Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grass Stains and Grey Socks...


Someday someone will find these legs attractive, they'll pull the eyes of some young man...and some day she'll have logged thousands of miles on them, jumped over road blocks and speed bumps, with luck a few point guards. Someday these legs will walk her and her backpack off of the plane and onto European soil with little more than a few hundred dollars in her pocket and a lot of ambition. Someday these legs would never be caught dead sporting grey socks and sneakers. Someday these legs will do all of that but for now they're attached to a giggling little girl who likes to get grass stains on her bare skin and muck up her Chucks. Right now they're attached to a little person who won't stay this delightfully little for very long.

Summer Camp to Something Impressive

I can pick through the young people I've known across the span of my life and pluck the gems out of the bunch with ease. Lindsey was one of the best. Mature, cool, kind, going places...I knew all the way back to summer camp that the pretty little girl with the counselor demeanor and the little kid eyes was going to manage some incredible things in her life. She has. I think she was 11 or 12 when we first met, and all of us knew the kind of impressive adult she was going to become...every one of us.

She followed my tracks unknowingly and landed in the very same vacated office I used at the Boys and Girls Club, thumbed through my poorly kept notes and files, made friends with my old friends long after I'd left. Naturally, they loved her as I
She finished up a degree there, then moved on and grabbed herself another degree...she found herself a long way from summer camp. Now she's gotten engaged, and you can't believe the photos. They're incredible.

Like I said...gem.

The Power of Blog

Sometimes we have no idea of the kind of lives we lead, or of who we are. I regularly feel under-qualified, and in over my head at work, and then I type up a resume and am shocked at how it reads. I'm impressed. Then at home I sometimes feel overwhelmed, and as if I might not be contributing enough, or appropriately, and then I see other men not half as involved as I, and I let myself relax a little. Of course, I pay no attention to the fact that I've been blogging here for two and a half years, an almost every day commitment to share our lives with perfect strangers, and you. It strikes me that such an enterprise might be relatively impressive in it's own right.

There have been 1549 posts, including this one, since October of 2008...and there have been 95, 201 visitors over that same span of time. Of course Zoey is now 2 years and 4 months old, and all of that has been managed while living in this house on the lake, a hotel room in Honolulu, and an apartment in Brooklyn. There have been posts made from friends homes, grandparent's houses, hotels in Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Toronto, etc...and airports, plenty of airports. I've blogged from my phone...blogged from work...blogged from a million of the forgettable places that our lives have wandered past over these 30 months. And I never once stopped to think that it was such a big deal. Like I said, sometimes we have no idea of the kind of life we're living, or of who we are.

Nearly three years of Zedder ruminations, of dumping my head and heart onto a computer screen, and of revealing too much on occasion and too little on others. I have no frame of reference to put that into context, I only know that it's felt good. At times it saved my life. Becoming a father wasn't an easy task, and becoming is truly the word to define the process. we don't start out as fathers but we are quickly shaped or misshapen. I seem to know a lot of people, and have some close friends, but no one to call best friend, aside from my wife. That makes the becomingpart even harder. There are plenty of people I love, and some of them I see fairly often, but none that I see enough to have steered me through nearly three years of complete existential uncertainty, unfathomable amounts of self-examination, and a curious case of can I really do this. Turns out I can, and it also turns out that I had this blog to help me through. There were comments from friends and strangers alike, and sometimes they were more timely than your next breath. It's truly helped me find my bearings. There are people who I once called simply "friends" whom I might now upgrade to people I love, and of course, maybe I already loved them and it just took this experience to shed some light on those feelings, but more often than not, it was a word, an interest, an excited smile when we saw each other, that illuminated who they really were and what they really meant to me.

Three years ago I'd lost track of my friend Beth, and now we just spent last Friday night two hours apart and instant messaging our way through an Elvis movie on television (a pretty damn fun experience I might add, you really need to try it).

Three years ago my friend Dustin was just a good buddy, and now he's easily one of the best people I know, someone I'd very likely go to if I needed someone to go to (I highly recommend that you get yourself a Dustin of your own).

Three years ago my friend MaryAnn was a girl I just knew, and liked, and was typically happy to bump into. Now I'm beyond excited at the prospect of bumping into her, and she's much more than just a girl I know. I'd suggest that she cares about me, my wife, and my daughter and she didn't have to.

