Thursday, June 30, 2011

First Tire Swing Ever


Camp Zed wandered down to the Spray Park at the Cox Youth Centre this morning for a scouting trip and a rip in the adjacent park. Awesome. For a measely $1.25 a visit we can sneak down there a couple afternoons a week and just freak out and work on our tan lines. Zed was ecstatic. We also checked out the playground next door and it's stellar...wood chips, huge play structure, goddamned tire swing! That's right, I just took the Lord's name in vain, that's how excited we were to see a tire swing. It's Zed's first ever! She was an instant expert, as all kids should be.

First tire swing ever!

She ran around the park squealing, "this is so much fun, the whole morning, and was super patient about just scouting out the Spray Park and not actually using it. I think a lot of kids would have unravelled at the prospect of being that close to awesomeness and not diving in, but Zed was cool...chill, in fact. Told we'd come back and she just shrugged..."okay." We've been blessed with some kind of reincarnated old soul as her Grandad might attest. At the very least we're spoiled rotten. So far 3 out of 4 days at Camp Zed have been phenomenal.

This afternoon...a walk, some ice cream, and a nap while Dad ices his sore places. It seems my right achilles quit camp a long time ago, and limping is no way to keep up to a two and half year old..

Missing NYC

We won't be wandering too far from our new little domicile this summer, well, respectfully speaking, not that far...and skipping along sidewalks, and thru parks, and down this unexplored street and that one, I'm quickly reminded how much I miss New York, and how badly I wish we were still there.

Doesn't this look like the best thing on earth since guacamole was invented?

Photos pinched from A Restless Transplant

I miss the walk up Court Street in Carroll Gardens and all of the shop owners coming out to greet Zoey. I miss the Brooklyn Promenade. I miss the Trader Joe's on the Corner of Atlantic and Court. I miss the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle on the bottom West corner of Central Park. I miss walking in Hell's Kitchen after dusk on a Friday night, when the street starts to come alive. I miss the view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the Fairway down in Red Hook. I miss shooting hoops in Carroll Gardens Park. I miss bookstores and restaurants and discovering new streets and new neighborhoods every day. I miss early morning empty streets on summer Sundays. I miss the Cowgerellis just off Smith. I miss being stopped for directions and giving accurate ones because I know where I am. I miss accidentally running into Betz in a city of over eight million people. I miss a lot of stuff. We'll be back. It's too ingrained in our collective senses of home to not fall asleep there for weeks at a time again.

No worries at all. We'll settle in this summer, and run away next. It's an easy thing to swallow this what to do with myself with summer's off from now until whenever phenomenon. I'll earn my bailouts from September to June and then soak my daughter and our family in perspective and adventure for July and August. That's right...roof top BBQs, far away beaches, airplanes, incredible ideas...Japan! This big thinking is gonna need some reigning in, I think. For now I'll just dream of Brooklyn and make plans for the beach a block and a half away.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 3...Unverified Bummer

Today was one of those camp days that get longer with each passing hour. If there's a wrong side of the bed, Zoey found it first thing, and then showed me her level of commitment to even a bad idea by keeping her feet firmly rooted in grumpy all day.

We were supposed to go to the park...nope.

We were supposed to go to the book store...nope.

We were going to eat out for way.

We barely made it through a trip to the grocery store. Hard core cruster city, all day.

Oh well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and rains.

We did however, build a robot out of cardboard. Well, I did. That was cool. For a fraction of the day I got to indulge myself in coolness rather than drown in the rip tides of Zed's malicious mood swings. Maybe I can teach the robot to babysit?


I guess the sun can't shine every day at camp, but it sucks the mustard when it does. Zed was a certified crazy girl today, which raises a giant red flag in me about the difficulties of managing a little woman someday. There were moments of brilliance, tainted by wild mood swings of unknown origin. We bonded over celery...

Celery Smootch

...only to watch Zo erupt in tears a mere fifteen minutes later. I'm spent...spun...slayed to a certain extent. In one day Zoey scared me away from talking to a woman of any age ever again...ever. Today felt like I was holding myself hostage. It was awful, and ugly, and did an unspecified amount of damage to my psyche...damage that I'm sure to not realize or understand for years to come.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Can't Help Myself...

