Monthly Archives: August 2011

“best of the week in pictures – and some comments. okay, probably a ton of comments and continued rambling”.

we went to atlanta this past weekend. what a great city.
we enjoyed: walking and statues in centennial olympic park, ate hotdogs and a veggie burger at googie burger (i know), geeked out at imagine it! (ah it’s their name. if you’re new to the blog, i don’t like exclamation points) , were amazed by whale sharks, beluga whales, the dolphin show and all else aquatic at the georgia aquarium (by the way that is me and h.. i guess my first time posting my mug), and time together. the ride home was anything but pleasant, but a small price to pay for the adventure. let’s just say h. was having a “difficult time”.

there will be more travel for us in the next couple months. we are fortunate to be with r. on some of her upcoming business trips and then we are heading home for a week in early october. my thoughts are cranking regarding how i am going to continue blogging at a reasonable pace, all the while trying to provide thoughtful, or at the very least entertaining,pieces. this blog is important to me, and it has been a great outlet as i have transitioned from the outside working world to staying at home with the kids. my blog has become as necessary to me as my daily run/exercise, my breakfast of yogurt, flax, raison, and granola, my morning coffee, my afternoon tea and the back porch with r. after the kids go to bed. the best way to keep up is to stay organized. in order to stay focused i am going to designate a topic/category for the days of the week that i am blogging. tuesdays are going to be known as “the best of the week in pictures – and some comments. okay, probably a ton of comments and continued ramblings”. much better than “top ten tuesdays” right? i think my more introspective rambling will be on thursdays. i will not under any circumstance name them “thoughtful thursdays”. i think they could be called “my brain will explode if i don’t try to make sense out of the world by over-examining every aspect of it and getting feed back thursdays”. perfect.

they may not always be this personal. this is how it happened this week. here we go.

10. our children who had morphed into puppies – panting, licking, and eating out of bowls on the floor – (which I love and think their use of imagination is terrific) can now be found with two stuffed animals coming out the top of their shirts cause they are pregnant puppies.

9. we now have two hermit crabs. oobleck and bea. a. named oobleck after the dr. seuss book “bartholomew and the oobleck” and h. named bea, well, after bea.

8. we found this painting at the thrift store. i think it looks like h., but a. really wants it in her room. we compromised and put it in the closet, i mean hallway.

7. apparently izze soda, ice tea, jones soda and ibc root beer are “new age beverages.” i think that’s funny target.

6. our painting of lou reed was hung behind our table. he’s “so over” our meals. a. calls him louie and blames every burp and fart on him. this morning she told him “we invited you into the house louie. i want you to start saying excuse me and stop burping so much.”

5. yesterday a. kept saying “dad, my mind is telling me to say words like poopy and diarrhea and I just I don’t want to say them, but my mind is telling me to. I’m getting frustrated with my mind.”

4. i found out that r. has a thing for groupers.

3. while doing art projects the difference between a 4 and a 2-year-old becomes glaringly obvious.

2. i thought of a title for my memoir as a stay at home dad, “against the wall.” this is what i say to them when i have to visit the restroom. perhaps it could also be the title of their memoir. what damage am i doing?

1. a. came into our room the other morning and said “mom, dad, I looked out my window last night and saw the moon. it was so big and beautiful.” how cool, she took the time to notice. I wished I could have been a fly on the wall while she had that important moment of being alone and saw something awe-inspiring, but realized that it then wouldn’t have existed. she was so inspired that she woke up at 6:30 to tell us about it.


music.

we were listening to music on the way home from the children’s museum today. a. and h. were quiet. i asked them “what’s up? why are you so quiet?” a. said she was “mad tired” and h. was ‘spacing’ out the window. if h. could talk, i’m guessing that she would have been “crazy tired”. it has been a busy week, so i didn’t think anything more of it. we have xm radio, and i was listening to a “rock” station. the song “mandolin rain” by bruce hornsby came on – not to be confused with “mandolin wind” by rod stewart. now, i am sure most of you have heard this song. if not, it’s one of those songs that you forget you are listening to after the first 30 seconds, he even admits it in the first line of the song “song came and went…”. it just fades away after that. unless you stay focused. today was one of those days. i must be feeling sentimental.

