Friday, December 30, 2011

The Places That Shape You...


It's been over a decade since I woke up to this...the last light at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur, CA. Those were magical months of beach and empty roads and dirty feet. My life had never been that simple and has never been since. I don't know why we've waited so long to go back fact, June's never been. Big Sur is one of those life changer places, and the more time that you can spend there, the more changes you can feel happening inside of you. I want to take Zoey laugh and run and play in the sequoias, and scavenge shells and driftwood from the beach. To meet the dozens of people who have managed to halt time by running away to such an isolated place. That would be a summer to write stories about, to snap photos of, and to melt into, forgetting where is was you came from. A year would be nice, but a summer would do. I'd take two weeks and a promise to return too. I'd take any bit of it.

We;re already trying to figure out what this summer will bring, and of course, the next. We have a particular focus on the next. It will be the last before Zoey starts school. It had better be a biggie. We'd like to launch her into public education with a unique perspective. Big Sur could provide that. We've thought of returning to Brooklyn, of going to Japan, and of just wandering, but wherever we go it'll be the kind of thing that shakes a kid's perspectives as they scoot on into fifteen years of monotonous education. At some point we've decided that we'll sneak Zo out for an entire year...that twelve year old time frame sits right with us, just on the precipice of high school. Maybe it'll be Molera then? There are worse ways to spend your eighth grade year than wandering through the sequoias and pretending as though you've surfed your whole life.

Post-Christmas Enlightenment via The Flu

I feel better when I watch kid shows, or when I re-connect with an old John Hughes movie. When I'm not feeling so good I run to the old stand-bys, the things that assure me that there's a safe place to play where nothing bad ever happens, and right always triumphs over wrong, and good people stay good people, and bad people get what's coming to them. In that safe place of comic strips and Cosby Show metaphors I can re-group and fool myself into feeling better.

Yeah, call it phony. You know what else is phony? When you tuck your kid into bed and kiss him goodnight like he's going to get tucked in and kissed goodnight forever, like everyone in the world gets a kiss goodnight from someone who's looking out for them. Not true. Not even close to being true.

Life isn't supposed to be Family Ties, or just like the funny pages. The real-world Dennis the Menace went to Vietnam and was estranged from his father; his mother had an affair with her boss. In the real world Theo Huxtable became addicted to crack, and in case you didn't notice, no one in Family Circus ever got laid off when the auto industry tanked. Life isn't as fair as Mr. Belding was.

I've decided that its okay to hide in Saturday morning detention with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, if it means finding hope and hanging on. I read books I read when I was a kid. I watch the Disney Channel. I pretend that Jake Ryan and Samantha Baker really existed, and that maybe I was best friends with Lloyd Dobblar, and then I don't feel quite so sick, or half as stressed, and nowhere near as fatalistic as life might make me. What? Some people use drugs, or drink. I download bittorrents of Return to Witch Mountain. should read this blog post here. Holy Mother of Judd Nelson it's awesome!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Case of The Curious Missing Photographs

It seems that photos that I post on Flickr aren't necessarily staying up there once they're uploaded...hence some of the dead photo links. It's frustrating and I apologize for the crappy presentation, but emails are sent and questions have been asked. Let's wait and see what comes of it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What I Missed...

Partridge Christmas 2011 sans Brian

I wasn't eager to miss out of fully one half of what Christmas usually is by being too sick to manage anything short of a deathly looking appearance at Camp Partridge, but all the holiday spirit on the planet doesn't get you out of bed when the sweats won't stop and your head wants to explode. So I missed everyone, and missed Zoey leading some table caroling of Jingle Bells, and I will forever be absent from the Christmas memories of 2011. Boo flu...and suck it universe. Sometimes you're a fickle $%&# and I'll remember this.

On a brighter note...that's a nice looking bunch of people isn't it? Yeah it is.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ba Humbug and all that Sickly Christmas Stuff

Laying down and listening to Fleet Foxes...feeling oh-so bad...sick. Just finished watching Serendipity in an empty house. Feeling lonely and awful and missing my girls as they enjoy family while I baste in my own poor health. TO add insult to injury, I was desperately hoping to add copious amounts of sweet and sincere musings to Zed's blog over these past few days and here I am wallowing more than blogging. Boo to me.

