25 June 2008

Paternity Leave is Now Over

Paternity leave is now over. Today is my first day back to work. I took off four weeks, one week before the girls were born and three weeks afterward. It turned out to be perfect timing. I could clean up the house from the remodeling prior to Hirono’s parents coming and the girls arriving. In addition, three weeks with the girls without thinking about work was incredibly satisfying. I’m really happy with how things turned out.

The first three weeks with twin newborns was incredibly intense. The closest I’ve experienced in the past is initiation week at the fraternity. No sleep, random intervals of emergency, never knowing what to expect next, etc. They were also both two time periods in my life that were profound. In each case, trauma shared with another brought us much closer together. Initiation forged friendships that will never be broken. The three weeks with the girls forged a bond that is proving to be extremely strong. It is an experience I will never forget.

On the pragmatic side, I’m now an expert at diaper changing, burping, soothing, dealing with diaper rash, etc. We can tell who’s crying at a distance and in some cases why before even seeing them cry. I’ve even learned to sleep for 2-3 hours straight without moving at all so that they can sleep on top of my abdomen. Hirono and I can also now sit and earnestly discuss bowel movements for hours.

For any who haven’t yet had children, I highly recommend really taking some time away from work and getting into the day-in-day-out maintenance of your newborn. There’s no better way to get to know them. Its the most wonderful experience I would never want to have again.

23 June 2008

Sage Cream Omelet

You'll notice that most of my recipes are very low time investments. This has mainly been because of my job; but, now with the twins here its becoming even more important. This little tidbit can be prepared in about 10-15 minutes and feels really decadent. If you want to get elaborate you can add a lit bit of diced ham or onions; but, I suggest keeping the flavors simple and elegant.

In a saucepan combine over high heat:
a small handful of cut sage - I use pretty thinly cut strips of leaves
a sizable pad of butter
a dash of salt

Saute the sauce until the butter starts to give off a nice aroma (< 2 minutes). Don't let the sage brown much at all. Then add:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
liberal dash of dry white wine
- sherry or cognac also works
black pepper to taste - optional

Reduce until really thick. If you've never reduced a cream and liquor sauce, stir constantly over high heat until the sauce is about 1/3 the original volume. Put aside.

Make the omelets by frying in generous amounts of butter. Use the cream sauce as a filling. Makes 2-3 omelets.

22 June 2008

Sorry, Senator Obama, but No

Dear Senator Obama,

Change your stance on the FISA bill and really stand for the Change you claim to represent. I do not want a president who will endorse the continued abuse of our constitution and gathering of power in the Executive branch. Show some leadership and adhere to principles.

You will still have my vote, as a vote against McCain; but, you will have none of my money, none of my time and none of my good will unless you fight vigorously and publicly against this FISA capitulation to President Bush.

19 June 2008

Adventures in Food, Wine Stewed Fruit

I'm a really big foodie. Pretty much all our vacations and excursions are based on food. I've scouted out much of the South Bay for years and know where to go for the best of most ingredients (anyone want some goose fat?). I'm also quite proud of my own cooking.

For many years I've cooked and have definitely improved over time. This may sound like bragging, and it is; but, I consider my own food better than most of even the finer restaurants. Sure, there are plenty of dishes I'd have a hard time cooking (e.g. baked alaska is something I've never tried to do.) Overall, though, I think my own cooking ranks pretty high. Presentation is not important to me, so I'll never make it in the restaurant business. I'm all about aroma, taste and texture.

With this in mind, I'll share a few recipes. A caveat, though: I almost never use any measuring utensils and hardly ever follow recipes exactly. All my measurements are just by eye. So any measurement I ever list will be a pretty rough estimate. Alter the measurements to your own taste. Please, any who read this and want to share their own recipes just point me to your own blog entries.

Hopefully this will be a regular post.

Let's start with today's dessert. Actually, it was yesterday's dessert; but, the resulting sauce lasts a couple of days and makes a mean milkshake.

