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WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 04.30.2013
she's going to look funny at the pool this summer
our refrigerator is on the fritz (running too cold) and a milk bottle exploded in the night last week. sunday night, after i had gone to bed, marty emptied the fridge to finish cleaning out the spilled remnants. when done, and putting everything back she dropped a glass shelf on her left big toe which was, at the moment, as naked and vulnerable as a soft nubbin of human flesh could possibly be.

her writhings and moanings woke me sometime in the four o'clock hour. as i learned of what happened and got up to help, she first asked for a sock knowing enough to not let me see the carnage else i'd pass out, fall into our dresser and gash my temple open and then we'd have double the problems. while she wrestled with the sock, i readied a fresh ice pack for her. after getting her foot elevated and settled, i went to my office and returned with two of the pain pills i'd recently been given for my separated shoulder and placed them in her hand. when she asked what they were, i replied, "they're for pain. they work really well but you should know you probably won't be able to get an erection while you're on them."

would you believe, she seemed far less wary of that side-effect that i was?

KIDS (permalink) 04.29.2013
perhaps i should mention alex also sleeps in a round dog bed
alex got a hair cut. this means he can now use a comb instead of bella's large brush to detangle his curls and locks in the morning (but he's still going strong with the crab mister).

the first day with his new trim after getting his own hair worked out he went downstairs and offered to comb bella's hair, something we all like to do 1. after he began, bella noted the comb in his hand and said, "alex, that's the dog comb."2 alex looked at it momentarily before replying, "i took all the dog hair out."

it turns out the spray mist bottle was the least of my problems.

and given the tools already at hand, i wonder if we can get alex groomed at a pet place. it might be cheaper.

1 when i say "we" like to comb bella's hair, let me expound. we includes everyone in our immediate family, friends, and some of bella's girl cousins (many of them already have thick heads of hair as well making bella's mane nothing all that special to them). it also includes several black girls bella went to school with in early elementary. and they win the exuberance award for sure. during this time i'd sometimes stop by at recess to play ogre. instead of finding bella running and climbing, i'd find her sitting on a curb with two to three older girls behind her gleefully brushing and braiding her hair. without moving her head, she'd angle her eyes up towards me, waving a hand and saying, "hi dad". she'd then say the girls knew she had to play ogre when i arrived and they'd be done in a minute. classic bella.

2 we don't own a dog but occassionally have them live with us for stretches of time as part of bella's dog-sitting service.

KIDS (permalink) 04.26.2013
at least the brush has been exclusively used on humans ... i think.
alex desperately needs a haircut. it makes marty mental. every time she brings taking him in for a cut he calmly answers, "in the summer." when his hair gets long like this, i call it his medusa hair because it looks like he has snakes coming out of his scalp. it is such a spectacle that it will stop passerbys who want to look and comment on his bountiful head of hair. in fact, it now is so long, even marty has reached a curious indecision saying maybe we should let him go another month or two because then it would be close to being donatable to locks of love and given its thickness, a number of kids might benefit from the contribution.

and something new this year is on mornings before school at some point before we leave, alex runs up to the bathroom, wets his hair down and brushes the character out, leaving it straight. given the fullness of the hair and the exaggerated styling technique he employs, he looks like a smiling youth out of a seventies claymation clip (e.g. the elf that wants to be a dentist).

i've tried to talk him into leaving the rope-like curls but he quietly resists my advice. which is the right choice because my opinion isn't totally because i think he looks better with his unique curls and mayhem but because when he "fixes" his hair he uses an old spray-bottle originally used with our hermit crabs and then with our lizards (all of which are now deceased). before going to work with the brush he wets his hair down with this old clear mister-bottle (that has the mysterious word in black FLUKERS printed on its side). i know technically the bottle never came into actual contact with the crabs or lizards but there's just something about him using it that skeeves me out.

also, i don't know if this extra attention to his hair has anything to do with the gaggle of girls that have started madly chasing him around the playground at recess. he says no but i'm not a big believer in behavior-changing coincidences.

