Monday, August 31, 2009

Zoey has Issues with Michael Rosenberg...and nap time


Mostly Zoey has issues with the story Michael Rosenberg wrote in the Detroit Free Press and not as much with Michael Rosenberg himself, although he does looks fairly dorky with his wavy curly hair and those pseudo-intellectual spectacles. Zoey sees through all the madness and just wants Michigan Football to get back to being Michigan Football...which means winning lots and thinking they're better then everyone else (which we typically were).

Rosenberg was on WRIF's Drew and Mike Show this morning and the brat made a lot of sense...mind you so does Gary Busey from time to time, but I stepped from the car into the bright sunlight of a beautiful Monday, my last on parental leave, and thought, "Shit...that sounded better than plausable," and then I ran head first into the brick wall of our rented home in a fruitless attempt to knock myself out.

The new issue for me is that this team is obviously embracing some issues, and that regardless of violations or no violations everyone better buy an umbrella, preferably one that's shit retardant. This is gonna get ugly.

It seems we're still waist deep in the "Lloyd vs. Rich Rod" stuff that marred the beginning of this new era in Michigan humbleness and that's troubling. It would be interesting to know if Rosenberg's sources, both on and off the record, are Lloyd kids or newbies. That might explain a lot. All I know is that Zoey thinks the Detroit Free Press has ruined her last few days with Dad and she wants some instant retribution...perhaps some free diapers or maybe a perpetual press pass to everything ever...that might soothe her stress. She promises not to abuse the privilege and I'm guessing that she'll do just as good of a job as some of the Freep's usual mud slingers.

Now it's nap time for the Zedder but she doesn't want to go until after the Rich Rod presser.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunshine and Shenanigans Down on Woodward

Harmon Shenanigans Tigers Rays Aug30

We stole a morning away from a cold, windy, crappy beach and headed to Comerica Park to watch Verlander do battle with the Rays and catch up with some old friends. We had planned on skipping the game but the weather reports showed sun in Detroit and none in our backyard so...zoom...Park the car off Sprout and hike up Woodward to the ballpark.

Verlander Tigers Rays Aug 30
Justin Verlander warming up pre-game

We connected with Shannon Wilkins and his little fella, Tate, and shared a few innings with those funsters. It's been something like seven or eight years since we've seen Shannon and it was nice to catch up. We'd never met Tate even though I've been scribbling every night into a sketch pad to help Shan come up with a fun tattoo design to pay tribute to his little daughter, Sophie, and Tater. We got more laughs in than innings and we let Shan and Tate get back to their seats and we went off in search of food and bladder relief.

Tate and Shannon Tigers Rays Aug30
Tate, a frightening PAWS finger puppet, and Shan soaking up some late summer sun at the ballpark

We eventually slipped on down the rail and connected with the Bergquists for the remainder of the game. It was Kev's birthday and it was good to see those guys again. Harmon is growing and growing and growing and little Simon has somethin' like six teeth and some serious hair. All these kids are gonna be asking to borrow the car before we know it!

Bergquist Family Tigers Rays Aug30

Harmon is getting over a wee bit of pneumonia but still managed to do laps around WIllie Horton for five innings, and Simon was just chillin' for most of the game in his pimped out Jeep stroller. Both June and I can't believe how big he's getting. Zoey's rockin' some height but she's tipping the scales at a whopping almost-14lbs and meanwhile Simon is looking like he was on MLB's 2003 unreleased list of steroid users. We're thinking we might leak his name to the press in an effort to get Michigan Football off of the Freeps' front page...bastards. The Freep, not the Bergquists. The Berguists are cool.

Aimee June kids Tigers Rays Aug30
A windblown Aimee and June show off the best of their respective gene pools

The whole day turned into an awesome distraction from the buggered weather we came home to...and we're discovering that Zoey can't stand to sit around and do nothing. She's either come by that naturally via DNA or we've painted ourselves into a corner with her by dragging the nerd all over the planet. It's probably a combo of both but boy she likes to get out and go...especially when she's dressed for it.

Close up Zo Tigers Rays Aug30
Zo dresses the part of Tigers/Wolverine fan

She always pays a little more attention to her attire when she knows she's going to see Simon...cute little daughter stealer.

Simon Tigers Rays Aug30
Simon looking more grown up every time we see him

My favorite part of coming down to the ballpark and watching Aimee and June together with the kids is that just a few short years ago they were just extra cool girls in my life and now they're these amazing Mom's, and their both so awesome at the task.

Aimee Harmon Tigers Rays Aug30
Aimee and Harmon looking for shenanigans

It seems like the last time I looked it was 1995 and June and I were just meeting and Aimee was peeking around every corner in the Hartwig Building looking for Kev...but it's 2009 and both these girls are wives and moms and it just makes me grin.

June Zoey Tigers-Rays Aug30
June and Zoey taking in the Rays game from our usual spot on the rail

We've only got a month left of the regular season so we hope we can get down to Comerica at least a few more times before the end of the season and what we hope will be a playoff run. Kev and Aimee mentioned that it was their last time down there unless the fellas make the playoffs. It just makes you sad to hear it. The seasons just keep rolling by and we've all gotten to the age where they're starting to blend into one another. It's still easily my favorite family escape...easy, traditional, classic, and just about my pace. You can talk for hours (not me) and not miss a thing, and then turn your attention to the field just in time to see Polanco give you a one run lead in the bottom of the eighth with a three run's perfect. Cool weather and sunshine, friends and $9 soft drinks...awesome! And I love how we never have to pay for Zoey or Rarrr.

