Thursday, October 31, 2013

Say What You Need To Say...A Family Tradition


She's been talking incessantly for weeks now, and occasionally there are some semblance of real words...most just imagined words...words that sound an awful lot like something, but probably aren't. It gets your hopes up, although we suspect that when the words do begin to flow, we're in for it. This little girl has an attitude...she's very certain of what she wants, which is just a gentle way of saying that I think this one's going to be a handful.

Maggie and Zed couldn't be any more different than they are...and as much as Zoey spoiled us I think Maggie will make us work.  She's not difficult as in stressful and impossible to manage, but she's paralyzingly independant and wildly stubborn. Of course, our versions of both of those characteristics  are painted with a fairly naive brush.  Both of our kids are brilliantly well behaved.

I can't wait to see the dynamic between these two sisters develop.  One is outgoing and bold, the other  even more so.  This will not be a quiet house. Mind you, it never was as long as there was something worth talking about. The difference will now be that there will be four opinions, three female voices, and one male, and no end to the stubborn boldness that should be engraved on our own little family crest.  "Yes I can. Let me tell you all about it," could be our motto. Neither Maggie or Zoey will disappoint conversationally.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Jai Is Never Enough


Your kids friends matter SO much. So much. I suspect most people don't think about it until they stumble upon a friend that they don't like, but at the risk of sounding terribly elitist, my thoughts are that you need to help them pick good ones early, and hope that they develop a connection or attraction to all of the qualities that their earliest friends exhibit. They get comfortable with what's familiar, and if being treated badly is the norm, or being taken for granted, or being used, or being led into these shenanigans or those, then that's exactly what they'll come to call friendship. Conversely, if they're treated with respect, and love, and equals, with give and take, with kindness above all else, then everything short of that will stand out in stark a sore thumb. That's why when Zoey calls her friend Jai her best friend, we smile.

Jai's a good, good boy...not just a good boy, no, a good, good boy. He's excited to see his friend Zoey, and he's easy to be around...oh so easy. He's kind and respectful, open and honest, enthusiastic times ten, and he likes in enough to value her feelings and company. They're insanely cute together and Zoey often refers to Jai as one of the only boys she likes, along with Daddy, Uncle B, Reece, Beezer, Bob, and Uncle Ian...apparently grandfathers don't count as "boys." He's parental approved through the roof, and unbeknownst to him, he's busy building a framework for friendship for Zo...a good one.

What we want more than anything is for bad choices and bad treatment, and bad ideas and people to stand out in Zoey's be illuminated by all of the good, and make it easier for her to navigate those waters with such obvious beacons. We want her making her own decisions and carving out her own directions and paths but we want as much awful stuff as possible to have gleaming light houses warning her to steer clear. Good friends are more than just good examples of what she should be looking for, but great measuring sticks to contrast the bad with.

Jai never treats Zo badly. He never takes her for granted or shuns her. He never dismisses her for others. He's just a good, good boy, and as parents we're pretty stoked about the Jai's in our daughter's life, but especially this one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mindful of the Moments...

Library sleeper

We like to foster magic in this house...wonder...curiosity...and so tonight as we were watching Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and watching Zoey all wide eyed and mesmerized, I was reminded of how fleeting this all is...all of this time. Its gone so quickly. So any chance I get to cultivate a little magic, well, I hoard it. Any chance I get to savour situations, I savour them. I try not to look past things. I try to be mindful of moments...

Like when the children discover the letter that never came, and Zoey turned around in near tears and hugged me as though she had never hugged me, not once in her life. It was amazing.

Or less than an hour later when I snapped this shot.


Finding My Way With Only an Alarm Clock, a Coffee, and an Olivier Giroud Jersey


I've written this post in the past...I've said it a hundred times...I'm so tired and loathsome of sports. Less the actual sports, in fact, almost exclusively NOT the sports themselves, but rather with the people watching them, and talking about them, and finding purpose and meaning in them. I can't stand the teaming legions of idiots and bullies that wear their favorite club's jerseys and sweatshirts, and that endlessly regurgitate sports talk bombast like it was their own. It gets to me in big ways, and I tend to personalize such things, so I really need to find new worlds to play in. The tragedy is that I love sports...always have...I just don't love the stupidity that they inspire...the short-sightedness, the elitism, the false notion of value and/or purpose. They're fun. They can be wildly dramatic. They are a fantastic distraction from every day life...and there's the rub. They ARE indeed a big distraction. Pay too much attention and you're sure to attach too much meaning, sure to find your own identity too closely attached, absolutely certain to fall into the mire of arrogant, entitled sports fan. No thanks. I prefer my sports to make me feel good, not make everyone around me miserable.

