Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Minutes to Midnight

I just read that over 3000 lbs of confetti will fall on Times Square tonight and thought, pfft...I can beat that. I will too. I will celebrate quietly with my beautiful wife and sleeping daughter, a loudly purring cat and a hat I enjoy a great deal resting on my head. I will harm no one, including myself. I will be full with sincerity and hope that 2010 is a better year than 2009 was, and I will fall asleep on a cold winter night beside a giant body of water and rather smooth, warm and lithe human one, and when I wake up it will be a new year of possibilities.

I sent off a few New Years wishes...didn't call a soul, save my parents, because no one called me (part of my New Years resolutions -- Who cares about the people that don't care), and I will slip gently and without argument or fuss into 2010. It feels good. Would I like the company of others? Sure, perhaps on some other night, some other year, but tonight feels just fine. I think I've reached a point where I want to spend time with the people who want to spend time with me and that might be the most grown up thing I've stumbled into yet in this rapidly changing world of mine.

I think I want to spend 2010 in the company of beautiful people. I don't necessarily mean physically so, but in spirit and perspective...people who make you smile almost all of the time. No more making excuses for people, no more opening myself up for disappointment, no more philosophical pre-occupations, no more looking past the easily mended faults of those I let close to me. I'd make a list of resolutions but they'd be vague, at best, to most of you and matter very little to almost all of you. I will, however, venture to discuss what I'll expect from others, and in 2010 the leash will get shorter, there will be a great many more brushback pitches thrown, and no longer will I wait for another thing from another person. I will nurture those relationships that ask nothing of me but offer so much, and I will tell the people in my life what they should hear. I think I'll start with letters...actual paper and pen with stamps letters. As the new year begins I'll test fate and ask for addresses and those who send them will find letters in their mailboxes. I miss the venture and I like the notion of being perhaps the one person left in your orbit who might take the time to write a letter. I heard a story about Ernie Harwell and how he is such a classy guy that he still sends correspondence and thank you's's something of a different generation and I think I want to be a part of that. That's something I wouldn't mind coming up in conversation someday when I'm long gone. "Do you know that he sent letters...actual real letters...You know, the kind that you can keep in a shoebox. I once got a thank you note from him just for saying a kind word about his family." I think I'd like that. I think I'd like that a lot.

Happy New Year people. I think it's gonna be a good one.

Happy New Year and All the Exciting Etc...

Dad Zo tub prep 2
Bath time and when you wake up it'll be 2010

We enjoyed a pretty damn good 2009...sure there were plenty of little annoyances but as far as the big stuff goes we were first to the ball. We're pretty excited for 2010 around here. We've got some ideas and some changes in mind. We'll fill you in on all of that in the morning. Right now we've got a baby to put to bed and Canada-USA on the television. That's's a wild New Years night at the DeWagner house.

Mucho love and affection to the lot of you, with particular emphasis to old friends we found again in 2009....Kev & Aimee, John & Danielle, Beth, MaryAnn, Gail...genuine heartfelt smiles for you funsters.

And the puck drops...gotta go. Go Canada Go!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rainy Day People...

Some awesome wedding day bliss via Braedon Photography

So I stumbled into this rad photo (apologies on the random use of the term rad but it just might be my new favorite) over at Once was a link that launched me over to another link and then from there I slipped on over to another...ahhh to hell with explaining it. I honestly did stumble into it, I wasn't off perusing wedding sites like some freak/weirdo. The photographer is Braedon, naturally of Braedon Photography, and the guy is mega-talented. Anyway, it got me to thinking about what an absolutely kick a#% wedding June and I enjoyed. It was nothing like the blissful soakers these two cool kids are smiling heartily through, but it was pretty damn ring a ding (sorry, another new favorite...thanks Frank, Sammy, Dino).

To make a long story waaay shorter than it should be, we shot off to New York...our home away from home it seems, and almost as fast as we landed shot down to city hall for our permit. With money in our pockets and 24 hours between registering and saying "I do, we hit the town and spent it in great big gobs. Then with only ourselves and a hired photographer we got by recommendation, BLAM...I do, and walked away from the that looming building and out into the New York street married. We wandered down to the Brooklyn Bridge and then hopped on the subway for the Village...wandered some more and the whole time, very much like this fella in the above pic, I was floating. Grooms don't typically float but I did that day. Aside from a few of the people we love most not being able to be there it was near perfect (I have the sweetest most melt your heart ever story from that walk out into the bright September sunshine from City Hall but you can hit me with a message if you want to hear it, I won't blather on here and now).

Anyway, I stumbled into that awesome photo by Braedon and it instantly reminded me of that day and night in New York when at least one groom (and as Braedon's photo attests, there are certainly more than one of us) floated around the city like a smitten school girl. It can happen to us fellas when we least expect it. The trick is in the time and place, the girl is right or you wouldn't be doing it...time and place fellas, time and place. It gave new meaning to Ali's brazen notion of, "float like a butterfly..." Float you will, indeed.

Nothing Says Love Like Permanent Artwork

Kokeshi Tattoo - Mia Graffam
Mia Graffam's amazing kokeshi work in honor of Zo - Honolulu, HI... August '09

Four months ago (that's it!?) we left Honolulu for Canada, and although June rode comfortably the entire flight(s) home, and despite Zo's incredible airline etiquette, I was a little uncomfortable. Why? Because I had almost six hours of tattoo work etched into my back right shoulder. Fortunately for me I was so stupefied with the work that Mia Graffam did that I didn't mind the slight discomfort of your typical economy class airline seat. Looking back now I can't believe that it's been that long since we were making Hawaii our home, or at least what felt like home after most of the summer, and that I have this incredible piece of artwork on my back.

I've stayed in touch with Mia, and am both comfortable enough with her, and confident enough in her and her awesome abilities to want more work done. It does, however, pose a bit of a problem that she's stuck in Honolulu's Chinatown and that four or five more hours of work would demand approximately thirty hours of travel including no less than six airplanes and eight airports round trip...uhmmm, not likely, but you never know. I'd never rule it out. What's more likely is that Mia makes her dream move to New York City and we re-connect on the East side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Anyway, in our efforts to keep that idea afloat we've kept in contact via MySpace, and Facebook. Naturally, after we connected I perused Mia's other artwork that she had on her various profiles and BLAM...found my kokeshi! It's a way better shot that June and I took that night back at the hotel in Waikiki at 1am so I cut and pasted the bugger and am serving it up here, some four months distant. The color etc...looks much better in Mia's pic that she took in the shop (Black Cat Tattoo Studio). There really isn't any other reason for me to post in again other than that I love it, and Mia's work deserves to be gandered at by as many people as possible if she's ever making that move to NYC. See, in a way it's terribly selfish of me. I just want more work done.

On a side note, a friend of mine gets his work done in London by the mucho reknown Mike Austin. Of course, Mike has a waiting list almost as long as the holiday check in lines at Detroit's Metro Airport and so I asked him who he'd recommend I consult with if not him. He quickly said, "Scott Duncan," and Sugar Shack Tattoo in Kincardine. I nodded and went in search of Scott. What I found was his family blog and have been a faithful follower of his family's little adventures ever since. I still haven't called Scott about the work I want done. I'd better get on that. Maybe I'm stalling to give Mia enough time to haul her pleasantly talented carcass to NYC or maybe I'm just lazy? I dunno, but I do know that after seeing the work that my right shoulder has framed for the past four months I need more.

Goodbye to the Holiday Header...Sigh

Okay, I loved the holiday header on the blog...loved it, but since New Years is fast approaching and the holidays are as good as over I had to tear it down. The old one is here. I spent most of my sick Monday and recovery Tuesday making the one you see now but I miss the umbrella and hearts shower...I like the sakura tree and blue sky etc...too, but there was something about the umbrella that had me smitten. It may have been it's tattoo-esque feel? I dunno...all I know is I miss it like it was home while you're away at camp when you're ten. Well, maybe not that much but a lot.

