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MONORAIL: LATEST ENTRIES [random]
WIFE (permalink) 05.27.2016
17
i was headed out the door to play tennis. marty came down the stairs wrapped only in, wonkily so, one of the kids winter coats. she said she wanted to tell me something. the something was sweet and loving and made me feel 17 instead of 47. she had to get the coat because she wasn't dressed and saw i had the front door open and my bike was sitting outside so she knew i wouldn't want to close the door. as she ran back up the stairs she pulled the coat aside and flashed me her nakedness, her playful laugh ringing through the foyer before snapping it closed and rounding out of site. more 17 year old tingles.




 
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WEB (permalink) 06.01.2010
peace out
it's that time of year again when i join the rest of blog-free america for a month. this year, i almost decided to not take my usual sabbatical but then a few things happened, three things to be exact. the first thing i wasn't around for personally, i just heard about it afterwards but when i heard what i missed i was beyond bummed. i thought if i had more time perhaps i could have seen it first-hand. the event in question dealt with a mother's outing (yeah, i know i'm a natural fit for that group) from the neighborhood. one of the women, who was quite drunk, turned to another one of the women, who is a hard-bodied, personal trainer, and told her that if she were a lesbian she'd be really, very attracted to her (the personal trainer lady). why can't the drunk people i'm around ever say classic, sexy stuff like that. instead, the drunk people i see say nothing but inane, bumbling, and predictable nonsense not worth remembering or repeating.

the second thing making me decide to take the month off is the last few days. usually i say i need time away because i'm getting hammered by life and am tired and burned out and spent and fed up. but this time it is the complete opposite. i'm none of those things. i'm stoked about my work, my kids, my wife, my days, my challenges. and i feel like i'm making ground and progress on all fronts and spending my days as i want to. this can very much be seen in my last four days which saw the following:
  • i made big ground on a long-standing work to-do
  • i received multiple, disconnected professional kudos and compliments
  • my kids began their summer break
  • alex and i went on a great end-of-school adventure (go-karting)
  • three great-weather days (!!!) at our community pool (a pool i love to spiritual degrees) just opened up
  • i made amazing progress on my mission to swim a mile (a goal currently two-years overdue but not forgotten or dashed)
  • a family tennis outing
  • great quality time with family
  • time with friends i haven't seen much of
  • time with marty (someone i also haven't seen enough of recently)
simply put, life is crazy good at the minute and i want more, more, more of it and want to live as distraction-free as possible for a bit.

and the third item is a blend of the above two and deals in time and in family. yesterday anthony was helping me do laundry and, more importantly, i had the time to let him help. he's actually a surprisingly good assistant. to begin, i deliver the laundry to the upstairs laundry chute. anthony's job is to send it all down the chute to the basement. granted you get a couple of bonus items like alex's shoes and anthony's train cars and bella's books but you also get all of the soiled clothes through his efforts. then downstairs anthony climbs into the laundry chute collector and pushes the clothes out onto the sorting table. when done there, he stands at the end of the table where i hand him the clothes an article at a time and say 'near one' (whites), 'middle one' (lights), or 'far one' (darks) and he throws them in the designated basket. the proper delivery of each article is met with great celebration and i can assure you a more exuberant laundry-man could not be found. during yesterday's laundry sorting when anthony was in the laundry chute pushing the clothes out, he paused for a moment to look up the hole as if something caught his attention. after a moment and as if he was speaking to someone he saw, he yelled, "if you're up there and can hear me, you are a pee-face."

it was at that precise moment i knew i needed to take my monthly sabbatical to BE with my family because while i'm always present i'm not always there and that is the very last thing i want to be remembered for. as always, i leave you with the monthly vomit:

what i'm eating
what i'm reading
sassafras tea
june gallery

i'll be back on tuesday, july 6th hopefully with many great stories and experiences to share and tell



monthly archives




KIDS (permalink) 05.26.2016
V-what?
our doorbell has been busted since we bought our house. fixing it is on the list. that said, if it was in the top 1,000 things to be addressed, i'd be surprised.

the two wires that are connected to the home's doorbell system are there, sticking out of the wall and if you rub them together you can make the doorbell go off. since day one the kids have preferred sounding the doorbell this way than if there was a proper button in place. recently that has stopped working though and the doorbell seems dead as a, well, doorbell.

on a no-screens saturday and in a bout of complete and utter boredome (lucky him), anthony took it upon himself to craft a new, working doorbell which he proudly displayed for me when i returned from a morning of tennis. i tried it out and complimented him on how well it worked. this was a genuine compliment as i was pretty impressed with how stable and functional it was.

a little bit later anthony came into the bathroom while i was showering and told me he was happy with his new doorbell.

