Monday, June 28, 2010

I love this photo...

June grew up with a pretty stellar backyard. I guess it's kind of pointless to say that Netta and Ian did too, of course they did. Now Zoey gets to soak up all those sunsets and frog sounds. There is a creek in the backyard...a nice one, and there is a feeling that there aren't many other places like this, not exactly like this, across the landscape of our lives. It's a calm and quiet place, crowded with the detritus of Grandad's enterprise and adventures, yet still, the kind of place where you can think, and dream, and hope, and pray in your own unique kind of way, however that might be. There are bee hives, and a dock that juts out into Running Creek that's at least as old as Ian. June's backyard is a Nick Drake song, and it's as nice a place as anywhere to wrap your head around life.

Maybe that's why I love this picture so much? Or maybe it's just because of who's framed inside it's borders...I dunno. It just feels good. Zoey's a pretty lucky little girl to have such magical places to build her foundation from.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates...

Spending my Sunday night watching Forrest Gump for the eight billionth time and I can't help but contemplate the coming week. It's most likely set to begin with me telling my employer that, although I'm flattered by all of their attention, I'd much rather just do what I do instead of what they're proposing that I do. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I left work on Friday.

The basics are pretty simple...

They're building a gozillion dollar youth leadership center (well, a leadership center sure, but it's merely disguised as a youth leadership's really a revenue center, or an attempt at one) and I've been pulled into the fray of it all. It has, at times, seemed like a unique opportunity, and of course, at other times it's felt like a dangerous game of who am I and why am I doing this. The latter sentiment is what has won the day. I don't want to be anyone's boss. I don't want to work with the kind of people that I've been surrounded with for the past few weeks, save one, my friend Joe. He's been baited as vigorously as I, and he's been one of the only reasons I've been able to navigate these waters in the first place.

I want to make a difference in the work that I do...every day, not some days, and not in some back door, behind a desk way, regardless of money, regardless of title, regardless of a thousand different things. I make enough money...more than enough...and sure, that could all change but I'm willing to bank on myself rather than accept the opportunities offered by this odd assortment of others. I've listened to my heart on a dozen other occasions and it's rarely, if ever, steered me wrong. I don't think that I want to play this game of corporate chutes and ladders.

So I'll march into work tomorrow and corner my favorite boss of all time, Michelle, and I'll tell her what I've been thinking, and then I'll hang on tight through the day, do the work that I've been assigned to do, speak openly with my good friend Joe, and then see what happens.

My name is Brian and I help people. I look them in the eye and I share in their joys and I wade through their problems and I'm awfully proud to do both. I don't build Youth Leadership Centers.

Now I have to stop typing because that scene in Forrest Gump is coming up where Lieutenant Dan slips off of the boat and backstrokes into a stellar Gulf of Mexico sunset. I love that scene.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Uncle Ian's home from the friggin' arctic circle...well, close enough. That part doesn't matter. The part that does is that Ian's home and it made me miss him more just to see his suspiciously wide grinned face, and then of course Zoey settled in with him like he never left.

Uncle Ian's home, and Zoey's pretty happy about that. She get Uncle adventures all of a sudden, and every little girl needs cool Uncle adventures...

He's headed back to the Great White North on Sunday, barely 72 hours here in the civilized universe before he's headed back 24 hours north where float planes and fisherman rule the landscape. I'm hoping that I can see him tomorrow..maybe he can drag me away from the hullaballoo of the turds who most recently inhabit my landscape, otherwise I won't see him for another six months.

Zoey doesn't know what she's missing with Uncle Ian so far away...I do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Travis McGee's still in Cedar Key...and Zoey's in a bucket.

Tonight I've got Travis McGee on my mind. Don't know about Travis McGee? Oh no...go out and grab yourself some John D. MacDonald paperback fiction and soak it all up. Travis McGee is one of the best American characters ever written...a sly sun worshipping sleuth of a man with a South Florida playground for a backyard, that is if houseboats moored in Bahia Mar can have backyards of any kind? It's summer reading, and has been for me for years now. It was Brother Brad who turned me onto MacDonald's work, and it was Jimmy Buffett who did the same for him. When the sun is hot and the waves lap at the beach beneath my feet I always feel the need for some Travis McGee.

Or stuffing my daughter into a bucket and playing in the sand...either/or...