Wine Stewed Fruit

a handful of tasty fruit - I've tried pears or black mission figs. That would be about six medium sized pears or 8-10 figs. Yesterday was local organic figs.
red wine - Really whatever left over red wine bottles you need to empty out. I had a half bottle of 2 month old bordeaux and about 20% of a bottle of 2 buck chuck to get rid of. That was about 3 cups.
sugar - About 3:1 ratio of wine to sugar.
lemon zest - Go ahead, use the whole lemon's worth of peel. It can't hurt and it makes the dregs much more light and refreshing.
a cinnamon stick

Clean the fruit. If the peal is harsh like a pear then peel it. If the skin is soft like a fig, keep it on. Keep the stem on the fruit since that makes it really pretty and easier to pick up after being cooked.

Dump all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, stirring occasionally. After an hour to 1.5 hours, depending on when you remember that you were cooking dessert, turn it off.

Serve either warm or chilled, with the soupy sauce. Make sure to keep the sauce and use it with anything creamy over the next few days. Its awesome stirred in with yogurt. Tonight I took the last fig and the lemon peel with a bit of sauce, put it in a blender with vanilla ice cream, and made a milkshake that totally rocked.


15 June 2008


Every Sunday evening at 8:30 the diaper service comes by to pick up the soiled diapers and drop off new ones. We have to keep track of how many diapers were used in order to make sure we get just enough diapers every week. For the first full week of diaper services we went through 172 diapers. Thats just over 12 diapers per child per day. Good times.

14 June 2008

Unconditional Love

This picture is very moving for me. It speaks of commitment and unconditional love.

12 June 2008

Finally, After 20 Years

Back in college I was in a fraternity. For a day or two every week I cooked dinner for 30 or so hungry college boys. The stove we had was a professional quality gas range, oven, griddle and broiler. It was by far the best stove I had ever used. The heat came out very strong and instantly. The temperature control was very fine grain and easy to eyeball. For the last 20 years or so I've not had any stove nearly as good. Finally, with the kitchen remodeling virtually complete (and the girls sleeping a little longer) I can begin to use my new stove. It f'n rocks! So far I've only cooked three or four meals on it; but, its well on its way to living up to the old Phi Sig stove.

10 June 2008


This may not be good news; but, I have to say I like spam quite a bit. I'm glad to see people eating it again.

My favorite way to eat spam: julienne cut, fried crispy on the edges with a pile of cabbage sauteed in with it.

07 June 2008

Great Dump

Who'd a ever thought I would be happy to clean up a big pile of someone else's shit?!?

Alisa has been jaundiced lately and under daily observation by the hospital. The way to clear infant jaundice is to regularly relieve the bowels and bladder. After a couple of days with nothing, today Alisa relieved herself in a big way. It looked like something a 10 year old would do, not a 4 day old. She should be in the clear now. We're very relieved.

I'll spare you all the photos. :)

06 June 2008

No sleep, no sleep, no sleep, no sleep!

And no mad video games in the meantime. Name the band and song from which that quote comes. :)

These girls are nonstop action. The cycle of poop, eat, burp sleep, poop... has gone into a 1.5 hour cycle for each. It will stay this way for a couple of weeks and then slack out again after they get used to eating real breast milk.

Alisa isn't eating well so she now has a pretty severe case of jaundice. We have to go back to the hospital again tomorrow for another checkup and see if she is any better. If not, she has to be readmitted. She's currently sleeping on a "blanket" that consists of a hard strip of plastic emitting a diamond pattern of ultraviolet light. That should help to breakdown the hemaglobin byproducts and reduce the jaundice as well. In addition, she's supplementing on formula. The prognosis right now is pretty good.

Leia is also supplementing on formula and has a touch of jaundice; but, she's getting almost enough early breast milk now and can only fit it <5cc of formula before passing out from being too full. So she should get a clean bill of health in the morning.

Then there is the house remodeling still to get finished. Gads, life will never be the same again.

05 June 2008


We just got back from the hospital with two of the most beautiful girls in the whole world. Everyone is healthy. Mom and girls are all asleep.

We went in Monday morning. 26 hours of hard labor. Alisa was born on June 3 at 4:48 PM, 19.0 inches long and 6 lbs 8.8 oz. (2970 grams.) Leia was born on June 3 at 4:55 PM, 19.5 inches long and 6 lbs 8.0 oz. (2800 grams.) I've slept on average of 1 our a day since Monday. Updates with pictures will be coming later after a short nap plus another round of diapers and feeding and burping.


Update: Here's a collection of photos for sharing. --e

02 June 2008



What more can be said?