Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Music...

Until this morning Emm Gryner sang "Summerlong" and that was it.  Of course, I knew she sang much more than that but that was the extent of my Emm Gryner catalogue...until this morning that is, when I discovered "North." Now I'm smitten times two.

The Powerball and Me...A Love Story

Flops and Fires

I know that I've posted this before, but win me the lottery, and this is a glimpse at my life.

Home schooled little tanned children running around on the beach. A simple life, made even more simple by simple surroundings.  Inspired...natural...healthy...indulgent...and all on what feels like the edge of the planet.

I predict a year leave of absence...when the girls are old enough for us not to worry, and for them to enjoy it, to really soak it in.  One year of sun and sand and perspective altering days.  I wonder if we'd end up eating each other alive?  Maybe.

Keep On Rockin' in The Free World...

PJ at Wrigley!!

This is what I'll be doing on July 19th.  What will you be doing?  And there's a Fall Tour being announced someday even our Autumn is starting to take shape.

We watched PJ20 last night, in celebration of our tickets arriving...and the movie always strikes me as deeply personal...there is a time line represented across the span of the film that coincides with my growing leaving high school and starting to meander through college and life and being lost and being found and there's just no other thing, besides June, that documents those feelings better than the arc of that band.  Seeing a young Eddie makes me feel young.  Watching how Cameron Crowe puts on display the absolute chaos of putting yourself out into the world, and what happens when you give yourself over to a spinning, ever changing planet.  None of us can ever imagine what it feels like to be Jeff, Mike, Stone, Matt or Eddie, but all of us can close our eyes and wonder how crazy it is that we ever got where we are, right here and now.  If you think you've got complete control over that, you're a fool.

Pearl Jam in Wrigley Field...Tell me that I'd be clutching these tickets in 1991 and I'd laugh in your face.  Now...some ten or eleven or fourteen or whatever shows later...I'm still laughing, but mostly at my good fortune.

Sick...and Inspired

My head is occasionally pounding. My neck and shoulders are tight, and intermittently killing me.  I am in and out of sick this morning, enough to roll over with the alarm at 6:30am and say, "not today." That's enough to take a sick day.  I've got them so...

I'm considering a chiropractors visit...a nap...a few ambitionless  I could blog, but that won't exactly loosen up the neck and shoulders.  I'll most likely do it anyway...this nefarious addiction of mine.  There are days I consider sharing less, and days I shudder to think who reads this thing, and then there are others, like today, when I just shrug and blog on.

It's funny, I recently had a very uncomfortable blog moment, sitting in a room with several gentlemen who couldn't comprehend the idea of my blogging, and who quite possibly only know the activity by name only, and it struck me how immediately judged I felt.  It also whacked me hard how unmasculine the practice seemed to be interpreted as, which is strange because I've never felt like a better man doing anything.  Their judgement was quiet and reserved, but I shrunk a little to fit their interpretations and I wasn't proud that their gazes left me a little undone. That humbled me a lot.  They weren't overly critical, it was just that I knew that neither would the same, which made them no lesser or more, just different, but all the same...undone.  For the first time in this blog's existence I questioned myself.  It was fleeting, but there it was.  Why do I do this?  I'm sure the answer has changed over the past four years, but there was the lynch pin...four years.  I have friends who I like a great deal whom I haven't known for four years.  I have many things in my life that I've never known or invested in this intimately, and so there it was...a new reason for blogging on.  It's been so long, so many stories and photos and feelings.  There's no question why I do this.

I feel very strongly that as a society we rarely do anything together anymore...not the least of which being succeeding or failing together...or attempting to understand one another, or changing in full view of the people you know best.  I've seen it happen here.  I've watched as people make comments and then fade back into the rest of their lives...changing nothing...doing not a single thing differently...wishing, hoping, waiting...and nothing except new blog posts to shift their faces into smiles, or their hearts to action.  I am still, after all of these years, isolated in this ridiculous endeavor.  Only my friend Jason attempts to build a similar bridge between himself and the world that he lives in.  I get it.  Some people are private. Some people are busy. Some people just aren't like that.  Hilariously, it's not about blogging, it's about living out loud, and this blog is just a simple medium to kick start that exact thing.  I just don't see a lot of vibrancy around me, and that upsets me.  I want everyone that I know to feel the sunshine on their faces ALL the time...not some of the time...ALL of the time.  I know some brilliant, beautiful, incredible people, and I'm watching them die every day.  Dramatic?  I don't think it is.  I can name you half a dozen people whose lives collapsed and were rebuilt these past few years...and another dozen more who are living with decisions they occasionally regret...I can toss onto the pile another dozen who wish, on a regular basis, that there lives looked differently.  I blog because I want to spend every day trying to make my life look differently, and that starts with awareness, and then bleeds into action, and woven amongst all of it is communication and expression.

I felt judged that day, and then I felt embarrassed that it even affected me.  I do this because I want you to know who I am, and how I feel, and what I love...and I love this.

Like vs. Love,,,With Some Don't Like Thrown in For Fun

Zoey crawled into bed this morning and almost immediately we started discussing the difference between like and love.  This is her list...not exhaustive, but a good start.


- Daddy
- Mummy
- Maggie
- Peter Pan
- Dinosaur eggs oatmeal
- fairies
- sunshine
- Wild Kratts
- John's Restaurant for breakfast
- going to games with Daddy
- the beach
- Uncle Ian and Meredith
- My Little Pony
- Camp Zed
- summer
- New York
- Sausages
- sushi
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Elle
- Baachan and Grandad
- tutus
- the Zoo
- Aunt Netta
- Detroit Tiger games
- Peter Pan shadow that Daddy made
- playing at the Bridge park
- bath time (alone)
- Halloween
- Grandma
- Avery
- hot dogs
- Uncle B ("I love his big kisses")
- Ferah
- rice
- Maeve
- gym night
- vacation
- Happy Meals
- jujubes
- Michigan
- mac and cheese
- Barbie


- bedtime stories
- Sesame Street
- French Toast
- Pops
- Christmas
- swimming lessons
- chocolate milk
- Reece
- the park
- Aunt Header
- baths with Maggie
- Jai
- gymnastics
- Blair
- Grandad's dock
- lego
- chocolate
- road trips
- vegetables

Don't Like

- Captain Hook
- getting in trouble
- spaghetti sauce
- being sick
- boys
- the other reindeers teasing Rudolph

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Photo 108

I suppose I never really knew how to define it when I was a young man, but now...when she's happy, I'm happy, and I think that's it.