There's plenty to love about the new one, though. I love the little birds that have reappeared after making their blog debut on the holiday header. I especially like the Japanese banter...a well deserved gift to family members in Aomori, and Sendai, and Tokyo etc...The bird sitting on the lettering is mentioning how poorly he speaks Japanese...the little girl is reacting with an astonished, "Really? Unbelievable!" and the other little bird flitting around through the air is calling the first one a liar. I love it, and there really should be some more Japanese on the blog for June's Baachan and Aunt's follow along. I suppose this new header is just a tease.

The little girl was dug out of old sketches that were made before Zoey was born, way back before she was even Zoey...she was just the idea of Ella, Elli, Emi, etc...confusing etc...She was part of the original blog and also part of a series of drawings for a book project called "Ella's Advice" that naturally never came to be. I loved her so much that I thought it was time she be re-introduced to the world.

I think my favorite part of the new header are the tracks in the snow, and the funny contradiction that a sakura tree might blossom in the middle of winter. Dunno why I like that so much, but I do...I suppose I like the idea that Zoey Sakura seems to be blossoming endlessly, regardless of season. She also been pretty keen on breaking all of the rules and expectations of babyhood so that respect a blossom cherry tree in the middle of winter sounds just about right. Besides, she was born on January 26th, 2009 on the very edge of a blizzard here in Southwestern Ontario and so as far as I'm concerned that cherry tree will blossom perpetually in the middle of winter. Hows' that?

Either way, and no matter how you explain it, I'll miss the holiday header. I like this one mucho plenty but I'd gotten used to the pen and ink look and the contrast of black and red...maybe we'll see it again. This new one looks plenty girly enough though and I suppose that's more than appropriate. Sometimes I shock myself with my more than capable artistic inclinations, especially those that lean toward the feminine. I used to strap on skates and punch people in the mouth, I swear I did.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Old is New Again

Is it just me or are those films from the decade or so preceding 1970 an incredible mixture of entertainment, social history, and a kind of cinematic cinderblock, if I could use the foundation analogy? I can't get enough of Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, or Cary Grant. I can watch Alfred Hitchcock endlessly, John Ford films forever, and Frank Capra's work could roll on a perpetual loop at my house with no complaints from me. I love the look of the cinematography, the style, the dialogue, even the grandiose scores that accompany all that camera work...I love all of it.

So what?

So, my plan for 2010 was to wrestle no less than four classic films each month from the grasp of Zoey's night time trials and tribulations but I'm just not sure that I can commit. It sounds easy, but I'm terribly fickle and there are just far too many variables involved. A lot can happen to make this plan impossible to follow through with, but it's worth a try I suppose, isn't it?

What put the notion in my aching head in the first place? A Cary Grant reference in the film, "Sleepless in Seattle." That's it...that's all it took. I guess, over the past year I've cultivated a bit of an affection for the old stuff, stealing the notion from Cameron Crowe that there is so much great stuff out there why would anyone go looking for new things. Of course, Cameron was talking about music and I'm talking about films, but you get the point. There is a lot out there and too few of us have seen any of it. Off the top of my head I can babble off a dozen classics that have had major impacts on my idea of what quality film is.


On The Waterfront

The Graduate


The Apartment

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Wizard of Oz

Rear Window

It's A Wonderful Life

East of Eden

Gone With The Wind

Rebel Without a Cause


I think it's time to indulge and reward myself. It's an exercise in both commitment and stress reduction that will carry me through these harsh months of winter and see me emerge in the Spring a lot better least film-wise.

I'll set aside a day of the week, Friday's perhaps, and settle in for a much anticipated night of catching up with the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movies of All Time. I could make worse use of my time. I didn't think that I'd go as far as making a schedule up for myself but then I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to find some of these titles. Perhaps I should?

The plan is to wait until Zoey is firmly set to sleep, then bust out both the popcorn and the soda...or similarly refreshing beverage, and press play. I'll give myself a few mulligans for those nights when something more important beckons, but when it's just June, the Zedder, and my tired and weary self, the house lights will go down and the introductory credits will roll.

Now what should I start with? I think I'll make quick work of Alfred Hitchcock's, "North by Northwest" with Cary Grant, and then I'll knock off Billy Wilder's classic, The Apartment" even though I've already seen it once or twice. I feel the need to revisit that hilarious romp through Baxter's apartment just for the hell of it. I'll check out Billy Wilder's other masterpiece, "Sunset Boulevard," and then maybe John Ford's "Grapes of Wrath," with Henry Fonda. That ought to get me started.

As we limp into February I think it might be prudent that I take in all of the Godfather films since I've never seen nary a one...that's right, not one...never. I might cap February off with "From Here to Eternity" with Frank Sinatra just 'cause by the middle of winter I'll be needing some of the Chairman's cool to get me through. By the time we hit March I'll be keen for "The Manchurian Candidate," just to keep the Sinatra vibe rolling, and then maybe dive into some more SInatra with "Robin and the Seven Hoods," just to push on through, you know. After that, anything goes.

Wish me luck...not only will that account for a better cinematic vocabulary on this fella but it also equates to an awful lot of sleep for the Zedder. I'll take both.

Reading Away the Cold and Crap of Winter

After two days of couch and bed bound boredom, and at least a week of post-sunshine depression, I've decided that I need something to read that will kidnap me away from the long winter ahead of me. I need New York and California and pages and pages of endless escapism. I need help.

In my fruitless search for something worthy of my fleeting attention I stumbled upon this passage from Adam Gopnik's book, "Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York," which did just what I had hoped it would. It intrigued sparked new sent me scooting in new was perfect.

"I went back to New York on many Saturdays as a child, to look at art and eat at delis, and it was, for me, not only the Great Romantic place but the obvious engine of the working world. After a long time away, I returned, in 1978 with the girl I loved. We spent a miraculous day: Bloomingdale's, MoMA, dinner at Windows on the World, and then the Carnegie Tavern, to hear the matchless poet, Ellis Larkins on the piano, just the two of us and Larkins, in a cool, mostly empty room. (A quarter century later, I still haven't had a day that good)."

I wonder if that's even possible, to enjoy a day so much that it's impossible to find again. I hope not, but if it is possible it would be in New York. I can't imagine a lifetime chasing something that's impossible to catch.

Anyway folks, one book does not a winter make...suggestions?
NIce Person of the Week Logo

Sorry, we're a day late with our "Nice person of the Week" award but we spent most of yesterday feeling seasick. The weird part was we were in sea to be sick in or from. It was rough. Whatever it was it seems to have passed for the most part.

This week's acknowledgement of exceptional niceness nearly went to my friend Barb, over at the YMCA. I was all set to bestow this meaningless honor on her when I slipped on over to my friend Beth's blog and stumbled into this.

Beth wins.

It's one of the bummers of our time, but people don't say nice things about other people as often as they should. I don't know if they don't have the time, or if such sentimentality is too often construed as weakness? I dunno, but Beth is doing her best to rid the world of that phenomenon all by herself. She makes me smile, typically always has. Done, Nice Person of the Week is Beth Lyons, usually still just Beth Skinner to me...thanks for such kind words. It's nice to know that you're out there reading the world into submission.

Monday, December 28, 2009

You Make Me Sick

I'm sick...I think I caught it from June, who caught it from Ian, who in turn caught it from an embarrassingly amorous moose somewhere between Thunder Bay and the Soo. It's been largely a 24 hr, maybe 48 hr thing so far but it sucks cold oatmeal. I mostly want to expunge my stomach of it's contents. I'm also cold as the legs on a picnic table in the park, or I was, now I'm hotter than West Texas pavement. I'm also really tired of using analogies.

June and Zo have been playing all afternoon and I can assure you that to a loving husband and father the sound of the two girls you love laughing and teasing one another around the house is enough to break your heart. I wanna play too.