Three years ago my friends Kevin and Aimee were relationships I'd long regretfully neglected, that part of my life long past and the farce of an imaginary line separating our lives. Now they have reminded me that they are people I care about, and people that I respect. Kevin is a quiet gauge for my own fatherhood. He's one of the best I know.

Three years ago I forgot what it was like to have my very own John Teeter, and now that I do again I wonder how I ever lost him. It doesn't take much for me to be reminded how some of the best years of my speeding, often unanchored life were spent in an old grey van bouncing around the countryside.

Three years ago I didn't know a single I know three, and in small increments and varying ways I'm oh-so happy to have all of them with their own distinct memories attached.

Three years ago it was impossible for my niece Avery to know her Uncle any better than on the surface, and now she has a yellow brick road right into my heart. How incredible is it that we can become closer because of the things that I type, or that she could perhaps learn something here that might never have learned, and certainly not from me. Perhaps now she'll have some insight into a man's heart...maybe her father's, or maybe the man she meets someday? Perhaps she'll set new standards, and expect more, or maybe she'll just think twice about something she should really think twice about...and all because of 1549 posts.

Sometimes we have no idea about the kind of life we lead or the kind of people that we are...and sometimes we blog and it all becomes much clearer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Changing things, one silly sketch at a time...

Zed Header May
The rough, unfinished header that didn't make the cut.

As you may have already gleaned, The Zoey Blog has a bit of a new look. It's because the old one was starting to get, well, old. That, and I get doodling and painting and fiddling and farting (fiddling almost always includes farting, although not in the literal sense) and BLAM, we end up with something that just has to leap from sketchbook to blog...has to. So, every few months it seems we have a new header to look at and think to yourself, "why doesn't that turd just get busy slapping together something more significant than a blog," to which I'd respond, because I get easily distracted.

I've got an idea. If someone forced me to do it...yeah, if someone said, "Hey B-rye, I wanna book for little (insert name) and I would like it very much if you made one just for him/her. Would you do that for us?" I'd very likely respond, "Of course I would, and probably more readily for some, and then I'd slap it together, get it printed via Apple or Blurb, and you could simply pay for your copy, and perhaps help me pay for mine. Done. At which point you could say any of the following:

1. Wow, little (insert name) has his/her very own book, and it's from Brian. Cool. I love Brian. He's the best.

2. Holy $#!%, that's an expensive book.

3. Feels good knowing that I helped that turd, Brian, get his arse in gear and starting doing something with his life.

4. This book sucks.

5. I wonder if there are M*A*S*H reruns on tonight (I don't know why you'd say that).

That sounds like a decent little plan. I'm going to start a little small run press, run it right offa my couch. Yup, that's what I'm going to do. It'll be called...ahmmm....we'll call it...uhmm...Let's see, how

I don't know what to call it.

It doesn't matter. The point is that I'll be forced to do something with this quirky little, seemingly pointless talent/hobby of mine. It's better than watching M*A*S*H reruns.

Uncle Morley and His God Awful Eyewear

Just last weekend our very good friends, Corey and Steph, came over and we just soaked up some beach and each other. We caught up on one another's lives, and Steph's ever growing belly. They're due they're first child, a girl, in less than a month, and it's been pretty awesome to see them all geeked and freaked. They're going to be some of the best parents that I know.

Somehow we started calling Corey by the much cooler name, Morley, and it's stuck. Zo now refers to him as Morley, so from last weekend and for the rest of his life, Corey is Morley. At one point last weekend Zo started rummaging through Corey's lunch bag from work. She discovered a pretty stellar prize in the form of Uncle Morley's busted up safety glasses. She tried them on. She loved 'em.

Zo with Uncle Morley's safety glasses

I think Uncle Morley has a fan in Zed now. He's the dude with the cool glasses, and a baby in his belly. Yeah, she kind of had a hard time believing that if both Corey and Steph were becoming parents why they should both shouldn't have a baby in their bellys. Makes sense...if you're two years old, which is she most definitely is every bit of.

Awww, Uncle Morley. Hope you like the name, Core...'cause it's good and stuck.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Of Books and Bold Predictions...