Bike 2

I couldn't help myself. I went wandering back to the original scene of the crime last the rain...and pooched the second bike laying there lonely on the curb. Now June definately has her own bike...a very girly frame, basket and all. Now it's time to really bust out the elbow grease and fix these fun ponies up.

I'm having visions of the EcoVelo photo gallery, and it's making me excited. I just have to figure out where to the beginning I guess. That's as good a place as any.

Toolbox please. Some confident mechanical ambition while you're at it, thank you.
"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."

I got the job. They said that it was the best interview they'd ever seen, and complimented me on my passion, wildly respected my experience, and were eager for September to arrive. Me too...but not too soon.

I've never sweated something so deeply in all of my life. Never. The only way I managed to set aside the anxiety was to remind myself of the above. It was my mantra. I repeated it over and over again in my head even as I answered their questions.

Strange how I just noticed that I was breathing again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Games That Children Play

Rock Fight

"Daddy, this game is called Rock Fight. Come play."

What? I don't think so. Where'd you learn that game?

Like any kid, Zed comes up with some awesome things. Early this morning while we were rock hunting in the shallow water at the beach Zo baited me into some rock throwing with that little surprising urging.

Rock Fight?...I have no idea where she got that. I mean, fun game, but rock fight? Really?

Welcome to Camp Zed

Camp Zed photo

Today was day one of Camp Zed. It's a simple summer program for daddy's and daughters...well, one daddy and one daughter. We're gonna get t-shirts...we're gonna go to the beach...we're gonna go to the park...we're gonna go to the farm...we're gonna do so many things that summer camp will look lame.

Today we were at the beach by 8:30am...home and in the bath tub by 11:30am, eating lunch, designing a camp banner, hitting the park, cruising the neighborhood, and generally being a dynamic duo of impressive proportions...and we were poddy wizards too. This Dad has more skills than most might give him credit for. I worked camp until I was thirty years old. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "I've got moves you've never seen."

King of The Road

Found on the side of the road begging for a friend...

I found this bad boy sitting on the curb amongst a bunch of trash this afternoon. Zo and I dragged it home and we're gonna fix it up schweet. When we're done it's gonna look like it fell out of a show room! Maybe like this. We went back a little later and grabbed it's female counterpart. TIme to become a bike mechanic, I guess.

If I Only Had a Brain...

When I was younger...much younger...I was simply an okay student. I didn't try all that hard, and I was only about three-quarters conscientious, if that. Eventually I got better, much better. I learned some tricks, found my rhythm, and grabbed some confidence. Now I enjoy school. I suppose the trick is to study something you love, find the groove of the bike path through the trees, and stay in it. Now the things that I study intrigue me, and I have experiences and opinions to contribute that I never had before. Education looks a lot different now.

These days my grades occasionally require three digits...well, twice now. Yep, I just scored a perfect grade on my second university course this year. I thought I bombed out on my final assignment...thought I spit out something just good enough to pass the assignment and land a 70 or so in the course. My gut told me that I blew it. Nope. Just heard back from my Prof...nailed it. Perfect final assignment...perfect grade. She offered me a pretty kind compliment, and I grinned my way into the late afternoon.

I've decided that my gut has $#!% for brains.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zoey's Word of the Week

We've decided that we need to start making formal efforts to remember the ridiculous language that Zoey uses. Her language skills get better with each passing day, and from week to week they improve like a college freshman's. It's kind of mind boggling. She regularly uses some pretty astonishing words like otherwise, and frustrated, and delicious, and probably, but today she surprised us with...


That's right. She said delicate. She was emphatic with her cousin Avery that she be careful handling her books because they were delicate. Now, we're going to milk that word from her all week and make it an official part of her rapidly expanding vocabulary.

Delicate...I don't even say delicate. Where the schmank did she pick up delicate?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kick The Damn Ball Son...

