26 May 2007

Gone Fishin'

To some of you, that big rectangular blue thing probably looks like a simple blue yoga map laid on a hardwood floor. But to hardcore (read: desperate) anglers, it's a gin-clear mountain stream holding some of the most challenging and beautiful sportfish ever discovered....

The wading is easy, and the water is lovely. However, some of these fish don't take a fly, not even the innovative new MagnaFly pattern we're using today -- which you can see Trinhity tying on in this picture:

And true, some fish appear to be made of construction paper and have a paperclip where their mouths should be; we prefer to think of them as tagged anadronomous salmonids heading upstream.

Here's the technical low-down for the gear heads:
  • Rod: that's the finest figured white split-pine available on the open market, and it's hand-wrapped with a 0.153mm coating of sticky rubber for extra grippiness in extreme conditions.
  • Action: considered "uber-fast" with an exceptionally responsive tip.
  • Reel: a real classic, that's an antique dual-action click-pawl Union Hardware with an extra-loud clicker evidently targeted for the hearing-impaired market.
  • Line: 22" of size single-ought chartreuse Glo-Bug yarn.
  • Knot: that's a double-overhand nurse's knot (similar to a surgeon's, except it requires only half the education) connecting the line to the rod.
  • Terminal Hardware: the famous sure-to-catch-'em MagnaFly!

No doubt some of you are interested in the recipe for this remarkable new pattern, the MagnaFly (aka the MagneticFly):
  • Hook: size 2/0, barbless
  • Thread: chartreuse Glo-Bug yarn, UTC 1100
  • Tail: chartreuse Glo-Bug yarn, pulled through using the patented "grab and yank" technique
  • Body: two pieces of patented MagnaWing, folded and adhered
  • Ribbing: one piece industrial strength double-sided carpet tape (internal)
  • Thorax: two pieces of patented MagnaWing, tapered slightly, folded and adhered
  • Hackle: flared chartreuse Glo-Bug yarn
  • Head: teased chartreuse Glo-Bug yarn

I can guess what the purists among you are thinking:
  • "The length-to-weight proportions of the rod appear to be less than optimal, and the reel is obviously over-sized for the rod."
  • "Pine isn't exactly known for its smooth action. That bloody thing probably casts just like a wooden dowel!"
  • "Do you have any idea how many Glo-Bugs could've been tied out of that line? What a waste."
  • "This MagnaFly thing...isn't it just another knock-off of the classic Ferris-Ribbed Lodestone's Ear?"
  • "Even though the line isn't actually attached to the reel, haven't you heard of large arbors and disc drag systems? The click-pawl is just, like, so done."
  • What they're really saying is, "Shouldn't that be a fine Ross Reel instead of an ancient Pflueger knock-off?"
To those fair objections, I maintain that true anglers always imbue their art with a wisp of wit and mysticism. Furthermore, since many already think us prone to outright fabrication, what's wrong with a bit of imagination?

Besides, when's the last time you managed 35 minutes of highly rewarding non-stop fishing in your own livingroom?


It's positively terrifying how much Trinhity vamps what we do. Eating her boogers and trying to pee standing up, for instance.

Did you cringe? Fortunately, not everything she's learning is bad. Flossing, for instance. Whenever she sees one of us flossing, she wants to do it too.

It's a still little-known fact even among distinguished dental professionals, but recent scientific research clearly indicates that the efficacy of flossing increases dramatically if, after flossing your teeth, you also floss the rest of your head...

25 May 2007

Kitchenaria, in pictures

We mentioned Trinh's new play kitchen a few posts ago. Here are some pix:

More Nastiness

Trinhity has just finished her first session of Gymnastics, and it's been a blast.

Just a second or two before that, she was holding that position unassisted. Very cool stuff.

And the nasties continue! We're enrolling in two classes for the summer session.

For Grandma Clark

Grandma! Recognize these?


Back to the Pool

Alas, it's already pool time down here in the swamp. The skeeters aren't too bad yet, so we've deployed the inflatables to the backyard...