I was fine this morning. I got out of bed late. I lingered at nearly everything I did. I snatched up Zo for a fun drive in the falling snow while Mom recovered from this heinous affliction, and got some quiet time. We had fun. I had coffee, she eventually fell asleep. We came home and before Team Canada even got a chance to mug Switzerland in the World Junior Hockey Championships I was couch bound and whiny. June wasn't all that whiny...a little, but nothing over the top. I'm a whine factory sometimes...a whinery, if you'll pardon the also afflicted sense of humor.

Now I've been down and out for almost seven or so hours...minimal sleep, no hurling (yet), headache, and absolutely o urge to eat a single thing. Looking on the bright side, maybe I'll shed that last seven or eight pounds I've been needing to before I can look like this. Sorry, that was too easy.

I've had a pretty productive day considering that I spent it mostly on my back. I got to nap with Zedder which was amazing 'cause I never get to do that anymore. I perused a few websites that I'd been hoping to get to sooner than later. I started work on revitalizing "The Bleacher Life" blog since it was such a fun ride for so many years. I did a lot of stuff while my back got bedsores.

Now I'm going to try to sleep. I imagine, if I can manage it, that it will feel very much like my first know, the one thing that can finally put your stomach at ease after hours of nausea and torture. Maybe not though...maybe it'll just feel like sleep.

In an effort to make me feel better here are some schweet pics of Zo from Christmas at Grandma Cathy's...

Zoey 1st Christmas - Zoey bum floor
Now that Zo is moving so fervently this is about all you see of her.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Close up Zo floor
June's Baachan isn't a very big fan of these faceless shots, but we are.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Serious Zo
Zo spotting her cat Debu laying quietly and unsuspectingly...

Zoey 1st Christmas - Floor Debu
So she makes her furtive yet sneakerrific move on her friend.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Floor Debu 2
...and then pounces, like some vigilante NAVY Seal type.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Floor laughing
...and loves the fact that she scared Debu out of no less than three of his lives.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Mom Zo playing
Finally, Mom intervenes for the sake of the cat (who secretly loves it)

Zoey 1st Christmas - Mom Zo playing 2
...and Mom distracts with an outstretched camera.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Chewing Camera Strap
...but her intervention backfires and her camera strap gets it!

There...I feel better. Now if only I could feel s good as that little kid's smile. Ughh...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Zedder's First Christmas Goes Off!

Zoey 1st Christmas - Frog
Zoey's first Christmas found a frog resting under her tree...

The Zedder woke up at 7am with an impressive gift for all of us. Her first Christmas poop was a doozy and just in time for the rest of the house to arise. Merry Christmas from Zoey's super-efficient digestive tract!

June and Zo woke up Baachan and Grandad, then slipped on over to wake Aunt Netta and Uncle Ian before everyone slipped downstairs to see if Santa came. He did...despite Uncle Ian's horribly naughty year. Zo went straight for the tree and couldn't have ignored the giant plush frog underneath it if she tried. She was pretty happy with her first gift on her first Christmas morning.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Frog 2
Zedder making friendly with her new nameless good friend...frog.

It took her awhile to get the gist of ripping a present apart but with a little help she managed it, and what a haul! By the time she finished up with Baachan and Grandad's tree she scooted over to Grandma's and tore apart some more gifts. By the end of the day her stuffed animal count was over six, maybe even seven, she scored no less than four or five frogs, tore open something like ten or eleven books, and generally robbed the people that love her blind. Smart kid.

Grandma and Zo  - Zoey 1st Christmas
Grandma and Zo rippin' 'em open...

It was a laid back and fun first Christmas for the Zed...nothing too crazy, just a lot of family, some impressive walking, a bunch of talking, even breaking down some barriers with Uncle Ian. Zo was a little hesitant to get close to a fairly unfamiliar Uncle 24 hours away makes it difficult to bond with your niece but after two days of making strange and even a few tears we broke from Christmas dinner to find Zo and Uncle Ian playing on the floor. It was cuter than the dimples on Zed's butt.

Zoey 1st Christmas - Ian Zo floor fridge
Uncle Ian and Zedder friendifying with some fridge fun.

Zo got to reap the benefits of Aunt Anette flying home from Vancouver, Uncle Ian driving home from the bloody Arctic Circle, and both sets of grandparents living approx. five blocks apart from one another. The only bummer of the day was that her cousins Brent, Avery, and Reece, and her Uncle Brad and Aunt Heather were off enjoying Florida just one week after we did the same. It would have been nice to celebrate together but then Zoey was also spared Hurricane Reece on her first Christmas. He might have frightened her off of Christmas for the rest of her life. Whew...potential Christmas crisis averted.

And the day is done.

June Sleeping Christmas Day 09
First Christmas's make for long days for new parents...looong days.

Top Five Christmas Gifts of 2009

5. Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands LP - Dad

4. Personalized Vancouver Canucks jersey - Netta

3. Sesame Street 40th Anniversary DVD and Book - Dad

2. Giant stuffed frog - Zoey

1. Poo box (don't ask) - Debu

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home Cold Home

Zoey laundry floor
Home is where the laundry is...Zoey Sakura back home amongst the familiar.

Dec 23rd may very well be a blur to a lot of people, ours started at 4am in Florida and ended somewhere around midnight, on the edge of Christmas Eve. It involved a 5am argument with a bus driver, an infant with a lingering fever, a crowded airport, separate seats on a packed airplane and a baby that was her usual flying champion. Zo played with her neighbors for approximately half an hour before she settled into Mom's lap and slept until the landing gear came out. We bailed on the airport after donating several hundred dollars to park (absent minded mistake in planning) and shot home. In hindsight, it was a stellar day.

Now I'm listening to CBC radio and dozens upon dozens of fellow Canadians Christmas horror stories. The most recent story being a caller from Sudbury who needs to drive to Toronto in order to fly out and visit friends in Nashville, Tennessee which leaves me feeling absolutely rich in my proximity to a major US metropolitan area and it's access to easy travel. It also reminds me what a poor Canadian I am since I've never even heard of half of the places these callers make reference too. June and I always talked about seeing Canada later in our lives but should probably get a little more active in doing so. I think 2010 might demand a little more attention to our own beautiful and by the sounds of things, occasionally difficult to navigate country.

I might start by mining some great Canadian musical recommendations from my fully smitten Canadian music scenester, Johnny Teeter. I think I'll also drag my arse to Montreal, and perhaps even make it Algonquin Park for the first time in my life. We'll chuck in the Mariposa Festival again this year, an iconic Canadian event and the fiftieth anniversary of that special gathering (Ian Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot could probably make our entire year fully Canadian all by themselves), and at some point I'm going to build my own canoe, bottle my own maple syrup, and maybe become a mountie or make out with an eskimo...sorry, Inuit. Or I may just jump on the first flight to Orange County and make plans to see Canada some other day while I bask in El Camino Real sunshine with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. Canada's not going anywhere.

Merry Christmas friends and family. I wish you the very, very best of days and the happiest of hours as we slip into this, our first Christmas as a family. We'll think of you as we hope you might of us, and we'll see how naughty or nice we've all been come morning. It's good to be home no worse for the wear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Goodnight Florida, and Merry Christmas etc...

Family Photo - Florida Christmas tree
Family photo at the bottom of America...our first Christmas photo, three days early.

We're heading home to snow. I must admit, I haven't seen snow in awhile...sure, a few flurries that dissipated before they even fell on the ground, just tiny white flecks floating through the air...but I haven't seen actual snow on the ground in approximately nine months. In between snow flakes there has been Hawaiian sand sneaking up between toes, there has been Manhattan pavement stirring aches and gentle Central Park pains, there has been twirling kitchen dances with my wife and daughter, and the smell of backyard beach bonfire on our clothes. There were ballparks and inflatable pools...autumn leaves and Chris Isaak music floating up hillsides in the soft, warm Michigan rain. A lot has happened since I last saw snow. Now it's nearly Christmas and I haven't seen my family or friends in a long time, it'll be good to come home to snow.