Last night we went to Barnes & Noble and this was the book that Zoey wanted. We were all settled in with some awesome story about a seal and a zoo...a zoo that looked very much like the Central park Zoo...and Zedder wandered away in search of her own selection. She brought back Biology 101.

I guess children's literature is really just anything that a child is reading, right?

Maybe that security guard at the Museum of Natural History was right...maybe Zed is headed for Harvard? I guess we'd better start saving for an Ivy League education? No, wait...he also mentioned something about a scholarship. Whew. I nearly passed out for a minute.

BTW...on our way back through Canadian Customs, with the windows rolled down and a kind Immigration official asking us questions through his own window, Zo leaned over and asked if she could have, "a juice and a milk, please." He laughed. We laughed. It seems that drive-thru windows and Immigration stations look an awful lot alike.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

iTunes Top 25 Most Played...In Just One Day

I can't stop listening to this song.

It's struck me lately that I've developed this almost debilitating need to question stand for have a point of view that is not just unique but justified.

I'd apologize if I felt I needed to.

Take That Andrew Cooper!


"What's your favorite bird Zoey?


"What about the blue birds?

I like blue cardinals.

Those aren't cardinals, Zoey. Those are Blue Jays.

I don't like Blue Jays.

Me neither.

Goalie or Frog?


Tonight Zoey and I played soccer in the kitchen. Grandma's door was our net. This weird Ikea frog stool thing was our goalie. I scored a lot. Zoey cheated quite a bit. We laughed uncontrollably, especially when Zo tackled the frog and told me to hurry up and shoot.

This kid's going places. Perhaps Ohio State with that kind of attitude.

"Excuse Me...I Have To Tell You Things."

If she's anything it's polite.

Zo regularly says please and thank you, and lately has been throwing around apologies like they were her first words..."Oh, sorry" ...Sorry Mummy"..."Oops, sorry"...It's hilarious, but just tonight she set the bar even higher.

Interrupting Mom while she was talking..."Excuse me...I have to tell you things."

I know it probably sounds a little emasculating for me to say "adorable"...but adorable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fight For Your Right To Potty

It was a historic day in this household...well, relatively historic. Zed decided to use her potty without prodding or pushing FOUR times today...FOUR... grand total of two pees, an almost made it but my pants got stuck right on the precipice, and one fairly impressive poop.

I got the news of the first while driving to work...then the second while I was deep in conversation with a girl that was really struggling. It lightened the mood, and she laughed at my enthusiasm. I didn't hear about the third until I got home, and the fourth and final one...the deuce, as they say...found me with a front row seat since Zed decided that she'd like me to try to do the same in complete unison with her. Shrug...why not. I'm a gamer.


It's rather impressive considering we haven't pushed her hardly at all. She's a smart girl, and always has been, so we figured that she'd manage the idea of this before too long with minimal input from her rents. She has. It's awkwardly exciting, mostly because I never imagined it being all that exciting of a thing...I was wrong.


You know what she earned with that kind of gastrointestinal effort? A bug net and bug house. Yup. Now she's one more impressive day better at this whole potty game AND she's a bug hunter. Solid day Zed...very solid.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

MacGregor Sucks the Mustard, and Zo Knows It

Beezer, Avery, and Zed

Zedder and I slipped down to Wallaceburg this afternoon and caught Beezer's football game. The boys fully dismantled MacGregor 58-14 or something like that, and Zo ran around for two hours, made a few friends, and generally wore herself out. She watched the cheerleaders incessantly, even chipped in with a few dances of her own, and she high fived all the players after the game. She was silly proud of Beezer, and kept talking about him on the drive home. She also ate chicken McNuggets on the ride back, but she talked about football more than the McNuggets. Of course, she was also apologizing to each nugget before she ate it so, you know, kinda take what she says with a little trepidation. She is only two years old after all.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some stuff...

First...I can't stop listening to Hanni El Khatib's "Dead Wrong."I love it more than lunch, and what a stellar video.