like most people, i need music. i need it. can’t live without it. music has played a pivotal role in all periods of my life. from my dad playing his guitar and singing beatles songs to us before bed (“maxwell’s silver hammer” was a favorite and probably the source of many odd dreams), my mom singing along with lionel richie in the car (“oh what a feeling…dancing on the ceiling”), not knowing that the beastie boys were saying “porno mag” in “fight for your right to party” (i thought they said “porto mat”, and would shout it when that part in the song came – i thought my brother’s laughter was approval. they still tease me about it.), falling in love with “duke of earl” in fourth grade (if i didn’t get a high enough rank on my daily behavioral sheet i would be sent to my room for the night. there was a kids story hour that i would listen to on the radio, the opening song to the show was “duke of earl”. i still love that song.), discovering bob dylan, cat stevens, and frank zappa, dressing like robert smith, stage diving to ska, doing the funny wiggle dance to phish (r. laughs pretty hard when i try to do it these days.), embracing my inner woman/human with ani difranco, thinking i was hardcore listening to wu tang clan (headphones only), staring at the national, and now being the older-looking-guy at some shows and wondering if i look as old as everyone else at others.

my love of music is steered by lyrics. i enjoy the sounds of music, but it is what the person is saying that grabs me. on the other hand r., who loves music as well, listens for the sound. we’ll both like the same song, i’ll ask her what she thinks about it, and generally she relates to the mood, and i continue on about “what the artist really means, man”. we have both tried to listen to music the way the other one does, but forcing something like that is tough. of course i enjoy the sounds of instrumental jazz, classical, and ambient music, that lack lyrics, but generally i am struck by what the artist is saying with words.

stopping and listening to the lyrics and sound of “mandolin rain” today was beautiful. it is a really nice song to listen to. i wouldn’t want to take it on a date, but, you know, it’s nice to have around. it’s like a good friend. it’s a comfortable song, and in my quest to relax on life (yes, “on”), it was a nice break in the day. i am going to regret writing this aren’t i? as i listened, my thoughts were totally unrelated to the song and flowing. they were the following: no one person is unique. we are an amalgamation of all those that we have come in contact with. our dominant method of expression being the one that we fancy the most. hey that’s a cool tree. i often wonder if i had the thought that i just thought, or if i am remembering something that i read or heard years ago. did i like this band first or am i telling the person that told me about the band that they should listen to them. all the while they are nodding and wondering how i forgot last week. is there a football game tonight? no, it’s tuesday not monday. uh, have i actually lost track? nothing is new, or shocking. oh, i almost forgot about jane’s addiction – another favorite. yes, those were “the mandolin rain” space out thoughts. a. broke me from my space, along with a red light, and decided that she had an opinion about the song “dad, i really don’t like this. i like the song before it” bliss lost, but i have been humming bruce’s tune all day.

impossible to be complete, but here are ten of my favorite lyrics. each one spoke to me at a different point in my life.
after lyric is singer/band and then the title of the song.

“i know that it is freezing, but i think we have to walk” bright eyes. lua.

“if not for you, babe, i couldn’t find the door. couldn’t even see the floor. i’d be sad and blue. if not for you.” bob dylan. if not for you. which happened to be our wedding song. and true.

“tell my wife i love her very much. she knooooows.” david bowie. space oddity. (i just love the way it sounds)

“truth is that i never shook my shadow. every day it’s trying to trick me into doing battle…because, lights blinding, no way dividing what’s yours or mine when everything’s shining. your darkness is shining. my darkness is shining. have faith in ourselves.”
alexander. truth.

“oh, he didn’t like people much at all. tasted better with alcohol. you know how that one goes. he realized he’d missed his whole life.”
miles benjamin anthony robinson. buriedfed.

“sorry steady. my only lover. i regret to say. i can’t dance with you no more. while you were out. i was getting lonely. doubt that, though i try, i can’t ever feel it’s done. i’m dry. and waiting on the sky to fall”
miles benjamin anthony robinson. who’s laughing.

