Liveblogging RZ

My little daughter just transfixed me with her first sustained 10,000 watt smile.

Since my wife is out at Yoga-class, I am baby-wrangling & have had extended bottle-feeding and father daughter-playtime, so I know this smile is just for me.

Even thought I am exactly 19 times her size, I am not sure who is holding whom; I have completely melted into a swirling puddle of Dad.

This is not all smiles & roses, there are thorns to this time of life too.

But right now I am ready to crawl across the United States by my eyelashes just to see my daughter smile again. Someday she will probably ask me to do just that, and I will, joyously.

How She Looks at Me

All the propaganda from that parental lobby is true; Having kids just changes everything.

Maybe I should set up an RZ specific blog, or a photostream somewhere, or this is in danger of becoming Zen & the Art of Diaper Changing with a fussy baby at midnight. (ZATAODCWAFBAM?)

She is my beautiful daughter, but she is not perfect all the time.

In general though, she is one very chill, happy baby, with two enthralled, somewhat sleep-deprived parents.

Arzelia & Me

A man cannot be part of the Mommy/Baby/Boobies bonded trinity. We just don’t have the equipment.

But a man can cuddle/sing and hum, and I think that RZ really likes the “good vibrations” that a big solid daddy can make. I have a use!! Yay!! (that and changing diapers/burping babies at 4am, I am really good at that)

I don’t want to have this blog turn into a mush-fest of baby pictures, but that is where my heart is right now. After 4 days at the Hospital, we returned home late yesterday, and are settling in.

A speedskating post, with some absolutely amazing photography by Tom DiNardo of the Vancouver Short Track World Cup, immediately follows.

My photography cannot compare with Tom’s, but my subject can.

I just keep looking at her, and can’t believe how blessed Jess & I are.


23 hours after we arrived at the Hospital, our daughter Arzelia Jane Love was born into this world, at 12:35am on october 29th.

She was 7 pounds, 5 ounces, and 19 inches long. Given how long & rough labor was, Jess is ok.

RZ” has an amazingly calm & focused energy. There is a very clear personality already there.

A few notes on the name, it’s an old family name from Jessica’s side. Arzelia was Jessica’s grandfather’s favorite Aunt.

Jane was my own great aunt, a woman who loved my father deeply and believed in him when he really needed it. I remember Aunt Janey from my earliest childhood, and the ring I asked Jessica to marry me with has one of Aunt Janey’s diamonds on it.

About 2 hours after RZ was born, Jessica went to sleep and I followed RZ & a nurse down to the infant care unit.

The nurse taught me how to give her a bath, I changed my first diaper, plus they “footprinted” her, using me as a blotter.

and then RZ needed to be under a heat lamp to warm back up after her bath.

Among the rows of babies, I sat there next to her, one of her tiny hands gripping my finger. We looked at each other without a sound for a long, long time. Then she drifted off to sleep and that little hand relaxed & fell away.

Everything is different now. And there, finally, at 4am, I found myself physically shaking with emotion, exhaustion, love, and that tsunami of realizations common to new parents.

With my back to the nurses so they could not see, I cried & cried, while my child slept peacefully, soundly.

The most beautiful day

It’s a perfect fall day, mid 70’s, no wind, and it’s the first day of the year that you can really shuffle your feet through the leaves as they cascade from the surrounding trees.

Low-angle afternoon sun through autumn leaves is prettier than any medieval stained glass, more life giving than anything the magicians at Pixar can conjure.

It’s a perfect day, and it has been an extremely long one.

Jess woke me up at 1am, with some very serious, painful contractions; It’s now almost 8pm & still no baby. Jess is tough and trained hard for this, and was deeper in the pain cave than I have ever been, until she finally decided on an epidural (a very smart choice in her case).

A blog is a new art form, and an evolving one. What are the boundaries? It’s different for every writer. But in this realtime story where the ending is unknown, we must write with honesty, and if this world shakes you, let your voice be shaken.

A blogger I deeply respect, who lives just a few miles from me, is facing the fact that his wife is dying, and he just decided to involve a Hospice with her care.

And my wife is hopefully going to give birth in a few hours.

