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KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 07.17.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
what are you, a comedian?

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PHOTO (permalink) 07.31.2009
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
July 2009

monthly archives

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 07.16.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JULY 2015

KIDS (permalink) 07.15.2015
aleo and i have been playing some video games together. much of this time, especially in the early going involves him getting me functional. occasionally his use of language is the greatest. two examples that stand out are:

1. i was complaining about my joystick. he asked to see it. he moved around a bit and then said, "yeah, your joystick seems to be a little cockier than mine. we can trade if you'd like." i said i'd rather not, because i for sure thought the cockier controller would pay off in the long run (this has not yet come to pass).

2. then we were playing something else on the computer and i was complaining about the mouse being extra twitchy. again, he asked me to see it, opened up a control panel or two, moved some dials and then told me to try again. in explanation he said his friend maria was over playing with him and he had to turn the "sensibility" up for her. knowing maria as i do, i'd second aleo's suggested course.

and let's get past the point where i come off as a over-delicate fool that just complains when things aren't exactly to my liking. it's not like this is getting exponentially worse with each year that passes. i can't help if i'm a touch cocky and high on sensibility.

LIFE (permalink) 07.14.2015
Padawan seeks master
the question on my mind as of late has been about mentoring and namely about why it seems so challenging for middle-aged guys to find and nurture mentoring relationships with our elders. i mean there are plenty of older men out there. and many of them are certainly accomplished enough. hell, simply by being older, even if you squandered the lion-share of your years in an armchair watching crappy, or even good, television, you're bound to have observed a meaningful thing or two, even if by accident, in your multiple decades of life.

so, these days, when i meet a person around my age i ask them about any older mentors they have and how they came to have them—you know, just the normal backyard party small talk. i posed my question to a neighbor who is a surgeon. through our talks we discovered how similar developing young talent is in both technology and medicine. he was experiencing some difficulties with a new, super-bright doctor his practice had brought on. when he asked one of the senior partners about it, the older doc pithily said with a hint of knowing sympathy in his voice:
good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions.
and that was all he had to say on the matter. in reflecting on the brief response, i'd conclude, that might be all that needs be said on the matter. while there are many challenges in aging, having a better grasp on the why's and how's of life certainly goes a long way in making those physical deficencies sting a little less.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 07.03.2015
new favorite
here's my new favorite all-time, acapella song.

when i first played it for bella, i blindfolded her and sat her in my office chair facing my stereo speakers and then blasted the song irresponsibly loud. something about that focused listening enriches the experience.

WIFE (permalink) 07.02.2015
sorry, it's my brothel on the line
marty was driving home from georgia after a week away with the kids. i was in a meeting in my office. in the middle of a sentence my phone, which was sitting the desk between the man i was meeting with and me, began to ring. in the seven years i've had my phone this might be the eleventh time it rang as no one really had my number and those that did knew using it was about as effective as screaming my name out their front door. surprised to see it come to life, i glanced down at the screen. it read: SEX GODDESS. i swung my eyes to the man on the other side of the desk to see if he noticed the caller. he had not. i said i had to take it and answered the phone and heard:
hi troy. it's marty. we got a flat. everyone is ok, but we're stalled out here and i wanted to let you know.
i later told the guy what happened and was relieved at the time that he didn't see it. he said if he did see it and i wasn't going to answer it, he surely would have.

