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My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can. -- Frank Zappa

Updated: 2017-10-11T02:25:56.134+08:00


First Day


Just got a quick message from Frank's Teacher Carl:

Hey Paul, just had an interesting chat with Frank:

Frank: T.Carl, today is December 1sth.
T.Carl:cyou mean December 1st Frank.
Frank: YEAH!!! (Followed by a Chuck Norris Kung Fu/wrestling double air fist pump)
T.Carl: Why are you so happy Franklin?
Frank: Because soon it will be Christmas!



Franklin lost his first tooth last week and Gretchen probably said "Shit" for the very first time in her life, though these two items are almost certainly not related.Frank noticed a couple weeks ago that his bottom tooth was loose, but thanks to Grandma's suggested reading "One Morning in Maine," he knew what was going on and didn't fret a bit. He was pretty excited to be growing up. I asked him to remind me to find a picture of the tooth fairy online. Fortunately he wasn't hovering as I did so as a Google search turned up a number of frightening images.One day, about a week and a half after the wiggling began, the tooth popped out of its place while we were all enjoying some after school time on the playground. There was a plastic envelope in the teachers' room, and the rest of the day was spent planning bedtime. Next morning, the TF had been and left $NT50.The local custom is to toss bottom teeth on the roof of the house to encourage growth of the adult tooth. Top teeth go under the house if possible with similar purpose. I fly in the face of tradition, however, and went with money. Wasn't sure the going rate, however, and enlisted the help of Facebook friends who have had similar experience lately. 50NT was at the low end of the spectrum, it seems. Maybe we'll just work up to $US10 a tooth! That can turn into real money before you know it!Anyhow, as promised, here are some recent photos of Frank.[...]

Yeah Yeah Yeah, I KNOW!


Long time no pictures. Sorry Grandma. But, as Frank's in the other room doing his homework, and Gretchen is staying busy next to him with a book while mom is off shopping at the market, I thought I'd take a moment, crack open a bottle of Castlemaine XXXX and note down what Maggie told me about Franklin's dream last night.

For quite some time he's had dreams about fires. I'm not sure if they're nightmares or not, but he doesn't seem to be waking up screaming.

Ha ha. Point of Stream of Consciousness: the other day he asked me to make him a CD to listen to as he went to sleep. I made a playlist with some favorites including "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," a song which he has just discovered. It was track 16.

The night I burned the CD and put it on his CD player, I was completely beat. School has just started and I'm putting in 13-14 hour days, so as soon as I pressed play and kissed him goodnight, I left him to the tunes and collapsed in bed. This must have been about ten.

About 45 minutes later, I hear screaming "DAAAAA_DEEEEEEEE!!!!!" the sound of which for the last 5 and a half years has launched me from my bed day or night wide awake and loaded for bear. I rushed into the room ready to kill whomever was setting fire to his curtains only to find him bouncing up and down on his bed saying "Thank you for putting this song on my CD! It's my favorite!"

He's also listening to They Might Be Giants and is a big fan of The Beatles' Revolver.

I've been telling him at night to "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" as a way of getting him calm and in the mood for sleep. Revolver is a pretty sleepy album.

On the weekends, we let the kids read stories, play, and sleep together at bedtime, and this they did last night. I had to be at our school early Saturday morning to unlock and prepare for testing, so Maggie stayed behind and got the kids presentable and followed up later.

Franklin had a bit of a bad dream in which he said a stranger took him away in a car.The bad guy took him to her house. It was a lady bad guy. She took him to his house and she told him to choose a hat. He said 'No!" Then, apparently the cavalry arrived in the person of Mom, Dad, and Kleine Schwester.

Gretchen vehemently suggested that the next time this happens, Franklin should stab the bad guy in the eye with a sword! Zoiks! Franklin considered this a moment before vetoing in the idea because it would result in permanent blindness for the kidnapper.

Maggie can't help but point out that this is a middling good illustration of the two kids' personalities.

Pictures later. KTHANX.

Yo Contest


A few months back, students in Franklin's middle class (third year out of four in kindergarten) were asked if they wanted to take part in a special event in the springtime. Taiwanese parents love to show off their kids' special abilities in public and a Saturday morning demonstration of Tang Era poetry recitin' is just the thing that brings the helicopter moms in for a landing.

At first, there were no dice, according to the teacher. The spots, it seemed, filled up mighty quick and Frank would have to wait until next speech season to give face to his parents.