ANTHONY
yeah. i think it turned out pretty well.

TROY
i agree. super good for a V1.

ANTHONY
what's a V1?

TROY
version 1. it means it is your first attempt.

ANTHONY
what do you mean first attempt? it is done.

TROY
yes. you have a working doorbell but when you make something yourself, you will sometimes think of ways to make it better. if you think of something and then do it, then you will have V2, or version 2, which should theoretically be better than version 1.

ANTHONY
but how would i improve it? it works.

TROY
uhhhm. what would happen if it rained? is your note protected.

ANTHONY
oh. no. it isn't.

TROY
what do you think would happen to it if it rained?

ANTHONY
i think the words would blur out and it wouldn't be readable.

TROY
so, since that is outside, your design should account for that. you should think about things you could do to make it so i can last through the rain.

version 2 proved to be a marked improvement both to the doorbell and anthony as an inventor.

version 1 is shown below










QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 05.25.2016
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
YOU'RE WELCOME




PHOTO, KIDS (permalink) 05.24.2016
ansel aleo
below are a few more pictures from aleo's first four rolls of film.

his first shot was discussed here yesterday.


dad's famous breakfast scrumble


anthony and dad's morning chess game


arcadia!!!


impressive, tight focus on the scope, the real story of the picture, which is throwing a curious reflection.


pretty brave to try a jump-shot on your first outing--i thought it turned out quite well for a first cut at the technique.


now that is just dang cool for a timer-shot.


old country men at the old country store


spooky anthony, and according to anthony, visual evidence that i am a black man.


if you study this one, you can spot the photog in the window.



LIFE (permalink) 04.29.2016
nothing funny!
my favorite public/motivational speaker recently passed through town. afterwards, i checked for what happened during his stay and ran across this video which immediately took a top five slot in my favorite ET talks.



and to save a few of you from having to send an email asking about the top five, here she blows:
  1. when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe - part 1
  2. when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe - part 2
  3. eric thomas day
  4. nothing funny
  5. you owe you




HUMOR (permalink) 04.28.2016
that? oh, that's not even mildly embarrassing.
in my office we have a newish center coordinator. he knocked on my door and said he needed to see me. i followed him to his desk and he pointed to his screen and said he was cleaning some directories up and came upon this file that was titled.

Embarrassing photos of Troy (nefarious purposes only).zip

he asked what we should do with it. i asked if he had looked in it yet. sheepishly he said yes. i asked him what was in it. he showed me. it was a picture from my senior prom. it was mildly embarrassing but only barely so. he looked at me. "child's play" i said. he said, really, genuinely interested. and i said, yes, with confidence.


PHOTO, TRAVEL (permalink) 04.27.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



APRIL 2016




QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.26.2016
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
SMARTS




VIDEO, HUMOR (permalink) 04.01.2016
good one.
i'm not much an april fool's guy but i can appreciate a clever and well executed prank. here is one of my recent favorites.

everything starts kinda fast but the the thing to know on this is that this college teacher has a class rule that if your phone rings in class you have to answer it on speaker. hijinks ensue.