A Little Bit of Each of Us...

Maggie Aoi - February 2013

She's supposed to be a little bit of June, and a little bit of me...she's supposed to be...but people say that she looks just like June, and other people say that she looks just like me, but she's supposed to be a little bit of June , and a little bit of me...she's supposed to be.  She's happy, nearly all of the time...and she's got the biggest smile...and these curious, imagining eyes...and she sure is excitable.  She doesn't like to be alone, and she talks a lot...a lot.  When she gets upset, she's upset, and there's just no talking her out of it, but she forgets quickly.  She always forgets how upset she was.

People say that she's her mother's daughter...and sometimes people say she's just like her Dad, but really she's a little bit of June and a little bit of me, and that's just perfect.

Yeah...Of Course...

Wake up little girl!

She doesn't like to sleep when her sister's awake...when she can her her in the house, no matter how softly, or at what distance...if she can hear her sister awake, she's not interested in dreams. Not usually.

It's realizations like this that help usher me to some kind of understanding that there are two of them...that I have two's not something that I think about much.  I just wake up, live, and do what needs to be done, and ignore many things that need to be done, and then I go to bed, sleep, and wake up to repeat.  I don't think much about the details, but it's true...I have two children.  Wow.

A very good friend of mine, Joe, just said to me today, in a post-African trip conversation...that same trip I was supposed to contribute to...that one of the things that he brought home with him was the responsibility to take his someday-children to see experience that, and it struck me, "yeah, of course," and then it whacked me even harder that I have two children and that's something that we haven't gotten around to.  There's Japan, and Africa, and Europe, and S. America, and the South Pacific, and, and, and...There are so many things that I want for these two girls beyond sleeping at the same time that it's nearly paralyzing...only, I don't want to be paralyzed by it all.  I want them to fall asleep with those things in their head...preferably at the same time.

Is it Spring yet?

I need a good dose of awesome people. I do.  I need to be surrounded by people who:

a/ Get it

b/ Don't own ties.

c/ Don't have degrees or diplomas displayed prominently on their walls.

d/ Smile and laugh a lot.

e/ Like me.

f/ Aren't total flakes.

g/ Don't want to talk about what I do.

h/ Like the same things that I like.

i/ Aren't trying to seem smarter than what they are.

j/ Are generous and kind.

k/ Have lax attitudes about recreational drug use and/or drinking and driving.

So that last one was obviously a joke, and if it wasn't obvious than perhaps you should remove yourself from the list of candidates.  I simply ran out of ideas and thought that might be a fun one.  Of course, there are probably way more requirements, but it's 6:30 in the morning and I'm kinda out of it.

I really could use evening after evening of hassle free awesomeness right now, with hassle free people, entertaining ourselves with hassle free things that typically entertain, and maybe we could even be a little mean to other know, quietly.  A night of mutual complaining would be SO welcome that I have a hard time articulating it's awesomeness.  Sometimes you just need to complain.

So, who's in?  Applications are currently being accepted.  No experience required.

All I really need on a day to day basis is for people to be nice to me.  That's it.  Just be kind, think of me, and generally, you know, enjoy that notion, but don't linger on it. No, you certainly don't have to linger on anything, but hopefully the idea feels like warm sun on your face, and then you move on quietly...perhaps with a little tiny know, like an ant hill size pile, of enthusiasm that we might spend some time together. That would be good.  I would like that.

If we're being perfectly honest I want it to be Gala Days right now and every day forever and ever, amen, but it's not, and so I must solicit good people to spend these cold winter days near.  I propose a Mutual Admiration Society in which we semi-regularly meet some place underwhelming and enjoy one another.  That should happen pronto.

Sorry...I just wanted to use the term "pronto"...

l/ You must have no qualms about using the word pronto in any social context.

m/ You should like to drink in the afternoon.

n/ You have to consider hot dogs haute cuisine.

o/ You would happily skip a day at....THAT's IT!!

I just had THE MOST SPECTACULAR IDEA OF ALL TIME.  Momentary happiness achieved.  Stay tuned. Oh my, this is good...wonderful even...or perhaps just flat out #$%&ing awesome, you know, depending on your linguistic leanings.

p/ Must enjoy swearing.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Cutest, Sickest, Happiest Snot Collection of All Time

Moccasin Mags

It's been a full week of sick, with a smattering of blog issues smack in the middle, and then more sick.  Leaves a guy not that eager to type, snap a photo, or even put together a coherent thought.  So I didn't.

Kinda makes a photo a day a hard deal to stick to. I guess we'll have to amend and address that idea...apparently Mother Nature, or the Universe, or Buddha, or something didn't want me posting a shot a day, but it was, however, fine with our entire house falling victim to legions of snot warriors and coughing fits. Shrug...don't try to figure it out.

Zo and Maggie have been hit the worst...Mags has snot bubbles for God's sake...and Zo looks like a 1940s prize fighter, with bags under her eyes so big that most airlines would force you to check them.  It's been particularly hard on them which makes it particularly hard on us.  I don't manage sick kids very well, especially not my own.  Other people's sick children typically solicit a kind of muted pity from me, or occasionally a more burdensome apathy.  I don't like not caring but then sometimes I just don't.  When my own children are sick, I get...I dunno...worries isn't quite the right word...maybe undone?  I came partly undone by their suffering.  There's not much that you can do, and that typically doesn't sit comfortably in all my thinking-too-much spots.  I'd make a horrible nurse.

