The Zoey Blog: July 2013 FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Maybe One Day You'll See Me The Way I See You...



I haven't the slightest idea how anyone might see me.  I'm just so very certain how I see other people, and it's often an oh-so soft focus, orange light, smell of the ocean, summer vacation, empty highway, three beer buzz, sand everywhere, music drifting through the trees and campfire crackling kind of affection that it's tough for anyone to actually be as I see them.  I don't know how to tell you how I see you.  I don't know how to articulate something so Nick Drake and Brooklyn Promenade, or anything so smile-from-an-attractive-stranger, or beach smell, and warm night with blinking stars above an outdoor concert.  I don't have the words to tell any one of you how you can sometimes make me feel.



You know that feeling that certain people can give you, that Kings of Leon "Back Down South" video feeling...that eighteen year old dusk in a college town kind of feeling...that favorite song in the encore kind of amazing rush.  Some people really do make me feel like Eddie Vedder's banter between songs. They do, and how does that fall from your fingertips onto a piece of paper or a computer screen?  It's hard. Really hard.

I try to make sure that people know how I feel about them, that I love them, and that they fill my life with double rainbows and cold summer mornings with sweatshirts, and didn't expect to get drunk Saturday nights.  I feel things really strongly.  I'm reminded of that half-assed embarrassing affliction every now and again, but to be honest, I'll take it every time and twice on a Thursday.  I don't want to feel anything but strongly, and if I can't do that then I want out.  I'll just stay home and nurse beers and listen to good music.  I want so desperately to fall in love with you, with something about you...I want memories and stories and visions of you in my head that probably aren't entirely true or accurate, but they're what I see when I close my eyes and it's what I want to see.  I want you to loom large in both my head and my heart.

Sometimes you could never know how I feel because I've never told you, but were you to ask...I mean  just up and ask...I might tell you that you were better than purple and orange lake sunsets and soft, warm first kisses, or quiet coffee, or tripping into someplace brand new.  You just might hear me say how you make me feel like the departures board at an empty airport, or remembering what it was like to be twenty-two and ready and eager for anything.



What if you were suntanned skin and tanlines, or the smell of barbeque, or watching the surfers catching the last waves of the day off of the pier in San Clemente...what if you were ripping the cellophane off of that new record and finding that one song that you hope no one else ever finds?  What if you were skin on skin or the smell of summer hair?  What if you were those things but you never asked? What if for as long as I can recall you've been summer to me?

If you found the guts to ask maybe you'd find out that you're a daydream, or a warm shower at the end of a long day on vacation, or maybe your sunfreckles or sundresses. Maybe you're the warm wash of cold tequila and lime on an empty stomach, or singing along as a good friend strums his guitar to any song you can throw him?  There are times when I see you that I'm certain that you're the Pacific Coast Highway, or a Grace Potter harmony, or finding sleep when you need it most.  Sometimes I wonder if you're sixteen and unemployed, if you're my best friend living down the street, or a high school dance. Sometimes you're the concert tickets I save, or the empty night with just me and Casablanca.  Sometimes I think that you're the stomach flip before she talks to you, or the smell of sunscreen.  What if you were any of those things to me and you never once asked just what it was that I thought of you?

I don't know how you see me, but sometimes you're Sheryl Crow singing "If It Makes You Happy" the way it was meant to be sang, and if that's the case then you'll never feel unloved.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Check Mate...or Whatever

A little pre-bedtime chess

First, let me inform those that are interested, I did not "introduce" my daughter to chess.  That wasn't something that I was trying to do.  I'm not one of those people, you know, who still sign to their children even after they can speak, or that force three languages on them...I'm not that guy.

Second, I don't really give two $#!%s if you think that I am, because the bottom line is that this four year old digs chess and in the end that's all that really matters in learning and development terms, so who cares what you think.

To be perfectly fair, June introduced Zoey to Checkers a week or so ago, and when Zed caught on fast, she was quick to ask about the Backgammon and Chess pieces that were part of the Checkers Board.  She literally begged to try chess...begged.  I thought it would be impossibly hard, and that there'd be no way she'd ever like it, let alone learn it.  She did both.  She asks to play, and can set up the board all by herself.  Just tonight I walked in on her sitting on her bed with all one billion of her stuffed animals teaching them how to play...and she was doing a helluva job.  Oh, she likes to bend the rules, and she'll tell you that she's probably going to cheat, but the little funster gets it.  She totally has a grasp on the objective of the game, on thinking a move or two ahead, and few dozen other subtle little nuance-ish things that half my grown-up friends don't even think about.  Just tonight she talked about sacrificing one of her pieces so that she could get to a more important one of mine.  She actually said that...sacrifice...I sh!t.  When I asked her why she wanted to do that, she said that she was, "determined to win."  Determined.  You can't make this sh!t up.

