Friday, April 30, 2010

Talk, talk, talk etc...

So far it's Backyardigans, Sesame Street and hockey that mesmerize Zoey.

Zedder can talk, which is of no surprise to anyone, but she's really starting to toss out words, and word combos, that's leaving us occasionally dumbfounded. SHe talks more than Mickey Redmond these days, which is a lot. She's mastered all of her favorites and over the past week has doubled or even tripled her vocabulary. Every time we allow our attention to stray she pulls us back with a random word. Just yesterday she said, "I know," which had us rolling with laughter, followed a short time later with, "don't do that" which was so astounding that I forgot to laugh but instead rebutted with a surprised, "huh?" She's quickly learning sentence structure, which is hilarious considering she often has no idea of the impact or meaning of her words.

She's even saying her own name finally, which we thought might never happen. We were beginning to consider a bunch of new names for her. My vote was for Shredder, but June quickly vetoed it.

I'm still completely baffled this child's predilection for talking"hockey." She did it again just the other day...she pointed at the TV, looked at me and proudly said, "hockey," which is both pride swelling and frightening because I was hoping not to watch her grow up in a rink like I did. Of course, if she makes the Olympic team all will be forgiven, but if Dad ends up in hockey arenas two hours from home on random Wednesday nights at 9:30 pm he's gonna be a smidgeon upset. Aunt Serree will be as pleased as punch, but Dad will not.

My prediction is she wants to be a goalie. $#&%!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A definitive guide to a man's sexuality...avec pants

I want pants...not just any pants, but Italian wool blue please... J match my two button sport jacket made of the same material. That would give me a suit. Kinda 1+1=2, I know, but I should have just grabbed the pants when I bought the jacket...I didn't, and now I'm busy trying to make sure I find the same fabric etc...

I'm telling you this because I mentioned it to someone today...a male peer, who looked at me like I was the gayest thing since Rufus Wainwright. In as kind of terms as I could muster I told him to @#$% off. I reminded him that men wear suits, they do...and that actually giving a @#$% about what kind of damn fabric the separates are made of didn't make me less masculine, it made me disinclined to look like an idiot who could barely dress himself. He mumbled something stupid and I told him to go away. I was offended on about seventeen levels.

Gentlemen...our grandfathers would roll over in their graves at the notion of us not suiting ourselves as properly as we should and when we should. When did such a thing become an emasculating enterprise? I had a shirt made for me on a trip to New York a few years ago and it was the absolute most masculine thing I've ever done. I felt as though I was standing there, side by side, with the ghost of my grandfather...the two of us getting measured up for our first American suit, just days off of Ellis Island, where our name was officially shortened by US Immigration, something like four or five less letters than it was when the boat left the docks in Marseilles. I wasn't slow dancing with another man. Someone was putting a measuring tape to my shoulders and chest for the purposes of making a shirt that actually fit me. I just don't get it.

Anyway...nobody wants to go on a rant. I just want some @#$%ing pants. It'd be awfully nice if the Red Wings won their game tonight too, you know, since I'm disclosing random wants.

Can I have one of these?

If you have one of these cool jobbies in your room as a child and still manage to grow up without an imagination...well, you've got problems.

I want one even now!

BTW...Frampton this morning felt like divine intervention...I wonder if anyone's ever uttered that stupid sentence before?

Good morning cruel world...Let's try this again

So that I might put the universe back in order...

Today I will listen to peter Frampton for no particular reason...except this, I guess this is a reason isn't it?

Today I will just plain old listen to Peter Frampton.

Today I will find clouds...quite possibly.

Today I will buy a magazine that let's me imagine, and I will sit and enjoy it while the rest of the world does stuff.

Today I will ignore those people who need ignoring.

Today I won't check my email once.

Today I will not wear socks.

Today I will write something, something beautiful.

Today I will avoid something I really shouldn't...because I want to and because I can.

Today I will drink as much coffee as I want.

Today I will do something good with $10.

I'd better get started...that looks like a lot of stuff to do.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Behind every good man...

I know nothing about women except for their lovely smell, so excuse me if I stumble through these compliments. It's truly one of the only things that I'm good at. Strangely, I don't accept them back very graciously. I'm just not very good believing them. Slap it on the list of things I suck at.

I don't know much about women, but I try. I pay attention. I do. Oddly, that's never enough. You're a confusing bunch, but a delightfully confusing bunch, and I'll linger in your lovely wake every time without complaint...not without curiosity, but without complaint.

Men on the other hand, well, men confuse me even more. I believe it started with my grandfathers, whose legacy of miscommunication and restrained love was inherited by my own father, who although more inclined to show affection, was just as effete when it came to building bridges and bringing clarity to typically muddy waters. I don't think any of those men understood women very well either. The difference is that they didn't make much of an effort to remedy the situation. I'd venture to say that historically my family has been full of definitively stereotypical men. I didn't understand a single intention of any one of them, and what's more none was ever explained.

Women confuse me but they're supposed to. Men confuse me but they shouldn't. So I stick to women, I'm drawn to their company as any good man should be, and perhaps because I'm married to what might be the best of them, or maybe because every woman from grandmother to mother to mother-in-law has filled me with faith and affection, I prefer the company of women on most occasions. Oh, there's nothing like a good friend and a lot of inhibition and beer on Opening Day, but I don't feel as understood, appreciated or unconcealed as I do with women.

Anyway...blah be blah blah. Now I've got a house full of estrogen and although at times I wish for just a whiff of more testosterone I love the feeling of being surrounded with wife, my daughter, my mother, and on occasion my mother-in-law...There is no lack of affection, no lack of openness, and no lack of acceptance and encouragement. There are only lovely smells (mostly...if you don't count poopy diapers), and delightfully confusing habits.

Yeah, drugs aren't so bad...

Can you ever really learn to adjust to disappointment? It's probably at the top of my Top 25 Worst Emotions List...maybe because it encompasses so much. It's a pretty inclusive emotion, I think.

Today will be defined by said disappoinment... the young man I trusted was doing okay who's now bangin' needles. the confused young guy I've always waited to come back around who I flat out caught railing oxys in the bathroom. the other funster whose bag we accidentally found his Dust-Off (huffing stash) the girls who falsely accused an absolutely innocent kid of selling drugs in the school, which devastated him. the criminal justice system for only slapping a simple probation judgement on the turd who was caught selling Rx dope and at least double the indictable amount of pot in the school, and then having to hear him brag about it. the kid who got the "I will stay sober" tattoo on his hand when he isn't even close.

Blah blah blah...there's more but I haven't the energy to list them.

It's 4:30 pm...I quit.

Words of advice from a child prodigy...

"...the goal is not to turn kids into your kind of adult but rather better adults than you have been."

- Adora Svitak

I want to live my life in such a manner as to make that something that's hard to do.


I have baseball tickets for tomorrow afternoon's Tigers-Twins game and no one wants them. I don't want to spend the rest of my life around people who won't take free tickets to a baseball game.

An explanation, or maybe an excuse...

"People seldom do what they believe in."
- Bob Dylan

There's this kid I can't get enough of. He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in a dozen different ways, and he's also one of the most messed up people I know. One is certainly connected to the other, and in ways I can't even begin to understand. He has a George Orwell tattoo. Our first conversation was about "A Clockwork Orange," and he kinda makes my day.

He's leaving for rehab in four days...maybe.

I found him a copy of George Orwell's "1984"...the new Penguin Classic Edition with the Shephard Fairey cover. He can take it with him to treatment.

He's the kind of kid that keeps me from cashing out in a hundred other opportunities. He's the excuse I give when someone asks why I'm not writing all of the time instead of some of the time. Sometimes I wonder if he's an easy excuse to reach for when the real issue might be fear? Sometimes I wonder that but then he comes to find me when he has a problem and needs help and then it strikes me that maybe I am scared, but then maybe I'm also inclined to do the kind of things that I believe in...and this is it.

We once met with a psychic down in Hell's Kitchen who threw me for a loop. She knew what I did for a living, and she knew what I had thought about doing, and she wouldn't let me off the hook when I explained the importance of a kid like this, and how much that meant to me to help. She said that she saw me writing, and that I was kidding myself if I thought that I couldn't make a difference with my words on paper rather than in the air between people. When I left she told me not to be scared...and I still haven't done anything about it.

It's funny, because I want Zoey to be proud of what I do, and so it makes this life I live easy. There's no debating the importance of what I get to do each day, but then I want her to chase her dreams and follow her heart and use teh talents that she has to the fullest. I'm not doing that. I might be doing somethign that I believe in but I can do more than just that.

Knee jerk reaction...

I just heard a teacher say "hypotenuse" and I giggled a little.