LIFE (permalink) 03.31.2016
trouble ahead
i woke on monday to start my week. as per usual i stepped through my morning rituals. wake. pee. weigh-in. log my thankful. log my awesome. for this day i chose an awesome i've been stepping around a bit. the awesome was "Be thankful for the life my mother provided me" and in the because section i wrote, "I learned too late how much of the goodness of my life emanated from the love my mother had for me which led to her endless support, affection, and commitment. Without her love, I would not be as strong as I am today.".

i was skirting this particular daily awesome because i knew it would carry some emotional weight and i wanted to make sure i was ready for it. hence my picking it right at the start of the week. after selecting it, i grabbed my pen and wrote the word MOM on my hand (as it part of the awesome ritual).

jump forward to the lunch-hour. i've just sat down to eat my lunch and stopped by bella's website. she posts a new post every monday and, for about a dozen reasons, i look in to see her latest offering. the title of the day's post was Love Your Mother (specific post can be seen here). i sensed trouble ahead.

i made it through bella's write up of the video she was about to share, but her words definitely primed the tanks. although i don't know that i would have ever made it through the 4:38 second video even without bella's lead in.

like the fella in the video, i too had that mom that would wait up, that wouldn't accept my adolescent distancing. and even worse than running up and down the sidelines, the first time i got hurt playing football, my mother ran onto the field. this did more to make me better than anything my coaches or teammates did as when i saw my mothers face join the circle of faces looking down at me, i forgot about any discomfort i was experiencing and started asking my mother why she was on the field.

for me, i feel like if i just had a few more years i would have woken up to how much my mother gave me. but other times i wonder if it is a lesson that can't be fully absorbed until they are gone. if that's true, it is possibly the most evil design of our world.

so for those who can still punch a string of numbers into a phone and hear the hello of a parent that cared for you, loved you, believed in you (this was another thing i shared with the gentleman in the video) then, please take a moment and attempt to acknowledge all they have given you, if only for those of us who can no longer make that call.






LIFE, MUSIC (permalink) 03.30.2016
work it hard like it's your profession
the art of time and life management has been my main hobby and interest for nearly twenty years now. in this time i've read works from just about all of the acknowledged greats and notables. james allen. marcus aurelius. tal ben-shahar. les brown. david burns. dale carnegie. jim collins. stephen covey. mihaly csikszentmihalyi. wayne dyer. epictetus. victor frankl. benjamin franklin. albert gray. marie kondo. staffan linder. matthieu ricard. tony robbins. martin seligman. seneca. hyrum smith. eric thomas. george e. valliant. and the modern-day master zig ziggler. if the topic has been how to bleed, intentionally, more out of this brief experience, i've probably studied it to some degree. and having consumed most of the usual suspects i always have an eye out for new treatments on the subject.

my latest self-help discovery comes from an unlikely place: britney spears. on our recent family road-trip to utah, during one of our highway dance parties, bella played a song she and marty sometimes "rocked-out" to on their way to or from school. the song's catchy bass-line immediately caught my ear and had my fingers drumming on the steering wheel. it wasn't until later though when i gave the song another listen that the depth and structure of the lyrics struck me. deconstructed, the song can be shown to deliver some top-flight, no-nonsense advice to those with aspirations, and does so in an undeniably intelligent manner. further, the message may be applauded for its pointedness and uncut honesty--i mean things don't get much more direct than the song's title 'work bitch' now do they? there are no quick fixes. there are no short cuts. there are no sugar-coated solutions. it is a truth that has held for thousands of years--work and effort get it done. end. of. story.
excerpted lyrics form Work Bitch

you wanna
you wanna
you wanna hot body
you wanna bugati
you wanna mazarati
you better work bitch

you wanna lamborghini
sippin' martinis
look hot in a buh-kini
you better work bitch

you wanna live fancy
live in a big mansion
party in france
you better work bitch

you better work bitch [3x]

NOW get to work bitch!
so that is how the song starts, by defining some visions. this is a long-held and common approach/belief of many self-help gurus. you gotta have vision of what you want. in this case you may mentally replace her choices with your own. perhaps her bugati is your promotion. or her partying in france is you being more connected with your family or friends. granted, her buh-kini is your bikini and mine because we all share that one. the short of it is though, you have to clearly put what you want out in front of you. and you have to keep it there front and center so you remember why it is you are working. and then the important part, the honest part, the part that most separates the doers from the dreamers--the actual work. everyone has wants but not everyone is willing to put in the work to attain those wants. so nothing like a little slap on the cheek and a barked name to get your attention.

