Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Summer's Gone...

It took too long for summer being gone before I admitted that it truly was, and now I miss it already and it feels barely gone...but my God, it's nearly Christmas, so that's how delusional I am.  Wasn't it just fall for like...a second?  Now all I can do is listen to this song and drift away with August dreams.  If it wasn't so good to float away on summer dreams it'd be kinda sad.

Next summer, where should we find ourselves? On what ridiculous adventures can we be spirited away  with?  Suggestions?

I vote for something achingly new and unfamiliar, but there better be water.  There must be water.

As we approach the new year what is it that you find yourself desperate for?  Mine is escape, and imagination...fantasy...playing house, somewhere else.  Et tu?

Monday, November 26, 2012

We Had a Little Work Done...

Changing things up around here never gets old, and since we weren't exactly in love with the last incarnation of The Zoey Blog, and since there's this little kink in the equation now called Maggie, we just felt that we needed a change.  We weren't about to change the blog address, and we couldn't really change the title of things without causing a big fuss, and rendering the web address stupid, so we just threw something together after some sketching, and coloring, and photo editing and...etc... It's nothing special but we're quite fond of it, and it took all of an hour and a half.

The Zoey Blog presents...a Super Fly & Contagious Love...'cause that's what this kind of is.

We hope you enjoy the change.  We do.

This Pose We Call "The Cocky Girl"

Ikea play area Zo

A few weeks ago Zoey took her first run at the Ikea playground.  She's been tall enough for awhile, but we just never got around to setting her loose on those wonderful but unsuspecting Children Custodial Engineers at the Ikea playground.  When we finally did she got a little cocky.

"Daddy," she urged, "can you take my picture so we can send it to Elle?"

Elle, in case you don't recall, or have never been here before, is Zed's Brooklyn friend who has always been, well...a little vertically challenged, at least in relation to Zo, but then there's that whole glaring fact that what other three year olds aren't vertically challenged in relation to Zo?

I wish Elle and her rents lived closer because those two little chiquitas are the most ridiculous buddies on planet earth.

It's Not Just a Haircut...

First hair cut at the salon. Someone's really excited!!

The only people who have ever cut Zoey's hair share DNA with her.  So when June brought Zoey to the salon for a treat she was just a little more than ecstatic. She was moved to immutable giggles, and a smile that would have been impossible to wipe from her beaming face.  Someone write this down to remind me later.  We have a girl on our hands.

It's not that I wanted her to be a boy.  No way.  I begged the sky for girls, but I may have been pre-mature buying her that lacrosse stick.  What?  It's a girl's stick.

Zed loves...I mean loves...all that girl stuff.  She likes pink and purple.  She likes shiney, glittery, sequined things (that Daddy forbids anyone to buy for her), and tutus, and shopping, and shoes, and getting her hair braided, and an endless stream of girlified things that Daddy can barely comprehend...and THAT was the point.  I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a estrogen filled alternate universe than what I had grown up with.  That's what I got.

The haircut was $16...the look on her face was worth way more than that.

Curse Be Gone...

I broke a mirror this weekend, but after only a brief moment of panic I reminded myself that I broke a mirror last summer and that seven years of bad luck stuff was just ridiculous...although, my luck has seemingly sucked since then.  I sort of lingered in a lesser panic until I rationalized that a second broken mirror must reverse the damage done by the the first, so now I'd be fine.  I further rationalized by agreeing with myself that if Michigan beat Ohio State, and USC beat Notre Dame, the universe will surely have been telling me that the bad luck was over.  That didn't happen.  So now, I need a voodoo witch doctor type referral...if anyone knows a good get this monkey off my back.

I did some half-hearted searching and found this...

"Like many superstitions, bad luck incurred from breaking a mirror has its roots in antiquity. The ancient Romans were the first to develop a method with which to create the reflective surface of a mirror. Their religious beliefs, condensed into Hesiod's Theogony, as well as their spiritual beliefs were the catalyst that propagated this superstition. Many societies throughout the world believe 
that a mirror possesses a kind of raw supernatural power, a window into the soul. These cultures hold that part of their soul is imparted to the mirror through their reflection. Should the mirror shatter or fragment, this could mean the corruption of that person's soul. Moreover, it would also mean that a portion of that individual's soul would be confined to the broken mirror. This ties into a spiritual belief known as spirit loss that many cultures still embody even today. In the absence of modern science to explain many such phenomena, ancient civilizations were left to address the question of existential ambiguity and spirituality in an arbitrary context, which is why many of these superstitions arise. While breaking a mirror is believed to herald seven years of bad luck, there are subsequent actions one can take to resolve this negative karma.Perhaps the most candid remedy for breaking a mirror is to grind up the fragments into a find powder and bury them. This destroys the reflection, restoring the soul to the individual who broke the mirror. Another antidote, which was taken from a number of other pagan superstitions is to throw salt over one's shoulder. One particular African spiritual belief holds that by immersing the broken pieces in a southern flowing stream, one find exoneration from the bad luck in a shy fraction of the time. Finally, burning the shattered pieces of the mirror is also said to remove the burden of seven years of bad luck."

So it seems I need either a south flowing river, or some salt.  I might have a fire tonight, and you know, really rip into this superstition but either way it could be fun.  I might convince Zoey to break out her magic wand (she'll have to choose from her awesome collection), and we'll tear into a full blown home remedy for curse removal.  A guy just can't go around breaking mirrors all the time without doing something about it.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself this morning.  Then, in the middle of all this mirror talk, it strikes #$%?ing bored am I?

I think I might go find a cemetery and tap the mirror on a tombstone seven times, you know, just in case.  Or I was thinking that maybe I could just make up my own magic.  I'll ask Zoey.  She's good at these things.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hot Tub Time Machine Saved My Life

hot tub time machine 1

It wouldn't be the first time that John Cusack saved my ass, but Hot Tub Time Machine gave me a new ethos with which to live my life, and it was pretty damn funny.

"Sometimes you just have to embrace the chaos," said the cool girl that got off the Poison tour bus, and she was right.  Sometimes you do.  Don't think too much about it. Trust me, as I type this thinking is the last thing on my mind.  Is the film ridiculous, yes.  Is it near impossible to harvest any kind of philosophical lesson from it's madness? Absolutely, but somehow I managed it.

Here's what you can glean from the kind of movie that typically makes you dumber...

Chill out.


Don't take it all so serious.

Never hyphenate your surname with your wife's maiden name. Never.

Friends are important.

Poison sucks.

Simple lessons, sure, but reminders that we all need on a semi-regular basis.  Laugh. Have fun. Don't lose track of the people who care about you.  Don't lose track of yourself.  And if you're ever sucked into a time space vortex continuum hot tub thing, don't worry about messing up the future.  Just give 'er.

That's our embarrassing and unnecessary cinematic lesson for the day.  Stay tuned as next week we tweak our moral compass by watching Meatballs.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Do The Math...

I've done the math and this is the answer that I've found...

It's the 5% that matters most.