I hate that.

Then he said "socatoa" and I gagged and had to excuse myself.

A few of my favorite things...

Here are a few of my favorite things about June and Zedder...


She wakes up happy, all the time. She just wakes up and smiles, almost every day.

Her freckles, oh wow, her freckles.

The way I can be an idiot and she still loves me.

Her fascination with bags.

How she sighs when there's nothing to wear but then inevitably shrugs her shoulders and gets dressed.

The way that she cries when she watches "Parenthood" on television.

How she has her own schedule, and clocks don't mean much.

How she oves Curtis Granderson so much that she's now a Yankee fan.

She likes baseball.

She likes McDonalds cheeseburgers more than almost anything, and isn't afraid to admit it.

She drinks root beer.

How her and Zoey giggle at bedtime.

Her hair.

How excited she is to wear glasses after trying not to her whole life.

The way that she slumps when she finds failure.

She'll pick up things later...maybe.

Her shoulders. She has gymnast shoulders.

How if I'm distracted enough to forget to offer a good night kiss she comes and takes one.

Jeans are good enough.

She tries hard.

She's unaffected by others.

When she gets angry and frustrated she cries.

How she covers up her mouth in the morning 'cause she doesn't want me to smell her breath.

The way that she dances when she's excited.

How when I'm spinning out of control she just sidesteps me and keeps on keeping on.

She has absolutely the best intentions of anyone I know.

She has soft cheeks.

How she just knows when I'm going to reach out and squeeze her knee and she deflects it almost every time.

The way that her hair smells...and her skin...and her clothes.

She punches funny.

She folds things way better than I fold things.

Her first hockey game was Game #5 of the Stanley Cup, and she grinned the whole time.

How she meets famous or important people and just shrugs.

She can cross her legs crazy good...I mean crazy good.

She likes zoos.

Her eyes aren't any one color.

Her lips are practically perfect, and they get really soft when she cries. I don't understand the biology in that but it's true.

She has the best turd radar I've ever seen.

Things happen to her that NEVER EVER happen to me.

Going to get ice can take an hour.

She's got a tiny little scar on the tip of her nose.

How when she comes home from work sometimes she'll put her pajama pants on in the evening but she still has the same top on that she wore all day.

Sometimes I catch her watching me, and smiling.


Them is some serious blue eyes little girl.

The cleft in her chin.

The way that she mumbles to herself and shakes her head when something doesn't go as she planned.

Her sometimes dimples.

How she just has to shake her head if she says "no."

How she says "nope" more than just, "no."

Sometimes when she walks really fast she throws elbows.

She scrunches her nose up.

The way that her eyes disappear when she smiles.

How she says, "wow," all the time.

She can show you the exact spot of her only freckle.

She refers to the bottom of things as, "bum."

She likes to find skin on people.

The way that she looks first thing in the morning. It's so completely different than the way that she looks the rest of the day.

When her hair is brushed to the side. It's ridiculously swoon inducing.

She likes to watch other kids.

The way that she grabs your hand and makes you come with her or sit down.

She talks to herself and her stuffed animals all alone in her room.

Sometimes if you're the first into her room in the morning you'll catch her sitting up against the crib wall and reading her Peter Rabbit book...upside down. The book, not her.

She mostly ignores Dr. Suess.

She can sleep through NCAA Tournament games.

She sometimes bites her Mom's nose.

Whenever I'm getting silly she says, "Oh, Daddy."

Her toothy smile.

The way that her love of Debu borders on abuse.

How much she loves when frog or her cat turn the pages of her book.

How excited she gets to look for bunnies in her front yard.

She has her Mom's mouth and nose, even the shape of her eyes.

The sound of her feet flitting across the floor.

How she crawls up onto the couch more awkwardly than you could imagine.

The way she always wants to rub baby powder onto herself and then you.

How she'll stop and point to the sky every time she hears a plane.

She likes Comerica Park.

I can't believe how blond her hair still is.

She occasionally growls.

When she hugs you for real, not just a dismissive, because you asked hug.

Her little half grin when she's stifling a smile.

Her eyelashes are crazy long.

She looks funny in jeans.

The bracelet that she's been wearing since Hawaii.

She can show you where her elbow is and she's SO proud.

The way that she meets me at the door when I come home...more excited to show me something than to see my face.

Coloring on the floor with her.

Rubbing noses.

Saying goodnight fourteen times, and watching her smile each and every time I sneak back into her room.

How Sometimes I catch her watching me, and smiling.

See this coffee table...It should inspire you.

How exactly does one find early morning inspiration in a table? I dunno, but I'll tell you what this cool lookin' tableau from Actus did to me (don't bother with why I was hangin' 'round the Actus site either 'cause even I don't know how I landed there). It made me think about how important it is to think things that other people aren't thinking. It's really the only way this table happens.

Here's some more randomness for you, just 'cause that's mostly what Wednesday mornings need. There is an old and often overlooked antebellum tradition of hanging quilts out of the window as a sign to escaping slaves. The quilts themselves were signs of safe haven, warnings of danger, even maps to guide them on their desperate journey, but the coolest part about the phenomenon was that only the messages that they conveyed were secret, the quilts themselves hung out in plain sight, and were often used as quilts might be used, for warmth, decoration, etc...Yes, they were important tools in the pursuit of freedom for thousands of runaway slaves but they also kept away the December cold. The genius of these patchwork patterns of old cloth and thread was that they hung there, on window ledges, from clothes lines, hidden in plain sight...overlooked by everyone who wasn't looking for something different in them.

Odd connection, I know, between this table and that story, but not really. When we find ourselves overlooking what's in plain sight we often don't see things for what they really are, or perhaps, could be.

How many thousands of years have there been tables? Too many to count. Strangely, how many people have thought to take what is traditionally a pretty popular children's play area...the coffee table...and make it more kid friendly? Very few. maybe only this guy...or girl. Whoever decided upon slanting one end of the table to make it more accessible to children was seeing the world just a little differently huh?

I like that. I like it a lot.

I try to wrap my head around the randomness of my ideas sometimes and I can't. they just come, without context often, and without any kind of anchor to help them stay put and be of some use. More times than not they just float away, or find the back of some sketchbook page. They should be watered and planted in a spot with some sun. That is what this table reminds me of. That's what the quilt story inspires in me.

See things differently, and then do something about it. Oddly enough, there wouldn't have ever been oddly angled coffee tables or men and women who found freedom if that weren't the case. See the world differently, and then do something.

I suppose you could always go out and earn a paycheck and buy a really big TV too...whatever suits you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Something to say about my family...

I may or may not have ever said this before, but it makes me proud to have a wife that is half-Japanese...a daughter that is one quarter Japanese, and a Baachan for her who had the courage and audacity to leave her entire family in Sendai because she loved a bearded roller skating Canadian man.

My daughter has a Great Grandmother who lives in an entirely different hemisphere, and a Great Aunt Kumi and Saeko, who are surely desperate to meet her. She has a Great Uncle Masashi too, and someday she's going to meet him...and someday she's going to play with her Great Grandmother. She might even kiss her on the face, which would make both her mother and Baachan cry...a lot.

June's Baachan, June, and Giichan - Japan 1997

June is half-Japanese and she's so proud of that thing that you can't help but swoon with pride by osmosis. When we were living in Hawaii people called her Hapa, which wasn't entirely accurate, but it was more inclusive than anything she had known previously. In Honolulu June was accepted as no different then the rest, at least from the impressive Hapa population. It was sigh inspiring. I've never seen her more proud of the way her eyes disappear when she smiles really wide (a genetic hand-off in case you haven't noticed on the Zedder), or the way her hair gives her away almost every time. She is half-Japanese and I love finding that influence in her.

Anyway, that's something I like to say about my family.

Tramps Like Us...

I gotta have this album...and this one too. You know, for Zoey...not for me. She'd love them. Okay I would love them, but who cares who it is that actually loves them, so long as they're loved. Wait, that sounds way too Berkeley 1967. Sorry...

ME...I...would love to own this record. How can you go wrong? Sesame Street...good. Springsteen...good. An actual vinyl LP...gooood. How could I possibly not spend the loot on that bugger?

I stumbled into the record while looking for my long lost and beloved My Name is Roosevelt Franklin" LP. It was my favorite record when I was a kid. I wore the damn thing out. I think I lost the flimsy interior record sleeve. I know for a fact that I tore the edges of the actual cardboard record jacket. It didn't take long before the album was just sitting on the turntable, unable to find a place to call home because I'd ruined it. That memory might be a little exaggerated but my love of Roosevelt Franklin was not. I couldn't get enough of Roosevelt Franklin.