The bucket was supposed to be for collecting stones for Grandma, but it quickly turned into a County Fair Mall traveling circus with one of those frightening parking lot midways. Zo couldn't get enough of it and nearly wore Mom out. How many times in your life you get to play with your child in a bucket, really? So no complaints here.

It sure feels like summer around here now...coming home to the beach...little kids stuffed in buckets...Lake Huron sunsets...foot prints in the sand and that same sand spread all over the house (it's the best problem to have). We're all nice and comfy...and then in three weeks we move to Brooklyn. Yeah, I don't quite get it either's a confusing thing. The best part is that we'll be back by the middle of August and maybe we can get away with stuffing Zo in a bucket again then. You know, without the Child protection services all over us. For sure we'll be snapping photos like this one that very well could be in the running for best photo ever.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day...etc...corn faced etc...

Zedder enjoying a post-corn on the cob moment with Dad.

I spent Father's Day driving as fast as I could to get home to my daughter...Toronto to Sarnia in about 2.5 hrs...Kind of impressive. Then I played in the waves with a giggling Zedder until we were wore out (you forget how much chasing waves up and down the beach can do that). Dinner with my most favorite girls this side of the Go-Go's and life is good, despite the fact that my engine light is on after spending $1600 dollars a little less than two weeks ago.

Money schmunny...How much would a million and a half Dad's out there pay for an afternoon of wave chasing with their laughing little girl? A lot, is my guess. I'll worry about another visit to the garage tomorrow. Today is made for other things.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kobe, Oh Kobe...Where For Art Thou Kobe...

I was so excited that I couldn't even type excited that I could barely move from my spot on the corner of the twelve year old excited...Magic, Kareem, Byron, Coop, and Worthy excited...I was so excited I could hardly manage a goodnight for the Zedder.

Then the Lakers shoot 30-something percent from the field.

Then Kobe goes and grabs about a jillion rebounds.

Then Ron Artest goes off for 20 points, and those awful Celtics still won't go away.

Then the time starts to fall away, and Rondo kicks me in the stomach.

Then Odom lobs it down the floor and Kobe's arms rise up into the air, the confetti starts to fall and my brow furrows...

Is that The Black Eyed Peas I hear blasting from the Staples Center sound system? Oh's a short, short trip from Heaven to Hell.

World Champions deserve better than that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

Holy Mother of Mercury Hayes...Have you seen this? I think I just hemorrhaged excitement. I might need a damp cloth.

And if that awesomeness doesn't kill you, this certainly would.

Since we're talking so openly about things we can't have...

How 'bout these? Or this...yes, this indeed.

This would be nice. These too...and these.

Last but not least, this, and of course, this...A guy needs to maintain an image, you know.

If all else fails, I'll begrudgingly settle for this little beauty from the best TV show ever made.

Little Moments of Win...

This just made my morning and I'm not even out of bed yet. Let's hope it made my day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

They're gonna make you feel stupid eventually...

Zedder is ridiculously computer savvy for a seventeen month old. When she watches YouTube clips (her and Corey would be best buddies) she knows that the space bar will both pause and play the video. That's what we watch mostly, Sesame Street clips, and just recently we downloaded at least a dozen Electric Company special episodes at iTunes. Go get some yourself. Why not? Your kid is going to be more computer savvy than you are by the time they're in the 2nd Grade, no sense in avoiding that inevitable result. Get 'em comfy. Zo sure settles in easy.

Zedder, both remedy and reason...

I had a rough day that I'm slowly recovering from, Zoey helps me to do does sun, sand and water. So while I worked at straightening out my perspectives (I don't want to be the guy who can't or doesn't do that sort of thing....I want to be better than that) I took off for the beach with Zoey, a bag full of beach toys, and some sunscreen. There's not a whole lot that those three things can't fix.

We built sand castles, played in the receding wake of waves, threw a lot of sand, and wandered up and down the beach until Mom got home. I totally forgot what I was so bothered by earlier, and the smile factory that is my daughter helped me to put it all into the proper perspective without even trying. I hope she always does that. I can't imagine a day when she doesn't.

I find it impossible to not think a little more clearly when you're willing to look at yourself honestly, and when you open yourself up to influence. It's really the only way you're ever going to find any success in your life. The process of self-reflection isn't easy, especially when you don't like what you find, but it's just as hard to open yourself up to allowing someone else to pick you up. The end result shouldn't be finding weakness in yourself, it should be revered as the most courageous way to live. There's certainly no shame in allowing an almost-seventeen month old little girl to help you pull your head out of your ass. Besides, you're never gonna get a decent tan that way.

