Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Blogging Made Me Better


"It's not that much different from getting tattooed," I said, only about half serious.

"Huh?" He looked confused.

"I mean, not exactly, but it's out there for everyone to see, you know? Here you go, this is me, done."

There wasn't even a hint of understanding or acknowledgement in his eyes. Dudes are just like that, I guess. What I was trying to insinuate was that this blog, or any blog in which it's proprietor lets his/her head and heart flop free, is a liberating thing. It's an outlet, sure, but it's also a bridge between people, and it's a more apt tool for defining who you are, or articulating to others just who it is that you are, and what you believe in than any kind of clothing from the Gap, or perhaps whatever is on your iPod playlist (okay, it's maybe not as defining as your playlists). It's something like a very visible, and very eye-popping holy shit tattoo, except it's just ideas and stories. Everyone can see it, and everyone will have an opinion of it. You just learn to get comfy with it and shrug every time someone asks what it's all about. This blog has become the big, bright sparrow on my forearm, and because I have this blog to collect and share my thoughts and experiences, I have generally been able to live with more outward positivity and joy than if it wasn't all so public. Not such a confusing thing.

When you're writing publicly about your life I think there's a far greater urge to live a better one, there's certainly incentive to do those things that you've always wanted to do, or that look way more fun than what you might do if no one were watching. Putting it out there, so to speak, helps me to find inspiration in the everyday things and also in myself. No one wants to read about my new found affinity for pharmacology or my sad predilection for Jimmy Stewart films and old Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigator novels. I have to live the way I've always wanted to live, or least give it a decent shot, or I've just shown the whole world that I'm all talk and no action...that I suck. I don't want to suck. I want to be the golden toned, hazy California photograph of a man and woman and their daughter playing on the Venice boardwalk, or walking beside the glowing blue of sea and sky in Encinitas. I want to be the photograph of the family bathing in the oak filtered light of some Central Park lawn, with towering buildings and possibilities looming in the background. I want to be the photo of a grinning couple at the Rose Bowl, or the road trip weary family portrait from the basketball tournament in Kansas City. Just like the unsettling voice that Ray Kinsella heard one strange day in his corn field, if you build it, he will come...just like that, except with ideas and experiences, not baseball fields.

This blog makes me conscious of everything I do and say, of the way that I live my life and that can't be anything but a good thing. The people whom I've met have been nothing short of amazing, and the sweet karma I've been planting here can't help but come back to me in the form of happiness and health. If you consider all of the gentle support and all of the shimmer and shine of the attending comprehension and clarity that these gifts have brought...well, it's difficult to put into words what this blog has meant to me...and with luck, to Zoey someday.

Thanks for reading folks...Barb, and Gail, Scott, Stace, Beth, Kev and Aim, Betz...Core, and Mel, Uncle B and Aunt Header...the whole lot of Grandparents and Japanese Aunts, Colleen, MaryAnn, Meg, Kylie, Merle and Stace, Denise, Mia, Aunt Netta and Uncle Ian, and anyone and everyone who has ever dropped on by. I like doing this, and I love having you, here and in my life. It's a pretty simple equation, this weird math that shows how blogging made me better...I just took everything that I am and dream of and hope for and believe and see, and added you to it...your curiosity, your quiet and anonymous love and affection, your inexplicable interest and unwavering support, and BLAM, we ended up with The Zoey Blog. Easy peasy.

Also, if I didn't have this, or you, the audience with which I had available to me to moon with a reckless kind of unapologetic abandon would easily be about 98% less.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Paying attention when I could be watching baseball...

I just heard Herbie Hancock say something like this..."it's about having the courage to live in the moment" ...and I felt my body fill with energy again. The house is hot, the day has been long, and I am tired, but a truth like that can lift you to your feet, like a musician returning to the stage, like a three pointer that might as well be a dagger, like the last word written, or the first word is genuine, sincerity saturated truth, and I won't forget it.

"'s about having the courage to live in the moment"

Yeah it is...and then I read this jaw smasher by Albert Camus...

"...the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."

And now I'd like offer a wink and a nod to the universe for it's timely messages. Thanks universe. I gotcha.

All and nuthin' with the Coopers

DeWagners & Coopers
Daddy, Zoey, Mummy, Stace, the Samsquench & the infamous Scottpockets to round it off.

The Coopers drove down from Penetanguishene this weekend and we soaked it up on the beach, on the couch, around the fire, in the kitchen, over heaping plates of sushi and can say we sponged up all of the tasty juices of affectionate friendship for approx. 30-something hours and then as fast as they came, they were gone. It was a drive-by visit but a beauty day and a harf fo real. It's never, ever enough time though. The grown ups mostly chilled, and the funsters were mostly opposing magnets all weekend but still enjoying the beach and sunshine, and occasionally each was a regular awesomefest of everything ang and nuthin' for 36 hours or so.

More pics after the flip, but now I've got to go to sleep.

Mahalo etc...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Friday Folks...

Pretty much my favorite song ever. Have a happy Friday everyone. Scott, Stace, and the Samsquench are slipping down from Penetang and the weather is supposed to be the best in the history of weather...should be a beauty two days of great big heaping spoonfuls of affection and fun. Then Sunday we're off to see the 10,000km travelers.

Best wishes for a super solid weekend...take it away Jerry and David.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some sage advice...

where's zoey?

Last night I was still woozy from my swing ride hours afterward, so I dropped a Gravol or two, layed down on the couch, and closed my eyes to make the crappy feeling go away. I woke up two hours later having missed both Zo's bath and bedtime, and I felt worse than I did when I was actually physically sick. Emotionally I felt like I was running a temperature. I've grown so accustomed to filling parts of that entire process each night that it's complete absence left me feeling a little empty.

When Zoey woke this morning it was as though I hadn't seen her in a week. Don't take Gravol and lay down if you have any sort of ambition immediately afterward. Also, stay away from swings in the first place, they're meant for children and people without motion sickness issues. Lastly, put your kids to bed each night because the morning is sometimes a long, long time away.