Why am I saying Roosevelt Franklin's entire name every time I mention him? Because that's what you do when you make reference to Roosevelt Franklin. If you're not familiar with one of Sesame Street's greatest characters ever then check more of him out here...and here too. He's maybe the best ever, or at least I thought he was until I saw Ernie and Bert doing their best Born to Run pose.

Itch, itch...scratch, scratch...screeeeam!

Sometimes I want to take the clothes that I'm wearing and rip them right off of my back and throw them in a river, a nearby river so I don't have to travel too far nekkid, or perhaps I could have the clothes that I really want to wear handy and close by for a smooth transition into more preferred garments. Although I enjoy nekkid as much as the next person it's no way to go through this life, you know, amoungst other more appropriately clothed people. I suppose, in truth, it's really the only way that we all actually go through life, but let's not get nitpicky. The point of all this is that I get up...I put on clothes that I often don't find very comfortable in the strictest "me" sense, and then go pretend to be someone kinda important to a lot of people who really do think that they are quite important. The kids that I work with would prefer the real me, but the schools I wander into kinda demand a more rigorish version of the accidentally presentable me.

Today I would like to ditch these khakis, shoes, socks, shirt with a collar, sweater with a zipper, wrist(and for some odd reason I want to emphasize both parts of this delightfully compound word)watch, and replace it all with...uhmmm...

This. I won't be needing the suitcase though.

I just want to feel like me, and instead I feel like I just walked out of the teachers lounge. I suppose it's my obligation, or perogative or something, to change that, right? Yeah, it is...of course it is. I'm wandering into work for the rest of this week and the rest of forever looking the that way I feel. I'll just ask my wife to hide my Dodgers cap and all those t-shirts that aren't a single solid know, help to minimize the potential damage I might cause to myself. In fact, I might just go home tonight and purge myself of all these items of fabric annoyance and teacherous sensibilities. Sorry Beth, no offence...I bet you look just fine. Your smile alone does the trick, but I'm feeling very non-Brian-like, which sucks the mustard a little. I dress fine on my own, why do I insist on not doing so each morning that I head to work?

Zoey...write this down... you know, someday when you can write...

Act like you, talk like you, dress like you, laugh, walk, run like you every minute of every day 'cause somebody probably likes you a lot exactly the way that you are...more importantly, you'll like yourself a lot better being exactly who you're supposed to be all of the time.

So...anyone...If you want some perfectly good clothes meet me in my driveway at 6pm tonight. I'll be the grinning git of a man-boy with several bags of perfectly good clothing that perfectly annoys me.

A quick question before I go...

Why do men have the style options of either uber-masculine, or perfectly emasculating, with nary a thing in between? I'm a guy. I want to dress like a guy...not a biker, not a rock star, not a prep school headmaster, not a golfer, not an uncle with questionable taste...just a guy.

By the way...I'm also not shaving for the rest of the week. Sorry Zo. Hugs will be scratchy.

Now I have to go pretend to know a lot of stuff and be semi-responsible...although I find more often than not I help these kids more when I don't know how to help them, and when I'm seemingly as inclined to screwing up as they may be. It's hard to fake "real."

I'm chalking one up for the great and confusing universe today because on this sunny but windy afternoon, sensibility loses and gut instinct wins big.

BTW...friends in both NY and CA who might say, "Nothing wrong with the way you cover yourself Bri," which I'd respond to with a reminder that the very middle of North America is not Hell's Kitchen or the Haight. People here have sweatshirts with wolves on them. You think I'm joking. Dressing like a guy here is really confusing. Hence, my existential/sartorial funk on this fine day.

I think I want to have no shoes on...can I do that?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Amazing Grace...and all that sappy crap

I would like to be full of grace. I would like it if people considered the things that I believe in, or dream of, as beautiful, and my approach to them as being full of grace. I don't think that they do. People don't say those things about men, which is a bit of a bummer. They're such powerful words. I don't want to be beautiful. I'd just like to walk around the edges with a little obvious grace and dignity. I'd like that. Zoey helps, and to be perfectly honest, as long as my wife and child think those things then I'll be perfectly happy.

What's the line from Beautiful Girls? You know, Timothy Hutton's line as he's leaning back against the pool table with Mo, "I just want something beautiful," he says. The kicker comes when Mo replies, "Everyone wants something beautiful."

Man, I love that movie.

No Sleep 'til Brooklyn...starting today

So Zo decided that today would be a nap-free exercise in endurance for both her and Grandma. After a full hour and a half of trying to convince her that sleep would be a good idea, and Zed fervently disbelieving her very loving and patient Grandma, everyone gave up.

Zo went sleepless today.

I got home in time to color, eat, help bath Zo and then by 7:30 pm that little funster was out cold. We didn't even have the chance to show her the lease for the apartment in Carroll Gardens. Yup, that's right...Brooklyn. We'll be moving out of this fun factory with a lake view, and temporarily calling Brooklyn home.

That's right...Yankees games, Mets games, Cyclones games...and a bunch of other junk. Actually it's the other "junk" that has us so excited. June is already plotting with her friend Mel, a Canadian transplant to Brooklyn, to join some parent groups and get waist deep in this thing and that...We have hopes of seeing our friend Betsy a bunch...and we have every intention of getting our fill of parks, museums, concerts, shows, shopping, etc... Zo might be fairly ambivalent with the news in the morning but she's gonna be absolutely bummed to leave Brooklyn in August.

Come visit us. I double dog dare you.

BTW...Hopefully that whole no sleep 'til Brooklyn reference is just something clever and not an actual prediction of some kind.

I hope Zoey travels...

This is what I want Zoey's life to look like. The photo is by Aaron Huey, and he's a frikkin' photographic genius.

Zoey's excused from having to go to those random places in the ocean where pins seem to be oddly located, and I'll understand if she chooses to skip Baffin Island, but the her cousin Avery would say, "get crack-a-lackin' kid.

A lesson in the "Just Ask" philosophy

Photo by Phil King, all rights reserved.

Here's a lesson for you Zo. Just ask. That's it, that's all. Be nice, be respectful, be aware of just what it is that you're asking for, and then it's simple...just ask.

Following the Corinne Bailey Rae show in Detroit I was looking for a nice pic to top off the post when I stumbled upon this great set of Rae pics over at Flickr. They were taken by a good fella named Phil King over in the UK. He's a drummer, a band manager, a photographer and father...and he's cool as hell. I told him that I liked his photos (and I did...they've got a certain intimate quality that looks both retro and "now" at the same bloody time) and I asked him if I could use one and give him credit. He just sent me back a kind email telling me to do so and also referring to Zo's blog as "wonderful." He's an alright fella with a nice eye. I wonder what his drumming is like?

Anyway, the lesson in all of this is that the world is full of wonderful people but you have to put yourself out there to meet them, you have to get burned on occasion and you have to put faith in people...and if you want something, you kind just have to ask.

Just ask Zo...people will surprise you oh-so pleasantly on many occasions. Take Phil for instance. Nice guy who takes nice photos. You can never know too many of those people.

BTW...this has to be one of favorite pics ever.

Selfish Monday, not to be confused with Shellfish Monday

Monday mornings need inspiration. They're tough. This morning I woke to find myself in quite possibly the most comfortable position in history, with perhaps the softest pillow ever. I had a song in my head (Good Tyme by Stew) and the clock wasn't forcing me into any rash decisions. I lingered. I lingered much longer than I should have. Even Zo was accomodating. I could hear her little snore from the next room. Today I was supposed to stay in bed a little longer. At least that's what the great Gods of Selfishness said.

Zed was still asleep when I left. That usually bums me out but today it felt good to know that someone was getting all that extra sleep.

I drove to work trying to think of something extraordinarily fun to do today but I was kinda stumped. You shouldn't be stumped when you're thinking of fun things to distract yourself with. That's a bad sign. Fun things shold fall out of trees and land on your head, like Newtonian apples. Sorry, I just felt like saying "Newtonian apples," because it seemed so random.

So while I wait for inspiration to come to me, I'll chuck you a link or two...Let's call this my selfish Monday list. I want all this junk...

I want this shirt that makes Chris Isaak look cooler than I ever could.

I think that I would like this jacket too.

...and this awesome hat.

I would like to have this record.

I could stand a ticket to this show, thank you very much.

I would very much enjoy owning this.

I would like to go to this festival.

This would be nice to own.

As would this pricey little number.

I would be very enamored of this beauty to carry all my not-so important things in.

I'd be very happy to enjoy this over and over again.

This would get good use.

I would like to own this in the black... Yeah, I would.

One of these would be cool.

I neglected to order this with my most recent purchase. This too.

