December 26, 2007

40 reasons...

"40 reasons not to spawn"

Saw this interesting article, and my first thought was:
She could only think of 40?!?!?

Sheesh, my kids give me 40 reasons before we're finished breakfast, and another 40 before I kick 'em out of the truck in front of the school... if they're lucky, it's their school... But that's why they make backpacks with pockets for maps and compasses, right?

The two lines that caught my eye:
The child is a kind of vicious dwarf, of an innate cruelty.

...maternity-leave provisions (16 weeks at full-time pay) and healthy cash payments for additional children (1,000 euros a month for each child after #2)

Ok, I don't know how much a Euro is, but it's gotta be alotta coin to be worth childbirth* -- and 4 months pay is plenty to provide the "vicious dwarf" with his/her own cable TV and a lock on the door...

You know I'm just kidding, the author is both French and wrestling with issues. So I made my own list, and realized I shouldn't count "no peace and quiet" for #'s 2, 5, 16, 21, and 32 through 39... and that most of the spots left on the list were taken by variations of either "the killer of desire/must check 12 times to make sure door is locked" and "it costs how much???" I guess mine aren't that bad, and I'll keep them (the kids, not the reasons), despite being Frenched out of the 16 weeks pay...

...and, as of on cue, Son #3 just provided me with reason #41: they get in the shower wearing socks and a sweatshirt.

*I make no pretensions to knowing even the slightest idea regarding the pain of childbirth, and do not wish to be construed in any way as minimizing said pain. My hat is off, and all important parts tied tight, in respect for the anguish mothers endure to bring children into the world. But c'mon, for the right amount of zeros on the check, you'd do it all again, wouldn't you?

December 14, 2007

Yes, Virginia...

I don't remember exactly when Son #1 discovered the truth behind St. Nick, but he was cool about it -- he played the game well for his little bros, and winked at me as a co-conspirator when he mentioned all the things he wanted "Santa" to bring him, as if I wanted to reward his not exposing Mr. & Mrs. Claus as frauds...

But now #2 is 10, and should know better... but I don't think he does. He believes. He believes strongly, with a passion that I would not be surprised if it lead to a black eye for defending Santa's reputation on the playground. We've tried to test him, to see if he was just playing along this year, but he has never been a good actor/liar. We've tossed him little hints, jokes about the number of Santas at the malls or how the Claus clan spends the summer, but he has a plausible (if you factor in magic) explanation for everything.

My worry was he would be exposed as a True Believer at football practice, but that's not the type of thing you talk about in the huddle, and I was glad when the season ended with his faith, and manhood, still intact. Now with one week left of school before the Christmas -- oops, Holiday, oops, Winter Break -- I do hope one of his friends will break it to him gently... it's not something I want to have to tell him before he goes off to college or on his wedding night ("Hold up, Son, one more thing...").

update: And now the cinematographer, or more appropriately the "Punk'd" hidden cameraman, side of #2 is coming out: he is testing all the angles to best catch Santa in the act of delivering the goods... he has the batteries, the back-up batteries, the charger, the blank tape, where exactly to place the plate of cookies... which means I need to climb over the stair railing, shimmy along the back of the couch, spiderman my full-of-cookies ass down the bookshelf to "accidentally" knock the camera sideways so it films the wall. And then spend 10 minutes making sounds like a jolly old elf filling stockings and sneaking back out to his reindeer! Sheesh! I hope it's worth it, this kid better have gotten me a darn good gift...

November 25, 2007

How To Gain 20 lbs in 4 Days

Who's idea was it to put a huge feast at the start of the long holiday weekend? The Four Days of Football (yes, I know the minor celebration of Thanksgiving is in the mix too, but let's focus on what's important) is a glorious national tradition, and should culminate in the massive gorging, instead of starting 96 hours of how much can I stuff in my gut, and where is that pair of 42" waist jeans?

Thursday was the turkey, of course, accompanied by the usual stuffing, potatoes, brownies, Newcastle, pecan pie, apple pie, more Newcastle, and another brownie. or two....

Friday was Cocktail Hour at Mom's, with olives, oysters, lox, caviar, cream cheese on all of the above, shrimp, pecan pie, quiche, lamb, apple pie, truffles, shrimp, unpronounceable cheeses, and can't let those shrimp the boys left on their plates go to waste...