Bri Rarrr at Tigers Rays Aug30
Rarrr is gonna keep sneaking into ball games as long as he can fit into a diaper bag

I can't wait to look back on ten or twenty years of Tiger games and photo after photo like this...each and every time I think it's about time we moved on and found a new place to call home I run into the Bergquists or someone similar down at Comerica and I never want to leave.

Family at Tigers Rays Aug30
The second or third family photo in Zoeys first year of baseball torture at the hands of her parents.

Doctor, doctor....gimme the news

week 31 - eating lunch... and wearing it

So Zo had her 6 month-ish doctors appt. this week...a little late considering the fact that she's 7 months old now but we didn't exactly have a team of doctors at our disposal in Hawaii. Everything is good and she's healthy as healthy gets...scored a couple of immunizations while she was there and slipped home relatively unscathed.

She's officially longer...I forget how much because I'm a terrible person, but it was enough that I went, "Huh?" and my eyes got big...and she's officially and quite surprisingly a lean and mean 13.75 lbs...That's right. I was surprised too. She's growing just not outward. Can you wrap your head around a 6'1" tall Zoey? I was shocked. SUre, there's plenty of time for her to gain weight and there are growth spurts to come etc...but she eats great and has been on cereal and the fruit and veg for awhile and is still not Mrs. Pudgy pants...but she can practically dunk now. Seriously, she did this crazy cross-over dribble deal in the driveway the other day and tripped me up just enough to rise straight up outta Compton and over my stumbling @#$ for a rim rattling "Don't bring that $#%T to my house" hammer slam. I dusted myself off and went back in the house where I proceeded to take her crib apart. She might have ups but her manual dexterity is embarrassing and I'd like to see her put that damn crib back together. Have fun sleeping on the floor there Spud Webb. You'll learn, Dad's just like LeBron and you don't dunk over Daddy.

On a secondary note I spent most of the night instant messaging 50% of the Bergquist family and I want to "accidentally" run onto them again and soon, and for more than a twenty minute chat. We were supposed to run into them at Comerica Park tomorrow but had some stuff come up...Perhaps we drop said "stuff" and scoot off to Comerica Park anyway?? Hmmmm. perhaps...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Invasion of the Annoying Annoyances

So June and I lay down to get some much needed sleep last night and what do we find? Bugs. There are bugs everywhere...mostly on our carpet but some had managed to come visit us on the bed. Not thousands, no not at all, but enough...probably thirty or forty and when you killed those you found more. We nearly shart our jammies. Bed bugs! Nope...what then? Fleas? No, not fleas either. So some fast Googling revealed that they were (or we think they are) carpet beatles. They're small and black and they can fly around a little and WHERE THE #$%K DID THEY COME FROM??? They weren't here when we left.

So we slept on the couch and closed the door to our room. Thank God we hadn't moved back in completely yet. We really hadn't put a damn thing back into that room. The bed, dresser and night tables remained from when we left them for Pat and Mayumi to use but there wasn't really a stitch of much else in there. Still...a call to an exterminator is sure to rack up not only a bill but a sh!t load of work. Awesome. It must be the Fall already 'cause it seems this Summer of Irrevocable Awesomeness is all but over.

We're not upset, just annoyed. Our couch is damn comfy but our bed is better, and I've never dealt with an exterminator before so I have no concept of the cost or extra special super fun work involved. Sheesh...

So now we have to email them over in Saudi and say WTF? and then sleep on the couch until something can be done. We'd like to try a natural home remedy but we'd also like to ensure that they don't find their way to Zo's room or the spare room. Those are the only rooms in the house with carpet. So if we want to ensure a successful genecide of the apparent bug population of our humble abode...we have to call an exterminator.

Oh, yeah, and the engine light went on in the car yesterday too. Are you kidding?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here Comes The Sun...dah da dah dahhh

week 31 - the backyard
The backyard we usually miss when we're away...until we found O'ahu we fly home from Hawaii expecting the nice toasty remnants of what we heard was a crappy summer but that had just turned around and was looking okay...and there's been two whole days of groovy niceness since we moved in. Two! That's it! I've been wearing jeans for three days! My God you people must be ready to kill someone. Just wait until late November when no one's had a summer at all, and then give it a couple more months and by mid January there will be homicides coming out the ying yang. People need summer to bust up the stress of the year, and now there's been none. I fully expect some semblance of an Armageddon-like chain of human meltdown by February. What with a bad economy you'd have thought you're precious Jebus would have tossed you a bone in a decent summer, but instead the great commissioner in the sky has had you on permanent rain delay. Good to be back home.

week 31 - back in ontario, on the beach
Hunkered down for a day of catch me if you can with le soleil...

We've moved back in slowly, doing our best to stay conscious of what we use and don't use and what can stay packed or get chucked (that sounds like some high school buddy named Chuck on a chick rampage)...we've done pretty good. NOW WHERE'S THE SUN! If we don't find us some decent float in a dinghy in the lake all day consuming cheap American Miller High Life and wetting our trunks kinda weekend soon well, we're just gonna pack up and head back to Waikiki. It just seems crazy if this is the kind of weather that you've been cursed with so far. We look out our back window at a scene that begs for good, golden sun and it's only looked this good twice since the wheels of US Airways Flight 321 from Honolulu via Maui and Phoenix touched down in Detroit.

week 31 - all sandy!
Zoey and Mom making the most of the 1.5 sunny days we've had in this Ontario, August

What time we did get on the beach was mostly spent keeping the sand out of Zoey's mouth and sweating. Oddly enough, there are no surfers in sight and very few, if any homeless people in least not in our backyard. We had a good day and all that but it'd be nice to string two or three of 'em together instead of staring out the back window and wondering how it got to be October so fast.

week 31 - smiles :)
Sun or no sun Zoey's been all smiles since our return...poor ignorant little thing

Of course Zoey's been a smiling happy machine ever since we've been home. She loves her house and her yard and her beach and the sound of waves each night instead of sirens and marines shouting at prostitutes...we love all that stuff too, but it'd be nice to frame it all in a window of awesomeness rather than grey clouds and rain. Zoey's smile brightens up our day pretty good but it's better when it's crusted in sand and the air smells like burning charcoal instead of fresh rain.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Zoey Pool Chronicles by Annie Lebowitz (not really)

So this series of pictures, as you know, were not taken by Annie Lebowitz but they are awfully cute, and since we're home from Hawaii and in desperate need of some warm trade wind memories I'm posting them here. BTW...if you are Annie Lebowitz and you read this please don't sue us, okay?