then, with an equal intelligence, the latter part of the song addresses the magnitude of things by emphasizing the effortful (and inevitable) part of the process where your willpower will subside and you feel beat down (defeated even) and no one, possibly including yourself, believes it is possible, and when that happens you just have to "work it out" and stay with it.
Hold your head high
Fingers to the sky
They gon' try to try ya
But they can't deny ya
Keep it building higher and higher

So hold your head high
Fingers to the sky
Now they don't believe ya
But they gonna need ya
Keep it building higher and higher and higher

Work work (Work!) [7x]

Work it out [14x]
the technique at the end with the twenty-one repeated "Works" followed by a litany of "work it out"s gets to the amount of work and trial you are in for. this could be likened to the literary technique used in moby dick where the text is excruciatingly long and dull at times, but then so was life on a whaling ship. striving for goals involves a merciless amount of work. it also involves working though a seemingly bottomless well of challenges, doubt, resistance, lack of willpower, bad days. these drawn out refrains at the end imply what you're in for.

coming in at under four minutes, britney spears Work Bitch may be, word for word, minute for minute, one of the most efficient and effective self-help instruments ever devised. yes, ever. i'd place it in the top ten, if not the top five for potential to influence. as jason kottke recently said of mrs. spears, "Britney has always had something but damned if I know what it is." the mystery that is her brand, portfolio, and ongoing success continues.

but enough talk. time to get to work bitch!






PHOTO (permalink) 03.29.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



MARCH 2016




PHOTO (permalink) 03.11.2016
the party-what?
for my birthday bookpimp sent me a dvd of a tv series called Going Deep with David Rees. he said he thought my family might enjoy it. he was right. my family does enjoy it. but my wife enjoys it more than all of us combined. there is something about david's manner and delivery that absolutley destroys my wife so much so she has almost (1) spit out her drink (2) passed out from not being able to get her breath from laughing and (3) even coming dang close to peeing herself from laughter. so thanks bookpimp for hooking us up so. and for the record when marty gets laughing that hard we pause the show (because her laughing so is distracting) and we all just turn and watch her reeling on the couch holding her stomach (or her other parts).

in honor of marty's birthday today i'm sharing part of her all-time-favorite episode: the party hole.






PHOTO (permalink) 03.09.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



FEBRUARY 2016




KIDS (permalink) 03.08.2016
no wool over this one's eyes
bella and i were on our first distance ride of the year. we were on a new route and found ourselves riding through a neighborhood that had some for-real mansions. we rode slowly and quietly taking in the size and makeup of each home.

TROY
it's so quiet out here. it's such a beautiful day and there's not a soul anywhere to be seen. it's almost like their abandonded.

BELLA
they're probably busy yelling at their maids.

TROY
ha. good one. oh my god. look at that one.

BELLA
i hope they run an orphanage out of there.

when i was young and saw big houses like that, i remember wanting to one day live in one. i don't know why i thought that way. i also don't know why bella looks on these homes with the derision that she does. aside from exposing her healthier expectations and social sense, these monster homes also make the girl say the funniest things.




PHOTO (permalink) 03.07.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



JANUARY 2016




PHOTO, KIDS (permalink) 02.19.2016
the kids are alright
in case you were worrying for alex based on his sour demeanor in yesterday's family gallery entry, worry not. our aleo is fine and well. he was just mean-mugging the camera before his first day of middle school. in evidence.







anfer is also fine and well.










PHOTO (permalink) 02.17.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



DECEMBER 2015




PHOTO (permalink) 02.16.2016
the 2016 everyman is underway






KIDS (permalink) 02.15.2016
tribe
bella's school held its second dance of the year and instead of engaging in that awkward, premature pairing off, bella and a group of six friends went as a collective. before hand they all got gussied up and went to a group diner at a local pizza place. at school they discussed their plans to marty. she suggested they make a reservation given the weekend night and they might not be the only students from the school with the particular place in mind. they agreed that that was a great idea and looked the phone number up immediately (on one of their phones). then just before dialing, one of them asked, what do you say when you want to make a reservation. i am forever intrigued by watching people feel their way through what, to us old folks, are elementary tasks we routinely and effortlessly perform, i love the innocence of it. and i'm not saying i didn't fumble my way through many a life lesson because i did. you just forget about them in time and having kids lets you walk those steps again. and that is what marty did here, walked them through the act and language. then the boy called and got hit with a "oh, sorry we don't take reservations" which then exposes these elementary tasks as not so basic after all.