KIDS (permalink) 04.23.2013
father beware
last week our family watched a film called babysitter beware for our friday night movie. there was a scene at the beginning of the film where these kids put a dog's shock collar around an evil neighbor's neck and then repeatedly tricked him into shocking himself. on the following tuesday at breakfast, anthony said the following in regard to that film.
you know that guy that they shocked at the beginning of the show. when the show ended and they started showing all the names they should have had that guy yell like he just got shocked playing in the background.
i stopped making my lunches contemplating his notion, shook my head in agreement and told him i thought that he was right and that would have been a smart and funny add. i finished lunches marveling at the human brain, and the young mind sitting in my kitchen presently, that conjured that specific thought days after the initial experience.

for any envious of me getting to be entertained by my witty six year old so, let me share what came out of my cerebral cherub's mouth seventeen minutes later after i pissed him off for goofing around in the backyard when he was supposed to be getting in the car. after finally sliding into the backseat and slamming the door in a huff, he proceeded to light me up.

i wish i came out of someone else's stomach.

what? why would you say that? we're going to school, we're not playing in the backyard.

i wasn't playing. i was trying to walk to the garage without getting mud on my shoes.

well, i'm sorry. i didn't know that was what you're doing.

i didn't want to track mud into my school. what kind of parent yells at their child for trying to be respectful of their school?

welcome to another glorious day in the corps of parenthood.

FAMILY (permalink) 04.22.2013
uno, the prison edition
if you see me this week and think you notice a cut over my right eye, your keen vision should be complimented. i do have a cut over my right eye. if you're wondering how a grown, boring man might get a gash over his right eye there is a perfectly obvious explanation: i played a game of uno with my family. what? your family uno games don't involve bloodshed and maiming. perhaps you use different rules. here are some of ours for reference:

if you drop a card on the floor (we play on a coffee table), you get scrumbled which is a dearmitt-word for tickled.

if you drop a card on the floor more than once each scrumbling must last longer and be more intense than the prior scrubmle.

if a card gets dropped several times, like, by a six year old who keeps dropping them on purpose, the severity of the tickles might get so intense that the recipient may flee screaming from the table, the room, and even the floor of the house, resulting in a wild and boisterous chase which shakily reverberates on the ceiling until the inevitable cornering happens. the end game is marked by a large tackle and crash and shrill screams as the tickling begins.

there is another rule that allows someone to yell "table jump" and then do just that, jump over or run around the table and tackle someone beginning a tickle war. i'm not sure what instigates a call of "table jump" as they seemed to occur at unpredictable times, but the fear of suddenly being attacked by one or more people surely helps keep your attention on things (and thankfully not many calls of "your turn" which can plague a table possessing diverse ages and interest-levels).

the table jump is how i got the cut above my eye. problem was when bella table-jumped me, after i played a draw 4 i should reveal, she had a pistachio shell in her hand and in her wild dive towards me her family-grade shank grazed my eye causing the injury. it seems bella doesn't agree that family versions of the game should be weapon-free affairs. and the fact that she went on to win the raucous event didn't allow for any possible learning moments about how people who cheat and maim others never win because it's just not the case when it comes to full-contact uno.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 04.19.2013
last time i was in steamboat the music repeatedly playing in my earbuds was greatful dead's American Beauty. the final episode of freaks and geeks, which i watched shortly before my trip, made mention of this album as being one of the best ever (per the speaker's sense at least). this time while gliding down the same runs, katzenjammer's (a band i recently linked to) songs played on repeat all week. i came to learn of them through a colleague who sent me a link saying "these guys remind me of secret cajun band"--definitely not a sentiment one hears everyday nor one that would fail to garner my attention.

i've been in a state of mourning since the SCB crated their horns for the last time and i had essentially given up hope in finding someone with the a like stage presence and quirkiness. after giving the initial song a listen i had to concur, fully. not only was the sound reminiscent but the energy as well. intrigued, i continued listening and must say the catalog only improved the deeper i dove. rich and diverse stuff.

so i've prepared a modest katzenjammer concert for your end of week enjoyment. i think the below videos do a fair job at showing these young women's breadth of talent and range of personality. i'd recommend both of their albums (a kiss before you go & le pop) as plenty of head-bobbing and finger-drumming goodness exist in each. in no real order.

while there are better produced versions of this song (official video, studio version, solo version), i like the simplicity of this acoustic version which seems to have been done essentially in someone's driveway.

and anyone who knows me would know i'd be smitten with a song containing the following message for the lyrics alone.
everything you want, everything you do, everything and anything is up to you
every single day starts with a riddle, you can go left or right down the middle
so take a little trip down a road and see what you're gonna find who you want to be
but you might have to pick between these three

which one is it, it's your decision
and no matter what you choose, you're going to live it
shepard's song

i will dance

demon kitty rag

play my darling play

land of confusion

to the sea

FRIENDS, TRAVEL, PHOTO (permalink) 04.18.2013
mancation 2013 debrief
this year's ski boondoggle had a few remember-worthy facets and given how remember-challenged my mind seems to be getting (dang checklist!) i thought it prudent to capture the highlights here and now before they fall to the ether.

i've already mentioned the first striking part of the trip is that it restored a lapsed ritual. the situation brought to mind the words of some great writer about the power of ritual. he also supported stepping away from them, rituals, when life demanded but he did so with the solitary caution of making sure you return to the program as soon as humanly possible. done.