I can't help but sigh and feel fortunate despite the universe's best attempt to render me silent. My Mom even texted me tonight to tell me that "Slapshot" was on television, as if a little Paul Newman and all the vile hockey humor of my youth could make me feel better. That was sweet. Her own version of chicken soup, I suppose, and from such a distance as to render her helpless, but she tried anyway.

I wish I had the energy to type on and on about Zed's Christmas. Sadly, I don't. She had fun, lots of fun, and it was such a sweet thing to watch her, but this Christmas felt less like Christmas and more like hanging on to health just long enough to watch it escape. I think I learned a bit of a valuable lesson. It's a fleeting thing, Christmas fleeting that it can pass you by if you're not paying the most absolute kind of diligent attention to it. I was not, and it makes me a little sad...or a lot. Of course, it's easy to feel a little sad when you're sick and home alone, and the wind is whipping outside. It's easy to feel bad if you want to.

I think what's most disappointing about the holiday so far is that I don't quite feel as though I've been the very best me that I could have been, and that isn't the kind of thing that's returnable. I feel like I might have given everyone I know an ugly sweater, or socks, perhaps...yes, maybe socks. Sometimes I think that the very best thing I have to give is my eagerness for everything, and this year a virus stole almost all of that. Ugh.

I promise to make up for it. I do. I've got time, a few days before school is back, and if I can wrestle some decent health out of the remainder of this week I promise to make amends. Strangely, this isn't the first holiday I find myself wishing for a do-over. I think that I love Christmas even if I'm not so very good at it. History has me failing in a fairly epic sense traditionally. I don't want to do that anymore. I think Zed had a great Christmas, but I feel as though I owe June and everyone else a much better effort. Flat on your back is no way to say I love you, unless of course, you're a teenage girl with no self-esteem or fatherly guidance. Let me shake this deathly feeling and take another run at the holiday. I'll do better next time around.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is there a doctor in the house?

If you're down for spending Boxing Day in bed, sick as $%&! then I'm your guy. I went down for the count somewhere around 11pm last night...head rapidly getting stuffed up, cough starting, aching...snoring. Then I woke and it felt as though my head were made of glass. Merry Christmas to me. To be fair, I did throw up a pseudo-prayer to the universe that if I were to get full on sick, as I was feeling I might, that it hold off until after did. I can't complain.

The sun is shining, and the weather looks stellar. Good thing I'm flat on my back feeling desperate for a play day. With luck it clears up, I throw it to the holiday season, the sun stays shining, and I burn through the rest of the Christmas break like a champ. Without luck...who knows.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and all the goodness your fun saturated heart could take. I felt less fun than I did fortunate. I'm a lucky guy, and don't I know it. Boy, do I ever know it.

I'm gonna go now...feel lucky and crappy all at the same time. Be good.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and All That Sappy Crap

June Mummy Xmas 11

Last night I noticed that I hadn't posted a thing since Tuesday, which means;

a) I've been busy

b) I didn't care to

c) I had nothing to say

d) I'd been abducted by meth addicted Elvis impersonators

It was none of the above. I just kinda forgot to. I got all enraptured by the holiday season and stuff and before I knew it Christmas was here. Now I'm feeling much too sweet and sentimental to scribble anything that doesn't just absolutely embarrass me. I'll just say this, before I'm tossing smiling Zed photos about in the next 24 hours, the people that read this rubbish...that make it a point to stop here and care even just a little bit about these musings and this little girl mean an awful lot to me...the Dustin and Kellys, the Heather,Avery, and Brads, MaryAnns, the Aimee and Betzies...the Beths and Johns, and Kaylen and Birdys...It's funny that a blog can do that, can divide people into groups, can define relationships, but this one has.