A few weeks ago, Di Trang was home for a couple hours, and we managed a quick visit. Trinh immediately latched onto some of the boys' toys over at Co Sang's house, including various hats that we couldn't help but associate with the Village People.

By pure if ironic coincidence, I'd introduced her to YMCA (the song, not the chain of fitness centers) just the previous week. It was a natural enough progression involving Elmo, the Goo Goo Dolls, Andrea Bocelli, Norah Jones -- ah, never mind....

And for good measure, this gem:

Eve, I presume?

But is the apple really necessary?

Galveston Beach House

We finally hit on a successful family vacation plan: renting a house on the beach in Galveston. The water is more brown than blue, and the fishing isn't what they say it is farther south. But it's only 1.5 hours from the house, the whole gang can come, and once we get there, only Daddy needs to leave the immediate area to go fishing.

Maui it ain't. But Trinh didn't care...she couldn't get enough of the beach!

And we got some nice shots of everybody:

We're already planning the next trip!

TV Time

Since we don't have a TV, Trinh gets glued when she sees one. A couple weeks ago we were kickin' it in the cafe at the gym after a rousing swim, munching on snacks. Much to the amusement of the other patrons, Trinh very deliberately clambered into one of the chairs with her cereal and plopped down to watch music videos...

20 May 2007


We got Trinh a play kitchen today. She seems to really enjoy her imaginary culinary universe, and we're keen to encourage it -- if nothing else, it gives Mama the time necessary to cook real food.

Thus, Mama's been stalking eBay for months, looking for just the right play kitchen here in Houston so as to avoid the exhorbitant shipping charges. She found it last week, we sniped it, and today I went to go pick it up.

It's big. It has a table, shelves, a sink, microwave, stove, an oven and a refrigerator. All kid-size, of course, but even folded down it barely fit in the backseat of the car. We've parked it in what used to be our breakfast nook along with her pink picnic table and numerous other toys.

Trinhity *loves* it. She played with it all afternoon: cutting vegetables, washing them, rinsing dishes, cooking eggs, answering the phone. It's fabulous.

Tonight during beddy-bye story-time we read an old favorite of the house, But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton. It's about a lonely hippo who watches all the other animals do stuff, but she's always left out. One page shows a bear and a hare who've been to a fair, and they both have balloons and ice cream cones (but not the hippopotamus).

We rarely read books to Trinh verbatim; we usually just talk about the pictures and what's happening, swapping the languages freely. Well, in my case, not so freely as I'd like, but that's my language deficiency -- not hers.

Anyway, tonight when we got to that page Trinh pointed to the hippo and said, "Hippo buồn." The hippo is sad.

Mama said (in VN), "Yes, the hippo is sad because she doesn't have a balloon or an ice cream cone or friends. Does Trinh have an ice cream cone or a balloon?"

"Không," she said. No. Daddy asked, "And are you sad?"

"Không. Trinh bếp!" Translation: No. Trinh has a kitchen!

Who Farted?

This morning we arrived about 5 minutes late for the 8:30 AM church service which, per the schedule and to our chagrin, started at 8:00 AM.

We don't usually go to that service; it's a bit staid and grey, and it's in a smallish chapel where a child's voice tends to carry and draw looks from the old folks.
Most of them are very kind and seem pleased with Trinh's chattering and antics, but we can't help but feel that it's not quite cricket.

Fortunately, nobody there speaks Vietnamese. That's good because today when one of the old ladies walked by after communion, Trinh crinkled up her nose, turned to us and asked (in VN), "Who farted?"

Pecking Order

Tonight when we were reading books to Trinh and winding down for bedtime, she asked, "Sách của ai?" Whose book is this?

"Của Trinh," we replied. Your book.

Then we ran through a short litany of possessives. Whose shirt? Whose feet? Whose monkey? Whose teddy? Whose nose? Whose hairy leg?

