Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Voice of Reason in Suburbia

I found myself fully engulfed in suburbia last night.  After I got home and changed I went out front to play with Gina and the girls.  As I sat down to chalk the sidewalk Gina ran in to get changed for her class and the girls and I continued with our walk way art exhibition. ... which was mostly them asking me to draw cookie monster over and over again.  Shortly there after a lady down the street walked up with her little dog, which the girls loved and which sent Karma in to an apprehensive panic.  Then the neighbor across the street came over with her 3 year old grandson who tried to play dinosaur hunter with our bewildered girls.  Our elderly neighbors then joined the mix with their dog, returning from their nightly evening walk, followed by the pregnant daughter of the neighbor across the street.  It turned in to this swarming mass of bodies and competeing dialogues, oddly reminiscent of a shark feeding frenzy only with pleasant niceties and a distinct lack of fish.  As the trash truck approached where we were standing to get his final pick ups for the day, the conversation grew even louder in an attempt to top the diesel beast.  Suddenly, like a little light in a dark void, a high pitch "thank you' pierced the hubbub.  Everyone stopped and looked down to see Arianna standing there, waving at the trash man and expressing her gratitude for his hard job.  It was a very sweet, genuinely pure moment.  Now, she didn't come to this on her own (I don't want to build it into more than it was) as I usually make them wave and thank the trash man when he goes by.  But none the less it was an unsolicited response from her as I was fully enwrapped in a conversation with the pregnant neighbor about varicose veins and how much they suck (or so I hear).  It made me very proud that in the chaos around her Arianna still remembered that that's what we do.  That's who we are.  We are the people who thank the thankless and appreciate those who do us a service.  God I hope she's able to stay this way for ever.  Minus the incessant nose picking of course.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clues You Have a Toddler

I apologize for the spotty blogging lately - life has been chaotic at work and, with Gina gone every weekend this past month - it's been pretty chaotic at home too.  It'll get better, I promise, so keep sticking with me.  Today I just wanted to relay a few things that I've come to find are irrefutable proof that you have a toddler at home. ... or two.
1) Every time you sit on the toilet someone rounds to corner and congratulates you; offering an M&M for your successful pee-pee in the toilet.
2) When you do something right you hear "Good dog Daddy." Which is an improvement of sorts over "Good girl Daddy."
3) You can identify your children via their teeth marks.
4) The cat has attempted to run away.
5) You're wine cabinet is empty.
6) The "time out" chair is the most sat in seat in the house.
7) You've run out of excuses as to why cookies can not be had for breakfast.
8) You've watched 20 minutes of Wow Wow Wubbzy before realizing everyone else was in bed and you can change the channel at your leisure.
9) You fantasize about a remake of "The Most Dangerous Game"... starring Elmo.
10) You're in love. ... like you've never been before.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jersey Girls

When I was a senior in high school I was captain of the boys volleyball team.  Nearly every game that year my cousin (who played volleyball in college) was in attendance with her then 2 year old son.  She would deck him out in "Kyle fan club" gear and I still remember how awesome that made me feel.  So I've been wanting to pass that on for quite some time.  This year I decided I was going to get soccer jerseys for the girls to wear to their Thea (my 11 year old sister-in-law's) soccer games.  It's no easy feat finding soccer jersey's for 2 year olds that aren't for some professional team. ... but I found them.  And today we got our chance to surprise her and rock 'em for the first time.  It gives me joy to know that in 20 years, Ilianna will still have that memory of my girls standing their in teal #7 jerseys, and maybe she'll find a way to pass it on herself.  In life, it's not just important to be the person on the field, it's important to be the person in the stands cheering as well.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning How to "Play"

Yesterday when I got home from work, I was changing into some more comfortable duds when Gina and I noticed Genevieve standing in front of the entertainment system perplexed.  She studied it for a while, then picked up an Elmo DVD that was floating around and started trying to fit it into any space she could find.  The gap under the DISH box - the decorative spacing on the tuner - the unopened door for the blue-ray.  She grasped the concept that the DVD goes in somewhere and that makes Elmo appear. ... she's just not sure where yet.  It's amazing to watch them figure these things out. ... the brain power to learn from observation as opposed to repetitive conditioning.  Makes me think I need to be more careful in what they see me do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1 Down 8 To Go

