Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Quiet Mind and Sunday...


I used to think that I wanted to live "the creative life," you know, surrounded by like-minded people, all creating, all thinking on a different plane...turns out they'd all be pissing me off. Who in their right mind wants to be surrounded with turds slinging intellectual superiority and look-at-me individuality? Not me. Gimme Detroit. Gimme small rural Ontario. Gimme the rarified air of accidental culture and creative living for the sake of creative living, you know, the kind that only happens when no one is watching. I could move to Brooklyn permanently...and aside from cursing the occasional city dwellers innate brand of aloofness, I'd probably be very happy. I could live in Southern California...and despite being perpetually reminded that I'm not from that strange universe, I could find dizzying contentedness without much difficulty. Living anywhere but where I do would surely provide the kind of stimulation that a creative life demands, but here's the rub...I don't give a $#&% about any of that...not really. I give a $#&% about being myself, and about figuring this place (planet) out, and about getting better as I get older, learning more about myself, and about why I'm here...I give a $#&% about getting this one life right. Palm trees and skyscrapers are distracting. I'll take them in giant gulps, but when the day is done I want to rest my weary mind in quiet places with quiet people.

I like it here. If you can wholly be yourself amoungst rows of leaning corn...if you can be some version of someone's cool somewhere here in the middle of nowhere, well, haven't you really done something? Isn't that the muted glory of an oasis like Ann Arbor, fertile and forward thinking in the shadow of the shrinking and hemorrhaging middle class of North America? If you can figure just one secret out, solve one illusive problem, cure one ill, or save even just yourself from some evil, all here amid rusted farm implements and factories, from the nourishment of your parents assembly line incomes, haven't you achieved something spectacular? If you can find inspiration from the rusted water towers and distant church steeples...from the empty store fronts and the cracked highways between fractured factory towns, haven't you managed something inspiring? I suspect it doesn't take much authenticity or inspiration to make something out of what some urban landscape might offer, but to stitch together anything at all from the nothingness that so many might attribute to middle America, well isn't that something?

Strangely enough, for those of us that choose to live smack dab in the middle of this continent it's no secret that it's a long way from nothingness. What I've found here is an attention to the things that matter most, those things that are often obscured in other, less nurturing environs. I've stumbled toward the conclusion that I belong here, that I can spend my days focusing on daughters and a wife, or that I can stay connected to people, and even infuse new love and life into old friendships, or make vibrant ones that were once less polished. Here I can figure out who I am and then go out and get really good at it. It's hard to hide here, not without the neighbors talking. I'd gladly take a shot at Brooklyn, and give me Orange County for just a year or two, but in the end my heart would be here...staring across the ocean-like expanse of a Great Lake each Ann Arbor on an Autumn Saturday...praying for a gentle winter...pining for a March getaway to sun...My heart would be here were there is still the occasional factory whistle or freighter horn, and where finding yourself amoungst all this corn is a victory all in itself. In the past I had only asked myself where I wanted to live, but it's only been just recently that I've started asking myself how.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Best Bruise Ever...

Wedding subway Five years ago today, June slipped on the steps leading down to the subway platform outside of the Park Central Hotel across from Carnegie Hall. She was wearing her wedding dress and was more worried about marks on it than her actual bruised posterior. She roughed through a few hours of wedding, photos, and wandering around Greenwich Village before giving in to the pain in her ass...not the one that she married, but the legitimate hematoma on her bum cheek. The bruise eventually went away, but not the other pain in her ass. I'm stayin'. Happy Anniversary June. Love, The guy who watched you fall down the 57th street subway steps.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Friend Making Machine

First night of swimming lessons Lately Zed's been a friend making maniac...a machine of kindly affection and welcoming eyes. She's a one girl mutual admiration society, and it's impressive...if not disarming. This kid makes friends so fast it makes you worry. New friends... 3.5 among 4.5's She's got more friends than I do. There are gymnastics friends, and swimming friends, and park friends, and school friends, and friends of friend's friends...friends we can't tell's crazy. And she hasn't even started school yet! Sure, she goes to a school three times a week for The Early Learning know two and a half hours of "let's get ready for school" type stuff, but not school, not real honest to goodness school. Wheree'd all of my friends go? Zoey's social life kicks mine in the #%s. Maybe I need more birthday parties and play dates. That's probably it. Wo wants a play date?

Random Thoughts...Not So Random Inspiration

Today I thought of our friends Dustin and Kelly, and thought of their recent struggles trying to balance the weight of the news that their son will be unlike many other sons, and it struck me in an instant, and brought me to tears how lucky they will be to have a child so unlike the others, and how vastly different will be the love that they feel for that little boy than has been the love that I have felt for my own daughters. I cried because now, after weeks of thinking how difficult it must be for them I can only think now how blessed they are to have such a different love growing between them.   That's a lucky little boy brewing in Kelly's bump...a ridiculously blessed boy. How wildly loved he'll be, and how different and desperate that love will be because he's so unlike the rest is almost unfathomable to me.  He's healthy. He can still scrap his way into Harvard or The Briar, but he'll be blessed with a different kind of experience than the rest, not better or worse, just different, a parallel kind of experience propped up by an unparalleled kind of love.  I'm no longer burdened by any weight that things must be hard for Dustin and Kelly. Now I'm jealous of the love they get to drown in that no one else save them will know. Talk about a random thought for the day. Wow.

That's It. That's All.

I'm convinced that all of the psycho-jabber aside there are more fundamental beginnings to our perspectives and behaviours than we most often attribute. Aside from all of the learning that we do across the span of our lives there are very important foundations that we ignore.  Science can prove a thousand things, and theory can explain a thousand more, but can we really account for the complexity of experience that make us who we are? Can we really get a firm grip on all of that?  Yesterday I heard a psychologist tell a kid that: - 95% of high school romances don't work - we are doomed to parent as we have been parented - that our behaviours don't fall from from the family tree All of which, I am a living, breathing example of the opposite.  I cringed.  How could he generalize, and theorize his way into this child's fragile psyche in such a manner that was so caked in thick bullshit? The thin veneer of comprehension wasn't lost of the girl who quickly dismissed him as a turd. She played his games but only when he left the room did she turn her eyes my way and sigh in disbelief. "Who the #%?! was this guy," she groaned, equal parts exhausted and incredulous. How on earth could he even venture to comprehend her and her struggles. A fifteen year old rape victim, pregnant and homeless, attempting desperately to stay clean despite years of the opposite. How could he comprehend any of it? I mean really comprehend it, not just hitch a ride on theory and the slippery rails of assumption and past experiences that were equally as weakened by cracks as this time. He said to her, "I've been doing this for 34 years and I've seen a thing or two. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about." so you've been raped, I thought. So you've had a strange man's penis in your vagina? A harsh question to pose, sure, but an appropriate query. So you've been pregnant? Nothing to say of homeless and addicted.  You are indeed a fifteen year old female, sir? Of course he's not.   We have no comprehensible way, of knowing what the recipe for another soul might be. So we have one option, support them. And in that brave choice, try to understand, try not to judge, do our best to connect and build something valuable, remember the point of it something they might find hope in. I'm convinced that the is more to the equation that is Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, to Ruby Payne's Bridges to Understanding Poverty, to a vast array of psychological theory and practice, than what most of us assert. W.H. Auden said it best. We must love one another or perish. We must love one another or perish. Every day I am reminded that I don't know a damn thing, but strangely enough I understand a lot...not because of what I've learned but because of who I am. I hold that truth closely. Someday when I tell my girls what it's like to live, to step away from their parents grasp, and start making a life of their own I want to remind them it's always been their own, and that there is no destination that they'll ever find themselves in. They are only, and only have been been, becoming. That's it. That's all. We don't know anything for sure except that we're all human beings...not mirror images of our parents, not doomed to make the same mistakes, nor destined to fall in line with some random set of statistics...just human, and the complexity of that is incomprehensible.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Once, a long time ago, or so it seems, I interviewed this guy backstage at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. It was a bit surreal, and I have to admit that I was a bit off what with all the awesomeness surrounding me. He asked me to stick around and have a few beers with the band, offer a little dose of Canada after so many weeks of strict Americana, and I declined. I watched the show from the balcony, wrote the story, and got on with my life. Every once in awhile I think about that night, and I smile. Man, I've gotten to do some ridiculous things. Tonight I was doing my humble best to urge Maggie into quiet, when it struck me...none of that adds up to this. Walking the length of Big Sur...hugging two hundred strangers after Magglio Ordonez's Game 4 ALCS home run in 2006...none of it. Maggie likes to rest on my extended forearm, my hand cupping the back of her tiny head, just like her sister did. She quiets when I walk with her. She stares and listens to her Dad talk, and talk, and talk. Her stares right through me. She turns her head to meet my voice, and she smiles when she's happy with the arrangement. You can keep The Troubadour, and Jason Collett, and all of it. That was a pretty good memory though...and Jason Collett is pretty damn good...but Maggie's better.

