Friday, April 22, 2005

Been Sick

Been Sick

A day after we got back from the wedding in Kansas City, I started getting symptoms. I was achey all over, I had no energy, I was freezing. I came down with what I think was strep throat. As it turns out, many people at the wedding had it too and were coming down with the symptoms same time I was. For that whole week, I was miserable. I had no energy, I couldn't get off the couch. I felt like doing nothing. It was terrible and I hope to never go through that again.

Almost two weeks later and I'm still suffering from coughs and sniffles, but at least I have my energy back and I'm back at work. I didn't go to the doctor when I got sick because I am a big believer in letting your body take care of you; antibiotics really mess up your system. I don't even take aspirin unless I really really need it. But if that ever happens again, I will be in a position to agree to anything just to make the pain stop. I took a lot of Nyquil while I was sick but it didn't help. I was waking up hourly, having horrible dreams that I think were waking me up. They weren't nightmares, just incredibly boring, stress-inducing dreams that I didn't want to see so I kept waking up to get away.

The worst part about being sick is not being able to hold your newborn child. Can't play with them, can't talk to them for fear of spreading germs. I'm glad to have that back.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sikh Wedding Continued

Sikh Wedding Continued

This weekend, the Locks are in Kansas City to attend a Sikh (India) wedding of a friend.

What a day!

We got up in the morning to get ready for the Sikh wedding. It was being held in a Sikh temple in Kansas, the next state over. It actually only turned out to be a 20 mile trip from our hotel in downtown KC, 30 if you count us getting lost trying to find it.

We got to the temple about 11. We noticed everyone had their shoes off so we obliged and took ours off. Most of the crowd was downstairs sitting in an empty room, sitting around and talking. And when I say sitting around, they were all on the floor. There was no furniture at all in this building. We joined the crowd and took our floor seat. Me, Mrs. Lock and Baby Lock in her carseat, waiting for the ceremony to begin. About 11:30, they called us upstairs to the sanctuary to begin the wedding. We all filed upstairs. Mrs. Lock and I noticed everyone putting on head scarves before going in. We saw a crate outside the door of the sanctuary filled with scarves. I grabbed a couple, one for me which I tied into a bandana, and one for Mrs. Lock who just wore hers as a head scarf.

Walking into the sanctuary, several people were seated - again no furniture, on the ground sitting on white sheets which spanned the room. We noticed something else, the men were sitting on the right side of the sanctuary and the women on the left. We wanted to observe the Sikh traditions, so Mrs. Lock took her place with the women and I and Baby Lock sat with the men. Most of the men were sitting Indian style (no pun intended) with legs crossed. I found I was able to sit that way for about an hour before I needed to start shifting.

The ceremony was interesting. I couldn't understand a word of it but I do know they had singers, and music, and testimonies about people's relationship with the bride and groom. There was an act towards the end of the ceremony when the Guru (I guess that's who conducted the ceremony) would stop speaking, music and singing would startup, the groom stood, the bride behind loosely tethered to the groom with a long scarf, and the couple would circle the Guru once, then take their places in front of him again. The Guru would say more words, music would start, groom and bride stood up and circle him again. This went out four times, before the ceremony ended. Now they were married.

After the ceremony, some patrons of the temple went around and handed out this doughy food that everyone partook of. It was a symbol of unity and a way to tear down the classes people tend to take in life. If we all ate the same thing together, we were all equal. This part was explained in English fortunately. I had my piece and enjoyed it.

After that, everyone stood up and left the sanctuary. It was back downstairs for lunch. The bride and groom went outside, sat on the sidewalk in actual chairs while friends and relatives would make their way out before or after lunch to greet them, congratulate them and have their picture taken with them. Mrs. Lock and I headed downstairs first for lunch. Everyone was sitting on the floor again in rows. Everyone had a paper plate and patrons of the temple would walk down the rows dishing out whatever they had in their pot. And it was all very good. Mrs. Lock and I are quite used to Indian food and we tasted dishes we've had many times before but there were new entrees we've never had and wonder if our local Indian restaurant would carry them. Not that we knew what to ask for. I do remember one dish they called yogurt. It turned out it was soupy sour cream. It was still good even if it weren't as sweet as what I was expecting something called yogurt to be.