Merry Christmas everyone, and using Robert Hunter's words, "I'll just say I love you which I never said before..."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Tallest Man on Earth

This Swedish fella that plays his guitar and croons under the minker, The Tallest Man on Earth, is something way good. I like this guy, a lot. I'd never heard of said fella until I stumbled into him over at Meg's I'm kinda hooked. Merry Christmas me!

Check him out. He's really good. Consider it a stocking stuffer....from me to you...from Meg.

Look How Old Someone is Looking...

Old Zed

Sometimes I can't believe how big she's getting, how much older she looks. She's not even three years old yet! She's beautiful, but I'd like a little more time to think of her as a baby. In so many photos now we're catching glimpses of the big girl that she's going to be. Sigh..."she's gonna break hearts," people will say...but she already has, mine. I can't believe it's almost been three years since we first saw her purple little cranky face. There's nothing purple about it now, and it's only infrequently cranky these days. She's mostly just stunning now. Daddy's got himself a looker, I think.

Zed Likes Hockey...Well, Sorta

Hockey Zed

My friend John has a daughter that likes to watch hockey with him. I have a daughter that likes to hang out with Dad while he watches hockey, which is different than actually watching hockey. She also likes to call it football...or baseball sometimes. She likes wearing hockey helmets, but she's never been on skates in her life...not yet anyway. She calls every team Michigan, especially the blue teams, and if you ask her she usually wants the white team to win, regardless of who the white team is. She's my favorite sorta-hockey fan ever.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Lesson #5 - Don't Buy Crap Other People Might Be Inclined to Buy You

As we count down to Christmas, we can also count down the top five lessons learned from our most timely Christmas mistakes ever made.

Here's a tough lesson to have to swallow. If you buy stuff...namely, tools...specifically, tools that are 65% off when you stumble into them...and other people have bought you those same things...namely tools...specifically, tools that weren't 65% off. Well, you've just screwed yourself and them. Merry Christmas.

Stay tuned for Christmas Lesson #4 tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas to Me...The Gifter That Keeps on Giving

Dad's new boots

Do you buy yourself a Christmas present or am I the only one that gets that selfish? I just bought a new pair of winter duck boots, all LL Bean style, without the cost, shipping, or half-crappy color schemes...mine are straight up black on black with some schweet tan laces and Joe Fresh knows hoe to get it right, I think. That's right, Joe Fresh, them folks have been getting things right for awhile now. They certainly inspired me to spend some loot on myself.

So fess up...there's no way that I'm the only one splurging on myself pre-Christmas. Admit it, ease my guilt.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

For the Dudes...


We're just one week away from Christmas and I bet you're stuck for more than a few gift ideas. We all are. Let Zed and me help. Here are some awesome ideas for the deserving dude in your life...

Bean Boots...enough said.

Even guys get dry hands, and this stuff is stellar. Rub it on your hands, goood...rub your hands all over your shirt and smell like a %&#damn champ, even better. Buy him some Sabon hand creme and help him smell half decent.

Half the guys I know eschew scarves, toques, and gloves. Why? Not cool? That's stupid. Looks feminine? Hardly. Buy them a real wool scarf, and a real wool toque and watch them never go without again. It's much too cold to try to be too cool.

Even dudes write things down...or they should, like anniversaries, birthdays, what time they're supposed to have their daughters at gymnastics. Buy him a Muji notebook and then hope he uses it for more than the measurements for the living room trim work. Wait, that's good too.

Sure, he thinks he can grill like a champ, but the truth is, he cooks things too fast, everything tastes like gas, or something that isn't meat or asparagus, and he needs the lesson in patience anyway. Buy him a Weber Charcoal Grill and then eat better, and keep him out of the kitchen for longer stretches.

If he's anywhere between the ages of 25 and 45 there's a good chance that this band changed his life. Snatch up PJ 20 and he'll be happy to spend a night in watching movies. More than happy.

Socks matter. Quit letting him get away with murder (gym socks) and inspire him to pay some attention to his feet, 'cause God knows he's never going to get a foot scrape, and at least Woolrich can help you keep those ugly kickers under handsome wraps.