after getting that sorted out they started asking how much money they each should bring. when you're talking about young people who don't work yet, it's hard to casually tell them to just bring 20-30 dollars as not everyone has open access to money whenever they want. and, the last thing you want is six to eight fourteen year olds sitting at a table on a restaurants busiest night without enough money to cover a check let alone tip. marty and i talked this predicament over and she came up with the idea of stealthily covering the meal for the kids so that when they went to settle the bill, the waitress got to say, this has already been taken care of. marty managed to pull this off but when the waitress passed on the news, the kids with their small fistfuls of proudly acquired fives and tens, were not elated but instead a little dismayed. it turns out they were very excited to be covering their largish restaurant bill, their first largish restaurant bill, on their own. what is it they say about best laid plans?

but, here is where things take a turn and why marty and i really like this particular set of friends bella has recently started running with. after the waitress delivered the news and walked off, instead of stewing on the disappointment and letting it sour their night in any way, one of them said, "well, we can't buy OUR meal but that doesn't mean we can't buy A meal." so they looked around the busy restaurant and picked out a table they would buy a meal for. in the end they selected a woman eating alone with her two young children. when they waitress came back they pointed her out and said they wanted to buy her dinner but that the waitress/hosttess wasn't to tell the woman who did it.

and that is what they did. i won't get into how i would have reacted in a like situation but i can promise you that a fourteen year old troy would not have been buying some stranger dinner with what would have been perfectly good-arcade money.




KIDS (permalink) 01.22.2016
well, when you put it that way
one night at bedtime anthony suddenly became very sad, distraught even. in trying to calm him down, marty learned that he was upset about a school assignment. it turns out that he had fallen behind in a in-class assignment because he was getting pulled out a bunch for other programs he participates in and as result he was very behind and even concerned that he might have to repeat the third grade. when marty told him that was silly and would just never happen, anthony replied:
but i got a worse math grade than joe, and he doesn't even know how to spell thumb.
that being the case, i reckon i'd be a tad irked as well.




KIDS (permalink) 01.21.2016
left field
Where I'm From
by Alex DeArmitt (age 12)


I am from PC to Xbox.
I am from the black controller to the keyboard
From Minecraft to Halo played with my dad
Grateful that he's taking the time,
hoping he keeps his job but always has time for me.

From the life and deaths,
From the scary games to the funny games.
I am from the musty blue couch
to the fluffy black chair next to my brother.

I am from friends, family and pictures.
From teachers to the students that work every day,
From the cuddles to the unsuspected death of my dads mom
that left me feeling empty like a dried up grape.

I am from the wooden house in the forest that we visit.
I am from the musty inside that makes me glad.
I am from my step-grandma who makes my grandpa happy.
I am from the birds chirping and the dog barking and the smell of the forest.
From grandpa to grandma that make my life complete.
I am from the feel of the grass to the hugs and kisses.
I am from the snow like fur of Gilly the silly dog that makes my family happy.

I am from Bauder and Blevins doing my best.
From the homework to school work.
I am from mathematics to science,
From fun and delightful G.A.T.E. to Spanish,
I am from the black beautiful Chromebooks ready to go.

I am from the surprises waiting at my house.
I am from Easter to birthdays,
I am from family reunions to my brother fighting viciously.
I am from presents to and from my family to the candy that will rot my teeth if I don't brush.
I am from the creamy chocolate and smells to the cold touch of it
and the sound of the it sloshing around my moist mouth.
I am from these moments, riding them like a rollercoaster,
riding all of the ups and down, and twists and turns of life.

marty walked into my office and handed me this. she then watched me as i read it. when complete i looked up at her and we just looked at each other for a few moments, both speechless. then after a few moments she said, "there's a lot packed into that young man". i could do little more than nod my head in agreement.