Blow Your Candles Out...Make a Wish...

Tegan and Sara are playing the Air Canada Centre in Toronto with The Killers on December 15th, typically inglorious birthday, but all that changed last year at The Alibi in London. From now on my birthday is gonna be a stone cold killer. So who's coming to Toronto? The girls are also playing Ypsilanti on December 20th and I'm going to that one too. Come hell or nasty weather, I'm going to both... "All I want to get is a little bit closer..."

What I Wish...

Dad Daughter Shadows

Today I thought about what I hope for my girls...what I wish for them when times come where they might be waiting for wishes to come true. I thought this...

I want you to understand that if you're waiting for God or some other savior to come save you, or to change the world, you're wasting valuable time and hope.  The power to do such things is within you.  It's your responsibility.  You're the only God that you need.  I mean, you're supposedly created in some Godly image, right?  That's what they say.  All of that change is yours to make.  Don't wait for grace, go out and find it and wear it on your sleeve.  Find your strength and purpose and indulge them.  Someday there won't be a reason to fight for anything but who you are and what you believe, and you won't wait for anyone to help you do it.  That's what I wish for you.  I hope that you find what you need in my shadow, and that the memory of everything we've ever done, or said, or have seen fills you with the confidence and direction to embrace anything.  I want you to spin from this childhood, and these days with enough respect and certainty that you can answer your own prayers...a whirlwind of Daddy's little girl.  That's what I want.  

I just want them to be happy, but I want them to take responsibility for their own happiness, and I want them not to mystify their own good fortune.  I want to let go of their hand and know that won't ever need to hold another one.  They might want to, but they'll never need to.  That's what I want.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pull Your Shorts Up Kid...

Wearing Daddy's shorts in the .shower

Zed likes to shower with Daddy...of course, Daddy likes to wear shorts when we do.  It's just not worth all the giggling and question asking. We spit water...Zo likes to soap Daddy up...Daddy has to work hard to keep Zoey away from his nipples (she's got this weird obsession)...I hold her up while we soak up the hottest of water...then Daddy gets out first to towel off, and when I chuck my shorts back in the tub to hang up after we're all done, Zoey invariably puts them on and finishes her shower in Daddy's surf trunks.  It might be the cutest thing since forever.  I'd bet you ten thousand dollars that you couldn't find a happier kid in that moment.  Sweet...hilarious...Zo.

Domo Arigato Mr. Gonzalez

Nature art

Zoey regularly refers to Japanese as "Spanish" and although June finds it only marginally funny, I laugh my 100% caucasian a$s off every time she says it.  Today, while painting she started drawing scribbly little letter-like characters all over the paper.  She said that she was writing "Baachan letters," which was funny enough on it's own, but added to the fact that she clarified by saying, "you know, Spanish."  Awesome!  Spanish kanji...pretty impressive.

There are times that it's so glaringly obvious that I did not grow up in a household with any culture, let alone any kind of immigrant influence.  June reminds me every day that she did.  Now Zoey gets all that same, confusing, mixed culture message stuff, and it's hilarious and cute, and cool all at the same time.  Spanish kanji...classic.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life is Hard...Get a Helmet

Other things a helmet is good for

Even our three year old daughter knows that it's wise to sometimes strap on a helmet, especially when you're experimenting with just how much your head can take. But what if you're seventeen and sleeping with your best friend's father, or what if you watched your father shoot your Mom?  What if almost every part of your life has been worthy of wearing that helmet?  Sometimes it's awfully nice knowing that the only time my daughter needs one these days is when she's riding her scooter...or testing out the hardness of rocks.

On Friday afternoon a girl told me that she hoped my daughter knew how lucky she was to have a Dad who cared so much, and was so involved, and had such a different way of seeing things.  I said that I hope someday she does too.  Then the tears came.  When I asked her why she was crying she just shrugged, but I knew.  Imagine not having a father that loves you.

Life is hard...sometimes way harder than it needs to be...and sometimes there isn't a helmet in the world that can keep your head from harm.


I can't keep this song from creeping into every second of every day lately.  Apologies for the lack of posting, and the scarcity of whatever love I can muster for this little piece of us, it's just that it's been a hectic week, and I've chosen to drown in these three girls rather than sit at a keyboard and type.  I know that kind of loving love love type stuff earns forgiveness. I know it does.

There's lots to ramble on about, and lots of pics...lots of how Zoey just recently started referring to her two Domo stuffed toys, Rarrr and Wahine, as Rarrr and Zuchini...or how every time she sees me sans clothes she laughs...which has done wonders for my ego...

There's lots to get around to telling...but first I'm going to fall asleep with these girls close by, and dream great big, giant awesome dreams of amazingness with a soundtrack by Dave Matthews.

Friday, September 21, 2012

No Whirlwinds...

Sleeping sisters

In the middle of a very exhausting morning yesterday, dealing with the fall out of another student death,  a woman that I work with asked me if I ever feel like I'm caught in a whirlwind.  I didn't hesitate, and said, "no."  Almost as soon as I said I was surprised at how quickly and confidently I said it.  Then, in a somewhat impromptu moment I began to explain myself...

"Whatever I have to be here pales in comparison to what I feel like I have to be at home,, I don't feel like I'm ever in a whirlwind here."

The answer seemed to satisfy her quite nicely, and I changed the subject back to our preparedness for the fallout of yet another tragedy.  It wasn't until after that I thought about what I'd said.  Some people ask me how I do this job and I always struggle to say something that they'll believe, because my own personal sentiments often fail, or aren't complex enough, perhaps.  Today what I said without thinking satisfied everyone's curiosity times ten, even my own.  There are girls sleeping at home who see their father a certain way, and that's the same way I want anyone to see me.  There's no sense in complicating things.  I want to be what they need me to be.  No whirlwinds, just perspective.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homesick For You...