Which was fine with me, to be honest. I never saw the point in having kindergarteners memorize TWENTY poems only to recite two on a stage under the harsh spotlight of public opinion. Even Franklin was heard to mutter, "What do these words even mean?" The only purpose I can theorize is that it prepares kids for an academic career punctuated with arbitrary memorization assignments and little in the way of useful context lasting into the Twenties.

As luck would have it, a space opened up within hours of the initial rejection and Frank found himself on his way to Glory armed with a CD of kiddie music and a book to go along with it.

So he listened and read and sang along and we figured he was going to be a hit. When it was time to go back to the US, the teacher asked if our five-year-old boy would take back a stack of poems back to memorize. On Vacation. Now, my exact words were neither recorded nor passed along, exactly, but the sentiment reached the school and Frank had an ideal amount of free time on vacation.

The whole thing went off today, though I was not there due to a scheduling conflict. If I had gone I would have tweeted the while thing. There was plenty of material there with all the show biz moms having painted butterflies on their daughter's faces and the stringent choreography of the whole thing.

One for the Folks Watching at Home


Having a restful day at home. Gretchen was sick last night with a fever of 39.6C.
Maggie was good and didn't panic and make me drive to the hospital at six in the morning. Gretchen's fever was gone by nine, but we took it easy today anyway.


Now Frank's teaching his sister how to play a math computer fame. Kindergarten kids being taught second grade math. Neither one of them know how to climb a tree yet, though.

The American Adventure is still fresh in everyone's mind. We look forward to going back next summer and maybe catching the Fourth of July, some baseball, and a BBQ sandwich the size of my head.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Section 2, GōngYì Rd,Nantun District,Taiwan

Another First!


Franklin's a good kid & lots of fun to hang out with on the weekends. He's learning how to read now and can pick out words in books that he hasn't memorized in his kindergarten class.

But a moment that made Baba proud came about after dinner at Frog 3 off of Jinchen Rd the other night. We sat in the garden and had a dinner of quesadillas, chicken enchiladas, and beef burritos. Maggie and Frank both thought the meal wasa little too spicy, so it fell to Gretchen and I to polish everything off. We tempted Frank to finish three triangles of the quesadilla with a little Sprite. Frank, it happens, LOVES Sprite. We don't usually give him soda at home & need to figure out if he's getting it at the babysitter's place, but I figured for a Saturday evening, a double shot of Sprite wasn't going to kill him.

After dinner, we walked down the street to hop on the scooter & head home. After walking for about 10 meters, Frank goes, "Daddy, watch this...." and then he produced, on cue,  the most fantastic amateur eructation that I believe I've ever heard. He looked as proud as if he'd just recited the Cyrillic alphabet.

I don't have to tell you how proud I was.

See You In September


Frank had his first swimming class yesterday. All summer long, we've been taking the kids to the apartment pool on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to cool off. Gretchen took to the water immediately and enjoys being thrown in the air and almost instinctively understood how to use the handrail at poolside to navigate the circumference of the pool to the ladder, but Franklin has demonstrated a certain degree of reticence when it comes to aquatic recreation. The first time we tried the pool out, there was a typhoon in the area and the water was pretty cold, and the air around it was moving around quickly and with a palpable lack of warmth. It wasn't not a pleasant dip, and his father really should have known better. But, as a result of the...dunking...controlled dunking...not waterboarding...Franklin was much more at home in the wading pool, content to kick the water and toss a ball back and forth while his younger sister motorboated around the pool.We decided a couple months ago that when summer ended, because we would have a little more time, we'd take Frank for swimming lessons. NEAC in Taichung is the source of Central Taiwan's  best swimmers, according to scuttlebut. A couple weeks ago, we took him for a look-see and we liked what we look-saw. There was a definite local flavor to the place.The pool complex is in a 3 or 4 story building, which, from the street, does little to betray the water within. Unless you read Chinese. But if you are in the water, there's no way to see the world outside. Sunburned days at the pool? Never! You must navigate a rabbit's warren to get to the line where shoes must be removed, and your swimming ticket is given to the auntie at the desk. Then, another hallway and staircase down to the dressing room, shower, footbath, and finally pool deck. The first pool you encounter is four lanes, and is the location of all the swimming lessons. There is an observation window on the floor above, just beyond the shoe-shed line, where mothers sit and read fashion magazines while their kids swim  laps aided by kick boards fifteen feet below. The deck itself is covered with plastic mats that deny children the opportunity to slip and fall at the pool. Another example of coddling, if you ask me.Beyond the class pool, is a 15m lap pool where kids can practice, and beyond that, a small corner of the room is set aside as a sprinkler play area about the size of my bedroom. Continuing around the complex in a clockwise fashion, you arrive at a 25 m lap pool of three lanes, presumably for adults. At the opposite end of this pool, is a stairway on the left, and a doorway to the class pool on the right.Upstairs, there is a spa pool that is about 25 meters long with regularly spaced jets of water positioned to massage all your body parts. This water is quite a bit warmer than the water in the lap pools downstairs, and I could marinate in there all day if I had a waterproof iPod. The first Saturday we were there to look around, there were very few people there. Yesterday was a different story. Franklin's class of beginners was four-strong, but there were four other classes in the same time slot. Some of the mothers were reading about Louis Vuitton, but the rest of the parents had scattered about the complex to the various bodies of water. The 3-lane lap pool where I hung out had as many as 17 people in it at one point, making my goal of 20 laps an exercise of futility.Franklin, as mentioned, is no fan of the water.  He was pretty cool, confident, and courageous up to the time the teacher got out of the pool to say hi. Frank hid around the corner, and it took two instructors to wrangle him into the water. From the next room, his protestations were heard bouncing off tile, cement, and water for at least 15 minutes. And then they stopped for one, two, three minutes.Fearing his teachers had drowned him, I went to check, and saw him guiding himself [...]