The five percent?  Yes, the five percent.  Our lives, or at least 95% of our lives, are comprised of mundane, difficult, stressful, unrewarding, challenging, soul crushing stuff.  The bulk of your work, unless you're very fortunate, is hard, and can at times be soul crushing.  Parenting is overwhelmingly about paying attention, spending money, teaching lessons, avoiding calamity, forgetting yourself, and with few moments of overt, identifiable reward.  Relationships, tough. Money, stressful. Everything, harder than you were told it might be when you were growing up, but then there's the 5% of all of that living that really rewards us, that really offers us hope.

I found myself telling a friend today about my Rose Bowl experiences, about sweeping pink and purple sunsets, and swaying palm trees and ocean breezes.  I was telling him about San Clemente, and watching the days fade from your hotel on the bluff above the pier.  I told him about my idea of perfection, and he said that he'd likely never make it West since he has a free place to stay in Florida.  It struck me how much he was missing the point, and the experience. For me that hotel on the bluff is the 5% that makes the other 95% more manageable.  Would you survive happily without ever tipping an ice cold Pacifico westward toward the dusk shrouded Channel Islands?  Sure it would.  There'd be no less joy in your life.  Florida's a good place.  You'd never really know what you were missing, but your life would be 5%...less beautiful, less realized, less fulfilled.  You'd be voluntarily sacrificing the 5% of your life that really pays you back for all that effort.

I've realized that I've decided to make sacrifices at times for no reason other than I feel that I should...that I've donated my 5% to the universe over and over again in hopes that I get it back in some kind of karmic payback.  It doesn't work that way.  The universe doesn't give a shit about me...about you either, so pay attention.  If you're forgetting to cultivate the best 5% of your life for fear of neglecting the other 95% you'd better go back and scribble that equation over again.  This time show all of your work.  It might lead you to a different life.

The last thing that we want to do is get accustomed to 5% less laughter, less love, less awe and amazement, less of anything that makes the rest of our loves more meaningful.  It's reading Harry Potter aloud to your children.  It's buying that unconditional gift.  It's going to that playoff game. It's not denying yourself that vacation.  Sure you need to save money, and yes, it's wise to play it safe on occasion, if not most of the time, but not all the time. No, not each and every time.  Sometimes you have throw the calculator away and just guesstimate.  Five percent isn't that hard to figure out.

Dads Dressing Daughters

Zoey Look Book 1

I don't know what other Dads do but I like to dress my daughter.  I like to help her root through her things and suss out the day's look.  I like knowing what her favorites are.  I like knowing what she defaults to, what she thinks is uncomfortable, what her selections say about her mood that day...'cause make no mistake about it, what she wiggles into says heaps about her day.  I like to lay the foundation for a little kid who is interested in what she drapes across her back as she grows up, and so far, we've managed to create a pretty fashionable little funster.  She feels most comfortable in the kinds of clothes that we pick together, and she's more than happy to see what Daddy likes.  In that regard I often wonder if this is just a lesson in dressing herself or something of an effort to figure out this tricky and illusive male species thing.  I often catch her watching me, and she's very eager to please, and even more eager to partner up in any adventure.  Getting dressed isn't just a necessity, it's an exploration of sorts.

Zoey Look Book 2

I might be alone in my enthusiasm for shopping with my daughter.  Despite her desperate need for half a dozen tutus she's a fun girl to hang out with, rooting through racks of fun.  She's an easy Saturday, that's for sure.  Wanna try on some shoes?  An enthusiastic yes follows.  Do you think we should buy this dress?  There's a grinning parenthesis around her nodding face.  Of course I do Daddy.  Of course you do Zoey.  Give me the chance to watch Michigan play yet another service academy on a Saturday or wander the sun dripped outdoor mall at Partridge Creek with my daughter and my daughter wins as handily as the Wolverines might.  Of course, sometimes there's Appalachian State.  I don't have a shopping reference for that.

Paint By Numbers Morning Sky...


Daydreaming in the sunshine...a sixty degree late November morning.  It's Thanksgiving a few miles from here, across that river.  The Grateful Dead are streaming, Live at The Spectrum from April 6th, 1985. Right now it's Uncle John's Band, and Jerry's signature guitar riffs are stealing me away to someplace I'd rather be. Like sitting to the south of the pier in San Clemente, nearest the lifeguard tower, soaking up the ocean and waiting for the train to rumble past just behind me...watching middle aged men with no apparent jobs or place to be, surfing.  The coffee is from the Starbucks up on El Camino Real, and my return flight home isn't for weeks.  There's money in my pockets and maybe tomorrow we'll go to Mexico, or maybe not.  We'll go somewhere, up to Dana Point maybe, or Laguna, not far.  It's a nice dream, but the cars from Murphy Road, just outside our front window, remind me that I'm not in Southern California, and that it's a sick day.  An ear infection the nurse practitioner suspects.  We'll confirm it on Monday.  Tomorrow's a PD Day and maybe I can string together four days of idle rest and daydreaming, like this.

I'm not interested in football today, no Lions game, or turkey dinner.  Those are your traditions, not mine, although they're fine, and sometimes curiously seductive, they're not mine.  I'm starting to realize that I don't give two $%i!?s about football most days, just on Saturday perhaps.  Then, of course, there's Black Friday tomorrow, and the madness that overtakes even some of the people I know.  Insanity.  I just want sunshine and Pacific ocean breezes, maybe a morning nap. I'm feeling incredibly indulgent.

I made Maggie smile this morning, which shouldn't feel so much like an accomplishment since she smiles all the time.  Still, it was a nice way to wake up.  Now I'm dizzy again, and wishing I just felt like myself, even if lately that means sick.  It's been a ridiculous year.  I'm leaning on the notion that perhaps I'm burning through a few years of bad luck all in one tortuous stretch.  I lingered in bed this morning, occupied Maggie while June showered, dressed Zoey, and didn't even bother to take care of myself until they had left for the library.  Now, clean and feeling woozy at best, I'm ready to go back to sleep.  It was a late night of Gone With The Wind and ear drops. Not a perfect combination but they'll do in a pinch.

It's almost December, when did that happen?  Wasn't I paying attention?  Not likely with the pre-occupations I've suffered this year.  It seems like it was just Halloween and now we're discussing when to put up the Christmas tree.  Zoey is playing with Rudolph toys and I nearly bought her a plush Santa hat the other day, on a whim.  My God it's all sped by so quickly.  Good in one sense.  Good riddance to 2012 and it's many frustrations.  I'll be happy to welcome 2013 onto our calendars.

It struck me this quiet morning, just how hopeful we still are for the future.  It's when that hope fades that we'd better start to worry, but for now, it burns bright and influences decisions and direction.  If you don't lose hope, you don't lose opportunity.  So I keep hoping that this sickly year ends a new healthy one begins.  I've donated my pint of blood, and gave at the office, and put in my time.  It's someone else's turn to endure nonsense now.  Knee surgery and recovery, back, shoulders and neck, wisdom teeth, a blood pressure spike and freak out, now an ear infection.  I shudder to imagine what else I might tackle before January sets in.