Zoey Pool series 1
Zedder's bucket hat kills me It's pinned at the back 'cause her squish is so small...

Zoey pool series 2
I just wanna know who the classy broad is in the background adjusting her boob?

Zoey pool series 3
Zo's favorite time of day was our regular afternoon pool time regardless of her proximity to an ocean...

Zoey pool series 4
My top two stranded on a desert island chronological order...June, then Zoey

Zoey pool series 5
These two girls together just kill me...kill me, every time. I close my eyes and see this picture...

Zoey pool series 6
Zoey does this "scrunch up her nose" thing now and June always wonders where she learned it...

Zoey pool series 7
The most miserable kid on the planet. She really needs to smile a little more often...

Zoey pool series 8
This is Zedder's pouting heiress look...I think she's nailed it.

Zoey pool series 9
We're gonna teach her to chuck out this look whenever she forgets to do her homework...we'll add the "shrug" and "incredulous apology" part later when she has better core strength and vocabulary.

Zoey pool series 10
We like to call her "Grumpy McGrumperson" 'cause she's always such a damn bummer

Zoey pool series 11
Everything is a chew toy...EVERYTHING

Zoey pool series 12
This is her hard core Zedder she's wailing a mean Eddie Van Halen riff...convincing, I'd say.

Zoey pool series 13
Thinking of escape...her Steve McQueen impression minus the leather jacket and extra cool motorcycle

Zoey pool series 14
And Mom realizing that the Steve McQueen analogy wasn't that far off...

What is and what will never be...but mostly what is

This fall feels different from a lot of others Autumns. It feels like a light has been turned on and now everything is illuminated. Just what has changed...well, a lot, but it might be easier to make note of the things that will change...

Fall isn't just about football Saturdays anymore, although they have been in large part for most of 14 years now. I'll find other things to sink money into and watch this Rodriguez regime from my couch with a lake view...

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will see our faces much more frequently I think...

We will be jumping in the car and invading your space every chance we get, or at least we'll try to suffocate you all as properly as possible...

There will be exercise and good, natural food to follow it...

There will be a plan, or at least the continuing development of a plan...

There will be writing...lots more writing...

There will be new traditions forged and old ones discarded...

We will finally find that little town on the Niagara escarpment that we discovered eight years ago and have never found since...

We will drink wine with friends, in funny places...

There will be artwork and photographs and a mish mash of visual inspiration and distraction...yes, a mish mash...

I will no longer be a Michigan season basketball ticket holder...

Japanese will be studied in this everyone...

Grandmothers will travel to places they didn't expect to be traveling to...

Brian will invest his money, not just save it...

There will be an awesome auction...and it will be, well, awesome...

Dumb stuff will be sold on ebay until all that dumb stuff pays for a really intelligent holiday...

Brian will ride a roller coaster...

We will do something new and fun every month...something unexpected and, well I dunno, but it'll be cool...

Brian will build something, because he can stop laughing...

Christmas shopping will be over early and the gifts we give will be the best ever...

We will all get dressed up for Halloween...

We will see Dustin and Kelly more...because we want to...

There will be random road trips to random places with random accomplices alongside...

Brian will learn to cook something, anything, good.

We're paying someone else to rake leaves this year...and while they do it, we're doing something fun!

We'll be back in California before 2010's that?

Zoey gets her groove back...sorta, and Maka wants a job

Maka North Sails bag

What a bummer return to Canada. Is this October or August? Has the sun actually been extinguished? Our return to Liverpoolian weather has hastened our urge to live elsewhere what with the end of summer having already passed us it seems. What outrageous fortune to land in the midwest in August and it be the middle of Autumn already. Crazy. At least coming home has brought gifts from the great giving God of North Sails swag, Aunt Anette...she made Zoey's Hawaiian friend, Maka, a very happy plush fella. We're trying to get him a job as North Sails Director of Marketing but it's gonna take some serious nepitism, I think. We're quite comfortable with him being one of Zoey's best friends and calm inducer so he might be hard to let go of...OR we could always go with him wherever he goes. That would work just fine too.

Last night our rainy return was welcomed by a visiting Netta and our friend Yuka, from Japan. We ate, drank, hardly unpacked a thing, and hesitantly watched Yuka eat butter right off of her fork like it was shrimp or somethin' was pretty impressive. Not quite as impressive as her complete lack of embarrassment about her buttercicle but impressive nonetheless. The girls had a lot of fun in a largely testosterone free house. Netta fawned over Zo...Yuka fawned over Zo...June happily embraced everyone fawning over Zo...and I watched this symphony of affection from a safe distance. Girls do weird things in large groups and so it's best for men to hover around the perimiter and avoid entering the noxious air of your typical estrogen atmosphere. It can render an unsuspecting guy dumbstruck if he's not careful. I kept my hands and feet to myself and just enjoyed the girlish display of affection and easy bonding.

Yuka, June, Zo, Netta
Girls do weird things like sit in narrow hallways together and play with mirrors when there are couches available...