Today is the day. Today I interview for my own job. I don't know if I'll hear whether I've gotten it or not by the end of the day, or if I'll have to wait all weekend to sweat the decision. It's a weird phenomenon, this whole process. I am confident, and concerned, all at the same time. I suppose at this point it's just a matter of kicking the ball towards the uprights and leaning heavily on your experience and skill, and leaving the rest to the universe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From The Mixed-Up Files of Me

"I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything."
- E.L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

I love that it. It's the best thing I've ever found to describe my day. It takes a lot of work to show up, to be present, and to not get in the way. There's a lot of effort involved in allowing the best parts of ourselves to rise to the surface, to allow the truth of who we are to shine through all of the layers that we've made to protect ourselves and project ourselves. It's not easy trusting that which is already inside of you to pull us through, and perhaps, if we're very lucky, to pull someone else through. That's very difficult stuff.

Today I got a call to confirm my interview for the job I already do, and it eased my mind. This Friday at 2:45 pm I will sit in front of people that I already know and remind them of things that they already know, and hope that what I say moves them. Maybe that's not what they're expecting? Maybe this interview is only half as 'real' as I'm anticipating it to be, or maybe it sits between me and everything I've wanted for a long, long time, I dunno. What I do know is that I'm going to fill the air with everything that is already inside me, all of those things that can inspire someone to go home and just talk to their Dad, or make someone never want to use again, or leave them frightened to disappoint me...I'm going to fill the air with the kind of emotion that filled a young man's eyes with tears today, worried that I might not be back to pull him along. I'm going to do that, and then I'm going to watch it touch everything.

Then I'm going to hold my breath...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Post-Father's Day Acknowledgement of Sucking

I suppose I skipped right over Father's Day. We were busy. I was wildly distracted, as was June. We've gotten very, very bad at not making big fusses over things, but I want us to be the kind of people that make big fusses over things. I didn't feel the weight of not making a fuss until very late in the day, and I thought. Wait a minute. This is the one day that we get, the one day where we don't have to feel the obligation to come in third, and I squander it. I didn't even dole it out very good. I hugged and kissed my own father...shook Gerry's hand, but I did nothing to approximate fuss. That sucks. Quick, someone slap me in the face.

Life is too short for being dismissive. Much too short.

What Would Your Story Look Like?

LUCK - NYC Wedding Proposal from Aria Melody DJ on Vimeo.

I've got a pretty good proposal story, but it's nothing like this. My friend Beth posted it over on her blog, and I was compelled by unknown spirits to re-post. It's beautiful.

Could you imagine if we could all hire a film crew to document the best moments of our lives? It would certainly make us feel like the luckiest people alive, all the time. Lately, as I wait to find out my future, I keep trying to remind myself about all of the good fortune in my life. I've been a spoiled young man, well, aging young man. I've got a lot a to be proud of, a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to. It's just that right now it's awfully hard to find some perspective.

Thank you to Beth and Dustin and MaryAnn for absolutely putting a smile back on my face and giving me some momentary perspective. Looking back, my life looks an awful lot like this video, and it makes me grin wide. There's no way that I want to start running the credits just yet.

If someone were to make a film about your life, what would your story look like?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Kiss

A reassuring kiss in the wake of the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots - Photo by Richard Lam

You can see the world any way you like but this is how I want to see it. Wow.

I wonder how iconic this image might become? Could it possibly come to rival the VJ-Day Kiss in TImes Square photo? You'd think not, but the thing has gone absolutely viral all over the internet, and it's stunning, absolutely beautiful. Here's The Huffington Post story about it. Thanks to our favorite lil' Woo for posting it and pointing it out. Here's the story that the Van Sun printed.

I can't stop looking at it. It's a shame that all of our friends in Vancouver (Aunt Netta and Mark, Col and Em, Bruce and Telle ) had to endure such embarrassing nonsense but I'll take happily take the photo as a kind of sweet, and inspiring retribution.

When Everything is Foggy

It's foggy this morning and Zoey has gone off with Grandma to Baachan's house while we pack. Both June and I are working from home today, my phone very unlikely to ring on what is, for all intents and purposes, the last day of school for most high school kids. Exams are next week, and although there are classes for underclassmen, most juniors and seniors are finished up after today. The phone hasn't rang all morning, nor has a single email or text slipped through. It's just me and the fog, while June struggles to make it through a few hours of work downstairs. There is a lot of work to be done, and we're just now finding some of the motivation to do it.