Zoey is eleven months old in just 4 days...eleven months...and it slipped by so fast that I hardly had time to catch my breath. We've packed a lot into eleven months, and with any luck we'll stuff even more into the next eleven or twelve. This is exactly how I want to be adventuring with these two girls as often as I can. We've talked about moving, and maybe someday we will...maybe someday we'll have to. That would be the added weight that tilts us out of balance, but for right now we like what we've got. Right now I get New York and San Clemente, Honolulu and Lima, Peru...right now I get to climb aboard airplanes with my wife and my daughter and land in far away places much more often than most people I know. Is it better in Vancouver, or Eugene, or San Francisco? Maybe...probably...but that's not where I live right now and I've grown awfully tired of living in the future.

Right now I live in a ridiculously cheap place with an equally ridiculous view, and as long as we have that one little cravat then we're not changing our address or postal code without considerable thought. We have the things that we need, and the money to buy the things that we want. We have loving parents close by, and that proximity and our new maturity helps us access their guidance and support in any decision we make. Life is good at the end of this particular computer monitor.

So we're coming home to snow with smiles on our tanned little faces, and we're going to eat, drink, and be merry. We'll figure out 2010 when it gets here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cowbell vs. the Fever...I'll take more cowbell.

Zoey's got a bit of a fever so we went and bought ourselves a cowbell 'cause we heard that the only prescription was, in fact, more cow bell.

If you can get past that awful Christopher Walken SNL joke then we can assure you that we did not go out and buy a cow bell to combat Zo's little fever. We bought her some infant Tylenol and gave her a tepid bath... Dad got a little worried and Mom kept her usual cool. We played a little before bedtime...listened to her new favorite, Miss Li, and did some forward rolls before she slipped off to sleep. We have a feeling it's just more teeth coming in. She's been chewing on everything she can get a grip on, and she's been drooling am awful lot. She's already gotten her front eight teeth so it could very well be some of the rear teeth coming in. As you could imagine, those ones gotta hurt a little. Her temp went down before bedtime and she seems fine now.

It would have been nice to have more cow bell though.

Happy Belated Birthday to Me...

Rarrr Zo Mom poolside
Rarrr, Zoey and Mom soaking up some Florida sunshine...

Sitting poolside and I get word that there's a package for me at the hotel's front desk. Huh? We go and check it out and it's an envelope from home...birthday card from Gerry and Mihoko! Whoa, awesome nice! It made soaking up some sun beside the pool that much better. I've never gotten a package sitting by the pool before, let alone a birthday card. I'll take it and put Gerry & Mihoko in the running for this week's "Nice Person of the Week" Award.

I keep forgetting that I just had a birthday. It didn't feel like a birthday. In fact, it kinda felt your average, everyday kinda day...except with a present from my wife thrown in. I like my birthdays to feel that way but I won't complain about this whole "card by the pool" deal...that was pretty damn okay too. All that sunshine didn't hurt either.

Speaking of which, the sun was shining bright again today and so we let it pour all over us and enjoyed it with a side order of minimal ambition. Even Rarrr got in on the action, at first keeping an eye on Zo and then getting some sun of his own.

Rarrr Florida Deck chair
Rarrr getting his tan on...He could use one.

BTW...what's with these rad striped pool towels? They were the towel of choice in Waikiki and now again here. I'm stealin' some! They're amazingly large and super comfy. I think my luggage will be about four towels heavier on the way home. Shhhh.

Bourgeois Shangri-La - Zoey's New Favorite Song

We can thank the new iPod Nano commercial for Zoey's newest musical interest. Her name is Miss Li and the song is Bourgeois Shangri-La. It's awfully catchy and Zo dances her face off whenever she hears it, which makes it probably five times better than it actually is.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Daddy's and Daughters...It's complicated, or maybe not.

Dad Zo swimming

Sometimes she looks at me strangely. Zoey watches me -- an animal different than she is -- sometimes she pays a lot of attention at the times I am doing very little. Sometimes I catch her staring at me, and other times June has to say something. June thinks that she’s quite smitten with her Dad. It’s entirely reciprocal if such a thing even needs to be said. “She loves her Daddy,” June always coos. I suppose I already know this but all I really see are the stares. Mom gets giggles and laughs. Dad gets stares and smiles.

She loves her Daddy.

The assumption comes at random intervals and often without provocation… as we walk down the street, as we eat breakfast, as I return home and follow the Great Zedder’s trail of tiny prizes – stuffed toys, rubber letters, plastic bowls, and tiny little rice puffs scattered about the house. I’m sometimes a bit surprised at how devoted I am to the interests of a little girl. She was exactly what I was wanting but I haven’t the slightest idea how to attend to the needs of a small woman. I always thought I was more of a scuffed knee kind of Dad, not a “kiss the frog” kind of guy. But this little girl is surprising me all of the time.

I once read a thing that said that a girl’s father is how she will learn about love, and now the more I watch her, the more often I catch her staring, and the more often June utters aloud, “She’s looking at you Daddy,” the more I come to believe that theory about Dad’s and Daughters. Perhaps it's true that a little girl needs to be constantly in love. If she can’t be in love with her father, she’ll find someone or something else to captivate her attention. I'm not sure if that’s true. If it is I hope I can loom that large for at least seventeen or eighteen years, you know, if I do everything right, even the wrong stuff. At that point when she finds a man good enough (que impossible!) I will give her back her heart so that she can gift it to him. I hope that day will be slow in coming.

Of course, I am finding that the other part of that Dad’s and Daughters theory is that fathers fall just as hard for their daughters. If you look very carefully you’ll see that there’s something wrapped around little Zo’s finger. Sometimes you can barely see it but I think it’s embarrassingly obvious…it’s me…oh boy, it’s me.

She’s got me pretty good in just eleven months. I pick up after her. I handle poopy diapers as if they were new balls inserted into the game. I distract her when she’s upset. I handle her gently in the bath. I wipe away tears and find myself hurt when she brushes my affection away. I kiss her head when she bonks it. I fold her tights and kiss the back of her tiny little neck. She’s got me, and I worry that I will have to pay the price someday, but then every once in awhile I catch her staring. Every now and again June cues my attention and out of the corner of my eye I see her watching me. In those moments I turn and smile at her and her face lights up like Paris in July.

Then the biggest smile.

Then a little laugh.

Then a turn of her head back to Mom as if to say, “That’s my Dad,” and Mom says, “I know.

In those moments I know that I have her too, that every boy’s heart should sink a little for the next decade because she’s seriously smitten with someone else, I mean totally enamored of the guy with the grey in his hair and the Ray Bans propped on his nose. A little disheveled and put together a little too accidentally. Wide smile. Big laugh. Cleft in his chin just like her own.

Sometimes I catch her staring and I’m reminded that the man of her dreams probably begins right here, right now, and that’s a pretty big responsibility to live up to. If I manage it right, and if everything goes the way story books so often go -- just as her Mom and Dad know-- she’ll find the man of her dreams. Strangely enough, she stares at me now but in sixteen or seventeen, or better yet eighteen years from now I won’t stand a chance, and she’ll have forgotten that her second great love slipped out from the shadows of her first...the folder of tights and wiper of tears.

She loves her Daddy alright, and someday someone else is gonna get all those stares. That’s okay as long as she remembers where she learned to love like that.

Cute vs. Atrocious...Thank God for Cute.

Zoey coffee
Zoey tippin' back her morning coffee. She's an animal without her caffeine

This might be one of the funniest photos I've seen in a hundred years.