KIDS (permalink) 07.01.2015
magical meadow
bella and i were on an evening bike outing. in the summer she has taken to riding later in the day, some rides lasting well past sundown. while many parents and riders would balk at these post-sunlight rides, bella landed the right riding partner because for twenty years i did all my distance cycling between 10pm and 2am for a number of reasons i won't get into here/now.

on this night, we wended our way through our typical route. as we rounded a gentle bend with high brush on either side, we came upon a broad meadow that, at this particular moment, had thousands, and i do mean thousands, of fireflies dotting the landscape. the vision fully took our breath away as we rolled through a scene straight out of a Miyazaki film. as far as you could see in either direction small dots of light silently winked on and off in the dark.

it wasn't until we cleared the meadow that bella turned her head to me, mouth agape. she didn't even say anything—she just had a look of amazement on her face. i shook my head in agreement. the next time we stopped a few miles later, before the bikes had even stopped rolling, bella was commenting.

did you see that?

yeah that was really something.

have you ever seen anything like that?


we shouldn't tell anybody about it. just keep it as our secret. and only show it to people we really love.

we fist-bumped the deal. so if you ever want bella and/or i to take you to firefly meadow, you're gonna need to amp up the charm, like a lot.

LIFE (permalink) 06.30.2015
uncertainty settled
i was making some new benches for our front porch (in part due to a new, totally sweet, dowling jig i recently bought). i was modeling them after a bench i made several years ago. between my superior skills (compared to several years back) and improved tools (uhhh, dowling jig), i considered upgrading to a higher grade of of wood. the problem point here is that it would add a fair bit of cost to the project so i wanted to make sure i could pull the benches off without any issues.

while getting things organized, i stepped out to the porch to take measurements on my existing bench. while crouched down and measuring the various parts and pieces, i noticed how the top slabs of wood, where you sit, had deep divots and mars in them from the kids various projects. the most damning of the marks came from our meat tenderizer hammer where, i recalled this day specifically, the kids went through a multi-day period of busting open acorns for sport using the medieval looking meat hammer as the pounder and my hand-made bench as the worktop. i imagined my reaction to them doing this, or any other number of their child-divined games, on high-dollar pieces of lumber versus the simple treated wood i've historically used.

then, from my crouched position, i recalled one of the first and most meaningful parental lessons i ever learned: you can love your things or you can love your children, but you can't love both.

after completing my notes, i, with nary a reservation, went and bought my low-grade planks of wood.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 06.12.2015
great, right down to the album title: Same Trailer Different Park
bella turned me onto this girl awhile back. at first i expected just another wispy dove-voiced girl who looked and moved right. but in each of the three videos my daughter sent me of the girl's work, i was repeatedly struck by her lyrics and storytelling. i'm not sure if she writes her own stuff or not but if so she's got a real talent for observation and bending it to fit her need. if it's someone else, she's got a good songwriter backing her up. i for one loved the days where songs more consistently made storytelling part of the craft (e.g. johnny b good, american pie).

HEALTH (permalink) 06.11.2015
we just look like we were in a knife fight a few days ago.
here's a recent lesson on aging marty and i just bumped into. scars on older people stick around much longer and in an uglier, darker form than when you're young. i commented on how two cuts i recently got were acting like they weren't in any rush to go away. she flashed me her own battle wound and it looked almost exactly like mine. to add to it she told me to keep an eye on anthony, a kid who seems to get a minimum of one cut/bruise a day, as you can almost watch his skin heal back to perfection before your eyes.

if you are storming up on this lovely physical milestone as well, the good news is while our external mars don't go away so easily, the internal cuts that used to take weeks and months (or longer) to heal in our teens and twenties, barely break our thicker, tougher emotional skin these days. so aging, as people sometimes like to claim, isn't just broken eggs and spilt milk—there is a fluffy, cheese-filled omelet (or two) sitting within arms reach as well. you just have to look on that side of the table.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 06.10.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JUNE 2015

KIDS (permalink) 06.09.2015
calling them as he sees them.
during school anthony would visit a speech therapist a few times a week. she was helping him with a few sounds he seems to stumble on when talking fast, like R's (my struggle when his age were any words with double-Ls). she, like seemingly all speech therapists, is young, charisma-heavy and attractive. she smiles big and talks with great positivity and brightness. both marty and i were struck by her after meeting at a patent-teacher conference. a few weeks after making her acquaintance a school-day story made its way back to us.