A cheque was dropped off at the lawyers this morning, a big cheque, and the keys to what Zoey will call home for quite some time, will be ready to pick up later this afternoon. The moving truck needs to be picked up at 5pm, and tonight will be comprised mostly of packing up cars and shuttling boxes upon boxes to the house, filling the truck with some of the larger things, and gathering up all manner of loose ends. I'm starting to get excited.

A portion of the morning was spent talking myself back off the ledge, and looking through different lenses. A message from a good friend, Dustin, swept me up in a swelling sort of pride that I can call him my friend, even perhaps the best of those I know, and a break from the people and faces that remind me that things are in flux was important. I have nothing to do but pack now. While I do so, I am listening to this, and laughing at my my desperate need for comfort, even in the form of a voice...but what a voice Jim Dale has reading Peter Pan, and easing my mind.

What's all this fuss about Peter Pan of late? I dunno, only that I can't stop thinking about it. Perhaps it's the salve that soothes my restlessness right now? Or maybe I'm just eager to be lost in someone else's fantasy? Regardless, it's what's easing my troubled mind, and that's good enough for me.

Expect sporadic posting for the next few days. At worst I'll have no access, and will be typing posts in Word to flip into Blogger best we'll have internet and some spare time. It's a quiet house without Zo here. She'll be spending the next two nights with Baachan and Grandad. We're missing her already. Maybe if we can be more efficient than we expect, she can come home as early as Saturday night? I doubt it, but wishful thinking is a nice perspective to have. These days it's all wishful thinking.
"To be hopefull in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." - Howard Zinn.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whimsy and Wishful Thinking...


I want a Peter Pan tattoo. Not necessarily like this one, but something that invokes the spirit of J.M Barrie's classic, like the painting above does. I want something magical on my arm, more than just flesh and ink. I want dreams and starry skies and pirate ships. I want to roll up my sleeves and smile. Of course, it would cost thousands, and it would take a long time, and it would hurt a lot...but boy, I should would smile when it was all said and done.

It'll have moonlight and mermaids, billowing curtains and shimmering stars, and maybe the rooftops of London, and pirates and indians too...Can you imagine? I can. I'm going to go to sleep with Neverland and the buzz of a tattoo gun bouncing 'round my head.


vw summer via frolic

This looks nice. I think I'm going to re-adjust my priorities so that this photo is mine, and sits framed on my shelf only with me and my girls in it and not some random family. This is what summer should feel like.

I Don't Know If It's a Good Thing, But It Matters

I try not to re-read whatever it is that I've written. It's not a good practice, at least not if you're trying to avoid presenting a false you, but I re-read my last post and here in the late night quiet and calm of our half empty house it's difficult to find the answers to give the man that wrote that. That's how deeply profound anxiety impossible to articulate, how impervious to reason it is. When I get swept away by the stress and strain of watching my wife cry, and fighting back similar tears myself, combined with too much thinking, and too many questions, it's impossible to keep the levees from breaking. It's a good lesson in what it's like to all soft, pale flesh, fallible and more fragile than you ever let on, or believe.

Tonight, I spent an enormous amount of time in the quiet of my room, re-charging, putting things into perspective, fighting back, and looking for the tools to get me, and us, through the next week or so. The isolation (and occasional sleep) helped. At night's end Zoey snuck in for a kiss. In fact, she demanded a goodnight kiss. It was so sweet it melted me. She then proceeded to tell me how she was going to grow up to be a doctor, at which point she shuffled back and forth to her room for the better part of a half hour, grabbing plush patients and bringing them to me to help her diagnose. She was eager to treat every one of them. There were elephants with plugged noses, and pigs with straight tails...a turtle that needed a heart transplant, and more than a few animals that Zoey insisted that we "take their brains out." It was beyond cute, and distracting, and reminded me why life gets this intermittently hard...because we never had anything so valuable to provide for and protect until now.

I wonder if Zed could take my brains out when I'm starting to feel things go bad? She's a smart little girl but she's no doctor, not yet. Maybe I'll just stick with sleep and quiet isolation. I've kinda grown attached to my brain.