Zoey went to bed with minimal fuss and slept a good two hours before fidgeting her way awake, and then June slid her back to sleep in her own bed one more time without any wild reaction where upon she slept for another hour or so before she woke up on Hawaii time and wanted to play. So we obliged her since she doesn't know Kuhio Street is a good 15 hours away from here and then June and her found a nice quiet place to fall asleep while I cruised into the night with Peter Sellers and "The Party"...just about the best comedy ever made for midnight beverage consumption sans company.

When we all woke there was a smiling Zoey and some more awful August weather but we were happy anyway...Someday I'm gonna remember this "waking up to two smiling girls that love me" stuff and cry my ass off because it's gone. So this dreary morning I'll celebrate a sleeping solo Zoey, the fact that I saw someone eat butter by the hunk right off their fork last night, Peter Sellers genius, and two smiling, happy girls. The weather sucks but my life doesn't.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home Sweet Toilet Paper-Free Home

Close up Zoey blue eyes - zoo concert

Stumbled into the beach house probably less than an hour after the owners left...yeah, we were kinda in a hurry...and tripped headlong into a home with no toilet paper, weird food in the fridge, and some kind of bridge/railing type contraption built in the transition from backyard grass to beach. If you focus on the key word being "beach" then I suppose you can forgive the no toilet paper thing, amoungst other supposed transition infractions.

Home feels good, but not as good as gone felt, and not in any holiday sense, but more in some inarticulate "re-creation" way. In Hawaii we were new people. That's hard to fall away from.

So how is it that you can be restless mere instants after what many would call the trip of a lifetime? Sure, there's the standard lingering excitement and subsequent longing from a journey like that, but there's also the awakening such enterprises cause, and that's what's fueling this toilet paperless fire this morning. We can do better.

It's not that we don't love what we have, we do, and it's not that we don't consider ourselves wildly fortunate, because we do. It's just that we've woke up and noticed that not every day needs to look the same, in fact, shouldn't look the same. Like when you were in high school and you thought it was the best thing ever and then you got to college and high school sucked and then you left college and you realized how even that wasn't all that cool in comparison with being a full on independant adult...and on and on and on...nothing revelatory, just standard issue "oh, I see" type stuff. You know, take your sunglasses off for a minute and you'll see the colors much more clearly. Hawaii wasn't a once off, or a dream destination, it's just a destination with regular flights from a dozen different places. We can do better.

But alas, for now, we're back and getting comfortable and watching Zo settle into everything that she used to know. A couple of good friends stopped by last night and everything seemed easy enough that we could take a deep breath and sigh...until Zo went to bed. She's still struggling with the transition from being wrapped up tight to not being wrapped at all, plus there's the whole "Do I live in Hawaii or Canada," thing which I'll admit has to be confusing. Toss in the three different beds in as many nights and I think she's supposed to have a hard time adjusting. Oh, and there's that dodgy jet lag issue too, I suppose. We'll just hold on tight for a few days and hope some consistency helps her out. What hasn't abated in the meantime is her separation anxiety, in fact, it's only worsened to include the occaisional bout with her Dad as well. I guess that's what living together in the same room for a month will do? I understand that it's normal, and that it will pass but you can't help but wonder if your parenting in exactly the right manner when your child loses their mind here and there. Last night Zoey looked like the most frightened kid on the planet when we let her cry it out, and just as we relay to others, she's as stubborn as it gets and can last a full hour with nothing accomplished but hives and a booger beard. Last night, the first night in the house, might not have been the best time to test out the Hootie method of parenting, "Let her Cry" should sometimes simply remain a song title and not a parenting lesson.

From this point forward I'm telling everyone we know well in advance to stop it...we're not in the market for parenting advice, even the good hearted kind. We're choosing to be aware and responsive parents...balanced ones at Zoey will cry a little and be nurtured a lot and we'll likely ignore you more than her. How's that? Don't like it? Well, in Hawaii no one gave us parenting advice AND it was beautiful and amazing and fun and...endless we can always find our way back there. I'd say so far we're doing a pretty good job. If there's a debate then I know a place where the sun shines every day and the only discussion is whether we eat sushi for dinner or maybe go watch the sunset over Ewa and eat late?

Just typing that makes me miss Hawaii, or maybe it's the being gone part? Either one feels better than no toilet paper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adam Duritz sang "I'm Not Sleeping," but oddly enough I am

Okay...serious lack of posts over the last two days but it's completely explicable...

Tuesday we got on a plane...

Wed we were still on a plane but had lost six hours of our lives even as we were donating 15 hours to travel...add the two up and we're pooched out of about 21 hours of your average day...

Wed night (EST) we kinda passed out from exhaustion and depression...

Thursday morning...well, we just woke up so we'll catch you up later today. Right now I'm going to eat some cereal covered in milk that I can afford to purchase without a second mortgage. Wait...I don't have a first mortgage? So just milk that's affordable I guess.

We're hunkered down at le grandparents until tomorrow afternoon, at which point we rally the troops and invade the beach house. From that point on you can expect regular interuptions from us in your typically busy work day or particularly quiet evenings. We'll blog more later 'cause you know, you're not cool if you're not blogging, cripes, it's practically the new black (WTH does that ever mean anyway?).

BTW...can someone tell Zoey that 2am is not the new 8am? It is, in fact, the old 8am so get your senses in order kid...your back in the "time actually matters" zone, you know, that place where it's not okay to almost walk outside wearing only your flip-flops and a smile...yeah, that awful place. Cheer up though, now we get to figure out what kind of shenanigans, as Harmon would say, we can get into next.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Did You See The Sunrise?

June Zo Brian w Diamondhead - LAST NIGHT

Goodbye Waikiki...