That's all. I don't want seem greedy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Something to hold tight as you slip off to sleep...

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."

- Vincent Van Gogh

I just read that and kinda swooned, you know, in a manly, whiskery kind of way.

For your Sunday evening listening pleasure...

Ever heard of Raphael Saadiq? Go on and save yourself. Get some salvation at his church of awesomeness. This cat can make a music video...maybe the best music videos I've ever seen. It ain't got nuthin' to do with the Zedder but, hey man, I like soul... sue me.

I dig the whole Motown vibe he's got goin' on. I've kinda always wondered why no one ever really went back to that mine to look for leftovers. As the sixties drew to a close there wasn't but one kind of music on the radio, and that was Motown music. Foolish to think that your Mom's recipe for the best chicken pot pie you've ever eaten just doesn't work forty years later. It seems like I've been waiting all my life, or at least ever since I wore the hell out of Mom's "The Happening, album by The Supremes, for this to happen. Raphael Saadiq has got it goin' on in a big, big way.

Man, this is one bad fella. I can't get enough of this good stuff. I gotta catch this brother to.

Anyway...enjoy, and happy Sunday.

Zoey's Home! Look out!

Zedder's home! And we're pretty excited, not quite as excited as she is but terribly excited nonetheless. She's been a bee hive of activity. Hugs, and laughs and laps around the living room, and talk, talk, talk ever since she got home. It's been hilarious. We've had a fun afternoon full of two days worth of catching up...that's a lot. The three of us ate each other up in great big giant chomps. We played on the floor...the kitchen floor, the living room floor, the bedroom floor...We played on the couch, at the kitchen table, and in the sink. We colored and we played with blocks and we watched hockey. That's right, we watched hockey...and somewhere right out of the blue Zoey pointed at the television and clearly said, "hockey," and I nearly choked.

"She just say hockey?" I yelled at June in the kitchen. "She just said hockey."

"What," June said.

"She just said hockey," I replied with some urgency. "Zoey," I asked, "what are you watching?"

"Hockey," she said, again, clearly.

Yeah, she did.

She pointed at the television and said without any hesitation or any odd inflection, "hockey." Welcome home Zo, nice to see you, now knock me over. That's a pretty regular thing but for some reason this one threw me for a loop.

We had a lot of fun today, and then much too quickly Zoey had to go to bed. June was bummed out. Mom obviously wanted more of her daughter, when she knew that she couldn't have it, not tonight. It was bedtime much too early after two days of no Zo. Right now I can hear the two of them talking and giggling in the darkness of Zo's bedroom and I can't stop smiling. Zo's home.

A night out that actually felt like a night out...

Although it seems so strange for both June and I to do anything without Zo these days, the kind of thing that most new parents experience, when you stumble into a hot and crowded hall and see an artist like Corrine Bailey Rae transform herself from a shy and hesitant little waif of a woman into a smiling powerhouse of soulful song it's kind of easy to forget where your child is. It makes it easier that she's resting comfortably and happily in the care of her loving grandparents... who really would strangle us were we to steal away their Friday or Saturday night visits from the Zedder. You find yourself thanking your lucky stars that you've got that kind of support. I'd have died had I missed Corrine Bailey Rae so close to home.

The show was powerful and Rae was more magnetic than we had anticipated. We quickly forgot that on most nights we're trying to keep to a schedule... that 11pm is late, and 6 am isn't really all that early. We almost forgot who we were or where we were at. Corrine Bailey Rae was alluring and delightful in absolutely the strictest definitions of both. We stood happily engrossed for five hours and limped away smiling after Rae filled nearly two of those with a sweet and smiling, but oh-so sultry spectacle of soul and sincerity. She fidgeted and smiled nervously—a palpable discomfort that melted away each time she opened her mouth to lilt through gentle back and forth quips with the crowd or with surprisingly stirring songs . There were times we didn't even realize that we were standing next to one another.

By the end of the night all we could muster was a muted, "Wow," between us. We drove home draped in a kind of affectionate awe, and didn't miss Zo at all until we pulled into the drive. Leaving her has been difficult, certainly as difficult as any parent finds it to be, but nights like this help you to be mindful that no matter what the product of the equation our family is, that sometimes it's just a nice thing to find one plus one equaling two, not three. We certainly don't hesitate to leave her, and haven't, not since the very start, but you forget how woven she is into your every emotion. The very fabric of your personality changes so completely with a child. It used to be that the definition of "us" was so small, and now it feels so very big. We missed her last night, but reassuringly not for one entire two hour stretch of amazingness. BTW, I know that's not a word.

Don't know much about Corinne Bailey Rae? Check her out here on Q with CBC's Jian Ghomeshi. It's a great interview.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Off to see Corinne Bailey Rae @ St. Andrews Hall

We're headed down to Detroit tonight to see Corinne Bailey Rae at St. Andrews Hall. I love Corinne Bailey Rae, but more importantly I love that city. I do. I love wandering amongst the ghosts on her streets and feeling as though you might be standing smack dab in the middle of what someday might be the most modern ruins of Romanesque stature this continent has ever known. This city used to be great. I'd have liked to have seen that. I love it here. I could love it elsewhere, and have, but I can never just walk the streets of Detroit...I feel them, as if they were the dirt lanes and river banks of my childhood. So tonight I'll wait in an alley off of Congress, hoping to get in early enough to find a good spot on the balcony, just to the left of the stage, perhaps, and high above the young woman we've come to see. Then when the show is over we'll slip back outside to that other lady we came to see...Detroit.

I wonder what this place will look like when Zoey grows up? Sometimes it feels as though the decaying buildings on Sproat, between Woodward and Cass, will still stand empty and crumbling when she finds her way here...if she ever does. I hope she does. Who knows where our lives might find us looking back from, but I would hope that someday she gets to know this fabulous city. It's the most beautiful shame I've ever known.

Don't be afraid to define things differently...

Age is a little bit of a deceiving thing, a label at best. I've learned over the years, especially over the past few days, that living a life worth living, chasing rainbows and blue skies, desert flowers and perfect peeling waves on faraway beaches, is all something completely separate from growing up or getting older.

So what's with the Michelle Branch video? Well first, I &#$%ing love Michelle Branch, and secondly, if it stirs just a little wanderlust in you, or causes just a little flip in your stomach that maybe you're still as young as you once were, that maybe you can still drive off in some old Volkswagen van and find freedom and fun off in some distant desert, then maybe age isn't what you thought it might be. Maybe it's all in how you live your life. I watch that video and my heart skips and I get excited to just run away with June and Zo. I still feel those feelings...still smile at those images. I guess what I'm getting at is we just might be aging ourselves in the worst of ways with the work we do, the mortgages we hold, the fences we build around our lives. You can do anything that you want to do. So do it.

I'm thirty-eight years old, and I'm still desperate for all of those things that sent me flipping out into the great wide open all those years Paris, and Twenty-nine Venice and Rome, and Big Sur and Berkeley...I feel overcome with romance and idealism and excitement and wishful someday mornings...I'm still looking for, as Lloyd Dobler once said, that "dare to be great situation." I'm still desperate for the warmth of sunshine on my face, and to create something that will last, and that might make someone else see me as something else. I still want to explore and learn, and kiss a girl, my girl, on the end of a million mile long pier jutting out into the great golden glow of an end of the day Pacific Ocean. I want to drive fast on Hwy 1 through a winding, windy California coast, and I want to laugh and push and shove and hug and chase each other through the narrow streets of Montmartre, and all the way up those stairs to Sacre Couer so that we can see all of Paris stretching out beneath us...all of Paris and the rest of our lives. I want all of that still.

I have friends that are old, made weary by work, by missed opportunities, or by dreams long left untouched. I don't want that. I don't mind the grey that is slowly creeping onto my temples because it means nothing more than the fact that I've been around awhile. I do mind the way in which so many of the people I know have given up on discovering what's around every corner, and what they're truly capable of...or of accepting the person that they've always known themselves to be when it might not even e close to the person who they could or should become.

I want everything, and laughably, kind of all at once. I want to feel the way that I do sipping an early morning coffee on the corner of El Camino Real and Avenido Presdio in San Clemente, CA, with the sun shining bright and the day empty of expectations but full of sunshine and possibilities. If I could feel that way every day of my life I'd feel twenty-one for the rest of my life. I kind of already do.

So what was the point of all this? Just watch the video, ignore Michelle Branch's ridiculous headband thingy, and feel like you can do anything. My version of anything just tends to have deserts and VW vans in it. Yours can have whatever.

BTW...this song is pretty awesome.

Also... how bloody cute is this.

Good Morning Mum...

This was June's morning-without-her-daughter present...