Second...don't mistake me for the Board of Directors type, as is the seemingly popular thing to do of late. No, I don't wish to second your motion for an approval of the budget. No, I couldn't care a whole lot less about your political agenda, and/or your direction, message, or purpose. I don't like the Executive Director types that dot the landscape of Boards...or the Treasurers, or the Secretaries...and while we sit and talk there are kids buying bad dope in the skate park from bad guys that all of us seemingly good guys don't have time for 'cause we're busy meeting. Yeah, count me out...but thanks random unnamed university, and mucho gracias random unnamed criminal rehabilitation organization, but I won't be your token young man, or your pipeline to what's actually happening on the street. I won't be your access to the schools, or your familiar face in the jails...nope. Get your suits dry cleaned, and make motions for the approval of meeting minutes, but don't use me in such a blatantly offensive way. There might be tattoos on my arms and an innocence in my demeanor but I know what I'm doing, and what I'm doing isn't joining your ranks.

Third...we're going to the Zoo this Monday and I could $#!% my pants I'm so excited (also one more reason why I can't be on your Board of Directors...I like to talk like that).

Fourth...I don't really have a fourth thing. I learned today that old people steal cheese. Swear to Jebus. There's something for you.

Lastly, tonight my daughter ate spaghetti with her bare hands like she'd never eaten a morsel of food before in her a caveman, except, you know, a cavewoman. It was hilarious. Just jammed fistful after fistful of noodles into her gaping chompers.

Oh, and one other thing...this is the cutest kid I may have ever seen in my life.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dinner is served...

First its string...

Tonight it was just Daddy and Zed and a menu of our own choice. We had more than enough options but we settled on spaghetti....I know, it looks mostly like some string and plush Ikea vegetables, and it is, but grab yourself an imagination, please and thank you.

Then it's spaghetti!

We actually enjoyed a combination omelette avec ham and cheese bagel deal type thing. It was quite tasty, but we also served heaping helpings of string and plush vegetable spaghetti for anyone who was interested...which was no one.

I bet you never realized that office supplies were the fifth basic food group? Yup, they are. That's a true fact that I just made up right now.

Maybe I didn't know...

sleeping Zo

I came home to a sleeping girl. I crept into her darkened room and began to type. I don't think I've slept as Zoey sleeps in decades. There is too much on my mind, not enough time to balance life's ledgers each day. She'll wake up and groggily grasp for Daddy, and she'll find my shoulder and tuck her face into my neck and sleep even sounder than she had before. That would be nice to try now, but we're grown and so the opportunity is gone.

She snores, a little, and she smiles when she dreams. Sometimes she'll even tell you the story of her smile, if she remembers. She has little, tucked in feet, and damp curls, and she has no idea how beautiful she is. She might never. It would be impossible to comprehend the vulnerability I feel with her in my life. She couldn't possibly grasp the faith that my head and heart find when they fall on her. So she sleeps, and I type, and I wonder what, if anything, could have punctured the shell I grew around my heart before I first saw her.

I came home early, hid myself away in her shadowy room, dreamt a million waking dreams of her while she softly snored, and I think, maybe I didn't know what love was until now.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Out of Service...

F Train out of service for the night

This will be the final stop this evening for the F Train...Downtown, Brooklyn, and Coney Island. Service will resume in the morning.

Please ignore the naked conductor. Thank you.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wild Geese, or something like it...

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination.

Those words are from a poem titled, "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. I hacked it up, plucked from it what I could use, and fully bastardized it with the best of intentions. Now I'll recite it every day.

That's kinda my thing...take something perfectly acceptable, bend it to my own liking, and then offer it back. It's a bad habit but it's worked for thirty-nine years and so I'll keep it.

If the moon was made of cheese would you eat it?


Dad and Zed were enjoying a casual conversation over an atypical Saturday night meal of grilled cheese and pizza, when the conversation quickly took a turn towards awesome. In a moment captured by Mummy and the cat both, Zoey swung hard, went deep and knocked Daddy's pitch right out of the park...

Daddy: "See that cheese Zo? You know where that's from?"

Quiet pause accompanied by a hesitant look.

Daddy: "That cheese is from the moon."

Zoey: "No it's not."

Daddy: "The moon is made out of cheese, isn't it?"

Zoey: "Nooooo. It's not made out of cheese, Daddy. It's just made out of moon."