That Mom of hers does one heck of a job making me feel like the kind of person I want to be too. Every time I feel as though I'm less than what I might be, or that I'm allowing myself to be bumped off of my game, embarrassingly so, I don't have anything to prove at home. That might be the best asset I've got, although the beach is nice too.

So while it's easy to imagine the soothing effect that a beach and a beautiful little girl can have on a struggling psyche, it's something more to consider the kind of introspection that a toddler can inspire. I don't know much, but I know that if you're children aren't significantly altering the way that you think, about both the world and yourself, well, you might want to reconsider the kind of parenting that you're practicing. June makes me better, but I have the feeling that Zoey could make me great, you know, provided I pay attention. All by myself, I'm the much less than impressive man who got thrown off of his game so easily today. You don't win championships bitching about the just play it. Boy, oh boy, everyone needs a Zoey and a beach.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sex Ed. Curriculum Not an Issue

So Zo likes to go visit the cows down the road from our house, and she's gotten to be quite familiar with them, but this little turn took her by surprise. At almost seventeen months old we don't exactly need to explain this activity but it did plant a strange look on Zed's face.

This might be the best picture June's ever taken.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The grass isn't always greener

It's easy enough to get distracted in this life, I should know, I've spent half my days looking past this little thing or that one, in search of something better. Every once in awhile I caught glimpses of greatness that made me shake my head and ask myself what it was that I was really looking for. Now I stare out into these Lake Huron sunsets and I wonder what it ever was I was chasing? We spend most of our lives making decisions and never ever knowing what the end result of those decisions might be. Both June and I always thought that we'd end up a long way from where we were from, and now here we are, on the edge of water and sky, a scant 45 or 50 minutes down the road from that place where we grew up. If I'd never seen this place in my life...if I'd never grown up so close...I'd swear this place was as close to everything I needed as I might find. Familiarity breeds contempt.

There's this lake in my backyard that might as well be an ocean, it's so big. There's another country five miles away. There's a large metropolitan center no more than an hour away...a city with world class entertainment, sports, and an airport that allows me to fly anywhere in the world that I might want to go. Here I can own a home and a boat and I can leave whenever I want and afford to go anywhere I want. I can afford to dream here. You can't do that in a lot of places.

We have the support of family close by. We have old friends close, and as good a potential for finding new friends as anywhere else on the map. I can make plenty of excuses here but the fact is that I'd have to actually make them, there's really no need for excuses here. There could be more opportunity, sure, the kind that a city offers, but then there'd be more competition for resources too. It could be better, but could it be that much better, really? You pay an awfully high price for better, and really, what are you getting that I couldn't find with a little effort? It really comes down to what your version of better is.

The point is that it's more than just sunsets that keep us here. We're starting to realize that.

Daddy's doing this...

I was planning on taking this summer's move to Brooklyn to nurture my creative side a little, or a lot, and to get busy getting some projects done. It seems as though I've just added another.

I'm going to participate in The Brooklyn Art Library's Sketchbook Project, and I'm pretty damn excited about it. THe sketchbook will tour the country (US) but it will also be digitized so if can't haul your behind to Brooklyn, or make any of the tour stops, well, you can still check out all the weird stuff that fell out of my brian this summer.

Everything's better with Zed...

Zedder makes everything, well, mostly everything, more fun. I'd have never imagined liking a visit to the animal farm, but I do. It's actually kind of relaxing. Some days are better tackled quietly, and the animal farm is pretty damn quiet. Of course, I never quite imagined myself doing yard work in the form of gardening, weeding, etc...awful etc...but when you do it with's not so bad. Especially when Zo turns it into a gongshow...I like her style of yardwork, it's just a filthfest disguised as work.

It's weird the things you start to enjoy avec child -- I like coloring, I like going for walks, I like playing in the sand -- and it's both heart-warming and confusing. Maybe it's a reminder that you're aging, or maybe it's just that eons old family way thing taking over, but there are plenty of things that I'd rather do now than be a drunken pile, or a look-at-me thrill seeker. I just want to smile a lot and feel good. Zo makes that easy.

Sure, we still do quite a lot...ball games, trips, concerts, etc...but we do things a lot differently now. Like, a few short years ago you might have caught me chillin' at home on a Sunday but it wouldn't be playing in the garden, pulling out weeds, and digging things up. Zo makes that kinda fun. You can call it weird but you'll never say that I didn't soak my daughter up every chance I got.