I snapped a few pics between mischievous giggles, thinking that I might post them later, but when I uploaded the pics from the camera I found this one...

And then finally this one...

Hmmm, someone's equally ravenous and creative early in the morning...

Read this or you're not allowed to talk to me anymore...

I can't get enough of this woman's blog. I love it. I just keep reading and reading until I feel as though I'm peeking out the window at my neighbors backyard party, then I stop. THen I wake up the next day and do it again. But it's comforting to know why I do...

I'm helplessly attracted to honesty. I all of it's confusing versions and every biased manifestation (sorry for using a word like that so early), hopelessly pulled in towards it like a bug to one of those awful zapping purple light things from when we were kids...Zzzzt.

It's never rang more true for me then it has after I became a parent, that you have to get good at being you, and then give that gift to everyone around and watch and see what happens. If we're lucky we discover ourselves, banish our old falsnessessess (that should really be a real word) and get down to wowing the world. There's absolutely nothing cooler than the peeled banana version of ourselves.

Anyway, I love this blog and I wanted to give it to you. The young woman in it is allowed (I consulted with the great karmic Gods of fate and awkwardness) to become our friend this summer when we move to Brooklyn (it's official) and Zoey can teach her how to speak Canadian and maybe even how to appropriately laugh at her own farts, like Zoey does, unless of course, like most of us, she already knows how to do that.

I've decided that I will go all the way back to Meg's first blog post (2008) and read it all from there, rather than the backwards way blogspot has us reading blogs all the time. I'm absolutely stoked to go back in time (Blogger makes an excellent time machine with absolutely no need for plutonium or a flux capacitor, which is nice) and to make a new pseudo-friend, you know the kind that the internet allows the many that we have here with Zoey's blog.

Anyway...and Saturday is off and running with some hot coffee, a lake view, a corner spot on the couch, iTunes providing a smile inducing buffet of morning music, and a New York story about a girl we don't know but kinda wish we did after reading so much.

An honest word for an honest girl....nice blog Meg. We love it! Mostly me but I'll say we to be as democratic as possible.

BTW - I can't stop listening to this song, which is nice considering we're going to stand ten feet away from her tonight at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit.

An additional BTW...Do you have any idea how absolutely over the frikkin' moon I am to be going to see this show tonight? I'd bet my feet that you have only a limited capacity to comprehend my excitement.

Saturday morning meandering

"When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?

I read that quote in Nicole Krauss' book, A History of Love and it stuck. Sometimes I look too hard for the right words. Of course, at other times it must seem as though I don't search for any appropriate words but rather, just blurt out the ridiculous. It happens. I don't regret the words that fall from my fingers or out of my mouth. They're just what happens when you're living and breathing amongst other people.

This morning I'm searching for a word to describe what it feels like to miss Zoey. She's overnighting at Baachan and Grandad's house, and from what I hear, is quickly becoming best friends with the bearded one she once couldn't bring herself to play with without coaxing. Now they walk down the street hand in hand. I'd like to see that. I bet it's sweet beyond proper explaining.

Right now I'm stuck between cursing myself for being awake at 6:30am on a Saturday, and missing Zo. I think that rather than search for words I might just roll over and cloak June with one arm, you know, soak her in while the sun comes up. Then I might get up, grab some coffee, find a fun present for my snoring wife, and then draw something. That sounds like an incredible start to a largely empty day.

I hope the sky is wide open and blue this morning. I might count airplanes today. I know, I'm being waaay ambitious.

It's funny, but what I've found is that although we may spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the right words, they're usually the ones that find the page or drift out into the open air anyway...on their own.

Now I must go and feed the cat before he eats my wife.

"Once upon a time there was a boy, and he loved a girl, and her laughter was a question that he wanted to spend his whole life answering."

That's from that book too. Good book. I've got two girls like that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bang the drum slowly so we don't have to say goodbye

Spent most of today at a funeral for a friend. I was doing okay until I saw his daughter, then not so okay. Waabgoni looks just like Dan...exactly. I thought of my own daughter too quickly and then I struggled to get back the balance I just had in the middle of all that.

I saw some old friends, like Shim, and Wiser, Beav and Qua...that was nice, and Brad made it out in time to see hawks soaring above the beating drum and singers, in time to offer tobacco and cedar, and to join in with all the other boys who traded their hockey sticks for shovels on this sunny day. We shovelled dirt onto the casket, the lot of us, and that was harder than I expected, but it made me proud too.

The hawks floating above gave me shivers, but we didn't need their hovering to tell us that Danny was special. Most of us knew that since we were small. When the drums finally stopped beating some of us shared some laughs. It made me proud of where I come from and who I know, even of what I've been so lucky to do. When we all said goodbye and went our own ways it struck me that Danny left us with more than one legacy. Those were awkward goodbyes, and I won't say that word as lightly as I have in the past, not anymore. At least the rest of us still have the chance to say it to one another. This was the last time we would say it Dan.

Baamaapii ggwaabimin, Piidaankwod. Racing cloud, huh? You never told me that was your name. It was a good name. We'll see each other again someday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Toilet, meet Zoey...Zo, this is the toilet.

Zoey sat on the toilet tonight. It's not that we expect Zo to be using the proper facilities at this stage of her life but we do try to talk about the proper place for her to do her business as often as we can. We make mention of it pretty frequently. We keep the toilet clean so she can feel free to hang around it and inspect the future home of all her waste products. We even empty out the contents of her diaper into that bad boy on know, let her have front row seats. We don't know what we're doing, it just seems to kinda make sense. One of these days this summer we'll be in full-on toilet training mode and we kinda look at this time as her Spring Training.

When I came around the corner tonight and caught Mom and Zo trying the toilet on for size for the very first time ever, I grabbed for the camera, in a freakish display of fatherdom. The sun was filtering down through the window and it was the kind of beautiful that, I imagine, only a parent really recognizes. There was Zo and her Mum basking in the golden glow of a hard days ending and they were talking about poop.

Sigh...this @#$% never ceases to be funny...and sweet. Funny and sweet.

Something to know, one more thing.

Play with this fun pick-one thingy for awhile while I contemplate the meaning of life and watch the first round of the NFL Draft.

What? It's fun...

Do me a favor and let me know what choices you had to make that way I can judge you.

Everything happens for a reason they say...

I'm struggling to understand synchronicity today. Last night I watched Gus Van Sant's hauntingly realistic film, "Elephant," a Columbinesque peek at a school shooting in fictional Watt High School in Portland, Oregon, and I hardly slept afterward. Watching the 2003 Cannes Film Festival Award winner in the last hours of April 21st didn't help. Van Sant filled my head with images that shouldn't float about your psyche at midnight, let alone into the early morning hours. I had to be at a school less than eight hours after the film ended. I didn't necessarily want to.

June's father, Gerry, introduced me to the notion of synchronicity several years ago. I hadn't thought much about it before our conversations turned the phenomenon into a recurring discussion. If I didn't believe in synchronicity before, I wholeheartedly did afterward.

Then I watched Elephant.

Then I stumbled upon this today and suddenly realized that April 20th, just one day prior, was the 11th anniversary of Columbine.

There was no particular reason why I decided to finally watch "Elephant eight years after it was released. There certainly was no reason I decided to watch "Elephant" a little more than 24 hours from the anniversary of the most infamous school shootings in history. Similarly, there was no reason for me to stumble into

Strange, sun shining days...

What a beautiful sun shining week. It's cold, but the sun is bright and the days are going mostly as they should. I've stepped back a little from the school work, partly because the phone has quieted, and partly because I've decided to make myself a little less available and subsequently, taken for granted. Don't mistake this tone for unhappiness or some kind of disgruntled whatever...I've just strayed from my 14 year old mantra of "don't do much and they won't expect much," and I've struggled meeting the expectations from two hundred directions. Most people have one or two bosses. I have seventeen or so. Anyway, it's been a good week of re-evaluating how my time gets used.

Suddenly yesterday I check my messages and there's one from a good friend telling me that our friend, Danny, had passed away. He was thirty-nine. It kind of threw me for a loop. Its still doing a pretty good number on me. It's not the age as much as its what Danny was. He was the best hockey player I ever remembered. He played some Major Junior, made all of us look stupid on skates when we were kids, and generally made us believe that a game could do crazy things for people. He's the guy who, for me, is perpetually sixteen and whirring around us all with a smile and cold wind whoosh as he slipped past on the outside and zinged a shot past your ear. He was kind of above leaving us, which of course, is ridiculous. He certainly should have been above leaving us before his 40th birthday.

