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KIDS, PHOTO (permalink) 04.29.2011
A L E O ! ! !
aleo turns 8 tomorrow. in reflecting on his year i find myself marveling at his unassuming courage, relentless effort and genuine kindness. my favorite story from his seventh year happened earlier in the school year. alex's music teacher had just learned that one of her former students was in the hospital. she was understandably upset but was at work and doing her best to get through the day. when the first grade class filed in for their hour of music, they acted like a first grade class who was about to partake in an hour of music class, they were loud and rambunctious. she asked them to be quiet and that she needed them to listen and cooperate on this day. they quieted down and she stood at the front of the room collecting herself for a moment. then a student's hand went up. the teacher, with a sigh, said, "yes alex." alex said, "mrs k. you look like you need a middle of the day hug. do you need a middle of the day hug?" her body sagged at the words and after a pause she said she did need a middle of the day hug. alex excused himself through his classmates, walked across the room and gave his music teacher a middle of the day hug.

and here are a few images from his 7th year.

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.28.2011
my 2nd favorite thing: the face of a student who gets/sees something they didn't a moment earlier
yesterday was the last day of my class. this was the third year i taught this particular course. someone recently asked me what my favorite part of teaching was. after a moment's pause, i said my favorite part of teaching was not teaching.

to elaborate, i really, really, really like teaching but it is an all-consuming and way-taxing and ever-relentless duty and the minute that duty ends, wether for the day or the semester, and you don't have to prepare for class in a week or a month, the air around you just feels lighter and the minutes more relaxing. so saying the best part of teaching is not teaching is just an awkward way of saying teaching makes you appreciate your time in a way you otherwise wouldn't if you didn't know the pressure of preparing, performing, and assessing a semester or year long class curriculum.

PHOTO (permalink) 04.27.2011
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
APRIL 2011

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 04.26.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

KIDS (permalink) 04.25.2011
the parental hat trick
often times when i come home from work, i am lured into a game of ogre or a tickle war. last week i was locked up with anthony and i was definitely getting the better of him as he was face down on the bed and i was tickling him madly from a combined neck, armpit and biscuits attack. after some furious laughter and struggle he broke free and spun away on the bed. he stopped facing upward and i leaned over close to let him know he didn't get away and i was about to start in again on his stomach and armpits. he held his hands up and said,


stop? why stop?

because you just made me throw up.

in perfect concert with him saying the above sentence, i felt the moisture from his vomit soak through my $80 brooks brothers work shirt since in reaching for him after he rolled away i laid my torso perfectly on top of the spoils of my tickle victory.

ever the optimist, the good news to this tale is i've now made all three of my children barf through tickling. the bad news is, in regard to their collegiate and professional futures, they keep coming back for more.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 04.22.2011
how long it took for aleo and i to ride our bikes to the cub scout bike rodeo: 9 minutes.

how long it took before a fast moving aleo collided with another fast riding bike rodeo goer: 40 seconds.

how long it took for me to run to the nearby firehouse with a crying and bloodied aleo in my arms : 3 minutes.

how long it took for the paramedics to conclude there was no bodily harm but significant oral damage : 8 minutes.

how long it took me to explain to marty over the phone what happened : 1 minute.

how long it took marty to convince our family dentist to leave the restaurant he was eating in to meet us at his office : 38 seconds.

how long it took for marty to arrive at the firehouse : 4 minutes.

how long it took for us to drive to the dentist office : 7 minutes.

how long it took for the dentist to assess the damage : 5 minutes.

how long it took for the dentist to remove the damaged tooth : 12 minutes.

how long before alex recovered from the ordeal : 3 minutes.

how long before marty and i recovered : unknown as the clock is still running on this one.

in the end he lost one tooth on the playground and another in the dentist chair. he also has a gum injury which i will spare you from hearing more about (honestly, though, this is more for my sake than yours). fortunately, both of the lost teeth were baby teeth and will soon be naturally replaced by their adult counterparts. i don't know if the same can be said for the nerves marty and i lost in the wake of the night.

on the drive home, a spent marty dedicated her daily thankful to dentists.

i dedicated my thankful to our particular dentist, dr. chris who by every count and measure is a complete rock star and extraordinary individual. if we had more like him in our professional and familial ranks i'm certain our society would be an all-around better place. i thank whatever fortune put us in his path.