Late last night I stumbled upon the next morning's television listings, and right there at 7:30am sat an intriguing possibility. Arsenal played Crystal Palace in English Premier League soccer and it had been awhile since I'd paid any attention to that league and game that no one here in North America seems to pay any attention to. Had I just stumbled into a solution to my most recent sports conundrum? Maybe not, but I at least thought I had. No one cares about English "football" least no one I know. Perfect.

I'd watched the Premiership before, casually...because it was on...because it seemed like a pretty big deal..the crowds seemed crazy, and the culture surrounding the matches was intense and foreign, and fairly intriguing. Twenty years ago I stumbled into Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch book and was almost immediately struck curious about all that soccer business. It was a fantastic read for any sports fan, and left me with a naturally disproportionate knowledge of the Arsenal Football Club, and almost no other. I became a quiet pseudo fan, with a reason to kind of, sort of pay attention..on occasion...if there was nothing else going on...and I forgot that I didn't really care all that much. Over the years I found intermittent spikes in my interest. I even went through a short, misguided stage of waking up early on Saturday, cooking big breakfasts and cracking pre-8am beers. It was a damning distraction, but short lived so both my liver and waistline were fine. My brief sojourns into English Premier League fandom were fun, and a distraction from cold winter weekend mornings, and the best part was I had NO ONE to talk to about one, save the odd English or Scottish immigrant parent or grandparent of a friend...and all that did was intrigue me more. Still, it had none of the makings of a life long love affair, and faded almost as fast as my interest flared. Now I think I should have tried harder. Being an Arsenal fan from across an ocean, on a continent where no one really cared, was nearly the perfect solution to most of my sporting woes.

This morning felt good, and I found myself excited at the prospect of coffee and Arsene Wenger. When Crystal Palace, easily one of the worst teams in the entire Premiership, was running roughshod over a first place Arsenal side, I was engaged, and found myself caring...even despite the fact that I knew almost none of the Gunner players. Thierry Henry was long gone, van Persie gone...Fabregas, gone...Jens Lehmann, gone...Bergkamp, gone...The only player I knew on this team was Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey. I didn't know another soul. It was blissful. Sports fandom just for the sake of sports was just what I needed.

I could watch alone. I could pour a cup of coffee, and grab something to eat. I could soak up names and learn the game better. I could revel in new and unknown stories from the commentators. In short, I could be a fan without all of the unsavory awfulness of our North American games. I decided over a bowl of Rice Krispies and a steaming hot cup of coffee that I would give soccer another try...that this time I would commit. I decided in the early morning chill and half light that I would never suffer another MLB, NL, NBA, NFL fan again as long as I lived. Oh, I'll still watch, and I'll still pay attention, but I will never again get dragged through someone else's filthy fanhood. Whenever the conversation turned to sports I'd start talking about the Arsenal - Tottenham match from the week previous and watch the exodus begin. Soon enough I'll be standing in kitchens alone, just a man and his beer, and I can't think of a better end result of a sports conversation on the planet.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

As The Best Part of Fall Fades...


As the best part of Fall fades I'll take just a moment to recall what wasn't last year at this same time. In July 2013 Jimmy Twohander Lacrosse was officially introduced to the planet, after hundreds of connections to U.S. colleges, and a ridiculous amount of leg work my whole world got impossibly better seemingly overnight. By September Janie Twohander Lacrosse was a reality, and so was our first girls insanely fun group of 4-6 year olds that somehow ended up with one three year old, and a nine and eleven year old in the mix. We spent the next two months giving the game to girls who couldn't wait to get to practice each week. We had lacrosse donations from the University of Dallas, the University of Findlay (OH), the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, the University of Toronto, Queens University, Maryland, Adrian College, The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, and a host of others. We somehow found ourselves with almost 50 girls sticks, over 20 boys sticks, a donation from a Forbes 500 financier in Boston, MA, and a tonne of lacrosse balls and assorted gear. We had a bank account and a business license. We were running trash can lacrosse sessions for kids living in subsidized housing, partnered with the County, the City, and the YMCA. We were dedicating ourselves to something new, and good, and valuable. We were making kids happy, and all we did was show up with sticks and some enthusiasm. It cost them nothing but their time, and it was some of the best stuff we've ever been involved in. Last Fall it was all just an idea. As the best part of Fall fades we can't help but feel awfully proud of ourselves.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Recipe Of My Undoing...