She knows that certain pieces are more valuable and others more expendable...she's figured out that knights rick so much because they can jump over pieces, and the other ones can't...she calls the King, "fat, slow, old and lazy." She's awesome.  The best part is that she comes looking for you to play...wouldn't my buddy Keith adore this little brilliant beast!?  Yeah he would.

You know what comes out of her mouth next?  "I can't wait to play with everyone else in New York...everyone in the park." WTF?  Now if only we could get her interested in making all of the letters in her name the same size when she prints them.

Random Summer Project #1 - Ikea Play Table Hack

On our way home from swimming lessons we pass the coolest toy store around. It's called The Toy Corner and it's an independent retailer and full of the best, handpicked stuff.  It isn't always cheap, but the owner does a great job of stocking both the insanely priced amazeballs stuff, and totally affordable yet still awesome things.  It's a store you try to avoid because you just know that you're going to spend some money there if you drop by.  Today we dropped by.

Both girls went crazy playing with all of the display toys -- there's a wide selection of out-of-box toys all set up to get your play on and to see if you like them -- and it struck us how much fun the girls were having together and how also few toys they actually share.  They must have played together for no less than a half an hour, no distractions or conflicts, just playing. What we also noticed was what they were playing with...Playmobil...which is pretty wicked awesome stuff, and built for both toddlers and young kids, but we also noticed what they were playing on.  Naturally, the store has a bunch of those awesome play tables that you can only get from the suppliers...cool, melamine, perfect play height deals that kids can sit and play at for hours, made just for them.  It was as much about the play tables as it was the toys...so, in a swarm of absolute genius...or marginal creativity, whichever... I decided to make one...or try.

Play table 1

We had two Ikea Lack side tables just sitting around, and a quick trip to Home Depot scored us a small sheet of melamine coated wood, two long 1/2" thick melamine coated 2"x8' strips, and some screws and wood glue.  I busted out some tools...a few of them still in the boxes they were bought in...'cause I'm so organized, and also because I bloddy well never use them...and then away we went with fingers crossed.  The trick would be to make something that actually looks cool, and to keep all of those crossed fingers attached to the hands that they came with.

Play table 2

With the deck as our outdoor workshop we measured out the melamine sheet and cut it to fit the top of the two adjoined Lack side tables.  I even remembered a few wood shop tricks...like clamping myself a strip of guide wood to help keep my skill saw cut straight (I didn't cut the melamine on top of the Lack side tables, just to be clear)...and somehow I remembered to cut on the back side of the wood, not the visible outer side...oh yeah, I'm a nifty bastard.

Play table 3

I screwed the top on first and then started cutting the edging we wanted so that the kids toys wouldn't fall off the table.  Zoey helped me measure and passed me tools and screws and generally got in the way.  She was, however, pretty great at avoiding the power tools, the cords, and not messing with things that she was asked not to mess with.  She was, however, pretty f#$%ing bad at measuring stuff. Who'd have thought? Still, she's my daughter, I can't exactly fire her, so I had her measure the deck to make sure we had plenty of room to build our project.  She killed that task while I spread some wood glue on and drilled and screwed 'til my heart's content. Wait, that last part sounded bad.  She steered clear of my shenanigans to say the least.  My God she's a willing and co-operative child. How is it possible that she's ours?

Play table 5

Before I knew it...done. I bet the whole damn thing took us about 90 minutes and cost us about $20, not including the old Ikea Lack side tables. Those puppies are just $10 US ea or if you live in a college town you can find them on Kijiji or Craigslist for about $5 each.  Still, even at the most expensive, a sturdy $30 or $40 play table is pretty hard to come by. Plus, we got to make it together which pushes the whole enterprise to about fifty times cooler than buying anything in a store. AND, though Zory has no concept of it, Daddy doesn't exactly do this sh!t for fun.  This was a freak burst of creative energy that demanded power tools...not exactly my strike zone, or I suppose I should say more accurately, not exactly the kind of pitches I normally swing at.