moments before anthony walked into the speech-lady's office she fumbled her drinking glass and spilled water down the front of her shirt. she dabbed it up as best as possible and then went about work. she greeted anthony when he stepped into the room and told him to take his seat. then as she turned to face him our second-grade anthony said:
i think your boob leaked some milk.
as is her nature she handled this unexpected comment with grace and humor. it probably didn't hurt that she was in fact a breast-feeding mother (not that anthony had any idea about that--but perhaps there is a look or a smell though--although it is probably more the case that he thinks all young women are breastfeeding some human). she later told marty she was struck by the ease and confidence of the eight year old's comment to which marty simply said, "well, you can tell he's a boy who saw a good number of years of breast feeding--maybe possibly a few more years than he should have."

LIFE (permalink) 05.15.2015
and what about you dad?
regarding yesterday's pro-peril story, for any wondering, my part of the peril was installing the rope on the tree. i'm not a fan of heights and for sure know bad things can happen. but if i want my kids to leave their comfort zone and travel to new places, i reckon i should as well every now and again.

granted, being taunted by anthony while going through my trial with chants of "do you want me to climb up there and do it dad?" does not enrich the experience in any meaningful way other than, maybe, egging me on to finish the job.

and i'd never been more thankful for my failing vision because once i was at the peak of the climb and trying to manipulate the thick-as-my-wrist rope into the slip knot my super-neighbor taught me minutes earlier, i was able to slide my glasses down my nose a bit and given my severe near-sightedness, the distant world below blurred out, looking much less ominous.

i don't think folks talk nearly enough about the awesome parts of getting old.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 05.14.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
MAY 2015

KIDS (permalink) 05.13.2015
a few days after my fourteen year old bella was mistaken for a grown woman (ref), she and i were out running errands. i told bella that given (1) her looking older than she is and (2) me looking younger than i am since shedding 25 pounds we might start running into situations where people look at us and wonder if we're a father and daughter or a rich guy and trophy girl. after icking and hacking her way through the suggestion she explained that no sensible human could be that mis-guided. i agreed that it seemed crazy and unlikely but said she should prepare herself for the possibility.

not even twelve hours later bella and i were on an evening bike ride through our park. we pulled up in front of the art museum to adjust some gear (me giving bella my helmet because she forgot hers - again). as we were working things out a woman exited the museum and walked by us. glancing our way, she pulled up and complimented our bikes. she stood back taking them in and then said it was so great that we enjoyed the same things and got out together. she began saying "it's nice when a ... ". here she paused and looked at each of us and bella finished her sentence "father and daughter" and the woman picked it up thanking bella and saying it was hard to tell sometimes.

after we parted and got out of earshot of the lady bella turned to me, saw my broad smile and said, "don't say a word. not a word." and we biked on in silence for a bit while bella digested this new development.

QUOTES (permalink) 05.12.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
you're what?

KIDS (permalink) 05.08.2015
in trying to convey at point at the dinner table to anthony, i said:

haven't you ever heard the saying "as a man thinketh, so he is"?

uhh. no. and i know i've never heard that saying because i've never heard the word 'thinketh' before.

although after that exchange anthony will never again be able to make that claim because 'thinketh' saw tons of play after that as in "do you thinketh you could bring in the ice cream" or "i thinketh it is time for dad hours" or "i thinketh i must use the restroom."

