Friday, June 13, 2008


In my course on language and social interaction, we embarked on an in-depth exploration of cross-cultural miscommunication. People from different cultures can interpret the same language so differently that communication breakdown, misunderstandings, and even prejudice ensue.

Well, yesterday we discovered that you don't need two different cultures for such communication breakdown to occur--all you need are two different majors. I got such a laugh out of this conversation between my husband, an architecture student, and our good friend Bruce, who is working on his PhD in Dairy Science.

The background: We've been discussing laptops since Bruce and Brittney are thinking about getting a new computer.

Jason: My computer's a little fancier than you probably need because of all of my architecture programs. You don't need your computer to do renderings, do you?
Bruce: What do you mean?
Jason: You know, when you shoot photons through a 3D computer model to make it photo-realistic.
Bruce: In my field, rendering means that when a cow dies, you try to salvage as much meat as possible.

Can your computer render?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Kids These Days

The emergence of language is fascinating to me. The prospect of witnessing our girls acquire French is one of the main attractions of spending a year abroad. (Jason and I just hope we'll be able to keep up linguistically.)

Over the past few weeks, Talia's spoken English has taken off at rapid-fire speed. I find it very amusing to ponder these first words and phrases, and chuckle over what they reflect about our parenting.

So here are Talia's top words and phrases...

Clearest pronunciation with the sassiest intonation: No. (No, no ambiguity about what she's saying here. She says it and she means it!)
Poorest pronunication: Mommy. It comes out kind of like Baba. I guess she figures that I'm going to respond anyway, so there's no need to be fussy.
First adjective: Stinky. I think that we've been commenting a little too much on her diapers and feet. :)
First two-word phrase: Good girl. This evidence of positive reinforcement helps me feel a little bit better about the stinky and no.
First proper noun (excepting names): McDonalds. Oops! Feeling a little guilty about this one...
First food label: Pancake, pronounced kaycake. At Talia's last doctor's visit, the pediatrician was a little concerned that our skinny little Talia might not be eating enough. If the doctor could only see Talia devour her kaycakes, she'd know that she's eating plenty--she just has her Daddy's metabolism.

Chuckles from Brooklyn:
While playing pretend with her toys, I overheard Brooklyn say, "Help! Save me! I'm a goner!"
More embarrassingly, she recently told me, "Mommy, your nose is ginormous!"

Kids these days...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Death of a Donkey

This is an Ode to Eeyore. Those of you who know me well well-know that for years I have shared my bed with a loyal, faithful, and fluffy companion, Eeyore. Eeyore has been my trusty bedfellow, lending me an ear, hoof, or even rump whenever extra support and comfort was needed. In 2003, he graciously accommodated another man by making room in the bed for Jason, sacrificing his limbs as padding for my spouse’s bony shoulders. He willingly accompanied me from coast to coast by car, van, and plane so that I might snooze sweetly, and even joined me in the hospital during the delivery of both my daughters.

Regrettably, Eeyore slipped away on the eve of May 28, 2008 to the landfill from whence no donkey returns. He heroically sacrificed his life by tumbling out of the mini-van to comfort Jason during Jason’s time of need. Unfortunately, he landed in the puddle of recycled McDonald’s salad that Jason had recently deposited on the side of I-80, thanks to a truly miserable bout of the stomach flu. Covered in vomit, Eeyore rapidly achieved “undesirable” status and was buried in a dumpster. (Fortunately the girls avoided a similar fate, despite their own battles with the stomach flu.) Eeyore was preceded in death by a quarter pounder and French fries.