usually the weather-personality of a ski trip has some sort of common thread. you're looking at winter-skiing, spring-skiing, freezing north-east skiing, powder-skiing, or something of the like. this year proved one of the most schizophrenic condition-wise weeks i can recall.

the first day was pretty normal spring skiing for colorado which is to say the skies were blue, the sun was out, the morning was solid and you exited the mountain on a bed of grey slush.

the second day saw a storm move in the minute, literally, we arrived to the backside. the lifts were closed due to winds and we were advised to seek shelter until they could see what the storm was likely to do. by the time we worked our way back to the top of the gondola, winds were hitting 90mph and visibility was less than 10 feet for a period of time. within the hour they closed the mountain for the day, largely because of falling trees, and advised us that snow cats were en route to evacuate the staff and skiers still up-mountain. this would be my first mountain evacuation and ride in the back basket of a snow cat. the first time you head downhill and feel your weight press against the metal grating of the cage given the steep pitch is a most unique sensation.

the next day treated us to fresh snow, clear skies, and about twenty degree weather which kept the afternoon slush at bay.

our fourth day began with more fresh snow. then the day saw an additional seven inches dropped on the higher mountain. we were spared the winds but the visibility was quite low (around 10 feet) at times. by this point though we knew the trails well enough to not have to worry about skiing off a cliff or dropping into a mogul-rich, double black diamond. for a number of reasons, i think this last day provided the best skiing. surely the way you want to end a ski week.

another memorable part of this trip dealt with the absence of virtually all people on the mountain given we arrived so late in the season, the mountain proved to be nearly all ours. in fact, when we drove in town sunday night it seemed like we were pulling into a deserted movie set or as if an apocalypse had occurred while we wended through the mountains or that plague-infested zombies cleaned the place of all living flesh and bone. obviously, the upside here is the zero-wait lift lines and the pristine and un-crowded runs.

that last bit leads into the added benefit of the empty runs since i was nursing a severe case of damaged confidence at the start of the week given my separated shoulder i suffered two week earlier at deer valley in park city, utah.

and a surprising first for matt and i, largely due to a banned-mountain, were movies. in all the times we've travelled and spent sitting in mountain lodges i don't think we'd ever taken in a film. this time, we took in several: zero-dark thirty, red dawn (new one), flight, and an espn 30 on 30 documentary about allen iverson. we also tried to watch the tom cruise movie the last samurai but only made it about seven minutes in.

FRIENDS (permalink) 04.16.2013
i accidentally missed an email with more penis rhymes from big ed.
Adonis, poisonous, gangrenous, generous, happiness, disingenuous, Uncle Remus, Seamus, remiss and populace.
one thing is clear, this is going to be one rollicking and meandering children's poem.

TRAVEL (permalink) 04.15.2013
i'm back from my second ski trip in four weeks. for those thinking taking a week off, working two, and then taking another week off (both off-weeks for skiing) is excessive, i agree. the mitigating circumstance is that for the projects i've been working on i missed my usual christmas break and then had to work straight through january and february, the time my annual mancations are meant to happen. this is to say that i'm not taking any more than usual, it just all got piled up after my projects were cooked (bookguy navigated similar waters through this time-frame as well so it wasn't just me in the barrel).

but now i'm back, well recreated and rested and ready to fall back into my routines. my travel mate spoke about that last bit before we parted ways. he commented that in the near twenty years he's known me i've never been more regimented. my defense--none. he's right. i added that it was even worse than what he knew as i've only shared some of my cards. to shed light on the extreme i told him how in packing for my first vacation i almost forgot my wallet. the reason for this oversight stemmed form a series of checklists i use for various activities. i have a checklist for various things such as a long road trip, a family day out, a ski trip, lap swimming, recreational swimming, close the house down for a long absence, my packing, my bathroom kit, you know, expected things like that. the reason i almost forgot my wallet was that i didn't have my wallet on any of the relevant checklists. this is the downside of relying on such aids--you become overly dependent on them, but, and this is a massive j-lo like but, once they are in place, they make you bionic and bullet-proof. and mildly addicted to the art. thus, for as completely needed and invigorating and memorable both of my recent trips have been, i'm ravenous to return to my schedule and order because if there is a secret to the success i've seen in the twenty years my friend has been watching my evolution, it is fully in the reasoned order that rules my minutes and actions. it is the secret sauce. and it tastes spectacular to this palate.

