mono as in one or me. rail as in to vent or complain. thus monorail.


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WEB (permalink) 03.27.2015
now why'd you have to go and do that?
the other day bella and i were driving and discussing a recent event. after rehashing things, she said it was ok if i posted that story on my website. how telling is it that i find posting things with the subject's permission less satisfying than when they have no idea it's coming.

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BOOKS (permalink) 03.31.2009
you can tell me you wouldn't buy that book but i wouldn't believe you.
if i had to buy the life story of someone i know i would choose a friend of marty's. i would do so based upon the following facts.

1. she grew up with the last name of Grief in a small, midwestern town.
2. in her family there were six girls and one boy, born last, which made them known around town as The Grief Girls, even after the arrival of the seventh.
3. her home had a communal underwear drawer which meant on any given day you could be wearing a lean pair of jockey briefs or a tattered pair of hip-huggers worn by your mother the week before.

if you don't think the above points to a house, a home, or a group of lives of interest, you and i do not agree on what is note-worthy.

monthly archives

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.26.2015
get on with it already
marty voiced something i've been wondering a lot lately but haven't trusted myself to speak about. she commented:
Who in the world is everyone talking to on the phone? When i get to work at seven in the morning, over half the people getting out of their cars are on the phone. Virtually everyone I know is still in bed at that hour.
i've had that very thought (not the early morning hour bit, but the who is everyone talking to) as i watch cars go by as i ride my bike or sit at red lights or do anything that puts me in the path of other folks. please note that this part of the sentiment is not a judgement but just an observation as well as a genuine curiosity. the logical part of my mind anwers the question of who everyone is talking to is, obviously, each other.

this is not to say that i don't have judgmental notions about people's distracted states, especially while driving (seconded by when they are conducting transactions). after our last day of skiing, an 18-wheeler drifted fully into our lane at 70 miles an hour and i had to drive my car, also going 70 miles an hour, onto the shoulder to keep from getting side-swiped. the man never saw me before, during or after his maneuver. then the next day when we were literally one mile into our 1,300 mile drive home a girl came barreling through a red light where we were turning and came inches from caving in the passenger side of our van at better than twenty miles an hour. she definitely saw me as i could see the sheer terror in her face as she saw the near collision unfold.

i continue to be struck that more is not done regarding the legality of using a phone while driving. i'm convinced that this is largely due to the fact that one of the greatest abusers of this tenet seem to be police officers themselves. it's rare that i see a cop rolling by who is not on the phone (i wouldn't say the same of state troopers i've observed). and suit/business types seem to be another high-frequency abuser of one-handed, half-minded driving. i assume some of the these folks are the ones we would turn to for help in changing the law so when the law-makers and law-enforcers are big users themselves, it's hard to think there might be help close at hand.

the frustrating part of it all is in time i think this behavior will go the way of our pre-seatbelt and biking-helmet existence. there is just no sane, rational or intelligent argument in defense of the practice. none. i just wish we'd hurry up and come to our collective senses already.

one final aside related to marty's initial question above. back in the nascent days of cell technology (e.g. car-mounted, brick phones) a friend of mine, man-who-screams-like-woman, had a scanner that could listen in on the conversations at hand. he and another friend would stay up way into the night searching for and then listing to any nearby conversations they could detect. as it was still a newish thing, i asked what sorts of things merited the need for being able to call someone from anywhere. he said that well over half of the conversations they picked up on involved people in extra-marital affairs. and this was exactly what i told marty when she asked who all those people were talking to at seven in the morning--their lovers who they couldn't talk to at seven the previous night because their wife was around. for anyone thinking the percentage can't be the same given how many phones there are in play now i would only say the divorce rate trends will not support your argument.