It's a weird phenomenon to spend all day missing people.  I never missed people before.  When I was twenty-two years old I never missed a single I step from my home for hours at a time and I start to miss the girls.  Sometimes I think that this new fatherhood thing isn't something that you just's something that you are just flat out constantly becoming.

The Avett Brothers new record, "The Carpenter" is a beaut, and when I first heard "A Father's First Spring," I felt a strange familiarity, and then immediately on the heels of that I thought of my friend Dustin.  This Spring will be his first one as a father.  I hope you're itching with the kind of anticipation that writes songs.  There aren't many other things that do the experience justice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Dark and Damp Perspective...

There were wet, overcast skies all day yesterday, and a message from good friends that there was a problem with their last ultrasound, and then finally a call about another student death, and I was just about done for the week, but it had just started.  I feel my life through life, which some might say is a tough row to hoe, but it's just how I manage things.  It's tough for me when it's tough for others.

Today began with a staff huddle on how to manage, then another staff meeting at another school on how to manage, and then a hospital visit, a debriefing with a wonderful teacher who was quite shaken, and student after student with wet eyes and confused looks to defeated faces.  a woman asked me if I ever felt like I was in a whirlwind.  I answered no.  Not so strangely,  my thoughts, almost all day, were with our friends, who have just recently learned of a problem with their child's inter-uterun development, but who also have found some peace with the news that he has otherwise perfectly healthy everything else....still, enough to shake you.  One little thing, a hand, and it's enough to leave you clinging to each other, preying when you never pray.  That's all I thought about all day, and it helped me find perspective on the rest.  I was exhausted by day's end, feeling your way through all that darkness does that.  Yet, I felt nothing akin to the students family...or to the fog of our friend's worries...nothing.

I feel my way through life, and so it's tough for me when it's tough for others, and yet I tucked my daughters in tonight knowing that I might be the luckiest man alive.  I dare say that one of the problems with the world today is that we've just forgotten that we belong to one another.  I'm reminded every day.

Big Sister is Doing Just Fine...

Feeding and burping

I don't know how three year olds are supposed to respond to new siblings, and if they're  not supposed to manage it with grace and sweetness, then Zoey spoiled us to a lifetime of ignorance.

She looks for her sister when she wakes up.  She kisses and hugs her.  She understands that Mommy is busy, and she doesn't make a fuss.  She tells people that she has a new sister.

People ask how Maggie is doing and I say, "fine," and when they ask how Zoey is I always sputter, "finer."  It's not a word, I know, but it's fun to say out loud, and besides, legit word or not, she is.

She has her own baby, a doll, and she feeds her, and burps her, and mostly enjoys her company since she never cries.  Of course, she's not all tat careful with her baby "Rose,"and sometimes leaves her outside, or drops her.  She got a habit of leaving her under the pillows on the couch so that Rose gets' regularly sat on.  Thankfully she treats her sister way better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rise, Shine...Linger

She's lying right beside me, all snuggled into her Dad's, well, armpit. There are undeniably more glamorous places to find warmth, safety and security.  I'm typing with one hand, a trick I don't recommend to the impatient.  My other arm is wrapped around this oh-so early rising three year old who stumbled, quite literally, out of her room into the 6AM darkness searching meekly for Daddy, her hair matted in front of her half-shut eyes.  Now I don't want to get out of bed.

I can hear the traffic begin to thicken outside our open bedroom window, and somewhere there's a freighter passing, it's long, low horn booming across the lake.  The bus just stopped to pick up tired souls on their way to tired jobs.  I heard it sigh as it opened it's doors and swallowed them whole. My alarm went off a long time ago, but now I have this beautiful little accessory to my morning and lingering is easy.

Every time I think I need this thing or that one, or each time I struggle to carve some sort of boring peace out of this occasionally uneventful rock of a life, I think about little girls snuggling at 6AM and I don't feel so desperate for, well, anything.

I can feel her soft, slow breathing under my arm and I think I'll just be late today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Close Counts in Lots of Things...

I've been reading her Peter Nimble each night, and asking her to close her eyes and imagine herself to sleep. She does.  Every once in awhile she asks me to explain something, but doesn't open her eyes.  Tonight she wanted to know what a "compliment" was, and then, "why are some adventures dangerous?"  I answer her, and when she's satisfied, I return to reading.  She's never lasted more than two chapters, and she's often asleep before I can finish even one. I can tell you that it's infinitely better than the Berenstein Bears.

Each and every night I think about how I won't get to do this for very long, just a few short years, and then I'll need to find other ways to be close to her...because in the end that's all this really is, just another chance to be close to her.

Let Sleeping Babies Lay

Sep.14.2012 - love a sleeping child! Especially in a cute hat with ears

Don't ever underestimate the value of sleeping children...I mean ever.  When Maggie sleeps we have somewhat normal lives...we shop, we manage to get to chores, we entertain bold and ambitious ideas...but when she doesn't, we calcify.  It's hard to remember what it was like with Zo, but I suspect it was something similar.  Dinner out with a baby, just not worth it.  Shopping with a baby, near impossible to mange with any kind of grace.  Sorting event, not worth the money. Long drive, manageable, but potentially unnerving. Have we embraced all of the above? Yes, all but one, and will we continue to do so? Probably, just 'cause we're fools, but also because we refuse to rot, and it's important that these kids mold to ur lifestyles and not the opposite. Even still, a sleeping baby is two feet and three inches short of heaven.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Revelations and Goodnight Kisses

Today was just one head spinning moment of profundity stacked on top of one other head spinning moment of profundity that all ended with the sweetest, nicest girl blowing my mind.  Until you've somehow managed it you have no idea what kind of space between two people can be cultivated between a goddamned teenager ('cause isn't that what we all were?) and your middle aged self. A pretty genuine one, I can tell you that. She made me think, sometimes out loud, and certainly all the way home and into the evening...still at bedtime even, and as I read to Zo, and watched her drift off to someplace awesome, all I could think of was how badly I wanted her to stay that peaceful, naive, three year old way forever.  She was beautiful, and for some reason it seemed so damned transitory tonight, so different from every other night that I was soon choking back warm tears. She's gonna grow up, and it's going to be hard to let go. If she ends up half as cool as the girl that ended my much too profound day then I'll be a lucky guy.

Today was why I so desperately wanted a daughter, or daughters...I guess a little part of me wanted to feel that exposed, and be that vulnerable, and more than a little piece of me wanted to fall in love every night at bedtime.

I wish that I had it in me to explain just how soul bending my days are...but there are no words. There might never be the words, but there'll always be days like this, and bedtimes like that. Or wait, maybe that's the point of all this midnight typing. I guess there won't always be either, and that might just be the saddest thing I've ever written.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Warmth of the Sun


I don't do well away from the girls.  I don't.  I think about them.  I miss them.  I wish that I was doing anything with them other than what I happen to be doing at the time.  It's sweet, I'm sure, albeit frustratingly so, and a bit of a wrinkle in my not-so-complex social life.  It pushes me towards a kind of bottomless confusion as to how anyone just walks away from this.  I'm also wise enough to know that circumstances damn us all, but in the most general sense, how does someone do that?  I can't manage a few hours away before the desperation creeps in, and I want to see with them.  It's not just Zoey and Maggie.  No, it's their Mom too.  It's June.  I don't much want to stumble into experiences without her.  The emotions are a little duller, the colors less vibrant, the excitement more muted.  I'm excited to come home at night, and frustrated to leave...eager to just calmly and quietly just be (pause for dramatic effect) a family.