A Card Trick


It's Saturday noontime. I have to be at work in about half an hour to judge and elementary school speech contest. While sitting here waiting for my dumplings to boil, Frank came up with the following card trick.

He walks up with a handful of Sesame Street UNO cards sent by his Aunt Sarah and tells me to close my eyes and take a card, which I do. Like Karnac the Magnificent, he tells me the name of the card I drew, which, upon opening my eyes, I can confirm!

I don't know how he does it....

Smart Kid


There's a Shel Silverstein poem called "Smart" about a kid who trades his crisp one dollar bill up for 5 shiny pennies. He's so proud because five is more than one. I'd reprint it here without permission, but a family member whom I won't mention by name (my oldest sister) would go ape shit about copyright infringement blah blah blah. I won't mention at all that I downloaded the mp3 of the same poem and if you've never listened to Shel Silverstein read, you something about that. The CDs are out there. This one is on "Where the Sidewalk Ends."

Uncle Shel would be so proud of Franklin today. His preschool teacher sent him home with a prize--a loaf of bread sized black & white plastic piggy bank. He was so enamored with his new acquisition that he wanted to play with it immediately in spite of his parents' suggestions that he be a nice big brother and give it to his sister. He's become a lot more concious of his possessions since starting school and the concept of MINE is a big one for any kid his age, according to experts, I'll say.

He was big enough, however, to allow Gretchen to play with his...old...piggy bank. A misnamed plastic sculpture of a cow standing on two legs. Gretchen was happy to have something to hold. Frank ran round and round the living room shaking his new toy with NT$5 inside, making an ungodly racket. Gretchen's new piggy bank is rather unwieldly, as it contains Frank's allowance money from the past 12 months.

Both children appear quite happy with their new situation in life, though I think that one of them needs some conceptual counselling.

Speaking of which, we had the "starving children in Africa" talk just now. Frank had returned his bowl to the sink with about a dozen grains of rice left in the bottom. This is not done here for obvious reasons, and also for the supertitious reason that if you leave rice in your bowl, your bride will have horrendous acne on her wedding day.The starving children in Africa story has taken on a new 21st century angle with videos from YouTube.

I think my "starving child in Africa" lecture may have been about the kids in China, or I may be remebering the line from the John Lennon song "Nobody Told Me." Also available for illegal dowload. Hi Sis!

Thirty Seconds in a Maze


I just came across this from last year. My cell phone has a camera which will record 30 seconds of video at a time. Here are 30 of those seconds.
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Photo Ketchup


Frank's still with us, larger than life.