KIDS (permalink) 03.25.2015
spring break 2015, part 3
i try to make my children think creatively or logically as much as possible. one of my tactics for this was to answer their questions with illogical responses. for example, whenever they asked me a yes/no question, i'd answer "sure". i liked watching their faces process the response before saying, "no dad. that's not right." to which i'd say "oh. no thank you." i know, i know, i'm a real party. or at least it's a party until your eight year old takes to responding to all questions directed to them with nonsensical answers, and even to people outside of the family, and even when responding to our host and hostess, and even when this host and hostess are the people kind enough to let our family of five descend upon their home for an entire week—for a third year in a row—wildly disrupting their home's routines and sleeping situations for several straight days. even then, whenever one of these kind people would ask anthony something, he would respond with gibberish. if you're wondering what that looks like, it looks something like this:

how was skiing today anthony?
uhh, oatmeal.

anthony would you like another piece of bread?
pink giraffe (with a nod of his head)

anthony, did you like the show?
doorknob. no, i mean, uhhh, blond hair.

if you're wondering how long this is cute for, it is, as you probably guessed, it is cute about zero times which means that thirty seven times in it is bordering on obnoxious. on the good side, he's having to think a little more than he would by answering 'epic' to everything.

TRAVEL (permalink) 03.24.2015
spring break 2015, part 2
marty's favorite spring break moment didn't emanate from one of our family members, in fact, it didn't come from a human at all (part 1). instead, it came from my iphone. it was our first night on the road and we were nearing our first planned stop. as we approached the city, marty punched the address of our end destination into my iPhone and hit the ROUTE button. the computed voice took over and began guiding me to our hotel. in less than ten minutes we saw our spot on the other side of the highway. the iphone instructed me to exit the highway. at the top of the offramp, it told me to turn left. after crossing the highway it, curiously, told me to get back onto the highway. i recalled there was another exit ramp about a mile down the road and assumed, without much time to think about it, that perhaps the proper way to get to the hotel was using the previous exit and the mapping software was correcting its oversight. so i pulled back onto the highway and headed back in the direction we had just come. as we began to pass by the hotel the iphone advised me that our destination was on our right and that we had reached the closest navigable location and should park and walk the rest of the way. were we not sitting on a federal interstate and were there not a fence between us and our destination i reckon that is maybe what we might have done but since we could see all sorts of roads leading up to the hotel on the other side of the fence we chose to push forth and actually drive to the hotel's parking lot.

i'm sure it would not take much to convince you that the phrase "you have reached your closest navigable point" said in an automaton-miming voice was repeated often over the next nine days. it is a surprisingly nimble phrase that can be contorted to fit a shocking number of situations. in fact, i'd be rather surprised if those simple words haven't just become part of our family lore and will make appearances in our family vacations for decades to come. further, that experience has just become my latest and greatest bit of ammunation in my debate (with the world) on the evils of gps systems.

TRAVEL, KIDS (permalink) 03.23.2015
spring break 2015
yesterday we returned from our spring break holiday—a week in utah rife with friends and skiing. this is the third year we have made this pilgrimage which gives it some tradition-caliber stock. in perusing the rich week of leisure, laughter and recreation, the moment that most jumps out at me happened on the drive home somewhere in wyoming when alex yelled from the third row seat of our speeding minivan, "i have to go pee and REFUSE to go in a bottle!"

sadly, in my telling of this i am unable to convey the gallons of vinegar and vitriol his words included as they were hurled the full length of our honda odyssey. good to his word, alex held fast on his pee-boycott until we delivered him to a proper urinal. anthony on the other hand gladly peed in his bottle although he did confess it was hard to perform without any privacy (as the whole family was drawn to watching him see to this need). anthony also offered his neighboring passengers a taste of his lemonade at least half a dozen times. he seemed fully undaunted that no one ever took part in his generosity.

KIDS (permalink) 03.06.2015
as desperate as catching water from a waterfall with teaspoon
my baby girl turns 14 years old today. last night i told her she had to spend a dad hour with me (a nightly ritual i do with my kids) on this night becuase it would be the last night i'd spend with my 13 year old daughter. then when we were done (watching an episode of lost) we stood in my office hugging. after the hug should have ended and i didn't let go bella slowly said, "uh dad, i kinda gotta go to bed". after five more seconds i lessened my grip, gave her a long kiss on the top of the head and she left for bed and fourteen.