Midnight snackin'

It's funny, just six months ago I was worried that I didn't have as much affection for Maggie as I did for Zo. It makes's a common worry, I suppose, but still one that weighs on you. Now here we are just two months past Maggie's first birthday and she's got me...she's got me all wrapped up in a little box with a Maggified bow on it. Oh, it's not like the first time around. Of course it's not, it never is. It's different, but there it I am, smitten once again...deep in smit. This one, I think, will be my undoing. For some reason, I don't know why, I suspect that this child will be the one that rearranges me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I'm probably going to offend a lot of people here but I don't care.  You'll just have to deal with it.

I'm so tired of adult men behaving like adolescent, so tired.  I don't like watching you revert to high school priorities. I can't stand how you adopt your children's slang. It drives me insane that you can't let go.  Let go of what?  Most of you, if you're any kind of normal human being, didn't achieve all that much to cling to in the first place.  As we age we get better, or are supposed to.  Stop wishing you could erase the past decade or two. You can't.  Don't try to be your kids friend.  Stop trying to make people like you.  Think for yourself.  Embrace humility. Find some perspective. Quit plastering your kids lame ass hockey team's window decals on your car.  Don't wear a team coat when all you did was fertilize an egg that grew into an athlete, if they are indeed some kind of athlete.

It would be amazing if you spent more money on your kids clothing than on your Sunday morning rec hockey stick quiver, and why on earth do you need a f#$%ing iPhone, iPad, & Macbook when you don't even know what the "Cloud" is?  Stop doing stupid fake gang signs, the Hawaiian shaka, or that God awful hook-em-horns sign in photos.  Keep your tongue in your mouth when doing the same. Please wear your hat properly. You're not Ken Griffey Jr. taking batting practice.  You don't know everything.  Please stop starting sentences, "you know what you should do." Stop compensating by driving large pick-up trucks. Stand for something, just once.  Apologize once in awhile.  Admit you don't know shit about beer, wine, or cigars...or sports while we're at it. Treat your daughters the same way that you treat your sons.  For the love of God stop talking about integrity, values, and character when you have very few reference points for any of them.

Stop f$%&ing bullying people.  No more arm band tattoos or Celtic tattoos, and please, if you're Canadian no more maple leaf tattoos.  Enough slo-pitch talk. It's not a real sport.  Similarly, running, curling, golf, etc...are different kinds of sports. They make you an athlete, absolutely, but you just have to shut the #$%& up about them.  No one care about your weekly one. Speaking of sports, if you didn't come to them until you were an adult, then you're not allowed to talk about them.  Same with guitar...if you haven't mastered it by age 35, then stop pulling it out every chance that you get. It pisses people off.

I'd give just about anything to stop reading your status updates that give holier-than-thou ultimatums to professional athletes, that preach, and that prop yourselves up in contrast with humanity.  I beg you to quit talking about indie bands unless you've got a High Fidelity-esque history of geeking out over music.  Don't wear tight t-shirts or skinny jeans.  Stop talking about "the boys" because none of you have been boys for a loong ass time. Start respecting women who aren't your mother, and please, please, please don't ever call me bro.

Keep it real.  Idiots.

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Antidote For Shrinking...

It's an incredible video. SO incredible that I wish my daughter were old enough to absorb it now. I think I've found the most profound lessons in the past decade in slam poetry, and it's no's a medium that takes traditionally gagged young people and sets their mouths and minds free. It's brilliant.

Lily makes me think, as the lone man in my home, what is it that I endorse...stifle...shy away from, or talk over. How do I support or suppress my own daughters? Already Zoey is quick to apologize for miscues, and it makes my stomach flip each time, and yet...there it is. "Sorry Daddy," and my heart breaks. I need not get so upset...need not demand so much, so often...need to pick my battles...pick my heart for what matters most...not furrow my brow and watch her shrink.

 It's tough sometimes being on the opposite side of all of those layers of oppression, especially the systemic stuff...the cultural's tough sometimes, if you have a conscience and a propensity to think, to be white, male, large and not often speak your mind, and feel accomplished and anchored down by nothing. It's tough because so much of what I am, have, and will be comes from those five things that all came to me so naturally. I've never had to work for attention, nor have I ever stumbled into someone that didn't assume that I was capable. I've been given opportunities and steered clear of pitfalls, often, and thoughtlessly, because I was white, male, large and not often intimidated...because I was speaking my mind and loudly, and because I had accomplished things and was anchored down by nothing.

 If I'm a good man then it'll show in my daughters. If I could be better, well...I hope we don't ever catch a glimpse of that in their eyes. I've never been scared of failing at much, but this time I'm petrified.