Those are good tips....write them down.

An honor...and a knuckle ball

I'm not entirely sure how to write this, nor am I all that certain how to process the information, but the most wildly intelligent, troubled, transient young man I've ever met (and I've met a few) just walked back into my life. After hitchhiking to the west coast, and back...getting robbed three times...meeting a cast of characters that Neal Cassidy would be impressed with, and filling my head with Kerouacian daydreams for most of the morning, my young friend told me that the novel he's writing is a colorful mix of the two of us. Huh? That's right, a complicated blend of both old and young, of similar ideals from entirely different perspectives, of road stories and characters, both his own and those that I've let slip, and lastly about redemption, even if it's not immediately recognized or acknowledged. The main character's name is Brian, and he's thirty-eight years old.

He went on to tell me all about the book's structure and how the narrative weaves in and out of what he's come to understand as the perpetual reality vs. illusion conflict, something he said matter of factly, that he learned from me. He didn't blink, he didn't pause, he just filled the air with this endlessly impressive diatribe without even a fleeting thought that I might be caught a little off guard.

The main character's name is Brian? Why? How can that be? The story is a mash of both he and I...huh? Not that I'm not impressed, but how'd this happen? Did I maybe say some things that I shouldn't have? He had, after all, just gotten back home from BC when he was shipped off to jail for two weeks, only to be released and eventually straggle into my humble little uncomfortable office. I remember shipping him off to rehab with a handful of Hunter S. Thompson books to take the edge off, and a demand that he write. Since then I've become his own personal lending library...a book here, Leonard Cohen, Live at the Isle of Wight there...he's leaned on me almost too much at times, and then disappeared for months at others.

I'm not sure if I want the responsibility for this and yet I'm somewhat conditionally flattered, if not wholly flabberghasted. I suppose if you peeled back all of the layers of my occasional professionalism I'd be completely floored with an odd, almost inappropriate pride, but the thin veil of maturity I try to shroud myself in makes me hesitant to relish in the honor. Have I influenced this young man wrongfully? Who's to judge that but myself, perhaps, but in our daydreams I see him living, not doing his best to kill himself. Hopping trains and sleeping in the woods can be a little of both.

It's not that I don't embrace the vigor with which he chases down life, but what if he had never walked back into this office? What if he fell lifeless to the concrete during one of those robberies? I know that he is very much what he is, and that I, if at all, have influenced him very little, but the thought remains, what if he's romanticizing every little adventurous back and forth we have, and turning my version of cautious and prudent adventuring into a #$%king Jack Kerouac novel in which he takes everything six steps further? I'm certain his life on the road would have occurred with or without my existence, and I'm certain that if anything, I've helped to make him more safe, and more aware, and much more thoughtful about his path, but there's a faint smell of prudence drifting in from my conscience, and it stinks.

This young man is not of this world that you and I inhabit, he isn't...he simply isn't, and so, perhaps I am more astonished and taken back by his connection with me than I am worried that my influence has been a detriment to him. He's survived every little twist thrown his way, in fact, he's lived through them with a smile, and I can't help but wonder why there is a character in the odd machinings of his brain, named Brian. How did that come about?

If he finds a life full of success I'll feel proud. If he ends up dead I'll feel responsible, even when I know that I'm not.

It makes me wonder how he sees me. It also sheds light on how I see myself. I've never been able to corner and capture any kind of self-awareness beyond humility. I have less faith in my abilities than others. I have less ambition than what others often attribute to me. I even have far less sincerity and perspective than most would assign to me. I'm a fairly selfish man, so it strikes me awkwardly and by surprise when I find myself in the middle of any kind of unsolicited kindness. Ask June, she'll probably tell you that I'm difficult to love in the sense that I don't accept it's gentle caress with a very gluttonous hand. I tend to starve myself when it comes to vanity and refuse the nourishment of other people's appreciation and affection. I dunno why, I just do. I tend not to believe the hype. I know who I am, and it's not the main character of a novel. I serve, I really do, and I find a joy and comfort in doing so. I'm also not so stupid as to miss the fact that in some ways all of that is, in fact, vain, and is, indeed, bathing in the most subtle forms of soliciting a muted kind of appreciation. I suppose I do want to be noticed, just on a small scale. I don't need a big life, but like Adam Duritz sang, "I'm nothing...nothing, if I'm not this high." Maybe I'm harvesting the seeds that I planted?

It was good to see my young friend, but now my head is spinning. There's no doubt that he'll finish the book, and there's little concern that it will be good. It will. I just don't know what to think of all of it. It makes me...I don't know, uncomfortably self-conscious. It's like a good knuckle ball. Once you've been struck out by one you start to wonder how it is that you could ever hit a ball in the first place. What's comforting is that there's almost always another inning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grandad and Baachan are home!!!!

Partridges - West Coast
Grandad, Netta, and Baachan representing the Partridge brand on the West Coast

Grandad and Baachan made it home from visiting Aunt Netta in British Columbia today, and they made it a point to stop and see Zo on their way through. From all reports they had a stellar time, from the fresh Vancouver seafood to the float plane ride that dropped them off to a steak dinner with their son as both the pilot and maitre'd. Sounds like another trip of a lifetime as the Partridge partners in crime often undertake...a few ago they drove from Southwestern Ontario to Mexico, and now have made if back safe and sound from a round trip Sunday drive to Vancouver and back...just a milk run for Gerry and Mihoko.

They've been back home a whole afternoon and they've already staked a claim on Zoey for this Friday night! It's good to know that they're still young enough that a 6,000 mile drive doesn't damper their desire to abscond with their granddaughter.

Welcome home you guys...we can offer you neither fresh uni or float plane rides to classy dinners, but we do have your granddaughter and that makes us terribly popular.