So we finished our meal, then headed outside to greet the new couple. The groom, who was a friend of ours, asked to have our picture taken with them. We were honored. They both looked very good in their traditional clothes, and me in my suit and tie and Mrs. Lock in her skirt, it was quite a contrast.

After that it was back to the hotel to get ready for the reception tonight.

Back at the hotel, I crashed into a nap. I'm not sure what the family did in the meantime, just lounged around I imagine. We started getting ready for the reception at around 6. It was being held just 3 blocks from our hotel so we were in no hurry.

We got to the reception which was being held on the second floor of Club 1000 which seemed to be a bar/restaurant on the first floor. Second floor was a giant banquet hall reserved for occasions like this.

We grabbed the table closest to the bathroom since we had Baby Lock with us. We met a lot of nice people. The open bar was getting me nice and toasted with several rum and cokes. The appetizer and dinner (again Indian, that's all we've had this weekend) were delicious. And the music started. The banquet hall had 4 or 5 serious industrial size speakers mounted around this dance floor at the front of the room. When the music started, some sort of Pop-Indian genre, nice beat, they must have turned the volume to 11. We were at the back of the room it was blasting. We didn't mind it so much but Baby Lock was looking confused. We covered her ears best we could, but when we started getting tired of doing that, we decided to leave. We'd been there a few hours already, got the dinner, the booze, the cake, met a lot of people and we were ready to retire for the evening. We had a blast the whole weekend. Many thanks to the groom for inviting us. You wouldn't believe just how popular he is. 200 came to the ceremony, over 300 to the reception. Those Indians know how to party.

Friday, April 08, 2005

On The Road With Baby

On The Road With Baby

This weekend, the Locks are in Kansas City to attend a Sikh (India) wedding of a friend.

0930. We just had an experience of taking our two month old daughter through airport security. I had my two bags, one for my clothes the other the laptop, the one I'm writing this entry on. Mrs. Lock carried her purse, diaper bag and milk bottle bag. She had to check her clothes bag since you can only have two carry ons.

Getting our boarding pass, the attendant pointed out we were in separate seats, separate rows. Immediately she found a couple of seats together for us. We got our boarding pass, stopped for a bite to eat at the local Cinnabon then we were off to make our way through airport security. What a juggling act that turned out to be. We loaded everything we were carrying onto the conveyer belt (except the baby). Right off, we were asked to remove our shoes. I kicked mine off, took the baby from Mrs. Lock so she could get hers off. A security guard came over and picked our shoes up off the floor and loaded them onto the belt for us. It's probably a good thing he was wearing gloves for that.

Since we couldn't really take a car seat on the plane, we had Baby in a sash-looking thing. Unfortunately, it had a metal buckle so we were asked to remove the sleeping child from the sling before going through. This is where we took turns passing the kid off as we got our stuff loaded onto the X-ray belt. My laptop was about to go through when the guard stopped it and asked if it was a laptop. I confirmed it was so I was asked to remove the laptop from the case. They sent the case through putting the laptop next to the case as it slid through. I handed baby back to the Mrs. to do this. I took baby back while Mrs. Lock got her stuff loaded, hanging on to her cup of coffee. I walked through the metal detector shoeless and carrying our two month old. Cleared. Now as the belt spit out our items, we began the process of loading everything back up. We put our shoes on in turns while one held the baby, we strapped the bags to our shoulder, I replaced the laptop back into its bag, grabbed the coffee, the diaper bag. We installed the baby back into the sling and we were on our way to our gate which was at the far end of wing.

That was an hour ago. We sit here waiting on our flight which just pulled up and is in the process of unloading its current passengers. Time to save, shutdown and get on board soon, right after we feed and change baby.

1130. We're in downtown Kansas City and I write this on the 25th floor of our hotel which thankfully has broadband access. The pre-dinner is tonight, called Bharaat, and we're getting ready to go. Nice for us, the dinner is the lower lobby of our hotel, so we just ride an elevator straight there.

1400. We went looking for lunch. We were wanting to try a BBQ place here in KC, but didn't do much homework before left the hotel. We ended up at a Quiznos and I got the closest sandwich I could find to reflect KC's cuisine - Mesquite Chicken. Baby wasn't happy, hungry I think, so we scarfed down lunch and headed back to the hotel to take care of her.