Play table 6

When it was all finished we cleaned up the deck and then loaded the thing into the living room, where it will surely, on occasion, find use as an impromptu coffee table, kids dining room, and junk collector.  It was a crazy awesome little spontaneous afternoon project, and all because we stopped at the best little toy store within 100 km of home. Not exactly what I saw myself doing today but I'm pretty damn satisfied with the distraction, the effort, and totally stoked with the end result. Of course, we ended up walking out of the toy store with a bunch of crap we probably didn't need so I suppose we could, you know, theoretically, add that to the total project cost, but what's a table without cool new junk to play with?  Nuthin', that's what.  Write that down.

I bet you didn't think I was that handy, did you?  You should see me with paper mache and cardboard...I'm a goddamned wizard!  

These, My Friends, Are What You Call Eyelashes...

Eyelashes


These girls are blessed with some serious eye lashes, both of them, but Maggie's are ridiculous.  The longest lashes I've ever seen, and someday ther're going to wreak havoc on unsuspecting suitors.  Just try to look her in the eye and squeeze by any unpleasantness...just try to say no, or break her heart...I dare you.  Oh, it can be done.  I regularly upset her, or disappoint her.  I regularly tell her no, and each time a part of me dies.  They're wicked powerful lashes and someday someone else will understand as completely as I do.

These, my friends, are eyelashes...dangerous, dangerous eyelashes.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gratuitous Sisters in the Sand Photo

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Every once in awhile a guy's just gotta chuck out a gratuitous "sisters playing in the sand" photo...so here you go.  A beauty.  These two little girls enjoy one another so much it makes your hear flutter and backfire, like an old brown Pinto left in the arena parking lot too long. Sorry, random reference to a ridiculous memory.

Look at all this sandy cuteness...I'm in so much trouble in ten years.

How My Day Begins...

In ridiculous but true parenting moments, of which we all have, I woke up at 5:30am when Maggie woke, and stumbled downstairs to give June and a restless Maggie the bed, hoping they could find sleep again, and since I was already up I thought I'd maybe blog 'cause I've been so so neglectful...before I knew it there was "The Muppets" on the television and whatever quiet the morning held was gone. Now I'm typing as Rolf sings some random f#@%ing song, and there'll be just no way to recover these lost hours of sleep unless I crash out at 8pm tonight. Ugh. Now there's a little girl running around with a foam pirate sword digging through DVDs for some nonsense to watch on tv and I suppose this is how my day starts.


On a good note, Mazzy Star has a new record coming out in September...here's a single...





Apologies for the sporadic blogging of late but I've just been attempting to indulge in summer and haven't much cared about getting anything done...anything.  It's been beaches and bbqs and complete indifference.  Shrug...complete indifference is what I need.


At some point I'll get back into the groove, but for now...it's Muppets and pirate swords and an insane lack of sleep...with a beach thrown in.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tegan...Sara...Us

#teganandsara #fromthebalcony

I've waited about a billion years to see Tegan and Sara...and then in one awesome, fleeting night...I finally had, and they were unbelievable.

The Setlist

1. Drove Me Wild 
 2. Goodbye, Goodbye 
 3. I'm Not Your Hero 
 4. Back In Your Head 
 5. The Con 
 6. Walking With A Ghost 
 7. Hop A Plane 
 8. I Couldn't Be Your Friend 
 9. I Was A Fool 
 10. Now I'm All Messed Up 
 11. Where Does The Good Go 
 12. Alligator 
 13. Arrow 
 14. Shock To Your System 
 15. How Come You Don't Want Me 
 16. Feel It In My Bones 
 17. (TiĆ«sto feat. Tegan & Sara cover) 
18. Closer  

Encore:

19. Call It Off 
 20. Nineteen 
 21. Living Room

The girls were their typical fun...witty, and twin-like...they mixed up new with old, and at one point Sara went off with a brilliant story about playing small Canadian venues and being drunk with riches when their first Ontario tour, back in 1999, earned them both $6,000 each. "We were so f'n rich," she laughed. "I was thinkin' look out Jay Z," she added. They were alarmingly charming, like a campfire that you can't take your eyes off of, and they backed up all that charm with a stellar musical output. They were invested, and energetic, and well into it. What a great night in a tiny venue in a small town, in the middle of an empty week. Memorable.

Now, when can we see them again?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Sweetest Thing

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It's been an easy week of beaches and pools and music and hanging out and sunset dinners on the lake with squealing and playing kids, with friends, with no particular place to be aside from swimming lessons and our own beds...and watching sisters trying each other on. What an unexpected, amazing little phenomenon. They laugh at each other, and get excited to see one another, and even understand one another, even if we don't.