Books, books, and more books...and then some nausea

Zoey got her first library card today...yup...we snuck away to the park and beach and library combo that Brights Grove sports, and snatched Zo up her very first ever library card. She was pretty excited, and of course, we were camera-less. Zo, Grandma, Avery and myself soaked up the cutest little library ever, located about 50 yards from water and waves, and on the exact location of Canada's first commune. Kind of a cool tidbit, and hopefully not something that gives Zed any fancy ideas when she gets old enough to move out. We're comforted by the notion that it's not 1967, and that she doesn't really like being stinky. She does, however, enjoy nudity, and she has no problem sharing. I think we're safe though.

Anyway...Zoey's first two library books ever are...

Imagination Song by Joe Raposo and illustrated by Laurent Linn

Imagination Song

Silly Suzy Goose by Petr Horacek

Silly Suzy Goose

Good selection Zo. We're excited for bedtime so we can fully absorb your choices.

On a completely unrelated note, Zoey talked Dad into swinging with her in the park and now he feels hung over, a full hour and a half after the event. Sheesh, swings used to never do this to me, if they did I'd have spent my whole childhood yakking. Ugh, I could hurl right now. Libraries used to make me feel good, I suppose they still's the swings that kill me.

This is my new mantra....

When it comes to writing, this has quickly become my new mantra, that thing I'm whispering to myself when no one is watching...

Develop a point of view. Think about what experiences you have that many others do not. Then, think of what experiences you have that almost everyone else has. Then, mix those two things and try to make someone cry or laugh or feel understood.

It's written in the front of my's on my desktop...I'm thinking about getting it etched into my sunglasses...When you hear me mumbling to myself that's probably what I'm mumbling. Either that or I'm cursing you out for something you didn't even realize that you did. Either/or...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Little shoes to fill...

they almost fit, daddy

I need to do a better job of walking a mile in Zoey's shoes and so I started trying my best yesterday. They fit like sh!t, and I really don't know what the hell wearing her shoes is gonna do for anybody, but it did make me aware of just how little she is...them kickers is tiny...and just how foolish it s for me to have unreal expectations for the funster. I need to be more clear in conversations, more patient in conflict, and much more quick to get down on her level. I want to be the Dad that tries harder, but there's no friggin' way I'm trying those shoes on again. I felt like an idiot.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pigtails and pride...a devastating combo...

smile!... and pigtails!

Our little girl finally has enough hair to wear pig-tails...and she loves it!

How cute can a little kid get? Obviously pretty damn cute.

BTW...stellar Knicks t-shirt.

You can find more pics from Zo's architectural adventures here.

New Header...New Feeling of Creative Competence

Like the new blog header? I do...and that's really all that matters since I'm the fella spending half his days and nights messing with this thing. I do sincerely hope you like it took awhile to slap together.

Now I have to go because Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is on CBC. I'll be back. I suppose that's both a promise and a threat. You decide which.

Beautiful Quietude and Goodbye to Trickster Demons

It's 7am and the wind's up, it's cool outside, and the waves make for nice company. Last night I was missing New York...this morning I'm wondering how I could ever walk away from this. Coffee and quiet...kind of the solution to a million problems, universally, I think. If we could just get the ten most powerful men and women together on one quiet and cool morning, on some beautiful Canadian beach (insert any beautiful beach here) with the best beans you could manage to brew...well, let's just say the world would be a lot better place. The whole event could be sponsored by Roots and there'd peameal bacon served for breakfast a little later in the morning, and of course, early afternoon beers. You know, Canuck it up a little for the greater good of humanity. By the end of the afternoon those powerful dudes will be apologizing to each other en masse.

I've got to learn to get up earlier each day. I love the early morning, when most of the world's @%$holes are still asleep, but of course I don't typically rise any earlier even with that awareness. I go to bed late, and sleep as long as Zo allows, and typically I don't feel the way I feel this morning. I feel pushed into the day and I don't get pushed into anything feeling very good. In fact, even when you don't realize that you're pushing me into something, even the slightest, most unimportant of somethings, I get ornery. I get quiet and distant. Sure, it passes, and usually pretty quickly, but the triggers that turn me into poor company are subtle and often hard to understand. I feel bad for friends and that smiling, tolerant wife of mine.

The Top Ten Things That Leave Me Crunchy are as follows:

1. Steal my independence
2. Restrict my choices
3. Rob me of some small, simple intent
4. Force me to re-adjust my efforts mid-effort.
5. Don't offer quiet faith in my competence.
6. Miss the forest for the trees.
7. Get out of synch with the greater or anyone near me.
8. When seemingly obvious priorities aren't shared.
9. Discredit my opinions or interpretations, not facts.
10. Don't allow me the space to gather myself and right the ship.

That's pretty much it. I know that a lot can fall under that umbrella but the winds of change are so quick to alter the landscape of my mood that it would be difficult to get more specific without things becoming uber-scenario specific, which isn't exactly the scientific method...I suppose none of it is. I can get out of sorts in the blink of an eye and for the seemingly most minute detail. I could rationalize it in a snap, but to the outside eye..."He's a whack job." I'm not.

The last two days I've been struggling to keep my perspective positive. It's felt as though the universe has been toying with me, having fun, as though the old aboriginal notion of devious spirits have been set upon me to fluster me and run me emotionally ragged, What were they called, trickster demons, of some sort? I always found those stories funny, until I feel smack dab in the middle of one of them. It's just been the little things, the spilt milk, if you will, but today feels better already. I think the winds have blown those little devils away. I don't even really believe in any of that junk...well, at least I don't think I do? Maybe I do? I guess I'm open to the possibility. All I really know is that when I get that feeling as though all that stuff exists, and the universe hates me for a day or two, it turns me into rather loathful company.

