The Hygiene Hypothesis says that Western culture is too clean to allow our bodies to build up a strong immune system. It turns out that’s mostly true, but with an important recent update.
I have grown up hearing that being a little bit dirty is good for you and that it helps to build your immune system. It kind of makes sense and it’s been my general approach to my own personal hygiene as well as how I decided to raise my children.
What I didn’t know (thanks to a recent episode of Stuff You Should Know) is just how new that theory is. In fact, it’s younger than me.
With as much as Portlanders love the environment and the outdoors, there are quite a few Priuses on the road. But with all the carbon released into the atmosphere from the Eagle Creek fire, could all that environmental consciousness and good have been undone by a reckless teenager wielding a firework?
As a colleague of mine and I were talking about the devastation of the still-raging Eagle Creek wildfire, he mused about the environmental impact of this single man-made event. My curiosity got the better of me and I wondered whether the good deeds of environmentally-friendly Portlanders who buy Priuses have been undone by the firework-flinging teenager who (allegedly) started the fire. Continue reading “Should I buy a Prius or mentor a teenager?”
I’ve wanted a tattoo in honour of Ellie for a while now and seeing how free and joyful Ellie is when she hears ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ was perfect for expressing my love of her in ink
Back in January, I went ahead and got my second tattoo. Whereas my first tattoo was for Marti, I decided that I also wanted one each for Ellie & Jack.
I spent quite a bit of time thinking about exactly what I wanted to get that embodied Ellie and how I feel about her. One of my favourite videos that I have of Ellie is when she fell in love with Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars and she would rock out to the chorus when it came on. Every single time I watch that video, her uninhibited joy makes me smile. And every single time I hear that song, it instantly makes me think of her.
I knew that I wanted to use A Sky Full of Stars in my tattoo for her when one day I was vacuuming with my headphones on and A Sky Full of Stars came on. For some reason, I was overcome with emotion (to the point of falling to my knees and sobbing with joy, which has never happened before) thinking about how much I love Ellie, what a blessing she is and how one day she’s going to be a grown woman that I may have the honour of walking down the aisle.
Preface: I’m keenly aware that as someone who has no voting rights in the USA, my words carry little weight, however, I’m also raising children (most notably, a daughter) in this environment, so I’m exercising my voice on behalf of my children who will one day have the ability to shape the world in which they live.
I’ve very much come to terms with the fact that Trump will be the next President. It’s done and I accept that.
What is much harder to come to terms with is the fact that people think this town jester who:
mocks the disabled,
lusts after and assaults women like an immature and dangerous college student,
considers “religion” to be an appropriate factor in determining one’s suitability for entering the country,
perpetuated the longstanding lie that Obama was born in Kenya
adjusts his limp backbone based on the response he gets from the people,
claims business acumen when his wealth would be double what it is today if he’d have retired in 1982 and invested in the S&P500,
derides people based on their looks despite looking like an orange-tinted, wig-adorned, plump corpse himself,
I have both a son and a daughter and in many respects, they are like night and day.
When Ellie was 9 months old, you could hear the winds of change: she was starting to scoot about and explore, but nothing was in danger.
With Jack, it’s less like the winds of change and more like a hurricane. Destruction threatens your house at any moment and when the hurricane and floodwaters come, anything that you treasure needs to be at least three feet off the ground to have the best chance of survival.
In fact, if possible, you should suspend everything in your house from the ceiling, creating a three-foot clear zone at the bottom where only items that you don’t mind seeing broken, consumed, torn, licked, thrown or destroyed should go.
It’s been a pleasant and enjoyable Christmas this year. Ellie had her moments where the excitement got the better of her and her behaviour wasn’t up to scratch, but other than that, it’s been really nice spending some time with family, keeping it moderately low-key and playing some games.
We spent yesterday making a trip to Ikea getting a new bed frame to go with the new mattress that I got Marti for Christmas which was a lot of fun. While we ate lunch at the cafe (they have a lot of good vegan options!), we got this adorable picture of Jack:
We ended the day by going to Hofbrauhaus in St Pete – a new German restaurant, which is a lot of fun. They have live music, vegan food (surprisingly good) and a lot of singing and dancing. Great end to the day.
I’ve never considered myself to be particularly attractive and I’ve never really noticed women taking much of an interest in me. But there was a clear difference in how women looked at me after one particular event in my life: having children and being a half-decent dad.
Ever since having kids, women look at me completely differently. I by no means think that I am the greatest dad in the world, but I’m certainly above-average (which, to be fair, isn’t too hard given how low the bar has been set by many men). When women see my out with my kids – cuddling them, playing with them, encouraging them and teaching them – I invariably become 10 times more attractive and get much more longing gazes.
All of this is very gratifying, but it makes me wonder: are these women being blinded by my above-average fathering and missing everything else that hasn’t been of much interest over the past 30 years, or am I coming into my own as a dad?
Either way I’m flattered by the attention, even though ironically, it took finding the most amazing woman who saw in me what others didn’t and having children with her, such that I’m completely unavailable, for anyone else to even bat an eye.
I was born in 1985. As I was growing up, the music of the 80s was fairly current, 70s was a bit dated, but music from the 60s was really old. The 50s and earlier was prehistoric and I’m not sure that I really heard too much music that predates the 60s.
This lecture gives an impartial and intelligent overview of circumcision and why we, particularly in America, perhaps ought to rethink whether it’s right for our sons.
Circumcision is a hot topic in the US. It’s a discussion that until I moved here wasn’t even something that I ever thought about. To me, it’s a bizarre practice rooted in either religious doctrine or bad medical advice that just won’t die and most people who are not American, Jewish or Muslim would tend to agree.
In the UK, circumcision is uncommon. Along with countries like Australia and Canada, the UK made a decision to stop routinely practicing it on newborn boys in the middle of the 20th century after medical research increasingly pointed to it being more dangerous than leaving the foreskin intact.
With the arrival of Jack a few weeks ago, our family is now complete so these photos are the first of our whole family, causing me to ponder our little unit and the responsibilities of raising them well.
Following the arrival of Jack, my family is now complete. My beautiful wife Marti, my daughter Ellie and my son Jack now make up our little family unit of four, with no more room at the inn.
Jack will be the last of our children so these pictures are the first of our whole family. Even though I’m well aware of the fact that I have a wife and a daughter and a son, to see our family together in a photo somehow makes it seem that much more surreal. I actually have a complete family; it might seem weird for me to say that, but it really hits home that we’re now a whole independent unit responsible to and for one another. And we’ve got another couple of decades like this before we start to divide and multiply. Continue reading “The completion of my family”