Today was my youngest son’s birthday. That means my wife had to make him a cake. Now, you need to understand that she can’t just make him a cake. She has to browse the internet for photographs of intensely detailed, creative, and artistic cakes that very talented people spent many hours making. That wouldn’t be so bad, but my wife isn’t particularly talented as a sculptor, painter, or even weird cake maker, and even if she was, she doesn’t have hours to devote to any one thing on any given day. So what she does is get ideas and approximate.  This year was a Star Wars year:Image

My revisionist reading interprets this work as following an Empire Strikes Back snow theme. Yoda and friends and enemies are on floating blocks of ice, shocked momentarily as they initially find themselves adrift among birthday candles. But, I fear, that is not the intent of this work. The blue background is sky. The white flecks are stars, several of them clearly about to go into supernova. We’ll call the candles comets. Now of course the extent to which this art realizes its intend is immaterial. One the one hand, it pleased its audience, while on the other, it served its purpose.

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Our chilldren are sugar-highed and spoiled for at least the next two days.

I feel that I need to recall my son’s birth on his birthday — don’t worry, though, no gory details. We were living in northeastern Pennsylvania, just off I-80 by the New Jersey state line. I was reading for my last exam in graduate school, English Romanticism.  The exam date was about a month away. My wife was working with midwives in New Jersey. So please picture the scene: very early January, northeastern PA (in the Poconos), my wife’s first baby, and we have to drive at least an hour to the hospital to deliver.

And her water breaks and she doesn’t tell me. She decides to relax in the bathtub.

By the time we get to the hospital she is almost ten centimeters. The delivery was a bit scary at times — Penn’s heartbeat would drop whenever she pushed near the end — but she wound up fine and Penn too. The midwives were happy with me too. But this is my fifth child. I’ve been through it before and am a bit older.

I’ll have to describe my learning curve in later accounts.

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