KIDS (permalink) 03.05.2015
calling it as he sees it
after my mom died i took a little, green swiss army knife from her house. it belonged to her father when he lived with her before he died. it was surely something my mom bought for him to help with his crafts. i was never one to routinely carry a pocket knife but took it because it reminded me of both of them.

alex quickly noticed my new accoutrement and commented on it. i explained to him where and why i got it. he shrugged his shoulders and said a casual 'cool'. after this discovery alex would routinely approach me and ask to borrow the small knife to clean out some dirt from under his nails, cut a string or trim something up.

a few years back as marty and i were plotting out christmas i suggested getting alex his own pocket knife. marty first balked saying he was too young. i confessed he was young in years but in many ways was more responsible and conscientious than either of his parents. she said that he'd probably loose it straight away. i didn't have a solid retort for this as alex is not super-great of keeping track of things but suggested it might be different with this because he would love it enough to keep track of it. marty gave a consenting shrug of her shoulders and alex got his knife. and now, better than two years later, alex still has his knife and has always kept a solid line on it.

over the next two years my knife took several rides through the washing machine because i kept forgetting to take it out of the little pocket on my right front where i kept it. after one such journey it started falling apart, the glue holding the plastic sides in place having finally giving way from repeated trips through the water. so this last christmas i replaced it, with a shiny new one, one modeled after alex's newer model.

three weeks after getting my new knife someone asked to borrow it. i said i didn't have it. they asked where it was. i said i didn't know and confessed to mis-placing it. alex's one-word response, "already?", stung then and now as i think back on it. maybe i'm the one who shouldn't have gotten a knife for christmas.

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 03.04.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
awesome II

WEB, WORK, LIFE (permalink) 03.02.2015
apologies for my recent disappearance. for the past several months i have been putting the finishing touches on my latest work project. it is the most ambitious and functionally coolest thing i've ever made. thankfully, the work has been delightful and invigorating (which equates to many hours of getting lost in the riddles at hand where what seemed like a seven minute span actually turned out to be, per the clock, a four-hour stint). over the last last three months i have worked every weekend, oftentimes both days. even over the christmas break i worked two to four hours every morning (excepting christmas of course).

while this interesting professional avalanche proved a welcome challenge, the life balance i passionately covet and proactivley protect took quite the point-blank hit. the primary victim during these episodes is my body which doesn't get the exercise or sleep it thrives on. the second casualty affects my relationships with my wife, my children and my friends which too require ongoing nurturing and care for a healthful and happy state. and lastly, my daily and weekly rituals that allow me to do things like read, and write (here) and to give back to my home and community become a collection of warm, blurred memories. thus, while it's good (and necessary in my opinion) to experience such professional sprints every now and again, it is also, by my accounting, an unsustainable lifestyle if one wishes to be healthy, married, loved and most-notably content with the full spectrum of their life.

your seeing me now is a sign that i have crested this particular hill (or jagged Himalayan-like peak rather) and am settling back into my less exotic but more steady, sustainable, and balanced (Hooah!) clip. i thank you for your patience and look forward to again visiting with you in these pages on a routine and respectful schedule.

as a curious aside, in the past fifteen years each and every one of my prior projects of similar scale took place during the arrival of one of our three children, dumb luck that, making this the first time we experienced this sort of professional onslaught while marty was of sound mind and body. this convenience helped not just a little, although i did sense her tank, like mine, was running on scant more than fumes in the last few weeks of the endeavor. thanks marta for the support and understanding, both of which share a sizable ingredient in my proudest and greatest successes in life. you rawk!

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 01.30.2015
low and slow bro
photo credit goes to
On this trip I think we should notice it, explore it a little, to see if in that strange separation of what man is from what man does we may have some clues as to what the hell has gone wrong in this twentieth century. I don't want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things. I just want to get at it slowly, but carefully and thoroughly, with the same attitude I remember was present just before I found that sheared pin. It was that attitude that found it, nothing else.
excerpt from Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 01.29.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