SPORTS, TRAVEL, FRIEND (permalink) 04.11.2013
last week i visited my orthopedist about my shoulder. this would be the same man who laid his healing hands on my knee a few years back and took me from a guy known for a trick knee for the last twenty years to a guy known to run-down every ball on the tennis court. after some x-rays and range of motion checks it was declared that i had a separated shoulder. thankfully, it is a non-surgical condition and he gave me prescriptions for anti-inflamatories, pain-killers and rehabilitation.

three days later i flew out for my annual ski mancation with bookguy. although it hasn't been so annual the last few years because of an aggravated knee one year (me) and a torn muscle another year (him). this proved quite sad to both of us as we had a nice ten year run on our ski trips (and there hasn't been one of them where we haven't been overtly mistaken for a gay couple multiple times. this is good medicine for bookguy). even before the shoulder diagnosis (and while i could still barely raise my arm) i declared the trip to be on and that if i couldn't ski, i'd just hang out in the condo and we'd hang out at night and while traveling which for sure accounts for a large part of the enjoyment every year. additionally, a moment that further solidified my decision to go is when i was letting bookguy know about my shoulder injury, he deflatedly expressed his dissapointment saying our ski trip is one of the few traditions he has in his life and feared it was slipping away. i'm someone who feels traditions have been taking a serious beating in our country and our lives in recent decades and should be protected similar to an endangered species, so if there was any doubt for me earlier, there was no doubt now.

thankfully the meds made my pain and discomfort disappear like a fart in a theater seat. granted i knew this was a facade but i also knew from prior rehabs that part of the battle is continuing the use of your injured limb and working it out (granted, there is the other side of me that believes a body sending signals of pain to your brain is telling you to take things easy for awhile). but, after much deliberation on my part, upon arriving on the mountain and continuing to have my arm "feel" ok, i decided to get some skis and try things out. curiously, physically i felt fine but mentally, my crash was still fresh in my head and proved paralyzing, so much so that bookguy and i joked it looked like i didn't come here to engage in the sport of skiing but instead simply in the act of stopping. in thinking about it, in thirty years of skiing i've never been injured in a fall (keeping in mind, twenty of those years i had no acl in my right knee.). now that i have been cut, i couldn't shake the fear of it happening again.

finally, after a few days patiently working myself back into the game, i started looking more like i once had. and in a shared effort, a tradition and a life-long sports love are salvaged to be enjoyed another day.

KIDS (permalink) 04.09.2013
one of the better emails i've ever received (from one of the best readers i've ever had).
in reference to this post
So that you may spend your open neurons elsewhere, I present: rhymes for "penis." I, handily, have a rhyming dictionary. I couldn't find "penis" (this book is so old, I guess it wasn't a word Apollo Editions expected would require a rhyme), but:

Cleanness, meanness, greenness, keenness, leanness, genus, Venus, sereneness, obsceneness, uncleaness

OR, you could cheat:
Obscenest, serenest, routinist, machinist, plenist (WHAT does that word even MEAN??), magazinist

OR, you could alter the pronunciation very slightly:
Beanish, leanish, deanish, cleanish, spleenish, meanish, greenish, keenish, queenish

Never let it be said I do not care about your bandwidth!

Hope you're well,


KIDS (permalink) 04.03.2013
what it feels like to lose chess to a six year old
"penis! penis! penis! penis!"

the above is what anthony ran through the house screaming after i finished that night's reading of shel silverstein (this is what we read whenever marty is not around at bedtime as both the boys enjoy the poems). the reason he ran about screaming that particular phrase is connected to my promise (after reading shel in particular and before lights out) to turn a sentence said by one of the boys into my own shel-like-poem. anthony, obviously, wanted the first line of the poem to start with the winning phrase, penis-penis-penis-penis.

when instead, i chose to use one of alex's sentences, anthony became inconsolable. between groans of disappointment he said he wanted his sentence to be chosen. i explained that i liked the variety found in alex's sentences more. a moment later anthony went silent in protest. minutes in he broke his stand to ask what would happen if both he and alex said nothing but penis-penis-penis-penis after poems and before bed. i hesitantly confessed i guess the poem would have to start with penis-penis-penis-penis. suddenly his angst vanished and he raised his head to call down to alex in the bunk below, "alex! tomorrow night after poems you have to ..." i reckon you can guess the rest of the plan.

and i can claim yet another parenthood first for me--spending open neurons in my day trying to think of creative rhymes for the word penis. i'm pretty sure dr. spock missed that chapter.

PHOTO (permalink) 04.01.2013
may i interest you in some ...
for any of you dissastified with their easter weekend offerings i have an alternative for you. in my first step towards digging out of my three month professional drubbing and subsequent slacking here, i describe your next spiritual journey possibility in the february gallery.

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