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 04.19.2011
the wacky thing is he thinks marty gave birth to me too.
anthony's go-to insult when he's mad is to, before turning and stomping away, yelling:

you're a stupid penis.

or the more granularly/glandularly specific

you're a stupid penis-head.

pretty sure he picked that up from the older siblings. i'm also pretty sure he's dropped the penis-bomb at school. such realizations make one worry for their child and how much you're reaching them or how they compare to other kids their age. and just when you might start losing hope in your progress, he'll turn around and with a cocked eyebrow ask:

dad, where is the future at?

or the nice twisty one anthony asked marty while her mother was visiting the house:

wait, since both of you are adults, how could grandma be your mom?

what makes that one surprisingly hard to explain is that anthony thinks there are four kinds of people in the world: beebies, little boys, kids, and old people. when you lump everyone fifteen and older into one category, such distinctions get quite blurry.

FAMILY, FRIENDS (permalink) 04.15.2011
like a halfway-house with regulars
snake, my oldest friend in life, passed through town yesterday and stopped to have dinner with us. i remember when i was younger, before kids, and knew company was coming, i'd clean my place up, putting things away, cleaning the toilets and dusting. now the extent of my civility is when they arrive saying, "if you have anything you care about, you might want to leave it in your car."

another thing i noticed is that when i walked him through the house, instead of saying this is alex's bedroom or this is where mary and i sleep, i was saying things like, "uhhm yeah, some people sleep in here, and uh, this over here is another sleeping room that people sleep in most nights."

and as if all that wasn't enough, the night before we announced my friend's visit at the dinner table, we also said that we were having an unexpected steak night. bella asked if she could put the bacon shield (a metal, three-sided structure put around a pan cooking bacon to contain the splattering) around her plate so our guest didn't have to watch her eat steak. marty said that she'd prefer bella used it as a learning opportunity and try to eat like a proper young lady, even using silverware. conversely, i supported bella's bacon-shield idea and suggested she use it wether we had a guest at our table or not.

QUOTES (permalink) 04.14.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
good to know

LIFE (permalink) 04.13.2011
hey beavis, after five years you get wood, heh-heh
when i quit the bank for the university, i left one week shy of my fourteen year anniversary. fourteen years felt like a long time. last sunday i received a note from my boss wishing me happy anniversary. it was my five year badge. suddenly, fourteen years seems less impressive.

as an aside, i went to look up what the anniversary gift for five years was and it seems there are now two lists, one traditional and one modern. the first five years of the traditional set was paper, cotton, leather, linen, and wood. the new first five years are clocks, china, crystal, electrical appliances, and silverware. it seems the marketers have hi-jacked our traditions in the name of progress and commerce.

another thing the modern list has done for us is that in the past there were gaps in the gift years, like you'd hit the 20th year but then wait until the 25th year for another gift. the modern capitalist, i mean list-makers have filled those holes leaving nary a year that doesn't require a gift purchase ... for those who honor such things.

it's also worth noting that the U.K.'s list doesn't sport two versions and is still the same as it always was.


QUOTES (permalink) 04.12.2011
who the heck sets up an easter egg hunt for grown folks?
after sharing my notions about prefacing things with the word ADULT and what exactly it implies, i didn't want to be presumptuous enough to say that you would never see the use of the word the same again but in support of that possibility i present this message i received from my friend jen last week. it read:

Just thought of you as i drove past the the brentwood community center ... they have a sign up that says "Adult Easter Egg Hunt". Seriously.

get your baskets kids, this year we're not visiting the cousins, we're looking for eggs in someplace called brentwood!!!