We could have been at the Pirates game today...could have been doing any number of things but instead we took our time getting up and at it, then we wandered over to the park, the animal farm, and then while Zo slept June and I walked around for a few hours...that's right, just walked. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday. I don't miss being hungover, broke, or not very where I'm at. That last one was a joke. I always remembered where I woke up. I wasn't always proud of it, but I always knew where I was.

We'll delete that last part before Zo ever gets her hands on this. I needed something to balance out that lame gardening stuff.

Good Morning Sunday...and Mom

Zo in the morning is a gift. She almost never wakes super early, usually 7:30pm or 8pm or later...She gets busy enjoying her day without any trouble, changed diaper, clothes, bottle, breakfast, Dad's goodbye during the week...and she handles it all with a kind of Joe Average nobility. She's a soft and sweet dream in the morning, like sweet, creamy coffee. You couldn't help but think that she's the best thing goin' if you met her in the morning...most of the day, really, but especially in the morning.

Weekends are no different. Sometimes Saturdays are, of course, as she has slept at Grandad and Baachan's house on Friday night, but Sunday mornings are more gentle even than the other five or six. Zoey eases into the day with both of her parents. Typically during the week, June is gone and off to work before Zo budges. On Sunday's Zedder takes her time waking up, and then swims in her Mom's company for as long as she can. It's never such a problem as to make getting our own day started all that difficult, but she does love her Mom on Sundays.

In our house Sundays are made for baseball games or Zoos, for getting gone, or for staying put, depending on the way we feel. Sundays are a day of rest for sure, just our kind of rest. Now we'd better get this one started. I can hear Zedder rustling around, and I think Mom's ready to be worshipped for a few hours. Good morning Sunday...let's find something fun to do.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Holy Mother of Peter Frampton This Looks Fun

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zedder and Jeffers...

Zoey's new favorite book is Oliver Jeffer's "How to Catch a Star." She loves it. She's awfully animated in the way that she enjoys it. She reaches for the ceiling, in an effort to gather up a star for herself. She repeats the last word of each sentence on every page, and she especially likes sitting on Mom's lap to soak it all in. She's quickly discarded the rest of her books.

Daddy likes the book too, in fact, it might even be his favorite. He especially likes the rocket ship.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Comparing Mom to Kobe Bryant (minus the disdain)

See these two...inseparable. By the time June gets home from work at night Zoey is more than ready to absorb three or four or more hours of Mom. Sure, Dad can sneak in there and craft out a moment or two, but Mom is the franchise at that point. If we were the LA Lakers Mom would be Kobe and Dad would be Derek Fisher, and that's cool, 'cause Fish comes up big every now and again, and mostly when it counts, but Mom is who the plays are drawn up for during time outs.

Lately Zo has been doing her best to keep Mom from having a life of her own. At bedtime she's learned to milk it and keep Mom under her direct supervision for as long as possible, which means not falling asleep until way after 9pm...not cool. I think Daddy's gonna have to interject, maybe put Zoey in a headlock long enough for Mom to sneak away, then submit myself to the torture of not being Mom while Zoey rips her hair out and breaks into hives. Sounds like a fun Wednesday night. I'd better make my day amazing 'cause tonight I think I'll be throwing myself on the sword.

Damn Mother-Daughter's stronger than Willie Horton's grip on a bat.

Monday, June 7, 2010

In Ireland they feed corn to pigs...

This is my ravenous daughter. She likes corn on the cob. She especially likes butter but we try to steer her clear of that frightful heart clogging goodness. She also has yet to learn table manners. Fortunately, for us, it's definately possible for her to have less of a concern about her own cleanliness, otherwise we'd be in trouble. She's a pretty clean kid, and so dinner time has never been a mess festival. You'd never know it from this photo but she's really quite a dinner table prude.

As you can see she has invited Prince Fielder a.k.a. Frog to dine with her, not a usual occurance but for some reason frogs and corn mix I guess.

Zo is something of a dramatic little girl, and eating a piece of corn can more closely resemble a Shaw Festival performance of "The Taming of the Shrew," than the more typical seeking of sustenence that most of us entertain at the dinner table. It's funny, and even occasionally worth the price of admission, but I wouldn't recommend sitting too close to the stage. It can get ugly at unexpected this one.