The problem with buying a jersey from his favorite team is that when his favorite player gets busted for his third DUI in two months he'll never want to wear it again. Buy him a ridiculously stylish and classic jersey from Ebbets Flannels, and don't be ashamed of your husband ever again...well, your husband in a jersey anyway.

Absolutely nothing says I love you like Christmas Day with the Knicks...or Lakers... and not pretending to be happy about entertaining your cousins kids at your Grandma's house while your Dad is asleep in his recliner. You can always open the gift (socks) that your Aunt buys you every year on Boxing Day.

Six packs aren't very original but they are the indisputable king of fall back gifts. Hey...stuck is stuck, and beer says love just fine. Grab him a sixer of Magic Hat #9 and congratulate yourself when it's his favorite present under the crowded tree.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis the Season...

We sang Jingle Bells all the way home from Grandad and Baachan's house, and at one point Zed stopped, giggled, and exclaimed, "I don't know why I'm smiling so much!" At which point June sighed, and I swooned, and we started singing again. Tis the season, I guess.

The Kindest Collection of Superstars Ever Assembled on the Planet Earth

Brian Teeter Censored
Monopolized by Johnny Teeter, and fine with it - December 16th, 2011 @ Alibi Roadhouse, London, ON

While Zed enjoyed the company of Grandad and Baachan last night, June dragged me kicking and screaming to London where we celebrated 40 years on this planet with the absolute best people I know. It's not an understatement when I say such a bold thing. The group of 15 or 20 people that met us in the city were just flat out impressive...people I absolutely adore, from old, old friends, to new, smile-inducing ones... to the absolutely brilliant and the positively charming. What a collection, and I got to speak to only half of them, and the other half deserved as much if not more attention. It was a nice of the nicest, and easiest I've known. I've somehow gathered up some pretty incredible people in 40 years.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Son of Leonard...

Today was the first time I'd ever heard Adam Cohen and damn...Leonard's son is amazing. Most impressive might have been his take on his life and career up to this point. It was humility times forty. I like this dude...maybe you will too!

Buddy looks just like his Dad...sounds just like his Dad...has reeled me in just like his Dad...and now I'm jonesing to see Adam Cohen live.

In case you've never seen the concert footage of Adam's Dad performing at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 here it is. The crowd was unruly, dangerous even, and in the performance of a lifetime Cohen calmed 600,000 people, tunring them all into quiet, eager fireflies, begging for more. It's worth the watch.

To say that music soothes the savage beast would be a woefully inarticulate gesture. It's bridges impossible divides. It claims unclaimed souls. It eases us into the rhythm of each other, and in the end it jsut might be more religious than religion itself. Ask any musician, they'll tell you. It might just be notes and words, but it's where the soul stirs, and where peace resides when it can be found no where else. I've got friends -- Scitter, Dustin, Johnny, Coop -- who are defined by music as anything else in their lives. Show me something else as powerful as that. Show me another instant full of as much grace and eloquence as Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight in 1970 and I'll eat a Hammond organ.

What was already a good day got better when I discovered Leonard's son.

From me to You...with love, or at the very least, cautious affection

Sure it's my birthday, but this is how it's gonna work...I'm giving you a gift. That's right. I'm giving something to you to say thank you for filling my inbox with so many kind words all day.

Go to PASTE Magazine's website and scoop up their Christmas Sampler...40 FREE tracks of awesomeness. Go ahead. I want you to have it. DOn't say I never got you anything.

Today I turned Zetterberg...


I woke up and felt no different, which is kind of a bummer. On your fortieth birthday I thought I might see rainbows and unicorns...maybe wake up taller. Nope. So I'm gonna shower, eat, then go to work and hope nothing wonky or disturbing happens. Maybe I won't answer my phone all day? I probably can't do that.

Wow. I'm forty years old. That just sounds funny. I think I'm going to refer to it as turning Zetterberg from now on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Name Is...

Zoey singing loudly at the grocery store...

Random woman: Are you caroling?

Zo: No (looking fairly incredulous)! I'm Zoey," and she continues singing.

This parenting stuff is fun!

The Reason Why...