Each fraction of time is different for each struggling soul that tries to harness it, but what is it that's so difficult about this math...

You are some kind of unfathomable miracle all by yourself, and then you go out and meet someone who spins you in enough circles that you forget who you were and are soon happy enough to be someone new.  And then there's the trick, that's it, right there in that nervous the stomach butterflies of that first meeting, if you did it right, and if you picked the right one, and the right one picked you, then you needn't talk yourself into a damn thing.  Perfect just is.  It's hard to weave on your own.  I don't know where you find the cloth for that kind of magic.  Then you somehow find the space between you to share all of that with someone else, and so you when you're ready, you have a child, and when that child comes you simply abandon yourself once again, shed your skin one more time, and become someone else...someone better.  Then you wrap it all up with a pretty ribbon and tie it up with a bow made of selflessness and perspective...done.  Then you cross yours fingers, 'cause we all need a little luck now and again.

That's it.

Of course there are a few know, care more about others than you do yourself...really try hard to figure out who you are and then just go and get really good at it...believe in something...etc...etc...There's lots of specifics, but in a general sense, I don't know how you walk away.  I don't know how I spend any time away from these girls and the endless summer it seems to be when they're around.  At some point in your circumstances you had a choice, and mine was to be something worth loving, even if it meant dismantling whoever I was at the time.  If sunshine and giggles aren't worth that, well...I dunno.  Sometimes I just accept the fact that I don't know much, but I know this much.  I don't want to miss a thing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Zoey Has a Japanese Grandmother...

Helping Baachan in the kitchen

Zoey has a Japanese Grandmother.  We call her Baachan even though her real name is Mihoko.  In Japan you call your Grandmother Baachan.  She learned English alongside of her own the very same time,while watching Sesame Street. She often blends her unique immigrant perspectives with whatever solid Canadian ones that she's adopted, without so much as a blink, and all I can think of is, "that must be good for Zoey," and it is. It always is.

Zoey loves her Baachan, just like her sister will love her Baachan, just like we love Baachan.

Why all the Baachan love?  Well, we didn't feel much like just posting the photo without so much as a word.

Zoey has a Japanese grandmother that we call Baachan, and she likes her an awful lot. That's worth typing about, but a picture's worth a thousand words. even with the Japanese exchange rate.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Working on the Tolerance...

Thanks Jess!

I don't know what it is about this time around, but a crying baby kills me.  Perhaps I'm a little more on edge after a trying summer, not as chilled out as I need to be to handle the cries, but it brings some comfort that Zoey hates it too.  She covers her ears, and leaves the room, and I feel like less of a turd for loathing the wailing.

June...takes it in stride.

This Mom stuff always amazes me.  It's a combo of personality, demeanor, genetic pre-dispositions, gender specific inclinations, and probably a dozen other things.  Crying affects June, don't mistake me for being naive, but she takes it all in stride.  I've never covered my ears, like Zo, but I've certainly left the room.

In general, we've got a stellar baby.  In specific moments, I want to hide under the bed.  Even Zed can muster more tolerance than me.  Maybe it's a girl thing?  Or maybe she takes her cues from June?  Either way, on occasion I'm being out performed by a three year old.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Giant Praying Mantis' and Sleeping Babies...

Off to the butterflies first

I wish I lived next door to the Detroit Zoo, or any Zoo for that matter.  I suppose I'd pick a city that was  a little more spruced up, and warmer, but since Detroit is the major metropolitan area in our backyard, I guess that it'll do just fine.

It was a stellar way to wrap up a trying summer...a zoo trip with my three favorite girls, and it fell together like a champ. We were off early, we had no issues at the border, or with the drive, the weather was great, and Maggie slept like it was her job.  No need to cross fingers and pray to whatever God that would listen.  The day fell together without so much as a hangnail.

Best part of the day?  There was a praying mantis on the carousel...seriously.

Can you say happy?!

How do you like your praying mantis'?  I like mine super huge and made out of wood, spinning around in circles with really fufu music playing.

Another Round Down...

And another round is down in the Facebook Elimination Death Match Tournament...and it's still the dumbest thing I've ever done.

June Partridge vs. Trevor Johnson

No chance Trev…well, slight chance, but nope.  She’s my wife.  I can scratch places in front of her that don’t gross her out.

Winner – June Partridge

Dave Marr vs. Pam Crete

Pam has some serious game, but Dave has more.  You should see where the guy gets his hair cut.  His barber is cooler than Pam and Pam is pretty cool.

Winner – Dave

Ian Partridge vs. Danielle Japp-Teeter

Ian is a pilot.  Danielle makes out with my friend John.  Ian wins.

Winner – Ian Partridge

Betzy Simon-Feldman vs. Shannon Wilkins

Betzy’s just our favorite so we don’t need reasons to advance her.

Winner – Betz

Kevin Bergquist vs. Jennifer Sutherland

I panicked when I saw this match-up, but then I used my super secret elimination formula and Jenn lost.  The formula is basically who will I see first after the match.

Winner – Kevin

Caitlin Bestard vs. Meredith Byers

Two of my most favorite girls on the planet, but only one can advance…since Caitlin went to school in Ohio she loses.

Winner – Meredith

Bill Garnet vs. Kaylen Denning

Kaylen Denning is a runaway train.  She’s pregnant and in the middle of building a new house while living in a rat infested piece of crap old one.  She’s incapable of bullshit.  Good luck beating out a pregnant, angry woman. Bill will need a helmet.

Winner – Kaylen Denning

Lindsay Sutherland vs. Mary Ann Sterling

Good thing she’s a doctor cause Lindz is gonna need help piecing herself back together.  No contest.  M.A. is the shizzle.

Winner – Mary Ann

Jamie Begley vs. Brian Lee

Jamie may have drawn the easiest path in this tournament, and thus far he’s taking advantage of it.  Hollywood is no match for a man who drinks “Ex,” spends every waking moment at the cottage, and BBQs like a boss.  Brian Lee just got thrown back overboard.

Winner – Jamie

Sue Vershum vs. Anetter Nossiter

Sue should dismantle Anette, but she doesn’t.  If Netta loses she needs therapy.  Sue’s a tough cookie and knows how much I love her. 

Winner – Anette

Aimee Saling-Bergquist vs. Denise Hart

Denise’s husband is a cop, so the wise choice is Denise, but the nostalgic, sentimental one is Aimee.  I’ll take the tickets.  Aimee’s cool.

Winner - Aimee

Paul and Jody Dickinson vs. Anne Crowe McNaughton

Anne is like a ninja, a ninja that likes to cook with curry and read books, and make excuses for husband.  Paul and Jody are like the two people who’d help you bury a dead body, except Paul would complain the whole time, and Jody’d end up hitting him with the shovel and then we’d have to bury two bodies.  Who needs all that hassle?

Winner – Anne

Pete Johnston vs. Emily Durnin

Emily is like a puppy gif floating around the internet.  Just kinda awesome.