They still smile...I swear those wonderful things are distilled here in this house.  These girls are the smilingest two girls of all time.  First there was Zo...happy, almost constantly, and then there was Mags...a smiling, energetic, bundle of barely mobile contentment and gurgly giggles.  We might be dismantled by illness from time to time but we rarely wander into unhappy territory.  The address on this street corner identifies a pretty happy house. what.  We'll manage. How could we not with two little girls who do their best to shrug it off so effortlessly.  If I felt as bad as they looked this week, well, cute fleece sweatshirts, tiny little blue jeans, and stylin' moccasins wouldn't make me photo's all Mags needs. Just keep the Kleenex close.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Smitten = Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I'm not even gonna write anything here.  You really should just watch this, and someone should buy me a KEXP t-shirt, and maybe scratch my back for an hour as while we process this awesomeness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parenting Lessons 101 - What Two Daughters Can & Will Inevitably Teach You

Good morning cutie!

1. I don't like crying.  I didn't like crying the first time I experienced it.  I still don't like crying.

2. Holding a baby when you have shoulder & upper back issues is no way to fix shoulder & upper back issues.

3. As soon as you lay down, she'll wake up.

4. There's no end to feeling like a jerk when your wife breast feeds, can't pump, and it's 3am. No end.

5. Two aren't harder than one necessarily, just different than one.

6. The second time around I don't panic at fevers. Oh, I still freak out a little, but I don't lose my $#!%.

7. Two small children translates into you losing the urge to shower quite as much.

8. Those Moms and their husbands that my wife meets at the library and play groups etc... they're not all nuts. Some of them are pretty awesome.

9. My daughter likes to poop, puke, and drool almost exclusively on her Mom, not me, which is cool.

10.  I actually CAN cook, which is enlightening to say the least.

11. Concerts get way harder to go to.

12. Who cares if they're the #1 ranked basketball team in the nation. I'm probably bringing a 4 year old.

13. Three pages of Harry Potter each night before bed is enough to do me in.

14.  It's not hard to jump on a stationary bike & pound out miles each night. Fat Dad's have no excuse.

15. Daughter #1 starts to really dig you, which is good 'cause #2 is still figuring the breastless you out.

16. I can blog from the right now. It's so much more quiet in here.

17. Never get excited about quiet coffee filled mornings regardless of how early you wake up. Someone will hear you and come join the fun.

18. Everything is messy, all the time...Everything...ALL the time.

19. Drinking isn't as fun as it used to fact, it sounds like a horrible idea.  The morning will bring regret. Tell your liver right now. You don't want any part of that horror.

20. Hotel rooms aren't really an option anymore...suites, maybe..apartment rentals, yes.

21. Going to California costs a lot more when there's one more seat on the airplane to pay for.

22. Different cries mean different things, so Mom assures me, and I believe her.  However, refer to #1

23.  I am not a woman, nor do I possess whatever it is that they possess that keeps them from insanity.

24.  Wait...I'm going to worry about choking and falling, and losing a small human all over again?

25. Did I mention how thrillingly quiet and responsibility free the bathroom is?  I did didn't I?

26. Bathroom doors being shut means jack.

27. Wild Kratts is a pretty great show.

28. Chapter books really broaden your child's vocabulary, and put them to sleep aces.

29. Washing dishes every once in awhile isn't housework, it's a muted way of saying "I love you."

30.  You can wear the same clothes to work every day provided you're going to different places.

31. I think I can still play lacrosse...well, I thought I could.

32. If it's not my kid I don't really care.

33. Go to bed when your body tells you.  Jimmy Kimmel really isn't all that important.

34. Why the #$%& are we paying for Netflix? Oh, that's right. My Little Pony.

35. The first one turned out really good, what if this one sucks?

36. Dad will always carry the most stuff in from the car, pack the suitcases in the car, and probably wake up the baby doing so.

37.  Any amazing tricks that Dad figures out way ahead of the game, will inevitably be overlooked and blend into the chaos of the moment.  For example: untying your shoes in the car, before you get out to carry your sleeping child into the house and up the carpeted stairs to bed.  Easy off.

38.  Regardless of such ingenuity, it will still be your sole responsibility to replace the carpet someday.

39.  Make as few dishes as off of paper towels...there will still be dishes, and you will still feel bad that you aren't washing them.

40. Your wife, in her hectic juggling of all things child and home related, will inevitably revert back to a state of college roommate-like priorities when it comes to shutting cupboard doors, finishing glasses full of random beverages, and throwing things in the trash that are three inches from the trash.  It's not her fault. Babies are crying, someone just threw up, and she hasn't showered in three days.  Still, expect Tom Kachan from freshman year to reappear in your home, only now you sleep with him.

41. For the first time in your life you will not be the one who forgets to replace the toilet paper roll.

42. You will be excited about overdue poops...not your own.

43.  Bath time is the most fun you have all day, every day, and that's not a depressing thing.

44. You can type surpisingly fast with one hand.

45. Whatever baby #1 taught you, yeah, forget it.

46. You will be clueless at times and in those moments it won't be worth your time to make sense of them.

47. Unless you pee on that hydrant, it isn't yours.

48. The approximate time it takes for 5pm to turn into 9:30pm is twenty minutes.

49. Two daughters does not translate to better hair brushing, braiding, styling skills.

50. Blogging helps.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Family Day...

All Wrapped Up

It's our fourth Family Day, a uniquely Canadian holiday that celebrates spending more time with our families, so we do, and always have.  We've made it a priority to spend each one with our immediate little team, and today is no different.  With a house half full of sickies we're not wandering as far as we'd hoped to, but we're happily entrenched in our absolutely cluttered and filthy home, dodging toys, dust bunnies, and kleenex boxes as we dance around the day together.  We'll very likely get busy doing something, eventually, but maybe not.  Maybe we'll just hunker down in a fog of love, snot, and happiness.'s what we signed up for, isn't it?  All the boogers and phlegm we can stand...'til death do us part, or you bring home the wrong boyfriend...all that.

Day...Wait, What Day is This?


Our house has more closely resembled the sickest wing of your local hospital of late...both the girls are sick, both are coughing machinery, seemingly running off of boogers and phlegm.  Sure, it's a cheap natural resource but it sucks junk.  Hence...there has been a break in the photo action. I mean, no one wants to see a zombie staring back through four year old eyes, or worse yet, five month old congested and teary help-me eyes.