Goodbye Sam and your magnificent sidewalk kitchen...Kuhio and the ABC Store...Wednesday Zoo nights...Mia and Black Cat Tattoo...Diamondhead and the Hilton Lagoon...Goodbye afternoons at the pool and morning walks beside the ocean, past Duke and into Kapiolani Park...Goodbye Japanese tourists that love my daughter and think I look like George Clooney...Goodbye nights on the lanai watching hookers catch sailors under swaying palms...Goodbye everything. We'll see you again really soon.

Saying that I'm gonna miss this place might be the grossest understatement since I winced, "I'm okay, it doesn't hurt too bad," this past Friday night.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nanners are Good For Ya, Says Zedder...and not worth $1.09 a lb

Zoey eating a banana by the pool

Everyone knows that bananas are good for you...everyone. Zoey doesn't. She just knows that they're gooood. Well, mostly she knows that, sometimes she's not so sure about it. She's gnawing on an awful lot lately though which leads us to believe that either she likes the taste of the backs of bus seats just as much as bananas or she's maybe getting a few more teeth.

June seems to think that she's teething a bit again. She laid off the chewing everything in sight routine a slight bit over the past month but is now back at it in super ravenous style. So either she's teething or enjoys eating really, putrid, gross pool towels and Mom's flip-flops...ahem, slippers. Let's hope she just teething and doesn't turn into one of those kids who eats really weird concoctions and odd her Aunt Netta and her Uncle Ian...those two are like garbage disposals for quality, well stocked refrigerators. It's mind numbing to see the the strange recipes for gastro-intestinal discomfort that those two are capable of. I hope Zoey doesn't turn out to be capable of turning leftovers into bad breath that easy (that's not saying that Ian and Netta have bad breath it just sounded funny...although whenever I used to make out with Ian he did have a rather ripe hole in his face...Whoa! That sounded awesome!) or with that little amount of consideration for how easily others are nauseated. Honestly Ian, bell pepper, polish sausage and rice sandwiches, on stale bread??? And Netta, you can't mix nori with week old deli ham, that's just gross...and no, tossing BBQ potato chips on top doesn't fix it. Let's just keep encouraging Zoey to munch tasty "nanners" 'kay?

Smiling Zoey and banana

It's going to be nice to get home and settle Zoey back into a non-freakshow routine of regular meal times and a concentrated effort to sneak real food into her copious diet of booby juice. We're in no giant hurray to leave Hawaii but a month is a long time and "nanners" are a good twenty cents cheaper back home...Yeah, I dunno how that works but it's the way it is.

Filling in the Blanks with Ink and Words...and Love

Tattoo stencil and table

With less than 24 hours between when the ink gun started buzzing and now there's been more discomfort than simple smiling satisfaction although there has, indeed, been plenty of that. Kinda lets you know how much six hours of tattooing can sting. With a half-assed sleep behind me and a day of laying around in the shade under bending palms there are plenty of details to fill in.

First, there's Mia Graffam...I know I've mentioned before what kind of stellar artist she is but any kindness I bestow upon her would be understated appreciation and respect. She's good...really good, and oh so quietly sweet and kind, exactly the kind of girl I wanted paying tribute in ink on skin to my little girl. She's super talented and on her way to Brooklyn if all works out. I hope it does.

Secondly, about Black Cat Tattoo Studio on Bethel Street in Chinatown, here in Honolulu, Hawaii...I walked into a lot of shops in search of this one...I mean a lot...and nothing felt as perfect as Black Cat. It's owners, Anthony and Bobby, have generous sized dreams and the smallest fraction of egos in the perfect proportions to run one of the friendliest and first rate tattoo shops I've ever stumbled into. I wish it was a place I could drop in on every Friday night.

Lastly, the artwork still makes me smile. I spent all of six months filling sketchbooks and discarding almost as much as I created. I searched endlessly for artwork I could use or that already existed and in the end creating my own art and then handing it over to someone who could clean it up and make it better was the best decision of the entire process. Now I couldn't be prouder.

Now if the whole thing would just heal. I wouldn't mind sleeping on my back again.

The whole thing took about six hours and by the time it was done both Mia and me were pretty used up. We broke only for about five minutes halfway through and ended up closing up the shop and then some. Normally a piece the size of this would take no less than two sessions but I'm back on an airplane to Canada sooner than later so we pushed on through in one go. I was assured that it was a championship effort on both Mia and my own behalf but I wouldn't recommend squeezing two or three sessions into one, not if you don't have to. By the fifth hour I was sore and raw and even the sound of the gun made me cringe. Up until that point I managed fine, but once you're done there's nothing quite like a tattoo gun to emphasize it. By the end I was biting the inside of my own cheek, so we can add that to the list of what hurts today.

I jumped into a cab at about 1 AM and headed home to my family. June and Zo came down to the shop but left after about an hour. I was stupid excited to rouse her and raise my shirt but, naturally, she was awake and waiting for me. I cleaned up, we snapped a few photos, and I headed out to the balcony for my nightly ritual of watching Marines and hookers do their weird mating dance before heading back to lonely motel rooms on dark streets that empty out onto the Alai Wai Canal. I had a drink or four and stared at palm trees I'd surely be missing in just a few short days. I was sore and tired and happy. Falling asleep with my wife and child a few short minutes later closed off a day better than most you're going to fall into on vacation, but then this has been a lot more than just a vacation. This has been a life changer, and now I've got a pretty permanent reminder of that. Best souvenir I ever bought.

Some pics from the night...

Tattoo - Zoey w book
Zoey considered getting a tattoo but Mom nipped that one in the bud pretty quick

Tattoo Rarrr w book
No one cared whether Rarrr got some new ink or not...but he didn't. Apparently tattoo shops won't tattoo pink stuffed Domos.