Winner – Emily

Steve Davidson vs. Robin Donahue

Steve should run rough shod over everyone in his path but Robin takes no sh!t from anyone so…

Winner – Robin

Scotty Campbell vs. Holly Imrie

I love Holly.  I love Scotty.  I love The New York Knicks too but they lose all the time.

Winner – Scotty

Beth Lyons vs. Serree Gougeon-Wainman

Nice match up Beth.  You’re f#c&ed.

Winner – Serree

Heather Cooper vs. Scott Cooper

Scott writes mamby pamby, catchy pop songs…Heather eats pop songs for breakfast and shits out awesome kids.

Winner – Heather

Stu McNaughton vs. Kelly Wellman

There’s a reason we call him Stunami.

Winner – Stu

D-Funk vs. Virginia

Wayne Gretzky versus, well, anyone, circa 1985.

Winner – D-Funk

Bruce Madej vs. Tara Preston

HAHAHAHA…I’d pay ten thousand dollars to see this.  I bet Tara fights dirty, and Bruce complains to the ref a lot.

Winner – Bruce

Michelle O’Keefe vs. Karli Petit

Take the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays and have them play this year’s Little League World Series Champ and that’s this.

Winner – Michelle

Kristin Verhaeghe vs. John Teeter

Gloves off, stick down she challenged the Chiefs…Johnny’s got loads of game, and Kristin just can’t check him.

Winner –John

Ally Cooper vs. Arvin Kim

Arvin is some tough competition but Ally has a Tumblr site.  Get in the 21st Century Arv.

Winner – Ally

John Paul vs. Luke Doering

Michigan’s Head Lacrosse Coach versus the guy that introduced me to the Puslinch Burger.

Winner – Luke

Emily Wallace vs. Dennis and Mary Cooper

Dennis is like a second father to me, if you’re father used to steal your bike and get drunk with his friends at your house when he was supposed to be watching you.

Winner – Dennis and Mary

Mel Cowger vs. Chantelle Finley

Mel is a tornado of awesomeness and Chantelle is a flood of awesomeness. I can swim.

Winner – Mel

Mike White vs. Merle Dyce

Mike beats Merle because I said so, and also because I think in a real life death match he’d be wearing Merle’s face for a hat. 

Winner –Mike

Lori Hooper vs. Nadine Harrison

‘Dine is just about as formidable an opponent as you can imagine, and I can imagine a lot of things.

Winner – Nadine

Mel Wayland vs. Reece DeWagner

Do you go to hell if you eliminate your nephew but keep your tattoo artist?

Winner – Mel

Avery DeWagner vs. Andrew Cooper

You can’t beat the best person I know Avery.  You just can’t, no matter how much I love you.

Winner – Andrew

Kevin Vandendool vs. Juneau Robbins

In real life, Kevin could so totally kick a chiropractor’s ass.

Winner – Kevin

Jimmy Young vs. Erin Roxworthy

Erin is a Cubs fan and she’s lovely.  I gave Jimmy a nickname the first day I met him.

Winner - Jimmy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shine a Light...

His little brother tried to kill himself...just one week before school.  He tried and very nearly managed it. His father and step-mother found him.  He had no vital signs when his father pulled him to the floor and began chest compressions through hot tears while his mother called for help, her hands shaking.  Her heart broken into a billion pieces.  His brother received the phone call at a friends.  "Your brother hung himself," came the words, but understanding...comprehension came much later.  He would be air-lifted to a distant hospital, and it would be days of cooling the body and feeding tubes and oxygen before they even understood the extent of the brain damage.  He was 15 and his girlfriend had just broken up with him.

I spent that first day of school with his brother, and no matter how many times it happens, or how many times that I find myself requested, or placed with a brother or sister, it's well beyond difficult.  Somehow we always manage laughs, and of course there are lumps in throats and tears, but mostly there are piles of perspective...great, giant, heaping piles, and somehow I find the words, although I never know from where.

There was good news.  The boy was going to make a full recovery, though no one knows quite how.  He had been without oxygen for God knows how long.  He had died.  He has no memory of the event, the reasons, or anything leading up to the most definitive moment of his young life.  His brother, however, has many.  His brother may never recover.  He is the girl, at his brother, at the his school, and his everyone, except it seems, me.  That's no small thing.  It's one of the more valuable things I know I have.   He asked me what to he could stop feeling the things that he was feeling, and all I could think of was how he could become special...of him being the best person he could somehow manage, and in doing things the right way so that someday he could say, "look what you gave me Universe and look what I did with it."  It's all I could think of, and somehow it worked.

We talked about it all afternoon.  What did I mean?  How do you do something like that?  Why?  And it struck me that it's the only thing that we have.  How could it be such a secret?  I told him that it was the only thing that got me through when things had collapsed in on me in my life.  When I made note of the time lost and the thickness of the fog, and the sound of life on the other side of it...when I started being responsible for myself and got busy making a life that I could be proud of, things got better.  Now it's all I can think about.  How do I do this right?  What's the hard thing to do? Okay, then that's what I want to do.  What's the right way to do it?  How do I manage this in a way that will make me bigger and better?  How do I tune out all of the messages, and everyone's agendas?  We talked about all of that, and he bought it.  It wasn't a line, so it was an easy catch and release, but I don't know where it came from.

He won't forget what has just happened, and you'd be foolish to think that a part of him is not lost now, forever...but he can do something about himself.  He can look up to the stars and whisper, "not me, you won't make me run and hide."  He can start living in a way that can be an example for anyone who ever thought that maybe life is an easy thing to give up.  It's not.  It's perspective that is lacking in those awful moments, and what if he could give some?

After hours upon hours we shook hands, he said thanks, then he turned to walk away before stopping, turning back, and extending a long hug.  "Thanks," he said, "I'm glad you were here," and I nearly crumbled.  Now it was me who wouldn't recover.  Nothing about me is the same as it was before yesterday.  Yesterday a young man sat in the darkest of rooms and could not find his way out.  All I did was shine a light toward the switch on the wall in that black and empty room, that's all.  He reached out and flipped it.  Maybe, I thought,  no one had ever shown his brother where the switch was.  It's not an easy thing to give up on this life, even harder so when someone is there to show you just what it is to live.  It's impossible once someone shines a light.

The Happiest Girl Alive...


Zoey started Pre-School today.  That's right, September 5th, 2012 will live on in infamy as the day in which Zoey Sakura DeWagner took the education world by storm.  She waved Mom off, and walked right in to play...she comforted her crying peers...and she played so fervently, and with such reckless abandon that she couldn't remember a single other kid's name at the end of the day.  Her teacher, Ms. Katie, claimed that she's a bit of an imitator, but oh-so helpful, and a really good listener.

So, now if that security guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York was correct in his assumption about Zoey's future, we'd better start saving for Harvard.  He could have said Michigan and the drive would have been a much shorter one for our many, many visits, but Boston's cool.  I'm down for Red Sox and Pats games, and the Head of the Charles Regatta each year.  I'm cool with occasional Fall weekends spent hanging out on Newberry Street, and in Boston Common.

We've been keeping this blog thing going for just short of four years, and some of you have been reading for just as long.  Pre-School...that happened fast, didn't it?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Skype Date

Skype date with Mel and Elle.