LIFE (permalink) 01.28.2015
if the first three rules of real estate are "location", then the first three rules of life satisfaction are "framing"
i bumped into one of bella's classmates dads at the pool. we got to talking after showering and i asked him what industry he worked in. this is not a question i usually ask folks but i found this guy to be very balanced and positive and always even-keeled so found myself curious about his trade. he said he taught seventh grade. in fact, he was a 23-year teaching veteran of seventh grade. to this, i expressed great surprise and complimented his easy-going nature saying i'd think he would look more worn and frazzled. to this he said:
look. if you're expecting thoughtful intellectualism from seventh graders, you are going to be immensely disappointed, and many are. but if you take it for what it is it can be a lot of fun and a great career.
if i have repeatedly observed one law of our universe it is the importance of how we frame the world before us. it's like Gale told H.I. in Raising Arizona, "This'll go hard or easy, H l.", and that it did. one's mindset will do more to govern one's fullfillment or disastifaction in life than all the dumb luck, raw deals, or curve balls life might throw one's way.

FILM (permalink) 01.27.2015
you wouldn't find stiffer acting in a viagra-sponsored porn
i went to see american sniper but it was sold out. in fact, the next two shows were sold out. in scanning the wall of options i felt lucky to find blackhat still open. a michael mann movie about hacking and espionage. when the movie began, there was a light smattering of other viewers. i remember scanning the room with surprise and wondering where everyone was. then the movie began and i knew. they were intelligently and enviably somewhere else. it would be the second film i walked out of before it concluded (for the life of me i can't recall the last one, but i think it might have been heat).

since escaping that torment i've done some thinking and digging about this movie. there are a lot of folks speculating about why this movie did so poorly. they say that on paper it should have been a slam-dunk. people are pointing at directing, marketing, weekend competition. all of this is pointless and remarkably off the mark. this movie failed for one reason and one reason only: casting.

chris hemsworth is as believable in the role of a world-renowned hacker as i would be in the role of THOR. how social-media rich he is could not be less relevant to his ability to play this part. he is a handsome, muscle-bound guy. not only are neither of these assets helpful in this case, but by and large, they probably hurt any convincing arguments that of all the actors out there, known or not, he is the best suited for this particular character. if this highly obvious factor isn't in the math of the people charged with this decision, then those movie pundits could be replaced, professionally, by either of my elementary aged sons. hell, i would have found a present day sylvester stallone equally suited for the role if that helps paint a proper picture.

hence, this lack of insight makes the movie completely unwatchable. i just wish i was as quick at spotting this disconnect as others. admittedly, the fact that i don't watch trailers bit me here. but not enough for me to change my practice of avoiding plot-destroying, entertainment-stealing trailers. you just have to accept that you win most but will have to walk out of some.

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 01.16.2015
it this doesn't get you taking steps towards any goals you've been sitting on, it just may not happen
For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run toward the body's lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from outside as a dark, soft patch of ever whitening skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drain. These changes in the first hours occur so slowly and take place with such inexorability that there is something almost ritualistic about them, as though life capitulates according to specific rules, a kind of gentleman's agreement to which the representatives of death also adhere, inasmuch as they always wait until life has retreated before they launch their invasion of the new landscape. By which point, however, the invasion is irrevocable. The enormous hordes of bacteria that begin to infiltrate the body's innards cannot be halted. Had they but tried a few hours earlier, they would have met with immediate resistance; however everything around them is quiet now, as they delve deeper and deeper into the moist darkness.
opening passage from karl ove knausgaard's My Struggle (book 1)

FAMILY (permalink) 01.15.2015
an exasperated bella interrupted marty and i talking to ask if she could be excused from the dinner table early. marty, breaking off from our conversation, exaggeratedly asked whatever could be more important than her family's company. we then looked to anthony (8) who, with sitcom perfect timing, was pushing his upper lip to his nose with his hand and saying "look alex, i can almost pick my nose with my top lip" and when you then looked to alex (11) he was in the midst of his own antic "but can you make you hair shake around like this" while he gripped the arms of the chair to brace himself and quickly rotated his head left to right making his winter mane flail wildly about. marty and i, both stifling laughter, especially at anthony's effortful, and ongoing, lip-nose contortion said, "yes, bella, you may be excused from the dinner table as it seems people are done eating." she pushed back from the table and walked out of the room with the classic teen-huff of annoyance painted on her person.

