P.S. If there are any programmers out there - please note the super sweet MobileMe gallery above. Integration with the Mac OS, Aperture syncing, and complete customization of what gets displayed make MobileMe worth every penny...
For those of you who don't know, I'm now a father. On August 12th and 8:48 in the morning, Analiese Ruth Meyer was born into my life. She weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. She will be staying with me for quite some time... This type of statement demands a carriage return.
As I write, from my second-story window overlooking the Virginia woods, I'm struck by the high level of satisfaction I feel at merely having produced a child*. As far as I can tell, our daughter is nearly perfect, is falling into the rhythm of our life quite nicely, and will be dominating my thought life for years to come.
And yet, all of this comes in the face of a monumental revolution of my daily routine. I haven't had more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep in almost a week, my wife is still exhausted from nine months of pregnancy and many hours of labor, and I am faced with the prospect of many more years of diaper changing ahead of me.
Rationally, I can't see any reason why I should feel joy in my present circumstances, but it's undeniable. Making another creature dry, warm, and well-fed is an incredibly fulfilling task. I only hope that I don't lose these happy feelings in the "dark night of the soul" that apparently comes to all parents at some point or other.
I will post some pictures soon, but for now it's back to the cardboard carnage left by the virtual baby shower thrown for us on Sunday.
Life just got a lot more interesting.
*obligatory disclaimer: I am aware that I did not do most of the work of forming, feeding, and birthing the baby, nevertheless... the girl is still my child in a very special way Posted August 18, 2010 COMMENTS: (302)
A BABY MUST BE ON THE WAY An Explanation of the last few months Over the past few weeks (I know, it's been over two months!) I have been busy. My wife is "great with child", our house has become "great with baby-clothes", and I have become great at cutting very small pieces of woods, gluing them together, and sanding the whole thing down.
Well, I've been doing the ultimate fatherly task of making furniture! Yes. Well, sort of yes. I didn't exactly make a baby dresser, but I did "overhaul" one... Because overhaul sounds much better than "refinishing". Plus, I added quite a bit of value to the overall dresser-system (see - my MBA is still useful!) and succeeded in fulfilling a vital role as a care-provider to my wife.
But besides all that, I really enjoyed doing something tangible - with my hands - to provide for my baby. It can be frustrating at times for the husband (it's almost a cliché by now) to know what to do for 9 months. Before the dresser project I mostly just read books about birth and dealing with a newborn, but this process really, in an unexpected way, opened my eyes to the joy that comes from building a family - both literally and figuratively.
Due to the incredible amount of time I put into this project, I almost completely stopped blogging, reading the internet, watching tv, etc. and I hope to bring (some!) of that back into my life now.
For those of you who are interested, I invite you to check out the photo-gallery dedicated to this project. I added some pretty detailed commentary, explaining each step along the way, and hope that it can be some type of inspiration to you folks.
I decided that I should probably post more "normal stuff" about life in general. After all, what seems normal to one person (me) might seem interesting to someone else (you). Maybe.
In any case, I have been thinking a lot about community and the importance of "really living" somewhere. This is as opposed to the idea of simply eating and sleeping in a particular geographical spot. And the differences between the two are quite dramatic.
Just six or seven months ago, neither Megan nor myself had any deep friendships (or even hang-out-groups) in the Richmond area. Our friends were accessible with the phone - sure - but we felt like were just biding our time here until something changed... Neither one of us was sure what this would be. So we decided to "get connected".
To make a long story short, we started asking advice on everything from where to eat, to where to attend Church, and where the best hikes were. Strange things started happening as we started branching out into the city. First, we finally started finding things to do in the heart of downtown - which meant we could start avoiding the banal strip malls of suburbia. Second, we began to meet people that were actually FROM here - which gave us access to a richer pool of weekend ideas than we could possibly have thought up ourselves.
The photos above are from a barista competition that we were invited to by the bassoon player of the front-porch band I play in. As it turns out he sets up these "barista jams" (as he calls them) and had recruited the guitar playing leader of our band to be a judge in the competition and thought he would like some support.
The coffeeshop (GlobeHopper Coffeehouse) was an ideal venue for this type of thing and have us a great chance to meet people (who all seemed to know each other) while relaxing and enjoying the festivities. I met the owner/founder of Blanchard's Coffee and, through conversations started with him, heard about a series of great running trails along the James River. All in all - a great experience in the heart of a community.
In the future I will have to write more about this town, but for now I'll just leave it there.
Finally, there was a write-up of the barista event in our local paper in which the writer uses my pictures. You can see them here. Posted April 26, 2010 COMMENTS: (174)
BRINGING UP A BABY GIRL So much to think about, so little experience! (As I mentioned a few blog posts ago, please slide or click your way through the new "Slideoo" image tool above to see all the pictures)
Megan and I just got back from the doctor and, through the wonders of modern science we were able to see our baby girl, moving around, on the screen, in real time.
Well it was pretty cool.
I guess I'm just like every other dad since the dawn of time that is secretly annoyed at all the fuss surrounding babies - until he has his own - and then everything changes.
Megan sort of thought that this baby would be a girl. I wasn't sure why but we could really only imagine good girl names, she started knitting a sweater (almost done!) that would really work best for a girl, and frequently chastised me for referring to "it" as a "he".
Well, after all of our wondering and hoping, we now can begin to strange process of planning for the arrival of an actual person. There is really nothing that can totally prepare someone for this event, so I'm not worried about being unprepared, I'm just sort of... shocked.
Why? I have no idea. But if bringing a real live human being into this world isn't enough to shock you, I don't know what is.
Now it's time to think about where the little kangaroo is gonna sleep, where her clothes are gonna go, what kind of strollers you need to buy, how much money to put in her college fund...
Bring it on.
p.s. If the second picture above is a bit hard to figure out, just scroll to the right and, if you look carefully, you should be able to make out a slightly clearer picture of our tiny kangaroo daughter. Posted April 01, 2010 COMMENTS: (288)
DARDEN CREATES NEW INNOVATION LAB Or: How Jeanne thinks status quo thinking isn't working Over the past couple of years I have gone through a bit of a "crucible experience". Buckling down to learn the dark arts of high finance and low variance distribution sets, I discovered that, in spite of the steep learning curve for an art major entering a top B-School program, all types of learning share a similar need for creativity. Once one understands a problem (whether one is struggling with how to represent with watercolors the infinite gradient of a glowing Baja sunset, or the near-infinite noise of the stock markets in a derivative pricing model) one becomes free to step back and utilize tools that come from outside the target discipline.
Jeanne Liedtka and the other fine folks at Darden's Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship seem to have come to a similar conclusion - albeit from a completely other angle. Their theory is that B-School students, once they have cleared a certain threshold, will derive great benefit from bringing in tools from fine art, auto body, chemistry, and other disciplines into the world of business.
Jeanne has been instrumental in pushing forward an idea for creating a special type of course - the "B-School Lab" - and I saw firsthand how powerful this idea is when I took her two-quarter class - Corporate Design and Business Innovation.
A few weeks ago I was invited to come check out the newest lab before it was opened to the public and give my thoughts on camera. You can mock my performance on camera here.
Perhaps more interestingly, you can use the new image viewer above to scroll through a few pictures I quickly snapped off before I left. I hope they give a sense (even though the lab is still mostly empty) of how fun this class is going to be and encourage you to believe that at least one B-school is taking an active role in cross-disciplinary learning.