There aren't many things better about Sunday afternoons than random Skype dates with the Cowgerellis.  The girls barely spoke, other then a little nonsense here and there...about bugs, about their last frustrating toy sharing experience, about Zo starting school...well, Early Learning, kind of a school Spring Training...Mostly the Moms yapped about this and that.  It was a quick visit, but a nice always.  A little Cowgerelli is better than no Cowgerelli.  We totally love them, like your favorite baseball glove, or pizza...they're just so easy to like.

Wide Awake and Dreaming...

I heard the door creak and peek open, and I knew that Maggie's big sister wasn't sleeping.  An inch or perhaps two was as far as the door opened, and then I thought that I heard stumbling feet, and a jump into bed.  Zoey was definitely not sleeping.  By the time I gently pushed the door open and stepped inside, she had pulled the covers back up over her shoulders and looked very much the part of a sleeping child...except for the purple balloon drifting high above her bed near the ceiling.  It's silver ribbon sneaking down from the ceiling, beneath the covers, tethering the latex satellite to the bed, and surely her dreams as well.  When I roused her from her ruse, she said that she just needed to get her balloon, and open the door to see us better.  I swooned.  Of course that's why.

The sheer complexity of the emotions that parenting offers you is near paralyzing.  Everything feels stronger...every feeling floods you, unsolicited.  It's staggering.  Today a seventeen year old lacrosse player undid me.  I'm that sensitive...that easily toppled these days.  Emotionally, I've never felt on more shaky ground.  These girls, all three of them, can dismantle me.

There are nights that visiting Zoey's room an hour after bedtime would leave me frustrated.  Then tonight, I'm just happy to spend another twenty or thirty minutes with her.  She asked me about June's wedding dress, and what games I played when I was a boy, and what Gramma's parent's names were.  She's three and half years old.  It's incredible.  I was a reflection of sturdy emotion, until she asked me what tears were for, and why they happened when we were happy?  Undone.  I swelled with love and in the darkness of that room, balloon drifting above my head, I wondered what I ever did in any life to deserve this one.

Day 2 of Stupid Game

Here it is Day 2 of this nonsense and it’s still a really stupid game, but I’m still okay with stupid. 

Hopefully you realize by now that you’re participating in my 2012 Facebook Elimination Death Match Tournament in which one by one in head to head competition my Facebook friends are being deleted.  If you don’t realize that, or if you haven’t checked your Facebook in awhile, well then you might be surprised.  Match ups were made by a random computer generator, and winners move on while losers are deleted (to be added again later, so there really aren’t any losers).  You don’t have to do anything.  The match-ups are decided by everything from the history of our friendship to shared experiences to frequency of contact etc…No one is safe…

The entire bracket can be found at:

Here are the Official First Round results from Day 2…

June Partridge vs. Kate Schofield-Ferichs

June really should have been excluded from the bracket ‘cause she’s stomping necks everywhere.  Kate never had a chance.  Against a lot of other opponents Kate advances easily, but not this one.  It’s like Kentucky playing in your high school gym…not fair.

Winner – June Partridge

Trevor Johnson vs. Stacie Campbell

Trevor might be one of the best guys I’ve ever worked with or for, but Stacie has a lot of  history on her side.  At first glance it was a tough match-up, a little back and forth, but then Stacie went on a huge run, shutting Trev down in giant stretches…until she didn’t.  With a flurry of late threes, and a stifling D, Trevor knocks Stacie from her pedestal.

Winner – Trevor

Dave Marr vs. Matt McCarthy

Despite his uber-kindness, and his random (and typically great) musical referrals, it’d be tough for Dave to unseat Matt.  I once saw Matt elude concert security guards for over an hour just to steal an inflatable ball.  He even changed his clothes in the effort.  Matty is, perhaps the funniest man I know…versus Dave, just a flat out good guy. Toss up, but in the end Dave out sprints Matt in the race for the victory.  It’s a pointless, stupid victory, but still a victory no less.

Winner – Dave Marr

Al Sutherland vs. Pam Crete

I once sat in a girls washroom with Pam coaxing a young girl spinning out of control back into the real world.  The girl wasn’t beyond hurting herself and had brought a sharpened pencil into the stall with her, so Pam had my back while I begged, manipulated, and reasoned the girl out.  Al’s my cousin, and a very cool guy, but that’s hard to beat. 

Winner – Pam Crete

Erica Ward-Vilon vs. Ian Partridge

Ouch Erica, you just ran into a half-Japanese bush pilot buzz saw.  Up ending Ian will take a Rose Bowl-like  performance…not a  Michigan Rose Bowl-like performance either, but more like a Vince Young and Texas Rose Bowl-like performance.  Erica never had a chance.

Winner – Ian

Ben Wilding – Danielle Japp-Teeter

I see these two trading punches until someone cries and I think that someone might be Ben.  I’ve known D-Jap since high school.  She married one of my best friends, and a guy normally hates losing his best friends but not this time.  He was in good hands.  Benny, you’re an RCMP officer and everything, but I think you just got smacked down all over by a girl who runs a day care.

Winner – Danielle Japp-Teeter

Betz Simon-Feldman vs. Tracey Taylor

Jewish Mom wins…period.  Plus we love her.

Winner – Betz

Kim Van Daele vs. Shannon Wilkins

This is very likely the MAC game that no one is watching but that ends up being just as good as any game on Saturday.  Kim…cool, kind, funny.  Shannon…known him forever, bt of a freak…in a good way.  He drinks a lot and own guns.  It’s a close one, but only on paper.  Down on the field everyone knows what’s up.

Winner – Shannon.

Kevin Bergquist vs. Kim Bewsky

This game got ugly quick.  Not only does Kevin frightfully dismantle Kim, but he does so without shame or mercy.  You have to turn the channel on this one, and it’s just not fair ‘cause Kim is really an amazing woman, but not many people bring a big enough cup for this keg.  Chug-a-lug…the kid from Peoria wins.

Winner – Kevin Bergquist

Jenn Sutherland vs. Stacey Maskell Cooper

Stacey enters the arena with no idea about who she’s playing…no scouting report, no film, nothing, and it shows.  Sutherland is a bullet train of awesome, picking up speed, and dropping passengers off on the fly.  I don’t even know what that means, but she’s good, really good.  Stacey’s got game too though, and there’s a lot of bend but no break in the little Penetangmachine that could.  In the end it’s one of those games no one should lose, but someone just did…

Winner – Jenn Sutherland

Caitlin Bestard vs. Tammy Dubuque

Caitlin calls me “DeWagner” or “Bri” and coming from her it’s just deliriously endearing.  Tammy however might be the kindest soul on planet earth.  Tough one, but Caitlin has the chops to make a deep run in this Tourney if she gets the right match ups.

Winner – Caitlin

Meredith Byers vs. Sabi Ahluwalia

Sabi was one of my best friends in early elementary school, but who are we kidding, what the hell does that mean when you’re paired up with a South Sider, and Ian Partridge’s better-be future wife?  It means you’re gonna get run over, and not just regular run over, but like Frank Thomas flattening a six year old blocking the plate kinda run over.  The girl from South Chicago has some serious momentum.  My daughter lovingly calls her “Merediss” and who can beat that? 

Winner - Meredith

Bill Garnet vs. Mark Nossiter

So, we’re talking about my brand new Brother-In-Law versus a guy who has literally kept the police from arresting me after a lacrosse game.  No contest.

Winner – Bill Garnet

Kaylen Denning vs. Dawn Hassen

It’s probably some of the best advice you’ll ever get.  Don’t #$%! with Kaylen Denning.