Similarly, this might be one of the grossest for a wide variety of reasons.
NIce Person of the Week Logo

The newest tradition 'round here is going to be doling out unsolicited recognition for nice people. Why? Mostly 'cause no one ever does that. So every Sunday...or maybe Monday...we're gonna chuck out Zoey's Nice Person of the Week to whoever is deserving. Maybe someone did something nice for us, maybe we heard about something nice they did for someone else, maybe we got a nice email or someone waited for us and held the door...I dunno, but somebody should acknowledge it formally. That's us!

The very first ever Nice Person of the Week was a tough one...First, we'd never done such a thing before. Second, there were quite a few people who went out of their way to be nice to us, and lastly, since it's the inaugural Nice Person there's some pressure on the pick. This first one is precedent setting!

Let's see...

There was the sales girl at Lululemon who just up and gave June two or three extra bags with a smile...just 'cause. Good bags too, the kind that cost you a few bucks, you know, the heavy duty, waterproof, reusable shopping bag thingys. Awfully nice of her...

Grandma Cathy made a special trip nearly an hour out of her way just to check our mail while we were gone...people don't do that sort of thing anymore. I suppose Mom's do, don't they? Either way it was phenomenally nice.

Chantelle Finley was super sweet in a back and forth Facebook conversation with June late last night. June said she sounded super eager to connect over Christmas and meet Zoey, similarly we could meet Noah too. Terribly nice.

The evening front desk clerk at our hotel who gave me her password to access the wireless internet rather than demand that I pay for it. "Is it for business?" Nope, to update my daughters blog. "Isn't that cute? Here, use my password but don't tell anyone." Fairly wonderful of her.

Betsy sent one simple email just to say "hey," and reassure us that choosing Florida over NYC was a wise decision what with the weather Manhattan was getting tossed this weekend. She also planted the seed of a timely return to NYC to enjoy a carriage ride through a snowy Central Park. We fell asleep with that nice idea drifting through our weary heads. She also asked for our address so that she could send Zo a little Christmas gift! How impossibly sweet and thoughtful, which is really just nice times twenty-seven, isn't it?

There was the bus driver who told me his very own super secret tips to getting down to the Amway Arena for the basketball game. He was unnecessarily nice and it was mucho appreciated.

See...tough decision, isn't it?

I think that we're going to go with Betsy. It had been nearly fifteen years since I'd seen Betsy before this past September and now she's a regular over here at The Zoey Blog and we touch base fairly often. All that AND she's thoughtful enough to ask for our address to send Zo a little something. That kind of nice doesn't happen every day, and it makes me smile.

BTW..Betz has her own little site going over at Kicking the Moon. She's an awfully smart woman but does an impressive job of softening "awfully smart" with a grin inducing kind of gregarious and absolute heaping portions of wonderful. Betsy was my very good friend Aimee's best friend in college and Aimee knows what she's doing.

Congratulations were the nicest person in our universe this week! Now you send us your address so we can send you your prize.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

THings I love

1. The way that you make each other smile and laugh until everyone else around you is doing the same, whether it's on the bus or at the kitchen table, anywhere you go.

2. That you have the very same mouth.

3. The way you tackle life with grace. Surely your daughter will find the same because I know that you will show her how & because I'm certain it's weaved throughout her genes...from your Baachan to hers, then you, and now someday her.

4. Your quiet curiosity

5. How you both wake up smiling, nearly every day.

6. The way you're both so willing to do anything and go anywhere.

7. The look in your eyes that I know is trust.

8. How sometimes it looks as though you both fell out of a magazine or a catalogue.

9. The way you make even strangers friends.

10. The patience you have for me.

11. How fun you are.

12. That coming home to the two of you can rein in an out of control day.

13. That even when I'm not the best dad or husband you make me feel like I am.

14. You let me sleep in on Saturdays and I don't need it as much as either of you.

15. Your skin...a Mom made of sun freckles and a daughter of porcelain.

16. How you play with the flowers on my tattoo.

17. The way you smell.

18. How you want to do things on your own.

19. That when you're focused it sometimes takes two or three beckons to get you to turn your head.

20. You both think my farts are funny even when I don't.

21. That you laugh at the stupid things I do.

22. How the two of you sit on the floor with one leg exetnded and the other one tucked in.

23. That my singing, though not encouraged, doesn't frighten you.

24. You don't want me to leave sometimes.

25. How cold your feet get.

26. That I can hug and kiss you whenever I want.

27. Laying in bed with you.

28. How you watch me through the kitchen window when I'm lighting the grill in the backyard.

29. How puffy your lips get when you cry.

30. That your tears can break my heart.

31. You wear cute shoes.

BTW...I had to Google this after I wrote it and I found this incredible list. It's just about the coolest thing I've ever read. What guy doesn't want to play the leading role on that bloody list?

Also...I'd like to leave this not-so-subtle note for my wife.

Avert your eyes if your trying to procreate right now...well, not RIGHT now

This video shows a then nine-month-old Charles Edward playing in his living room for four hours. His parents, however, sped it up to fit into two know, for our enjoyment. Also, the adult interaction was edited out for cuteness sake. Wow, this is so sweet, my heart imploded!

This was literally Zoey just a few months ago. I think I'd like to dedicate this video (a product of someone else's genius) to Adam and Chantelle and their little Noah. This is what you've gotten yourself into...isn't it awesome! The coolest thing ever, maybe.

Paul Newman was so lovely...

I just read that statement on someone's blog. "Paul Newman was so lovely." It was obviously a female's perspective...well, perhaps not so obviously, but trust me when I say that it was indeed a females perspective. Lovely -- I can't imagine. It got me to wondering what people might say of you when you aren't around...the good stuff, I mean, not the bad junk. Who cares about that bunk? Not me. I mean the good stuff, those things that either make you blush, or that solidify your affection for the other person for ever and ever, amen...or at least until the Leafs win a Stanley Cup which is close to the same thing.

As Christmas present #2, and in the spirit of that Paul Newman reference, I'd like to say a few things about some of the people who I know drop by here from time to return, wouldn't it be nice to receive the same thing right back? Yeah, it would...will that happen? Probably not. Still, worth a go, isn't it? You people know how to reach me.

The trick, certainly not the rule, is to be brief, concise, and swoon inducing...a proper compliment should always be swoon inducing if placed correctly at the alter of your humility. Here goes...

Grandma...inarticulate love and gratitude. Still no one more worthy of waking up at 2am to talk.'re terribly audacious aren't you, in the most sweetly sensitive of ways? It looks oh-so-very good on you!

Baachan...somewhere deep in my chest respect and love are wrestling around to see who comes out on top.

Aimee & Kev...I think we'll be friends forever. I hope we'll be friends forever.

Betsy...great big eyes and wide smiles. It's not like New York needed any more reasons to pull us back.'re shamelessly thoughtful aren't you? Yes you are and I adore it., enthusiastic friend...either/or.

Bradley...first rate daydreamer. Wonderful. look out for me and I never even asked you too. I would have though.

Stacey...the kind of fun that you are really deserves more than just three simple letters.

Merle...I have daydreams about just how uber-hip that wrist tattoo of yours is. I'm not kidding.

Serree & cute are you guys about 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time your just cool.

Scott & Stace...I think I saw your family in a J Crew catalogue. it possible to be any sweeter from a distance of a decade and 300 km? Probably not.

Dustin & Kelly...must move closer 'cause I want to see you every third day, at least.

I probably missed a dozen people, didn't I? I'm sure I did...No biggie. It was all on a whim anyway.

The Night Time is the Right Time...

Moon over palms
Same moon..same sky...different feeling.

Our nights are pretty easy 'round here. We hang out together and listen to music, read, maybe even watch some television depending upon what's on, but generally we just do a lot of nothing but we do it together. I like it. When Zoey is almost ready to drift off to sleep I scoot out of the room to go to the gym while Mom soaks up her sleepy child like she was a sponge. Someday she's going to miss that time just as surely as I miss the house laps that little Zo demanded of her Dad when she was small...well, smaller. Here in Florida we've been listening to the water outside of our door (almost like summer back home) and a lot of Ray Charles, The Spirit of Christmas. We don't feel too much of a need to get out and accomplish so many of the usual things that people want to accomplish on vacation...eating and drinking and general debauchery, even if it is in family sized doses. We just wanna better chance to just be, and this has been it.