Photo pinched from sweetfineday

I loosened this photo up from sweetfineday and then slapped it down here because it felt like everything I ever wanted, or close to it. I sometimes (most times) have a difficult time telling people what I believe in as it relates to what I know, the very important whys and hows of what it is that I wake up every day and leave my beautiful family to get all muddy doing...and this photo feels a lot like the reason why.

I started out in community recreation, then camp, and then I slipped into Boys and Girls Clubs, and then into some more community work...some advocacy, outreach, blah be blah blah...and then the Y, and now schools, but this photo feels most like where it all started...looks an awful lot like the foundation of this house I'm forever renovating. In the beginning it was about kids, then about older kids, then about kids struggling to get by, and finally about kids who just aren't getting by at all. I used to shoot hoops with kids, and sometimes there was as much talking as there was shooting, and that's when I first realized that all it takes is someone who won't quit, who gives you a voice, and will always listen to it. All it takes is all it really takes in any other part of your life...just show up. Early on if I just showed up, and had a basketball in my hands, well, that worked best. Sometimes you don't even want to talk about just want to shoot.

Anyway, I kinda had to needed to post that pic because that's it...that's the reason, that's the feeling I get, that's the simplicity of it all. That's it, right there. I miss dark gymnasiums, hardwood floors, dusty sunlight and exposed brick...but most of all I miss that feeling of doing nothing important when you know shot and word counts. For me it started out just like this, and for the rest of my life the sound of a bouncing basketball will have a totally different meaning than it might for you.

This is what all that looked like

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Tomorrow I turn forty years old, and I should probably write something all eloquent and introspective but I just don't have it in me. It'll feel pretty much like today did, and today felt pretty much like yesterday. Let's just say I'm lucky, and happy, and leave it at that. I've achieved and failed and fallen and got back up and in the end there are scars but I like 'em all. I've got stories, and I've got enthusiasm in spades, and I couldn't ask for a more stellar supporting cast. In a lot of ways I feel like I've stolen a little Magnum PI mojo in my life, and gotten away with enough to make Higgins scream bloody murder.

Our Sleeping Scientist

The first thing out of Zed's mouth when I crawled in under her covers and cuddled up with her this morning...

"Daddy, tell me what volcanos do."

So I did...then I asked her what she dreamed about last night...

"I dreamed about bees and flowers. The bees were taking pollen from the flowers and flying it to other flowers."

That sounds like a pretty good dream, I thought.

"It was a good dream Daddy. Those are smart bees."

Hmmm, and a smart little girl too, I think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Think It's About Forgiveness...

I won't get rich. I might never get even a speck of recognition. It's a safe bet to say that I might never learn all of my lessons, but when it's all said and done I hope that I can say that I was a good man...that I was better than I could have been, than I might have been under different circumstances. I want to know that I found something valuable in my life, and that perspective, whether learned or found, or endured, was what defined me in the end. Tonight, out of the blue, I was thinking about my parents, and about those things that have defined their lives and I found myself upset. It's a terrible thing to have to redefine yourself after love, and to endure loss. It's a tragic thing to watch yourself dismantled by another, and when my parents marriage fell apart it was a tragedy for everyone. For us boys, sure, but we were young, and would have a lifetime to piece that all back together, but for my Mom and Dad, there were just too many pieces on the ground, and who could even know where to begin. They certainly didn't.

It just struck me that I'd been thinking about that loss in very personal terms for nearly thirty years now, when all I ever really lost was normalcy. They lost everything. Sometimes we can't see our own selfishness because it's right there under our's what we've been standing on to prop us up for so long. I suppose it's true what they say...when you're young you don't know a damned thing. If you're lucky you get older and you figure it out. Tonight I realized that just like Don Henley said, " it's about forgiveness," and it's most certainly not about me.