FAMILY (permalink) 01.14.2015
travel well.
one of the cousins of the the nephew that just got married recruited the entire family to help with his gift idea. the young man bought his favorite cousin a bible and then reserved a blank page in the back of the book for each family to craft a message to the new couple. the following was marty's entry for our family:
Troy and I find ourselves contemplating the journey of marriage that you will begin on January 3, 2015.

Here are some traveling tips from a couple who embarked on our journey 17 years ago:
  1. The path of your journey will be unique.
  2. Always be mindful of your "magnetic north" (the relationship you wish to have). Check your compass often to ensure you are still on your path.
  3. Know that the skies won't always be blue and the paths won't always be flat. Storms and mountains are part of every journey.
  4. There will be days you won't be able to carry your pack and there will be days you will have to carry both packs.
  5. All travelers have different strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yours and your partner's is important.
  6. There is no discrete destination so remember to enjoy the miles every day affords you.
  7. Don't compare yourselves to other travelers. People's public presentation is often not indicative of the whole story (so don't compare your complete picture to someone's public persona).
  8. Never forget you are fortunate to be on this journey. It is not a blessing all people get nor is it a blessing all people remember they have.
regarding #7 marty would not let me add "except in the case of marty and troy whose private existence far exceeds the public's perception". she's always plays spoil-sport.

WEB (permalink) 01.13.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

PHOTO (permalink) 12.19.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 12.18.2014
he may not have all his teeth, but he does have all his marbles
how could i let a week go by without an anthony quote:
i think i could set a world record for finding something in a messy room. i'd do better than clean people because they expect things to be where they go so they don't know what to do when they're not there.
i'm often struck by how obvious the world comes off to young, sharp minds, minds that are free of the clutter and nonsense (oftentimes) we adults allow in. anthony's good for two to three of these observations a week. that said, and for the record, anthony is quite terrible at finding things. i might say he was the worst at it if it weren't for his brother who seems remarkably gifted in his inability to find something that isn't where it is supposed to be game (he's surprisingly terrible at locating things even when they are where they are supposed to be). and their room is a wreck. now, i feel these points, both of which go against anthony's theory, do not soil the acumen of anthony's observation because i am a solid example of the syndrome anthony describes above. anthony and alex just are not.

QUOTES, SOCIETY (permalink) 12.17.2014
modern-day prophet.
except from a chris rock interview (source).
Q: What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn't?

A: I'd do a special on race, but I'd have no black people.

Q: Well, that would be much more revealing.

A: Yes, that would be an event. Here's the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it's all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they're not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Q: Right. It's ridiculous.

A: So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he's the first black person that is qualified to be president. That's not black progress. That's white progress. There's been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship's improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, "Oh, he stopped punching her in the face." It's not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner's relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn't. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let's hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Q: It's about white people adjusting to a new reality?

A: Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it's unfair that you can get judged by something you didn't do, but it's also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn't work for.

FRIEND (permalink) 12.16.2014
my favorite birthday correspondence from last week
this comes from a friend and former neighbor who is now living in germany.
Peter and I were reminiscing about you and Marty a couple of weeks ago. We were at an International Fair at Drew and Meredith's school. Parents from each country represented in the school (about 50 countries) had booths with typical foods from their home country. It was a feast! The American tent had chili, rice crispy treats, candy, chips and soda. Yes, as sad as that sounds, that's what we're known for. Peter and I might hijack the booth next year and do pulled pork, slaw and baked beans, layered in a large cup like a trifle dessert .... but I digress.

The booth next to the American booth was Korean. There, high above the table, hung the sign Korean Bulgogi. I remember Troy describing one of his favorite dishes that you were preparing that night and the favorite restaurant that served it. He asked if I was familiar. No, I wasn't, but gosh it sounded good. A few hours later, one of your offspring rang the doorbell and handed me a plastic container of bulgogi and rice. "Here. My dad wanted you to try this. Bye." Mmmm, it IS good!

Troy, I hope you have a wonderful birthday today.