Winner – Kaylen Denning

Tia Tremblay vs. Lindsay Sutherland

Always super nice vs. always super nice…but Lindsay’s a friggin’ Doctor who used to have dreads and who’s also married to my cousin so she wins.  Should have had dreads Tia.

Winner – Lindsay

Mary Ann Sterling vs. Jill Jaruga

Jill has always been super cool to me, but Mary Ann was reading and commenting on the blog back when her comments were just as valuable as the contents.  She’s one of the best people I know, and although Jill has got game, it’s not enough game to knock Mary Ann off.

Winner – Mary Ann

Tim Cooper vs. Jamie Begley

I like Tim, but Jamie would NEVER let me forget it if he lost in the first round.  Tim might not either but I can very likely distract Tim with stadium beers.  Jamie would just take the stadium beer and keep yipping.

Winner – Jamie Begley

Brian Lee vs. Bob Yule

I knew Bob back in high school, and he’s always been just a decent dude, in addition to being a serious Tigers fan, but Brian lives in Hollywood and goes to Lakers games.  Jesus.  That’s kinda awesome.

Winner – Brian Lee

Jay Sutherland vs. Sue Vershum

Jay is my cousin, but also my buddy, and he’s a loyal, sturdy dude…period.  Sue once offered to give me a job on her farm so I could stay in the country, that’s how nice she is, and whenever I would randomly stop to say hi on a game night, she would almost always ask if I wanted tickets, even when I wasn’t looking for them.  Sue’s always been oh-so awesome to me, and Jay will still be my cousin when Facebook someday implodes.  So…

Winner – Sue Vershum

Anette Nossiter vs. Jane Cooper

I just added Jane and it’s gonna be a bummer to tell her that she’s been eliminated.  Jane is a good friend of mine’s Mom and part of the coolest parenting duo in the universe, but Anette has a fish named after her.  Aunt Netta World peace wouldn’t sport such a nifty title were in not for my precocious sister-in-law.  Edge Anette.

Winner – Anette

Aimee Saling-Bergquist vs. Jackie Jeffs

Just like her husband did, Aimee opened the Tourney dropping bombs on innocent, and unsuspecting civilians…like Jackie.  This is Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the lineup versus Bobby Higginson and Brandon Inge.  They’re all Major Leaguers but…well, you know the result. 

Winner – Aimee

Gerry Partridge vs. Denise Hart

The rule is that if the Mother-In-Law doesn’t advance the Father-In-Law should, but Denise makes that tough.  The edge might be that I don’t know exactly how much Gerry gives a $#%! about Facebook.  In that case, I’ll just take face to face conversations on the dock.  Denise wins because she’s pretty cool, and also because Gerry couldn’t care less about this nonsense.

Winner – Denise Hart

Paul and Jody Dickinson vs. Amanda Willgren

Kinda not fair considering it’s two on one, but even as individuals, Paul and Jody are awesome enough to knock off most serious contenders.  Amanda was easily one of the coolest staff at the youth drop-in centre that I worked at…and when you’re a girl working in that kind of environment, a street-involved youth centre, you’ve got coolness oozing out of your pores.  Still, not enough to bounce two of my favorite people.

Winner – Paul & Jody Dickinson

Anne Crowe McNaughton vs. Tracy Little

Tracy Little is my own little Mohammed Ali.  She’s equal parts intriguing and dangerous, but Anne is flat out just awesome, and without question one of my most favorite people around, and that’s not token flattery, she just is.  In almost any other match up Tracy crushes her opponent, but not this one.  Anne wins on sweetness alone.

Winner – Anne

Adam Finley vs Pete Johnston

This one’s like two monkey’s fighting under a blanket in a dark room.  In the end Pete comes out from underneath with patches of hair missing, a bloody lip, and totally disoriented.  Adam never comes out.

Winner – Pete

Emily Durnin vs Gene Faust

Diminutive little Tiger fan, Emily, packs a wallop of coolness so hard that the larger Nebraskan, Gene, can’t come out of his corner for the next round.  It’s a TKO for Emily.

Winner – Emily Durnin

Randy Steinman vs. Steve Davidson

Steve is a filthy animal.  I’m not joking.  A filthy, filthy, ravenous, wild animal…who likes the Patriots and BBQ ribs almost equally.  Randy is a good buddy, and the only friend I have with the curse word “f#%king” typically used right before his name.  In the end, Steve’s too much for Randy to manage.  Steve is too much for most people to manage.

Winner – Steve

Robin Donahue vs. Linds Peters

Linds is without question one of the best people I know, and we knew it ever since she was 13 years old.  Robin is equally cool, and a die hard blog follower that can also whack a triple into the gap when called upon.  I’m not so sure about Linds’ bat speed.  I don’t even know where Linds lives and works these days?  Robin, with a walk off home run to end it.

Winner – Robin

Scotty Campbell vs. Kevin Thornton

Scotty kills things with big guns.  He rides a motorcycle.  He welds things that are underwater.  He is covered in tattoos.  Kevin used to be a Registered Massage Therapist, and a Butcher.

Winner – Scotty

Holly Imrie vs. Carole Varin

We all love Holly.  Done.  Carole needed a different match up ‘cause it wasn’t even fair.

Winner – Holly

Beth Lyons (Skinner) vs. Val Brisson

Ok, so Val helped Zoey to poop when she was a baby, when nothing else worked.  Val essentially saved our friggin’ lives.  We’d have fully buggered that operation ourselves, I think.  Val has also stayed a good friend.  It’s not often that midwife turns into lifelong friend, but that the case here.  Beth, however, has been quite possibly the BIGGEST follower of all things Zoey since before the little girl was even breathing oxygen.  She’s kind and sweet, and super thoughtful.  She’s tried on two occasions to get us all together to no avail, and she’s got history.  June and I met that same summer that we both met Beth.  It’s a back and forth battle to start, but as the match roars forward Beth starts to distance herself.  In the end it’s a wholloping.

Winner – Beth

Serree Gougeon-Wainman vs. Lynda Soares

Can you score 14 touchdowns on your first possession?  If so, Serree just did.  It’s hard to get up off the mat when you don’t even know what just hit you.  Lynda won’t be able to see sunlight or spell her name for weeks.  Zoey doesn’t have a Godmother but if we were choosing it just might be Serree.

Winner – Serree

Heather Cooper-Doering vs. Tylene Neary

First, I wouldn’t want to find myself in a death match of any kind with Heather Cooper-Doering.  Second, Tylene is much to awesome to lose this…but she does.  Heather is a frikkin’ buzz saw.

Winner – Heather Cooper-Doering

Nikki Dobbelaer vs. Scott Cooper

I once almost killed Scott with a rolling tire…the night before his wedding. 

Winner – Scott Cooper

Stu McNaughton vs. Stacey Ross

I was once nearly decapitated in the back of a pick-up truck that would eventually destroy a large portion of Stu’s father’s bean field…and his father still talks to me, and more importantly, I wasn’t decapitated.  Stu’s been with me for most of the really, really stupid things I’ve done.  Stacey hasn’t, but given the chance…

Winner – Stu McNaughton

Kelly Wellman vs. Mike VanDevenne

Kelly Wellman, quite possibly the cutest person alive, is a Zoey favorite and so if I eliminate her, I have to somehow break the news to my daughter, who still wears the bead necklace that Kelly gave her over a year ago.  This is a one punch embarrassment for Mike.