I've got simple desires to end the year.  I want a good birthday.  I want a good Christmas.  I want to find myself somewhere inspiring over the Christmas break.  I don't care where, as long as it leaves me smiling and energized.  I want to be healthy. That's it. That's all.  Kind of makes daydreaming pretty easy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's Behind Door Number Two?

3 Months Old

Our second child...the thought seems crazy, but now three months into crazy, it seems almost unimaginable that we might not have done this.  Two girls, and a lifetime (at least all of theirs) to shape them.  Already they seem different, but the same.  Zoey, who came first, is precocious and confident...kind and pensive, but adventurous.  Maggie, the happiest child alive, is a bundle of smiles and incessant talking, her eyes more penetrating than even Zo's were, and Zo's were impressively burrowing.  Zoey is smart, and not just by her own parents gushing standards, by her teachers and the innocent, unsuspecting witnesses to her intelligence.  She's intuitive and observant and oh-so curious.  Maggie seems not far behind, a very perceptive and examining infant.  Her world seems much larger than I recall Zoey absorbing.  Maggie is aware and reacts to everything.

Two children.  Sometimes it's difficult to imagine that I'm the father of even one.  This second has tripped me into a new world of confidence and purpose, of self-awareness and ambition.  I wonder where I found inspiration before this?  It's a strange thing, this parenting business.  I find myself wishing for things that I had never even dreamt of before, and imagining a future that spans decades not just tomorrow.  I fall in love every day, and that was something I wasn't prepared for.  It's harder to lie to myself, or shrug off what used to seem meaningless.  Everything matters now.

Our second child has changed me, perhaps even more than the first.  Now I've got two reasons to be better than I ever thought I could be. Three, if we count all of the women in this house.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spend It If You Got It...

Counting her money so she can buy Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Tonight Zo was deeply infatuated with the purchase of a stuffed Rudolph that she found at the drug store.  She's inspected her future purchase no less than ten times, and each time she's no less invested in making the purchase "someday soon", she says.  Tonight was soon enough.  So after a lengthy discussion about using her own money, and about just how much of her savings it would dig into, we set out for the store.  The only hitch was that we found something better.

Zo had her money all counted out, pretty much emptying her piggy bank, but she was determined to buy something Rudolph.  She'd been singing the song for weeks, and she'd watched the old classic television special more than once already, so we worked at making sure she was certain that spending her money was something that she really wanted to do.  She did.  At one point she placed two different collector sets on the floor in front of her at the store, and hummed and hawed her way to a decision.

"Now this one has more figures," she said thoughtfully, her fingers cupping her chin, "but this one has all of the reindeer and Santa's sled. Hmmmm, I don't know."

Rudolph Collector Set

I was very proud of her.  She thought about it, she even weighed the benefits of one over the other, and then said with certainty that she wanted the set that was completely different from what she had set out to buy.  She grinned the whole way home.  As soon as we got in the door, she sprinted to the bath, took the fastest scrub in the history of hygiene, and has been playing happily with her figurines ever since.  She even spread out a white fleece blanket to serve as snow.  Of course, we're watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" for the eighth time this November, but I've never seen a happier girl.

If you spend it, they will come, so I've heard...and now we have a living room full of Yukon Cornelius', Abominable Snow Monsters, and about a dozen reindeer, including Clarice.  There are way worse ways to spend a Tuesday night than watching your daughter fall in love with Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2012



Watching Zo and Mags this past month or so has been something of an exercise in sighs.  Zoey is smitten, more than I've ever seen her with anything, and Maggie is obsessed with her big sister.  She stares and searches the room for her.  She's comforted by her voice and laughs for Zo more than for anyone else.  Sometimes the two just lay there and chat, and your heart swells so much that the tears sneak from your eyes. It's so sweet it hurts my head.

I hope that they're always this connected, and always this smitten with one another.  I know what being a twin is like, but the sister thing is, obviously, something I have no concept of.

I hope that they stand up for each other, and learn from each other.  I hope that they stay eager to be together, and excited to share experiences.  I find myself hoping that they love each other in the most ridiculous sense...inseparable, and impossibly driven to make a difference in each others lives.


Goldy Blox and the Seven Days of Bloglessness

My good friend Beth passed this on to me, and thank God, I must have written ten posts in the past seven days that never saw the light of day.  It's a brilliant thing, and I love it.  I'm especially sappy for all this "power of girls" stuff now.  Being the father of girls certainly sparks a new interest in growing them up as amazing as you can.  I'll be honest, at that point in the video where the little girl excitedly yells for her Daddy because she's created something that actually functions...teary.

It really is about what you expose your children to, and if all your daughters get are princesses and pink and little ponys...well, if you plant corn you get corn.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bested By Bieber...


Tonight, after watching a half dozen Justin Bieber Christmas videos before bedtime, and a little dancing, Zoey asked me if I could sing her some Bieber songs for bedtime.  I apologized, and told her that I didn't know much more than the chorus' to just a few Justin Bieber songs.  She said that it was ok.  Then she asked me if we could go see Justin Bieber.  See Justin Bieber?  As in, "go see a Justin Bieber concert," I said in astonishment.

"Yes," she replied matter of factly, "I'd like to go see Justin Bieber sing songs."

"That would be kind of cool," I said.

"Yes," she added, "it would.  I wonder if Justin Bieber likes you Daddy?"

"I dunno," I answered, "I hope so."

"Me too," she said.

"What if he didn't like me," I asked.

Then with utter certainty, and without hesitation she said, "Then you'd have to go Daddy...but I'd stay."

Curse you Justin Bieber.  Curse you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'Tis The Season...Almost

Zed Xmas tree

I'm so ridiculously excited for Christmas this year.  I mean, I am every year, but this year I'm nearly bursting and I have no idea why.  This year I'm going to relish the two week break, and I'm going to tackle Christmas oh-so selfishly.  So selfishly that it makes me laugh out loud.  We've got a family of four now, and Zoey is at a near perfect age for all this awesomeness.  I'm going to beg for visitors on Christmas Eve.  I'm going to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" uninterrupted that same night, what used to be a tradition at my good friend Gainey Bouman's house that I happily adopted for myself.  I'm going to wake up to the sound of an excited little girl, and we'll meander through family after that, and then almost immediately on the heals of that, we're leaving.  We're finding a place to daydream and squeal with laughter, and with luck tan our pale skin, or widen our tired eyes...south, or east to New York, better yet, West, back to San Clemente...who knows, but we're going.

I have a simple list of wants...a book or two, a new radio, just like the last...ahmm, so far that's about it. I do, however, have one big thing on my list.  I want everyone else to be be oh-so embrace and embody the happiness of the season, to be a little geeky at teh prospect of Christmas.  Lately the people around me have seemed to have taken the holidays in they're no big thing, just another couple of days, which is an affront to anyone who embraces them as fervently as I.  For me it's not about the religiosity of the phenomenon...and it's not about gifts and present, although it is most definitely about giving.  It's about being happy, and hopeful, and excited...about remembering what it was like when you were a kid.  It should be the most loving time of year, and too often, at least more recently it feels as though it might be a small burden for people, a couple of days to enjoy, but mostly just get through, and that rips a giant hole in me.  I don't do well to surround myself with people who are less enthusiastic than me...I get bummed, I get upset that all of the little things that mean so much to me, mean nothing to anyone else.  Selfish?  Sure...but it the most hopeful kind of way.  If you can't muster excitement at Christmas, then you need to talk to someone.  It's the one day of the year when the calendar gives you full permission to be blissful.