We missed Day 7 and 8 but have rallied to score a Day 9 photo of significant cuteness...

Day 9 - Feb 17, 2013

The girls were watching Peter Pan, well, Zoey was watching Peter Pan...for the thirteenth thousand time, and Mags was pretty eager to hang out with her sister.  So...the lighting is garbage...TV lighting usually is, I suspect...but Zo's affection for her little sister has never seemed so obvious.  There was no prompting, no four thousand photographs...just this one of two sisters growing something pretty special.

Strong Stuff...

Flying Peter

We were watching the end of 2003's Peter Pan, when a moment of sublime clarity struck her...

Zoey: "I know why Peter exploded into the sky Daddy."

Dad: "Why?"

Zoey: "Love."

Dad: "Love, huh?"

Zoey: "Yeah, love...from Wendy's kiss.  He loves her."

Dad: "I think you're right."

Zoey: "I know. Love is really strong."

...and our work up to this point has been wholly effective, it seems.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Big Moments...

I know this...she's getting big...oh so big.  She registered for school last week, and not unlike every other significant moment of this parenting business, it was less overwhelming than literally everyone said.  Her first day of actual school, maybe a different story.  Registration...not such a seminal moment.

- shrug -

Almost to the moment, those things that others assured us would be heart breakers, weren't.  We rolled through them, seemingly unaffected.  Sure, other less popular moments twisted our insides, and made our hearts throb from sweetness, or cuteness, or probably a half dozen other -nesses, but not the things that people insisted would.  At one point we wondered what was wrong with us.  Why was none of this stuff slaying us?  I didn't have an answer.  I thought that maybe we were a little different, but quickly remembered, no, not likely.  I then considered the notion that perhaps we were a bit daft...that perhaps we were missing something...some giant parenting sign on the side of the road that we whirred right by on our path to well, I dunno.  Nah, probably not that either.

I dunno, we just kind of did our own thing, and in doing so most of the things that people told us to hang tight for kind of came and went without much kerfuffle.

- shrug -

The golden moments drift past us all when we're busy looking elsewhere...they sneak past as snow flakes and sunsets and early morning two girls giggling in the tub, and wide, bright eyes watching Peter Pan...and in bedtime stories, sand castles and snow angels.  There's no need to look elsewhere. The big moments are right there in your own backyard...every day...and they're getting bigger.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 6...

Happy Hoops Mags

Day 6 - February 15, 2013

She's a girl that's very likely going to grow up with a lot of basketball around her. There are worse ways to grow up.  I came home today and started to play with Mags on our bed. She was looking for something to sink her teeth into and all I could find was my basketball, and so...the love affair begins.  It is almost March.  Start 'em early we always say.

Life Lessons From Steve Winwood... and Zoey

Don't complain.

Don't say a thing out loud.

Don't let yourself open those floodgates, and they're most definitely floodgates.

Don't let that idea take root.

You're not #$%king jinxed this morning, but what on earth is happening.  Was there a full moon?  I didn't think so, and who knows if I even believe all that bunk.  Have the heavens somehow gotten all out of wonk, or our conflicting energies banged into one another in some weird, untimely out of orbit fender bender of sorts?

Don't go there, just go with it.

Maggie's been up since the wee hours of ungodly I-don't-know, doing that I think I wanna cry but I'm not sure, so why don't you say with me thing that she can occasionally do.  It's been at least a dew hours...and Zo stumbled into our room at 5:30 or 6am in bewilderment..."Daddy, I thought I had to go pee, but then I also thought I was dreaming, and then I did pee, and now I guess I understand that, uhmm, it wasn't a dream, but it was real pee, and, uhmm, my bed is wet and my bum is wet and I'm sorry.  Can you help me?"

Oh my, too sweet.  Of course I can.

"Are you okay? Are you upset that you had an accident," I asked.

"No," she replied quickly, "I'm not upset.  It happened and...(shrug)...I guess I just have to change into new pajamas and wash my sheets...(second shrug)."

Wailing from downstairs.  I look at the clock.  WTF.

Don't complain about it, and don't try to figure it out.  Your daughter just gave you the most timely of zen lessons ever, so pay attention to it.  Don't open the can of putrid negativity.  The sheets smell funky enough.  Besides, has June even slept?

How long 'til the sun comes up.  My God, the alarm is set to off on a half hour.

"Zoey," I ask, "can we lay down and try to sleep for a little bit.  Daddy's going to feel terrible all day if he doesn't sleep a little more."

"Okay Daddy," she smiles, "we'll sleep.  Come with me."  She says, and takes my hand.  She leads me back to my own room, crawls into bed, and promptly falls asleep beside me.

No need to get upset.  Just change your pajamas, rip off the sheets, and crawl back into bed.

Lesson #349 from daughter to dad with a Steve Winwood twist.  You got to roll with it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It Takes Two...

Bath Sisters

Day 5 - February 14, 2013

It's nearly a nightly ritual now, Zoey and Mags in the tub together...It's just about the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed...Mags SO excited to get in the excited to bath with her sister. You're helpless to resist it's charm, so dont' try...It's like trying to get Zeppelin out of your head. Why would you even try?

Happy Valentines Day...and Stuff...

My wife is cool.  My daughters are awesome.  There is love wafting through the house on a daily basis.  No one sucks.  I am deeply smitten...deep, deep in smit...with everyone under this roof, so I don't really need a calendar to tell me when to do something nice for them.  Oh, I did, but I loved them just as much yesterday.

So I went to a store and I bought cards, days ago, but never got around to writing in them.  It was that ridiculous of a day, and I bought the girls some fun gifts, but never had the chance to wrap them, even though I had every intention...and I have to admit, I didn't offer much of a romantic version of Valentines Day but I wanted to.  If it's the thought that counts I was the sweetest man alive, but if we're measuring by what I actually

I want to give these girls everything, but on many occasions I barely manage anything, and if I didn't love them enough to write it down for four years I'd suspect that I suck...only I know that I don't, so take that cupid, you annoying little sh!t.