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It's the sweetest thing that I've ever seen. They look for one another when they enter a room, they wander into each other's rooms in the morning, they must eat together, and watch tv together, and seeing them light up at the very notion of each other has been the best part of an easy to swallow summer.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Just a Pow Wow, or a Powerful Glimpse at Fleeting Innocence?

Family at the pow wow

There have been Pow Wows for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a town that shared all of it's resources with a local First Nations community, there have always been Pow Wows -- elementary school, high school -- every summer it seems there has been drums. When I was younger I suppose that I just took it for granted. Now that I'm older it strikes me lucky we were to grow up where two cultures meet.

We thought we'd offer Zoey a little of that culture, hoping that she'd enjoy it, and struck out for the Kettle and Stoney Point Pow Wow yesterday. In terms of preparing ourselves for the heat and an afternoon spent on some pretty wide open and shadeless Pow Wow grounds we were horrifying parents. In terms of exposing our daughters to something cool and rich with tradition and meaning, we did alright. Zo was stoked. She bounced around, wanted to buy everything from raccoon and fox tails to moccasins, and even joined in on one spot dance (people in attendance offer cash etc...awards for impromptu "spot" dances in which everyone is welcome to participate, full regalia or none, community member or not).

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The heat was distracting, but Zoey was, at times, pretty enraptured with the regalia of the dancers, especially the "fancy dancers" and all of the little kids dancing. At first there was lots of Peter Pan talk, but that soon faded to more of a quiet awe...and maybe a little heat stroke. Didn't stop her from dancing though.

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And did she ever dance. Once her Mom helped usher her into the larger group, the hesitation faded and this little girl started looking more like a water bug than our daughter. She bounced, and she spun, and she waved her arms and smiled wide, and wider, until she didn't care much about who was dancing around her. It was fun to watch. There were no more Peter Pan references, just a little cultural indulgence and it was sweet. Who cares who's watching, and it doesn't matter if I look like these other kids or not. Makes you wonder when it is, and how we lose that beautiful ignorance and unaffected blindness. Sure she was just dancing but it was pure and unfiltered by race or timidity, or self-consciousness...just dancing.

Dancing Girl pow wow

It's a weird relationship that we have growing up beside this culture, in parallel but separate worlds, sharing many of the same things, except culture. It can be awkward, and sometimes tense, but more often, and I suppose it depends on the individual, just kind of a non-issue save for moments like this. After a decade of working on and off the rez I can one thing...it's a powerfully rich culture when on full display, and a maze of confusing issues and lingering stereotypes and conflicts and pressures. Growing up aboriginal isn't easy, but it sure can be beautiful.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Limping Kind of Lucky...

We're beginning Day 3 of Knee-maggedon. Seemingly a summer tradition. Three days of ice, Ibuprofen and Tylenol...of cursing and overexerting, and another round of that same old reminder...most people don't give much of a $#!%. That's not a bitter, negative thing...it's just a fact. The world keeps spinning even if you can't pull on your own shorts. Summer plans change, or get put on hold...you think to yourself that there must be a reason for all this. There isn't. It just is. I can't even say that there aren't any other people that I know who have stumbled into so much painful nonsense in the last three years, because I'm sure there is. I'm not doing chemo, or having a by-pass, or dealing with diabetes or back surgery. They're just knees...but my God it's frustrating.

I guess there's lots of time to think, and blog, and read, and nap...lots of time.

Yesterday I started to build another paper mache pirate ship with Zoey...and it exhausted me...and made me swell, not with pride as much as knee fluid, there was lots of that. I started roughly sketching out another book for the girls, called "When a Girl Loves a Buoy"...it's cute as sh!t. I sent away more correspondence to more schools with lacrosse programs for my "It Takes Balls" campaign...I did more work toward solidifying a girls lacrosse program for Zoey and her friends this Fall. I read some. I watched Fever Pitch, twice. I mostly had a good attitude.

I'd rather it just be regular old Camp Zed.

Then, in one of my more painful moments of the day...reminder, don't drive with your knee in an isolation brace...a wet eyed, holy sh!t this sucks part of the day -- not when the Lakers used their Amnesty Clause on Metta World Peace -- I held Maggie's hand to calm her as she fell asleep with giant crocodile tears streaming down her cheeks. As her cries turned to exhausted sighs I held her hand and watched her fall asleep.