KIDS (permalink) 05.07.2015
where we're at.
all three kids were scheduled for haircuts. we lived through survived a time that logistically scheduling three kids for a haircut in the same visit would have proven a herculean and catastrophic endeavor. herculean given the ambitious feats of occupying the two not in the chair and catastrophic in the sense that afterwards you'd need the remainder of the day to recover. but these days with a 14, 11, and 8 year old, marty called out a ten minute warning. in seconds the boys charged by to get dressed (it was only 12:00 on a saturday). as anthony passed, marty asked him to wake his sister. and that critical thought you just had about our daughter sleeping at noon isn't judgmentalism, it's jealousy—i know because i felt it too. after getting dressed, anthony returned to marty and asked if he could say that it was her idea to wake up bella. marty chuckled and said, yes, he could say that "mom said" to wake her and then added that he should just give her a gentle nudge on the hip and say it was time to get up. and that's what was done and they were in the car at the appointed wheels-up time. AND the dearmitt-walter clan set yet another salon-record for amount of hair removed from three humans (granted, bella and alex carry the day here).

and the best news of all regarding this maturation is it totally possible for me to say to my wife that while she and kids were getting haircuts i was thinking about catching a movie. because there was most definitely a time saying those words to my wife while in arms reach could have resulted with her holding my larnyx in her balled up fist but now, instead of rending parts of my anatomy from their home, she says "yeah, that sounds great. we'll meet up after." and not in a facetious way but in a, "great—go have fun" way and there's like flower petals floating down around us and soft music playing in the background. so i got to catch a weekend matinee of ex machina, a movie i would suggest you carve out time out to see as it is a wildly excellent and thought provoking affair about not our future, but about our childrens' future (possibly our grand-childrens') but assuming we can hold this planet together long enough, it is in someone's future. curious riddles they will be. and if you can go to a guilt-free afternoon matinee i would suggest doing so, if for no other reason, just because you can.

WEB (permalink) 05.06.2015
not always on time, but always there, for 15 years at least

WEB (permalink) 05.05.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
APRIL 2015

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 04.24.2015
proof that the mind is infitintely trainable
i don't know if this leaves me motivated or dispirited. whatever the feeling is, i couldn't help but force myself to experience it multiple times. sheesh.

and in case you thought it was a fluke, there's more.

KIDS (permalink) 04.23.2015
nary a toe-tap or hand-on-hip-huff to be found
bella and i had just finished our second and final lap at the park. just as we turned to head home a guy a met a week earlier passed by. our faces lit up at recognizing each other and he applied the brakes coming to a stop. we stepped off the path and greeted each other. he introduced himself to bella and in short order we got talking about bike routes and group rides. i turned to bella a couple of times and could see the talks were not of interest to her given her unengaged observance. i tried to slow the conversation a few times but it kept re-gaining steam (this is a very interesting and knowledgeable man to me). after what was probably twenty minutes, we finally broke off and headed our original ways. once we were back on the bikes and out of earshot, i thanked bella for her patience and said i knew she wanted to go and that i appreciated her not getting huffy or embarrassing me in front of my new friend. she replied:
well, i figured there's been lots of times you've driven me to rollercade and then drove back to pick me up or took me to birthday parties or walked me to the library or came to my soccer games when you'd rather be doing other things so figured i owed you a talk with your friend.
sometimes i wonder how my life would be different today if i possessed my daughter's maturity and empathy levels when i was fourteen (instead of when i was 34).

SOCIETY, TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 04.22.2015
there are also fewer fights around the dinner table thanks to all those facebook feeds
kottke recently shared a story from a guy that said since smart phones arrived, nobody picks up coins they see on the street anymore.
From 1987 to 2006, he averaged about fifty-eight dollars a year. Then Apple introduced the iPhone, and millions of potential competitors started to stare at their screens rather than at the sidewalks. Since 2007, Pasquier has averaged just over ninety-five dollars a year.
my smartphone observation, and one of the few true boons of the technology would be an immediate and sharp decrease in the incidents of road rage you hear about. turns out people are too distracted to get annoyed at anything.

and there is a comment marty made a few years back that stuck with me. if you recall, marty taught 9th grade science for eight years in the 90's. then took nine years off to be home with the kids. she is now in her third year back in the classroom. when she first returned i asked her what, if anything, had changed in the educational landscape. her response: "well, there weren't smart phones when i taught before." i'll leave it to your imagination to ascertain if their impact on our educational process has helped or hindered our mission to grow a new and improved generation of thinkers.

the further we advance in time, the more the movie wall-e looks like a documentary and less like a kids movie.