How can a %$&@!ing Eagles song turn you into such an introspective fool? I dunno, but it did. I think about the things that I do for a living now, and the things that I've lived through, and suddenly "all the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again." There's the heart of the matter, and it seems that for most of my life I've missed it. I can't really fathom what my Mom and Dad went through...what anyone goes through that endures such a thing. June's father once watched his own life collapse just as my own parents did. It's an awful thing, an unfair unravelling of everything you thought that you were, and everything that you believed in. It's something I don't ever want to manage...something I'm not sure I'm built for. Just the thought of it brings me to tears and suddenly I'm reminded how all my hurt and confusion paled in comparison to theirs. I think about just what's at stake in all of it and my heart crumbles into a thousand tiny little pieces. How you survive that is something I can barely comprehend.

I'm thankful for my life and job every day. It reminds me to think about others, to consider everything, to make no judgements, to do my best to empathize, and to understand...and even after all that practice, it's still hard sometimes. What reassures me is how we have no comprehension of what another person is going through, or of how they do it. What I'm regularly reminded of is how fragile and unprotected from the elements we are, but that in the end, for the most part, we survive...we manage. It strikes me every day how hard life difficult it can be for some people to face themselves, and the day, and the things that they'd never expected to have to endure. No one expects to fall apart and no one is prepared to rebuild, but we do...and if you're not the one weighed down with the task, then you don't understand it. Suddenly tonight I'm thinking about my parents, and June's Dad and I feel humble to think about what they've managed emotionally, and what I've been so $%#&ing blind to all of these young and selfish years. In the end I think it's about forgiveness...yourself, others, life, the end it's about everything but yourself. I never understood that until right now, and I've got Don f#$%ing Henley to thank for that. Man, life throws curves. I didn't see that one coming.

Walking and talking...then suddenly not talking.

Sleeping Zed w Dad polaroid - Dec 13, 2011

Zed and I have gotten into a nice little habit of loading up in the wagon, all bundled up, and heading out after supper on a Christmas lights adventure of mediocre ambition...of course, it's something of a mild adventure, very tame...but an adventure nevertheless. Typically Zed talks, and talks, and talks, and between the two of us the wind and city sounds can't get a word in edgewise. Tonight, when my observations went unanswered I turned to find a sleeping little girl...warm and toasty beyond belief...and sawing logs like a damn lumber jack. We probably could have walked longer but I turned the wagon around and headed for home. It was only 7pm, and now I can't help but feel a little robbed. Those walks are some serious daddy/daughter time. Tonight I have to be satisfied that she was both so, so tired, and so, so comfy with Dad, that sleep came easy. Still, it would have been nice to yap for awhile longer. She might be the only person that can match my typically inexhaustible enthusiasm for, well, everything.

Nightmares are for chumps...

First we heard the low whimpering of an abruptly awoken little girl...the "I want Mummy," cry...and a full on thump and bump and the sprinting of tiny feet headed for the door. A screw-this run to get away from whatever bad dream was haunting her early this morning. I nearly giggled if it wasn't so sad. Children and bad dreams are always just about the saddest thing on the planet...but children deciding to say, "#$%& it, I'm outta here"...kinda hilarious.

Good decision Zo. I like your style.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Can't See The Forest For The Trees?

Zed tree

Zo wanted her room turned into Central Park, so...

Not a bad attempt at a tree. I gotta say that I'm quite proud. It's not every day that you build a tree out of cardboard and paint samples. The scary part is that I'm only going to get better at this. That's right...the scary part. Keep your hands and fingers a safe distance away from my carpet knife and scissors. I've got some trees to build.

I Think Someone Needs Some Friends...

Zed making friends

Zed's quickly turned into a litttle girl that needs some friends. She's almost three years old, and has absolutely no social issues. She's made a few acquaintances...girls from gymnastics, from swimming, from the park etc...but she doesn't really have any consistent and sturdy friendships.

A trip to Old Navy yesterday shed some light on the issue when she wanted to play with the mannequins, but then who wouldn't? They're practically perfect company. Dressed nicely... no strong opinions...always hiding in the place you left them whrn you're playing hide and seek...

I think it's time to amp up the social activities.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A One Girl, One Act Wonder...


"Ladies and gentlemen...we're going to do a play about animals. Come sit down and let's hear a story about all of these fun animals. C'mon. Come sit down over here."