Holding dads hand

I've got it pretty good...knee or no knee.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Someone Finally Figured This Walking Business Out...



Oh, it's cool now, but it won't be so cool when we tell her that she has to walk to school, or when she calls for a ride home from the mall and we tell her to walk, but at this very moment, it's very cool. Maggie's walking!! She's about a month behind her sister. Zoey walked at 10 months, but she took little steps and progressed slowly towards walking. Mags just up and cruised across the living room all by herself...like it was nothing.

This is me...

Photo 135

It felt bad the last few days, but late last night it started feeling really bad. I mean really @#$%ing bad. So ice and Ibuprofen, and more ice, now some stim, and more ice...we've added stretching into the mix and a foam roller (really, the best thing thumbs were invented. You NEED to own one. It'll cut chiro visits in half, and stretch things out that have needed to be stretched out for decades) just to be sure we're doing everything we can. The pain sucks, and I'm totaly=ly over this whole "knee thing" that seems to be the bane of my existence.

One of the very first things that I heard when I started playing lacrosse again was, "how's the knee?" It typically annoyed me...not the question itself, or the friend asking, but rather the notion that it was a relevant and appropriate question. That part infuriated me. The funny thing is I didn't do this playing lacrosse, nor is it my typically bad knee. It's the other. Approximately three or four times a year I find myself struck with severe cases of tendonitus, particularly in my left knee. Nowhere else, just my left knee. It gets bad...like today. I can barely walk. We're beginning to think that it's a couple of things...an imbalance of strength in some of my major muscle groups...similarly, a weakening of some pretty important muscles...and sand. Sand might just be my arch-nemesis at this point in my life...not hard packed drive on top of sand, but that soft trudge through type stuff...a killer, it seems. So, the timing is right...it's summer, and that seems to be the ideal time for me to fall apart, but this nonsense needs to end. I'm tired of being the crippled guy. That guy sucks.

Lots of Pictures...Lots and Lots of Pictures...

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The flood of family photos in summer is almost impossible to keep up to. What with a photo happy wife, and an iPhone, and still another smart phone with photo taking capabilities, every summer we're inundated with photo worthy moments from the eyes of two different people. It translates into a lot of photos...a lot.

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It's not that we think our kids are any more worthy of photos than the next family, it's just that we've got the inclination to snap a lot of photos, and we'll be damned if we don't have about a billion pics of these funsters as they age. Every day slips by so fast, and four will be fourteen before we're even ready. In fact, we're pretty astonished at the people who aren't snapping a hundred photos a day. There's a camera on every cell phone. How are you not snap snapping away?

Montage 4

We can spend countless hours just flipping through the thousands of images that we store on Flickr or that we have on CD. We remember things that we hadn't thought about, or had forgotten. We use them to mark time, and remind us of all of the amazing things that we've been so lucky to do over the years. The photos can pull us out of funks, adjust our priorities, send us off zipping in a new, fun direction. They're therapeutic. They're a visual narration of our lives and it seems impossible now to not have them. What would we have been thinking not to overwhelm our camera's memory cards with memories? We'd have been fools. The best moments in life rush past us when we're not even looking, so what if we're always looking?

Montage 3

Sometimes we feel as though we live our lives on too much of an island. Never venturing too far or with too much vigor to pull others into our world...not desperate to spend giant gobs of time with extended family and friends, not too eager to tilt the cart on this good thing that we've got. We struggle with it because we're family oriented people, but we've come to really value the intimate moments of "just us," and to understand the enormity of building a proper little team to face the world. We see it in out photos...just us...and we laugh, sometimes, at the imbalance of it, but still, we perpetuate it. Us versus the world. We don't cultivate it enthusiastically, but we don't fight the natural alignment of things either. We certainly don't hesitate to photograph it.

Montage 5

Is the "us vs. them" attitude a negative one, I suppose you could make your arguments, but it's not forced...it just is...and so we embrace the somewhat natural isolation of being a young family. Sure, there are friends with kids, and yes, there are grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, but mostly there's just us. We live in a city with no family. We have few friends here, or at least, few rock solid ancient friends, and we go about our business knowing that at the end of each day it's the four of us in this house. We go to sleep and wake up under the same roof, and when we are sick, or celebrating, or anything in between, it's us. We have a lot of photos because we spend a lot of time together. I see the by-product of te exact opposite all day long when I go to work.