WEB (permalink) 04.21.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
MARCH 2015

WORK, LIFE (permalink) 04.10.2015
thank god it's monday!
today is my 9 year anniversary with my present employer (remember).

and, if you believe in a little rag called forbes, my employer is the 13th best you can work for, in this country at least.

and i've long said i'm the happiest employee at my employer which means i might have a sporting chance of being one of the top 13 most satisfied employees in the country.

and i have the added benefit of being able to walk to my office. that is after i walk my boys to school in the morning (which adds up to 8,000 steps by 9:00am for all my step-counters out there).

and this proximity obviously means, when the kraft macaroni and cheese mood strikes, i can walk home for lunch too.

and i'm not even going to mention the part about my office being a sexy, cool corner office with a bay window or that it would be my first choice of offices on the entire campus. we'll just leave that bit out.

and then there's the little professional part where i love my work, like way more than i should.

sometimes it seems unfair.

but so did unloading trucks after i graduated college.

so if life is going to feel unfair either way, i'll take my current unfair over my past unfair any workday of the week.

KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 04.09.2015
alex times two
alex has played soccer for several years. over this span, he has developed into quite the defensive specialist, namely because the first team he played on got whooped up on pretty regular so we had lots of practice defending the goal. and, alex was the team's prize student in this regard understanding how to position himself to disrupt shots on goal, harassing players as to not let them get situated and the like.

one problem alex possessed when playing defense is he always had a giant smile on his face. several times i explained he should try to smile less or at least less enthusiastically because a smiling defensemen did not seem very intimidating, but some parts of nature cannot be controlled (exhibit 1, exhibit 2, exhibit 3, exhibit 4, need i go on?)

alex's second team had an unnatural number of kids who ravenously loved soccer and played constantly. this equated to a lot of natural scorers and there's nothing a bevy of goal-minded kids loves more than a kid who likes playing defense because it means less time sharing the spotlight which means more shots on goal. this meant alex became a quick star on his team because he was one of the few kids who always asked to play dee.

but thanks to some gentle nudges from the coaches over the years (and surely helped by some blowouts where they were trying to pull the big guns off the front line), alex found himself on the offensive side of the field. as you'd expect, it is surely a different game up there and you could see alex working through the math of it all.

his intuition about the sport has been visibly improving but he'd yet to score a goal. then this last weekend, he scored not one but two goals in a game. after the first, when he turned from the goal to run back to middle field you could have seen the white of his smile from two pitches away, which sounds impressive until you consider that you could have seen my smile, FIVE pitches away.

WEB (permalink) 04.08.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

FOOD, FRIEND (permalink) 04.07.2015
warning, do not view while hungry
speaking of food (yesterday), the fiancÚ of a good friend of mine just started documenting her nurturing her newfound love of food and food-making. and, it doesn't take long to see that her style of 'documentation' is a bit richer and deeper than most folks form of documentation.
I think the relationship between food and our bodies is magical. One moment you can be looking at the apple in your hand, and the very next it is inside of you, becoming part of you - your cells, your bones, your heart, your brain.
the above quote comes from her newly established blog.

and her instagram page should come with a full-on warning as i first looked in on it before bed and can tell you that that is a wicked kind of mistake.

and a few days after seeing this alex caught her fiance, and my friend, super-sam, slipping something into our mail slot. upon opening the door and surprising him he confessed that he was dropping off a chocolate bar he just made for us to try out. later, when opening it up for the family to try, i found a personalized note on the wrapper's backside (you're not going to get that with hershey!!!) part of which said:
I recently began making chocolate from scratch. It's a 3 ingredient recipe. This has a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and is a bit melty to the touch. I'm working on the latter issue.

There's also a mustache emblazoned on the back. Because what not!?

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.

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.

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