But feels good. Today feels full of adventure and I haven't even moved 30 feet from where I slept. I've made coffee, splashed some water on on my face, and sat down to write. Zoey's just now woke up, and the wind is from the North, so cool, and less humid than it has been all week. It's nice. Today will be free of trickster demons and nonsense, I think. Whew. I was getting ready to go on strike or buy and airplane ticket to some trickster-free location on the globe.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The White Pat Morita

'apple sauce & nogurt'

I'm sure that it's just me but I think that Zoey looks like the white Pat Morita in this shot. I might need more sleep.

The Beginning of a Lost Weekend...or not

So uhhh, none of that ambitious morning stuff happened except for reading Mel's blog...but even that was done sans coffee while lying in a puddle of early morning fatigue and shiftless apathy. I just couldn't muster the juice to live a bold life this morning...instead I rested and watched YouTube with Zed (a regular cornucopia of kiddie goodness) and delayed getting out of bed until I figured I could handle the humid, overcast world. I'm still in bed.

Last night I watched Giant, absolutely one of my most favorite films ever...not because it's quality cinema, although it is, but because James Dan's character, Jett Rink, is maybe the coolest guy on the know, fictionally speaking. I can't get enough of him...all surly and cool as a cucumber at the same can see why Dean got tagged with the rebel label. Jett Rink wasn't exactly a proper role model in 1953. I love him.

So in the midst of all that George Stevens magic, when Zoey simply refused to go to sleep, and June had been held prisoner in her room for an hour and a half, I stepped up to the plate, departing the couch and Dean festival I had created with Stella Artois and a lake view, and stepped into the darkness of Zed's room to take my swings. I cranked one...right outta the park.

First, I've got to acknowledge that even as a parent with a year and a half under your belt you still fist pump at the little successes...I do, and working some crazy Jedi Yoda mind @#$ on Zo to get her to sleep felt like winning the Home Run Derby. We talked a lot...I mean a lot, and I told her more of the continuing saga of Slimey Ferguson, the surfing dog. She likes Slimey...who wouldn't. He's beautiful, lives above the beach in Leucadia, CA, and eats enough sea-wead to choke a Japanese Soux Chef. Zo likes Slimey a lot. We talked and talked and talked, and I rubbed her back and rubbed her back and endlessly rubbed her back, and before I knew it I was the only one talking. It felt like a 4am Saturday morning in college. Verbally I'm a rather impressive ironman, a Cal Ripken of conversation, if you will...good enough to knock a sleep fighting 19 month old out cold without breaking a sweat.

When I was finished, and had somehow snuck all 240 lbs of me out from beside my daughter and back into the papmers and pajama free universe that Giant inhabits, there was no sense in watching anymore. I'd already seen my favorite parts, and well, the night wasn't going to get much better than doing what I just did so my Friday night died right then and there...albeit semi-gloriously but certainly not in such a way as to impress many.

Now I have the fully daunting chore of salvaging a Saturday first...a nod to Mel second because her blog is truly sweet and made me miss Brooklyn and the too infrequent connections with the Cowger Mafia...and lastly, shanghai-ing Zoey for a dreary drive into the great unknown. I think we'll strap in and go find some place we've never been while Mom showers in peace and ease. Maybe we'll drive back to Brooklyn...we'd be there by 8pm.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ignorance isn't anywhere near bliss usually...

So I didn't even know that this existed but now I have a perfectly good reason to waste an entire Saturday morning catching up on someone else's blog.

Our friend Mel...who was really just June's friend Mel, but who I'm co-opting now because...

a) We've met and actually spent some fun time together
b) Both her and her husband are seriously two of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met and if we were fortunate enough to live in Brooklyn full-time they'd surely be our best of friends ever on the planet.
c) Mel's just flat out cool

...anyway...our friend Mel has her own family blog that I was oh-so ignorantly unaware of no less than five minutes ago, and I'm very excited to read it Why? Well, mostly because of those earlier reasons, the time spent, great couple of people, cool girl junk, and because from what I gathered after about three minutes in her company, she's wicked smart, and has some serious perspective that I would imagine doesn't always get set out on the display rack right at the front of the store...Mom's don't typically enjoy that premium space. So, I'm going to bank on a Saturday morning that looks like this...

Wake up just as the sun does...splash water on my face, put on some clothes and kicks and sneak out the door, grab a quick sip or six of coffee, and head straight to the skateboard park before any one of the funsters that typically use it are even thinking about waking. Skate around like I was twelve (make sure I've got my health card in tow), and then get out of there before parents start to wake and wonder who the grown up dude in the park one wants to be considered creepy especially when all you're doing is having some honest-to-goodness fun and dirtying up your much too infrequently used skateboard. There's absolutely no scene in which a thirty-plus year old man would not be scorned riding around in a skatepark when it is full of funsters, so I don't. This ain't California boyo...thirteen year old skaters are considered delinquints...I'd be tried as a full on adult.

Anyway, then I'll bail when I start to weeze or bleed, grab another coffee for the road, and one for the Junetankerous girl I'll gently wake up when I get back home, then I'll settle in to read Mel's blog, maybe b-log a little myself...probably sketch and doodle and cut and paste and work on a new Zoey Blog header, and surely that illusive left arm tattoo filler...and soon after all of that...IF all of that goes off without a hitch, Zedder will rise and we'll get busy with whatever the day will hold...which is hopefully a nap later on.

How did I not know that Mel had a blog? I suck as a friend so it's doubtful if anyone ever makes a list like the one above about me...Gonna be tough to save it for tomorrow. I had to force myself not to read even the first post but the force is not strong in this one and I suppose I'll break down and read it all before I get finagle the time to really soak it up. Some people you just want to hear what they say, and not just nod your way through the conversation...this is one of those people, except you know, it's reading and not listening or even nodding for that matter and so the analogy is kinda weak. I think I'll stop typing now.

Pukey Sentimentality and Awesome Backyard Fun

sneakers & socks

When you have a beach in your backyard bedtime in summer can sometimes be negotiable, especially when Brooklyn didn't provide quite the same temptation...there were others, for sure, but not a beach with a hammock and an orange and purple sky that would eventually fade to black velvet littered with diamonds. When you have that you kinda don't worry much about bedtimes and, well, let's be honest, going anywhere else once you're home.