Tattoo stencil on back
The stencil is applied and you can see the old tattoo work that the Mia's work will cover up.

Tattoo Mia close up 2
Mia Graffam hard at work...with only a five minute break in six hours I'd say that she was focused.

I wish there were more shots to show but there aren't. I was indisposed, so was Mia, and June was doing her best to get a six month old home on the bus from Chinatown and to fall sleep in our hotel room. That might have been more painful than what I was enduring.

Now it's time to bust out the sketchbook and see what's next...I'd say a trip to Brooklyn once Ms. Graffam gets there. Like we needed one more excuse to find ourselves in NYC.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Deed is Done...and Done Well I Might Add

Tattoo panoramic mia and Brian

After six hours under Mia Graffam's skilled hands at Black Cat Tattoo down in Chinatown in Honolulu, Hawaii I'm done, and sore and tired. I'll write more when my arm works again.

Until then...

Tattoo Mia close up
Mia Graffam from Black Cat hard at work

Then blah blah blah...six hours later...

Tattoo done 3
The kokeshi doll design was my own and Mia made it amazing, added that kind of traditional feel to a new piece of artwork

Now I'm going to sit in the shade by the ocean until my right arm works again and maybe contemplate why I chose to absolutely torture myself for 6 hours.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A promise to my daughter (as she lay sleeping beside a waterfall)

Zo sleeping by waterfall

So I read somewhere that if you don't do this sappy letter to your infant daughter thing that you go straight to hell, and since I'm not really into spending an eternity in some strange concoction of all our collective brainwashed religious fantasies I'll do that very thing.

Zoey...some promises for you...unedited, and sans re-writes...

I promise to always be heart wrenchingly baffled each and every time I look at you...

I promise to be everything you deserve me to be...

I promise that however much you love your Mom, I'll love her more...

I promise to apologize to you whenever I should...

I promise to do my best to keep the world wonderous, always and forever. Even when it doesn't seem so, especially then...

I promise to be someone you can be proud of...someone you can brag about...

I promise to do the right thing..always...because I know you'll be watching...

I promise to say "no" when it's important, and "yes" when I should...

I promise to introduce you to all of the people I love. I think that's important...

I promise to tell you stories about the people and places we've seen...

I promise to listen, even when I don't like what I'm hearing...

I promise to believe in you like you were a living, breathing promise yourself...

I promise to show you, not just tell you...

I promise to do what I say I will do...

I promise to laugh a lot...maybe even too much...

I promise that someday someone will tell you all about me, and you'll see me differently. I don't know who, but someone will...

I promise to play with you until you don't want to play with me anymore, and even after that until you finally want to again...

I promise to tell you when I think you're wrong...

I promise to tell you the truth...

I promise to remember that you're an individual who see's things differently from me...

I promise to feel small whenever I'm with you...

I promise that your smile will always be my favorite...

I promise that I'll always miss you more...

I promise to forget myself when I'm with you...

I promise to think of you with my very last thought ever...

Super sweet e-mails from the great kindness void known as "the real world"

So I check my messages today -- yes, I check my own messages. I have no choice now that I've fired that thieving midget of an assistant -- and I find this super sweet and kind note from a friend of mine we'll call...I dunno, Lisa Stucke, you know, just to protect the innocent...and it reminds me how fortunate I am to lead the life that I do.

Now, if you could wade through all that awkward humor at the start of this post...awkward and bad...then you're still reading this and I can honestly say how sincerely touched I was by all of the sweet things that Lisa said. Kinda makes me feel bad that I didn't tell her that the real reason we're here is to recruit homeless people for our sweat-factory in San Bernadino.

Seriously (there's nothing like deflecting compliments with shameful jokes), both June and I were floored and flattered by Lisa's kindness and promise to keep living consciously and making the kind of decisions that inspire people to email us sweet, thoughtful messages...and of course, the kind of decisions that find us living in places like Hawaii for a month.

Thanks Lisa...that was a sweetness on par with this crazy Hawaii place's beauty. I mean it. Now if you'll excuse me I've got to get back to interviewing homeless people. We can't just hire any old freak off the street. That sweat factory means a lot to me.

BTW...just to clarify...Yes, I did indeed have a personal assistant who was a midget whom I also fired but that whole homeless interview thing was completely made up. I hope that's perfectly clear. The last thing I need is Amnesty International breathing down my throat about that whole sweat factory deal.

Sorry Lisa...I just feel like a complete giggling idiot tonight. That really was sweet of you. I hope your soul's seeds grow into this world with a wonder and appreciation that no school, person or perspective can rob them of. It's a big beautiful place and I'm guessing you've watered them well. Mahalo and all that sappy crap.

Daniel Tosh is better than air-conditioning

Just for the record, Daniel Tosh is just about the funniest person to me.

Check him out.

Then ignore the recommendation if you think he sucks. BTW...these videos are probably not safe for work, unless of course you work somewhere with no employee standards whatsoever. Also, if you're easily offended then don't watch this. What's this have to do with Zoey? Absolutely nothing. Why don't you just chill out and enjoy your life. Relax a little instead of worrying about my daughter. She's cool. She's in Hawaii you idiot. Even she thinks Daniel Tosh is funny so lighten the hell up and have some fun.

P.S. - Sorry for calling you an idiot.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Thursday...That Means That Tomorrow is Friday

It's Thursday August 13th, 2009 and that means that we only have six full days left here on O'ahu. It also means that there are Week 2 NFL Pre-Season games on TV today...too bad I'll be outside soaking up all the awesomeness I can. I can't believe how fast this time has slipped past, but we're both eager to get home to a lot of things. Although, had we actually moved here and had a life every bit our own we'd likely never leave.

We miss a lot of random things about home...