“retinas are bleeding for the enterprise. surgically wired into paradise. yesterday I dropped in on the MKB. everyone was messaging like it was going out of style. it was just the cynic in me. god, i love communicating. i just hate the shit we’re missing.” dresden dolls. modern moonlight.

“there’s no work in walking in to fuel the talk. i would grab my shoes and then away i’d walk. through all the stubborn beauty I start at the dawn. until the sun had fully stopped. never walking away from. just a way to pull apart. dehydrate back into minerals. a life long walk to the same exact spot. carbon’s anniversary. the parting of the sensory. old old mystery. the parting of the sensory.”
modest mouse. parting of the sensory.

“when I am king, you will be first against the wall. with your opinion which is of no consequence at all. what’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but no android). what’s that…? (I may be paranoid, but no android). ambition makes you look pretty ugly. kicking and squealing gucci little piggy. you don’t remember. you don’t remember. why don’t you remember my name? off with his head, man. off with his head, man. why don’t you remember my name?i guess he does.” radiohead. paranoid android.

“he plays the oboe. i thought he would.” robyn hitchcock. flesh cartoons.

and the list goes on. please share yours.


expectations.

“yah that was better than i expected”
“what did you expect?”
“we expect more than that”
i didn’t want to write today, but knew i had to.

we had a nice visit this weekend with more family from wisconsin. the girls, and we, loved having another set of grandparents in town. it is neat to watch how they act around their grandparents – you can see the release that comes from having familiar faces from home – that aren’t ours. they loved showing off their achievements, tricks, bedrooms, developed pouts, swimming moves, and new city. this morning was “departure day”. we dropped them off at the airport (grandparents not kids) before a.’s gymnastics class. a. is at the age where it makes her sad when people leave, h. is somewhat clueless. while a. cried in the backseat, h. was swiping at them to go. i could hear a few sentences through a.’s cries as we drove away from the airport, “i don’t want to go to gymnastics” and “ice cream is all that will help”. we went to gymnastics and had ice cream afterwards.

a. is getting along well in gymnastics. the two other girls in her class have been in gymnastics classes before, and are definitely more advanced, i love watching a. learn something completely new. she has a gymnasts body? so it seems. short and strong. or is that what every 4 year-olds body looks like, and those better equip to be gymnasts stay proportioned that way? anyhow, today i was watching her struggle to commit to her somersaults and moved my body along with every cart-wheel attempt. much like when i play john madden’s football video game or try to move my ball to the left while bowling. as she concentrated on new moves, her little tongue was stuck to the side of the corner of her lips – i know where that comes from. a. was out there trying hard, watching how the other girls do it, all the while her dad smiling when the teacher gives her attention. it feels as good to hear him say her name, as it does to hear someone i just met refer to me by name. they know me by name? wow. i don’t have any expectations for her in the class. well, i do expect that she will listen to her teacher and get along with the other kids, but i don’t expect that she is going to turn out to be the next mary lou retton. similarly, r. was outside pitching balls to her last night, while h. and i were taking skateboard rides down the road. now, i know that r. has certain desires, expectations?, for the girls and their athletic abilities, but r. is not overbearing and weird about it – i think what she gives the girls is focus. she doesn’t “get on them” for not hitting the ball, she just wants them to focus on what they are doing. r.’s smile grew with every wiffle ball that a. made contact with, as mine had when she was concentrating on her tumbles. we have agreed that we don’t want to push the kids too hard in any one direction (athletics, music, academics). we feel that they could lose interest in the activity because our expectations superseded their enjoyment and expectations of themselves. i mean, 50 push-ups and 6 laps around the house for not “presenting” after a dismount is so she knows we noticed, and i am sure they enjoy the time alone in their room when they fail to set the bat down after getting a hit – this is normal. we simply can’t accept one goal a quarter in soccer.