The truth is, you don't mourn for an animal like you would a person.  You grieve for a few days, suck it up and you move on.  That's just the way that life goes.  You enter the arraignment fully aware that it's only going to be for a few years, unlike people who have the potential to go 80, 90 even 100 years; dogs and cats are ancient if they make it a decade and a half.  So by Sunday we were doing our best to let Fila go.  That's not to say we didn't double take at night time shadows passing by the window or look around extra diligently when we walked to our cars in the morning.  But, we'd accepted that she was gone.  Then Sunday came.  I brought the girls home from breakfast with my mom and sister and I'd just gotten them into beds for nap time when my phone rang with an unlisted number.  I have a policy that I don't answer unlisted numbers, but for some reason I did.  An older woman on the other line said she had a young cat who had my phone number around her neck. ... I about dropped the phone.  Turns out that the night she'd gone missing she found her way into the backyard of a woman down the street (of course it's right on the one big street that runs through our area).  After the initial encounter the woman didn't see her again until Friday night when she found her in her garage.  The woman had a cat door cut into the side of their garage door and Fila must have sought shelter in there.  The thing I'm wondering about is why the woman waited two days to finally call me?!  I have a  feeling that upon finding such a nice cat she was going to keep her, but Fila's deviated septum and the resulting snort/snoring noise she makes finally drove the woman crazy and she changed her mind.  Either way, I picked her up and as we went outside to walk home she dug her nails into my chest in terror, not unlatching until we got back inside. 5 days in the wild and she's lost all interest in exploring.  Then she slept for 48 hours straight.  She's a little skinny, she's got some cuts on her face and she's got a slight limp in her back leg - but hey, it's a whole lot better then being dead, right?!  When the girls woke up from their nap. ... let's just "excited" doesn't do the emotion justice.  So that's 1 life down, 8 left to go.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Long Kiss Goodbye

When we moved in with my in-laws one of our biggest concerns was our pets.  We knew the dog would be ok, but the cats were a whole other ball of wax. ... yarn I suppose is more appropriate.  My in-laws are cat people, but that word "cat" is very plural as they've gone through quite a few over the years.  Their home is a beautiful Mediterranean style building, but as such it's designed to have that open air vibe.  All their cats are, therefore, required to become accustomed to life outside - and with the channel running behind the house proving to be a highway for coyote traffic, most of them have ended up as lunch.  When we moved in they had Simba, who's like a real life version of Garfield so, despite going outside from time to time, he divides most of his day between the sofa and his food bowl and seems to be in this for the long haul.  To keep our strictly indoor cats off the menu, we were very cautious about keeping doors closed and cats indoors.  Unfortunately someone had a laps in the new protocol and Gina came down stairs Tuesday morning to find a wide open door to the courtyard.  Fila has not been seen since.  It's safe to say that, given her 0 hours of outdoor time in her 4 1/2 years, she's no longer among the living.  It's unfortunate too, because as far as cats go she was as good as they get.  You've seen the video's of the girls dragging her around and the pictures of her snuggled up with the dog.  She was absolutely perfect.  Anyone who ever met her (even strictly dog people) couldn't help but cope to the fact that she was pretty awesome.  Even her name, Fila, is short for the Greek word "kiss", which we gave her because of her undying affection and need to lick whom ever was willing to pet her.  She will be missed. ... much more than this particular dog person every realized.  So, in memorial, here are some things to remember her by.
The kitten that would not get out of my underwear

Man's best friend and dog's best friend.

Dog meet cat.

Always comfortable.


Great at hugs. ... even from newbies.

and of course, the piece de' resistance. ... watch till the end

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If the Moon Were Mine

So the dilemma for the past week or so has been that damn lunar satellite of ours.  The girls have always been fond of the moon, but now they've decided it's not good enough to just look at it, they want to hold it.  So why can't Daddy just stand up and grab it for them?!  Now they've given up asking me to grab it and are attempting to jump up and get it on their own.  It's really quite cute because they're mad hops take them all of an 1/8th of an inch off the ground.  But they sure do try hard.  So I thought, how disappointing it must be to realize your dad can't get you something as simple as the moon. ... it's obviously right there!!  And I wanted to convey my desire to do this for them.  So I wrote a little poem, just so they know (later in life when they can read) that if I could get it for them, I wouldn't hesitate to do so.

If the Moon Were Mine

If the moon were mine, I’d give it to you,
For what would I do with the occasionally blue,
Occasionally full and often times smiley,
Hunk of great cheese, who can be quite wily?

For he has no clocks to which he is pawn
Up some days at midnight and others at dawn
And he often times wanders in pale lighted strolls
Sticking close to the mountains and hills and atolls

And other nights, I look up and see
Him high in the sky over buildings and trees.
And once in a while he must oversleep
For he shows not at all, not a glimmer or peep.