A Quick Update


Hi, here it is the middle of October and it's still warm as snot out. Frank and I have been having adventures. The Internet connection at home has been out for a couple weeks, and it will be a couple more before the cable guys can sync up with my schedule to come to the house and figure out what the problem is.Where to begin? I took Frank to an Obama fundraiser in Taipei a few weeks ago at a El Gallo, a new Mexican restaurant in Tienmu, the trendy neighborhood where all the foreigns go. It was definitely the most white people Frank had ever seen gathered in one place in his life. He had a great time, ate his fill of burrito and then three or four different kinds of home baked desserts, including a beautiful cupcake with the Obama logo on it. We met a coworker from my school there, as well as Michael Turton, another American Expat and the mind behind the fantastic View From Taiwan blog. When Frank and I got back from the buffet line, we discovered that two beautiful reporters had joined us at the table. Frank's got good taste in women....just like Daddy.After we loaded up on gear and enthusiasm, we set off into the night towards our hotel where Maggie and Gretchen were waiting. There was a heavy wind-driven mist falling, a precursor to the typhoon which was striking the south of the island at that very moment. By midnight, the wind was turning violent. We decided to cut our trip short and head back to Taichung the very next morning before the HSR was shut down for safety's sake.We took another trip to Taipei this past weekend to celebrate 10/10 with a trip to the zoo. Unforunately, at least 50,000 others had the same idea and the zoo was a madhouse, but to go after the end of this month will be even worse when the pandas arrive from the mainland. A rain shower may have chased about 10,000 people home, but we waited it out with ice cream, coffee, and hot chocolate and moved on to see the elephants after inserting the kids into their rain gear. Gretchen alternated between being carried by Mom, then by Dad, then walking, then back to being carried by mom. The last time at the zoo, Gretchen was in a stroller, and it was quite cold and the rain never ceased, so all in all, this time was a success.This picture of the two of them holding hands is a favorite of Maggie's. She thinks the kids will look back at this in the future and remember that they are really good friends and look out for each other.Frank had a good time, and we bought him an inflatable zebra to take home with him. Gretchen got a tiger. On this trip, Frank fed the train tickets into the right slot and did a good job holding on to subway tokens, holding them tightly in his hand and putting them in the box at trip's end. He set a good example for his sister, who by Sunday was doing the same thing.A trip to Page One at Taipei 101 netted Franklin 3 Clifford books, including Clifford's Manners, which has become a smash hit. In the week that we've been reading it at bedtime, Frank has been very aware of his own manners and no longer needs to be reminded to say please and thank you. This makes his dad extremely happy. We're still working on the sharing part, but we're getting there.Oh geez, I almost forgot. Halloween is right around the corner and I had been hoping to send Frank to his kindergarten Halloween day as a Chicago Cub with his hat, and a batting jersey. His favorite team, after all, is the Chicago Cubs, and will be as long as I have anything to say about the matter.However, we received word last week that students attending the Halloween party next Saturday at school would all wear THE SAME COSTUMES! WTF? Well, at least the students don't have to wear uniforms to school every day in kindergarten, but it is a little stifling to the originality of the parent to ma[...]



Frank started his first morning of kindy today. In Taiwan, there are four grades of kindergarten and he's begun the "Small Class, " which is the second level after "Yo-Yo Ban." He's been looking forward to going to school all summer. Yeah, I know. Whose kid is he?

Today and tomorrow are orientation days. Today he went to get outfitted with his uniform, and tomorrow is another shake down. Thursday is a day off and he starts for real on Friday, August 1st. Maggie took him in this morning to meet his teachers (three per classroom) and classmates (didn't get an accurate count on that one). At 9:00 they had a snack of green bean soup, and Frank, though he had a facade of calm, barfed it all up. Good thing he had a change of clothes or two.

Mom said it was time for her to go back to work, and Frankie said he wanted to go with her, but in the end, his new classmates (some of whom still wear diapers! WTF?) invited him to play and he felt that he found a place where he belonged. Believe it or not, my boy is the tallest in the school. (No, it's not K-12)

Frank's Long Weekend


(image) We had a three day weekend due to the typhoon, so that meant lots of quality time with the kids. Franklin starts kindergarten on August 1st, and is excited beyond words.

Frank at Frank's


We stopped by Oldie's Franks last night for Frankie's new favorite meal: hot dogs, french fries, and ice cold water.

Frank and Dad #2


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Cranky Franky


Someone is about to learn the phrase "Eat it or Wear It."
As you can see by the 3 beagle eyes in the picture below, mealtime is something of a chore at the BattApt. In Frank's bowl is some delicious xifan or rice porridge with beef and mysterious green stuff. The mysterious green stuff in my xifan last week was a green egg a la Dr Seuss. It was interesting, and something I ate twice, but nothing to write home about...hang on...maybe it was. Hmph.

(image) The price of food is going up here as well. Gas is now around a dollar a liter and meals around town seem to have gone up almost a dollar in the first few months of the year. Or I could be making things up. I've quit eating out almost entirely, which is a big deal in Taiwan because the convenience of good food by the side of the road (like this xifan) is enticing. But as the price goes up, the portions get smaller, and the quality deteriorates.