TRAVEL (permalink) 04.08.2011
so they packed up the truck and they moved to beverly ...
i grew up in fort collins colorado. by the time i was thirty i had been as far east as italy, including peppering the united states east coast from vermont to the florida keys. in regard to going west, the furthest i had been was steamboat springs which was a few hours drive from my boyhood home.

in my thirties i took in more western locations such as portland, seattle, vancouver and many smaller spots between, but to date, and by design, i had never crossed the california state line. today this changed in that as you read this i am sitting in the san francisco bay area, on stanford's college campus specifically. before even arriving i could say that this first experience is going to give me an unfair impression of california and what i've been missing which is not an inconsequential factor. fortunately i've got a good jump on being a crotchety, opinionated old goat who's slow to move and thus won't be easily swayed by california's come hither gaze.

also, a slight drizzle has been known to perturb me so i have realistic expectations of what uncontrollable, quaking ground would do to my mood.

SCIENCE (permalink) 04.07.2011
an old guy in a lab coat versus a mother of three
the scientific world has long said that the female sex drive resurges after forty and that it is age and hormone related.

marty says the return of the sex drive has less to do with age and hormones and more to do with the fact those women are no longer messin' with small children.

smart money is on the person wranglin' three of them.

QUOTES (permalink) 04.06.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
adults only

FAMILY (permalink) 04.05.2011
kinda like saving dessert for after dinner
marty attaches the phrase "after college" to most things the kids ask regarding grown-up choices. this would be stuff like having children, getting married, buying horses, or living in bigger homes 1. this message falls in great alignment with our "nothing permanent" policy (explained here).

my hope by the use of this phrase is that they in fact wait until after college for the litany of things described. marty's hope is we can at least get them out of high school before dealing with them.

here is one case i really hope i'm right.

1 anthony desperately wants us to move to a bigger home. this became a sticking point with him after we visited some friends. funny thing is their home is no bigger than ours, might even be a touch smaller. but, it was a ranch layout loaded with circles (doorways that connected rooms together) so it had a mesmerizing and labyrinthal quality especially to someone who can barely see at a counter level.

KIDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 04.04.2011
pretty in pink
we have an electric toothbrush. everyone but marty uses it. everyone who does use it has their own brush head that snaps onto the handle. when you buy a pack of the brushes they come with these little colored rings that slip over the base of each brush so you can tell them apart. inevitably, i always get stuck with the pink marker. it is both embarrassing and appalling how much can be gleaned about my life by that little hot pink ring of plastic.

MOVIE, LIST (permalink) 04.01.2011
in honor of movie friday
my three all-time favorite-ever movie lines:

1. planes, trains, automobiles

john candy is driving the car the wrong way on the highway. steve martin just woke up form a nap. martin straightens around trying to orient where he is and notices people on the other side of the highway median yelling and waving at them. martin rolls down his window to see what they're saying. he turns to john candy and tells him that the people over there are saying we're going the wrong way. john candy casually dismisses the accusation with a shrug saying, "how do they know where we're going." you see martin think on this for a moment and then you see candy's logic wash over his groggy face. he then turns and waves a polite thank you in the other cars direction while john candy is in the background making wild drinking gestures their way.

2. rushmore

a major thread of this movie chronicles a crush jason schwartzman (lead role, student) has on one of his young female prep school teachers. in this scene he is having dinner with the teacher and her boyfriend. miffed at his presence schwartzman works to insult the boyfriend. in one swipe he mocks the man's hospital scrubs (and i'm working from memory here):

i like your nurse's uniform.

these are O.R. scrubs

SCHWARTZMAN (sarcastically and slowly)
OH ARE they? [spoken "O.R. they?]

3. true lies

when arnold schwarzenegger learns that bill paxton is having an affair with his wife, jaime lee curtis, schwarzenegger goes to the car dealership where paxton works. while test driving a car, schwarzenegger gets paxton to talk about having affairs with women and specifically his wife. paxton is more than eager to talk about his exaggerated skills at wooing the lonely wives of over-working men. paxton then lights into a long-winded description of how beautiful the woman he was currently working on was. in the midst of his long description on her features, one of the lines slipped in the middle was, "she's got an ass like a ten year old boy."

i to this day still remember sitting dumbfounded in the audience at this unorthodox, unconventional, and unexpected description of a beautiful woman.

i almost added a line from zombieland to the list but i just watched it for the first time while in chicago and i need to let it steep awhile to see if it sticks in my head as much as the above lines do.

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