Saturday the Sister got married (again, and sort of) so the union must be ceremoniously recognized with a meal! Carnitas, rice, cerveza, guacamole, margaritas, and cake...

not to mention all the left overs in between, I mean it's not good for the fridge to be so packed full, is it? Just doing my part to improve energy consumption efficiency...

So today, the sad (but full of Football) end of the long weekend, begets a tough choice -- celery with my water? Or just water? Then again, meatball sandwiches would be good. And a Newcastle, with chips, and lots of cheese, and there's a piece of pie hidden in the back of the fridge, behind the SlimFast shakes, and...

...and skip the jeans, where are The Wife's maternity sweat pants?

November 15, 2007

A Milestone

I just realized, as I went to compose and post #101, that my last post, the dubious literary achievement seen below, was my 100th blog post (that doesn't count my other blogs, but it does count the insignificant wastes of "ink" like this one here, so it all evens out)... anyway, just thought you might like to know... go buy a cake, or something....

November 9, 2007

How you doin'?

Heard from a dear old friend the other day, and she wanted to know what was going on in my world... I wanted to reply with more than a quick summarizing sentence, so I started thinking about what really was happening in my life lately. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was all the same ol' boring stuff -- so I told her I'd been in jail for 18 months, and I haven't heard from her since.

Not really. But I did make up a bunch of cool stuff, involving lottery winnings, world travel, and the opportunity to direct Spiderman IV... and, surprisingly, I haven't heard from her since.

Um, no. Not even close. But the lady in front of us at Vons won an iPod, I travel the freeways daily to and from school/practice/endless errands, and the latest Spidey film is on our Netflix list....

So what is going on in my world? At the risk of sounding like one of those 6 page family update Christmas card letters, here's a rundown of the latest...

  • TMW&BWITW* is still the Queen of all hair stylists (contact me for her appointment #) and still very much loves her career. Her hair is deep dark red, cut in something called an a-line bob, I think, and she is hotter than ever. She plans on having Son #1 work for her at the Salon this holiday season, which should be quite the adventure for both of them. Between the two of them, her clients won't be able to get a word in. The Wife and I just celebrated anniversary #11. She enjoys walks, shopping, the beach, dinner & a movie, and hanging out in back watching the kids play. They don't make 'em any better than her....
  • #1 son is in 8th grade, attempting to achieve straight A's for the reward of a cell phone, the absolute essential object to have for high school. Pencils? Books? Don't be silly, ya gotta have the phone. Between you & me, our money is safe, but he is trying so hard. It has been interesting watching him struggle with the whole puberty/maturity thing -- at times painful (will that voice just hurry up and change?), but mostly a joy. #1 has always been a joy, even at his most exasperating. He has also discovered MySpace and heavy metal, and using his limbs as post-it notes. His hair is always in his eyes, and his hat is always on his head. He is taller than all his grandparents, and weighs as much as a St. Bernard.
  • Son #2 weighs as much as straw, but he seems to have kicked his height genes into high gear this year. Our 5th grader reads The Iliad, Gulliver's Travels and Ivanhoe, knocks his week's homework out in 20 minutes, and seems to have discovered the social side of school this year. He plays Pop Warner football (Go Cougars!), lives and breathes the Chargers, and wears his jersey to bed. My tough tackler is still scared of spiders and the dark, and plans on working in our haunted house next Halloween, despite never having actually stepped foot in one. He is the goofy one, strange of face and voice, and the leader in organizing games and adventures with the kids on the block. #2 is the caretaker of Trooper and Wreck, the 4 month old bearded dragons.
  • 1st grader and consummate 6 year old #3 is learning to read, en Espanol y Ingles, and after fighting it for the past year has started to discover the coolness of books. He is totally amazed that I read some of the same exact stories when I was a kid, "so long, long, long, long time ago?!?!?" People say he is beautiful, and wonder where he got it from. Thanks. He also played football, although without #2's passion for the game; the interest was in what's for snack and when is the game over? I keep telling him that when the doctor predicted 6'5" he instantly became my retirement plan, so he better start loving push-ups.... #3 makes up entire days of classroom activity, in outlandish scope and amazing detail, never once coming close to what he actually did in school each day. He also sings double-LPs worth of songs in French, despite not knowing a single word of the French language.
  • Turbo is fat and lazy, and barfs on the dining room rug once a week.
  • I am "semi-retired" (not really, but it sounds better than "between jobs" or "still looking") and taking care of the boys & house & grocery shopping; Mr. Mom, if you prefer. I am going to school at Azusa Pacific University and will have my BA (Human Development / English, straight A's) in May, then it's on to the teaching credential program. So by this time next year I hope to be working as an elementary school substitute (I'm leaning towards being the mean sub by printing up surprise pop quizzes and practicing a surly demeanor). I have also been tutoring some 4th graders and coached the flag football team to a perfect season (ok, so it was 0 - 8, as in perfectly horrible. But they tried hard, and seemed to really enjoy the snacks). I have been trying to cook the ultimate pot roast, keep my garden safe from cat & kids, read a lot of kid's books, and spend too much time listening and listing... I am also attempting to re-write that last sentence with a lot more testosterone -- as you read it, try picturing me watching NASCAR, scratching my hairy chest and spitting on the floor, while opening a beer with my eye socket. Remember, I coach football, my wife is gorgeous, and the only daytime tv I watch is ESPN. While I work out. With a beer in my hand.

