Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend Nesting

Last week Linden announced, "I think we need to keep the house a little cleaner." I attribute this to the nesting instinct that comes naturally when there is a little crawling beastie on the way.
We had a long list of To Do's this weekend, and I started in on Saturday morning with a vengeance. Unfortunately, my first project of "mop the kitchen" quickly snowballed into something else entirely.

Have you ever noticed that old houses tend to accumulate a fair amount of grime? Once I noticed the kitchen cabinets it was impossible to look away. Our kitchen countertops have got to be close to 50 years old, and they are edged in wood that eventually became coated in a black, sticky film. After 5 years of cooking and eating on our counters, I finally noticed. And then I freaked out.

I began by scraping, then washing, and eventually cleared out the kitchen and resorted to full-blown power sanding any woodwork that wasn't sparkling. Once this was accomplished, I was forced to re-caulk the tile edges, the sinks, and the backsplash. Finally, sometime on Sunday, I swept and mopped the floors.
This is the outfit I wore most of the weekend. One, it was very very warm outside. But two, as I warned the neighbors, I may be dressed in running shorts and flip-flops for the next six months. I call it my fatherhood outfit - my Stay At Home Dad outfit.
I think I could get used to this job. After all, I know I have good instincts. I start by keeping the place VERY VERY CLEAN.

The End of the Second Trimester...

This past weekend marked the beginning of my 27th week of pregnancy. Although the end of the 27th week is "officially" the end of the second trimester, we'll be travelling then so I thought I'd post today. Here are a couple of photos of me from the weekend:

The second trimester is supposed to be the "easy" one, but that was not really my experience. I think I suffered more from exhaustion in the second trimester than the first, I had a lot of trouble sleeping, and my heartburn was fairly unpleasant (not that I'm complaining). My appetite was also pretty minimal up until about 20 weeks. At this point, I'm back to eating normally, but my total weight gain of 12 pounds is a little lower than the recommended range. I expect that I'll catch up eventually, though! I also managed to catch some sort of virus in mid-April that resulted in the worst cold I've had in years. And I couldn't do much about it other than rest and drink fluids. At this point, though, I'm feeling great and looking forward to the last three months! My heartburn is under control with twice-a-day Pepsid AC and my daily Claritin is doing a good job of keeping my early summer allergies at bay.

The baby is extremely active and getting stronger every day. At this point, one of our favorite activities is to watch my belly while he's kicking and flipping. It is pretty amazing to see my whole belly jerk and bounce. Sometimes a big kick on one side will completely deform the shape from round to almost conical. Wierd.

We've been doing some thinking about names, but we're planning to wait until after the baby is born before making a final decision. Current favorites include Leif, Logan, Liam, Dane, and Everett. You can see we like the "L" names! Middle name will be either Baekeland or Reilly (family names from earlier generations).

Our neighbor gave me some maternity clothes over the weekend, so now I have a few cute summer dresses, which I'm sure will come in handy if this summer is anywhere near as hot as this past weekend! E Ben also bought me a few new things for Mother's Day, so I'm doing pretty well on maternity clothes.

We had a productive weekend around the house, cleaning and organizing and making some decisions about the nursery. We even ordered the carpet and picked a paint color! Now the pressure is on E Ben to get the painting done before the Home Depot guys install the carpet... We're looking forward to our trip to Tucson this weekend. E Ben will write about that once we get back.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cornett & Co. Idea

The name for this blog was taken from a fascinating piece of family history.

Sometime in the early 1900's, my great grandfather, John Cornett, came to settle in Prineville, Oregon. He worked with his uncle "Mac" Cornett to run a stagecoach line and mercantile store that served the surrounding farms and communities. Some years ago I was on a college research project about Prineville, and ran across this advertisement in the local newspaper from 1921.

I passed this around to friends and family members, because it seems like such . . . poetry? I don't pretend to understand the people who wrote it, or even its purpose. Is it a mission statement? An inspirational speech? Did my earlier progenitors write it, sitting up at night, by candle? It reads like a Nike ad, and feels a bit over the top. But sometimes the Cornetts can be a bit over the top.

Linden and I both have a copy hanging in our offices. To do the Right Thing? To work for the love of the work? To do some things better than they were ever done before? On our good days? You bet we do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

This second novel by Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner, is set once again in Afghanistan. I found this book more compelling than his first, perhaps because it is told through the eyes of women, but more likely because it gives more insight into the history and culture of the region. While the main character in The Kite Runner moves to the US as a child, and is an outsider when he eventually returns as an adult, the characters in this book live through the Soviet era, rule by the Mujahideen, the oppression of the Taliban, and finally the rebuilding of Kabul after the Taliban have been removed from power. During this span of thirty years, we see how the ruling parties' philosophies and views of the role of women affect the lives of Afghani citizens.

I won't give away any plot details here, other than to say that some readers may be taken aback by the cruelty to women detailed throughout the book. While heartbreaking to read about, I think it's naive to be surprised that women are treated this way, and that in some parts of the world such treatment is considered socially acceptable, so there is little to no recourse available. Hosseini does provide a balanced treatment, highlighting the decent men in addition to the monsters who seem to take delight in torture, both emotional and physical.

This is book #24 for 2008.

Note: I don't plan to write about every book that I read, although that would be my ultimate goal. For now, I'll just write a few words if I have something to say!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kenny & Zukes

Tonight marks the first night of lovely mild summer evenings and long walks downtown.

Met Tom and Nat downtown for dinner at Kenny & Zukes, an up-and-coming and very hipster deli run by our favorite Portland gourmand, Ken Gordon. I explained to the waitress our connection: "Ken married us!" then realized that this isn't exactly true. He just grilled all the meat, but it was still the hardest job of the day.

Here's a picture from Wedding Day, August 9, 2003.

I tried the famous pastrami on a sandwich called Ken's Special - a gooey mess of thick smoked pastrami, chopped liver, cole slaw, and russian dressing. Plus the crucial pickle! Delish. Linden had the fried latkes with sour cream and homemade applesauce.

Check out the menu online at

Post dinner we sauntered through downtown Portland on one of our evening rambles around our favorite city. Checked out some demolition in the neighborhood of the park blocks and surveyed the new park/parking garage. It was open, so we ventured into the 5-story depths, but could not determine if there was an entrance for cars. Eerie.

Made a quick stop to visit my brick at Pioneer Courthouse Square and resolved to buy one someday for The Boy. Thanks, Uncle Fred!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day, 2008.

First day of the family blog. There are three of us: Linden, E Ben, and Unborn Baby. We celebrated Mother's Day today with Oatmeal Pancakes, Gardening, and plenty of Quality Time with Mother In Law, in from New York.

Cornett & Company, the title comes from a general store and stagecoach outfit, once located in Prineville, Oregon and operated by my kin. The Cornetts are long gone from Prineville by now, but a few of us still remain in corners of the state.

Happy Mother's Day to all our mothers. Linden celebrated by waking me up at 6 this morning with a whispered, "Wake up, I'm bored!" The day went spendidly, with light showers and sunbreaks. Parenthood is upon us! More on that later.

Man, this blogging thing is pretty fun! I'll introduce myself on another day, but today is all about the Mothers. Thanks, Mom, for all the feedings, diaper changes, and general rearing. I am looking forward to returning the favor to your grandchild.