Touche´ Zo...touche´. Well played.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Zoey Sakura DeWagner...the Charlie Daniels of the Torque Wrench


The grass needs cutting, the lawn mowers won't start, and Daddy's watching Zed. Bust out the tools!

Dad and Zed got busy changing batteries on the mowers this afternoon. It took some three-steps-ahead thinking to pull the job off, but we managed. There was really no keeping her from helping anyway. She was elbow deep in the tool box and at one point was attempting to inflate the tires with a hand pump. Give the kid a wrench for God's sake before she kills herself inventing fake tools.

Next purchase...kid size tool set.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Game Six Love Connection


Watching Game 6 of the Canucks - Predators series tonight...Zed in her Canucks jersey, and Dad in his...and Zoey and Debu suddenly and strangely came to some kind of affection accord. They cuddled together on the couch, and it was so cute I nearly soiled myself. Normally Zo scares Debu senseless. He's lost weight. His hair falls out. He cries himself to sleep at night. Oddly, all that's behind them, and they're friends suddenly. Weird.

Zedder and Debu - May 9, 2011

After her bath Zed tossed on her Canucks sweater, the one that Aunt Netta bought her so that her and Dad could watch the game together. At that point Debu joined in on the fun and Dad didn't count half as much as the cat. Such is the plight of Daddy's. We don't stand a damn chance against a purring, cuddling cat. No friggin' way. We did, however, find ourselves in complete agreement about one thing...the Sedin twins are annoying as $#%&.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day...


I don't have much money bouncing around my pockets, but words might be more valuable anyway...'re the reason I was always eager to come home no matter where I found myself.

June...I wish I was half the person that you are, and I hope Zoey grows up to say the same.

Mihoko...there are a lot of men who don't like their Mother-in-laws...I love mine.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This is my daughter...


This is my daughter. She likes wagon rides. She likes the color purple. She likes Sesame Street and chocolate milk. She likes Justin, she loves Justin Beiber. She cries for Mom in the middle if the night, but sometimes she wants Dad instead. She likes to play on the beach. She's smart. Boy, is she smart. She eats a lot of rice, doused in furikake, lots of furikake. She jumps naked into my lap every night, fresh from the bath and trying to escape the Mummy Monster. She can't get enough Tinkerbell, nowhere near enough. She can be crunchy but mostly not, almost always the complete opposite. She tells you when she's frustrated. She likes to draw on the living room window. She watches Pingu and smiles so wide you'd think her face would break. She kisses me goodbye every morning and tells me to have a good day. She knows that if Daddy says he's got a present for her when he gets home it's usually a bag full of books. She can tell you the name of all her stuffed animals, and there are a lot of stuffed animals. She wears Chucks. She looks perfect in pigtails. She likes to hold both her parents hands and swing between them. She doesn't play with toys at the dinner table because Grandad says, "no toys at the table." She likes to be chased around the house. She gets stickers for using her poddy. She occasionally opens the fridge and looks around. She likes to wash dishes. She insists on visiting the cows down the road on a regular basis. She likes Play-Doh. She likes to tease Grandma, and she likes to explore Baachan's sewing room. She plays with bugs. She has a library card, and she has some fines to pay, I think. She remembers the name of every kid she ever meets. She likes beans and can tell you that Aunt Netta doesn't. She thinks Uncle Ian is flying every plane that drifts overhead, and will tell you that Meredis lives in Bee-cago. She likes to dance. She's given her cat a clinical anxiety disorder, and she's already been to the movies once and behaved admirably. She has a baseball shirt because that's all she wanted from Wrigley Field. She texts her cousin Avery, and she thinks Reece is a freak. Brent makes her shy. She makes Aunt Header's day, and turns Uncle B into a rather silly behaving 6'4" giant. She likes Smarties, and she likes watching sports with Daddy. She only wants Mummy to do it sometimes, and looks abso-frikkin-lutely adorable in gymnastics tights. She lifts me up when I'm sad, and she reminds me with just one look that she's the most important thing we've ever done.

That's my daughter, and nothing defines me better.

With luck...

With any kind of luck this is the kind of little girl we have on our hands.

Moma critic

This is plucked from the Museum of Modern Art's site where dozens of children's museum reviews are posted for your perusal. I like this one.

Thanks to Cup of Jo for the link.