A doctor? I wonder where she got that from? She's spent the past week insisting that when she gets big she's going to be a doctor..."to help people," she says. Yeah, I dunno, but I suppose we'd better start saving for college.

You Are Such Good People, How Could You Not?

I'm committing myself to feeling every feeling, to falling apart in the open, and to hiding nothing. A good friend's comment on my last post pulled me into tears so quickly that I surprised even myself. I decided that I didn't want to hide that. It was her words that I'll do my best to remind myself of, "I have faith that you guys will land on your are such good people, how could you not?"

The tears come so quickly lately, and I feel almost half the man I'm very likely supposed to be. I can't shake the weight on my chest, and it's so palpable that it hurts. It frightens me on top of the heaping piles of other stuff. I can't turn things off unless I'm asleep. I can't flick a switch. I feel as though I have to hold my head up high but all I really want to do is cry...I mean really cry, like hard, sobs, and shuddering shoulders, but it doesn't come, and I can't force it to. I want so desperately for everything to be okay, and although I know that it will, it doesn't feel like it, and I feel forever altered by this. I feel oh-so different, so dented.

I feel eight years old and I just want someone to make it all go away. I feel very much like the child that I might sit down and steer through something similar, only my own advice just isn't working. So I'll try to remember Beth's words, and I'll try to shut the garden gate, and I'll breathe. I'll try to just breathe and hope and breathe and hope and breathe.

I don't want to hide what this is. I don't want this place, these three years of typing, to be false in any sense. I want Zoey to reach back through these memories and see me...both the good and the bad...and the very bad. And that might be part of the problem...I've tied myself so tightly to the kind of man that I want to be, that I haven't left much room for life to shape that image...and in the end it's life that shapes and smoothes that rock. It's not about what we want to be, it's what we are. I won't be embarrassed by this falling apart in front of everyone. I won't apologize for that. I might be the strongest man alive for doing it. I might be everything I want to be because I am myself right now, in this embarrassing moment I am exactly the kind of person I hoped that I was. I am not who you think I am, nor am I who I thought I was. I just am, and these are my tears, and these are my fears, and I won't let my words deceive me. I won't lie to you or myself.

I always wanted to be proud of who I was, and although that doesn't pay the bills, it does fill me with hope. This too will pass, I know that it will, but not before I open my head and heart and ask that you not judge me while I fall apart here. I could do it in private but I would feel like a coward. I am fragile, as any man might be, and I am damaged, as every man pretends he isn't, and I am honest about it, as most men are not. Does it feel weird to type here, of course, and am I nervous that once I hit "publish post" it will be too late to take this little collapse off the table that is our understanding of one another, yes, but it won't deter me from clicking that button. These feelings, right or wrong, need to go somewhere and this is where they will come to a rest. If only to remind me later that everything did turn out okay, and as Beth suggested, "you are such good people, how could they not?

They will, but in the meantime, pass the tissue and turn out the lights. Quiet please. I'd like it to be nice and quiet while I fall apart.

The Unbearable Weight of Change

"It's never the changes we want that change everything."
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

We are suddenly and probably not so strangely in the middle of some pretty weighty stuff...a move, the potential loss of work, a certain loss of control, and the biggest purchase of our lives all happening at precisely the same time. It's no joke. Our world feels as though it's collapsing, and I, at the very least, feel incredibly fragile and emotionally unprepared. As I type I'm laying down to stop the world from spinning. I felt sick, and not so very good. We're pushing on because that's what we're supposed to do, but until some things are resolved, I'm not doing so well despite my best efforts. I occasionally feel optimistic and can smell the promise and possibility in the air, and at other times all I smell is smoke.

If one thing falls into place I'll feel embarrassed at falling apart so easily. If it doesn't, well, let's talk about that later.

If I don't seem like myself for a few days it's because I'm not feeling very much like myself. Hang tight. I'll be back...eventually.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zedder Called It...Sorry Netta

As the puck was dropping in Vancouver June asked Zoey who would win tonight's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. She squealed an emphatic, "Boston!" June even reframed the question, with a gentle kind of sympathy for Aunt Netta, and Zed squealed even louder, "Boston!"