Bliss for me this year means a Christmas Eve with sleeping children, presents already wrapped, a movie on the tv, maybe a surprise visit by friends, and something fun to eat and drink...a good sleep, and a fun excited Zoey, and an easy day of visiting.  Bliss for me this year means bliss for everyone, otherwise, it just won't be what it could be.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I once knew a person who met my enthusiasm, and my idealism, and my hopefulness with derision and sarcasm, and I never forgot it. It didn't just offend me, it hurt because it belittled everything that I believed in. If anything, it set my convictions in stone, and illuminated something that I didn't want to be. Then, years later, I would sometimes struggle to find my place, and defend my reasons, and it was hard. Now, I know that I was right, even if I didn't always know what I was doing. Watch this when you get the chance. I don't think I've ever heard something so affirming and inspiring. You don't have to know what you're doing, but you have to do something. You have to let the world change you.

Back to School...

I've been talking about this for awhile now, and, of course,watching the most dedicated staff and students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH do what they did in the face of losing the very institution they were committed to, well, to say that I was moved to keep on considering the notion of where higher education was heading would be an understatement. Somewhere along the line economics have replaced education, and in that equation we all lose.

I'd like to chase something different in these middle years of a career and life. I want to collect enough credits and certificates of completion to challenge my work against the demands of an education accreditation agency, and earn my own degree, my own way. That's right, my own degree, my own way. Although I finished college what seems like a billion years ago, I believe rather strongly in the notion that all that effort was wasted if you leave it in your past. So, I'm going to piece together a new education, from two dozen institutions...for free...that's right, for free...and then set it proudly at the top of my resume. It'll make for some awesome interview conversations.

Anyone want to join me? We can get t-shirts like this.

I'm convinced that it's the way that education is supposed to be...surely men like Socrates and Plato would be proud. It's all kind of like the University of Phoenix' marketing approach, but not at all like the University of Phoenix. They're making money hand over fist on all this educational inflation too. They've just been smart enough to sell what education is going to look like someday, and we're buying. I'm going to go get my own education. It's never too late, and you're never too old...and maybe, just maybe, it'll be a taste of the world to come. Cherish your institutions now people, because in twenty-five years you won't even recognize them.

I dunno about you, but I think I'm going to start with this, and this, and maybe this too. I'm serious. Who's in?

Lest We Forget...

Private DeWagner

My Grandfather never talked about it.  Occasionally we saw a photo from the large box of black and white photographs that he had stashed away -- Grandpa, with the best mustache ever...Grandpa, with Egypt's pyramids in the and white friends who might just as well have been ghosts...some very likely were -- and there was the rare Saturday afternoon war movie that Grandpa would excuse himself from watching, or complain about it's inaccuracies, but Grandpa never talked about the war...not ever. Not with anyone.

He had a limp from the shrapnel he'd taken in his leg and hip, and he had all of those memories to manage, the reason behind his gruffness and the bottle, I'm certain, but he never talked about it, and never ruminated on it, at least not that we ever saw.  I'm sure he did, and I know that the ghosts would come to visit every now and again.  He was a conflicted man.  War will do that to you.

I pulled over to the side of the road today to observe the silence at the 11th hour.  The Last Post
played and I got emotional.  I always do.  I am now.  I can't imagine it...any of it.  I watched as car after car sped by, indifferent, or ignorant and it struck me how long it's been, and how far we've fallen from the memory of those boys who volunteered to lose everything...even if they came home they had already forfeited everything.  They were not the same men who left. My grandpa wasn't.
I get emotional just thinking about it, but I don't know if it's because of their sacrifice or my own inability to conceive of it.  It's big deal stuff, and I'm happy for the chance to pull him back into my mind, but there are always tears, and an overwhelming feeling of not being good enough, not for what he did.  I know that he'd be proud of me, but I also wonder if I am infinitely less than what those men were?  Their choices and experiences are so hard to comprehend.

I thought of you today Grandpa, and it was hard to do without feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I guess that's the point...lest we forget.



As printed over at Mgoblog:

A referee makes an arbitrary approximation of the spot of the football as Kain Colter is brought to the turf. A couple of guys dressed like crossing guards then take out an extremely precise ten-yard chain. The referee, staring at the football like it's the bottom line of an eye chart, determines that the play has resulted in a first down by the smallest of possible margins. For all intents and purposes, the game is over, decided by an educated guess made at breakneck speed.
Football is the worst.
The contest continues, however, and Michigan sells out against the run for a stop. For a moment, it looks like Jeremy Gallon could provide a miracle as he briefly breaks free after fielding a line-drive punt, but he's tackled at the 38.
18 seconds remain. No timeouts remain. Little hope remains.
But then the backup quarterback hucks the football to the impossibly-skinny senior receiver, improbably left in single coverage, and this wisp of a man somehow bats the oblong projectile out of the air and controls the ricochet, an absurd feat of concentration and athleticism that brings 110,000 despondent humans screaming to their feet in elation.
Football is the best.
From that point, victory feels strangely academic given the prior proceedings. Brendan Gibbons, Keith Stone cool, splits the uprights from 26 yards out for the tying field goal. Three plays after Devin Gardner finds Roundtree again to give Michigan first-and-goal on the opening overtime possession, he fakes a give to Fitz Toussaint, breaks contain, and lopes into the end zone unimpeded. Northwestern can only get within two yards of that blasted first-down marker on their subsequent series before Kenny Demens stonewalls Tyris Jones in the hole on fourth down.
The stadium erupts, again hopelessly in love with the greatest game known to man. Michigan 38, Northwestern 31, football forever.
Nice little Saturday, I think.  Nice one indeed.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Football Games and Hand-Offs...

Asleep as soon as she reached Barb's lap

We no sooner arrived at the Southwestern Ontario AA high school football semi-final then our good friend Barb gently kidnapped Maggie...gently, we say because June handed Mags over. Barb sweetly ushered us away, and we watched our nephew's team dismantle their competition without the distraction of a restless baby.

You can always tell the people who really remember the challenges of this stage because all they do is offer to hold her for awhile, but that simple gesture alone is worth about a billion dollars. Remember the awesome people who just want to hold your baby and usher you off to do other things. Remember them and thank whatever lucky stars you can find because the Barb's are rare...but get your own Barb, this one's ours.

Saturday Night's Alright for Linking...

Sesame Street is awesome...well, awesomer than we already knew they were.

This is what I want to be doing right now...right now.

Just read this...pretty great.

Uhmm, wow. I'm not capable of that kind of vision.

Leader of the Free World...and husband.

People always ask how we travel so cheaply...Bookmark these.

This is very cool.