Winner – Kelly Wellman.

Dustin “D-Funk” Wellman vs. Max Cryderman

The grizzly bear that Max is versus the ornery Badger that Dustin is, just might be the most entertaining of match-ups if only because Dustin would typically slaughter every opponent, but Max just flat out refuses to lose.  If I won the lottery and moved away I’d very likely drag Dustin and his wife, Kelly, with us.  They’d be our neighbors in San Clemente, CA…Max would make a fortune doing nothing but running my t-shirt business based out of the San Fernando Valley.  That means I surf with Dustin every morning but take long, pointless phone messages from Max.

Winner – Dustin

Jade Cooper vs. Virginia Tanton
I’d sell tickets to this death match so that we could all watch these two girls dismantle each other like two Chinese fighting fish in the same bowl.  When it’s all said and done, Jade floats to the top, and in the world of fighting fish, that’s bad.

Winner – Virginia Tanton

Bruce Madej vs. Maggie McCoy

Bruce looms large like Godzilla, and Maggie, well, little Oklahoma Maggie might closer resemble a running, screaming Japanese speed bump in this match-up.  Bruce is a big deal to me. 

Winner – Bruce

Tara Preston vs. Andrew Bain

Andrew sold us our house, and Zoey loves him.  Tara used to hand me field passes at Michigan Stadium and tell me not to get in trouble.

Winner – Tara

Michelle O’Keefe vs. Kerry Bishop

Michelle O’Keefe is Zoeys BFF and Kerry is my cousin.  Zoey typically trumps Daddy.

Winner – Michelle

Karli Petit vs. Melinda Grineage

Karli is a stone cold killer.  Melinda is not.  Stone cold killers don’t lose to people who are not.

Winner – Karli

Kristin Verhaeghe vs. Joe Carron

Ever watch two preying mantis’ fight?  Me neither, so I don’t know why I even made that reference, but in this scenario Kristin wins, but only after Joe rips two of her legs off.  I don’t know what that means either.  Either way it’s an ugly fight.

Winner - Kristin

John Teeter vs. Joe Cebulski

The only “ski” I know is heavy competition for my oldest best friend, Johnny Teetantric, but what seems like a good match is not even a close one as John, and his parent’s grey van, has provided me with well over half of my best memories. 

Winner – John

Ally Cooper vs. Dana Brushette

In this scenario Ally is Woodward and Bernstein and Dana is Richard Nixon.  The reference is meaningless but it sounded kinda awesome.  Ally destroys Dana.

Winner – Ally

Mike Wainman vs. Arvin Kim

Cover Barry Bonds in a burlap sack and then stand him the batter’s box with Major League pitchers hurling big fat heaters at his shiny, oversized head.  That’s Mike in this match up.  Arvin is like Prince Fielder taking batting practice in a Kindergarten classroom.  Somebody’s gotta clean up the glass while Barry struggles to free himself.  I don’t know what than means.

Winner – Arvin.

Marcy Bennett vs. John Paul

John Paul was Lacrosse Magazine’s Man of The Year last year.  Marcy was a classmate in high school.  Kind of a cross check to the face.

Winner – John Paul

Luke Doering vs. Russ Croft

If all that sh!t that happened in the movie Red Dawn were actually really happening right now, I’d want to escape to the mountains with Luke Doering.  We’d probably sacrifice Croft to the Russians to make our escape.  In this case scenario, Luke replaces Patrick Swayze ‘cause I just can’t handle escaping to the mountains with super bossy Patrick Swayze.  How ‘bout YOU drink the deer’s blood, Patrick!  Bossy motherf@#$%&r

Winner – Luke

JP Fox vs. Emily Wallace

JPs a big dude, but Emily is like an arrow shot out of nowhere.  Good luck finding a doctor to remove an arrow these days JP.

Winner – Emily

Helen Johnson-Harding vs. Dennis and Mary Cooper

Helen does a pretty good job fighting off Dennis & Mary, but in the end it’s hard to keep fighting with two smashed fists.  You can only land so many punches that don’t do anything.  Helen sags to the floor as Denny and Mary crack a cold one to victory.

Winner – Dennis and Mary Cooper

Mel Cowger vs. Krsity Bishop

Poor Kristy.  Mel is like all the Marvel Comics Superheroes wrapped into one foodcentric Brooklynite super Mom, and you’re the Brown Hornet. 

Winner – Mel

Chantelle Finley vs. Sheri Tonkin-Cooper

Chantelle woodburns her initials into Sheri’s forehead, then sells a photo of it on Etsy.

Winner – Chantelle

Mike White vs. Mike Cooper

Mike White eats other Mikes for protein.

Winner – Mike White

Merle Dyce vs. Ben So

Ben has won Olympic Medals, but Merle has some seriously offensive stories.

Winner – Merle

Stacey Andres vs. Lori Hooper

Hoop backs over a very funny Stacey without even checking her mirrors.  She claims it was an accident but…

Winner – Hoop

Nadine Harrison vs. Colin Wallace

There may never have been more trash talking ever in the history of Facebook Death Matches, which admittedly, is pretty short.  It’s a back and forth affair until Nadine lays a well timed elbow in Colin’s left orbital cavity, smashing his hopes of ever making the Canadian skeet shooting team, or advancing in this tournament.  She’s super nice, and sweet, but mean as #$%k.

Winner – Nadine

Mel Wayland vs. Sonya Fink

The match ups get nasty in this part of the bracket, and this is no exception.  Both Mel and Sonya rank in my Top 10 for cool girls, and both invariably make me smile…but Mel also makes me bleed.

Winner – Mel

Reece DeWagner vs. Doug Frost

How does my nephew lose to Dougie Frostbite?  He doesn’t.

Winner – Reece

Avery DeWagner vs. Keith Welch

How does my niece, one of the best things to happen to us in forever, lose to Keith Welch.  Actually quite easily because Keith Welch is in the running for best man alive.  Given that same lottery winning scenario, Keith gets hauled to San Clemente, CA too.  Avery however is young and impressionable.  It’s the toughest call of my life, but…

Winner – Avery

Andrew Cooper vs. Steph Walker VanCoillie

Coop wins without even taking the field.  His reputation alone melts Stephanie. It’s horrible to watch.

Winner –Andrew

Kevin Vandendoole vs. Tommy VanDeVelde

Take Tom Brady and Joe Montana and chuck them into a cage with only broken bottles and machetes to use as weapons and watch the two of them hack each other up until the only thing left is a lone hand reaching for the sky clutching a machete…with Superbowl rings on all four of the remaining fingers.

Winner – Kevin Vandendoole

Jim Trachar Jr. vs Juneau Robbins

JT makes the best tailgate tri tips ever, and he sits on press row at every Michigan basketball game, but Juneau is a #$%damned Doctor with a nasty baseline jump shot.

Winner – Juneau

Jimmy Young vs. Houda

Jimmy “Why Not” Young waves the smoke from his face, flips his BBQ ribs, takes a swig from his Bud Light, and slaps Houda around like he was a Bills Superbowl team…all with a soundtrack of Ben Harper.

Winner – Jimmy Young

Erin Roxworthy vs. Dan Lalonde

Sure, Dan is in the Navy, but Erin is a Bears fan.

Winner – Erin