So the sun is still out but I'm a little distracted. I've been remembering a lot of great stories and living my life in the here and now all at the same time. I've turned into a guy who isn't much for the past. I've mostly sped forward finding new enterprises, meeting new people, leaving mistakes and successes in the past. Sure I'll talk about this or that but I never wanted to go back to those places. Now suddenly I'm finding myself feeling like a sixteen year old kid who won't be seeing Danny tying up his skates across the room and I'm kinda looking forward to the next game or practice that won't ever come.

I sent a message to an old friend, John, to tell him the news. I spent almost every year of my young hockey life with John, at least until our middle teenage years, and he responded with a muted, "Wow," which is about the most any of us can manage to blurt out. More often than not we weren't on Danny's teams. He was a step better, and every couple of years a division above us, but as I grew older our paths crossed on the rink more frequently, until one day hockey was gone for all of us and we rarely saw one another. Even John and I only recently reconnected, and oddly enough, it wasn't hockey that did it. It was daughters.

It's just so strange to hear the news that Danny has died, and I certainly didn't anticipate this reaction. My brother, Brad, got in touch with his former club, the Belleville Bulls, to let them know that Dan had passed, and got a pretty heart warming reply back. I'm sure Brad will be taking it to Dan's family. I'm glad that he thought to do that. The words from his former keepers in Belleville was that they had remembered that, "Dan's short time playing hockey in Belleville had been maybe the happiest of his life." Those of us that knew Dan also knew that it was bookended by some of his earliest troubled times. He had suffered losses early and then they began to accumulate. He rallied in adulthood, as most of us do, and found similar happiness in family and children etc...but now, his life falling just short of forty, those good times seem terribly distant.

Like I said, it's just so strange to hear the news that Danny has died. The best hockey player that I ever remember, and no coincidence, I think, that the sun has been shining all week long.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grandma the hopeless romantic...

We were looking at this great blog post by a couple who used Blurb to make a book full of this and thats from their collective past on their wedding day. It was a wicked idea with everything from receipts to tickets stubs and photographs. I want one. I showed Grandma the blog and she immediately quipped,

"Oh, you do stuff like that when you're stupid and first in love."

It killed us. We all burst out laughing, so much so that we nearly woke Zoey. I still can't believe she said that. Anyway...great idea, hilarious response. Hope your keeping all those ticket stubs.

Zoey...write this down 'cause I'll forget it.

More often than not I'll be talking to a young man or woman in trouble and stuff will fall out of my mouth that I hadn't any idea I had brewing up there in my cranium. Sometimes I'll catch myself say something and I'll think, "Wow, that sounds pretty good." Conversations amid crisis can get pretty back-and-forth pretty quickly and although you know where you're going with things occasionally by the time it goes from frontal lobe to lips it comes out sounding very different than what your idea was. Of course, sometimes it sounds awful. It's not always a good thing that there's a disconnect between your ideas and your speech.

Today, however, I tripped over a beauty that fell out of my face before I could even get a hand out to catch it. I had to pick it up off the floor, wipe it off and write it down.

I said, "eventually, you need to start being you, and then you need to get really good at it.

Yikes...I know. It even surprised me.

After the young man left my office I thought about what I had said and I realized from what place in the furrowed fields of my brain that such a previously planted thing was harvested. I spent a lot of years being other people for other people. Maybe sometimes I didn't have many other choices, but regardless, I didn't get to the meat of this living thing until I sussed out who I was.

As we grow up we learn by imitating, trying on aspects of other people. We see how the people around us fit, and of course, most of us dream of becoming famous perhaps, conveniently forgetting that what made the famous people that we idolize famous themselves was who they were – which isn’t us.

I remember reading that Kurt Cobain once said that “wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” That was before, you know...he went and killed himself, but that's nowhere near the point. It's good advice all the same.

The important thing to realize is that, eventually, you need start being you, and need to get really good at it.

Write that down Zoey, and don't ever let anyone ever tell you to shut up. Sometimes it's all that talking that lets all the good stuff out. Just be sure to listen, and be sure to be curious and to learn. If you do all of that then you've earned the right to say a good deal of whatever you want...respectfully. You should probably ignore the rest of Kurt Cobain's advice too.

If you were to ask me what I believe in...

Here is your totally unsolicited soapbox oration of the week...

I don't know why, but from a very young age I’ve really believed in some things. Not an overwhelming number of inconsequential little this and thats, I mean I wasn't out hugging trees, although I loved trees very much. I just believed very strongly in certain things, some very important things, I think. As I grew, these beliefs grew with me. Like I said, I don't know where this came from. Many of them certainly vary from the belief systems of a lot of my most obvious influences, but nevertheless, they're firmly ingrained in who I am and I'm probably not going to suddenly lose my conscience or commitment.

I believe that none of us is an accident, that we all have potential and purpose. We can deny ourselves reaching that potential and purpose. We can even be denied reaching that potential and purpose by others, but we cannot deny the existence of that potential and purpose.

I believe, as part of this purpose, we are born to relate to the others around us, to enjoy spending time with others, talking with each other, listening to each other, and having consideration for each other. I believe that spending time with other people is a ridiculously joyous thing. We can deny ourselves this joy. We can be denied this joy, but we cannot deny the existence of this joy.

I believe, as part of this joy, we are born to share, to enjoy communal and co-operative participation in things. In sharing, we make ourselves vulnerable. And in that vulnerability is joy. I think that this vulnerability and joy inhabit all our relationships, or they should.

I believe, as part of this vulnerability, we are born to learn while relating to the people around us, to learn while sharing, to learn while making ourselves vulnerable. Learning involves doing new things. Sometimes the new things are called failures, sometimes they are called successes. We should celebrate both.

I believe that doing all this: learning, loving, sharing, socialising: it’s called living. I believe that anything that stops us from reaching and extending our potential and purpose is wrong; I believe that anything that stops us from relating to others is wrong; I believe that anything that stops us from sharing is wrong; I believe that anything that stops us from learning is wrong.

I believe that, seen from this perspective, there are many things that are wrong with this world, and that it's not a very fair place, but also, that we have the power to change things.

It isn't just important to remember who you are but to imagine you who could and should be.

There...that's it. That's all.

Now that I've gotten that off of my chest...I wish I was at home playing with these two girls today.

BTW...This is what "excited" looks like...definitively

Just in case you were looking for a literal translation of the word excited...this is it.

Brooklyn vs. Sounthern California...hmmmm

So we’re still smack dab in the middle of this “Summer of Somewhere” fiasco in which we pathetically seek out a place to live for the summer. It’s a great situation, a chance to live in this place or that one, free from the shackles of your Joe Average everyday existence, but it’s pathetic in the sense that we fumble through it each year until something fortuitously falls into our lap. Typically we have less to do with finding something great than with something great finding us.
Right now the two most likely scenarios are Brooklyn and Southern California but we’re not ruling out anything. We could be updating this blog from Fargo, North Dakota come July…who knows. What I do know is that if we end up in Brooklyn there’ll be scads of things to do…concerts, jazz in the park, films in the park, Broadway in the park, lots of things in lots of parks…I’m especially excited to take in the HBO Film Festival on Monday nights in Bryant Park…here’s the opening night from a few years ago…

Of course, I could also handle rotting away on some wide stretch of San Diego County beach, that’d be terribly tragic, I think. Either way, we’re blessed with this annoying inconvenience of having to move out each and every year. It’s quite possibly the third or fourth best thing to happen to us behind each other, Zedder, and good health.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I still don't know what love means...or maybe I do

Today I looked at Zo and it struck me that after all these years I still don't know what love is. I struck me strange because I thought that I had it all figured out with her Mom. I guessed that I understood it each and every time that I saw June but then there came this little version of her and it threw me into a bit of confusion. I can't imagine more love than I can with either and yet it's different for both.

Maybe loving Zo will be something that I'll be good at. I know that I can love her mother without even trying, by just rolling over at 3 am and needing to throw my arm around her...not wanting to as much as needing to. I know that I sometimes need to reach across her lap in search of her hand, or catch a glance. Sometimes I have to feel the weight of her pride and attention, often of her approval. I don't try to find these things but rather, they find me. I'm good at that. I wonder how good I'll be at loving Zo.

Sometimes I question myself, how good I am at all this Daddy stuff... and then I make her giggle and smile, or like today, I catch her staring back at me a dozen times each minute, searching for my attention, even my approval, and without even trying love has found me. Then I think that this is something I think that I'll be good at. I might not understand it, but I can be good at it.

I think every Dad is supposed to question his ability to do that, and then feel confident that the answer will find them without even trying. I still don't know what love means but I think I can be good at it anyway.

It's not people that's the problem...