So there you have it. Too much of it, I'm sure. I didn't even get to my sexy new sister-in-law, my sister's Grand canyon elopement, the fires, and my parents spending the night. And the next night. And the night after that. I guess I'll save all that for the next time someone asks how I've been doing (if this didn't teach 'em)....

*The Most Wonderful & Beautiful Wife in the World

November 7, 2007

Jesus and George

courtesy of

reminds me of a bumper sticker I'm looking for (let me know if you find it) --

"When Jesus said 'Love your neighbor' I'm sure he
didn't mean bomb the hell out of 'em"

...or something like that, I'm paraphrasing.

October 14, 2007

The Fish Whisperer

Maybe we'll look back on this day and realize this was the moment #2 was set on the path to his career as a... koi pond cleaner? animal rights activist? public defender? It certainly won't involve the Pro Bass Fisherman's Tour....

He was at a birthday party, swimming with some friends, when the hostess of the shindig tossed a bunch of goldfish and some paper cups into the pool -- "It's a game! Catch as many as you can!" Being 10 year olds, they dove and lunged and splashed, except for my son: instantly concerned for the health and safety of the fish, he yelled at his friends to stop playing and get the fish out of the pool quickly. After a brief argument in front of shocked adults, he went and got a cup of fresh water and his friends helped him get the fish out of the chlorine/boy-filled water. None required mouth-to-gill, and the party continued.

So... now we have a family of fish, from all appearances happy and content, in a nice bowl on the toilet bowl tank. They'll probably be belly-up in the morning, but they'll go to goldfish heaven knowing a boy with a good heart cared for them.

p.s. Said son also recommended "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" for TeacherDad's next book review, so I'll be checking that one out tonight....

September 10, 2007

500 years of women

Very cool, if not a bit disconcerting with the floating, morphing head and all...

how many can you recognize?

September 6, 2007

Coach Dad

Well, my record as head coach stands at 0 - 1.

Then again, seeing as it was a pre-season game, with no officials, and I wasn't officially given the title "Head Coach" even on an interim basis, and 4 out of the other 4 coaches knew what was going on a lot more than I did... besides, it's not about winning, it's all about the kids having fun, right?

We lost. 0 and 1.

No surprise: the boys didn't listen, they didn't pay attention, they forgot what they were supposed to do. Surprise: The whole game was moving, then over, so fast I had no idea what happened and forgot what I was supposed to do. I felt as if I let the boys down by not having them better prepared. And no matter what we're supposed to say about "fun" -- I wanted them to do well, I wanted our team to win, and I want to win this week!

No surprise: they were still not paying any attention in practice today. Surprise: the number of times I'm explaining something to one player and another player walks up and hugs him, or burps or farts, or just falls down on the grass in hysterical laughter. Then we start all over. The boys are working hard though, and most of the time trying hard to play right -- my favorite question is "Did you see me Coach? Did you see me?"

Who's the patron saint for coaches of 6-year old football players?