Zedder can eat up the better part of a night...dinner, attention and catching up from the day, a bath, some play time, reading...before you know it 8pm has come and gone and you haven't stepped back outside from the minute you slammed your car door shut after work. Usually, if the weather is right, we'll hit the beach almost as soon as Dad gets home (even though it's very likely that she's already been on the beach all day with Grandma), and then scoot back up to the house in time for Mom's arrival and dinner. It's really easy to forget about going back outside though. When you get busy you kinda forget what's back there. With a backyard like this, and only a short amount of time left here (maybe just this year) it's pretty important to get out and enjoy what you've got. Zo sure doesn't mind obliging.

hammock fun

Lately, we've taken up the idea of post-pajama playtime outside...she's got lots of pajamas when the original choice inevitably get tarnished with the filth of fun..and we sneak outside and hang out with the sun low in the sky and the Tigers on the now cleaned up and fixed radio...BOOM, instant day fixer upper. Zed rides her new bike, (thanks to Mike and Serree) or plays in the hammock with Mom and Dad, or just chases squirrels and shadows across the lawn, whatever she chooses, really. Boats roar past...airplanes fly overhead...and we soak up the last of our day with this beautiful little kid. Nothing's too difficult to take when Zed's grinning the day away.

"oh zoey"

And trust me...the girl is good at grinning. She's practically got it down to an internationally recognized art form...on par with painting goalie masks and Banksy's graffiti.

trying to get the camera

I don't think I've ever had as much fun in my whole life as she does in the backyard in one night. It's kind of inspiring if that sort of sentimentality doesn't make you want to throw up.

sweet girl

Nausea never felt so good.

I suppose that it's not all that different from anything in life, sometimes you need reminding of what's awesome right in front of your face. Who cares what's on TV? What's so important about checking your email? A radio can make the Tigers game portable (thanks Aimee for reminding me to dust this one off). You only get so many toddler giggles and sunsets in your life, not to mention that there's got to be a finite amount fo hammock time that we're all alloted in this mortal merry-go-round. Zedder's pre-bedtime fan fest is a reminder of everything that we have that we should hold tight, and now I feel stupid even owning a know, until football Saturdays in the Fall.


So far the best part about being a Dad is finding humility right where you left it so long ago... in enjoying the absolute gift that childhood is, for everyone. You can't get it back, but you sure can soak some more of it up.

You can find more to soak up right here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seeing Things...

I wish I had a photo of my Grandfather to post here, in fact, I'm embarrassed that I haven't a single photo of him in my house. I don't know why? Maybe it's because I've spent the better part of my life being pretty damn selfish? Maybe not. All I know is that the man deserves a photograph. Sometimes I forget what he looks like.

My brother, Brad, can't forget something so important, not when every few years he sees him. That's right, I said sees him, as in in tonight. He just called, a little worked up, and told us the story about how he was checking on our Mother's house while she was away, and here with us and Zo, and saw him, as clear as anything, just standing there where his garage used to be...where my brother's old wooden boat rests on saw horses, waiting to be patched up and fixed. He was inspecting the damage when my brother spied him on his way up the drive. He was standing there in his usual garb, and looked up to see my brother, at which point he turned and walked away...walked behind the shed that sits where his beloved garage once did. Brad followed him but found nothing. Strange...

It's odd that my brother Brad has seen him so frequently. My mother has seen him, my Aunt...I have too, although just once, but Brad has been in his presence no less than three or four times. Very strange...He won't forget the look of my Grandfather any time soon. I, however, might require a photo to stare at and wonder what he might have thought of my life.

Yes, I think I'll be asking my father to find me a photograph. It would mean a lot to me, but maybe it might mean a lot to him too.

Across Sticks and a Well-thumbed Passport

little lacrosse girl 4
This pic is cute, but try this one, it's definitively bad ass by any definition.

We're not the type of people who want to push anything on lil' Zed but there will surely be some things that she either does or doesn't come by naturally, like picking up a lacrosse stick. Here's a quick glance at what she's already doing that we've never pushed on her but that doesn't surprise us.

- playing with her "across" stick...
- doing front flips and tucks all by herself...
- getting excited to go to the ballpark...
- blossoming in the busiest of places...
- traveling well...
- preferring to eat sushi or just plain rice whenever given the option...
- reading like it was her job...
- getting frustrated easily but letting it go just as quickly...
- a curiosity about how things work...
- a quick comfort in social situations...
- she #$%&ing hates Ohio State...
- super sensitive...
- swimming in the bathtub...
- watching Sesame Street and the Muppets (okay, we kind of thrust that at her)...
- an affinity for The Beach Boys...
- she could walk everywhere and all the time...
- she gets terribly crotchety when she's tired...
- she does nine things at once...

There's surely more, but we won't bore the entire interweb with our daughters startlingly familiar characteristics. All I can say is that we don't force a thing on her. We influence her tenfold with our likes, loves, and our obvious aversions, like the SEC Conference and Nickleback, only because she's an awfully observant kid, but we don't go out of our way to influence her otherwise, or at least, we try not to.

Yeah, yeah...sure she's got a Pearl Jam tee, and sure she has a Tigers jersey, and a Michigan hat and sweatshirt, and yeah, she's got every Oliver Jeffers book ever written, but placing those things into her life is the smallest of influential crimes, at least in the context of today's whackjob parent. I think that those things that we might impact her cognitive development with are a minor threat in terms of creating the monster that some parents might manage to construct. It's not like if she chooses not to listen to the Grateful Dead that we're going to disown her...I just won't be paying for college, that's all...and, of course, she'll have absolutely no excuse on that first occasion that she tries drugs.

Disclaimer: We hope that she doesn't try drugs.