Tiny Dancer...


I never envisioned a dance studio in my future.  I didn't anticipate the thrill of a tutu, or the absolute knock down adorability (awesome word) of little dance shoes and leg warmers.  I never once guessed that peeking behind a curtain could reveal anything more thrilling than the great and powerful Oz. As a boy perhaps my head couldn't comprehend it?

Tiny Dancer

Just how cute could dance class possibly be I thought?  It's just dancing.  No it's not.  It's like a cuteness bomb exploded sending shrapnel off in a million directions to shred whatever hearts are within range.  Tutus and tights, and little dance shoes.  Pigtails and pony tails, and buns.  Frilly sh!t. It's amazing.

Zoey was invited to dance class by her friend, Ferah, and naturally jumped at the chance.  We were thinking about signing her up but then Ferah went and sealed the deal.  If you could bottle this kind of cuteness and sell it you'd be rich as hell.


It's paralyzing sometimes this notion of daughters.  There are two little girls in my home now, and one big one, and everything can lean on the side of the feminine on occasion and it's what I wanted. It's exactly the kind of foreign landscape that I was eager to squint through skewed lenses at.  Pink things and tears and ponies and best friends, and now dance class. It's brilliant.  No stinky equipment, no Snowy Saturday mornings in cold arenas.  No black eyes from best friends, just hugs and comforting arms around shoulders to say, "it'll be alright."  Girls in every direction I look and it's enlightening.


Day 4 - February 13, 2013

It might be the most feminine I've ever seen her.  You know, 100% little girl. Of course, there are no cameras allowed, and for some reason dance class is something that needs to be sequestered off in isolation, which is something I've never quite understood, but you could catch glimpses of the tiny dancers if you tried.  We tried. We most definitely tried, and then since you already have the camera with you, well...

Here is a link to the rest of the sneaky shots. Just don't tell the dance people or we'll be persona non grata, whatever that means.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 3...

Bright Eyes and Wild Kratts

Day 3 - February 12, 2013

Her bright eyes get brighter when Wild Kratts is on television.  She gets near mesmerized.  There's a crush on Chris behind those blue eyes, I'm sure.  

I snapped this photo smack in the middle of an episode of her favorite show, as she fought off the early signs of yet another cold. She gets sick, then she gets cuddly and wet eyed.  I know this look.  It means we'll be going through a lot of Kleenex soon.

In the time it took me to type and post this pic she had fallen asleep.  

How Mommy's Day Begins...


This is often how Mommy's day begins...with two girls crowding her out of our bed. Sometimes she gets a chance to shower, and sometimes she doesn't.  Most days she's juggling a lot and does it pretty wonderfully.  As soon as I leave the house it's three girls vs. the world...I kind like thinking about that. Three girls chasing the day through the library, or swimming, or the Early Learning Program...through play dates, or grocery shopping, or whatever chainsaws June feels like juggling that day.  I bounce around all day and wonder what the girls are up to...June bounces around all day and doesn't have time to wonder about much else.

It's a pretty good way to start a day, with these two girls...but it's a long, long day.

Day 2...


It's a rare day that I don't wake up to this amazing face.  Just most mornings I don't jam a camera in front of it.

Pistons... Hornets... Cheerleaders

Please, please, please let the cheerleaders come out!
Begging and pleading with the heavens for a cheer leader sighting,  & we've never taught her to pray

It cost a whole $10 each for Zo and I to sneak off to the Pistons game tonight...$10 each! So, of course, we went, and of course, we had fun...and naturally the Pistons lost, but before that happened Zoey lost her mind at the prospect of seeing more cheerleaders.  In fact, she begged baby jesus (whom she has no idea about...and I'm just making this up...well, the jesus part) to see them.  At one point she turned around and clasped her hands together and literally begged.

"Please, please, please, please let the cheerleaders come out soon. Pleeeease," she murmured.  I laughed out loud, because, you know, mocking my four year old daughter is fun for me.

Uggs, tye dye, popcorn, creepy guy in the background, & Knicks plushy at a Pistons game. She's set.

When she realized that she wasn't going to get to "hang out" with the cheerleaders, she eventually settled into a deep sense of pseudo-excitement about the actual basketball game that most of the rest of the patrons were busy kind of ignoring...all five thousand of them.  She actually paid attention, and actually followed the back and forth of the game in front of her, and actually forgot about the cheerleaders...for approximately one quarter of bad basketball while we waited for some good basketball.  Then she started jonesing for the cheerleaders again...and popcorn.  She eventually got both, but the good basketball never showed it's shameful face.

New Orleans 105...Detroit 86 in a half empty stadium with popcorn, hot dogs, Coca-Cola and cheerleaders...just not a stitch of good basketball to be found anywhere, except maybe under Robin Lopez' weird afro thingy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 1...

Girls shadows - Feb 2013

A good friend of mine, Scotty, has been snapping pics of his feet every day for 365 days...that's right, a photo documentary, if you will, of where he was standing for an entire year.  Kind of a walk a mile in my shoes type deal.  It's a very cool project.  He's right here if you want to check him out, and he's really just a phone call away if you want a shot or two snapped.  Totally amazing amateur with a pro's eye, so he's an easy dude to hang with, no ego, no photographer attitude, just a rock solid guy, who can wield a camera as well as a blow torch.  Seriously.  Fella's got skills.  So watching Scott's feet for a year will inspire you to:

A/ Invest in better footwear.

B/ Go things.

C/ Snap more photos yourself.

We've grown quite used to pathetic Instagram efforts around here, with the occasional bit of Canon concentration tossed into the fray for an afternoon.  It used to be all kick ass camera, all the time, but two funsters will slow you down a little, so lately we've found ourselves defaulting to the iPhone...a sad replacement for the good camera, good lense combo.  I've never delved very deep into the world of photography.  I certainly appreciate it, and I'm glad we've got a passionate photographer in the house, but what kind of jackass doesn't take advantage of someone else's thousand(s) dollars worth of awesome equipment to snap a few pics now and then, maybe learn something?  An idiot, that's who.  So every once in awhile I grab June's camera and snap, snap...a little here and there, but not with much effort, and hardly ever with anything in mind.  I just see something, dig into her bag, and snap.  It's typically been a good idea, and then this morning I realized just how good of an idea it really was.  Why shouldn't I be snapping a pic...if not every day, at least once a week...and going for gold each time.  Not screwing around like what comes out of each effort doesn't matter. It does.  Twenty years from now it'll matter in a big way.