all kidding aside?
while i understand the reasons we don’t want to “push the kids too hard”, i maintain that we need to push them into situations that may be uncomfortable or ones that we, as parents, know are best for them. if we notice that a. or h. has a talent for playing the drums, i think that it would be a disservice to them if we excuse them for practicing because they “don’t want to”. of course there is an age appropriateness to this, but becoming good at something takes discipline – we all need someone to push us. would you encourage your child to go out for soccer if you knew they wouldn’t make the team? right now my answer is yes. as much as it will hurt watching their disappointment, i think it is something that is necessary to growth. that something is failure. everyday i write this blog i have to focus. some days it is easier than others. some passages i re-read and think i nailed it – others i get embarrassed reading my own words, but i told myself that regardless of how i felt, i would write, and that i would try to get better. even if it isn’t “getting better”, that i would have the discipline to finish something. this is something that i struggle with. i have ideas coming out of every orifice of my body. i start a project full-steam and two months, weeks, days, minutes later i walk away. it’s frustrating. i’m not sure why i “give up” on my projects. is it because i lose interest? or simply because i don’t want to invest the time that it takes to perfect something. doing what comes naturally, is, well, doing what comes naturally. do i push myself enough? i am trying. it is far too easy to get stuck in life patterns. now, there is nothing wrong with finding a groove that suits you and running that course until your death, but i can’t do that. i want to push myself into uncomfortable positions. i want to work on my breathing when i go into an intimidating meeting. i want to be laughed at. i want to wonder what others are thinking when i strike out swinging – in t-ball. i want all of these things, and i want to come out the other side knowing that i’m more because of it. shedding the skin of fear and getting smaller is a sign of needing less from the outside world and developing a deeper understanding of yourself. i want these things, but need to be pushed into them. we want these things for a. and h., and we are working on our role in it.

i know that i expect a lot out of those that i love. i’m unrealistic at times. probably more so with my expectations of myself. i just struggle with accepting people for who they are. i get the concept. i’m not saying “who they are” as individuals, but who they are as if they won’t be developing into anything else. or are done trying. we can’t expect that others will view the world the way we do, or that they will have the same want to do things the way that we see they should be done – i am learning that. i don’t want people to do things the way i do. i just want them to care about trying to do them better. why settle. with that i think we need to build one another up when we notice an achievement. i don’t care if you could type 60 words a minute in third grade – i am 34 and just got there. this is hard, but why do we excuse some people? why do we accept that is the best they can be. one thing that was the clearest in my teaching experience was the more we expected – the more we got. some of the kids that we taught had been written off by other teachers – perhaps because they didn’t have the time or resources to give the students what they needed. as we pushed them past their limits, agitating them further at times, we were able to give them something beyond math,reading, or writing. they developed an ability to push themselves harder, to demand more of those around them, and to not settle for things the way they were.

we need to push one another. we need to demand more. but, we need to do these things with the right intentions. not to hurt or to make ourselves feel better, but to elevate each of us to a better being.
okay, that was pretty over the top. true enough, but now that i breathed after that last paragraph, let me say this. i don’t want to push our kids to fold, i want to push them to open up.

we are getting back into routine this week. visits are awesome, but i’m a sucker for routine.


expectations.

“yah that was better than i expected”
“what did you expect?”
“we expect more than that”
i didn’t want to write today, but knew i had to.

we had a nice visit this weekend with more family from wisconsin. the girls, and we, loved having another set of grandparents in town. it is neat to watch how they act around their grandparents – you can see the release that comes from having familiar faces from home – that aren’t ours. they loved showing off their achievements, tricks, bedrooms, developed pouts, swimming moves, and new city. this morning was “departure day”. we dropped them off at the airport (grandparents not kids) before a.’s gymnastics class. a. is at the age where it makes her sad when people leave, h. is somewhat clueless. while a. cried in the backseat, h. was swiping at them to go. i could hear a few sentences through a.’s cries as we drove away from the airport, “i don’t want to go to gymnastics” and “ice cream is all that will help”. we went to gymnastics and had ice cream afterwards.