August 17, 2007


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This is one of those shake 'em by the lapels and make 'em sit right down and read it books -- don't tell me how it ends, I'll finish it tonight. After six weeks of children's books ( I was craving something adult, something without rhymes or magic or cats that talk. This is it: an amazing, gripping book that made me feel like I was right there, in the story freezing and starving and scared for my life. I read 1/2 of it last night and then dreamed it all over again, The Wife had to wake me up to stop my shouting (I thought I was yelling "come and get me muthaf---!" but she says it more like "uuhhyaaaauuuu!").

Anyway, go get this book and read it this weekend.

August 10, 2007


"Never smile until December."

This has been a common, and quite frankly unsettling, phrase I have heard when I discuss my plans to become a teacher. It doesn't come from the non-educators; those that do not teach often stare at me with utter horror, and say things like "Why on God's green earth would you want to be a teacher?!?!?!?" and "How can you stand to be around all those kids?" ...while also commenting on the abject poverty my family will surely be forced to live in on my paltry salary.

But I've had several teachers, new-ish ones and seasoned veterans, tell me the Don't smile rule as if it's a holy mantra, the only way of surviving the 9th level of hell that is a classroom. Gee, enjoy your job? Maybe I'm naive, but, just like any other job, doesn't the worst day go by quicker and smoother if you smile once in a while and try to have a little fun? Even if it's only to find a speck of sanity-saving humor in an absurdly disastrous and depressing day, ya gotta try to crack at least one little smile. I know, they're just emphasising the importance of discipline, of setting the rules and establishing who's in charge. But I hope that isn't the reality of a classroom, because I think no matter how nervous and unsure I am my first day, or first month, or first several years, you won't be able to stop me from smiling.

July 23, 2007

The Laws of Books

A man is obliged to be very careful as to the respect due to books, for by not acting thus he is behaving offensively to his fellow-man, whose brain has produced these books.

Nor shall he ever think the time spent upon attending to books wasted; and even if he finds a book so full of errors as that correction of them would be useless, he shall not destroy the book, but place it in some out-of-the-way corner.

One must be careful not to keep his books in the same receptacle with food, for fear of the mice nibbling them both.

Nor shall a man write any accounts upon the pages of a book or scribble anything on any part of it.

If one is unable to press the leaves of a book together in order to fasten the clasp, he shall not place his knees upon it to force it to close.

If a father dies, and leaves a dog and a book to his sons, one of the children shall not say to the other, "You take the dog and I'll have the book," for what a disgraceful contrast are these two objects! *

If one wishes to take a nap, he must first cover his books up, and not recline upon them.

If a book has fallen to the ground, and at the same time some money or a sumptuous garment has fallen also, he shall first pick up the book.

If a fire breaks out in his house, he shall first rescue his books, and then his other property.

--Rabbi Judahben Samuel Sir Leon Chassid, Book of the Pious
... the year 1190 !

*But what do you do if the dog bites the book? You take the words right out of his mouth!

June 15, 2007

reading list

Andrew Jackson by Sean Wilentz
as in "...down the mighty Mississip!"

Muhammad Ali's greatest fight: Cassius Clay vs. The United States of America by Howard Bingham and Max Wallace

Roald Dahl by Jeremy Treglown

An Open Heart by The Dalai Lama

Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime by Geoffry Stone

Adverbs by Daniel Handler
just started this one


...Speaking of Ali, Prez Jackson, and the Dalai ("The Lama"?), and with Father's Day looming ahead, I've been thinking about Heroes. Not the TV show or the Super variety, but the ones you admire, look up to, learn about and learn from, want to be like when you grow up, that type of hero. It started with the Fallen Hero category, the ones that disappoint. As a former Dodger fan (I make no apologies: I was young, they were the best team not in pinstripes.) I worshipped at the cleats of Steve Garvey. But instead of the Hall of Fame and the Governor's mansion, he does shows on the shopping network and ESPN 6. As a former naive idealist, I voted for Bill Clinton (again, no apologies: he was on Arsenio Hall!). Yes, he did a lot of important, quality Presidential stuff, but now he creates crossword puzzles for the Times, and his legacy has an icky, tacky element that hasn't gone away.