That was Zoey taking the stage in the Children's Section of the Barnes & Noble this afternoon. She got everyone's attention and then rather than wait for it, she started right in at performing a one girl play using only the animals painted on the walls to help her deliver the goods.

"Ladies and gentlemen..." Where'd she get that? What have we created?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Links and more links, and then some more links after that.

Is it even possible to have too many lists of innocuous links? I'll offer an emphatic "no" and then get on with leaving all those delectable links...Mmmm, links. Enjoy.

Second best blog of all time.

OMG...doing this with Zed!



That's's a Death Star cookie jar. How many ways are there to say bad ass? Just wondering.

Girl schmirl...I think I want to read this.

There's no friggin' way I'm giving you $45 for this but I want it.

Oh my $%^#ing God.

I would very much like to have this.

This girl is amazing. We have about six of her stuffed dudes, and a wall hanging or two. If you like owls (and who doesn't) you'll love Katie. We do.

His name is Taco....seriously. I'm a big fan already and he's not even in Ann Arbor yet. Taco...awesome.

When I was a kid I thought soccer was lame...not after watching this.

Recommendations via Johnny All-You-Can-Teet...Cuff the Duke

Last Saturday night I needed some musical recommendations, you know, for sustenance...and there are only a few people I'd want to breath even just a whisper of musical recommendations to me, and Johnny Teeterlikealady is one of is Kickflip Cooper...just plain old regular Cooper, and regular old Cooper's sister, Woo...but on this particular occasion it was Johnny Teeforthetillerman doing the recommending, and he summarily told me to listen to Cuff the I did. And you should to if you know what's good for you. I heard that if you don't you go straight to Hell...that's just what I heard.

Here's some more to save your soul and avoid an eternity of hellfire...and even more just for good measure.

Maybe You Would Have Been Something I'd Be Good At...

Ever wonder what might have happened had friendships or connections worked out and you had stayed in touch, or you had figured out the value of something right when you should have rather than decades later? Ever not regret a single minute that you've invested in someone? I think life's a little bit of both. Maybe the big secret is finding someone that you'd be good at, and then hoping that maybe they're good at you. Find that and you're set. I'm set.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Art Therapy

When the going gets rough, the rough get painful artwork inscribed on their bodies. I've been busy at work, and it was nice to sneak away last night and get some long overdue, barely contemplated, lightly considered tattoo work done. Sure it's permanent, and yup, it should be a big decision, but it's just skin, and a night just thinking about the needle that's burying itself into you was a near therapeutic experience. I knew what I wanted (whimsy) and knew who I wanted to do it (Mel Wayland) and so that's what I got.


It's just the outline, and it'll get some colour, attention to detail, and filler artwork in early January, but the roughed out ink on my right arm pulls a grin out of me each and every time I catch a glimpse of it. I never expected to find something spilling out from under my sleeve, but I have to admit I'm digging it beyond expectations...far beyond expectations and it's nowhere near done.


Why an octopus, and maybe more importantly, why the balloons? Is that a kraken gripping those balloons and drifting upward? Well, yes it is, but why? It's a good question that might get something of a shallow answer...I liked the idea of it. I'd been dreaming up the kraken idea for awhile. I liked the notion of eight tentacles, all capable of juggling a different task, something very like my every day. The balloons were just pure whimsy. I like the idea of the giant sea monster drifting up into the clouds...a rather imposing looking creature clinging desperately to the simple toys of a child...a flying octopus? Awesome. Of course, there's more to it than that...the three balloons symbolize our family, June, Zoey and myself, and they will make sense of the balloon I will someday add to my inside forearm when we have our second child. That's right, I said second child. He/she is not a reality yet, but we've come to the conclusion that there's an inevitability to the broadening of our family, and we want very badly for Zo to have a sibling. So there it is, breathed out into our shared air now. If the best energy of the entire universe is on our side in any way, shape, or form, there'll be another little nail in my heart before next winter. Funny that there was an element of family planning involved in this tattoo design...perhaps not your average process but average is overrated.

The whole thing makes me feel good..strong...purged almost...and when it comes to the idea of wearing your heart on your sleeve, well, you might just as well take that term literally as any other way.