Monday Randoms

It struck me this morning that Mondays aren't really as bad as people make them out to be, not at all. Sure, it'd be awesome to not be at work, then maybe you could sleep in, and go to the beach, or the ballgame, or the flea market, or whatever it is that makes your soul feel all sturdy and such, but you can't just do that kind of thing all of the time, and certainly not whenever you damn well please, so we just need to buck up and get to it, which includes the supposed horrors of Mondays. Of course, it helps if your weekend fell together reasonably good, and also if the week ahead doesn't look too stupid, and of course, uneventful Mondays are best, right? Regardless, Mondays don't necessarily suck all that terribly. I wish someone had told me that a long time ago, then I could have salvaged something like 25 years worth of Mondays. If you attributed just nine hours to each Monday, and then multiplied the buggers all together, you'd be missing over 200 hours of usable time that you could enjoy rather than loathe. It's unfortunate, and I never liked math but this kind seems useful.

Anyway...getting on with it. The sun is shining. I've met some incredibly weird people today, which is always pretty cool, and nothing awful has happened yet...even cooler still. I've exercised discpline on numerous occasions, let myself slip on at least one other, and I'm not wearing any socks. Things couldn't get much better. I suppose they could if I was hanging out with June and a perfectly behaved and well-rested a 70 degree afternoon game at Dodger Stadium...with a beach towel awaiting my butt the very second the last out is recorded but that's not what's in store for me, so I'll just be happy with this thus far semi-glorious day.

Speaking of semi-glorious days, yesterday was a full-on Daddy day with the Zed...everything was Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, and it felt like a million and a half bucks. Everything that I did was funny according to Zo, we caught the Zedder staring at me all day, especially so while we were on the floor drawing together. She was mimicking everything I did, and she was hell-bent on spending mucho time with her Dad all day long. It was nice. The only thing better was discovering that Zo has somehow (Baachan or Mummy) picked up the Japanese slang for cool...kakkoii, and it's hilarious. Everything is kakkoii. It's cute as hell, head splitting and gut busting all at the same time. How does a 16 month old kid learn this junk?

Now enjoy this stuff and get back to work...

This just might be the funniest thing I've ever seen, at least since that time about a year ago when I watched that guy tryin' to play basketball while his Kippah kept fallin' off. No matter what he did that Kippah just kept finding a way to fall off. That was pretty funny too.

Actually, soak this up too before you get busy eating up your afternoon with those awful spreadsheets...this made me giggle more than Jack and Lemonade.

This too. I wanna meet these people, like right now, but I realize that patience is a virtue and all that crap. Anyway, back to work...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grandad and Baachan get some Zedder...

It's been something of a Friday night tradition. Not consistently, but more often than not, Grandad and Baachan steal Zo on Friday nights. It gives us a chance to uneventfully fall asleep at 10:00 pm, or occasionally take in a ballgame, and it allows them the chance to soak up every ounce of Zo that they can. They love it. We love it. Zo likes it plenty too.

We slip over to 204 Running Creek Drive on Saturday mornings to eat some brunch and scoop up Zed, often on our way to this thing or that one...and the usual routine is that after a full 24 hours Mihoko is still doing her best to soak up every second of Zedder's visit, and Grandad is raving about how smart Zoey is. We get a giggle out of both. Mihoko is being every bot of the Baachan that she can be, and Gerry is doing his part to build a confident and curious little girl. There are far worse ways to spend Friday nights and Saturday mornings...soaking up your grandparents is better than most.

Zedder Does Downtown Artwalk...

Zoey does festivals and fairs and almost anything with a crowd like a champion. She loves that stuff, even the crap that's overrun by pseudo-hippy earthy artist types. She especially likes those ones. Us too. Zedder smacked around Artwalk this weekend, doing a number on the two day festival of arts, eats, and general street urchinry. She nearly bought a Go-Go's record but didn't have any cash, and she got plenty sidetracked with the local caninery. For not being around dogs very much she's quite the fan.

Artwalk supplied live music, some Saturday sunshine, and a distraction from the usual routine of weekend isolation we tend to practice. We'd do more of this stuff if it weren't for the lack of it, and the pungent smell of patchouli. We bought nothing, ate nothing, and wandered without purpose...we felt like teenagers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A tiny little bit of "Our Story"...