Team Zed vs. Everything


Just me and you kid, that's it. For tonight at least. June is still in the hospital, and Maggie's gone with Baachan for the night, and so it's just Zoey and me...just the two of us versus this cold, unfeeling world. Drama aside, I'm feeling a little better and so I'm thankful that I'm not doing any of this from flat on my back, or without help. Baachan has been a saviour, and Zo's been so, so good. I've been gently ushered through this ordeal by loving hands, and thank God! But tonight it's just me and Tigers baseball...just a quiet, half empty house. Sigh. That's okay...we'll survive. We'll figure something out. It's not a daunting proposition by any means, it just sucks how it's all come about. Zoey will be excited...just her and I. It's all so hard for her to wrap her head around. She spent the bulk of our visit with Mummy last night playing in an empty closet. There's no life or death in the mix here and so Zo will be just happy to have someone's undivided attention for a night. She's arguably the easiest company a person can have...always happy...always energetic...eager to please...always capable of completely making your baffles me that we're so blessed. Karma's treated us right. A night of just Zo and myself is a grin inducing thing, but the smile would be wider if we could have managed it another way. As overly sentimental as it sounds, there's just nothing on the face of the earth that makes me feel so capable, so inexplicably safe and stable, so perfectly placed, as these girls. I'm impossibly bombproof when we're together, and I suppose that's how it should be. If it isn't then perhaps you need to examine your life and your choices more closely. Nothing makes me feel quite so relevant. Nothing. So tonight it's me and Zoey versus the world, but on any given day it's me and these three girls against everything that ever threatens happiness. Most days we win.

Sore Throats and Stubborn Mothers

Mom Daughter Hospital

She's a tough really, she's a really tough girl, and she's a mother.  She's almost always far healthier than I am...almost never falls ill.  Then yesterday she decided to hit the emergency room to address a horrifically sore throat and before you could say antibiotics she was admitted.  It was a pretty bad infection and she was kept overnight.  At the moment she's beating herself up over not going in sooner, but what d'ya do?  She's a tough girl and she doesn't go wailing for help each and every time she feels a little under the weather.  She's no different than most Moms that I charge of her own little world...and so when a sore throat came knockin' she did what many other mothers would do...she ignored it, and kept plugging away.  She shouldn't have.  If there's a lesson in it all it's that no one is infallible...not even moms. June amazes me with her toughness, always has, but you just can't go a career undefeated. Everyone gets knocked down. It's been a good lesson for me too. I tend to get impatient with my health, upset at progress or bad luck, or my own unique circumstances when in reality, aside from trying to be as healthy as I possibly can be, I have no control over what the universe chucks me. I need to relax about it all. Maybe moms are not only tougher, but more inclined to roll with the punches? Who knows? I only know that this mom doesn't get knocked down much, so it's strange to see her in her hospital gown. Look at the smile though...see what I mean...rolling with the punches. That's my girl.                                                                  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

An Awfully Lucky Group


It was a long time between family photos.  Now we've managed two in two'd think we did this all of the time.  You certainly don't think about how nice it is to have until you see it, then you wonder aloud why you don't do it more often.

I feel lucky.  There are millions of families who couldn't manage a photo like this...someone would be missing...tragedy may have struck...or someone just isn't talking to someone anymore...but we've come to a place in our lives where we can manage it quite easily.  Many others cannot.  There is no lingering issues...just love and fun and really good family photos.  You can't ask for much more than that.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Things That I Think I Understand

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.”
                                                             — Iyanla Vanzant

I sat in a coffee shop with an old friend this past Thanksgiving Monday and we talked about a lot of things, and what always strikes me after we talk is how the conversation always seems to shed light on the notion that how we see the world is our most defining characteristic.  After a lot of years of hearing the most challenging things every day, things that don't seem to make much sense, and after rising and falling with the tides of my life, this is what I've come to understand...

- your own story is a powerful thing, and if it isn't, you're not writing it properly.

- always speak up...always say what you believe to be true...never take anyone's sh!t.

- gentleness is our greatest strength.

- seek value and purpose before you go looking for anything else.

- never, ever be less than what you might be...never.

- somewhere there is someone that thinks that you're the greatest thing since oxygen...find that person.

- don't sit back and let dreams stay dreams.

- people should respect you, or not...they can find grey areas in liking you, but not respecting you.

- if you like someone then you can say whatever you need to..if they like you, they'll accept it.

- don't trust liars or desperate people.

- there are a lot of reasons but not very many excuses.

- have standards, and wear them like war medals.

- believe in people, ideas, and yourself.

- it's rarely as bad as you think it is, and then sometimes it's worse.

- listen to your gut.

- understand that everyone is fallible, then prop them up as best as you can.

- there are a lot of people with pretty crowded paths and only they can navigate them.

- say it if it's important.

- who we are is up to us, but we all need to be shown a few things.

- it's impossible to understand another person, but you can still accept them.

