girl’s name, maybe the first way to embarass baby sparklet is to share what the post would have been had she been a he.

my name would have been shannon, for the record.

so while yesterday’s post was first, i just made it look like it address the actually appointment. sadly, that was not the case, and fwiw i feel horrible about my deception.

my employers, however, feel much better about blogging during the work day … especially because they know how long it takes me to write anything.

so, sparklet was awake and lively through the whole sonogram, though not overwhelmingly cooperative. we got to hear the heartbeat again, and this time we got a much better recording.

about two minutes in, the sonogramologist (i make up words as i go along) asked if there was a bet about the gender. there wasn’t (we share the same checking account, so what’s the point) but before the doc could settle said non-existent bet, baby sparklet got shy and folded (her) legs right up.

the waiting, and the poking and the prodding seemed to go on forever — probably even more so for both mother and baby.

at one point, the doc called our beautiful-perfect-and-wonderfully-uncooperative baby “stubborn” to which i replied that she was obviously female, to which the lady sparkler replied that she was obviously our child.

true ‘dat.

so, while the doc kept it as suspenseful as she could, she let slip the female pronoun ten or twelve times before she finally managed to “motivate” baby sparklet into spreading them legs.

the rest, as they say, is history. the world is saved from baby Aesclaypius (although i did promise that Aesclaypiana would be on our short list).

now we just need to paint everything pink (kidding!) and come up with a wonderful, but anglo-friendly name.



it’s (going to be) a girl!

Friday, 19 June 2009


well, 142 days into this thing, and we finally know the gender of our baby sparklet … she’s a girl.  and frankly, after 20 weeks of discussions, i am just glad she’s a something.the lady sparkler announced about six weeks into the pregnancy that the baby was going to be a girl.  (she never said how she knew it was a girl, but she just knew.)

i assumed she was just playing the odds based off her ancestry … the lady sparkler is the eldest of three daughters, her mother is the eldest of three daughters, and both her grandmother and great-grandmother were the eldest of three daughters.

that 13 girls in 5 generations.  her maternal line is obviously hostile environment for boy sperm.

anyway, things became unbearable after i let slip that an old-wives-tale predicted that baby-mamas with girls in the pouch craved fruit, while those with boys craved meat. within two days she had “developed” a craving for anything strawberry that she could get her hands on, and it’s still going strong.

of course, i “knew” that — in her fervency — she was dead wrong.  she was so certain it would be a girl, that i knew God would rise up and smite her … if for no other reason than the comedic value.

in fact, she was so certain it would be a girl, that she promised lightingchickknits that if the baby turned out to be a boy, we would name him Aesculapius.

for what it’s worth, i’m guessing that why she’s a girl, because while God likes a bit of Karma … he knew the ramifications of a male heir were truly severe.

but, besides narrowly avoiding destroying the life of our child through name selection, today is a landmark for another reason — it is the launch of our pregnancy’s facebook and twitter strategies.

it seems rediculous, but we actually spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out when it was “appropriate” to social market our little baby sparklet, and few issues sparked as much controversy with our friends to boot.

I’m the end, we decided that it’s been 20 weeks now … which means that we are over halfway to having a real live baby sparklet to mortifyingly embarass.  so why not practice?

with that in mind, here is the pregnancy so far:

  • the clothes don’t make the (wo)man — the lady sparkler, and her battles with the maternity-clothing-industrial-complex.
  • into the closet, pt 2 — the first true battle with our home renovation / nesting instincts.
  • ultrasound — baby sparklet looks great, sounds great, and is already over achieving … and we’ve got proof.
  • the longest twelve weeks — i realized early on that i had the potential do a lot of damage in the twelve weeks where i was supposed to avoid talking about the pregnancy.
  • yup, we’re pregnant — and yes, we are going to find out the gender, and yes, we are going to pick a boring, anglo-friendly name.
  • how i met your mother — the latest in a whole series of posts about how i met and married mama de baby sparklet … preserved for posterity, and mutual embarrassment each major holiday.

and now that we have a gender, i am going to head down to the pub and lift a pint to the fact that there will be no baby Aesculapius asking me what kind of drugs we were on when we picked names.



the bolshoi’s “le corsaire” @ the kennedy center

Thursday, 18 June 2009


as a Russian studies major — which included spending the summer of ’92 bouncing around the moscow and saint petersberg theater districts — i try and see the Russian ballet troupes whenever their quasi-permanent touring companies pass through D.C.

this week, it’s the Bolshoi Ballet’s turn.

i won’t bother reviewing the show (there is no need, as Robert Greskovic of the wall street journal saw the exact same show) but it was both outstanding, and thoroughly un-Russian.

just as glasnost melted Soviet politics, it also melted the soul-crushing need for Russian conformity. in ballet, that means everything is a step less precise — likely because the off-stepping member of the corps is no longer shot on sight.

don’t get me wrong, the production was beautiful — awash in color, with incredible individualistic performances, filled with old world emotion — and nearly perfect by today’s standards.

it’s just not the mechanical, stunningly in-unison, and bombastic production that i grew to love back in the day.

… which puts me in a small circle of people (along with the military industrial complex) secretly wishing another cold war would breakout.

PHOTO: Le Corsaire, photo courtesy of Bolshoi Ballet.

flexday: biking the c&o canal, part 2 (edward’s ferry)

Friday, 12 June 2009


[Edward's Ferry, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland.]
ECPA20090612_0622, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
i did the washington, d.c. part of the c&o canal last year, and liked it enough that i decided to go back for more. the next section, between great falls and edward’s ferry, started off exactly the same … until lock 23 (mile 22) where the trail turns into one long mud pit.

needless to say, my happy little three hour ride turned into a six hour extravaganza … one from which my thighs (and butt) may never fully recover.

wall photos: europe

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


[Views of Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.]
[Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.]

in mt. pleasant, dc:

1y, 10m, 20d