Brian all by his happy lonesome wandering the California Coast - Big Sur, 1997

See that young man right there? Yeah, that's me...blissfully walking the length of Big Sur back in 1997. I was every bit of the dirtbag you see there. See that hole in my shirt? Yup, I earned that climbing a tree to get a better gander at the ocean. I loved that hole...and those jeans, yeah, they hardly fit me by the time I got to the end of those 115 km of coastline. I had my hands in my pockets to help hold them up in this shot. I'd reached the last notch in my belt and did a lot of walking with my hands in my pockets. I took my time, I wandered, explored, talked to old hippies hiding away, drank butt loads of wine, ate a lot of Snickers bars...smelled badly. Enjoyed myself thoroughly. Oh yeah, got stuck in a nasty, nasty storm too...stuck in my tent for 48 hours, nearly went bonkers...pee'd in a water bottle, gagged at the smell of sweaty, stinky myself as I tried to hide away inside my sleeping bag from the crashing lightning and whipping wind. Gave my Mom a heart attack. She was calling the California Highway Patrol, and National Park Service looking for me. I was okay. Stumbled into a San Luis Obispo winery in the rain and dried off while getting warm and half drunk on freebies. I stilled smelled badly but no one complained. Everyone was very nice, in fact.

That was a good trip. It seems like I've spent half of my life in the oddest of Californian places, with the oddest of Californian stories, and now there are so many of those places that feel like home. Sadly, immigration laws and my relative poverty don't allow me to drag my eager family back there.

It was California that reminded me that June might be something more than a friend. While I rotted away in the desert in Joshua Tree, hitching rides into Twenty-nine Palms to pick up packages from Japan, it struck me that the minute I got home I would have to let her know what I'd felt from one side of the planet to the other. Up until that point we'd been just good friends, and there were a million reasons why we shouldn't have been anything else, except the universe in it's infinite wisdom had significantly other plans for Zedder. A full eleven years later came Zoey Sakura DeWagner. The very idea of her was born in the bright San Clemente sunshine. June and I were even engaged in San Francisco. Ours is a story with California woven all throughout.

We met at camp, but the idea of 'us' didn't occur until that stinky young guy you see standing on a cliff near Bixby Bridge in the photo above, and that beautiful (very unstinky) young woman who was living comfortably in the midst of civilization and family in Sendai, Japan, decided that we were at least right for each other, whether or not time and destiny would agree or not, the 12, 725 km distance between us made us realize that we missed each other more than we expected.

June with her Baachan & Jiichan - Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, 1997

It's a story to tell Zoey someday, for sure...about how her parents met at summer camp, said their goodbyes and wandered away in their own directions and then, fairly fortuitously, found their way back again. It's a fun story to tell, and I think she'll like it. It's certainly not your average love story. We needed time and distance and then more time to remind us of what we discovered there on the edge of sea and sky in both California and Japan, but in the end we got it all figured out. It just took as awhile to define it. California and stinky sleeping bags did it for me. You'd have to ask June what convinced her 'cause I'm guessing that it wasn't the same thing.

Nekkie, and not afraid to enjoy it...

I dunno about you but I find this absolutely hilarious. This too.

The littlest fan...

Zedder on the hammock getting well into a Tigers game on the radio.

I think we're kinda building ourselves a little girl sports fan reminiscent of little Aimee Saling, which means we're in trouble. Oh sure, she'll be in love with Comerica Park, and football Saturdays will enamor her beyond what most boys ever could, but she'll also be that most fragile of creatures that we know...the hopeful and heart crushed fan. Aimee is one of the only women I know who can fall apart after a game #163...who can find herself so rattled in a post-game Saturday evening as to be barely consolable. Aimee is the girl that died just a little the day that Ernie did. I think we're turning Zoey into that girl.

The disappointment of a little girl lost when the game is gone and radio gets quiet.

It's an easy explanation. Zo is a hilarious little sponge. If she sees Mom or Dad disappointed, well then she must be too. When we jump for joy and dance in place she does the same. Our reaction to sports has become her reaction to sports and it's terrifying. This little girl is gonna love something that will never ever love her back. I pity the boy who falls in love with this Sportscenter princess. She gonna need to meet her own little Kevin Bergquist if she's ever to know a love greater than sports, but if she ever brings home a guy in Twins cap she'll have some explaining to do.

Sigh...Goodbye Coach

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

John Wooden played a big role in my life. His words were fatherly, when I needed them. His success and accomplishments were a kind of dream currency, and his values were something that shaped me during a time when I found solace and comfort in empty gymnasiums with only the thump of a basketball on hardwood and imaginary banners waving from rafters as company.