We lounged around watching TV, Maury and Seinfeld, waiting for dinner. We gave Baby a bath in the hotel sink, getting her dressed right now.

1840. We decided to head downstairs to join the dinner which is scheduled to start in 20 minutes. We're going to try and nab a table towards the back in case we have to duck out with Baby. We get down to the lower lobby of the hotel, and a crowd is starting to amass. We meet some very nice Indian people while we wait for for the groom. We get to know one couple as we chat. It's an hour later, and the wedding party hasn't shown up yet. The crowd is pretty big and we stand around in the lobby waiting for something to start. At about 8p, the groom has pulled up to the front of the hotel in his limo. He is not to come out until the bride's family go out and fetch him. In the meantime, the Indian couple we got to know, the man pulls me out of the crowd and asks me if I talk to the groom, the person who sent me the invitation. I said sure and we went out to the limo where I got to see the groom. He was in full regalia. Black suit, red turban with a golden tiara for lack of a better word, sitting on top. The groom's uncle explained to me this was a crown, but I feel he was translating for me since he couldn't properly describe this piece in English either. The groom had a very ornate necklace around his neck with a lot of American money sticking out of it. He explained the custom is usually done with Indian money so it was funny to see dead U.S. presidents hanging off an Indian tuxedo.
The groom of the Sikh pre-wedding reception holds Baby Lock.
The groom and I chatted for a while and soon the bridal party, mother and members of the family came out to fetch the groom. The groom got out of the car, stood up and hugged the members of the bride's family. Then all went into the hotel lobby where a huge party, a crowd of many Indian men and women, close to 100, were already in the middle of a fiesta. A man carrying what looked like a giant bongo drum was pounding away at it. There were cheers, dancing and lots of hugging. The crowd was here to cheer on the groom and he received them. After a few minutes of dancing in the lobby, the groom proceeded to head towards the reception, one level down. Where he walked, the crowd followed. The crowd snaked around the stairs to the lower level with the groom leading the way. At the bottom of the stairs, the groom stopped. The whole party stopped behind him, all standing on the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, some prayers took place. Garments of clothes were also exchanged between the family members of the groom and bride. The last exchange was between the bride and groom. Everyone cheered and it was time to eat.

And did we eat. Everything was traditional Indian cuisine which was delicious. Mrs. Lock and I loaded up on everything. I wish I could name all the dishes but it looked like we had chicken and lamb, a type of pancake. We filled up. The dance floor was open and with the Indian music blaring, both recorded and live, many were dancing. Specific groups were called up - members of the bride's party, groom's party, families of each, friends of the bride and friends of the groom. Mrs. Lock and I took part in the dance for friends of the groom. A member of the groom's family offered to hold Baby as we danced a ritual dance with the groom and all of his friends. There was no room on the dance floor, we were all packed in, major fire hazard, hands in the air dancing to the eastern music. The groom started a train and 30 or 40 people writhed around the room following the groom. The line was so long, people were still lining up to the train when the head (engine if you will) was already back on the dance floor. More dancing, then Mrs. Lock and I headed back to our table to fetch our baby and take a break. That moment, I think, was the first time Baby has been in someone else's care who weren't her parents.

So Mrs. Lock and I filled up on food and alcohol. She had the Merlot, I was having a whiskey sour. Then they broke out the main course. Main course? We filled up on appetizers? I had a couple of bites of saag, just nibbles. I really couldn't eat anything else.

We met a lot of nice people at the reception, but Baby was the center of attention. At one point, a member of one of the families involved in the wedding, took Baby from my arms and told me to go join the dance. I told her I really wasn't interested in dancing anymore, that I was looking for the groom, but she turned and started walking away from me. Her husband who was standing next to me, called out to her to return the baby, which she did with a smile on her face and many comments about how she was beautiful.

We stayed at the dinner till about 11:30 and Baby started getting cranky. I was impressed with her demeanor after sitting through loud music, people grabbing her for five hours. She did great. So we returned to our room, got Baby calmed down, fed her. We got ready for bed and turned in at midnight to get our rest for the real events tomorrow when we travel to the Sikh temple to see the wedding. Then more parties.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

$41.50 to put 17 gallons into my gas tank this morning. Bring on the hybrids. Bring out the hyrdogen fuel cells. Let's get off this crude substance.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

King Parent Officer

King Parent Officer

I am somebody's father.