The NY Times helps old people feel less old...well, old people with smart phones and Twitter accounts.

These are some fun toys.

Always wanted one of these. Always will.

Someday we'll snap a family photo here.

I have a big presentation to give this week, and then I'm not going to shave for awhile, I think. Support my Movember brothers. Then in about a month I'm going to rock this shirt.

My Father-In-Law told me about this, and it's pretty awesome.

I just kind of feel bad for all of my American friends who haven't been indoctrinated in the cult of the Tragically Hip. Everyone needs a Gord Downie in their life. The boys played a week or so of in-residence shows at a local pub in Kensington Market in Toronto just to tune up for their tour. Pretty awesome.

Desperate to do this in Zoey's room.

A look inside my friend Coop's brain.

Making these tomorrow.

The Undeniably Hilarity of Fresh Fatherhood

Daddy daughter #2

Being a Dad can be a comedy of errors, misjudgments, outdated or misguided efforts, and assorted mistakes, but it can also be ridiculous in it's hilarity.  We're guys, and we can't exactly apologize for it, but there are some things that we approach in, uhmmm, unique ways.

When Zoey was a baby I managed to escape getting pooped on. June didn't. Mind you, June got in there like a West Virginia miner, fearless and confident, as only Moms do.  Diaper after diaper, nothing phased her. This time around, after watching a particularly shocking squirting poop incident with Mom and Maggie, I never ventured to change a diaper without wearing a full body Jethro-style bib.  Who needs poop on their belly as an adult?  No one, that's who.  Here's how you manage what I'm forever referring to as The Daddy Maneuver.

Lay the baby on a blanket on her change table...leave the bulk of the blanket, or towel, hanging below the baby, in front of you.  Lift the blanket or towel and tuck the loose, dangling end into your collar, thus...


It's an easy thing to manage, and well beyond practical...certainly a by-product of fear, and absolutely, 100% effective.  Guaranteed not to end up with poop on your belly.

Nobody ever accused me of not creatively using my noggin'...well once, but the charges were dropped.      


The Summit...

Visiting with the Burgess'

Our friends Jason and Kaylen just had a baby, yup...Hudson's his name...a bad ass name BTW, and since we like them oh-so much, and since we know how it feels to stumble through the isolation of early babyness, and since June can do anything she wants during the day, there was a Burgess-DeWagner Summit this week highlighting the genetic accomplishments of all four parents.  It was frightening I'm told.  Our progeny should concern us.

All the kids

First there's Jace, the oldest...he's assuredly going to be the most manly little man of all men ever.  Cover-alls and old tradesman attitude...tractors and trucks and knocking down walls (old houes demolition, long story)...stumbling back in for a beer...juice.  He's barely started school and already his guidance counselors are telling him to focus on the trades.  He's got the vocabulary for it, as he'll proudly assert.

Zoey's the next oldest, and we suspect that she's going to do little more with her pre-college life than accessorize and buy J Crew sweaters.  She wears skinny jeans and really gives a crap about shoes.  She's emotional and dramatic, and her guidance counselors might very well advise her parents to start saving for NYU.  Not because she's necessarily the smartest girl in the neighborhood, but because of the campus' close proximity to the best shopping on planet earth.

Sophia comes next, and don't you #$%& with her. She's lovely just the same, but still, don't #$%& with her.  Jace will know how to treat women, I'll say that.  he will or he'll be made miserable by his strong willed sister.

Then Maggie is next, and then Hudson and we're all very much still trying to figure them out.  My prediction is that they date and their Dad's get very drunk on their prom night.  Maggie's Dad will help her pick out her dress, and Hudson's Dad will lose his cummerbund and tie.

The Countdown...

Sitting with daddy watching tv

We're fast approaching Dad's comfort zone of toddlerhood...well, senior infancy.  Three months in and Maggie wants to hang out with me, or at least doesn't spend all her time in my arms wishing I had a breast or two.  She's happy.  She smiles.  We talk...a lot.  If it weren't for the fact that 45 minutes of carrying her around in the only position that she seems to let me carry her though I'm gingerly using both hands to carry a tray of drinks around the room...twists my shoulder and back into a knot, we're good.  In the past few weeks she's decided that it's not jsut women who can hold her close to their chest, or on their shoulder.  She liked breasts, not pectoral muscles, so I suppose if you were a man with the former you'd be okay to hold her as you like, but anyone with any semblance of man chest, nope.  She wanted soft and squidgy, not flat and consistently unshaky. But of course, if you shake, you're probably fine.  From day 1 she's been a bit discerning.

Maggie is more aware, and eager to interact now.  She's talkative, and playful.  She does the dishes.  Three months is the line in the sand where everything starts to change...three months or right around there.  Before that...ugh.  I don't dole out Dad advice to friends 'cause, you know, who the hell am I and what the hell do I know.  My kid is my kid and your kid is yours...they're different, so are our houses, and grandparents and beliefs and etc...endless etc... but I will say this to my friends who are expecting for the first time...good buddies like Dustin and Scotty...three months.  Give it three months before you give up all hope of ever meaning anything to your infant.  It will be different if you're bottle feeding, but if Mommy and baby are joined mouth to mammary for those first three months, you're going to feel useless, unnecessary, and more closely like a really incompetent maid.  You're not just magically going to like doing dishes or picking up around the house, nor are you just creatively going to get good at it.  In fact, very many of those household tasks you'll still very likely shirk if you shirked them before, but you'll pick up the slack where you can...I, without hesitation, bought a brand new washer and dryer, because the old ones confused me and sucked.  You'll do the same.  I cooked more.  I picked up more.  I offered to do dishes and sometimes did, but June maintained that doing the dishes while I held a marginally calm and cooing baby was a break.  Blah blah blah...the basics of it is that you will feel an unbearable but undeniable feeling of less value.  You will instantly become a third, or in this case for us, fourth class citizenship in your own home.  You won't matter.  Of course, you're wife loves you and you matter to her, and in a million very unsexy, uncelebrated ways you'll matter, but you won't get to start, and you won't get to take the big shot.  You won't get in on the power play or penalty kill.  You won't have any role in the big game ending play.  You'll wave your towel from the bench and be happy just to be on the team.  That's hard.

Three months...after three months or so you can become Ray Allen in Miami, or more accurately a '06-'07 Luke Walton.  After three months you get to really start contributing. Oh, you'll still be required to wait for your time, and to pass the ball more than you shoot, and to sprint back on defense, and sprint back on offense, and maybe never touch the ball before you sit down again, but you get to play alongside Kobe and hope that when it's all said and done you get a ring.  After three months you start to feel a part of the team.

Maggie falls asleep on me now, and she can sit on my lap and hang out for giant stretches of relaxing and confident time.  She searches the room for me when she hears my voice, and best of all, she smiles when she sees me.  Three months isn't that long to wait...oh, it'll feel like it, but you'll be sprinting back on defense before you know it.

Good Work 'Murica...