We likely won't be slipping back to Florida without any good reason to. The weather could be better but it's awfully nice and it's certainly a notch above the snow that's falling in New York. We got a oh-so sweet email from our friend, Betsy, in New York and she helped us feel better about our decision to head south rather than east. The notion of Betz, Julia, and Alex riding around a snow covered Central Park in a horse drawn carriage hurts our heart. Just knowing that we're missing that...and New York all bright and sparkling for Christmas, well...In fact, there's our Christmas gift to Betz. We would love to go out with you on that carriage ride in Central Park, and in the words of Hugh Bonneville in the film, Notting Hill," know, anybody saying they want to go out with you is... well, pretty great... isn't it...?" It most certainly is. Merry Christmas Betz and thanks for thinking of us.

Now...back to fun on the floor with Ray Charles crooning our spirits up high. It's almost Christmas people...I can tell because I'm getting all sentimental and sappy.

Everything is gonna be alright as long as I remember these words

The weather might be cooler here in Florida than we had hoped but it isn't snowing, and I did learn a new mantra that I'll repeat to myself for the rest of my life...

"I must learn to love the fool in me--the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool."

-- Theodore I. Rubin, MD

It's a beaut ain't it? Sure is. Someday I'm gonna teach Zo that one.

Rainy Day Zo...A Lesson in Carefree Happiness

Zo hotel floor Orlando
Rainy day Zoey...sounds like a Gordon Lightfoot song?

So it seems like we spent good money to come to Florida and enjoy some sun and a lot of clouds, even some rain. I guess that's Florida, and I guess that's why we never come here. Zo's made it fun though. She's always smiling and enjoying herself regardless of weather etc...I'm learning some lessons just watching her. I guess that's part and parcel with this parenting thing. We're learning as much as she is, well, maybe not exactly the same. Zo could probably learn three languages at the same time right now, and we have a hard time with English sometimes. (We still giggle every time we refer to Spanish as "Mexican" which is a whole different story.)

Zedder's the cure for just about every ill...'cept for the big ones, she's got nuthin' on all those scientists and researchers, but she tackles the little ills just fine -- things like boredom, bad weather, crappy Orlando -- and she's an expert at keeping you busy. I think Zo would enjoy herself just about anywhere. Most toddlers would, I suppose, but Zo takes happiness to a whole new level of cool. She's cool with just about everything. Things like public transportation, crowds, rain, a weird schedule...anything you toss at her she can catch.

Zoey sushi tee 1
Zo sportin' her sushi shirt that she got from Uncle Scitter and Aunt's a beaut!

We've managed to get a crapload of Christmas stuff done down's outlet mall heaven, and when the clouds are out in full force you might as well go spend all your loot. So we do. We've also come up with some pretty stupid stuff thanks to the when June saw Mickey Mouse and said, "Look at him. He thinks he's so cool runnin' around with no shirt on," which might be tops in sheer ridiculousness, even considering all of our misadventures. It's right up there with Hawaii's "cheapie free" statement.

With any luck the sun comes out in full force over the next three or four days...if not there's a wicked Handy Manny Marathon scheduled for Monday...nice.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Merry Almost Christmas...

Light tree

Don't think that I haven't thought about what to get you folks. The truth is that I have. What do you give cyber friends, some of whom you know well and some of whom you've never met? What could I manage to offer to you to express my gratitude for stopping in here and checking up on le Zed and know, and generally tolerating a #$%king baby blog. People hate baby blogs, and you know what I say to those people? No gift for you!

Here is my idea...links. That's right...links. I'm gonna give you all of my favorite clicks from 2009. I might even get specific with the recipients...

I stumbled into an almost instant must get around to vacation at Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado...and I thought how badly I'd like to bring 42 friends along with me ('cause you can rent the whole place with 42 friends).

Tom Palumbo's collection of photos from Paris in 1962 makes you wish time travel was easier...and you had some more style.

This link will ship you over to just about the sweetest and coolest website ever called My Parents Were Awesome. I love it.

If you like European style lagers you HAVE TO get your warm hands wrapped around some cold Peroni imported straight outta Italy. It's goooood.

In an alternative universe I live here. And I'm cooler than everyone you know... except for yourself, and that's why we hang out.

June buys me this stuff by Sabon whenever I'm not lookin'... It helps me smell like a man, a man who uses hand creme, of course. It's the best thing since hands were invented.

This photo was taken in the exact spot where the idea that I would like to marry June Partridge first struck me...Paris, France - June 2000.

The notion snuck into my head that if we have a second child (okay Mihoko and Cathy...when we have a second child) and if that second child happens to be another girl I think that I would like to reconsider the name "elly"...That's right, elly with no capital E. We considered the name before but hesitated and now that I've seen it spelled out here ever so cutely, I think I would like to table it again. The fun part is that it's only spelled with a lower case "e" and never with the usual know, the way given names are traditionally spelled. This one's spelled with a little e, thank you very much...even on the birth certificate. Dumb, I know, but more fun than an apple tree full of ripe apples that happens to be within throwing distance of a barn wall ...and nobody's watchin'.

If you were to ask me what parenting is like I wouldn't be able to find the words...but this photo speaks nicely.

We're having a party this winter and it's gonna be a a giant Staring Contest,tournament style and everything. You're invited.

Remember Cameron's parents place in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off"? Well it's for sale.

If this doesn't make your head explode then you're probably dead. This too.

I gotta try this.

Aside from the "Vegan" thing, I really can't get enough of this girls tattoos.

I can't wait for this, or something similar.

I've been talking about doing this to my house someday for something like five or six years...ask June! It's true.

I'm doing this as soon as I get home! I'll use the money to bring June and Zo to move to where it's "like summer every day."

This could have been our parents...I love it.

For those dreamy dreary days I thought I'd get you a membership in the cloud appreciation're welcome.

Football, Friends, and Family Photos...

Family at Reeces game

Just received this fun photo from our friend's Mike and Afaf. We ran into Mike at a youth league football game. We went to watch our nephew Reece play and Mike was also there watching his son play too (who BTW looked a lot like Brian Westbrook out there). It was a complete accident running into Mikey and it put a giant grin on my face. Mike and I spent a few high school years as super good friends and as is the tragedy of life, we drifted apart. I think about him often and even grabbed him a gift when I was in Boston even though we average a half dozen years between accidental run-ins. He's a decent fella, and a good Dad.

Anyway, thanks Afaf for sending over this family pic...we love it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Family Bed Policy...Hawaiian Style

Zoey bed Orlando
Zo, the Queen of her pillow castle, everywhere we go.

Ever since Hawaii we've skootched two hotel beds together in every room we've ever rented. It allows us to keep a better eye on the Zedder while she's playing around, either on the floor or up on the bed, and it let's us sleep a little more comfortably as a family if the need arises. In Hawaii Zo slept with us, same as New York, but here in Orlando she's been stickin' to her own crib. She is, however, playing on the bed like it was her own personal gymnastics mat. We've also discovered that she's quite smitten with pillows, but what kid isn't, really? Were gonna have to load her room up with a variety of pillows when we get home. She goes frikkin' bananas when she's surrounded with all that soft goodness. I would too.

Evenings have largely been kept together in the room...we're tuckered out and Zo's nearing bedtime. She sure keeps us in check. Not that we'd be out tearing up Orlando but she makes sure that we're all family schmamily all the time and I'd recommend it to anyone. It's nice to chill the evening away with your wife and daughter, especially when they're both absolute knock outs! I'm surrounded with babes when I'm travelin' with these two so hangin' low is easy in this company.