a. is getting along well in gymnastics. the two other girls in her class have been in gymnastics classes before, and are definitely more advanced, i love watching a. learn something completely new. she has a gymnasts body? so it seems. short and strong. or is that what every 4 year-olds body looks like, and those better equip to be gymnasts stay proportioned that way? anyhow, today i was watching her struggle to commit to her somersaults and moved my body along with every cart-wheel attempt. much like when i play john madden’s football video game or try to move my ball to the left while bowling. as she concentrated on new moves, her little tongue was stuck to the side of the corner of her lips – i know where that comes from. a. was out there trying hard, watching how the other girls do it, all the while her dad smiling when the teacher gives her attention. it feels as good to hear him say her name, as it does to hear someone i just met refer to me by name. they know me by name? wow. i don’t have any expectations for her in the class. well, i do expect that she will listen to her teacher and get along with the other kids, but i don’t expect that she is going to turn out to be the next mary lou retton. similarly, r. was outside pitching balls to her last night, while h. and i were taking skateboard rides down the road. now, i know that r. has certain desires, expectations?, for the girls and their athletic abilities, but r. is not overbearing and weird about it – i think what she gives the girls is focus. she doesn’t “get on them” for not hitting the ball, she just wants them to focus on what they are doing. r.’s smile grew with every wiffle ball that a. made contact with, as mine had when she was concentrating on her tumbles. we have agreed that we don’t want to push the kids too hard in any one direction (athletics, music, academics). we feel that they could lose interest in the activity because our expectations superseded their enjoyment and expectations of themselves. i mean, 50 push-ups and 6 laps around the house for not “presenting” after a dismount is so she knows we noticed, and i am sure they enjoy the time alone in their room when they fail to set the bat down after getting a hit – this is normal. we simply can’t accept one goal a quarter in soccer.

all kidding aside?
while i understand the reasons we don’t want to “push the kids too hard”, i maintain that we need to push them into situations that may be uncomfortable or ones that we, as parents, know are best for them. if we notice that a. or h. has a talent for playing the drums, i think that it would be a disservice to them if we excuse them for practicing because they “don’t want to”. of course there is an age appropriateness to this, but becoming good at something takes discipline – we all need someone to push us. would you encourage your child to go out for soccer if you knew they wouldn’t make the team? right now my answer is yes. as much as it will hurt watching their disappointment, i think it is something that is necessary to growth. that something is failure. everyday i write this blog i have to focus. some days it is easier than others. some passages i re-read and think i nailed it – others i get embarrassed reading my own words, but i told myself that regardless of how i felt, i would write, and that i would try to get better. even if it isn’t “getting better”, that i would have the discipline to finish something. this is something that i struggle with. i have ideas coming out of every orifice of my body. i start a project full-steam and two months, weeks, days, minutes later i walk away. it’s frustrating. i’m not sure why i “give up” on my projects. is it because i lose interest? or simply because i don’t want to invest the time that it takes to perfect something. doing what comes naturally, is, well, doing what comes naturally. do i push myself enough? i am trying. it is far too easy to get stuck in life patterns. now, there is nothing wrong with finding a groove that suits you and running that course until your death, but i can’t do that. i want to push myself into uncomfortable positions. i want to work on my breathing when i go into an intimidating meeting. i want to be laughed at. i want to wonder what others are thinking when i strike out swinging – in t-ball. i want all of these things, and i want to come out the other side knowing that i’m more because of it. shedding the skin of fear and getting smaller is a sign of needing less from the outside world and developing a deeper understanding of yourself. i want these things, but need to be pushed into them. we want these things for a. and h., and we are working on our role in it.

i know that i expect a lot out of those that i love. i’m unrealistic at times. probably more so with my expectations of myself. i just struggle with accepting people for who they are. i get the concept. i’m not saying “who they are” as individuals, but who they are as if they won’t be developing into anything else. or are done trying. we can’t expect that others will view the world the way we do, or that they will have the same want to do things the way that we see they should be done – i am learning that. i don’t want people to do things the way i do. i just want them to care about trying to do them better. why settle. with that i think we need to build one another up when we notice an achievement. i don’t care if you could type 60 words a minute in third grade – i am 34 and just got there. this is hard, but why do we excuse some people? why do we accept that is the best they can be. one thing that was the clearest in my teaching experience was the more we expected – the more we got. some of the kids that we taught had been written off by other teachers – perhaps because they didn’t have the time or resources to give the students what they needed. as we pushed them past their limits, agitating them further at times, we were able to give them something beyond math,reading, or writing. they developed an ability to push themselves harder, to demand more of those around them, and to not settle for things the way they were.

we need to push one another. we need to demand more. but, we need to do these things with the right intentions. not to hurt or to make ourselves feel better, but to elevate each of us to a better being.
okay, that was pretty over the top. true enough, but now that i breathed after that last paragraph, let me say this. i don’t want to push our kids to fold, i want to push them to open up.

we are getting back into routine this week. visits are awesome, but i’m a sucker for routine.


formalities.