I'm Canadian, and I'm proud of that certainty, but I can still say this...what happens south of here, in America, matters to me.  I grew up on the border, I soaked up two cultures that despite feeling oh-so similar are just not, but also kinda are.  I have an abundance of US weaved memories.  I watch the Detroit news. I read the Detroit papers.  We entertain ourselves, in large part, in Detroit.  I have a lot of good friends that are separated from me by an imaginary line.  Passports can keep us apart, or surly border agents.  A good part of my growing up and learning happened on the other side of that line.  So when something as big as potentially re-electing the 44th President of the United States occurs, I'm paying attention...and choosing sides.

It wouldn't take a roadmap and a compass to suss out who I'd have voted for.  The way that I live my life kind of reveals that, and I went to bed feeling hopeful and happy that my friends would push forward with what they had committed to over the past four years.

As a citizen of another country the politics aren't mine, but the social relevance and impact most certainly are.  What was monumental four years ago is equally so again, and the impact zone of that momentous thing spreads across my entire country.  One, if not the, most powerful nations on the planet has a leader that believes in the voice of women, who believes that each and every citizen has a choice and a chance, who believes that we all should be taking care of one another, who gives power and pays attention to people that others would not, who seems to set an admirable example of not just President, but of humanity and husbandry and fatherhood... of humanity.  Human dignity and rights matter.  The image and impact of America on the planet matters.  The environment matters.  Detroit and the rest of the rust belt where we grew up and continue to live and raise our own children, matters.  There are things that intersect in a Barack Obama Presidency that directly affect my life as a Canadian, and I went to bed happy that my friends just on the other side of that water that separates us will have four more years of picking each other up, and not waiting for an economist to do it.  It was an easy sleep.

The women and young people, and minorities and a half dozen other demographics that Barack Obama has mobilized and illuminated the strength of, will absolutely affect my life as a Canadian.  The slow, but sturdy recovery of the US economy...the survival of the Auto industry...the attention paid to education, social services, and the environment, will all impact my life as a Canadian.

Nice work America.  It almost didn't happen, which confuses me beyond measure, but it did and so the entire world summarily breathed a sigh of relief.  Good decision.  Here's some advice to keep in mind for next time.  Whatever Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band wants you to do...just do it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There Are Stars Out...

The evening began with a cold, crisp walk, upon which after her very first steps Zoey looked up to exclaim her unique brand of wonder at the November sky...full of stars, and gauze-like clouds, soft and whispy, set in contrast with the brightly shining heavens behind them.

"Look Dad," she nearly exploded, "There are stars out."

Indeed there were, and I hadn't even noticed.  As it too often is, there is just her and I, and nothing much to notice.  She steals that much of my attention and heart.  Tonight she was excited to come for a walk, down to the drug store and back...a thirty minute walk for certain, and she was bursting to tag along.  It wasn't too late, only 7:30pm maybe, and I wanted to spend that time in her company.  I wanted to laugh at her and sigh as I watched her run and skip ahead. So we put on our shoes and coats and set off.  That's when she noticed the stars.

It was quick to the bath when we arrived home, too early I might suggest.  Sometimes those walks could last oh-so sweetly forever and I'd be happy to have only that for the rest of my life.  We bathed, and bounced with Maggie and laughed with Mom, and then shot to bed whereupon we read Chapter 2 of Mary Poppins, in which Mary has her day off and absconds Bert to the fair in his chalk drawing.  She never made it past the tuppence in Bert's cap before she was snoring.  She missed the merry-go-round, and the tea, and the umbrella with the parrot handle. Of course, I kept reading because I'm no heathen, and a chapter is a chapter, if it's good enough to start then it's good enough to be finished.  Zoey fell asleep, to dreams of stars and softly illuminated night clouds, I'm sure, and I fell into my nightly routine of sitting in awe and wonder at this girl that we stumbled thoughtful and fun and curious.  I used to think that Mary Poppins was just about the greatest girl alive...not anymore.

Married to a Camera...

Pink Mags

Sometimes I feel as though I'm married to a camera that's attached to a girl.  It's brilliant.  It means I don't have to do much and there are endless photos of our family.  My own parents don't have that many photos from when I was young. Oh, they have plenty of slides...everyone in the 70s had slides...but there aren't overflowing photo albums of stupid cute pictures of my brother and I.  June's parents have more, but even those photos pale in comparison to what we have in this house...on this blog, for God's sake.  When you marry a girl who likes cameras, you end up kind of spoiled.

This has been a particularly good week, and each day I came home it seemed as though Mom had memory cards full of National Geographic quality photos of the girls.  As a parent I can't urge you enough to find a good camera...I mean, a really good camera...and then snap away. It'll be the best investment that you ever made, you know, besides a slow cooker.

Here are some unbelievable shots from the past three days...

Blue Quilt Zed
Maggie likes to be around people, which means that she absolutely has to be there for dinner, for post-shower toweling-off and changing, for cooking, and for well, other bathroom activities.  She's good to just hang out, although not for long.  She's kinda big on the human contact thing...probably some kind of common infant hang-up type thing.  Whatever...makes for stupid cute shots.

Facepaint Zed
So the enterprise was ugly, and the clean up was a mess, and who'd have ever thought that you'd have gotten nothing more than hilarious photos from an afternoon of painting faces...not something amazeballs like this.  Just for the record, and I'm admittedly biased...those are some serious eyes.

Ask my friend Scotty...ask our friend Serree...ask anyone who's ever dropped the price of an old truck on a camera, and they'll tell you...have a baby, buy a camera.  Done.  Or you could just marry someone who likes to do that's probably cheaper to just buy the camera.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


It gets better by the minute


That's about all I could manage when I got the photo texted to me this afternoon.



No matter what I try, that's all I've got.  Laughter.  Flat out laughter.

I'm a puppy?!??

And a stressful day fully decompressed in an instant.  Mom and daughter got into the face paint and I hear it got ugly.  I'd have traded my day for this one in a heartbeat.  

Pants of Fire...

Today I was lied about, and it bothered me.  Of course it would, but this really bothered me, and I sort of short circuited and didn't know how to confront the person.

I overheard the telephone conversation...

"We've got a guy that would be perfect to talk to Kyle (fake name, obviously).  He's a counselor with the Board and he's seen it all, been there, done that...he's been involved with drugs, and dropped out of school, and the police, and he's bounced back to do this.  He's great and the kids love him."


I'm reserving my judgement for a time when I can better approach this Vice-Principal, of all people, without tearing her apart.  Was she lying to a parent, or does she really believe that since I counsel kids with addictions issues, and kids experiencing homelessness etc...that I have experienced similar things? That's not what I was able to accurately pin down, and so I'm pausing to reflect on the situation a little.  Is she one of those people, and I've met countless numbers of them, who believe firmly that if this is what you do...what I do, that you must be intimately connected to those experiences. It's offensive, but I try to interpret that as ignorance, and a sign that I'm a better person than you.