But the nights that he comes he’s careful to stay
Just out of reach and out of harm’s way.
For he knows this fact to be perfectly true,
If given the chance I’d catch him for you.

I’d polish him up and stick him in box
And wrap it up tight with bow placed atop.
The glow on your face as you opened the gift
Would be partially yours and partially his.

But tonight, I regret, he is just out of reach
And a wonderful lesson for us he’s to teach;
For the moon is not yours, it’s not mine, it’s not theirs
It’s one of the few things the whole world can share.

So for now we'll just watch him up high in the sky
And when he must pass we will say our goodbyes.
For you know that I love you and this fact is true,
If the moon were mine, I’d give him to you.

Monday, September 12, 2011


There wasn't much to blog about yesterday.  Pretty much everyone had the same thing to write, just a different vantage point or memory.  Even just saying the words 9-11 out loud, transports those of us that were alive that day to a vivid memory of what we were doing or where we were when the news hit us.  It was was one of the most somber days I can ever remember.  It was the entire nation, mourning all together at once.  But then September 12th came the next day, and something amazing happened; life went on.  The world didn't end that day.  The terrorists didn't win.  In the decade since I've graduated college.  I've married a wonderful woman.  I've worked a job.  I've had children born and others conceived.  Even more amazing; I've had worse days then that one.  When we found out we were losing our first daughter. ... that was a worse day.  So you see, the world kept spinning - and more days like September 12th followed.  It is great that we make sure never to forget those lost and the vulnerability that we really have (a misconception to Americans for quite some time that was brutally shattered that day), but it's a greater memoriam for them that we continue to live.  Yesterday I didn't read a news paper.  I didn't attend a service or watch a speech on TV.  I took my daughters to the fair.  I looked at cows and ponies, even a shark exhibit.  I enjoyed a beautiful sunny day with them.  That's how I commemorated the day.  With life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Um. ... I may be crushing on Elmo.

You remember that brief period in high school where you hung around your best friend and their girlfriend/boyfriend almost all the time, and eventually found yourself beginning to have feelings for the significant other?  It was weird, right?  Cause you didn't like them before they started dating and you can't even pinpoint what it is you like about them now. ... but it's like you can't help but have this weird attraction going on.  Almost like you're tapping in to your besties emotional state and starting to superimpose it in to your own.  Anyway, I have this sickening feeling that I'm starting to develop some kind of man crush on Elmo.  I can't stand the narcissistic little bugger, but the girls birthday is coming up next month and "we're" planning an Elmo party (meaning Gina is planning an Elmo party and my idea's are being put in the suggestion box. ... i.e. the "good try, but no" box).  So I'm suddenly on Team Elmo and gettign a little obsessed trying to think of things that'll make this party awesome.  I've got these giant Elmo dolls (like 42" tall) I bought for them (although one had to come from North Carolina and I'm starting to see why the USPS is going bankrupt), I've thought about Elmo bounce houses and those Elmo cupcakes that look like that faces.  There's Elmo puppets, plates and party favors. ... I've also begun searching for a giant, mascot style Elmo costume under the presumption that I'll dress up and entertain the kiddies for an hour or so.  I've line one up - $75 for the day - but I'm getting some resistance from. ...well. ... pretty much everybody.  They seem to think that if a 6''3" Elmo comes bounding through the door I'm going to scar my children for the rest of their lives.  My thinking is, if they love the 3 foot Elmo on TV, why wouldn't they love one that's twice the size?!  It's like going to the fair - if you love a foot long hot dog, why not a 2 foot hot dog?!  You like horses, how about Godzilla the horse - who's 3 times bigger then most!  Love to go on the swings?  Here's a swing that's 15 stories tall!!!!  See my point?  People love bigger versions of their favorite things.  I think it's a go!  Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?  Is an Elmo the size an NBA point guard disturbing, or is the old adage true: bigger is better?  Also, is my little man crush unhealthy, and will it eventually go away?  I don't want to get to the point where I'm imagining us on some tropical beach sipping mai tai's and holding hands in parallel chaise lounge chairs while the tide comes in around us.

option a)

option b)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

As My Guitar Gently. ... Pee's?

After putting the girls down last night, I picked up my guitar for a little "me" time.  I was particularly perturbed to hear an awkward rattling noise coming from the inside as I lifted the guitar up, which I first assumed was part of my pickup.  As I moved the guitar around and strained to see what was inside, I spotted a bright orange "p".  Now, none of our magnetic fridge letters made it to the new house. ... so I'm kind of shocked that the letter "p" has myseriously shown up. ... and somehow made it's home inside my instrument.  Now the question is. ... who p'd in my guitar?!