We've got good tunes playing every night, like some Roy Orbison, "Dream," or some kick @#$ old Jimmy Durante...we're playing on the bed and laughing like a bunch of kids at their first sleep away hockey tournament, just with less hall hockey going on...more peek-a-boo and pillow climbing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Florida for us

Intnl Dr Orlando

I'm sure there's a Top Ten List for the reasons why you go to Orlando but once you exclude cheap, and more often than not, warm, then there's not much left. Orlando kinda sucks. We're enjoying ourselves despite the area's suckiness but the weather (one of two predominant reasons we came here) is kinda poo. A lot of clouds and after today three forecasted days of rain...then temps in the 50's...awesome!

I think Hawaii ruined us.

The air smells somewhat flowery...kinda, and when the skies are blue they're well worth sprawling out below, but Florida is like the friend that you have that is always in and out of pleasing you. I know, 'cause I'm usually that friend. The camera has largely stayed in the room 'cause, well, it's Orlando right, so who cares? We have been able to focus on some Christmas shopping, and doing that in shorts and tees is always a nice thing, but no one is getting knocked over with eye popping experiences. We're doing nothing and enjoying ourselves.

On the Zo seems she's a little allergic to Baby Blanket sunscreen...slight rash, and she's suddenly and strangely cool with her stroller again (good, since the price tag was higher than on my first vehicle). She's walking better, and talking more albeit still gibberish, it's encouraging.

Other random tidbits over the past four days...

- Wolfgang Puck coffee is amazing!

- Orlando Magic basketball tickets can be had for as little as $2.50 on Stubhub.

- Working out, then swimming every night with palm trees and no work in the morning is the secret to a happy life.

- "Handy Manny" is just about the best kids show ever! His accent kills me...

- June made me a homemade birthday card on a Subway napkin. She worked half the night on it, confirming that store bought cards are approx. one quarter as cool as homemade.

- I just heard the phrase, "where every day feels like summer," and I wanna live someplace like that.

- English people do indeed have bad teeth

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rubber ducky, you're the one...

Zo Mom Duck Bath - Orlando Dec09
Zo and Mom do up bath time with our new friend, Chuck the Duck. He was $10.

We travel a lot but that doesn't make us good at it. We regularly forget this something or that something...on this trip we forgot to inquire about long term parking at the McNamara Terminal in Detroit ($20 a day...ouch), and we forgot to ask whether or not our hotel had a bath tub or just a shower...turns out the answer is "just a shower." So we sucked it up and parked at McNamara, repeating the mantra 'tis the season over and over again, and we bought this super awesome bath duck at Wal-Mart here in Orlando. Now if you add the two together we got parking and a cool bath tub thingy for about $230 USD...not bad.

Zo Duck Bath Orlando Dec09
Scrubbin' up with a duck from home...a duck in a duck...sounds kinda Kinsey-esque

Zo loves Chuck, the bath time duck so much that she was hugging him all afternoon. It was practically the cutest thing I've ever seen, you know, if you don't count Zo's first Nikes. She could hardly wait to use him. Her favorite part (as assumed by me) is his quacking bill. That's right, quacking. Squeeze his bill and QUACK! She loves it. June came up with his name, she's original like that...she suggested this post title too. I know, that's what I love about her. Absolutely nothing embarrasses her. Obviously, like mother, like daughter 'cause when Zo grows up and sees Chuck the Duck she's gonna grimace but not she loves him.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Flight #5 and Zedder is still the Undisputed Champ

Zo Dad airplane to Orlando
Zo and Dad enjoying some in-flight distraction.

So a 10 AM flight isn't very early but it can sure feel like it when you're dragging a ten month old funster with you and you live 150 km from the airport. Fortunately for us the morning went well and before we could say, "what's for lunch," we were in Orlando.

We were supposed to be headed to NYC but the recent cold snap made us reconsider. We hastily booked into Orlando and BLAM...palm trees, a mouse, and a Chris Isaak concert happening at Universal tonight. Life is what you make it...make it good.

Zo was a veritable champ on the flight down. She had some minor issues but was very much back to her old Hawaiian form and was a fine travel companion. She made friends with at least a half dozen people around us and even went as far as sneaking into the seats across the aisle with a kind and tolerant family. She wormed her way in between a Mom and her daughter, Megan, and proceeded to hang out and play. It was simultaneously embarrassing and the cutest thing that you ever saw. She made so many friends on the plane that when we disembarked we heard a chorus of, "bye Zoey."

Zo arplane friends
Someone is too cute for her own good.

Rest tonight...endless possibilities tomorrow...well, endless if you consider sleeping by the pool and swimming with your daughter endless.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...blah blah blah...

Zoey plane 2

We're going to Orlando. That's right...Orlando, as in Florida.

I know, I know...we're supposed to be in New York, but just a heads up...we won't be.

Next time I type it'll be in swim trunks.

Later Gator!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

These are gonna be Zoey's friends... my favorite is the little blond girl who mimes the whole, "I'm watching you," thing, hand gesture and all...hilarious! She's also the dress screamer I think...

In my version of reality these are Zoey's friends and they're all welcome at the house anytime.

Unlimited talk and text when you can't do either

Zoey on cell phone 1
Zo telling her agent to, "call Detroit, tell them bull$#!%...Yah, something."

Zoey's got a cell. That's right, she's ten months old and has her own cell phone. Why? Because she's saavy right where socially mobile and technologically fluent intersect, that's why? She's well aware that her ability to communicate with others and pull information out of thin air is tantamount to success in this day and age. She knows that if she doesn't embrace technological advancements that she's as good as left behind, that's why. Don't blame doting parents for My5, iPhone, and unlimited text and talk...blame society...blame Steve Jobs...blame your local cellular service provider. Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

While you're throwing hate around you should probably aim straight at my brother's head because the phone came from Uncle Brad and the bugger doesn't even work (the phone, not Brad). Zoey's social saavy is as much of an illusion as the rest of the cell worshipping worlds...just a little more obvious. She's cellularly delayed, meanwhile her father is a shining example of how cynicism and a Calvinistic work ethic can coexist and simultaneously offend & alienate the bulk of people he knows without the benefit of an iPhone. It's a pretty impressive feat actually. He's considering an iPhone just to make said alienation more efficient.

Zoey cell phone 2
YOU talk to my agent...ask him yourself.

Normally I dunno what Zo's doing with her phone but she loves it. She cracks it open, pretends to talk on it, yells into it, throws it across the room...She's pretty much our own little Jerry McGuire except, you know, not as much of a turd as Tom Cruise and someone I like to hug.

On a completely unrelated note, someone needs to tell me why I would ever want to follow Lavar Burton on Twitter? That's just crazy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Zoey's First Snow!!! Not all that thrilling, but still...

Zoeys first snow - window 2
Zo checking out her very first snow flurries. She thought it was kinda cool but nuthin' special.

Zedder sidled up to the big picture window and watched the snow fall today. It was her first glimpse of snow flakes and she seemed pretty enthralled, you know, until her cat or the Sesame Street theme or Mom's voice, or any number of a dozen things stole her attention away. She did manage a good five minutes of just hanging out and taking the scene in though...not bad for someone whose attention span is shorter than Michigan basketball's front-court.

On a cooler note, not scientifically I suppose, not when you consider the point at which H20 crystalizes, but cooler in the Fonzie sense...

Zo had a doctor's appointment today and weighed in at a mildly impressive 18 lbs, and she also measured a lanky 29 inches long. That's 2 feet 5 inches tall...HA...I love it! That's hilarious! She's perfectly healthy and happy and everything is oh-so good according to the pediatrician whom I've decided to call a pediatrist from now on just 'cause it makes him upset.

Zedder is almost two and a half feet tall! I don't know why that kills me so much but it does...I think it's hilarious. She's almost as tall as Michael Hart now...maybe even taller than Marc Gregory which is even funnier! Sorry Marc. I had to.

"C" is for Cookie, that's good enough for me...