Maggie went to the traditional market today and bought a HUGE bag of vegetables for NT$110, which recently is about $3.60US. That's the way to go.

In the meantime, I'm not force feeding Frank, or giving people food to the obese beagle (Maggie's habit, not mine). I say, if he's hungry, he'll eat. He had a big lunch today, and I like xifan so after an hour and a half I got to have a bowl of lukewarm porridge. Yum!

Happy 1200 Days Frankie!

High Energy


Yesterday we took the kids to vote at the elementary school at the end of the block. I didn't vote. I'm not allowed. I was just happy that the day had finally arrived that the campaign trucks would cease to make their (image) omnipresence known. Plus, in the days leading up the election, Maggie wasn't sleeping well. It's all over now, but instead of getting a good night's sleep last night, someone in the house stayed up until three watching a cycle of pundits rehash the day's events.

So anyway, we're there at the thing, and there's this track. Franklin liked the swings a bit, and the seesaw was not at all harrowing. There were kids playing basketball and when he walked out towards them across the track, he just followed the curve of the lane marker. In the end he ran around the 200m track 5 times in around 15-20 minutes, stopping a couple times for water. Maggie and I were both shocked when he ran all the way around, and then ran around again. But 5 times? Great Googly Moogly!

He was pretty tired by the time we got back. But in one of these pictures he shows off his ability to reach the button for the 12th floor (we live on 11). He proudly helped a neighbor press 19 the other day.
(image) Frank had some help with this Lego creation yesterday, but he's finally to the age where when his father erects a tower, he doesn't knock it over. Well, Happy Erection Day!

Weekend Update


Well well well, I'm updating Franklin's blog again. That either means I have a bit of free time, there can be no other possible explanation.Chinese New Year has come and gone. The weeklong vacation gave us a chance to spend time together and we had a blast. A blast of cold air as well.Jeez, it must've gotten down to about 40F. Naturally, the kids worse three shirts, pajamas, quilted pants, a sweater, a vest, a jacket, and a scarf. Hey, this is Taiwan. When we get a chance to dress up like a Christmas card, we take it.The four of us piled into the High Speed Train for a trip to Taipei. We snickered to ourselves (the adults did, anyway) as we passed over the highway and saw miles and miles of backed up cars. This does indeed feel like the only way to travel in Taiwan.Taipei was dreary. I've always heard about the miserable weather there, but was fortunate in the years I made regular trips north for meetings that I arrived on sunny days. Our luck really ran out this time.It was cold and rainy the day we went to the zoo. Frank & Gretchen got to see elephants, giraffes, flamingoes, koalas, as well as 140 species of turtle. It's quite a nice zoo, and I imagine on a weekend day with beautiful weather, it would be unbearably crowded. There were quite enough snotty-faced kids playing "Lookaforeigner" with the park mostly empty. At least no one was throwing stones at the monkeys or the foreigners.No trip to Taipei is complete without a stop at Taipei 101. I thought it might be refreshing to ride the elevator to the top and look out from the observation deck, but I declined to make my wishes known as we had a train to catch.The rest of the holiday was quite nice, though I wouldn't go so far as to say "relaxing," but Taiwanese holidays all seem to place more emphasis on "recreation" than "rest." Still, it was a rare opportunity to play with the kids all day and go for walks in the park.After Chinese New Year, Maggie and I decided it would be helpful in our pursuit of curbing costs if Franklin were to come to "The Elephant" with us to help out. He's 3 years old, and most of our kids are about 6 or 7. Franklin helps carry books & messages upstairs. When a student's mother comes to take her child home, Frankie will run up to our third floor to tell ge-ge or jie-jie it's time to go home. When I'm in class, the first couple days, he always wanted to come in and see what I was doing. We're just a small school so such breaches in professional etiquette can be ignored from time to time, but we made it quite clear that he was allowed to come to Thursday evening story time only. For classes on other days, Frankie sits on the easy chair outside my classroom door and waits for break time.At break, Maggie quizzes the students one at a time on the current unit. Franklin stands in line with a book in his hands waiting to answer the questions just like the big kids. He speaks Chinese now in complete phrases and is making strides in English despite the fact that his only conversation partner is his dad.[...]