So who are my Heroes? Ali, most defiantly and definitely. Jackie Robinson, and Branch Rickey should get credit too. My Dad. My son. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine. Teddy Roosevelt. Ted Williams. Harriet Tubman. Astronauts. My Father-in-law. Cal Ripken. Gandhi. Batman. Lech Walesa, Michael Collins, Bono. Thurgood Marshall. Maya Angelou. Chrissie Hynde. Jessie Owens, Bethany Hamilton, Bart Giamatti. Sam Houston. Thomas Jefferson. Colman McCarthy: . Abraham Lincoln. John Steinbeck. Aragorn. Condoleeza Rice. Pat Tillman. Stan Lee. Frank McCourt. Kurt Vonnegut. Beowulf.

May 21, 2007

I miss the Pretty Stewardess...

Some would say "ah, the good ol' days..." and Pop would start railing against women at the Academy.

May 9, 2007

Mr. Johnson & the Aliens

"God is 1" bigger than Grandaddy."

Um... okay. You definitely have my attention, son #3.

"God came before the aliens."

What have I been letting him watch...? Does Dora discuss extraterrestrials?

"So who made the aliens?"

"Mr. Johnson."


"Mr. Johnson, but then he died because he was old."

"Isn't God much bigger than Grandaddy? He must be big enough to make, say, an elephant?"

(much intense thought going on now. I could tell by his eyebrows.)

"Yeah, he's big. But how did he make their blood? Eeyew!"

End of conversation. He walked away, leaving me absolutely no clue as to what started the whole thing, or just who in the heck Mr. Johnson is.

May 2, 2007

CSET test

How to pass* the CSET: Multiple Subjects exam :

onion garlic cashews
dry roasted peanuts
chex mix, cheesey or bold, or both
dried fruit chunks
mini pretzels
chipotle cashews (not too many, they're spicy)
dried cherries
more chex mix
frozen chocolate chips
granola bits and goldfish from the kids' lunch snacks
a few of those salted dry peas, for color

take a handful of each, put in an old pickle jar and shake vigorously, but not so much the pretzels crumble and all the good stuff gets knocked off the nuts. take all that dried fruit crap and put in more chocolate chips, and some m&m's if ya got 'em. shake some more, but gently so the chocolate stays on top. wash down with copious amounts of red bull or guava rockstar ("70% juice!")

Cliffs TestPrep (500+ pages)
DK Timelines of World History (650+ pgs)
NY Times Guide to essential Knowledge (1072, I kid you not!)
Barron's American History the easy way (just shy of 500)
Everything your 4th grader needs to know (375+)
... the 6th grader book too (384)
American History desk reference (450+)
People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful (I needed a break!)
XAM (slogan "Xam to cram") cset prep guide
all those language and grammar books and notes from the classes
just finished, yet hardly remembered....

read a page or two here and there, attempt to convince yourself you really will remember when Ptolemy IV invaded Mesopotamia, if Patrick Henry knew how to diagram sentences, and whether the /ai/ and /ea/ phonemes rhyme in free verse.

good luck.

prayer helps.

*seeing as how I have not passed it yet myself, or even taken one section of it, any claims to this method resulting in the successful passing of exam are purely speculative. I'll let you know in apprx 2 weeks, 2 days, and 17 hours from now, if I'm not certifiably insane by then.

April 11, 2007

"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."

"We're terrible animals. I think that the Earth's immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should."

"Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns. "

"Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut."

"If you can do no good, at least do no harm."

"...[freedom of speech] isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you give to yourself. "

"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit. "

"So it goes."

And so goes to Peace my beloved Kurt Vonnegut.

March 26, 2007

work in progress

If the pen is mightier than the sword, and spoken language is more powerful than the written word, it follows that the greatest responsibility of those who respect and care for language is to talk a lot. It can be beneficial to research and report on words, to study where words originated, what words have meant and mean today, and how they are used in various forms of communication. However, books filled with words about words will not replace the impact of language when spoken and heard. Just as poetry or song lyrics must be said aloud to reveal their depth and fullness, in order to truly know the voice, sound and feeling of language it must be shared vocally. In order for a language to be kept alive it must be spoken, not merely captured and preserved on pages. Language gains strength and increased vitality from continuous use, it expands and obtains variety the more it is used. For language to be kept healthy it must be cultivated, nurtured to improve by the search for new words, or better words. Words have the potential to harm, even to destroy, when used ignorantly or maliciously.