- sometimes we have to fail...have to.

- you'll know the people who will change your life when you see them, but you might not really see them for years.

- hope is stronger than love.

- there's cutting your losses and there's quitting...never quit.

- integrity takes a long time to cultivate, but if you can...

- there are a billion people out there dying to know you, and a whole bunch who know you already and don't value you. You choose who you want to invest in.

- everything's going to be will.

- you never know who will save your life, or why

- you probably have no idea what people think of you. Live your life so that if you did know, you'd blush.

- people will never forget how you make them feel...never.

- when someone shows you who they really are, believe in the truth of that moment.

- it's important to be able to take punches, but giving them right back is really important too

- I really like people who really like me

- courage is the most important thing

- resiliency is firmly rooted to your options

- don't let other people dictate the direction of your life

- fear is good

- you have to be proud of yourself or things get confusing

- bad things that happen make bad things happen, period.

- don't take yourself so seriously...we're all occasional idiots.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Advice

"Sometimes the battery dying is the best thing that can happen."

Write that down.

Back Atcha Universe...

Zoey Adrian College

So the day looked like this...

Long road trip to Adrian College with Zoey to pick up some donated lacrosse gear...30 bags and a big bucket of balls...a quick u-turn and then straight back to an awesome Autumn Detroit Zoo, all the while working out the kinks in our new book about a secret underground school for exceptional children whom Zoey likes to call spies but who are really just exceptional children.  Somehow there were lots of robots too...shrug... It was a ridiculously beautiful day, and we ate horribly, drive great distances, and sang a lot of songs from The Wizard of Oz.  Oh, and Zoey walked with peacocks, and a completely harmless carousel nearly made me chuff.

Zoey Peregrine Falcon

On the way home we scooped up a package of girl's lacrosse heads from Maryland...22 of them. Boom...AND got a message from my friend John, with Michigan Lacrosse, telling me that they were putting together some things to donate to Jimmy Twohander as well. Thumbs up throughout the van.  Then, when we scooted home I discovered that the Tegan and Sara DVD is now on Netflix. Double Boom.

Sometimes you kick the universe's ass.  Sometimes.  Today was one of those times.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's The Best Thing I've Ever Done...


They can wipe away an entire week in just an the first five minutes. Today I went to a wake for a friend, and then came home to this. Today was a whirlwind of work and old friends and laughs and stories, and regrets, and tears...and of another friend who buried his father today, and then snuck over to offer his own condolences was a lot to absorb...and then we rushed home to what seemed like the happiest girls alive. I typically spend all day Thursday waiting to see these girls, and today the urge was multiplied by a thousand.


It's the most fun you can have without it being illegal.  We play a lot of games that don't seem to have much to do with lacrosse, and we keep things moving.  Five year olds are tough to keep engaged, and I sometimes spend the days before a practice freaking out about what kind of nonsense we can keep busy with, but not we just laughed and ran around in circles, it seemed, and that was fine with me...if you're ever going to need a pick-me-up to get through your day, I highly recommend 3-7 year old lacrosse players.  Works wonders.


The girls have SO much fun that it's hard not to fall right in rhythm with them.  They can erase a bad day or week in no time, and I'll miss them so much when the snow starts to fall.  It'll certainly be a long, long wait until Spring arrives.  They're just happy to be together...just happy to be playing...we could learn a thing or two.  It's easily one of the best things that I've ever done, and each week reminds me of that in a tsunami of giggles and squeals and begging to stay long after we're done.  Need to get happy?  I'll introduce you to a dozen of my funniest friends.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sometimes a Great Thing...

Daddy Lacrosse Running

It isn't about the game at all. It's just a game, after all. It's about how it makes me feel, and I don't think that it's just a by-product of the game,'s a state that I find myself in...a place of peace...and it's been that way since I was a kid, but it comes from somewhere other than the joys and challenges of a game.  It astonishes me how I ever forgot it.  It's a connection thing, a heart beating under a bright sun, with wet grass beneath my feet and eyes squinting into the blue.  It's a heaving chest and a burning feeling of great gulps of air, and it's the chasing and being chased.  It's being with others, and it's a mix of humility and mastery.  It's remembering what it's like to be eight years old and cradling a stick. It's as close to being connected to everything and all at once as I get, and I love it.

It's why I wanted to give it to the kids that I see on the street, in the halls at school, sitting in offices and waiting for appointments that change their's why I wanted to try and do something that honours the game, and embraces a physical kind of reverence, a kind that I've found in few other places.  The game, and the medicine that it is intended to create, is more unfathomable magic than sport.  It heals.

