Fall photos posted.
Yesterday, we stayed inside all day and played with toys.
Of the written works I’ve ingested in my life so far, the Tao Te Ching has resonated with me the most. It is the only text that has moved me to tears--the moment I realized, finally, someone had written words describing what I’d felt my entire life (but never been able to articulate).

The Tao Te Ching also presents my greatest internal struggle yet: How do I reconcile living like water with the belief that long-term aspirations are good?
This morning while walking to work through the beautiful, clear cold, I had yet another lesser revelation ("LERE"). I am a selfish person (that's not the revelation). Getting married and having children are the best things ever to happen to me. Those acts gave me someone to give to besides myself. Now I am selfish in support of my family, which is a much more forgivable iniquity.
I promise that Max really is learning to play the piano too, but sometimes the built-in features of the keyboard are just too tempting to pass up:


Notice the timely use of the pitch bend wheel, and the splashy drum solo at the end... (My apologies for the infrared, but I couldn't get the shot without it.)
Esmé-ness

On Sunday morning we had to take Esmé to the hospital to get an x-ray, because her pediatrician thought she may have broken her leg (a so-called “infant fracture”, which as I understand it is not uncommon). Turns out it’s only sprained, but the poor girl can’t walk right now and it just breaks your heart! She had tumbled off a chair in an attempt to grab something atop a desk, which was about two feet away. One of those things that can happen when you leave an 18-month old alone in a room for a minute...

It’s funny, though: this is yet another incidence when Rose and I see the amazing contrasts between our kids. They both came from us, but they couldn’t be more different. Max never got into trouble climbing on things, so of course Esmé is a climber. Max has no tolerance for pain (can’t deal with flu shots, for example), whereas Esmé seems to have a very high threshold (yikes). She just gives an angry glare at the doctor when she’s getting poked with a needle. Max has always seemed to be a problem solver, tending to work things out in his head. Early on, Esmé has shown a much stronger tenancy for drawing and fine motor skills.

Now the Christmas tree is up, and in all of his four years Max never really bothered the ornaments thereupon. This year, the bottom 24” is ornament-free because Esmé, oblivious to our scolding, simply will not leave them alone.

She’s her own girl, it’s so fun to watch. If I had to guess right now, I’d say she’s a smiling toughie, a sweetheart artist that you shouldn’t cross.

Say it along with me: “tsa-tsij!” (sausage!--the most articulate of her first words).
Tom Clyde (aka DemocratDad) has a thoughtful post about discussing death with young children without invoking religious references. I posted a comment, which I'll reproduce here:

My Grandfather, with whom I was very close, died when my son was just under two years old. Because we visit his grave regularly, talk about him and keep his picture up, we seem to have maintained my son's memory of him. It's wonderful that he still remembers him (however faintly), but because of our frequent discussion of someone who is no longer with us, we have touched on our first discussions of death with our son, who is now four years old.

The first time it came up, when he was closer to two, I naively told him that when people die, they go to the moon. Now that he's interested in the solar system, and understands what the moon is (and that we've been there), that little ruse is falling apart. It's time to be honest.

My wife and I have discussed this topic at length (along with religion), and while I do believe it's important to be truthful with children, I think that the specter of death (I mean, I'm afraid of it, aren't you, just a little?) is a bit heavy to deal with until you're significantly older. How old? I guess it depends on the person. For now, we just tell him (and our daughter, when she's old enough to ask) that when people leave this earth, we don't know where they go for sure. And we focus on the manner in which we *are* sure that they're with us: in memories.

For further investigation: Parenting Beyond Belief.
In Newsweek: Is Photography Dead?
Photography is finally escaping any dependence on what is in front of a lens, but it comes at the price of its special claim on a viewer's attention as "evidence" rooted in reality. As gallery material, photographs are now essentially no different from paintings concocted entirely from an artist's imagination, except that they lack painting's manual touch and surface variation. ... The next great photographers—if there are to be any—will have to find a way to reclaim photography's special link to reality. And they'll have to do it in a brand-new way.

Via Digg.
Photos added to Window Dressing series.