I am intimately connected to the things that happen to these kids, because I was a kid, and I know what it's like to feel like there isn't anyone listening, or even asking the right questions...because I know what it's like to feel adrift...because I'm not naive and my body has known both drugs and alcohol...because I experienced trauma, in the form of a car accident that nearly killed me, or left me in a know who my friends were those endless weeks in the hospital?  People in halos, and paraplegics, and nary a person not in a wheelchair in sight...I understand trauma.  I am intimately connected to those kids because one day I looked up and I had two families, the only one I'd ever known and then a new one I hadn't expected, complete with Step-Mother and new, strange siblings.  I am intimately connected to them because I had friends that chose the wrong path, and friends that died, and aside from a friend or two I searched and searched for the people that I belonged to.  I am intimately connected because I've been lonely and I've felt pushed around.  I've made mistakes and I've wished that things were different. I was never homeless. I was loved.  I was never addicted, but I made some pretty bad decisions.  I never knew the inside of a police car or cell, but I did things that I'm not proud of.  I wasn't naive, or completely innocent but I wasn't what she had just made me out to be on the telephone. I am intimately connected to these kids because I am a human being, no better than them, and I know that sometimes, I don't know anything.

Being lied about has never left me as unsettled as it has today, and I don't know if I'm angry, or upset, or just like one of the kids I work with.

There's a reason why I do exactly what I do?  Here's the thing, I'm not going to take the time to explain to you who I am or exactly what that is, but I'll be bold enough to say that you should wish your child knew someone that does the same. I've said it countless times before and I'll say it countless times again, there are plenty of people in charge of your most valuable possessions who I wouldn't trust with things as infinitely less valuable as my own story.  I'm learning every day to trust less and question more, and when you find a good thing, soak it up for all it's worth.

I hope that whoever is reading this tonight isn't the parent that was just lied to today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Give Them Grace...

Daddy's view

It's all I ever wanted...grace, but it looks so much better on a woman...on daughters.  That's what I'll work the hardest at, imparting the value of grace.  There are so many things a person can become and drowning in that one attribute is the cure for most ills.  Grace, it's the rarest of things these days. Does anyone really even know what it is anymore? I'm quite certain that the people who have it don't know that that they do, and the one's who are so desperate to grasp it, might never.  It isn't something that you clutch, or pocket.  It just is.  I think all that you can really do is live in such a way that it might shine on you.

Don't deny dreams, or put off ideas.  Be curious, and wrong.  Love people, everyone.  Be kind, and generous.  Being thoughtful counts in spades... and try on empathy every once in awhile.  Be gentle.  There are so few people who are gentle.  Care about the world around you.  Find yourself and don't stray from that, ever.  Earn people's love and respect.  Be inspired.

Try hard to be something more than what you were supposed to be.  Be bigger by making yourself small, by giving.  Tell the truth. Be fearful and hopeful.  Pull people close, and recognize beautiful things.  Be genuine.  Find something about which you are unshakable.  FIll the world with what's inside your head. There's no sense in camouflaging all of that.  Be worthy of grace and grace will find you.  At least, that's what I believe.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Solemn Sundays...

And now the house is cold more than it isn't. Just like that. And in a blink Murray Arthur Cooper is gone...days ago now, but what could I write? It happened so fast. They say snow tonight, and before we know it the calendar will say December. It's the harshest of truths that time flies...that life goes on. Maybe there's nothing quite as harsh. Joan Dideon once wrote, "you sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." Sometimes I'm not so sure how very good I am with change. Just yesterday I was a child, and now I have two of my own. There once was a time when my Uncle Murray was a superhero, and now his family is doing their solemn best to leap the tallest building yet...using a broken compass to find a true North that isn't there. My God, Maggie will be three months old in two weeks. Things are moving so fast that I'm dizzy. I'm sitting in the soft lamp light of the basement, freezing, when it strikes me that all I want to be right now is warm. I want the warmth of the sun on my skin. I want the warmth of good fortune and company all around me. I want the warmth of certainty and stability to fend off the cold of change. I could use some palm trees. I could use some happy people. So many people that I know are struggling, and I'm like a sponge for that stuff. It sticks to me like a soft summer sweat and it throws me far off orbit. I need the people I love to be okay, and when they're not, I'm not. Some blue skies would be nice this week. The change would be nice. Just yesterday Zoey was a baby, and we were wide eyed parents. Today I rested on the couch with a sleeping infant on my chest. I practiced a new kind of meditation, counting the tiny whistles as Maggie inhaled deeply and clutched my wrinkled t-shirt. My eyes were occasionally moist with an overwhelming emotion, one I'd rather disappear with all these grey clouds. Oh, I'm okay, just still feeling sick, and sick for me means melancholy. This has been a year full of physical failures, or so it seems. It's up to me to change that, and so as time flies by my diet changes, and my body finds it's purpose more and more. I won 't feel like this forever but for now, freezing cold basements, and self-indulgent emotional examinations will fill the void of really feeling good. There's a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and maybe some answers. I want the light headed ness to fade, and the occasional nausea to dissipate, and I want blue skies and time to stand still. It won't, but wouldn't that be nice?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Today Will Look Like This...

Saturday Clothes

Today will look like this. I will be comfy, and I will be chilled out beyond any normal sense, and I will watch high school football, and then college football, and I will eat good food, and I will be filled with Mucho Aloha...filled. Somehow I've gotten into the habit of window shopping from my couch, and I seriously dig it. I find the things I want, I cut and paste, and then I occasionally reward myself with the end results. See, here's the thing, and you can tell your husbands should dress themselves, and they should like to dress themselves. It feels good, and it will make you happy, and odds are, with a little help, perhaps, you'll look somewhat different than what you do now, and that will very likely make someone say, "hey, that guy looks nice," or "hey, that guy looks cool,"and then you are. So you should do it. Does your wife or girlfriend buy your clothes? Do you buy your boyfriend or husband's clothes? Yeah, that needs to change. Even men that hate shopping, should probably hate feeling uncomfortable and looking ridiculous more. It doesn't have to be all stylish and super time consuming and costly, but I can guarantee that you have a certain idea about how you should look, and what you like to look like, about the image that you exude, whether that's banker or tradesman, and so you should tackle the task of being that all by yourself. Don't have the time? Don't care? Okay, but that's how you go from cool dude to sandals and socks? That's how hawaiian shirts proliferate unabated. Imagine no spouse, and a pocket full of money, and the inclination to wear whatever you want because, well, you can. Now just do that all the time. Today I'm wearing this, and it feels good to know that I picked it, and that I bought it, and that I like it. I don't really care about much else. June's got good taste, but she doesn't have my taste, and anything I have covering up my jibblies and bits had better be something that I chose. Just sayin'

Books = Sleep

Passed out at the library

Apparently Maggie is just like her Mom in the sense that books = sleep.  You should have seen June in college, now that was funny.  I don't know how many times I caught her face down in a biology book, snoring.  Two years ago I bought her Tina Fey's book for Christmas.  She's still not done, but it helps her sleep on those tossy and turny nights.  It seems Maggie's no differnent. Take little Mags to the library and watch her snore.  Works every time.  Zoey, on the other hand, is a book worm of extraordinary prowess.  She has more books than most adults and can sit through sixty or seventy pages of chapter books read by her Dad.  She could read a dozen or more books at bedtime and very often has to wake Mom up from pre-bed storytime.