"I love people...I just don't like assholes."
- Ray Lamontagne

I could listen to Ray Lamontagne forever and ever and then a little more. I watched him on Elvis Costello's Spectacle tonight and he knocked clear into the next room. Have you seen him interviewed? Heard him talk? He's incredible. My good friend, and by chance, relative, Scitty Coopaloop, said that to watch him play live is almost painful. Fortunately for us we'll shoot home from our summer of somewhere and catch him at the Meadowbrook Music Festival in Rochester Hills, MI on August 26th. He'll be playing with David Gray. We won't miss that I don't think.

What's with the quote?

I's what Ray said to Elvis tonight and I loved it so I thought I'd share it...this video too...

NAturally this has nothing to do with Zoey at all, but it's Sunday night and we all need a little somethin' somethin' as we slowly sneak into Monday morning. Enjoy.

The Go-Go's, minus three...

Zoey & Emelia groovin' at Grooves in London on Record Store Day

How come the Go-Go's weren't called the Go-Go-Go-Go-Go's 'cause there were five of them, not two? You know, if we're attributing a "Go" to each member. Anyway, here's Zo and her new friend Emelia. They have the same birthday, just two years apart...and they both like music and the color pink. They weren't long becoming buddies...we introduced them and then the music started and MAGICADABRA (Emelia's word), they were friends.

Easy peasy...

I think that from now on I'll call them the Go-Go's when they're together 'cause there's only two of them and that makes way more sense than the original five Go-Go's with only two Go's in the band name. Was that confusing? I hope so.

Easy like Sunday morning...

Zoey's busy being beautiful this morning...this awful wet, windy, weary day after Record Store Day. She's different today too. She's working hard to talk more, and she's far more animated about everything today. She's communicating, or at least working awfully hard to, this morning. We always notice the difference after a night away. Naturally, it's good for her to go and spend time away, to gather up other influences and hear other voices, see other perspectives and deal with different everything. Often when Zoey comes back from an overnight she's changed. That's was part of the whole point, I suppose.

50% - Give Mom and Dad a break
25% - Give Grandad and Baachan some uninterrupted "just us" time with the Zedder
15% - Get Zo used to being away from home, and us
10% - Give the Zed some other influences so she doesn't end up a mirror image of us

Actually, it's quite possible that the 50% and 25% items should be switched.

This morning she's finishing our sentences and chiming in with unsolicited opinions. She's been hanging out with Mom mostly (another thing we've come to expect after sleepovers) and spent some time messing around with some Cheerios and Dad on the couch. She's looking especially cheeky, a pretty little thing with a beret in her hair and a plaid shirt with jeans that could double as knickers. Some days we just look at her and swoon. It would be expected that we'd think that our own daughter is beautiful but on occasion she exceeds even our own bursting pride. Some days she's just glowing, like today.

Boring Sundays used to make me pull my hair they're just mildly frustrating with great big dollops of wonder and pride mixed in.

Wow, this is a pretty little girl. I think we're in a lot of trouble thirteen or fourteen years from now...maybe even sooner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's a beauty day to pillage every record store within 100 km of my I am. First, the Cheeky Monkey in Sarnia, ON to see what kind of exclusive Record Store Day stock Roland and MaryAnne scored for the store. Then off to London, ON and Grooves to see what's left out of their stock.

I need to get...

Elvis Costello and the Attractions Live at Hollywood High EP individually numbered 7" of three previously unreleased tracks - 7" vinyl

Modest Mouse The Moon and Antarctica Tenth Anniversary Vinyl Edition reissue Double LP 180 Gram vinyl

Tegan & Sara AOL Sessions EP CD CD 2000

Velvet Underground Live 1969 Vol 1 vinyl reissue 2LP 180 Gram Vinyl - ONLY 1500 of 'em!

Velvet Underground Live 1969 Vol 2 vinyl reissue 2LP 180 Gram Vinyl - ONLY 1500!

Wilco Kicking Television, 4 LP box set, 8 extra tracks, deluxe package vinyl reissue for the first time 4 LP vinyl set 5000

Beastie Boys white label 12" super surprise 12" vinyl - ONLY 1000 of these blank lookin' bad boys!

But I want to get...

Jakob Dylan/Courtyard Hounds "See You In the Spring" (CYH's duet with Jakob Dylan) b/w Jakob Dylan's Everybody's Hurting"
split single. Courtyard Hounds is Dixie Chick sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire 7" vinyl

Jimi Hendrix Live @ Clark University "Fire," "Red House," "Foxy Lady," "Purple Haze," "Wild Thing" 12" colored vinyl

John Lennon 7 inch box set, individually numbered, w/3 7" singles, 3 postcards, 24 X 36 poster, and custom 45 adaptor hub Mother, Why & Imagine, It's So Hard & Watching The Wheels & I'm Your Angel 7" vinyl in box set - ONLY 5000 printed!

Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds "Squirm," b/w "Lying In the Hands of God" (recorded @ Theater for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, NV exclusive vinyl release of these tracks from the latest album - 7" vinyl

Joan Baez Self-titled debut album Reissue with original artwork as part of 12" vinyl - ONLY 500 printed!

Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Vinyl version of new album; CD and download out on 5/4 full length vinyl with CD copy

Today could break me.

Now listen to this and be happy it's the third Saturday in April...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Soothing the savage beast...

If you've never watched Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, trust me when I tell you that you must see it. It's magical...absolutely unbelievable.

Just 600,000 unruly fans and one Canadian was mesmerizing. It made me rest my hand on my chest to feel the beating of my own heart. I'm not kidding.

You can watch a clip of it here.

Wow...all this Friday night needed was Leonard Cohen.

'Tis the weekend, so here's some random schtuff...

I think I'm the only person on the continent who isn't flying West for Coachella this weekend. It's depressing...but I fully intend on rallying and doing something cool...or maybe not.

In an effort to get my weekend started off right I scooted out at lunch today and bought a copy of Leonard Cohen, Live at the Isle of Wight 1970...the CD/DVD combo. It's got me tickled in something of a pink hue, but you might prefer some Ratt(KB)? You know, to each his own.

In the meantime, check out all this junk and get busy enjoying your weekend. I'll see you 'round fo sho.

Death looks like this...well, the heaven part, anyway.

I think my baby's butt needs these. These too.

A new project for Grandad, that way when Zoey falls and hits her head it's on some Shakespeare.

This woman is #@%&ing incredible.

This photo of Shirley MacLaine and her daughter, Sachi Parker is awesome! BTW...Sachi Parker? How incredible a name is that!

Hmmm, this stuff makes sense.

I think I'd like to do this for the weekend.

This Dad is frikkin' mad crafty...kinda makes me wanna puke. It totally makes me wanna puke.

That's it....I can't type any more while I'm gagging.

High strung (a strangely sweet story)...

I may have just heard one of the strangely sweetest stories ever, and almost by accident, not quite, but almost.

A young man walked into the building this morning wearing a t-shirt with an image of sneakers flung over a power line screened onto the front. A co-worker of mine ventured to ask what the whole sneakers chucked up and over a phone or power line meant, which naturally earned her a shrug. A quick poll revealed that no one knew what it meant, if it meant anything at all. There were urban legends that in years past it symbolized gang territory, which seems a little ridiculous, and then I found this smile inducing theory.

One belief holds that teenage boys who've just "scored" for the first time — i.e., lost their virginity — are wont to heave an old pair of sneakers over a power line to celebrate the moment and proclaim their conquest to the world.

Who says teenage boys aren't romantic?

Isn't that a great little theory? I love it. Of course, anecdotes of the phenomenon across North America tend to show that the highest frequency with which public works departments are shipped out to remove said sneakers occurs after school lets out for the summer break. An awfully romantic scenario as well I think. Either way, the sight of sneakers on power lines will forever and ever more make me smile.

Little girls growing bigger all the time...

Zedder in Mom's arms at Comerica Park on Opening weekend...

I got into the shower this morning and Zedder was sitting in her crib all alone reading Peter Rabbit upside down...the book, not her. I got out of the shower and standing there to great me was the cutest vision of pre-15 month old femininity that I've ever seen. There was Zo with a beret in her side parted blonde hair, a grey wool sweater tossed over a corduroy Gagu Tagu overall skirt, leggins and pink Chucks. She was smiling at me in my towel. "Daddy," she said...pointed, and then walked away. I was dripping wet and obviously drenched in affection. What a funny kid.

June was working from home today, Grandma was headed to get the brakes fixed on her car, and Grandad was on his way to pick up Zoey for an overnight at 204 Running Creek Drive. Friday nights have become Grandad and Baachan's baby thieving night and there isn't much that we can do about it. We'd be in a lot of trouble at 204 Running Creek if we didn't hand over the Zedder.