Super obvious second disclaimer: We know that she's going to try drugs.

Second Best Photo of All Time...

interesting choice

Zoey's got this thing with wearing June's delicates around her neck and over her head. Yeah, I dunno, except of course that we've all done something similar as kids, so it's kind of normal, I guess. The difference is June is a young woman and the unmentionables are somewhat nice and young womanly, rather than the tarp that was my grandmothers gitch.

Second best photo ever...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Further is always the best choice...


I have to choose between going to see some of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead play together or pick up a much needed university course for work...


Further Festival wins.

"The most sincere joy I get is when I break the rules or embrace the absolute opposite of what I really should or of what people might expect. I can't explain it. It just feels good. - Brian DeWagner"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tigers vs. Yankees...or sunsets?

Sunset 2

The Tigers and Yankees game is on and I've decided only to watch when Granderson is at the plate so that I might better enjoy the sun setting. If both Honolulu and Brooklyn taught me one thing it's that I'm not the sports fan that I thought I might be. When there are other fairly glorious options I tend to pick those...sunsets, thunder storms, etc... I'm embarrassed to admit it, and both Aim and Kev would kill me...Joe and Rosie too, but it's the truth. If I lived in Waikiki I don't know if I'd ever watch sports.

At least now I know that I don't need some kind of intervention. I think more about my next tattoo than I do about the whether Magglio will be back next year...Don't get me wrong, I love me some Maggs, and I'll admit that 10.5 games out of first place is a lot easier to forget about than a 2 game lead, but still, my mind isn't as one track as I thought. I still loves them Tigers but I've discovered that if I don't have 'em I can actually still breathe, sometimes with more vigor.

I really should be unpacking, but there's not much time between sunset checks and Granderson updates.

Sunny days...starry nights...home.

My backyard

We're getting awfully good at this move in and out of other people's homes thing...really good. We were packed and moved in about ten seconds on Sunday...back to the beach and back to everything familiar, only now it looks a little different. I didn't realize that Brooklyn had affected me as much as it had but we're seeing the world a little differently now.

After a few hours of sweat and IKEA frustration we were moved back in and Zoey had her big girl bed set up. Yup, a big girl bed...she was enamored of Simon's in Brooklyn and fell asleep about a hundred times easier so...BAM...big girls bed. It only took three or four pints of Daddy's sweat to put it together but I guess that's what you do...

Home sweet home...we swam, we played on the beach (for some reason Zedder is unafraid of wandering into the water now, even as tiny little swells drenched her from knees to hips, alternately, she just giggled and looked for rocks with Daddy). New York has made her a very big girl, and now her usual stomping grounds will witness the changes. They're nothing short of significant, and friends and neighbors might be a little surprised by this newest of audacious little girls. This is her home now, and her beach, and her yard, and etc...hilarious etc...Grandma's going to have a hard time keeping up.

It feels good to be home...home home, not just back in Canada, and not just hanging out in our old hometown haunts, but rather home, that place we've come to be most like ourselves, that place that make Zoey smile so wide...and she did, boy did she ever, the very minute we got out of the car. For her, this is home.

starry night

After a hectic evening of getting things in good enough order to settle in for the night, and after Zo bathed and shipped off to her new room, June and I slipped outside and weighed down the hammock, unloading a month and a half's worth of the shouldered burden that being gone can usually be. We laughed, and talked about what's next. We teased one another and marvelled at a sky that most people don't get to enjoy as frequently or as easily as we do. Then it struck us that this was the very same sky as anywhere else in the world, sure, arranged a little differntly, but the same great expanse of awesomeness, and we snuck back into the house and fell asleep dreaming of places we've never been.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Almost Home!

June got a message today that we can move back into our little house on the beach as early as TOMORROW NIGHT!! That means that Sunday evening I'll be grilling up food with watery horizon framing up the background of our lives getting back to normal.

Pause for a breath and some dramatic effect.

The timing couldn't be better 'cause Brooklyn to the 'Burg has practically killed us. The space that occupies that place between my ears has been filled with new and fresh/ fun ideas and the stifling air of my hometown has suffocated much of it. Everything feels a little bit out of whack and home sweet home will be a nice cure for the emotional flu-like symptoms of unsolicited nostalgia in your old stomping grounds. It hasn't been all that fun.

It has been awesome to see Brad and Header and the kids so much...and Grandma's been right around the corner...and of course having an outdoor lacrosse pad to mess around on in the evenings has been awesome (I did, however, forget that I had certain muscles in both my back and shoulders that haven't been used much on the last decade) we've managed to cultivate quite a few smiles since we've been back. It's not the same town I remember though. I suppose it never is.

Blah blah blah...heading home.


Get Havin' Fun or Get Gettin' Gone...

My new mantra is have fun or else, and I'm gonna bust myself up accomplishing it. Life's too frikkin' short for hassles, sure they're gonna come, but shirk 'em off and keep on truckin' I say...don't sweat the small, well, don't sweat anything really, big stuff, small stuff, whatever. Worry is really just a useless emotion...ain't a damn thing that you can do about most stuff, so you gotta learn to roll with it. That's my new philosophy. It's gonna slam itself right in the face of half the people that I interact with on a regular basis. Relax, I'll say...slow the schmank Like they say in the islands, everyting gwana bee awreet, and if it isn't...shrug...whatchoo gonna do?

Living in Hawaii...easy.

Living in New York...easy.

Living wherever you happen to call home...should be easy, half the time it isn't. Why? What the #$%^! Home is where all your clean underwear is...where your DVD collection is...where you forgot your skateboard all summer, and where the BBQ is that you like to spark up on Friday nights when the weather's just right...Enjoy your life good people, 'cause despite this theory or that, you only get one.

I'm gonna live it up this year...gonna smile while I play the use in scowling. Chris Webber had all kinds of fun when he was shooting the hoops, as they say...even while he was consorting with known gamblers and calling imaginary time outs, even while he was dating what surely was a high maintenance Tyra Banks. Of course, he was rich as #$%& even in college, so that eases the stress a little, but take a cue from the big fella...never let 'em see you sweat, and smile, smile, smile.