Zed knows hockey.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tramps Like Us

The reports of Clarence "Big Man" Clemons, Bruce Springsteen's stellar saxophonist, having a stroke this past weekend has me more than a little bummed. The E Street Band is supposed to live forever...forever.

Get well Big Man...I'm heartsick at the notion of the E Street Band without it's most intimidating and awesome member.

Maybe the best song the history of anything that ever made a heart skip a beat and a young man feel his future exploding inside his chest like I did when I was 13. C'mon Big Man...tramps like us...You know the rest.

Just what I needed...

I can't spill that line as good as Benjamin Orr can, no one could, but Zo is typically, "just what I needed," and usually exactly when I need it. Coming home each day to this funster usually helps me get through tough today. It looks like I'll be laid off for the summer for sure, just as we've bought a house, with no guarantees for September, from either the YMCA or the school board. Of course, I will hopefully be interviewing for my own job in the next week or two, and I'd like to think that I'm the best person for the job, but my head tells me to worry, even if my heart tells me not to sweat it. So I came home upset just as Zo woke up. I scored a huge hug and an, "I love you Daddy. Don't be upset because I love you." The kisses and smiles were excessive but felt good, and if I can somehow balance this frightening ledger in my life I'll feel oh so lucky to spend an entire summer with this sweet little, comforting, caring girl.

I really can't believe that I somehow worked The Cars into this post. I'm not sure if there's been a Cars reference on this blog before? If not, there certainly is now. Funny, 'cause Just What I Needed, isn't even The Cars best song. This is.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Other People's Lives...Our Summer.

I like perusing the internet for blogs I can dive into. Since beginning this parenthood thing I've been smitten times five with the super sweet and revealing blogs of other parents. It's true what they say about people with kids wanting to hang out with other people with kids, and although I'm sure it's frustrating to those without, it makes perfect sense. I want to be moved by other people's stories and experiences, and I want to find normalcy in their raves and rants, perhaps find a comfy, quiet place to play right there between photographs and paragraphs...whatever 'graphs' they might offer.

Thanks to Joanna Goddard over at Cup of Jo, I've fallen in love with "Sweetfineday," a family from Brooklyn with the absolute most beautiful kids and occasionally mesmerizing life. The photos are amazing, the words are inspiring...I've spent far worse Sunday mornings than laying in bed and browsing Sweetfineday. Call me less of a man for pouring over these blogs endlessly, but all I'd do is punch you in the face and get back to reading them, so what's the point?

One of my favorite posts from Sweetfineday is right here. How staggeringly beautiful are these kids? It's like they fell out of a catalogue.

They're most recent posts have me dreaming about summer vacations and super simple excitements. It's got me wanting friends on a string, and beach trips with family. Time to start planning an escape, I think, but to where, and when? I recall committing myself to being a better Canadian this year, and I've always wanted to see the Eastern Counties of Ontario, like Point Edward County, near Picton. The furthest East that I've ever been in this awesome country is Cobourg, Ontario...and the furthest North and West has been Thunder Bay, so perhaps a road trip to expand those boundaries is in order. We've got good friends whom we'd love to see in Ottawa now (Mel, Jeff and Elle of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn notoriety), and a week in the vineyards and on the beaches of Eastern Ontario sounds as close to delightful as you'll ever get a self-respecting man to use that word for. Hmmm, wheels are turning.

BTW...this first photo from this post from Onefineday made my heart swell up so much it nearly burst in my chest. A gaggle of kids, from different families and friends, in sleeping bags on the same floor in the same room on vacation together is about as definitively summer as anything I can imagine. I want a photo like that. Who's volunteering for a vacation?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Packing Isn't As Fun As It Sounds

I've packed enough in my life. After packing up our belongings every summer for the past six years I'm kinda, sorta done. I hate the process. I hate everything that I own. I hate dust bunnies, and packing tape, and...well, no...I don't hate packing tape. I kinda love packing tape. I hate being required to use it to seal boxes filled with my crap.

Only one more week to go and there will no longer be a beach in our backyard. No, it will be approx. one block down the road, behind the LCBO and across the street from the Sunripe Grocery...a wagon pull away. We won't have to cut a football field and a half of grass, and it won't take fifteen minutes to get into town. I'm starting to get excited.