She (correctly) declared that most of those belong to her; no, she didn't claim the last one. Then I asked, "Mama
của ai?" Who owns the Mama? Of course, she claimed the Mama-san.

Then we asked, "Trinh của
ai?" She thought about that for a couple seconds, then said, "Mama!"

You see where this is going. Pouting, I asked, "Daddy
của ai?"

She didn't even pause. She said, "Daddy
của Trinh Mama!"

As if there was a question about where I sit in the familial pecking order. Sigh.

06 May 2007

Rollin' Dirty

This one is a bit dated now, but it's bound to become a classic. As alert readers will recall, Trinhity used a fair bit of sign language in her younger days. Now that she's talking, she doesn't use it so much. But one of her favorite games is still Patty Patty Poundcake.

I know what you're thinking: that's just silly. She'll never get the Van Halen reference, much less the double entendre -- and thank goodness for that, eh? But I gotta tell ya, some sick, twisted freaks wrote most traditional kid's songs. I mean, seriously: "roll it", "pat it", "mark it with a B", "put it in the oven..."?!? Sakes alive.

Anyway, her favorite part of the song game is the "roll it" thing where she spins her fists around each other like the Disco Diva she truly is. It's great fun. She also has (had) a sign for "dirty", the proper ASL sign: back of the hand under the chin, fingers wiggling. We were very proud of that one.

So last fall I was playing DJ + Chauffeur in the car for her on the way to La Madeline, our Saturday morning routine. I asked what she wanted to hear. She did her sign for "roll it" followed by her sign for "dirty".

Translation: Ridin' Dirty by Chamillionaire.

Some of you probably don't know that recent hit song, and perhaps that's just as well. Let's put it this way: Trinh's version of Ridin' Dirty probably involves a soiled diaper, and I rather doubt that's what the songwriter originally had in mind. 'Nuff said? It's a standard in her playlist, though.

What you're about to see could be interpreted several different ways. At first glance, she seems to be signing the song; she's not. It's more likely that she's performing an innovative new version of Pat-a-Cake to a soundtrack that would've given even Mother Goose pause. But it's also possible that these are an intricate series of gang signs intended to provoke any other babies in the area.

It's hard to say. Here it comes....

05 May 2007

The GymNasty Tramp Scene

I've finally gotten around to editing some video. First up: the GymNasty Tramp Scene.

Perhaps that name requires a bit of explanation. We've been taking Trinhity to gymnastics at Cypress Academy for a few months now. She *loves* it. However, when we first started going she couldn't quite say "gymnastics" yet -- it sounded a lot like "nasty".

It wasn't easy to stifle a chuckle when she asked, "Are we going to nasty tomorrow?" We didn't even try when she called her teacher "the nasty lady". To her credit, the Nasty Lady herself thought it was pretty funny. We've since been led to believe that her husband was also quite amused.

Without further ado, we offer this precious scene from the Nasty Tramp:

Credits: for those alert readers who didn't grow up in the 80's, the first tune is "Jump" by Van Halen. I was mildly pleased with how Diamond Dave's wail tags in after my grunt. The second song is "Jump with My Baby" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Troubled by the genre jump? We're all about genre jumps here. Good times, folks.

Shake Your Boooya

Can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but one day last year Trinhity & I were chowing on some soup in the cafe at our fitness center after a big day at the pool. They play music videos on the monitors, and we were both watching while we ate.

First they played an old Nirvana video. We both yawned. Then they played a Jessica Simpson vid; Trinh seemed bored, but I'll admit that I watched. Then they ran a classic: "Shake, Shake, Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band. Trinhity heard that groove, sat bolt upright in her high chair, and starting swaying. Then she stood up and boogied. It was something to see.

Obviously, I immediately included the song in her playlist, and she still likes it. It came on the other day while we were kicking around the house, and I managed to grab this gem....
Shake Your Boooya
FYI: that's a link to an MP3 music file. Click the link, then open (or save) the file. It should play in almost any media player. If anyone actually drops it to an iPod, we wanna know.

01 May 2007

Not So Fashionista