How many moments are we missing by not being aware of trying to capture them.  We've got a lot a of photos regardless. We've been very diligent parents when it came to filling our photo albums full of these years, but we could be more conscious.  There are moments that slip past and if you're not looking for shots you also just might not be paying attention when the most beautiful every day, really defining moments slip past.  I don't want to watch that happen...not anymore.  Now it's time to snap a few pics of my own.  I have before, and they've made their way here into these posts, but rarely deliberately, and never with the sense that I'd like you to see what I see.

Mom and Mags shadows w Zo

I snapped a few pics of Zo playing in the sun and shadows this morning...just quietly playing by herself, using what nature gave her to carve out some easy fun as the morning faded away.  Turns out they were alright pics...not amazing, but alright, for a guy who doesn't much see things in photographic terms.  So it struck me...I need to be stealing June's camera more often...for Daddy only inspired photos...what these girls' Dad sees, which I'm sure, is quite different from their Mom.  There's a certain light with which a father sees his daughters and I think it might be a good idea to chase capture those glimpses of the best thing I've ever done, and make sure that I've got them forever and ever, and it might be terribly cool of the rest of the world saw these girls through their father's eyes.  I'm sure you already do through this blog, and with my words but this is different...this is what I see...a visual attached to the emotional, and it's a fun idea.

Day 1 -  February 10, 2013

Zed and shadows - Feb 2013

We were waiting to go out for breakfast, a bit of a Sunday tradition that has made Zoey famous at our restaurant of choice, a popular customer with access to the entire wait staff, even the kitchen.  She wakes up eager to go, and asks until we leave.  This morning we were taking our time, and while she waited for us all to be ready, she played in the shadows drifting through the living room.  There are star lanterns hanging in the window and the shadows filtered through the sheer curtains and onto the opposite wall.  Once Zoey found them she began to play.  At one point she stood to leave, done with the sun and shadow and wall, and as I snapped picture after picture of her playing I was lucky to grab a few of her turning back to look at me before she walked away.  She looks older in this picture...not much older, but a hint at an older girl, of not woman, and it struck how much she's changed and how soon she'll be grown and mesmerizing men and boys alike.  I think she's going to be a very beautiful girl, and I think I won't be the only one to photograph her and think, "wow, what a beautiful face."  My perspective is a little bit skewed. I think every day sees a beautiful daughter, but this time we might be capable of reaching a consensus.

Sleeping Beauty...

She sleeps under Peter Pan's shadow, her arms askew, her hair harnessed by pigtails that Mom helped gather up and tie...and sometimes I sneak into her room just to check on her...just to marvel at what genetics and love can accomplish together with a little nurturing.  It can create this beautiful bundle under Ikea covers and a blanket of stars and dreams.  We made this.  It always intrigues, baffles, and amazes me.  How did we -- us -- June and my sorry, sad sack of self-effacing softness, create something so audacious and intelligent?  And yet there she is, gently snoring, with perfect lips and nose, and those eyelashes, oh those eyelashes. Saying goodnight to those eyelashes is tough, but Peter's there taking care of things....and they really do look just as beautiful in the morning.

Ever Wish...

Ever wish that you were a musician?  I do.  I do all the time.  How other worldly is it to make something so magical from such meager hands as man's?  Aside from the natural world it's maybe the universe's first magic.

No one ever put an instrument in my hands...ever.  I wish they had.  We'll be sure to set one at arms length from both Zoey and Maggs, just in case, you know, they want to play...something...anything.

I'd like to sit high on some blacony and wail gently on some soulful saxophone, or pick up a guitar an just strum the stars out.  I'd like to pluck an upright bass, or pull a bow across an ancient cello.  I'd like to just be able to play the #$%&ing harmonica, but I can't.  I can learn, I suppose, but or now I'll just have to settle for The Lumineers blowing an old Dylan tune to pieces.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sweet Fine Day...

Cash and Zoey - Feb 2013

She wasn't overwhelmed by him, but she was awfully eager to be close to him at odd intervals.  She was excited to meet him. Cash is one month old now, and meeting him for the first time was an exciting prospect for all of us.  The last time we visited Dustin and Kelly they were the proud owners of two it's two dogs and a son...Cash.

Zoey babysitting Cash - Feb 2013

Zoey was affectionate...kissy, and a more than a little huggy, and in between dog chasing, sushi eating, and running in circles, she was subconsciously a little mothering.  It was sweet, and I suppose the difference between a boy and a girl.  It was the first time that she'd ever seen Cash, and she was more than happy to hunker down close and play with Mom's phone.  No one asked her to.  No one expected her to stop her dog chasing and hang close to a sleeping baby...but she did.

Perhaps she's Maggyfied, or maybe it's just because she's a girl...whatever the reason, it was just about as cute as cute gets.  I bet she stayed perched on that pillow just inches from her new friend Cash for at least 45 minutes...I'd say a record for a four year old with two pugs to play with.

Roller Coaster Morning


I skipped gymnastics to score Pearl Jam tickets this morning...and then I didn't score Pearl Jam tickets this morning. The show in London, ON sold out in approx. ten minutes and I was seriously questioning the universe and my love of Pearl Jam. Then the Chicago tix went on sale...a show at Wrigley Field...are you kidding me? And I got 'em...and then I didn't...timed out by the universe it seemed. I was planning on buying a plane ticket to Africa for July just to drown my sorrows in something, when I busted through the wait line a second time and pulled the tickets I needed.

My heart was beating out of my chest.

If I'm anything it's enthusiastic, and I was SO hell bent on making these shows that my morning, hell, my winter depended on it. There's a Fall tour, unannounced as of yet, that may very well have saved my soul, but I was pretty focused on these two shows.