I think they'll take notice of Zed's longer legs this weekend. It looks as though she's grown even more, yes, in just a week, because her pants are all too short and her corduroy skirt looks awfully short as well. She's already half of June's height so if the old wive's tale of double the child's height at two years of age and you'll have their approximate adult height is true, well, Zoey's going to be taller than her Mom. Not exactly a difficult feat, since June is just 5'3" tall, but with Dad and Uncle Brad standing at 6'3" or so...Uncle Ian standing the same...and Aunt Netta knocking off 5'9 or 10", I think Zo better start planning on relatively long inseams and an astonishingly large amount of time in the pool or on a volleyball court. She also might want to consider the notion of wearing flats most of her life and avoiding heels unless she likes looking down at her boyfriends.

This little girl is growing up too fast.

Anyway...some links to distract me (and you) on this overcast Friday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Accidental distractions...

My Thursday is starting off slow, and then it's surely going to kick into high gear by early afternoon at a funeral of a friend's father. I neede a pick-me-up and so I went searching for some kind of inspiration. Some people find it in a bottle or watch it go up in smoke...I like looking at Michael Tighe photographs that I accidentally stumbled into looking for something else.

Now I better get back to work, but not until after I've shown you this swooner of a photo...

Watching Zedder sleep is an exercise in muted laughter.

I think my absolute favorite thing about this photo is the obvious diaper line under Zo's tights. It kills me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do what you have to do...

A mock up of the book for inspiration. Em Cooper... I'll explain later.

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."

I emailed Kelli back in Honolulu today, just to remind her that I hadn't forgotten about our "Heart on My Sleeve" book project. I know that she's been busy, and I know for a fact that I've been dizzy from all the responsibilities and obligations in my life, but I'm committed to getting this project done, and done incredibly well. I'm so committed to managing this enterprise that I've gone and gotten in touch with the people over at the Musink Festival to see about a booth for next year's events, both the Orange County, CA and Dallas, TX festivals. It wouldn't be the book's launch, but it would certainly be an incredible thing to slip in right on the heels of a launch.

Anyway...those thoughts have been crossing my mind, a similar book project at work, and that amazing Epictetus quote up there. I'm constantly telling the young people that I work with that if you want to be a writer than you really just have to write, and if you want to be a musician then you must play music...similarly, if you want to be an artist you need to create. Epictetus' quote reminded me of all that good advice that I so regularly dole out for others but seem to consistently forget to apply to myself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Start your quiet Tuesday off with this...

Whether or not you were a twelve year old boy with a skateboard at any point in your life, you should at the very least dig the song, the scenery, and the overall vibe of this easy peasy feeling mini-film.

Go out and have yourself a nice Tuesday. Do something fun...and sing. Yes, you should sing today, even if it's badly...I think especially if it's badly.

I'm starting my day off by hiding a frog in a box.

This Spring and Summer...

This Spring and Summer I'm determined to take advantage of this incredible spot in which we live. Sure, we have to move out for five weeks or so smack dab in the middle of the summer, but no biggie...we'll work hard to make sure that whatever bookends that move is awesome! The important move out is coming one year from now, when the owners move home from Saudi and we're out looking for a new postal code.

In the meantime, it's sunshine and fun, and I swear on the grave of the great Harvey Korman that if it rains a lot this Spring and Summer Mother Nature will have hell to pay.

Now...this post over at A Time to Get foolishly makes me think I want to learn how to build my own bicycle. Looks easy doesn't it. Are you kidding? I once jumped over thirty-seven pop cans on my bike once and this looks harder than that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Zedder Approximately...I don't know what that means

Cool sounding title...I don't know what it means. I really just wanted to post this awesome pic of Zedder...and maybe link you to this awesome song.

There really isn't much to say, except that maybe Zoey likes it when Dad sings, Crazy by Patsy Cline now. She also likes it when Mom or Dad chase her around the house. She likes to sit at the head of Grandma's bed, on the pillows, and sing to herself. She rather enjoys playing Frog in a Bucket, which I'll, naturally, explain later...and she's speaking even more clearly over the past two days. It's crazy, all this child development stuff.

On a less relevant note I'm thinking that NY in May sounds most appropriate...also, we can't decide whether this weekend calls for the Michigan Football Spring game or a trip to Wrigley Field, since we can't seem to find another weekend all summer to get our keisters to Wrigley.

Also...I'd like someone I know to get married soon so that I can have a really fun party to go to...Serree and Mike don't get married until August, and Dustin and Kelly don't do that same deed until October. I want to frolic under a rented tent and pretend like dressing up nice makes me classier when it really doesn' just makes me dressed up nicer.

Anyway...the links were a popular thing so if you need something to distract you tonight, or perhaps some cereal and coffee fun tomorrow you go:

I would like this chess set but it's sold out...Pirates vs. Ninjas...Who wouldn't want this chess set!?

See this girl's tattoo? Yeah, best thing ever...

How's this for advice? I could use some more advice from Miss Diablo Cody I think.

Rooftop movies! I wanna do that!

I think I'd like to spend a weekend exploring ghost towns...yup, me & June and some old ghosts.

This looks like the kind of easy good time I'd like to enjoy this weekend...but won't. Somebody get married.

Uhmmm, so I'm a pretty big fan of sun freckles...also of sun freckles and butterflies. Yup, a very big fan.

I'd like to hang out with these dudes.

I like this picture...that's all.

I would like this to be my May 24th weekend I think, only in color, you know, who needs a black and white weekend?

I need to read this book...and will. I'm buying it this week. Pro-active is what they call that, I think.

One of these weekends I'm doing this. It's way better than buying the world a Coke.

I think I'm going to go see this guy this weekend to talk about getting more work done. I think he's got a year's waiting list so there's lots of time to change my mind. Of course, if this girl was a little closer than the UK I'd be going to see her.

This Vanity Fair article is amazing. When I was younger I worshipped Peter Beard, now, not so much. Crazy intriguing still...and in the end doesn't that really count as an odd form of some weird altar at least?

Okay...I'm tired now, and I'm going to bed. G'night...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Sunday at Comerica Park

Today June, Zo and I slipped down to Comerica Park for the first Sunday home game of the season. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and Zo was ridiculously excited at the prospect. She was all smiles all morning and was cracking even more by the time we stumbled into the ballpark.

A smiling Zo bathing in some Comerica sunshine.

It was Zo's first trip to Comerica this season -- the first of many since we anted up again this year and scooped another season ticket package. We'll be spending a good chunk of our Sundays down on Woodward Ave. in Detroit. With a little luck we'll wander into the same kind of weather all season long. Today was a gift. It turns out in more ways than one.

Our usual Comerica view from the rail. Standing with the statues above both bullpens.

It was a Verlander start, which was what pulled us down I-94 when we could have been sitting on the beach at home, and by the end of the first half-inning, with the Indians ahead 5-0 on a Luis Valbuena Grand Slam, we were wondering if we hadn't made a poor decision. Six innings later, with a Verlander gem in front of us (even with the Grand Slam) the Tigers had something like 16 hits and had left 16 runners on base but couldn't collect a damn run if they were giving them away (which the Indians seemed to be trying to do). It was one of the craziest games we've ever attended. Meanwhile, Zo was happy just to meet strangers, do her best to shake her parents, and do laps around the Al Kaline statue.

Zedder and Mom losing the ball cap so people will relaize that Zo is, indeed, a girl.

The Tigers trailed all afternoon...but then suddenly it was 8-4, and before we knew it the Tigers had charged back, scoring two runs in the 8th and another 2 runs in the 9th to tie the game. By the time Zoey's eyes started to droop the Indians had walked three batters in the bottom of the ninth including the game winning run and Zoey's first Sunday at the ballpark was a stellar one.

I'd keep typing but I once heard that a picture's worth about a billion and a half words...

Mom and Zo learning about the great Al Kaline...when Zo wasn't circling him.

Our second favorite spot at Comerica Park, and our usual change of scenery spot.

Three quarters worth of Japanese wife and daughter buy sushi at the ballpark, not hot dogs.

Zedder breaking hearts on the Comerica right field concourse.

We love our perch above the visiting bullpen. It's where you'll find us every time.

An excited Zo checking out the Indian's bullpen action.

Zoey and her cat taking in the Tigers-Indians game at Comerica.

A wore out Zedder after a long day of sun, 25,000 strangers and baseball.

It was a fun day, and an auspicious start to what we hope will be another 2006-like year. We're looking forward to running into friends down at the ballpark, and wasting weekends away under blue skies and Tiger legends out there on the rail in left-center. We couldn't have had a much better weekend to set the table for this coming summer, of course, we wish that our friends, Joe and Erin, could have said the same.