Dodging Dad

The game was born out of an impossibly simple story, and is the oldest game we play here on this continent.  It is not just connected to our past, it is our past, and you can feel it if you're paying proper attention.  I do.  It's a tether to something barely comprehensible, something as ancient as us, and that's humbling.  Now I see what others see on their mountain tops and in the middle of oceans and on frozen ponds and empty gyms (I'm still a giant fan of half darkened empty gymnasiums).

My friend Dan's what anchored him to his ancient animal instincts and urges.  I never understood, and then one day I did.  It connected him to something, and he didn't need to explain that to anyone.  It just did.  So he trained and he fought and he ignored everyone, and somewhere in all of that he felt anchored.  This game does the same for me, and as a young man I was barely paying attention.  Now I notice the pounding heart, and I relish the tightness in my hamstrings the next day.  I literally expand with pride and joy when things are working.  It's gone from an ego driven thing in my youth, to a joyful extension of my own deeply personal characteristics...I like being unselfish...I like trying something new and doing things that require stepping out of my comfort zone...I like knowing better, and heading none of those urges...I like feeling alive in the company of others.  This isn't about the game, although it's very much a game that makes me feel this way.  This is about finding myself in something so much bigger, and that, alone, is a healthy, impossibly difficult thing to explain.  I love playing, and I love being around it, and I love thinking about it.

Daddy Daughter Lacrosse

I especially love knowing that my daughter is watching, and that she's soaking up all of the awesome that I can dig up and leave lying on the ground for her.  I love that she appears mid-game, running over the hill and yelling, "Daddy, Daddy," and waving like her arm's on fire...and how she giggles and dances on the sideline, and waits for her Dad to be done.  I love the look on her face and her desperate desire to wrap her arms around me.  That has nothing to do with the game, but everything to do with finding that peaceful place where the rest of the world fades, leaving just you and a heaving chest.  Is it magic?  Maybe.  It sure is medicine.

Birthday Girl

June goofy face

Last weekend was June's birthday...and we got so caught up in this and that we completely forgot to slap a little somethin' somethin' down here.  So this is what I've got...

Happy Birthday June...I've known you now for 18 of them and I'm perpetually amazed by your boundless youth, and unfettered happiness.  You're the brightest star in any sky, not just mine.  Your the reason I wanted seemed impossible for them not to be just as incredible.  Somehow you love me, and that's no small feat...I sometimes don't make it easy...and somehow the world hasn't worn you down, not even a little, and it shows on your face, and in your laugh, and in how you treat everyone around you.  It's no're as beautiful now as you were way back then, maybe more.

It seems impossible that you're a day older than you were all those years ago...impossible.  I know it's cliche and I know it's been said about a billion times but without you I am far, far less than I am when you are here, smiling beside me.  Happy, oh-so happy birthday.  Whatever you were before, you are better now, and that seems impossible.

Mucho love, affection, and the occasional annoyance that you are legally bound to tolerate...


The Baachan and Grandma Factor


People make mention to us all the time about how good our girls well behaved, and how happy, and nice they are.  You can root through all of the equations that you like, but the simplest math works best.  Both girls have grown up with their grandmothers playing large roles.

Zoey spent three of her first four years in the company of her Grandma...five days a week.  There was a lot of attention and love, and not a lot of room for things to slip past Grandma.  Add Baachan to the mix and she had a really solid combo of adult female care givers.

Maggie has a combination of both...Grandma watches her one day a week, and Baachan gives us two...and between the two grandparents our girls are watched by attentive and wise eyes...not the kind you find in day cares.  It makes a difference.  It matters.  We're SO beyond lucky to have the privilege of pulling in grandparents, especially grandmothers, into the mix so deeply.  Many people can't.

There's no trick to good's luck...and caring eyes.  Our girls have no less than eight eyes watching on many days, and it makes all the difference in the world.  We're so grateful and so fortunate to have such incredible women helping to shape what we hope turn out to be incredible women.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stepping Up To The Plate...Virginia Lacrosse Gives Big

Thank you Virginia Lacrosse! #jimmytwohander

Some big boxes were dropped off at the house yesterday with a return address that said Charlottesville, VA, which surely meant only one thing...that the University of Virginia's Men's Lacrosse Program had donated some goods to Jimmy Twohander.  They had.

Wahoo Lax...the new semi-official partner of Jimmy Twohander Lacrosse!!

My jaw dropped when I opened the boxes.  They were loaded Cavalier gear.  Sitting right on top of the first box was a Wahoo helmet, and right below that were a bunch of unstrung lacrosse heads, and then mesh, and then a dozen or so brand new elbow pads and slash guards, helmet stickers and balls...lots of balls.  It was like Christmas.  A long, tough day was immediately wiped out.