WIFE (permalink) 01.20.2016
teachers' dreams
marty dreamt about an obnoxious student, fictional, in her class that came and spread out a bunch of electronics on his desk at the start of class. she repeatedly told him to put his toys away. after not complying she walked up to his desk and had the following exchange:

MARTY
i've told you four times to put that stuff away.

OBNOXIOUS KID
i guess now you're going to have to tell me five times.

to this unexpected response marty held up her hand as if to point a finger at him, but magically clutched in her grip was a butter knife. using this opportune dream-development she brought the flat edge of the knife down sharply hitting the boy on the forehead. shocked and mildly hurt the boy said:

OBNOXIOUS KID
hey! you can't do that. i can get you fired. i'm going to get you fired.

MARTY a little stunned
well ... well ... not if i quit.

marty then promptly went to her desk, dashed out a quick resignation letter, grabbed her backpack and high-stepped out of the room.

the next day marty shared this dream with another teacher. he lit up and said he recently had one of those (it turns out these sorts of dreams may be more routine than one might expect). in his he got so frustrated with a student he strangled him, like to death. the curious thing he said was that after it happened he wasn't shocked or alarmed but turned away with a sense of satisfaction as if he'd just graded a huge stack of papers. it wasn't until his co-teachers in the room chastised him and said he shouldn't have done that before he felt bad about what had happened. it is important to note that he recalls not feeling bad about the limp student but he felt bad that he had disappointed his friends and co-workers.




LIFE, FRIENDS (permalink) 01.19.2016
the ultimate re-gift/thank you/karma
speaking of random acts of kindness.

we have some new neighbors. they moved in about a year ago and have a young girl who just turned two. the little girl is quite awesome, in part because she thinks i'm about the coolest cat on the block and lights up a big smile every time she sees me. being a young family just getting on their feet, marty and i usually offer them kid-related things we have outgrown and are giving away. one thing we gave them shortly after they moved in was the changing table we used for all three of our kids as our humans had finally (thankfully!!!) outgrown the need for it.

a few days after christmas, marty answered a knock on the door. she opened it to find neighbor jeff there holding a cutting board. after exchanging the usual pleasantries, jeff held the cutting board forward, offering it to marty. before she could say anything he said he would like to return the changing table we gave them. taking the cutting board, marty asked what he meant. he said the drawers in the cabinet broke and while he was breaking it down he noticed the top board was a really nice block of maple, so he cut it down and made an end-grain cutting board for us using the wood from the piece of furniture all three of our children came up on.

i'm not willing to say bella's act of kindness spurred this karma on but i would be comfortable asserting that my neighbor is probably way cooler and more awesome than your neighbor.










LIFE (permalink) 12.11.2015
inky johnson
if this guy/story can't get you fired up, you're just broke.






KIDS (permalink) 12.10.2015
unusual practices
before bed, marty reads harry potter to anthony and i. we are on book 5. this is her second time through the series as she read the books to alex and bella several years back. i read the first four books to anthony but we flamed out as i kept falling asleep during my reads. this is why marty took over. she is admittedly way better at reading poter than i am as she does animated voices and has an enviable reading stamina, even when she is exhausted. while she reads i work on my crossstitch. anthony, well, he usually jumps around either walking back and forth on the bunk bed rails (until he slips and painfully wedges himself between the bed the and wall) or plays hot lava traversing the room by jumping from object to object. the only time he is still is when he's eating an apple, his pre-bed snack. this allows him to be just as loud sitting still as when he is balancing, climbing, jumping about the room. part of his apple ritual stands as one of favorite anthony-isms though. when he is done he goes to his second story window, loudly throws it open and chucks his apple core on the front yard. the first time i saw him do this i asked, a little alarmed, what he was doing. he casually said he was giving the rest of his apple to nature, you know the squirrels and birds or whoever might come upon it and need a snack. when he saw the expression on my face he added, "mom said it's ok". then the next morning as we head off to school, he will sometimes point out his apple, saying "hey there's my apple from last night" and he will sometimes glance at an empty part of the yard and wonder aloud who got to enjoy his apple last night. i'm left wondering (not aloud) what the hell i'm going to to do for entertainment when my children are grown and gone.