Cooking our own food...

Buying groceries that don't cost the equivalent of a small mortgage...

Having more than just one room to live in...

Getting to do whatever we want once Zoey goes to bed, not turning the lights down low and chilling out by 8pm...

Swimming in freshwater...

Seeing our families and our friends...

Hearing the waves from Lake Huron right outside our window...

Keeping money in your wallet for more than a few hours at a time...

No more city busses...

No more city busses is right. Although it seems that Zoey loves them we lean the opposite direction. Spoiled by years of owning our own vehicles the bus can be tortuous at times...Hour long city bus rides aren't meant for normal human beings. It's made me realize how someone experiencing relative poverty must feel at the end of the day...a million little annoyances bordering on the occasional inhumanity. A couple of days ago we rode all the way out to Pearlridge with what had to be a transvestite lioness prostitute...she/he had what looked like a sheep woven onto her think I'm kidding, I'm not. It was the grossest thing ever. She was just this vile, mean, bitchy transvestite too...not even remotely nice to anyone...all annoyed that people were staring. Well, no shit Ethel! You look like a man in a mini-skirt giving a lion a piggyback! was mildly amusing but at the end of that ride I thought, "what do you tell your four year old when they see that...or worse, if they have to sit next to that, which one young fella did." It's no big thing, at least not on the scale of hunger and crime, but it's something you'd rather not have to deal with.

Multiply such aggravations by forty to get what someone living in poverty must feel every's the little things that add up to frustration and bitterness, an explosion maybe. The big things are just what they are...a lost job, another bill, etc...but ride the bus everywhere...put that good tasting food back on the shelf and buy the bad tasting no-name stuff...don't have the correct change at the bus stop and watch the meter steal the same 75 cents that would have allowed you to buy the real Kraft Dinner and not the no name stuff. It all adds up. In the end you have a really bitter, used up and tired person with a really skewed sense of justice and equity and normalcy. It's easy to see the gap between us and them widen.

Sorry to get off on such a social rant but there's been a lot that's fallen into better light being here all this time. I have new perspectives just when you thought I sure as hell didn't need anything else to ramble on about. Life is neither good or bad, it just is...just for some people the is part is a whole lot different.

I'm going to go play in the ocean now. Time's slipping away with each key I punch.


When you grow up...your heart dies


Did anyone else hear that John Hughes had died? I hadn’t, at least not until today. I guess mainstream white teenage middle class Americana film doesn’t mean much here on this tiny little volcano in the Pacific. For me “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” are two of the reasons I survived high school. It felt as though someone was listening, or paying attention. I didn’t realize then that it was John Hughes who had tapped into my teenage soul.

Funny how just last night I’m half-assed reminiscing about my high school years and early this evening I fall into the news that John had passed away from a heart attack last week. It was Molly Ringwalds great Op Ed piece in the NY Times that I stumbled upon sadly and now feel kinda sorta bummed out as the sky gets dark here in Honolulu.

I think I’ll be downloading a Hughes movie to surprise June with tonight. Zoey’s sleeping and we’ll be eager to find something quiet to do. Watching “Sixteen Candles” sounds like as good a way as I know to waste away another wet evening in Paradise.

There were so many Hughes moments that felt like our own. I think my favourite John Hughes scene is post-party at Jake Ryan’s house in ”Sixteen Candles” when Jake and Anthony Michael Hall have a heart to heart in the kitchen. Hall’s “King of the Dorks” is mixing martinis and giving Jake advice on women that wanes between forced cool and incredulous geekdom…awesome. My absolute favourite barrier breaker between high school’s haves and have nots. I love it.

There are dozens more…The very beginning of The Breakfast Club, our very first glimpse into what we immediately knew was going to be awesome…the Bowie quote glowing white on a black screen…

"...and these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They're quite aware of what they're going through...
- David Bowie"

The custodian, Carl, setting Dick Vernon straight in the basement file room…

What did you want to be when you
were young?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be
John Lennon...

Carl don't be a goof! I'm trying
to make a serious point here...I've
been teaching, for twenty two years,
and each year...these kids get more
and more arrogant.

Aw bull shit, man. Come on Vern,
the kids haven't changed, you have!
You took a teaching position, 'cause
you thought it'd be fun, right?
Thought you could have summer
vacations off...and then you found
out it was actually work...and that
really bummed you out.

These kids turned on me...they think
I'm a big fuckin' joke...

Come on...listen Vern, if you were
sixteen, what would you think of
you, huh?

Hey...Carl, you think I give one
rat's ass what these kids think of

Yes I do...

You think about this...when you get
old, these kids; when I get old,
they're gonna be runnin' the country.


Now this is the thought that wakes
me up in the middle of the night...
That when I get older, these kids
are gonna take care of me...

I wouldn't count on it!

Kinda makes me wonder what Zo will think of these films someday, if they'll still apply to her, if there'll be any resonance at all with her generation? If so then we've lost something more than just an incredible director, we've lost a voice that crossed generations more easily than even the Rolling Stones. I don't know one person within a fifteen year age gap who doesn't adore at least one of Hughes films...National Lampoon's Vacation; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Weird Science; The Breakfast Club; Some Kind of Wonderful; Sixteen Candles; Pretty in Pink; Uncle Buck; Home Alone...the list is heavy with two decades of memories. I dunno what it all has to do with this blog, or if any of this matters at all in the world of Zoey, but it just struck me hard today and I can't believe I hadn't heard until now.