Zoey C head 1
Zoey had an unfortunate alphabet incident. Happens to the best of us.

So Zoey get to messing with her alphabet letters on the kitchen floor (nice linoleum BTW) and somehow manages to get one stuck to her head...yeah, to her head. She played with it stuck there for quite awhile before Mom intervened and pulled the third letter of our glorious alphabet from her skull. She either didn't notice or didn't care and would likely have lived her entire life with it stuck there had Mom not gotten involved. Oh, she let her play that way forever...long enough to snap a few pics and laugh at her, but then she felt bad making fun of her only daughter and had to give her a hand. I wouldn't have.

Zoey C head 4
We were wondering if there's any metaphysical symbolism to the letter "C" finding itself stuck to our daughter?

We try to let Zo stumble into things herself, and then it's always fun to watch her try to stumble right back out of them. Most of these endeavors go completely unnoticed or acknowledged but this one was just too fun not to document permanently with some pics. Zedder just kept on playing with this giant "C" attached firmly to the side of her head. It looked so cute that we considered stapling it there, you know, semi-permanently, but then had second thoughts. It be awfully hard to get her to sit still long enough to actually accomplish that. Uhmm, obviously I'm kidding.

Zoey C head 2
There's probably a dozen or so jokes just waiting to be uttered out loud with this ridiculousness...

Zoey does lots and lots of silly things but seemingly less than most funsters. As our friend Steph puts it, "she's awfully suspicious," and add to that a little contemplative and you've got a kid that doesn't give you too, too many reasons to go running for the camera because she's got herself caught up into something stupid. This time she obviously let her guard down 'cause this moment was begging for posterity.

Zoey C head 3
That stupid letter was stuck to her for at least an hour...hilarious.

Our plan is to drag these photos out either when Zo gets into Stanford so that we can say, "Wow, how'd you ever manage it when this was the place you started at," or maybe someday if she doesn't get into any kind of decent college, and we'll say, "Well, honey, look at this...what did you expect? Let's be realistic about things. Either way she'll be aghast at either her parents ruthless insensitivity or our awful sense of humor. We're dying for her to get into Stanford, don't get us wrong, but if she doesn't, well, this would make for some pretty awesome comic relief, right?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hello Sunday Morning...How's She Goin'?

Zoey staring outside - Dec09

I can hear June and Zo playing in the other room and i feel guilty laying here and posting a nothing to do with anything type post. Sweet pic though...

Before I get out of bed and start this glorious day...wait, that sounded way too dramatic. Before I get out of bed and start this as yet to be messed up day...I'm going to give you a list of the top words we're absolutely certain we've heard Zoey utter as of December 6th, 2009...

- Mumma

- Dad

- Debu

- Duck

- Hyperbola

She may have said, "taco" once too but we're not sure and I don't want to be presumptuous. I'm guessing the words just sort of fall out of her head all of a sudden, huh? She's been pretty punctual with regard to knocking off all of the other significant baby moments....rolling over, first teeth, sleeping good, now I imagine the words will come quickly and with a vengeance. I just can't wait until she learns sarcasm. I think she'll be very good at it and it will be a skill set that will serve her for a lifetime. Wait, when do children actually learn how to process that sort of thing? Developmentally there has to be a time frame, a stage, something, right? I need to Google that.

We might be expecting too much from the Zedder. I suppose I'd settle for her learning how to make fun of herself. That'd be a good one. Wait, that might be a bit of an advanced language and perspective thing too, huh...damnit! I guess I'll be happy with :Dad" and"Duck" then. Be cool f she learned how to say, "Awww, nuts!" every time something went bad. That'd be pretty funny,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Something Worth Turning Around For...Every Time

I take my wedding ring off when I shower. I don't know why I do that. I take it off and set it right here, on the shelf, and then when I'm all toweled off good... teeth brushed, and face shaven, etc...I slip it back on. No worries, no exact explanation. It's just what I do.

Ring on shelf
My ring's resting place each and every morning...

Here's the funny part...sometimes I forget it there. Sometimes I get dressed, grab a coffee, head out the door, and drive away before I realize that I haven't got it on my finger. That's when I turn the car around and sneak back into the drive. I duck back into the house, snatch the ring from it's inauspicious resting place, slip it back on that empty digit and get on my busy way back to work. I do, I turn around and come home to get it. Why? I love it that much.

The story of our engagement, and our marriage, is fun to tell. Both occurred fairly spontaneously, I mean, as spontaneously as anything possibly can be given the notion that both were inevitable. I asked June to marry me on Sutter Street in San Francisco. We were walking home from North Beach and we wandered down past the TransAmerica Building and across downtown headed back to Union Square. We stopped, kind of randomly, to take a timed photo on the street. June propped the camera up on a garbage pail and as she was setting the timer the notion struck me, "I'm going to ask her to marry me." So I did. She said yes, after some pause to make room for the surprise of it all. We slipped off to Tiffany's down in Union Square the very next day and picked out a ring. We looked foolish in our jeans and flip-flops, felt even more foolish when the clerk pulled out a $26,000 ring, and left acting like absolute champions when we found just the right ring and walked home with a robin's egg blue bag in tow. comes the question!
The infamous proposal photo, June 10, 2006...two seconds later and we were engaged.

We were married in New York City, two years ago this past September. We hustled to get our asses down to City Hall to apply for a license before the office closed. We spent our requisite 24 hr waiting period by doing all of those little things that a wedding, clothes, $50 Brooks Brothers Irish linen handkerchiefs...and then said, "I do," with just one witness and all of New York to celebrate with. June bought my ring at the Tiffany's on Madison Avenue just the day before, and that afternoon I became a husband for the first and only time in my relatively unencumbered life...that ring...the one I take off and set on the shelf beneath the medicine cabinet each morning...that ring I sometimes to forget to put back on my finger and so turn around and drive home to get it. I love that ring.

ROUGH kiss
Married with no children...yet. Give us a little time - NYC, Sept 28th, 2007

Now, two full years later and Zoey likes to play with my ring, that same ring that I set on the shelf beneath the medicine cabinet...that same ring that made me a husband and which in turn made me a father. It's pretty easy to understand why I turn around to get it when I've forgotten it, isn't it?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Inextinguishable looks on some pretty inexhaustible funsters

Close up Zo - Grandmas kitchen Dec09
Zoey visiting Grandma - November 2009

I know that I'm supposed to say it, but I have a feeling that this little girl is gonna be a beautiful big girl. It's difficult to imagine her being anything different if her cuteness now is any indication of what kind of looks she'll be sporting in fifteen or sixteen years. I'm not just biased about my own kid either. I think that there's a bunch of funsters who I'd bet my best underwear are gonna grow up to be beautiful.

My friends, John and Danielle, have absolutely the cutest little girl ever...all chubby cheeks and smiles...a little bit of John and a lot of Danielle. She's surely going to be one of those girls in high school that reels 'em in with her inextinguishable cuteness alone.

Our friends, Kevin and Aimee Bergquist, have two boys who are going to be bustin' up hearts like Zach Follett does kick coverage for the Detroit Lions. Harmon is already sporting what anyone would call a handsome look, and Simon will be dangerous when the girls start taking notice. He's like some kind of male cute factory and there'll be an assembly line of ladies by the time he gets to junior high.

Stu and Anne McNaughton have a son who, I swear, is going to fighting off older girls from the time he's eleven or twelve years old he's that adorable. I think he's got the personality to go with the looks too, and he's gonna slay 'em someday, I know it.

There are plenty of kids I know that I'd venture to say are beautiful now but might be even more so later. It's not just Daddy's pride at play here. I spread my assertions around and I can guarantee you that these kids are knock outs when they get bigger. In fact, give me a catalogue that needs child models and these'd be the first four kids I'd call.

I'd link to some photos of these funsters but they're so cute that you're head would implode...that, and I didn't ask their parents if I could.