Ever pack up your life with a two year old hanging around? It's not as fun as it sounds.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This is Harmon player

Harmon Jeter

Our friends, Kevin and Aimee, have a baseball player on their hands, well, probably two considering the fact that his little brother, Simon, will be on quick on the heals of big brother, Harmon, but for now they have at least one super-official baseball player on their hands.

Meet Harmon Bergquist the baseball player. Never the last out. Always moves the runner over. Will go his entire career without ever missing a sign. Lays off the high and away pitches. Is more patient than his uber-patient mother. Breaks up double plays. Takes astonishingly intuitive angles to fly balls. Always calls MINE on pop ups within his reach. He never argues a strike call...never. He always pats his pitcher on the arse after an inning...always. Spits only when he must, and never, ever wears a gold chain with a cross or his number dangling from it. He's an expert bunter, looks the ball into his mitt every time, and always, always hits his cut-off man.

This is Harmon Bergquist, the baseball player. He keeps both hands on the bat all the way through his swing. He never pulls his hips or drops his elbow. He listens to his coaches, and ignores all the trash talk. He laughs with opposing catchers, and fouls off all those pitches that aren't quite his exact flavor. He's a good high school teammate, a good college teammate, and a Top Ten MLB pick. He brings his parents to the Draft. He coaxes them up on stage as he pulls the white jersey with the old English D on it over his shoulders, and tugs the hat his mother always wore down tight. He signs his first contract with his Dad standing over his shoulder, and he donates his first pay-cheque to his old Little League. He loses Rookie of the Year, but he wins the American League Championship, and he hits .312 and has 97 RBIs in his first year as a Tiger. He stays late to sign autographs, and meets his parents for dinner after Sunday home games, it's a tradition. People buy his baseball cards, and wear his jersey...#2...the same number that he wore when he was five.

This is Harmon Bergquist, the baseball player. Remember his name.

Surprise...For Me

Surprise 2

June came home from work today with a surprise to help me chill out during this whole wait and see what happens to me stress festival. She walked in the door. I nearly melted with excitement to see her face (she always calms me, almost always reassures me), and she hugged me, and then flipped out some vinyl valium.

She scooped me the Grateful Dead's "Wake of the Flood," the band's first album released under their own label after leaving Warner Brothers in '73...a super smile inducer. Immediately on the heals of that awesomeness came the Dead's "In The Dark," a similarly exciting and timely gift, and one that gives me the band's only single to reach the top ten (and, for that matter, top 40) on the Billboard Hot 100. Geeky, I know, but exciting.


She didn't have to bring me a present like that. She knew that I was feeling bad, and knew that there wouldn't be much to stir me to smile, but that did the trick. It made me feel fourteen, and I quickly pulled the records from their sleeves and took in a deep whiff of all that nostalgia and vinyl smell. Now I feel better.

How cool is your wife? Mine is cooler than Eddie Vedder, and that's awfully damn cool.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Home Sweet Home...

Poddy Reading

This is what I came home to today, Zed, the multi-tasker. Reading AND pooping is, indeed, so much more efficient than doing either in isolation.

Monday, June 6, 2011

“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
- Susan Sontag

Thanks to Swiss Miss for the stellar quote!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bicycles and T-Shirts...and some other junk

Bicycles and T-Shirts both do essentially the same thing, they hide your nipples. That's kind of a weird statement. For sure it is, but it came to light in the context of a silly song that Daddy was making up this morning, so it's okay. I don't recall what the song was, and I have no idea why I was singing it, or what inspired me to compare t-shirts and bikes in such a manner as to bring nipples into the equation? For whatever reason it found the clean oxygen of living on the lake, and once it exited my lips there was just no taking it back.

Children make you say reediculous things. Fortunately, they contribute to the nonsense themselves, and moreso. It makes for interesting conversations. Like yesterday when Zo said confidently (and oh-so profoundly), "It's a beautiful day for kicking stones." Indeed it was. So as astonishingly odd as the statement may have seemed to the passer by, it made a great deal of sense. My bike and t-shirt thing didn't. Zo wins. I do, however, earn mondo points for using the word, essentially, in a song.