STORY (permalink) 11.21.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

KIDS (permalink) 11.20.2014
life with anfer (and alex), part 3
the boys were each in an after school program. anthony was in a mad-science session and alex was at his robotics club. in coming back from the bathroom alex found anthony sitting on the floor outside the mad-science room. he stopped and asked if he was ok. anthony said that there was a bully in the session today and he didn't want to be in there. alex suggested he just ignore him so he didn't have to miss the class (as both the boys always love the mad science curriculums). anthony told alex that's what he usually did but today he didn't have the energy or patience for it so was just going to sit in the hall instead. if you forget or are wondering, anthony is in second grade.

after returning to his own classroom alex explained his brother's situation to his club leader and asked if anthony could come sit in their room. the leader said of course and anthony was invited to the fifth graders space. they set him up with some drawing gear and anthony spent the remainder of the time drawing and coloring pictures.

in hearing the re-tellings of this tale from the various parties, i'm not sure which of my boys i'm more impressed with. my eight year old for having the sense to remove himself from a toxic and un-winnable situation or my eleven year old for supporting his brother both as a counselor and protector. for as great as all the laughs and cuddles and tickle-wars with your kids are, seeing moments of empathy and compassion and maturity from them warms the heart more than one might be prepared for.

a full week after this event when dropping the boys off at school a classmate walked by waving at anthony. once he had passed i asked anthony if that was the bully. he looked his way and said, "him? no. he's not a bully. he's just a liar."

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 11.19.2014
life with anfer, part 2
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
keep your hands where i can see 'em

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 11.18.2014
life with anfer

are you ready for another beautiful day on planet earth?

we're nothing compared to jupiter.

KIDS (permalink) 10.31.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

KIDS (permalink) 10.30.2014
as i unpacked my bag after arriving at work, i found a card tucked between my book and my lunch. it was from bella and was a remarkably thoughtful card. that night when i saw bella, i mentioned my discovery to her.
oh yeah. that. i got it for you for father's day but then thought how you and mom don't celebrate anniversaries and stuff like that and thought it might surprise you if i gave it to you some other time when you weren't expecting it.
well it worked. it worked quite nicely. aside from the part of it almost making me cry in my office.

KIDS (permalink) 10.29.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

KIDS (permalink) 10.28.2014
just so ya know
the other day anthony looked into my face lovingly and said, "i love you more than mom today".

i've learned to not let this sort of sentiment go to my head because the five times before he addressed this matter, marty sat in the alpha seat, and he still said it to me, as in right to my face, "i love mom more than you today". i find myself conflicted between complimenting his candor and telling him to get the hell of my lap.

KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 10.09.2014
and you sir?
another noteworthy detail about this year's ms150 rides. for two riders to ride in two events, we needed to raise a total of $800. last year for our one event, a twelve year-old bella raised her $200 in a couple of hours by walking the neighborhood. i fell well short of my fundraising goal and when it was all over, the organization charged my credit card for the owed balance. marty was thoroughly non-plussed by this. when i asked marty if she really wanted her middle-aged husband going door to door beggin' money so he could share this experience with our daughter she replied, cooly, that if it would get that charge off her credit card, yes, that is what she wants. when marty learned the fundraising goal this year was $800 she pounced telling me i better get my butt our there and start begging for money. bella quickly came to my defense saying she would raise all the money ... and she did. well almost all of it. a co-worker who has a sibling with MS donated $20 to my cause. bella raised the other $780. and this time she had to go out more than once to hit the mark. this year took her three trips out.

i considered the inequity of it but in the end deemed it ok as i was going to a lot of trouble with the planning and room reservations and such so it seemed fair to leave philanthropic-work, which bella enjoys and is good at, to bella--the whole divide and conquer bit. plus i figured no one knew what a slacker i was, that is until bella and i got interviewed at one of the rest stops by a woman with a microphone that got amplified to the whole rest stop. the lady asked bella how she went about her fundraising and asked how much she raised. the woman, and surrounding crowd, were most impressed with the young girl's accomplishment. the woman then turned to me, saying she was excited to see how much the father of such a spirited young lady raised. there was an almost audible trombone sounding "wah wah waaah" after the words "twenty dollars" left my lips.

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