There are other rumors bouncing around interweb Pearl Jam at Sarnia's Bayfest for the 10th Anniversary of the festival, but that couldn't possibly be. Your favorite band on the planet couldn't possibly play your hometown could they? The rumour makes sense, the organizers are always nabbing up acts that are in the area already...and with Bayfest happening July 11-14th and the London Pearl Jam show happening that same week, and Chicago right after makes good sense, but couldn't possibly be...could it? Pearl Jam playing a short bike ride from my house? Not possible.

It was a roller coaster morning of no tix, then tix, then no tix again, and then tix. If every Saturday morning was this exciting I'd need a home defibrillator.

Pre-Gymnastics Beautiful Saturday Links

We'll keep it lean and mean this morning. The sun is out. There is snow everywhere. It's @#$%ing beautiful outside. Sorry for the flippant expletive use but have you looked outside? Happy Saturday peruse this stuff or perish. I'll be busy buying Pearl Jam tickets and watching Zoey do flips.

You don't see fifteen page magazine articles every day so when you do, you red them. This one is good.

I once walked about seven or eight miles of Broadway, but all sixteen...yikes.

Not potty trained...not trying. This Twitter stream can be hilarious.

Looking back, I always worried...always sweated things...never embraced the kind of warrior attitude that many of my peers may have, or even my own brother. I had warrior moments, but they were balanced by more fearful, hesitant ones. This might explain some of it.

...aaand sometimes the world is just flat out a pretty awesome place full of pretty awesome ideas and people.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Holy Mother of Mumford & Sons

Daddy Dinner  - Friday

First, I'm not one of those people that typically blog food photos all day long, but you'll have to forgive me this week as I metamorphasize into some kind of competent cook type guy. It's a big deal.

Tonight...Buffalo Chicken Wraps, and let me be the first to say...I just ate the best thing I've ever eaten ever on the in the cumulative history of my entire life has not seen a meal as tastey as this one. It was easy. It tasted like unicorns and rainbows might taste if they mashed them up with drunken bar dwellers on a football Sunday. It was just flat out delish and so everyone can suck it if they have issues with my photo posting (no one has, I'm just being confrontational).

Aside from last night...a gym night and so there was no time for anything other than leftovers has we hurtled out the door...I've cooked dinner every night this week, and every night it's been definitively awesome...ask June...ask Zoey. Don't bother with Mags 'cause her dinner is attached to June.

So, there you's official. I don't suck. I can actually feed my family more than just omelettes and sandwiches...I can contribute. I can stand tall and say, "I can cook," or as my boy Joey C says, "Dad's got this." Yeah he does.

So what's with the Mumford & Sons reference in the title? Well, first, they're my titles and I can name them what I want...and second, I really wanted to go the Simcoe, ON show, but was too late for tix, and can't make the Troy, OH show which frustrates the pants off of me...and lastly, I just downloaded their latest live LP, "The Road to Red Rocks" and it's full on amazeballs. Buy it or you have no soul. soul.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Almost, But Not Quite...

Cried all the way to Wallaceburg :(

She cried the entire trip.  Forty-five minutes of exhausting wailing...exhausting for both Maggie and Mom.  They were driving to Baachan and Grandad's house and Maggie wasn't so keen on making the trip, so she cried the entire time. Well, not the entire time.  She fell asleep just as her Mom was pulling into Baachan's driveway.  The only remnants of the difficult drive... the giant tears paused on the edge of those long, dark eyelashes.  Now that''ll almost make you forget about the wailing...almost.

Penne Wednesday

Wednesday Dinner

So, for never having cooked before, I mean, not really, I'm tackling the chore with grace, and not sucking on pretty impressive levels.  It's been an exercise in getting 1% better every day.  Better at what?  Better, period.  Like Bo Schembechler said, "if you're not getting better, you're getting worse. You can't stay the same."  So everything from fitness, to health, to lifestyle choices, to how I work, and parent, to how I navigate my life in general, are all open to getting better.  So I'm making them better.  I'm tired of waiting for the world to change when I know that I'm the only one who can make that happen.  It's an easy lesson that I preach each and every day, and then ignore the minute I come home.  Not cool.

So,  I've been biking every night...45 min, no matter what.  Good for my knee.  Good for my lungs.  Good for my waistband.  Good for my daughter to see. Just good all around, and easy peasy.  I'm learning how to cook, all by myself dammit, and not just lame old crap, the best stuff that I can humbly muster.  I'm learning to give a crap about the things that I put into my body. I can partially thank my friend Mel for that.  She's down with the edibles. I want to be too.

Lastly, I want to be much more of a help at home.  There's nothing like a new baby, and a breastfeeding Mom, to make a guy feel like he's not much more than a bystander.  Cooking's a start, but I'll need to do more.

Anyway, tonight was Sausage and Pepper Penne with this wicked baked tomato deal that I stole off of Pinterest.  I'm trying to keep things simple so that my head doesn't explode and I don't throw things across the kitchen.  Don't laugh. It's entirely within the range of possibility.  So the tomato thingy? Parmesan Baked Tomatoes. Pretty simple, even for goes like this...

On baking sheet place 2 sliced medium tomatoes, 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, fresh oregano, salt, pepper, Drizzle olive oil over top. Bake 450 F for 10 to 15 min. That's it.

Three days down, and two to go.  The deal (that I made with myself) was to tackle dinner every night this week.  I might not have the first clue what to get my wife for Valentines Day but I can start with a better me, and five days of not worrying about dinner.  It's not much, but it's a start.  AND, to make it that much cooler.  Zoey's been a food gobbling machine each night.  Daddy did good.

Daddy Dinner #2

Daddy Dinner #2

Dad is batting two for two this week, but leaning heavy on the chicken.  Stress is off Mom, and she can relax a little (not much, but a little) and I'm feeling good that no, I'm not a complete idiot in a kitchen.  I'm no savant either, but I'm not a fool.  And, since I don't have breasts, I can actually feel like I'm contributing here in these early months of new parenting.