He was a gentle man, and taught many others to be the same. He was much more than just a basketball coach. It's very hard to say that anymore, and yet he was the most successful coach of all time, the definitive coach. His loss leaves this planet a lesser place.

Watch this and then I double dog dare you to not be overwhelmed with affection for the Wizard of Westwood. Someday I'm going to tell Zoey stories about John Wooden. I hope she listens.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I must convince my daughter of before it's too late...

Sammy Hagar was waaay better than David Lee Roth.

The Minnesota Twins are responsible for cancer.

Mardi Gras beads that aren't earned at Mardi Gras...stupid.

Don't ever go to Mardi Gras.

Magnum PI is the best thing ever invented, that includes oxygen & PIzza Bob's Ham & Cheese subs.

SEC football is not better.

CBC Radio does not make you a better Canadian, although it helps.

Liking David Suzuki makes you a better Canadian, even if you're not Canadian.

Aviator glasses...not that cool.


There's a direct correlation between a man's goatee and what kind of turd he is.

Don't stay in a nice hotel until your 30 years old.

Breakfast vs. lunch...breakfast.

Hate the playa AND the game.

CSNY live...practically better than anything else you'll pay to see, period.

Everyone should be a little bit of an LA Clippers fan...everyone.

Jump ball vs. possession arrow...jump ball.

Be careful of men wearing necklaces.

New York or LA...both.

Weekend jobs aren't usually worth it.

Kobe...flat out, Kobe.

Now watch this and ask yourself why you can't rock glasses like Patrick Ewing can rock glasses.

Not so subtle affections...

See this little girl...we like her a lot. She's sort of like our everything, kinda like we were to our parents, and your kids are to you. We like to take pictures of her, write stupid stuff about her, take her places, spend time with her, consult her on matters of finance...well, not that last one, but all the other stuff, for sure. We would also like it if she made her grandparents proud, visited Japan more often than her parents, graduated from college, listened to good music, travelled, and brought home a Detroit Tigers fan to meet her Dad. We also hope that she never, ever, under any circumstances, wears velcro shoes or sweatpants when she doesn't have any intention of sweating.

We'd also like to see her eventually grow out of her obsession with frogs, that can't be a good thing to drag into adulthood.

Heaven is a place on earth...

Sorry about the cheap Belinda Carlisle reference there in the title, but her new book is out, and full of filth, so why not slap a trending subject in this post, you know, increase traffic a little. Tonight is Game #1 of the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals and that's close to heaven for me. A Tigers World Series would be the exact definition of Heaven, and a Michigan National Championship in football would be at the very least heavenly, and I'd be much more than ecstatic with a New York Knicks championship too. Anyway, I digress, tonight's Lakers-Celtics match-up is a beauty distraction.

Sometimes I think Zoey will look at her Dad and shake her head...he's no Bill Simmons but the pop culture references, almost obscene sporting obsessions, and just plain old stupid analogies and pointless conjecture, make him something of an embarrassment. Especially when you consider how unapologetically he mixes all that up within a blog for his daughter. Awful...just awful. Even worse when you consider how frequently he refers to himself in the third person.

Regardless, he loves his daughter...he loves the Lakers playing for the NBA Championship, and he loves referring to himself in the third person...He likes Belinda Carlisle too. Someday Zoey is going to read all of this and her one eyebrow will raise in curiosity (thanks Daddy) as she struggles to make sense of weird Belinda Carlisle references and confusing sporting allegiances and affections. In the end, however, I think she'll think it's sweet...I hope.

I also hope that she hates the Celtics more than some communicable diseases, and chooses her boyfriends based on their sporting allegiances. I'd be happy with that.

This little girl I know...

The Zedder is taking more shape. What was once just a name is now a persona, and le Zed, is indeed becoming, as any child does, a phenomenon never before seen in our home. She is generally quiet, and fairly reserved, albeit strictly in the company of others. In our easy to please presence she is precocious and animated. She is dramatic, as most little girls surely can be, but she is a smart enough cookie to not linger in the moment for too long. She is curious, as any child might be, and very, very analytical. She is a funny kid, and of course, she likes to play and interact with people. She’s not shy.

She says both please and thank-you, and learns quickly. She likes attention but doesn’t necessarily seek it out on every occasion. She plays all by herself, but is quick to join others. She likes hippos and frogs.