February 28, 2007

The Three Uglies

Or, Apparently it is Not Okay to use Certain Terms of Endearment in Public*, even though they most certainly are not even close to ugly, or even average, and anyone could tell that was the case just by seeing how good looking their Father is, and who was obviously using the word in a humorous ironic/oxymoron/jumbo shrimp kind of way.

Anyway... I don't carry a wallet, just one of those money clips (eternally empty) with 2 slots sewed so tight I have to chisel out my driver's licence, but that's the whole point because otherwise men, like my Dad, would shove everything they own and walk around with a leather and receipt-paper brick in their pocket. No joke, he still has 25 year old pictures of our prom dates in there, grocery lists for the Safeway that was torn down in '92, and business cards, blood donor cards, membership cards, dental appointment cards.... There's cash in there too, but not the spending kind -- the lucky dollar bill with 6 two's, the lucky dollar bill with the full house, the $2 bill....

So I don't carry pictures of The Wife or the Boys, and it's not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed, I just don't like sitting on the photo album/rolodex. I also stay away from carrying pictures because I lose too much of the day: one glance at The Wife and I'm stunned, swept off in reverie, amazed that this gorgeous woman will actually walk into our house and ask what's for dinner. And pity the unfortunate soul that sees the school photos on my notebook, because that uncontrollable swell of boast just takes over, and I can talk about Uglies #1,2, and 3 for hours.

We get in the habit of using phrases or words to describe certain people or events in our lives, and that word, Honey or Bubba or That Summer, is a shortcut to all the memories and emotions we associate with that person or time in our life, and they are released and sometimes overwhelm us when the word is mentioned. Or we use the word to mean so much more than the letters spell out, there are paragraphs and stories and deep bonds behind behind the words we choose to call or describe those most important to us.

My Boys are my Pride and Joy. That is a description men have used for eons to label any and all, from sons to sports cars. It might have just started as a habit with me, show off the pictures and use the phrase, but now I have come to realize those words personify 1 and 2 for me. #1 has always been a warm, loving, bundle of laughter and kisses. We chose his name because it meant laughter, he smiled and giggled at 3 months, and I could never help laughing when he cried that oh-so-mad cry babies do. He has never shied from a hug and a kiss, except now when I pick him up from school, and has always been able to bounce back almost instantly from any rough time. This is the kid that never learned to whisper and never thought to hold a grudge. He's the boy getting yelled at for something but forgives and forgets before the scolding is over, and he is already on the the next minute of life, wondering which is better, DC or Marvel, what skateboard should he get, hey Dad what's for dinner, and did I show you my new molar? I can never not smile when I see him or think of him, and there is a burst of Joy when I think of how blessed I am to be his Dad.

So if #1 is joy, #2 must be pride... it's not that he doesn't make me happy, it's that he reminds me I was given a second chance on the whole family situation, and I get to be a full time, morning to night, 365 days a year Dad. He is proof I could be a father and do more than the fun weekend stuff, I could help someone learn and grow daily, I wouldn't miss anything he went through and would always be there as soon as he needed me. Of course this meant being there for the barf at midnight, and the fifth week of vacation "I'm boooored" whine, and the endless repetition of mundane family life (the sentence I have said billions of times in my life: "Get your hands out of your... a) mouth, b) nose, c) pants or food"**). I am immensely proud of #2 as a person, a student, and a son, and proud of how others look to him as a brother, friend, and classmate. He is clever and quick, smart and eager, goofy and spastic, and while he wants to be quietly cool and tough, he is still sensitive and silly.

And #3? I guess it's hard to be the littlest brother, you aren't first, everything has been done before so you struggle to be original. The comparisons start right away -- he has #1's cheeks, #2 was crawling by now, look at your brothers, go ask your brothers.... We see a lot of the other two in #3, and of course they are his primary teachers and examples. He seems a lot like #1 physically and in temperament, but now has started doing #2's nutty faces and actions, so he'll blend it all together and make it his own. I just hope we're ready for it. We've always said there will be that phone call: #1 is in trouble for getting the beer and starting the party, #2 is in trouble for fighting with 1 to stop the party, and #3 will be on the roof, stripped down to boxers and football helmet, and ready to jump over the hedge and into the neighbor's pool. ...But #3 is our Heart, our healing and our grace -- he is the seal, the sum, he is the inexorable bond that makes us, as a family, One. I enjoy #3, adore #3, , look into the eyes of #3 and melt. I am already sad knowing someday #3 will leave.

ok, now we're back in hallmark territory.