Stop, Drop, and Listen

I'm getting sooooooo bored to death and half-insulted by the increasingly popular parent shuffle of endless activities and child development opportunities. Sooooo bored senseless. Stop it parents. Stop it. Quit reading magazine articles about the benefits of socializing your children, or how swimming lessons earlier in life make more successful college students. I'm so sick and tired of all the super-parenting. How 'bout we just try to be good parents in the most simple, straightforward sense? We try to be there for our kids. We communicate with them. We love them. We give them the chance to figure some of this $#%t out for themselves.

You know what? Some kids hate the piano. I hated the piano. I don't even wish I knew how to play now. I like music but I don't really give two poops that I don't know how to play. I don't regret learning how to throw a curve ball instead of fingering the frets of a cheap Sears guitar. You know why? 'Cause I can throw a curve ball, really hard, at your face. You can play guitar...awesome. Who cares? Some people can ride big animals at ridiculously high speeds and not fall off. That's not me either, and I don't feel bad about it. The truth is, that for every incredible opportunity that you push your child into to help them develop into something maybe a little different than they already are, means that they're not doing something else. It's pretty simple math.

Organized, structured, incessant activities are great, and so is idle play. You learn a lot doing both, but you can't do both. It's impossible. I believe very strongly in allowing a kid to be a kid. Sure, the busier they are the less opportunity for trouble, but how 'bout we work on teaching them what trouble looks like, how to avoid it, and why they don't really want any part of it, rather than letting a busy schedule keep them from rehab and prison. That's terribly negligent don't you think? It's the equivalent of building a fence to keep your child from wandering into traffic when perhaps you should really just teach your child that wandering into traffic leaves them dead. The fence stops them, the knowledge informs them.

The most annoying bit of this recent trend in doting, overbearing parents, is that those doting, overbearing parents need to tell everyone about how incredible their efforts are, and just exactly why your child needs to be going to a french immersion school instead of enjoying the awesome banalities of public education. They'll also tell you how music lessons will make their child smarter but how building your own raft, one that actually floats even when your fat Dad steps on it, and drifting down the river on this miracle of ten year old engineering won't do a damn thing for your development. Really? How 'bout I learned to use my hands and actually create something, and I also learned that it was a bad idea to drown. I'd venture to say that Junior Achievement has never saved a kid from drowning. They don't have funerals for kids who's grass cutting businesses went tits up, do they? No, they don't. In fact, the best thing that could ever happen to you as a future suit is that your lemonade stand does go bust, but first your parents have to be willing to let you fall flat on your pale and smug little face. Most won't, not in these overprotective times.

Go ahead, sign your kid up for swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are awesome, but as much because you have to change into your bathing suit in front of other people as because they teach you how to not sink. Having something formal and structured to do is good, and being busy can be good, and being around other human beings is good, but to think that you can just pay for your kid's development with music lessons, summer hockey school, and a Montessori education then you're a fool. Be a good parent. Try to be there for your kids. Communicate with them. Love them. Give them the chance to figure $#%t out for themselves, and for God's sake, stop telling me how Zoey's at the perfect age to begin her journey towards becoming tri-lingual. I'm happy if she just learns not to say stupid things. In the end, I'll be just as proud of the raft as I am the report card.

By the way, chess lessons might make your child smarter in the long run, but it'll also make them insufferable. Apple falling close to the tree, etc...etc...

Now Zoey's going yo gymnastics, after which she's going to go waste some time kicking around Grandad and Baachan's backyard, probably touching things she's not supposed to, and potentially falling into a creek. Check mate.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Need That Record...

Watching the film, I Need That Record, an awesome movie about independent record stores in America. It's an enlightening tour of the past twenty years of our music loving lives, and it's both depressing and inspiring, if that's even possible.

I buy records. I download music. I buy digital music. I purchase CDs. I spend both money and time on music, and I want to do all of that the way that I choose to. The music industry, and the overwhelming bulk of it's monster retailers, tell you what to listen to today, or at the very least, are willing to only sell you certain things. That's not how I want to listen to my life. I want to establish a kinda sorta groove when it comes to the things that I like, and then I want to to own those things.