Bugs don’t frighten her, and she enjoys exploring. She’s not scared of much at all, really. She’s super curious about other kids, and she’s become smitten with The Muppet Show. When she dances she tends to stomp one foot, spin in circles and do this odd squat thing where her bottom practically touches the floor before she launches herself back northward. She does her best to sing songs, but kinda gets ‘em all wrong. She likes to color and draw, and she's fairly fascinated by lotions and powder..anything that can be rubbed into her skin. She likes Peter Rabbit.

Zedder can kick the hell out of a soccer ball, and there’s almost nothing she likes better than running through a fluttering towel or a windblown sheet that Mom or Dad is dangling above her. She giggles a lot. Zed doesn’t mind car rides, and she likes to wander in circles around the statues on the outfield concourse at Comerica Park. Her favorite thing at the zoo is the snake display. She likes Shin Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians…I dunno why.

Zoey is quick to exclaim, “Oh Daddy,” when I’ve been silly, and she squeels “Zoey,” when she’s excited. She’s easily prompted for a kiss or a hug, and she can drink all by herself for a couple of minutes before it turns ugly and very, very wet. She likes to clean up. She uses any cloth that she can find to clean everything in sight, and she enjoys throwing things in the garbage. She gets easily frustrated, and has a quick but fleeting anger when it erupts. She’s stubborn but not too much, and she’s easily distracted but not so easy that you don’t have to earn her attention. She likes to eat beans.

Zo likes to play with the radio, and she draws on the windows with crayons (it rubs off real easy). She loves the sand, and gets excited to point out birds and boats on the beach. She likes the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song. She also likes to stand under the shower, and when you squeeze all of the water out from her frog bath toy she smiles and squeals, “peeeee.” She has her Mother wrapped around her little finger, and has a firm grip on all of Dad’s affectionate little pecadillos. She knows what’s up.

In six months the Zedder will be two years old. When did that happen?

My definition of being a man...

If you haven't seen the footage yet of Jim Joyce stepping onto the field at Comerica Park today to umpire this afternoon's game after having made an error in judgement last night that cost Galarraga a perfect game, then watch this. I wish I knew more men like these two.

You could also, very likely, cross reference that definition with the one for "class" and they'd be one and the same. Wow.

Pretty amazing take on the whole thing right here.

Some late night fun...

I love finding new this LA based band, The Ross Sea Party. They're so good that my head hurts. I don't even know who they sound like...they sound like The Ross Sea Partythat's who, and that's why they're just about the best thing to happen to me thus far on this tired and loathsome Wednesday morning. These guys didn't even wait for a record label, of any kind, to hook them up. They released this unbelievable effort all by their awesome selves. Love, love, frikkin' love it.

Found this too, a wicked beach shot by Simon Perini. This is what San Clemente feels like on my poor tired eyes. Win us a lottery sweet karma and all of you will know where to find the three of us.

Can I get a father-daughter moment like this please...thanks.

Concrete Slidery from Nathan Oldfield on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What a night...

Tonight what might have been my favorite baseball player of all time retired. Knowing that Ken Griffey Jr. is no longer playing professional baseball just bums me out. Then to top it all off Galarraga takes a perfect game all the way to the last out in the Tigers-Indians game, and first base umpire Jim Joyce blows the call with Galarraga covering the bag and a perfect game turns suddenly and sadly into a one hitter.


Tonight's just not my night. Top it all off with a stuffed up Zoey, and a wrestling match I can hear happening in her room right now between Mom and sleep, and the Zedder and her stern refusal. At least I'm not in there. I swear, June is the most incredible person on the planet. I'd have quit a long time ago. I've learned throughout this entire 16 month odyssey that Moms and Dads are very, very different. I'm not sure if it's the physical connection that Mothers have or if it's just a demeanor that men struggle to embrace, but June can tolerate a wailing child approximately 99.8% longer than I can. It's more than's awe inspiring.

Dave Matthews Band @ Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto

Last night we slipped up to Toronto for the Dave Matthews Band show at Molson Amphitheatre, on a weeknight, like a couple of idiot sophomores. We had to...June insists on the Toronto show every year, insists.

This was my tenth show, and June's ninth. By summers end the number will have risen to twelve or thirteen with June keeping pace. We're fools.

I'd type more but I have to drag my tired hide out of bed, shower and somehow erase these giant bags from under my eyes to face the day. This afternoon is going to suck on three and a half hours of sleep. Sure was nice to see Carter Beauford up there smiling his ass off though...really nice. Everything is okay in the world when you see Carter Beauford play the drums.