Take a Little Trip


We all piled into the car Sunday morning and headed for Nantou County. Maggie and I have made several trips out beyond Puli since around the time we started dating, but the last one was at least 3 years ago. Gretchen is now old enough to ride in the car for an extended period, and Franklin, with his new car seat configuration is an old hand. We've taken off his restraining harness and he now sits in his chair with the car seat belt holding him in just like the folks in the front seat. He's really been enjoying the distinction of being the only one in the back seat with just one shoulder strap.Frank loves tunnels and somehow seems to know where the tunnels are before we get to them. Several times yesterday, he said, "There's the tunnel" and as soon as we'd set "Not quite yet, buddy, up popped a tunnel for us to go through. Maggie is chalking it up to a Sixth Sense. I think he's got a GPS tucked away in his car seat. Sneaky little tyke.There used to be a beautiful butterfly garden miles past Puli. Just another Roadside Attraction. I remember there were magnificent mosaics in a store there all made of butterfly wings that--one hopes--had fallen off.The butterflies were gone, so we sat down for a quick lunch of fresh fish & veggies. As soon as we ordered, the waitress walked out to a pond by the parking lot, dipped in a net, and came back with our lunch. The fish was Fresh.We backtracked towards the TaiYi Ecological Educational Farm to checkout the flowers and birds. Franklin and Gretchen had an absolute ball.Monday morning he woke up talking about the giant robot.Not sure what the t-shirt of the farm's mascot was supposed to say, but there you are.There were punk rock chickens to feed, and bee hives to avoid. As if this wasn't enough excitement for one day, we took him home and his mother gave him a haircut for the very first time. "No problem," she says. "My mom used to give me haircuts when I was little, " she says. I asked her if she was sure she remembered how her mom cut her hair 33 years ago. Frank was a little fidgety--as I would be--and had a couple chunks taken out.[...]

Chinese Joke


Warning. This will only be funny to the 1 or 2 people who read this blog who understand Mandarin (Hiya Gary!)

Thursday night or was it Wednesday, Maggie and I stopped off at La Terrasse to have dinner at the place Franklin calls "Uncle Terry's." There's a tendency amongst...

...nevermind, here's the joke.

Frank's sitting on his new chair at the table. Daddy wants him to eat his veggie pizza, but he's sure he'd rather be eating raisins (I know, I'm going to have to get his DNA tested.) C'mon, though. All kinds of good stuff on veggie pizza. Besides, I didn't want anymore because I'm trying not to return to my churlish figure. So, I hid his raisins under a half-finished crossword from September. He looked around wondering where his raisins were, so I asked him:
"Frank where are your raisins?"
To which he replied, "Putao gone!"


Sorry. Anyway. In Mandarin, the word for raisin is 葡萄乾兒 (Pu Tao Gan r) so it's really quite funny...umm, right? Gary? Anyone?



Took the kids to Kenting this weekend. I don't have the pictures here with me to post, but here's a Grateful Dead clip from the 1980 Halloween show to keep you entertained until I get my act together.

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Noodling in Taiwan


Frank's come a long way. When Gretchen was still in hospital, I started to seriously figure out how to work a guitar, learned a bunch of chords from a book, and stayed up all hours messing around. Earlier in the evenings, before Franklin would go to bed, I'd serenade him with Woody Guthrie songs and a bit of Grateful Dead. Don't know if it was me or the guitar, but Frank thought something was just awful, and any noodling on my part took place long after he went to bed.

After Gretchen and mom came back from the hospital, my guitar time has all but disappeared. Every couple weeks, I'll pick it up and practice a couple progressions before a once little voice starts to say "Daddy NO!"

The other day, however, Frank picked up the guitar and started finger picking a little ditty around D. I picked up my bass and made musical noises with him. He dug it. I dug it. The boy's got rhythm, no doubt about it. It's nice to see that he's got an ear for melody, as well.

Frank's current favorite book is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He's putting himself to sleep after a story now. His current favorite Beatle is Ringo, and he really likes the album Beatles for Sale.

Gretchen's Eating


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Heard late yesterday afternoon that Franklin was feeling a lot better at teacher's. Last night he even walked from the bathroom to his bedroom with a melodramatic limp. His fever came back around midnight accompanied by some shaking. I spent the night with him last night in case he needed something. He woke up about 9 this morning after I'd gone to school, looking for Baba. Maggie says that he still has a low-grade fever but seems not to be suffering from the pain in the ass the nurse gave him. His appetite is coming back.

Early Evening: Teacher Swim reports that Franklin is up and walking around and playing with his friends. We'll go back to the doctor for more heat therapy this evening which will be fun for Frank since last night he discovered what a stethoscope can do.

Later Evening: Fact Checking--Maggie says Streptococcus immunization +32 other viral nasties. Not pneumonostrocotacoularlo whatever.