PHOTO, LIFE (permalink) 12.09.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.



NOVEMBER 2015




KIDS (permalink) 12.08.2015
so, how are the kids?
at a holiday gathering someone asked me how the kids were doing. the following stories spilled out and i thought i'd share them with those of you i might not bump into at a holiday event.

ANTHONY
i was approached by a parent at anthony's elementary. she introduced herself and explained someone told her that anthony might be a good fit for an equations team her husband runs. i told her that anthony did seem to like math so, yes, he may be interested. she said that the program was for older kids and that they had already started the training but it might not be a bad idea to get him in this year so he could familiarize himself with the process. i took anthony to their next meeting. the "coach" got the other kids working and said he was going to be over here getting anthony setup. the man proceeded to unpack a game. while doing so he started asking a third grade anthony questions like:
  • do you know what the square root of 9 is? he did.
  • how about the square root of 81. he did.
then he asked if anthony knew what powers were. he did not. the man explained and then ran anthony through some problems which anthony answered without fail. he then taught anthony how to play the game. after the session i thanked the man for teaching anthony and letting him sit in this year. to this the man said, "sit in? i'm going to have anthony compete this year! he's great!". if great means that in third grade he already knows more about math than i ever have, yes he is great.

ALEX
alex is in a robotics club. in this club the team gets a challenges to solve and then works as a team to solve the challenge. this year the team assigned nicknames to all the members. alex's nickname was "the guy who can fix anything". not too bad a designation on a team that exists to solve problems.

BELLA
bella is at a new school district. we were a little curious how she would fare entering an entirely new population of people without a history or reputation. two months after her arrival she was chosen as one of five female school ambassadors. these ambassadors are existing students who show prospective students around to interest them in the school. this is obviously a role the school's administration does not take lightly and for bella to get tapped this soon after her arrival gives marty and i the sense that our baby girl will perhaps be ok out there in the bigger world.




WIFE, LIFE (permalink) 12.07.2015
makes me wonder what else i could shed to simplify things
remember my financial fast (ref)? as of today i am 41 days into my ban on personal and/or frivolous spending. curious how palpable such an adjustment in one's lifestyle is? marty looks in our credit card statement online after she pays the prior month's bill off to get a sense for what the next month is starting to look like. a week in she usually encounters anywhere from $500 to $1500 dollars depending on what home repairs and doctor visits are on the schedule. this time, it sat at just over $100. i don't think i've seen marty that giddy since we figured out how to go on a nine day vacation for under $500 bucks. granted, this christmas season is about to take a big brown one on that low balance, but at least it will be short one burden (me!) this year.




KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 11.13.2015
i used to hide my money in a band-aid box in an air vent.
while walking to school with anthony he asked, after a natural pause in our conversation, "so dad. what is something you really want, that cost less than 20 dollars?".

while i was reflecting on things i talked about how the best present for someone was something they really wanted but for whatever reason wouldn't buy themselves. after a few minutes i told anthony that something i've been intrigued by for a number of years were mounted insects. after explaining what they were he asked why i would want that. i told him that from my photography contest i've come to be amazed at some of the insect-photography, especially the up-close macro images that people have sent in of bugs and stuff and that they are really very extraordinary and if they could be enlarged to, say, the size of one of these houses we were walking by they would be the most extraordinary things we've ever seen, both in their beauty and detail.

a few days later i mentioned anthony's question to marty. she told me she was well aware of the conversation because anthony then went to her and said he needed her to help him buy me a mounted insect for my birthday. after looking a bit, anthony found one that was $30. when marty asked him if he had $30 he said sure, walked to and opened one of his bedroom windows, pulled a velcro wallet from the outer jamb and produced the requested $30.

yeah, what, like you don't keep your money hidden in a window jamb?

and for reasons i can't explain (in that marty has confessed ignorance) both of my boys have taken a great interest in getting me a birthday gift this year. i'm admittedly a little easier to shop for since i went on my spending fast (ref). also, i'm a little more eager for the goodies given i'm no longer buying myself each and every bauble that catches my eye. i have the sense it's all going to taste a bit sweeter this year.




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