**and yes, believe it or not, sometimes all four in the same breath, for the same child.
*and certainly not that one, Bro, at least not until they're quite a bit older.


Did you know over 400 women served and fought in the Civil War, posing as men? Most were not discovered until injured or killed (or pregnancy might give it away also).

February 18, 2007


No, not jammin' to Prince, just my state of mind as the fever spiked around 103. I don't know what was worse, the raging inferno of my forehead or Florence Nightengale applying the water torture at 2 am -- she said it was a cool washcloth, but I think she wanted the insurance money.

Lucinda Williams West
Sam Moore Overnight Sensational
Pete Yorn Nightcrawler

The Rescue Artist Edward Dolnick
interesting info about stolen art, Munch's The Scream and how British people talk ("I was blaind oot of me skool")
The Sex Life of Food Bunny Crumpacker
makes you hungry and horny, except for the parts about cannibals and Hitler; worth reading for the author's name alone
Last Notes Tamas Dobozy

January 19, 2007

bunk beds

Another example of quality writing, and not only because he mentions me....

My boys all sleep in the same funky stinky snorey room: #2 on the top bunk where he has built himself a little old lady's cocoon of pillows and blankets, stuffed animals and special treasures, library books we can never find, and 83 dirty socks... another few years he'll have a wet bar, hot plate, cheerleader -- we'll never get him down; #3 has the bottom bunk, kept clear and clean due to the nightly Moses impersonation, parting the sea of legos, cars, books and blankets to the floor to be stubbed/kicked/stepped on by me at 7am the next morning or into the crack between bed and wall, where they disappear into the chasm never to be seen again... unfortunately, another likely location of many library books; #1 isn't a full-time resident, so now that he he out-grew the dresser drawer, we slide him underneath the bunk bed.

...and they talk. They talk and talk and have great important discussions in the dark. Or not so important, but the sillier they get the louder the giggles get, so I can give the special Father voice, the deep, grave, ominous "Boys..." for them to settle down. #3 usually provides some ambiance, a little mood lighting from his collection of my lost flashlights, or from the view master projector, or maybe with a light show with the 250 laser pointer/key chain/tire gauges my Dad has given him over the years. I don't let them stay up too late, I want them to grow strong and healthy plus I don't want them grumpy the next day, but often I will sit at my desk and simply listen to them, listen to the low hushed voices in the dark, listen to the murmurs slow, quiet, and drift away. I don't hear or understand most of what they say (yugiohbionicle what huh?) but what is important is that they are together, healthy and safe, growing and building memories of how special is to have, and to be, a brother. They might not think of it for another 30 years, but maybe on a night such as tonight, they will, and it will be good.

And, as if on cue, one of them has started snoring. I love my boys.

January 18, 2007

What Would Jack Do?

Ok, no one told me BEFORE we spent all summer watching season after season, disc after disc after disc, explosion after explosion, corrupt deceitful mole after corrupt deceitful government official, rising body count after rising body count of everyone he knows/meets/sleeps with... etc. after etc. ...that 24 was on Monday nights?!?!?!? How can I watch Heroes and 24?

Actually, unless Heroes gets totally silly, and I mean extremely silly enough to outweigh having 2 of the 3 most beautiful women on TV, it will be an easy choice. I'm sorry, but Jack has one hour left to convince me he is worth watching after spending the 1st two nights of the new season coming back from every commercial break to announce yet another attack resulting in the loss of hundreds and hundreds of lives, only to be topped off with a mushroom cloud over L.A. ?!?!?!? I know we're numb/oblivious to death and destruction, but enough is enough. It's almost as ridiculous as the dried Elmer's glue all over his hand -- c'mon, we all did that in elementary school: peel it off already, scare the girls, and go out to recess.

January 8, 2007

resolution revolution

No wonder I've already broken 80-90% of these... gotta put it out in the universe, right? I guess subconciously I know there's no need for resolutions, no need to improve on what's close to perfect, right? Ok, I'll add "find some humility" to the list....

It's that time of the fresh new year, time for the list of ways to make myself a better person in 2007 ...