This is actually kind of fun but, please, don't tell anyone.  I don't suck, and that's a revelation.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Daddy Doing His Best...

Chicken Caesar Salad

Dad has assumed the challenge of doing ALL of the cooking for an entire 5 day work week...mostly just to see what I can manage, and if I might be able to make life a little easier by stepping out of my comfort zone and working at getting better at something.  If you don't recall, with a little Godsenish help from my very good friend Mel, I managed a championship pulled pork months and months ago, well now I'm stepping it up a notch.  I want to be good at this.

Any thoughts, ideas, recipes are welcome.  Easy, less mess type stuff.  Warmly accepted.

Day 1 was a rock star chicken caesar salad that Zoey, of course, was never going to touch, so she tuned into the awesomeness with some french toast and bananas that must have been good because it lasted about four seconds and she burned through two pieces plus a whole banana.

Day 2...?

Day 3...?

Day 4....?

Day 5...?

*UPDATED Monday Feb 4th* - A Song a Day...

OMG I'm so bad at this...I chuck out all these fun and awesome little enterprises and never finish a single one of my Facebook Elimination Tournament (that will be re-attempted in March) and this horrifying effort to slap together a song a day for thirty days.  Brutal.  I'm just brutal.

Anyway, here we are, caught up and in the words of John Travolta, "rockin' and rollin' and what not."

1. Heroes - David Bowie

It's the tunnel song in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and besides that, it's Bowie. I didn't own this song before Saturday. Weird thing is I didn't watch "Perks..." until Sunday.

2. You Don't Know Me - Eddie Arnold

If it's gonna be country it better be real country, and by real I mostly mean real old. I first heard this Eddie Arnold classic in the surf film "In God's Hands," and I loved it. It was the hardest song to steal, so after fifteen or so years I just paid for it.

3. Ho Hey - The Lumineers

I heard that you go to Hell if you don't like this song, so...

4. 40 Day Dream - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Hate iTunes all you want but it's given us the "Genius Recommends" sidebar which might the best thing to ever happen to me behind, you know, a dozen or twenty other things.

5. Violet - Hole

Flashback, sure, but awesome, yeah.

6. It's a Wonderful Lie - Paul Westerberg

Paul Westerberg's been around forever and gets zilch credit for his quiet awesomeness. "Don't pin your hopes, or pin your dreams, to misanthropes or guys like me..." are you kidding me. This guy's a genius.

7. Real Desire - Dan Auerbach

Goddamned that sounds like The Black Keys. That's 'cause Dan is the guitarist and singer of that same band. In a day and age where not very many rock and roll records are made, you just found one.

8. Shake Ya - Hacienda

The Austin, TX quartet was once described as "Mexican-Americans who are obsessed with the Beach Boys," which sounds just about perfect if you were to ask me, which, of course, no one ever does.

9. Get Away - YUCK

If your good friend, Sonic Youth, had a cute little sister, this would be her, and you wouldn't be able to keep your hands off of her, and eventually it would be the complete ruination of your friendship but who #$%king cares because she's way better in a basement than her big brother could ever be.

10. Splitter - Calexico

I'm gonna just say it.  If you don't like Calexico, well, we just might not be meant for one another, and that's okay, I don't need anyone in my life who doesn't like these guys.

11. If Only - Dave Matthews Band

Ever since Under the Table and Dreaming this house has had a near ridiculous love affair with Dave Matthews music that typically looks like this....album release...meh, it's not as good as the old stuff...months, I really, really love this new too ...can't stop listening to it...see two or three live shows...wait for next record...album release...meh, it's not as good as the old stuff...

12. Atlas Genius - Trojan

Me and pop music...kind of inseparable.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do The Math...

Partridge Ladies

That's five parts Partridge DNA...five parts Yamaya DNA...two parts DeWagner DNA...and two parts Cooper DNA...probably some other genetics mixed in there too, and a whole lot of estrogen.

How Dangerous are Zebra Prints and Glittery Cursive Nostalgia ?

Gym Tots Level 2 - Feb 3/13

See that gym suit...yeah, the Michigan one...before you go thinking that I'm getting a bit subversive in the brainwashing of our daughter I'll have you know, unequivocally, that SHE picked it out, and that SHE practically begged for it...and that I, like the sucker I am, caved in and bought it for her.

I didn't want to buy that gym suit.

It was expensive.

It has a Zebra print...c'mon?

There's a gold glittery cursive "Michigan?" on the front. Even worse.

Bought it in a heart beat, when it truly was the ONLY thing that she wanted from her trip to Ann Arbor.  She does look pretty damn cute in though, doesn't she?

Gym Tots Level 2 in the books...and a blue ribbon to add to her collection. I don't know what she was more proud of, sneaking on the next level or that damn gym suit. The smart money is probably on the gym suit. From the look on her face the smartest money was in buying it.

Some While You Were Sleeping Links

It's time to get back in shape and I don't know about you, but I'm listening to Dan.

Always, always, always wanted an Airstream trailer...did I say always?  I meant always.

Just in case you find yourself in NYC and then come home to tell me that you hated it.  Use this so none of that happens.

This is hilarious!

Wow...wildly interesting stuff.


I'd like to sit and watch a game with this guy.

I'm snarfing chicken wings during the Superbowl and no one can stop me...well, maybe not. Turkey burgers anyone?

California...knows how to party.

Happy belated birthday to this little Carroll Park beauty.

I skipped out of work, drove into the city, and waited in line for hours to pay my respects to one of the most important women of the past 200 years, and I'm so glad I did.

There is no legal form of political protest in China, so what's a guy to do? I can't imagine.

Are you effing kidding me?  Cannot wait for this film.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bad Seats...Great Night

Bad seats at the Joe

When I bought the seats I had no idea that they were such crap...but it didn't matter because hanging out with my friend, Kevin, was the whole point, there just happened to be a hockey game going on between the Red Wings and his St. Louis Blues.  I remember about half of the game, but all of the conversations.

If I've never mentioned this before, I will's really important to just find really good, cool people, and then hang out with, really important.

Red Wings 5...Blues 3...the back room at Hartwig...kinda unbeatable.