Let me say that again.

I... am... someone's... faaaaather!

What a prestigious title. I marvel on it not because of the inherent responsibility that goes with it. At 32, I can handle and be ready for just about anything, but I am somebody's father.

King of country, the most successful CEO, the greatest artist the world has ever known - they have nothing on what it means to be a parent. I intimately control the outcome of this child's life. It's up to me if she is going to be happy or dysfunctional. Again, the responsibility is not the weight here. This is a title I gladly and confidently don; zero fear in my child-rearing skills. I just didn't realize how much pride it would give this megalomaniac to assume the position. I deserve a crown; a jeweled-encrusted scepter; to be surrounded by yes-men who would wash and perfume my feet.

Think of the power. I elected myself without my daughter's consent. She didn't ask to be born but her parents made a decision and created her. She's going to begin life whether she wanted to or not. With the life expectancy at nearly 80 years, we've dumped her into quite a committment not to mention it's up to us how she lives it. What control!

In a kingdom, subjects have to be subjugated, there's work involved and it's also implied they were free at one point. My daughter was born into slavery and complete depedence on me, her life leader. Think about what that means.

Now realize that anyone can take this role. Anyone, including the unqualified.

Kings, CEOs and artists can blame their subjects, stockholders and fans for failure. A parent is absolutely responsible and has power beyond imagination, beyond philosophy, beyond science. Religion comes close but even Jesus Christ did not have this much power. His power was a fix to a calamity sustained and perpetuated by us parents. Without us, there would have been no need for the sacrifice. We summoned the Son of God.

Only God has as much power as a parent does and even He only created two people then handed us the torch to create many more. We are God. This is the way it has always been in nature. It has gone on millions of years and an inifinte number of times, but that awesome power of being a parent isn't diminished in the least. It may not be recognized or executed properly, but the power is still there.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Father/Daughter Moment In The Morning

A Father/Daughter Moment In The Morning

I got up this morning to get ready for work. Baby Lock was in bed with us on the other side of Mrs. Lock and using her food source as a pillow. STOP! Think about that. I'll wait... Looks like they both fell asleep during one of the night feedings.

Baby needed changed so I took her into the nursery to get a fresh diaper on her. She felt me pick her up and started to wiggle and fuss a little. She shakes her head back and forth, throws her hands up into her face, sticks her tongue out. She even turns a little red and makes these duck noises to let anyone know who might be listening that she's uncomfortable. She's still asleep though, the reactions are only semi-conscious.

I got her outfit off of her, had the new diaper out ready to swap it for the full one but Baby finally pulled herself out of her slumber. I halted what I was doing to try and catch her attention as she woke up. I wanted to be the first thing she saw this morning (although technically the first thing she probably saw this morning was a nipple).

So those baby eyes opened, looked around the room for a second to take in her surroundings and eventually locked onto my face. A face that was directly in front of hers about 12 inches away. She looked at me. Her expression went to confusion - that furrowed brow, narrowing of the eyes as one focuses on its target looking for some sort of recognition and importance to whatever one is staring at. She held that expression for a full five seconds (a long time to stare at someone in silence), and I saw it happen. She finally recognized her target as her father (or at least some guy who hangs around her a lot) and that complete facial expression changed to utter glee - big smile, eyes smiling, mouth open wide in a mock-laughter (nothing pearly to flash as far as teeth but those gums deliver the message). She's happy to see me. I'm happy to see her. I make some faces to get her to giggle then I finish the job I brought her in here to do.

That brief interaction set the tone for my whole day.

DJI 10460, NASDAQ 1999, SP5 1181

#1 Movie at the box office:
Sin City

Last movie I saw at the theater:
Sin City

Last movie(s) I saw not at the theater:
Cat In The Hat
Employee Of The Month
Freddy vs. Jason

Books I'm currently reading:
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Don't Panic by Neil Gaiman

Albums (cd/mp3) I'm listening to:
Eagles Greatest Hits I & II
Moby - Hotel

Video games I'm playing:
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Doom 3 for Xbox