Books...they're Mommy and Maggie's kryptonite, it seems.  Not Daddy.  Not Zoey.  Way back when I was young and I was struck by a car on the side of the road, I was in shock, out of it, knackered beyond belief, and when the EMS guys asked me if I knew where I was, laying on the side of the highway bleeding, I answered, "at the library." Surely a testament to reading if there ever was one.  I don't think Maggie will ever appreciate that story much.  Of course, if I wrote it down and read it to her, she'd fall fast asleep.

The Story Goes Like This...

Hospital feet

So the story goes like this...

I started feeling off a few days ago, then on Thursday I was feeling a little light headed...well, a lot at I checked my blood pressure and it was high.  Then I went home and laid down to rest.  I got better but not awesome...and we're all kinda shootin' for awesome, right?  I woke up and went at it again, pretty hard actually, and came home feeling terrible.  I laid down to rest but now I had a discomfort in my chest, and a headache, and felt sick sometimes.  So, I'm not stupid, and since laying down to rest but then not feeling rested does nothing but leave yourself laying prone so that the paramedics have an easier time with your corpse, I shuffled off to the hospital for a check up.  I'll own up to getting very anxious about such things, which doesn't help, but I'm also proud to admit that I'm not one of those guys who refuses to go to the doctor.  I went.

Four hours later, an EKG, a lengthy heart monitor, blood work, and a chest x-ray...left me cleared to go home, and relax.  My heart is in great shape, my lungs are in great shape, my blood is, well, perfectly normal and bloody...I was told to generally take better care of myself...eating, exercising, relaxing, having fun...all of those things we're all kind of already bent on doing. So why the light headedness, and what's was with the chest pain?  Shrug...dunno...but my heart is strong like bull so I'm not too worried about it.  Stress?  Maybe, but not Wall Street Trader style stuff.  Run down?  That's more like down and then that's when anxiety takes hold.  I'm a weird contrast in that I feel super strong and together, bombproof almost, and then when there's a crack in the dam...every six months or so, the water starts pouring in. When I'm run down, I'm weak, and when I'm weak I try to be strong, and when I try too hard to do that, I get weaker, and then I get worried, and then...

Hospital photos of feet ensue...and hilarious Facebook back and forths with friends while I lay connected to monitors and bored to death.  Kind of a ho-hum little story, so let's back track and I'll blame the Detroit Tigers. Like this...

So...I had taken out our entire life savings...some $74, 000, and called my bookie in Vegas.  Before the World Series even started I laid it all down on a four game comeback from being down to the Giants 3-0...I just had a hunch.  Then, if you read the papers, you know that I was just four games from cashing in.  Once June found out, she kicked me out of the house, and took sole custody of our beautiful children, and then in a drug induced fit of near sleepless anguish in a nearby alley, I tried taking my own life without success.  Apparently that whole Coke and Mentos thing only makes you sick to your stomach.  While recovering in a nearby hospital I dreamed that Mitt Romney had become President and woke up with chest pain.  The rest is, shall we say, history.  There was also some awfulness of Ohio State beating Oregon in a Rose Bowl that despite being impossible I swear actually happened.  Shudder.  Say what you want about all of that but I blame the Detroit Tigers for the whole ordeal.

The Three Faces of Dr. Zed...

Three Faces of Mags

Mags has about thirteen hundred other facial expressions in her arsenal, but since June only snapped pics of these three, well, that's what you get.  The title?  When I was a kid I was a giant fan of Tony Randall's "Seven Faces of Dr. Lao", I guess apologies are in order for the randomness.

We've got a little girl who talks endlessly now, is totally focused on the world around her, and is sleeping all night long.  That's right, I said sleeping all night long, and has been for at least a week. Oh, and Zoey's been sleeping without pull-ups for over two months now.

You can hate us later, but for now, look at those three faces and laugh or swoon or loathe her parents. Haters gonna hate.  We don't really care as long as we get to sleep and no one's wetting the bed.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Downstairs I Hear This Magic...


From upstairs I can hear all of this magical awesomeness happening...and Mummy is softly singing, "Zoey, Daddy, Mummy, Maggie!" over and over again and I'll bet that there isn't a Buddhist temple that can summon a more peaceful, soothing, heart mending missive than those soft, rhythmic words.

"Zoey, Daddy, Mummy, Maggie!"  Repeat until blissful.

Four Favorite Parts of The Week...

I just had to type this.  These are my four favorite parts of the week...

1. A very happy Harry Potter Halloween for the DeWagnerellis.

2. My good friend, Kevin, was just named the Communications Manager for the Dean of the University of Michigan Medical School.  Two words...bad...ass.

3. Our good, good friends, Jason and Kaylen welcomed their second son into the world, and quickly named him Hudson...Hudson, I said!  Brilliant.  I have three friends with sons whose names begin with the letter H...Hayden (Fox)...Harmon (Bergquist)...and now Hudson (Burgess).  Kinda awesome.

4. My young friend James, who went home after we talked last week.  He found me this morning and told me he had talked to his basketball coach, switched counselors, and gone home, and my heart swam in my chest.

Bonus Awesomeness: 

5. Netflix has Abbott & Costello movies. Oh my.

Filtering Out The Holidays...

Post-Halloween Zed 2

Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. At the very least, it feels like the one that we're best at. Thanksgiving...meh. Christmas...we try, but we just haven't found our swing. Easter...non-existent save for chocolate bunnies. Halloween we've somehow gotten right. Maybe it's the creativity or the fantasy, or the fact that on three occasions now we've stepped up to the plate and bonked Homers. Every October 31st we feel like a Game #1 Pablo Sandoval. The best part is that Zo had indulged us. First there was that whole Ernest Hemingway ordeal that we put her through. Then the Notre Dame cheerleader fiasco. Then finally Zed got some input and hit the road looking for treats dressed up as Tinkerbell, but even then Mom and Dad ran amok with our costumes, scaring half the neighborhood. This year we finally thought that our twisted influence was over, that Zo had found her own swing and was going to ignore whatever signs we gave her and just swing away at her own Halloween costume. Then we got all procrastination-like with our costume design, which included Zo's simple Wendy request, and we had to tackle this Halloween just like the Detroit Tigers tackled everything this year...the hard way. We scrambled and stumbled and landed on our feet with our favorite Halloween yet.

Post-Halloween Zed

It helps that Zo only wants to Trick or Treat for a dozen houses or so...kinda makes for an easy night. She may have even gotten more stoked to answer the door and dole out candy at Gramma's house. She definitely was more stoked to eat candy and dance around the room at Baachan's house after only six houses. She's an easy evening of Trick or Treating if I ever saw one. It's a low expectation holiday, and I think that's the trick. As far as costumes go, we just do the best we can, and as far as what we expect from the night, that's even easier...any candy is more than we had when we started. We've driven home to visit grandparents three out of four years now, and we've toured our own neighborhood last year for a great night as well. It's almost like we can't lose. In that regard we're nothing like the Detroit Tigers at all.