Here's a copy of Mel's original sketch, from the artwork that I sent her.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


"We want time to slow down, but she wants time to speed up, always looking towards the next holiday, the next birthday."

That was the sentence...the line that sent me spinning for my own blog, eager for keys to punch. That was the solitary line in Jenna and Mark's recent blog post over at Sweetfineday. I've casually nodded in their direction before, maybe gushed over how beautiful their family is, and then came to the go-figure conclusion since they're very much super creative and boldly living a very deliberate life there in Brooklyn. Go figure that I wanna read more about them. They're interesting people. I'm kind of a quiet, regular dropper-in at it were some corner coffee shop on Court Street in Carroll know, Zo and I would strike out for our morning walk downtown and back, and of course we'd stop and grab some steaming beans, an apple juice, and maybe some secret treat that Mom would find out about later, or not at all...and we'd run into Jenna, or Mark, and girls, and briefly catch up, as though we'd been long, lost friends, when really we were just city friends...morning stroll friends...same coffee shop all summer friends...because there's a difference, you know...there is. Ask anyone who lives in the shadow of Manhattan...there are city friends, morning stroll shop friends, and they're different than over-to-the-house-for-dinner friends. They just are. Anyway...that's how Sweetfineday feels.

The sentence, oh yes, the sentence...sorry. I read it, swooned a little (or a lot) and wanted so desperately to post it here. With it Jenna was making reference to her rapidly growing girl, her pre-teen, almost old enough to confuse you completely daughter, but not quite, not yet. I thought the line was beautiful...and accurate. Isn't that such a defining part of our lives? Slowing down and speeding up...or perhaps speeding up and then slowing down? Zoey wants to go, go, go, and we mostly want to go and stop, go and stop, go and stop...much different from our previous go,go, go...a sure sign that we're growing up ourselves.

In the summer I fell more into Zed's rhythm, and it felt like a billion dollars. With no work to anchor myself to it was full out go, go, go every day, from morning to bed time and it was exhausting, and exhilarating, and practically perfect. It felt pre-teen...child-like...comfortable. Somehow I think we need to find that in our everyday. For most of us we dedicate our waking hours to other people, and we forget about the pre-teen that's still inside of us somewhere. We catch glimpses of it. I see it in Grandad when his wheels are turning and he's inventing something out of the pieces of what seems to be nothing. I see it in Baachan when she stitches something up out of the scraps, and in Grandma when her and Zo are playing. It's there...that urge to go, go, go...we just do a fantastic jump of reining it in. Maybe we should let it out a little more know, drop the reins and watch her drop into a full run. We all grow older, but we don't have to grow up. paralyzingly insightful, and beautiful is Jenna's post? SO sweet I felt nauseous.

Friday, December 2, 2011

America the Beautiful


Tonight while watching a PBS documentary about Yellowstone Zoey perked up and said...

"Is that a park in America Daddy?

Uhmmm, yup (generous pause)...America? How'd you know that?

Dismissive shrug.

Yellowstone National park was created by a collapsing volcano so...maybe somewhere in her crazy volcano obsessing she'd heard that...or, of course, maybe not.

America? Just what is this kid reading?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Morning I'd Like To Be Here...


Paris, at night, covered in snow...just let me me grab a hat and my coat.

If only it was that easy. Of all the superpowers on the planet, aside from healing the sick and living as long as I damn well wanted to, I'd like to be able to snap my fingers and disappear, only to reappear wherever the heck I wanted to. Snap...Paris.

I'd have no plan, nothing in particular to do. I'd wander, and keep to myself. I'd waste an entire day and then slide back home to June and Zo...just a day, eight or nine hours, that's it. Or maybe my snap could transport us all? That'd be nice. Ooooh, maybe my snap could not only instantly transport us to places but all Narnia-like what seems like days is really only seconds back home. We could keep our jobs and make sure the garbage gets out, and never, ever give away our little secret.

Yes, Paris in the snow this morning would be nice. No worries, I'll be back before you finish reading this.