  1. eat right, exercise more, lose weight... what?!?!? It could happen.
  2. do not buy any new books. I feel guilty when I look at the bookshelves and quickly find 5 books I haven't opened since standing in line @ the bookstore. It's like inviting friends over and not opening the front door. Well, I guess I open the door, but then stick them in the corner behind a plant or picture frame and only come by to dust once a month. So, after the current cache of gift cards are gone, no more new books until the rest are read.
  3. no more "maybe" or "we'll see" -- what kind of wishy-washy Father image is that presenting to the 3 Uglies??? They need to see decisive decision-making, strong convictions and leadership, so the answer is a simple flat-out "No" -- I don't care what they ask. May not be popular with the Boys, but it will build character.
  4. study each and every day, and complete written assignments before the last 8 hours before class.
  5. listen to more Ray Charles.
  6. Stop wasting paper plates. Those things can be washed meal after meal, and even when transparent they're still good for toast (lightly buttered).
  7. get a job. no, seriously! This homemaker deal can't go on forever, unless I start scratchin' some winning tickets....
  8. practice typing with more than 2 fingers. By '08 should be able to work up to 3 or 4, maybe even utilize these opposable thumbs.
  9. learn how to spell "opposable"
  10. ... ?

ok, that's enough to work on for now.

January 3, 2007

wha' happn'd in ought-six?*

The past year is officially deep-'06ed... and did anything worth remembering happen? No new children or vehicles; same home, same wife; no major medical emergencies, and successfully avoided attending any funerals... in comparison to tumultuous '04 and mundane '05, an above average year. A few highlights...

  • #3 started kindergarten, so that's the baby now in school and 8:30 to 3:30 are gloriously kid-free, leaving much more quality time with TMW&BWITW -- you wouldn't believe how many shopping malls are within driving distance of our house! Oh happy day.
  • But the sure-fire cure for too much of a good thing? I quit my job and went back to school. No showers, no shaving, wardrobe choices severely narrowed down to shorts, flips, and a rotation of 4 tees. Oh happy day! No paycheck, no Macy's discount, no lunch at Mimi's... but to prove how wonderful she is The Wife embraced mall walking and window shopping so we could still enjoy some time together! Oh happy....
  • Broke an elbow and sprained a wrist, both mine, same arm, riding #1's skateboard. "You're 40, not 14. I know they sound the same, but..." said the smart-ass Doc. He said learn the lesson and stay off your son's board. I agreed, and went out and got my own, bigger and better than his.
  • Speaking of 40, passed that milestone and the medical exam that accompanies it with flying colors... the Doc didn't smile when I asked if he wanted to share a cigarette when it was over, but I thought it was funny. The Wife also hit 40, and we celebrated our 10th anniversary, which all adds up to 90.
  • Gained a good 10 pounds (isn't that akin to "a good way to put an eye out"?) but I carry it well, I still look good: this is the body of a 37-yr old, 38 tops, sitting here washing down peanut brittle with the last of the holiday eggnog. Straight out of the carton.
  • The Folks sold their house, the gathering place since I was 13. A lot of football and capture the flag out in front, sunsets in the back yard, parties and celebrations in the den, arguments and hanging out and family dinners in the kitchen.
  • Sheesh, they always copy what I do -- The Bro and The Sis decided to take the plunge, again. (No, not to each other.)
  • took an amazingly fun and relaxing vacation with our Great Friends, driving up the coast to San Fran with stops along the way... but have no pictures to prove it since I still can't figure out how to get the pix from 2005's vacation out of the camera. Maybe that should be an '07 resolution....
  • made new friends from watching #2 play football, we bonded searching for our kids on the sideline (there he is, on the bench! No, he's over by the water bottles!) -- but how long should you be friends before you let someone steal an oven for you? no reason, just asking....
  • taught my first class full of kids -- talked so fast I was done in half the time and had to make stuff up for 30 minutes, but it was only art. But was asked, twice, in different places, if I was a teacher, so there must be an aura about me. Now if I could just get a job about me... another resolution!
  • with a thumping disco beat: "San Diego Super Chargers, Charge!"

...and speaking of resolutions, I think I'll work on those next

*no explanation, just couldn't do the "year in review"

Reading List

The March E.L. Doctorow
A Man Without A Country Kurt Vonnegut