I like Ryan Adams. I like Chris Isaak. I like My Morning Jacket, and I like Bruce Springsteen. I like the Grateful Dead and Coleman Hawkins. I like Jay Malinowski and I like Pearl Jam. I like The Josh Davis Band and Josh Rouse. I like Mayer Hawthorne and Paul Westerberg. I like Ray LaMontagne and Sam Cooke. I like Tom Waits and Train. I like Wynton Marsalis, Alison Krauss, Led Zeppelin, and Lou Reed. I like being able to buy what I want, when I want, and not when Sony or WalMart tells me to. That's fine for televisions and undershirts, but not for music, not for art of any kind.

Here's an awesome list that Rolling Stone Magazine compiled of the best record stores in America. Some of them are within remarkably easy striking distance. Who wants to make a road trip? Think of it as sweetening up your children's inheritance.

Zoey...some day you're going to need to find space for a lot of records.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The best laid schemes...

So if we set the time frame at ten years we should be good to go. If we save $1,000 a year…each of us, both June and I, that should be $20,000. That should make for a decent road stake. The plan? Take leaves from work. Take Zoey out of school. See the world.

It will be 2021, Zo will be twelve years old, and on the verge of loathing us. She’ll be preparing to start the seventh grade, the perfect time to jam pack her perspective with awesomeness and then get her back to her friends and the routine of public education just before her 8th grade year and high school. She would be almost the exact age as our niece, Avery, is now. Tell Avery that she can jump on an airplane and study on the beaches of the world and still get back in time for her 8th grade basketball season and she’d step on your face getting to the plane. I think Zed would approve of the plan.

I suppose the task begins of deciding where we would go, what we would do…how we would do it. Would be live and work in each country for a short period of time, then move on? Would we live on a boat? Would we fly some, drive some, and float some? It’s a ridiculous thing to plan but can you imagine a better distraction?

Africa makes the list. Japan, naturally, is on the list. What else? There are endless options. I suppose we all get some input. It makes sense that everyone gets a say in what places we choose to enlighten ourselves with, but how do you narrow it down?

The plan is partly a chance to see the world and partly let’s help steer our daughter into almost-adulthood with some unfathomable perspective. Kids are capable of a lot, and I want to be sure that she’s got herself an education long before she gets down the nitty gritty of paying for one. I want her to achieve all of things that she is capable of and to help her do that we might best invest in helping her figure out just exactly what she is capable of.

I'm guessing it won't be this simple, will it? Or maybe it is. Either way, I'm eager to find out.

The most comfortable 5 feet in the world...

Six feet three inches is not comfortably divisible by five feet, at least not in terms of cramming bodies into beds. Zo has herself a nasty head cold (thanks Daddy) and was on her way to frustratingly sleepless last night, that is until Dad grabbed a pillow, stuffed himself in beside Zed in her tiny, little bed, and got busy rubbing back and belly, and generally comforting a tossing and turning daughter. With a little help she got some much needed sleep, but Dad, well, all he got was an awful knot in his hip, about two hours of sleep, and a sore rotator cuff from all that back and belly rubbing. I feel kind of responsible considering such an indiscriminate cold was originally mine.

I was pretty happy to spend six or seven hours laying quietly in the dark with my daughter. I was struggling to put some things from my day into perspective and feeling her soft breathing beside me was reassuring. Very often the things that we find ourselves the most concerned with don’t deserve the attention. After a day that had spun out of control it was nice to find safe harbor and an anchor in a sleeping daughter. Perhaps nicer still to be able to ease her burden while forgetting my own. In the end six feet three inches does not fit comfortably in a five foot bed, but it does in the restful sighs of a sleeping little girl.

A Collection of Notebook Scribbles...

I jot down a lot of little things...when people are talking, when I'm bored, when I'm inspired, or when I need to vent. Every once in awhile I flip back through my books and notice them there, sticking out like sore thumbs. Sometimes I've read something or heard something that moved me to write this or that, and sometimes I've just grabbed for a pen and started spreading ink across the bottom of already crowded pages. Either way, I've decided that I need to put them all in one place. Here are some from this year...

I got called a dragon slayer today, which made me wince. It pains me how off our versions of what I do for a living often are. Anyone can slay a dragon...but try waking up every morning and choosing to give the day, the world, a second chance. Try waking up and falling in love with your life over and over again. That requires way more courage than slaying dragons.