Maybe it's like what Allison says in "The Breakfast Club", when she faithlessly retorts, "When you grow up your heart dies. Maybe some of that is true? I just know that I'll do anything to avoid it. Zoey helps, Hawaii hasn't hurt, June is like a fountain of youth, but with Hughes gone, well, for some of us maybe despite our best efforts a little bit of our hearts did die.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rarrr's in Love...That Little Pink Hosebag

Rarrr meets a nice Hawaiian girl

So we go off to Ala Moana today and what happens? Rarrr picks up. Seriously...the tramp. He goes and grabs himself this sweet little local girl. She's all brown and curvy, talks all sweet and plays real coy with him. They kinda look a lot alike though, at least that's what June and I thought. Apparently she's moving back home with us so I hope we have no immigration problems. Looks like this family is getting bigger by the minute. We'll avoid putting them in the same bag together or else we'll get home with some little plush "Hapa" babies on the way. June thinks it's sweet...I think that Rarrr is a little pink hosebag. Trashy little Domo. She seems nice though. I like her, I just wonder what she's thinkin' pickin' up with a guy like Rarrr.

Blue Skies Shining at Moi...Nothing But Blue Skies Blah Blah Blah

Blue sky Hawaii

And say goodbye to Felicia...I never liked her much anyway. I actually just typed "anywood" right there instead of anyway and I have no idea how or why? Weird.

Blue skies now and the rain has gone. Those were pretty crumby remnants of a Class 4 Hurricane. Time to get out and play again...This morning we took the bus down to Ala Moana again and Zo is clearly a bus monster. She makes about a dozen friends each ride and today she tried to eat a little Samoan girl's arm. We would have stopped her but we thought it was pretty funny, and the experience, well, chalk one up that we don't have. Neither June nor I knows what a Samoan tastes like so she's got us on that one.

This morning before we left I posted a stupid status on Facebook about selling Zoey to some old people from Vancouver so we could stay a few more months. It was a knee slapper that had us goin' for somethin' like a minute or two. Then we get home and at least a dozen people have chimed in... some responses were hilarious. My friend Karli told me that I had sinned, and then my friend Betsy thought it was just fabulous. I figure it was somewhere in between. We'd never actually sell Zoey, at least not until she's old enough that we can say she just wandered off on her own. How stupid do you think we are?

C'mon...we're kidding...we kid. We're never letting this beautiful girl out of our sight, not even for school. Dunno how she's going to grow up normal with her Dad sitting right behind her in every class but kids have grown up worse, right? She'll manage. She couldn't possibly grow and end up any worse than LaToya Jackson right? Although I suppose the Jackson children shouldn't be our gauge for healthy child development should it?

Time to fun is to be had out there on that white sand. We're gonna take this crappy 24 hrs and flip it into some fun, kinda like what Rick Porcello did to Kevin Youklis last night. If we're lucky we'll see those two old coots from Vancouver and steal Zoey back.

Strange Scott Baio references at 3 AM...Huh?


Am I some kind of loser for liking that scene in "Can't Hardly Wait" where "Preston" runs into Jenna Elfman while he's trying to call Barry Manilow at 2 am? I love that scene. So what's the relevance? Well, Felicia has us sitting in our hotel room watching that very scene right now and I'm not embarrassed to say that I totally dig this movie. Especially the Scott Baio reference, how hilarious is that? Hilarious and insightful...

I adore how choked up Elfman gets telling a simple, sweet story from back in high school, from when she was so young and dramatic, when she was as emotionally desperate and as damaged as any of us are at that age. How nothing worked out exactly as she had planned. I love it. The fact that it orbits around Scott Baio makes it about ten times better. We've all got our stories like that, old affections and obsessions, ideas and desperate dreams... mixed in with drunken dumbshow parties, and freakshow friends...but we've all got them.

I was thinking about growing up in Wallaceburg and being here now and what that all means, how it's all connected, 'cause it is. We're never as cool as we think we are, and everyone has been there and done that first, certainly before us, right? So what's it all mean and how's it all connected? Well, first we've all got our Scott Baio story...I mean, you know, symbolically. I know I do...I mean, not a Scott Baio story but, you know... a story.

I was desperate for things, and dramatic about others stuff. I've been moved enough to tell a stranger a story as odd as Jenna Elfman's, and I've had my share of drunken dumbshow dalliances over the years. I have a lot of good friends out there that I love a lot, that I see almost never, and they probably all have different stories about me, different versions of me. My version is probably different too. What might be the same though is how I never imagined my life turning out this way. I mean, who could have wished for this? I've got the most beautiful wife and daughter on the planet, and I'm scribbling all this nonsense out into the great void from here in Hawaii where I've holed up long enough some people think I live here. I'll fly back to an amazing home and job and life, and I would have never imagined any of this. Maybe my friends would have, I don't know, but I'm certain that I wouldn't.

Yeah, I've got my own Scott Baio story...but not the kind of regret that Jenna Elfman's character does. When my Scott Baio stepped from the limo I opened my mouth and talked to him. Wait, that sounds gay. What I mean is that my story's not that much different from what Elfman babbles on about... that "destiny only takes you so far and then it's up to you to make it happen." Now I'm typing this half-assed nonsense in the middle of the Pacific with a sleeping daughter and the beautiful girl she'll eventually call Mom beside me...and even though the "Can't Hardly Wait" or Jenna Elfman or Scott Baio references seem silly and random to some there are a few of you out there who'll get what I'm talking about. Like my friend Hoop, who wrote me looking for The Zoey Blog's address to cheer her up early this morning. Don't be so sad lady. At 3 am we're all the same, except maybe Jenna Elfman 'cause she's a Scientologist and she's loaded. Scott Baio's probably not anything like us either but who cares 'cause he's Scott Baio, right?

In the end we're all connected, it just seems retarded that I'm reminded of it by Jenna Elfman in a hot angel outfit. I hope you feel better Hoop. At least you're not making Scott Baio references in the middle of hurricanes.