Jimmy Twohander is suddenly a MONSTER Virginia fan! Go Wahoo Lax!!

The others were full of lacrosse heads and pinnies...dozens upon dozens of Virginia Lacrosse we'll never have to buy a pinnie for these programs again.  We tore through the gear, so excited to see what treasures were beneath other treasures.  We were twelve years old and it was an incredible reminder of all that you take for granted in your life...all of the mesmerizing bits of wonder that, as adults, we've forgotten.  Ripping open a box full of surprises is just about at the top of the list of life long thrills.  We couldn't believe everything that Virginia had sent.

UVa comes up BIG TIME for Jimmy Twohander Lacrosse!! Cavalier gear out the wazoo!

This little idea of ours is really's really turning into something.  It's getting a lot of attention in the very limited exposure we've allowed it to have.  We've been really pulling on the reins, trying to keep it a manageable thing until we're better prepared to roll out with legs pumping, full speed and elbows flying, and even with all that restraint we're still managing to pull in support and heartwarming high fives.  It's been inspiring.  The University of Virginia had no reason to send us stuff except we asked....we asked, and they care.  That's it.  It's pretty obvious that the people that make the University of Virginia's Men's Lacrosse Program care about the game of lacrosse, and about growing it and giving back as best as they can.  When I spoke with Peter Krawczyk, their Director of Operations, he mentioned that they had just cleaned out most of their storage facility sending stuff to the Harlem Lacrosse Academy...and they still sent all this stuff!  It's incredible.  It's a lesson in changing the caring...all you have to do is let good people into your life, and odds are that they'll work hard to help change it.

Thanks you Peter...Thank you Coach Starsia.  Thanks Virginia Lacrosse.  We're still speechless.

Very Sick...Very Loved

Sick Girl and sister

It could be tonsillitis.  We're hoping it's not tonsillitis.  She feels like a lot of TV...whines a little...doesn't want to eat...has puked...once on top of a closed toilet seat...but still manages to be barely keep the tears at bay despite having that broken glass feeling in her throat.  We've got a championship daughter here...and her sister likes her an awful lot too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Watch This Video Thru Wet Eyes...

Pearl Jam is the greatest band on the planet, and Steve Gleason
might just be the greatest man. Watch his...


It doesn't take much to throw me off balance, so when the news came that our friend, Dan, had passed away I was in shock.  I showed my brother the phone, and passed it on to another friend.  Lacrosse practice was just coming to an end and so the word travelled fast around the group.  We were all in shock...we spoke for just a few minutes about the tragedy, and then slipped into conversations unrelated...but there it was, looming.  Most guys snuck off to home, while a few the time I got home the messages were flying back and forth, and the weight of what had just happened was sinking in.  Before the evening had turned into night I was randomly moved to wet eyes on a dozen occasions.  I bathed our girls, and felt lucky.  I answered a few messages while June put Maggie down, and helped Zoey brush her teeth.  I told her I'd be right there to read Zoey to sleep.

Every night we read.  We used to read the short picture books that are geared towards a rapidly developing comprehension and word recognition, but could be up half the night. At one point, a long time ago, we began reading chapter books.  Zoey loved them, and a chapter was enough to illicit snores.  This time there were no snores, only wide eyes, and after one chapter, and then another, Zoey sat up in bed and asked me if I would stay with her.  If I would lay down.  I did.  We closed our eyes and tried to sleep, together, and she stroked my hair, and played with the features of my face, until many hours later I woke, and there she was, asleep directly beside me.

The privilege wasn't lost on me, and it might take a few days for things to really sink in.  I can't believe how much it's affecting me.  June as well.  Maybe Zoey knows.  She hears just about everything, and sees even more.  It wouldn't be a surprise.  She's never once ushered me to sleep, but last night she was quick to do just that.  Maybe she did know that something was amiss?  Regardless, I needed that attention, without even knowing that I did.

That's the kind of mark you left Dan...and just like you to sneak up on someone...the loudest guy in the room and I never expected your company.  I've never not been able to sleep in my life, and now...

Who Knew...

Girls stick vs boys stick #janietwohander #jimmytwohander #girlslacrosse

I coach little girls lacrosse now. Ask me what I know about girls lacrosse.  The answer is nothing, but I want to be with my daughter, and I want to feel alive and do something that we all, so typically, wait for other people to do for us.  I'm so done with waiting for other people. So I coach little girls lacrosse, and it's the best part of my week.  Nothing else even comes close.