I'm gonna get the ball rolling with this I think, and then maybe get busy trying to be as interesting as this guy. At the very least I might be hard to reach on the absolute most I'll be chillin' here...or here.

Really Random thoughts...

Out of the blue my friend Beth just crossed my mind. She will be a Mom soon. She will make an embarrassing number of other Mom's look bad, that's how good at it she'll be.

Don't know why that just crossed my mind but there it went.

Hmm...strange, but oh so comforting of a nice little fleeting notion.

One Night...

One Week

Tonight I chose to put my daughter in the bath before bed, and waste away an entire empty Friday night with my beautiful wife rather than tend to nostalgic and half-drunken funny business in my half-familiar hometown. It’s just what I wanted to do. We picked Zoey up at her Grandma’s after work, lingered with indecisive plans, and then chose to burn the night as we did. I’m happy to have done that, exactly that, in exactly such a way.

Tonight we watched One Week, with Josh Jackson, a 93 minute homage to Canada, and a tear inducer on par with the best Spanish Onion you could slice sideways. Watch it or you suck. Aimee, Kevin…you’d love it beyond what most other Americans might. I just know that you would.

Tonight I spoke with my very best of good friends, Andrew Cooper…Coop. He’s just about the best person I know. We spent 37 minutes talking long distance on my cell phone and I couldn’t possibly have cared about the bill any less.

Tonight I drew pictures with my daughter and marveled at the details she chooses to include this week…one week older than the last when she didn’t care to be so specific about her scribbles.

Tonight, after One Week, it struck me that if I had just one week left I’d want to spend at least one night with the very best people that I know. Aside from my family (‘cause you can never really include your family in such imaginary scenarios…it’s against the rules) I’d desperately want to sit beneath stars and beside campfires with my wife and daughter, Andrew Cooper, Serree Gougeon, Scott and Stacey, and perhaps a lingerer or two…because they are the best and sweetest people that I know, the ones who would find a way to best help me live long after I’d died. One Week does that to you.

Tonight I wondered why I haven’t seen more of Canada…why we haven’t made that trek across the country, and then back thru another.

Tonight I thought for the first time that maybe I’d be happy in places I hadn’t ever considered.

Tonight it struck me that one week isn’t very long but that you could probably live a lifetime in it.

Now it’s time to go to bed, if we can commandeer the space back from our sleeping daughter, whose only idea of Manifest Destiny includes those places her parents typically inhabit…I think I’d like to dream big tonight, and then live relatively small but curiously tomorrow.

Tonight wasn’t what I thought it would be and yet, incredibly, more than I had hoped.

Good night little girl. Good night tireless Mummy. Goodnight Coop and Serree, and Scott and Stace. Good night Bergquists. Good night family I so purposefully neglected to include in this post. You don’t need wishes to set you in stone under starry skies and crackling beach fires. Good night .

Friday, August 13, 2010

See this picture...I love it

Netta and June

This is Netta and June a few years ago, at a cousin's wedding. June was preggers with the Zed at the time, and Netta was an excited almost-Aunt. I don't even recall any kind of set up for the just kind of happened...that's right, an organic moment of sisterly love. I like it.

Now listen to this and cry a little, you know, clear out the emotional cobwebs.

Zedder's a lucky kid to have the feminine influences that she has. Me too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Life We Want...

playpen beach

If you really think about it, the rules don't apply to any of us...not just the lucky some of us, but all of us. You live the way you choose to live (unless, of course, you're incarcerated, and then still, it's kind of a by-product of choice, right?), and manage this life the way that only you can. No two children are the same, no two parents, no two homes, and no two why all the fuss with expectations and all the stress and strain of living up to other people's standards. You are who you are and that's just that...done.

June and I are happy to live as we do. Sure we long for this bit of stability, or that bit of coastline, but in the end we get what we want, and what we want is this ability to float in and out of the norm, above and below the radar, with and sometimes without approval or understanding.

Spending last summer in the South Pacific...leaving our lives and our jobs behind, even for just five or six weeks, was life changing. It melted our perspectives together even better than they already were, and it opened our eyes a little wider. Moving our curious collective existences to Brooklyn this past summer did more of the same, and we're happy to be flitting about this earth in and out of favor with the Gods of obligation and responsibility.

I tell many of the young people that I work with that you can wahtever you want as long as it's positive and moving your life long as it's not hurting anyone, and it's improving your lot in life. I say it all of the time, and that's all we're doing in our lives. That's it...nothing magic. We want more than what your average backyard and white picket fence can provide but we also know the distinct value in both. They're not worth totally chucking, but then they're not worth investing too heavily in either, at the risk of losing a dozen other bits of your soul. We should see island volcanos, and know how to catch the subway home from Hell's Kitchen, drunk and alone...we should know the value of work and the pricelessness of shedding it on occasion as well. We should know that everything that we do makes us who we are, and I desperately want to be mountains and oceans and city streets from acround the world. I want to be Hawaiian songs and Parisian cafes...I want to be sotries that no one believes.

We're back from the life we came to know in New York but may already be gone again, in spirit at heart and mind we're never very far from home as long as we've got each other.

Now then...what's next?

Love and Marriage...and Little Awestruck Girls

Serree Zoey wedding

Almost as soon as we arrived back in Canada from Brooklyn we were scheduled to scoot off to our good friend Serree's wedding (Mike's our good friend too but we knew Serree first so she get's the preferential treatment here, plus, she's the bride know how that goes). Zoey was asked to be Serree's flower girl and she was pretty excited at the task. It would be her first wedding, of any kind, and it just may have been the sweetest thing ever witnessed by these sometimes cynical eyes.