“thank you for the bread. that is really kind”

“hey j. can i tell you something?” a. shouts out from the “way” back seat of the mini-van. i stress mini-van because anytime someone refers to it as a car, van, vehicle, anything – a. is right there to remind them that it is a mini-van. which, at times, adorably enough, comes out as “vini-van”. today, we were fortunate to be joined on our adventures, so a. sat in her booster-seat in the “way” back of the mini-van to make room for our extra passengers. she had a pretty proud look on her face. “that’s mr. j. a.” i remind her from the “way” front. “oh, mr. j….” and she went on to ask that he guide me to our destination. boy, she has a lot of faith in my navigational skills. this morning we went to the north alabama railroad museum in huntsville. we sandboxed, rode a train (which the conductor was able to push start), played firehouse (a. dropped her voice a few octaves when something very serious needed to be done) and enjoyed getting to know another dad and one of his daughters. after our train depot experience we headed to sam and greg’s pizzeria and gelateria for a black olive and cheese pizza, headed home for a popsicle and headed to our rooms for naps.

at lunch, amidst other pleasant conversation and parmesean cheese pouring, i asked the dad i was with, a native alabamian, if there was/what was the proper way that students/children should address teachers/adults in alabama. like many, or most who have watched t.v. and never ventured south of illinois, i have an image of respectful southern children who address all adults in a way that exhibits an understanding of the hierarchy in society. adults are to be respected, in actions and language. not that there is any more/less respect for elders in the south than north, but perhaps a different vocabulary of showing that respect. he shared that in elementary school they typically call their teacher mr./mrs. and their first name, and that perhaps when you reach high school you address the teachers as sir or ma’am. i grew up addressing all of my friend’s parents as mr./mrs. last name, and still do to this day. we are teaching our girls to refer to adults as mr./mrs. first name. it is my feeling that no matter how much we want to relate to our kids, and have them see us as people they can come to, there still needs to be a distance established that dictates the foundations of those relationships. i am not my kids friend. am i friendly? do i play with them? yes, but i do not, and hopefully will not, look to them to fill the role of a friend. someone i “hang out with”. my feeling is that this relationship will become even more necessary as they reach the high school years, when we may want to relate to them on a different level, and will, but i can’t see identifying with them as friends. i don’t think i’m alone by any means, but i do, right or wrong, know that there are different views to raising children. there was always the “cool dad” in the neighborhood who everyone called by his first name. come to think about it, he didn’t have children, at my young age i thought all older men were “dads”. he was just “rick”. “rick” didn’t have to be the “uncool dad” and call his son in for dinner or bedtime. “rick” was able to fill a different adult role for kids in the neighborhood. i can understand a feeling of want or – gulp – jealousy that we may have watching the relationships that other people are going to be able to have with our kids. weird thought, but as a teacher i tried to remain ever-mindful that parents may feel that way about me. a feeling that parents do the “hard work” and others get to relate to/enjoy them on a different level. perhaps true enough, but i’m guessing that the feelings of pride when you see them able to establish healthy and long-lasting relationships will be incredible, and in my experience – relationships of every kind evolve.