I learn a lot each how impossible it is to get five year olds to stand in a straight line...or how much better simple is than how everything should be fun, and how everything is better when you have people to laugh with.  I've learned that good ideas sometimes suck, and bad ideas aren't always all that bad.  I've learned that there is a whole lot of of love out there if you just go looking for it.  Right now there are a dozen or so girls that fill my life with more happiness than they'll ever be able to comprehend, and I don't need to know a damn thing about girls lacrosse to understand the value of that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

See #15 There? That's My Cousin...

Ave's biggest fan

It was ridiculous...almost unbearably cute.  Zo's cousin, Avery, was playing basketball at a local high school, and in marches Zed with her homemade sign..."Go Avery Go!"  She stood on the baseline and watched warm-ups, and then moved to the sideline for the actual game.  Half the gymnasium's heads nearly burst.

Sideline fan

She's a big fan of her cousin Avery.  She's a big girl, and a girl that has always paid a lot of attention to Zo.  It was almost too much to watch her wide eyes and excitement as Ave ran up and down the court. It's a swooner, and always has been, watching the way that young girls become mesmerized by big girls...such wishful looks in their can almost see it in their faces...someday that's gonna be me.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Long Overdue Blog Post in Which We Talk About Fear and Other Awesome Things

It's been awhile since I've scribbled any little thing down here, and that's okay...I mean, I apologize to everyone who drops by from time to time, but it's okay because I've been doing things worthy of blogging...frightening things...things I'mnot so sure of...things that leave me feeling full and empty at the same time...things that scare me to bits.

I like fear. I'll tell you why. It's better than a back porch light in terms of illuminating the darkness. It tells you a lot about yourself...your values, your priorities, your hopes and reveals your true self.  I'm scared to death to do half of the things that I do, and still I do them.  Every day is an exercise in overcoming fear and anxiety...every day, but what I've learned of late is that it's been a long time since I let my knees knock outside of work.  Somehow I had fallen far from fear, or rather I was doing more hiding than confronting. Oh, I was still scared, I was just shivering under my pillow rather than getting up and turning on the light. Have you ever been there...ever done that?  It can eat up years...lifetimes if you're not careful.

I remember a time when I was a kid when I would hide my head under the sheets every time I suspected something unnatural was up and about in my room, and then one night I simply mustered up some strength and ripped the sheets back and stood up to face whatever ghost or demon had crowded my darkest hours.  I was a landmark moment.  I learned that hiding does you no good unless  it's from Nazis or Slave catchers...unless your fear is actual living, breathing evil incarnate. Everything else is conquerable.  It was an important lesson, maybe THE most important lesson.

Fast forward thirty-five years and I'd somehow forgotten how good it felt to simply rip the covers back and confront whatever it was that I was hiding from. For me it was what I was capable of...or perhaps some people's versions of success.  There was once a time when I chased every shadow in hopes of finding the sun, but then something happened to keep me inside, away from both blue and grey skies,  safe from harm, and disappointment.  I can tell you what it was, but won't.  That's for another post entirely.  All I know is that I once shined bright, I was an inexhaustible light, and then as suddenly as it was strange, I was happy just to glow.  Then, over the last few months I've felt a lot like that night when I ripped the covers away and stood up to face the darkness, wearing only flannel pyjamas and courage.  I feel the warmth of the sun again, and am neither scared of getting burned, or fearful of the return of the dark.  Like Sean Astin once said before Rudy ruined him, "this is our time." He was right.

It always is you know? Always.  Now is it. It's all we've got. You can't wait.  So as this oddly shaped business venture finds it's quiet way, each step into the light feels a lot like a version of me That I left standing in a crowded Boys and Girls Club meeting room somewhere a long time ago...and that guy was unstoppable. This guy would like that guy a lot, I fact, they're awfully close to being one and the same.

After all these years I've figured it's all about fear...where it came from, how it manifests itself, why we give it a comfy place to reside, how it was nurtured and just what it eats to stay's about fear and I can tell you straight from my heart, it defines us...all of us.  It's why you don't go to the doctor, and why you don't chase that dream...why you don't say what needs to be said, and why you regret, and wish, and feel not good enough.  I'll stand up and tell you that it can be exactly what you need to live the way that you should, but only if you're willing to confront it...only if you're willing to rip the covers off of your quivering body and stand up to whatever's there in your bedroom, or more realistically, whatever you imagine to be there.  Be brave. Fight back. Stand up. Don't hide.

Fear isn't what defines us after all, it's how we respond to it.  I got tired of hiding this summer. It had been years... and ever since I tore the sheets back I've had no time for worrying, for doubting...for blogging even. I've been too busy feeling like the kind of person that I want you to believe that I am... too busy getting back to being me.  It feels good, and yes, I'm still scared, but not so scared that I can't stand up and face the world in only my PJs.