B&W Zoey at wedding

It was sweet for a million obvious reasons. First, we love Serree more than just about anybody on the whole entire planet. She counts as one of the best people wandering around the earth, and our affection for her runs super, super deep that when confronted with the notion of who we'd want looking after Zo if something awful were to happen to us or our families the first name that often comes up is Serree Gougeon...ahem, Wainman. We love her and Zo does too.

Secondly, this was Zoey's very first wedding of any kind and she was absolutely in awe at most of it. She was fascinated with the pretty girls, and how dressed up everyone was, with the flowers and the music and with all of the attention. She was mostly mesmerized by Serree and her dress, even her wedding ring... she was every bit what you'd imagine a little girl to be.

Zo was even more entranced by Mike and Serree's first dance. She could barely take her eyes off of them as she sat in my lap watching, and I nearly swooned with the realization that my little girl was already wanting what Serree had. She saw something magical in all that was happening. It baffled me, this most obvious difference between boys and girls. Zoey was fully mesmerized and was so totally engaged by the whole wedding thing that anyone couldn't help but sigh. Boys don't do that.

Zed was set to do the same thing for our good friends, Dustin and Kelly, later this Fall but the logistics of it all made Dustin offer us an out. The wedding's distance from home and no obvious way to take care of Zo without having to leave the wedding entirely made it an easy decision but it's obvious now that Zo would have loved it.

Mom Zoey wedding

The Zedder was on her game at the shindig...making friends with everyone, hanging out with all the girls, sitting for photos like a pro, etc... It was as if she had practiced all summer for it...she didn't. She didn't slip into her dress and shoes until ten minutes before the wedding, in the front seat of our car as it sat in the parking lot and guests streamed past. She's just a natural I guess. She made us pretty proud and helped us feel like the super-family that most of us are trying to be everyday.

Mom Zoey Dad wedding

When it was all said and done we watched one of the nicest weddings we've been to in a long time, we watched our daughter look so much bigger than one and a half years old, and then scooted off to a lacrosse tournament in Whitby before the night even really got going. Our exit was timely, before Zo ruined any of her previously planted magic as the day's fatigue set in, and with a three hour drive ahead of us, we said some heartfelt goodbyes -- to Mike and Serree, to Serree's parents Rick and Carrie -- and as we pulled out of the parking lot that little awestruck girl was already slipping off to sleep...smiling.

Thanks Mike and just gave Zoey one of her earliest memories of what love should look like.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

I've just now decided that there aren't nearly enough post titles in this blog that reflect Grateful Dead song titles or lyrics...not nearly enough, and so here we are abusing the most annoyingly misused one of them all. It has been a long strange trip though, and so there's no shame in it...or very little, anyway.

Back from Brooklyn with a toddler's fever worries subsided, a busy drive back managed, a wedding enjoyed, a lacrosse tournament survived, and a move into June's parents house until it's time to return to the beach's been a busy week or so. Apologies for the blog free week and our seeming indifference to this monster of a Zoey Blog, but plugging into the wonder of the world wide interweb thingy wasn't a priority or option in some cases, and life is just now starting to resemble something familiar.

There are pictures to post, stories to tell, and interesting this and thats to get to but for now we'll keep it simple. It's good to be home, and a bit of an ordeal all at the same time. Our attempts at life as your average Canadian family certainly makes for interesting discussions, and could probably be called a lot of things other than average, but we do our best to stay true to ourselves and balance what the world expects of us, and we try to do it so that we have something to wonder at later. We're doing alright so far.

So...a month in Brooklyn done, back to beaches and BBQs soon enough...and then what? In the meantime, hang tight, we'll return you to your regularly scheduled programming in a jif (I have no idea what that means).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

See these people...they're cool.


See these two lovely people? Yeah, that's Kelly and Dustin. We like them very much...and this photo is a beaut, so...blogged. You'd probably like them too but we're not sharing so go find your own cool friends.

That's about all I have to say about that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bye Bye Brooklyn

Dad smooching Zo

That's's over. We won't be making reference to home as 498 Clinton Street, Brooklyn anymore. It was fun. It was hot. In the end it was well worth the sweat but little Zo's been running a fever for a few days now, and with rain and heat heading this way we decided that it's time to head home...

Zed's caught a cold and found herself teething once again, and with new molars comes fever...that's Zo's thing. That's "how she do." She's a miserable little girl and hasn't slept much for two nights now. A drive would do her good...give her a chance to just sleep and sleep and sleep, and maybe break this fever. So goodbye Brooklyn, you were awfully nice and we'll miss you a lot. We'll see you again soon, in fact, no trip back to New York will ever fall into place without a visit, but now it's time for us to go. Zedder wants to go home...her real home, so we'll pack up and get gone.

There's still some fun to be had before we're back at the beach so as soon as Zed's fever slips away we'll be sure to check in...until then, mahalo and all that. Betz...we owe you another visit, another time.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

6'6" of Amazing is Making Me Miss Home

So my next oddly inspired goal is to get in touch with Big Willie Robinson out in LA. Read this cool post over at A Time To Get and was instantly fascinated. I think I'm missing home just a little bit too 'cause the photos of auto inspired nostalgia made me sick for Detroit. I wonder how many people have ever typed that?

What a killer dude Willie sounds like...I mean, really bad ass. That's the kind of guy I want to litter my life with. I wanna know guys like that, and call them friends. little personal challenge...know more about Big Willie and the infamous Brotherhood Of Street Racers car club. It's little things like this that keep me giggling. Is that normal? I guess some guys build stuff...I chase daydreams. I wonder if that'll ever stop? I hope not.

Back in the day, of course, LA and Detroit had a lot more in common than Joe Average cares to know. They were both, in large part, car cities, with enormous racial issues barely below the surface. At that point, even LA was fairly working class, and it's an easy comparison once you get digging around. What saved LA was sunshine.

Big WIllie Robinson and the International Brotherhood of Street, that's cool. I can't wait to get diggin' into that stuff.