On other notes, today is Saturday...Zo has gymnastics, there is a super cool art festival downtown, our nephew Beezer's Championship football game is at 1pm, and somewhere in all of that we will enjoy steaming coffee, breakfast on the run, lunch at our old high school haunt, and more fervent packing and cleaning up of our sad and sorry lake lives. We move in two weeks.

Lets see, what else is happening? Oh, I have to apply for my own job with the school board, and run the risk of not getting it, which would alter my existence entirely. I would lose approx. between $15,000 and $20,000 each year, no longer be visiting schools and helping kids, probably wasting my addictions, grief and crisis education (that has cost a significant chunk), and very likely helping to develop an experiential education/leadership center for youth at the YMCA. I could go from delivering kids into detox to delivering high ropes programs on the cheap. That's messed up. I've been a wreck of a disaster of a basket case for weeks now, but I keep reminding myself that you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, or something like that...Oh, and I swear a lot, and get easily frustrated. I occasionally fight back a nervous (drowning in anxiety) tear and more often than not question the universe's sudden harsh treatment of it's favorite son. Me.

Shrug...dunno what to do about it, except just go out and get the job that's already mine by straight arming the competition, making the selection committee punch drunk with my awesomeness, and maybe make a veiled threat or two. For now I'll just go to gymnastics and thank the great God's of the universe that I'm not one of those gymnastics parent type people that I loathe. Maybe I'll sing another song, or maybe not. There's always crying but it's so emasculating.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Story Of My Life...

Jerry Garcia just eases my mind, sends me to a different place where I can breathe and find myself amid all the madness. This has become my theme song. It's originally a Jimmy Cliff tune but every time I hear the thing it's Jerry's, no one else's.

Enjoy your Friday night universe. I'm gonna try extra hard to find some perspective in this mandolin and at the bottom of a can of Tecate. Cheers. Thanks Jerry.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Goodnight Good Friends

Sleep well good friends, and you kind strangers too. Sleep soundly and dream deeply. "Maybe there's a God above..."

Here's the original. Thanks Luke.

Sunsets and Summer PJs


We're gonna miss the sunsets. In approx. three weeks we'll have to walk a block or so to catch sunsets like these. Right now we just cozy up to some kind of evening nonsense and soak one up. Not for much longer. Sigh.

Do you remember going to bed in the summer with the sun still shining? I do. As frustrating as it felt to fall asleep with the house so full of light and laughter, there was something reassuring in the warm, quiet comfort of orange and pink skies just past your curtains, long shadows on the wall, and the sound of Tigers baseball drifting through the purple air. Sometimes I wish I could steal away just a fraction of those memories and make them real. Even now, I like to go to bed before the rest of the house. I like to fall asleep in an empty bed and wake to find June beside me.

I don't think I'd be very eager to accept a daylight bedtime these days, or summer PJs, for that matter, but I'll take the sturdy feeling of being loved, and being safe, with someone still awake and making sure that everything is going to be alright. I'll take that a hundred times over. I'll miss the sunsets here from this house, but I miss those soft summer sighs and the sheets pulled high even more.

I'll Be Waiting In Northern California For You...

Giving Zoey a bath, playing Nemo and splashing around a bit when I heard this stellar song pouring out of the living room. I had tuned the Apple TV onto internet radio earlier in the evening, and left it on for ambiance and ideas. I've been listening to a lot of Austin Independent Radio (AIR) lately. Trust me a hundred ways when I tell you that you've had worse ideas than grooving to what's coming out of Austin on a nightly basis. Most of the stuff is wonderment that you've never heard before.

So while water was still dripping from my hair I stumbled into the living room and did my best to Google the lyrics that I heard. I found it. Do yourself a favor and find it too. The artist is Jesse Woods, and the song is Ugly Dress.

Pretty incredible huh? I certainly thought so, times ten. My newest two minute favorite. Zo's too, as she can't stop singing, "I'll be waiting in Northern California for you." You think I'm kidding but I'm not. She's a lyrical Jesse James. Snap, sorry, couldn't help myself.

All kidding out the window, check the lyrics out, they're beauty.