Montage 6

I wish I had the photos of my childhood like Zoey and Maggie will have, and I wish I had more of the us vs. them in my own life growing up. I didn't. These girls will, and there'll be photo albums full of memories to prove it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fifteen Years...Fifteen Shows

DMB 15 years

The first show was November 17, 1998 at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. We stayed at June's cousin, Kevin's. We started the night out at Toronto PM, Doug Gilmour's bar directly across the street from the Gardens. June got drunk...really drunk. She doesn't remember much of the show let alone any kind of certainty about the set list. It was fun. For some reason I remember drinking wine and don't remember the subway ride home.

Then there was Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus, OH in June of 1999. We road tripped with two good, good friends...Birdie and Cameron, and if I recall it all correctly I peed on a van painted with an Ohio State Buckeyes mural, stole a chair from Horseshoe Stadium, and threw up in the venue parking lot. It was super romantic.

After that it became a blur of shows, Toronto, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc...fifteen years worth. Fifteen shows, and one show at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA that we never made it too. We were getting married in New York instead.

Fifteen shows...fifteen years...and I've never wanted another person to go with. Only once did I manage a show without her...Comerica Park in July of 2000...a last second tag-along with friends. I missed her the whole time. Seeing the Dave Matthews Band all over the country has kinda been our little mutual thing...always has been. Now we've got two girls sneak along with us. Zoey saw her first show last month in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. She danced and danced and sat on my shoulders punding my head like a drum, giggling and squirming to the music like she was born into it. She kind of was.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Horse Camp Means Horse Smells and Horse Conversations and...

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Seeing her on top of a horse is shocking to me. She's so small, and they're so big, and there she is, reins in hand...smiling. Horse camp wrapped up on Friday and we have a changed little girl on our hands...more confident...more eager to explore without fear or caution...a little more bold and adventurous...a lot more independent and far beyond proud of herself. She really didn't need any of the above traits, but she got 'em anyway...all on the back of a horse, or five.

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Her Great Grandfather, Floyd, would have been proud, as would her Great Uncle Larry, her Great Aunt Cheryl, and second cousin Colleen, and her Uncle B. She was a bit of a natural, unafraid, eager, and patient. Her Camp Director called her, "a pleasure," which is something a parent doesn't just tuck away unappreciatively. We were just hoping to give her something cool to do. Turns out that even shoveling manure can be cool provided that there is a horse involved loosely somewhere in the process, which it undoubtedly was.

Everyone please make note of impossibly stereotypical moment #7 in which Dad is reminded that he has himself two daughters.

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For extra kicks I'll high five the first person that can caption this incredible photo. Her Great Grandfather and Great Uncle Larry would simply call it "the price of admission" but I suspect Zoey has a different name for it. Regardless, an awkwardly proud moment that she hasn't stopped talking about since.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Girls, Girls, Girls...

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When we had these two little girls it struck me that I'd be forever smitten. What didn't occur to me was just how smitten I'd be. It's a painful, desperate kind of thing, you know, mixed with overwhelming joy and unrivaled pride and equal parts humility and just plain old regular awesomeness.

There could have been a million things that went wrong...bad first child influencing horrific second child...jealousy...indiscriminate violence...figure skating...but instead, and thank Jesus, Buddha, Malcolm X and Dick Vermeil, we got a brilliant (biased) and beautiful (c'mon, consensus) first child...a daughter, as I so desperately wished, and then a second, dare I say cuter than the first, daughter, as I hoped for, and now there is a figurative swimming pool of estrogen in my house and I get to backstroke in it all day, every day. Not that I wouldn't have loved a boy. Of course, I would have, but girls love their Dads (mostly) and I love these girls, and there isn't a goddamned figure skate in the house.

I win.

It's Good Enough For Me...

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Summer means midweek night games in the city, and a rolling odometer. It means a slowly diminishing bank account, and an adjustment to easy, empty days. Summer means dinner in no particular place, at no particular time, decided upon at the last minute. It means box scores and games of catch...with the gloves, or the sticks. Summer means ice cold bottles of pop and too much sugar. It means untended gardens and lawn mowers that need tuning. It means music drifting through the air from distant parks, and the sound of freighter horns from the lake. Summer means finding fitness hidden behind busy days. It means impromptu visits with friends and bicycle rides...it means boats. It means long road trips and late nights followed by lazy mornings. It means freedom and rest and adventure...but my favorite is midweek night games in the city, and the look in their eyes when they see the carousel. It's not baseball but it's summer, and that's good enough for me.