If you're not willing to lose, then you'll do whatever it takes to win, and you become someone you're not.

I have a tough time believing that Jesus is more important than my daughter. I'll worship her and then let's just agree to disagree after that.

I want my daughter to see me taking chances, believing in my job, and trying to be the best person I can possibly be. I want her to see what living really is, and not have to go searching for it for the rest of her life.

I hate repeating myself. I talk to people going through the most profound things, really falling apart, and they hear every word. They can tell me two years later exactly what I said to them. They're paying attention.

Everybody is not always your friend.

My job is a mindless thing. People say, "Wow! How could you do that?" And I say, "How could I not do that?

Working with young kids with special needs before I really did anything else taught me a lot. I look around and see people hurting themselves for absolutely no reason...booze and drugs, beating themselves up in a million different psychological ways... It really bothers me, knowing that these people have so much of what other people will never have and they find no value in that. Some of the best people I've ever known were never really even treated like real people for big chunks of their lives. I chose to stand beside those people really early on, and let them teach me.

I consider myself a gentle person, and that's what I'm most proud of. It's not what I've known my whole life.

New ideas require new facts, I'm certain of that.

Gertrude Stein wrote, "There is no answer, there never was an answer, there'll never be an answer. That's the answer." People sometimes don't like to hear it, but it's the truth.

I don't work with addicts, or drug dealers, or gang members. I work with human beings. Not everyone who commits a crime is a criminal.

You can tell me anything and I'll stand beside you...I'll keep coming back, but don't lie to me. You lie to me once, it's strike one. Like to me twice, it's strike three.

There's no secret. I mostly just let it all happen. I just follow the energy and hope for the best. It's how I sleep at night.

Friendship should be easy. I've got a buddy, Dustin, and we're just friends...that's it. I love the guy, and it never took an ounce of energy.

Be fair, and be nice. Then be yourself. That's all it takes.

They used to say that the world was flat, and everybody believed it. The fact is, we don't know anything for sure.

Speak up for what you believe in and what you feel, or don't, but you have to live with yourself if you don't.

A stitch in time...

Dad - Zo-Sleeping - Feb 09

The birth of my daughter caused me to develop enough courage to invent my life, because that's what I have done. I've invented every thread in it's fabric, and weaved it into something I could be proud of, something that couldn't be taken away from me as so many other things had. Yes, it was made from old scraps, and from pieces of discarded and mismatched material, but it has made a beautiful mosaic and is stitched together to tell a story, very much like the quilts that my grandmother used to lovingly piece together. I invented this pattern that you see in my life, in the carefully sewn blocks of memory and misshapen material, from the boy that I was to the man that I am, I invented all of this. I made my life, with the generous and often unaware help of others, I stitched together this story of me. There isn't another quilt that looks like my own, not another. No fabric or thread that can match the memories that make up mine. It is unique. I have her to thank for that.

Whatdya think about these flippers?

New Chucks!

Zedder got new Chucks, just like her old Chucks, only bigger…way bigger. The Zipster’s measuring in somewhere between a size 7 and size 8 and we’re starting to worry. It’s difficult to buy clothes for a six foot tall fourteen year old.

The photo makes them flippers look much larger than they really are, but size 8…really? I hope she's a good swimmer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Watching Peter Pan

Someday she's not going to want to sit with her Dad and watch Peter Pan.

Someday I won't be able to simply lean over and kiss her on the top of her head whenever I want...ten times a minute for two hours.

Someday she won't smell like Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Bath soap.

Someday piggies will look silly.

Someday there won't be magic wands left on the table.

Someday sitting on Dad's lap will be ridiculous.

Someday she'll be a lot further away than a soft voiced, "Zo...?" can reach.

But for now she sleeps fifteen feet away from me and I'll wrap my heart around every little detail.

For Your Sunday Morning Listening Pleasure...

Absolutely can't get enough of these fellas. Keep your Mumford & Sons so long as I can have Middle Brother.

I hope you enjoy your rainy day. While we're dropping musical H-bombs we'll post this beauty for our friend Heather who's busy with boredom this Sunday worrying about her brain.