Both on the same, painfully beautiful day.

Jess & Electric Stim

Jessica’s due date has come & gone, like most new moms, she is late. Or maybe the baby is already taking after the procrastinating dad.

Jess is standing in the middle of a particularly fertile Zucchini plant that has taken over our garden. She is at that final, waddling stage, where she is just ready for it to be over.

I keep trying to write a letter to my kid before they are here. There is so much to say while the slate is still blank. But I start & stall, overwhelmed.

Skating is simpler, and physical therapy is even simpler.

Here is my new best friend, the electric stim machine. The two cords are going to patches on my back, sending electrical impulses clawing their way into my muscles. If you have ever experienced electric stim, what do you think it feels like?

My thought was millions of espresso fed aphids wearing tiny demolition charges wriggling joyously through muscle fibers.

There is a switch on the machine that says “Biphasic Russian.” Having suffered greatly and improved greatly under Russian designed dryland programs, I was both sad & relieved when I found that we were not using this setting.

Also, here I am on a fascinating bit of WWI German technology, A Pilates reformer. The board I am sitting on has springs in it, Except for the arm swing, they wanted me to do what I am doing here. It made me really sore. Kevin Semans & his whole staff at the Sports Medicine Center of Utah are awesome. Thanks guys!

The first couple of days with this injury were quite painful. But it has gotten dramatically better, faster than I hoped it would. So I should be back to full power more quickly than expected. I did not hurt any nerves or joints. It’s just a flesh wound.

In the physical therapy room, I saw many people who were coming back from truly horrific injuries & surgeries. I feel blessed & thankful for my health and durable nature, or is that durable nurture? or both?

Divergent & Convergent

Is this blog about speedskating? Or about something else? Sometimes I don’t honestly know, life takes you along for the ride. Sometimes you drive, sometimes it drives you.

But I do know that the driving forces in my life are going to converge with another force that will overpower all.

People are constantly asking me how Jessica is doing… In a few days she will be at 4 months, her energy yo-yos up & down, but she feels great & is slowly starting to look pregnant.

But ultrasound photos are what really blows me away-

There are the beginnings of a face there (with my forehead?) and it’s trying to suck it’s thumb. There is a real person there; I can’t wait to meet him/her. Its funny how we all started out like this, every one of us.

But life goes on, no matter this huge looming change (do I hear the soundtrack from 2001: A space odyssey, playing off in the distance somewhere)?

If I ever change the name of this blog to “Zen & the Art of Diaper Changing” then all my speedskating friends are permitted to have a good laugh & I will be truly lost to the sport.

But I can’t image that fully happening. To lose out on endorphin-addled grins like this one, taken tonight as I pedaled home from a bike race, would be just awful-

And I would lose something that I want to share with my future kid. Not necessarily cycling or skating, or even competition, but that essential something about an active, physical life.

Besides, isn’t a happy parent a good one? Doesn’t having one’s own passions & happiness also make one a more effective role model (me? Role model? The world is in trouble!).

Here is another weird camera phone pic after the race. Lots of strange details in this shot

  1. Fellow-skater/biker Inacio Lopez, incredibly happy after his strong 2nd place finish a few moments before-

  2. Some looming clouds, about to rain on us-
  3. The strange curves of my carbon fibre bike, the number plate affixed to the seat post-
  4. smeared on my rear brake, a glob of human spit, or snot, or some other biological substance. I can’t tell exactly what it was-
    I don’t know if it’s mine or someone else’s. But I found this quite funny-

Somehow, just from riding my bike to & from work, and doing a regular lunch hour ride with some extremely fast folks I work with, I’ve found myself a bike racer again.

It’s a fun sport, a bit dicey at times. There was a moment during the race, as the 40 person pack was tightening onto itself at high speed & folks were jockeying for position, I blurted out to a friend: “wow, I’m used to having a lane all to myself, all these people are freaking me out”.

Over the hiss of tires & wirr of gears, I heard a lot of good-natured chuckling at that. I bet a short tracker would have felt safer than normal.

I know my friend Kirk threw away his rock climbing shoes the day his first son was born, and as I respect Kirk tremendously, I have thought a lot about what that means.