r. laughs at my need to shake people’s hands. i now ask her opinion if i went for a handshake at the wrong time. our last conversation about handshakes was when a. had met a little girl playing at the “y” when i was working out. we went to the pool afterwards and the little girl was there with her mom, i introduced myself and reached out my hand. r. thought i should have given a bent elbow wave or just said “hi i’m andy”, but what would i do with my hands? now, this is something i would like feedback on. i feel the need to shake just about everyone’s hand. i’m not a weirdo that walks down the street and tries to shake the hands of strangers, those are politicians, but when i see someone i know or introduce myself – i stretch out my hand. i think it is so engrained in me that i don’t even think about it anymore. is that too formal? are we beyond the age of handshakes? does everyone shake hands and i just happen to extend mine earlier than most people – the same way i put my blinker on two miles before a turn? the responses i get vary from a firm handshake to hesitation. should it be different for men than women? i treat both equally. i do hold back if i get the feeling that they know my style and want no part of my hand, and i don’t go out of my way to shake someone’s hand if i see them at a distance. imagine, i’m in my garage “hey wait a., j. is at the end of his driveway putting out the garbage. i gotta go shake his hand.” no, i am not like that, i think i do it because it helps me focus when i first see someone or they are leaving. it’s sometimes the only time i am focused when just meeting someone. i know i do it because it shows respect. so, i ask you – what are your thoughts on handshakes?

formalities and respect, which have come up on more than one occasion in my blogs, are important to me. more important to me is the carrying on of traditions. i value the order that those who went before us passed on. i like tradition, though i acknowledge that i have knowingly halted the passing on of certain traditions that were/are important to my family. i do see formalities and respect as an extension of continuing cultural traditions that preserve who “we” are. who are “we”? good question.

off to run and swim at the “y”.

as j. was leaving, after popsicle fest, we shook hands and thanked one another for a good morning. our kids were tired and ready for naps. after the door closed i realized i didn’t thank him “one final time” for the bread. perhaps respect and kindness don’t always need outward recognition. or over recognition. perhaps it is just understood.


the black widow

20110812-023117.jpg

a picture of the black widow spider that was living in our garage – mentioned in the previous blog. if i leave it in a jar in my office, will it’s friends come to find him?


let’s keep it light. squirmy. but light.

lately a. wishes she could be anything and everything other than a little girl. she sees something that she finds interesting and “wishes i could be it. so i could…”. i thought this would be a nice way to glide into the weekend. i remembered a few from the last couple days, and she is in my office now helping me remember all the things she wishes she could be. of course she is in my office in her underwear because “dad, that is the only way i can do somersaults.” i wonder what her gymnastics instructor will think of this on monday.

nothing profound – just fun.

“i wish i could be a spider. because i could walk on a spider web instead of cement.”
“i wish i could be a puppy. cause i wish i could pee and poop on the ground.” we did discuss that she has done this – once camping and the other at a park in indiana.
“i wish i could be a badger. because i wish i could have stripes on me like a badger. i want to be bucky badger” yes.
“i wish i could be a spider-web. because i wish a spider could walk on me.” um a., hate to break it to you but they can and do.

i do have to share a quick story that took place while our family was in town. last saturday or sunday night we were watching a movie in the living room after the kids went to bed. something caught my eye away from the screen. it was a rather large spider near the baseboards making its way towards the fireplace. i pointed it out to the group. feet went up, gulps were audible and r. quickly shot out “that’s yours dude.”. i asked for a piece of paper towel – this spider was beyond tissue. i couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something different about her. like staring at a three legged cat before someone clues you in. i went to squish it and hundreds of baby spiders flew in every direction. “get em’ get em'” r. now had no choice but to help squish as many of the babies as we could – gosh that sounds horrible. i knew i had momma spider down, but her babies were bouncing everywhere. have you ever seen this? evidently it was a wolf spider and they carry their babies on their backs for a short period of time. it looked like this. . then yesterday i found a black widow in the garage. she is no longer there. last night a. crept into bed with us. something about a bad dream – i was too tired to argue. she got in. i forgot she was in bed and felt something on my chest (her ponytail), but, yes, i thought it was a spider. boy, did i freak her out as i kicked the covers off and started patting myself down.

“i wish i could be a seed. because i really wish i could grow like a seed. grow into a tree” i asked “why would you want to be a tree?”
“so i could have leaves on me and birds could land on me.”
she just informed me that she only has one more answer for me.
“i wish i could be a lava lamp. because i wish i could have little blue things coming up in me.”

“a.? is there anything else you would like to tell the people i am writing to.”
“i want to be chocolate milk. cause i wish everybody could drink me and i could go into their bellies. i wish i could be everything that’s an animals and just be them but most of all a puppy, and love everybody.”

i did not make the video below, but found it appropriate.
enjoy your weekend.


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