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KIDS (permalink) 05.31.2011
and year one is in the books
friday was anthony's last day of school. i left a morning meeting at 11am and set out on the ten minute walk to his school. on the way there, i reminisced on some of the moments from anfer's first year of school. like how he would occasionally leave his classroom for another if the other room looked to have better stuff going on than his own. or the time he he tussled with his best friend over a stuffed animal, which culminated with someone getting bit and me getting to apologize from my work phone and say that he wasn't usually a biter. or the time anthony left the school, as in left the actual building, because he was done for the day and was confident he could walk home "by his own".

after ten minutes of these mental rambling in spectacular mid-day weather, by the time i came upon the school i was feeling very sentimental and soft. i looked at the lawn of the school where the kids were lined up and sitting on the small grass hill awaiting their pickups. on this particular day, because of the achievement, there were many double parents and video cameras and grandparents in attendance. after anthony saw me approach, i knelt down for the big running hug i usually get from him when he sees me (his excitement stems from my presence usually meant he got breadCo for lunch). on this day though, he walked slowly towards me dragging his backpack behind him. when he got to me he looked at my face and loudly proclaimed, "my butt itches dad." with this unfortunately audible declaration, he reached around and dug in good and deep through his sweat pants. i raised up looking at my rooting kid. i then looked around at the other smiling, hugging, recording, gap-ad looking kids with my wispy bubble of anticipation freshly popped over my moment, leaving me dotted with the goo it was made of.

but as he always does, anthony pulled it out. while we strolled under the canopy of trees that line our neighborhood streets, anthony observed that the houses looked like they were made of candy and that he thought we might live in a fairy tale village. i smiled. he then went on to theorize that the sidewalks were made of candy books which further supported his suspicion that we lived in a fairy tale village. i smiled more at his fanciful take. and then when a neighbor stopped to talk for a minute, anthony, tired of waiting, said in full exasperation, "dad, let's go. my butt still itches!". more bubble goo.

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 05.27.2011
wordsmithyan footwork
Communities, like people, have periods of health and times of sickness—even youth and age, hope and despondency. There was a time when a few towns like New Baytown furnished the whale oil that lighted the Western World. Student lamps of Oxford and Cambridge drew fuel from this American outpost. And then petroleum, rock oil gushed out in Pennsylvania and cheap kerosene, called coal oil, took the place of whale oil and retired most of the sea hunters. Sickness or the despair fell on New Baytown—perhaps an attitude from which it did not recover. Other towns not too far away grew and prospered on other products and energies, but New Baytown, whose whole living force had been in square-rigged ships and whales, sank into torpor. The snake of population crawling out from New York passed New Baytown by, leaving it to its memories. And as usually happens, New Baytown people persuaded themselves that they liked it that way. They were spared the noise and litter of summer people, the garish glow of neon signs, the spending of tourist money and tourist razzle-dazzle. Only a few new houses were built around the fine inland waters. But the snake of population continued to writhe out and everyone knew that sooner or later it would engulf the village of New Baytown. The local people longed for that and hated the idea of it at the same time. The neighboring towns were rich, spilled over with loot from tourists, puffed with spoils, gleamed with the great houses of the new rich. Old Baytown spawned art and ceramics and pansies, and the damn broadfooted brood of Lesbos wove handmade fabrics and small domestic intrigues. New Baytown talked of the old days and of flounder and when the weakfish would start running.
excerpt from John Stienbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent

FASHION (permalink) 05.26.2011
the inbox was poppin' this week.
this week's capri confession spawned a couple interesting email threads.

excerpt from an old friend, buddy james:
i really enjoyed your post about the capri pants. i guess i didn't realize that you've been holding a candle for those pants for a decade.

that's endless love, man.

well, i'm writing to tell you to stay brave and keep wearing those pants no matter what anyone says. last year, i pulled the trigger on a pair of boots that i had been coveting for a couple of years. shortly after i got them, i wore them to my sister's house, whereupon my 5-year old niece and her little friend, skipped in circles around me, pointing at my feet, singing "girl boots! girl boots!"
my excerpted reply:
there are certain things in my life that i have gotten fixated on and just couldn't let it go, my wife being one of those things. i don't know if it's something all people experience. i assume so, but perhaps not with the same intensity or neurosis. this sounds like a bad thing, but this embedded conviction has served me more than it has hurt me so i'm sticking with it.

and then an excerpt from a new friend on the other side of the world:
Now I don't want to cast aspersions on your manhood -- after all, in many ways you're more a man than I'll ever be -- but being from New Zealand, I had no idea what capri pants were. I did a Google image search for 'capri pants mens', and the first image that came up is the one attached (pictured right) to my email. It's entitled 'gay men capri pants' and links through to a site called ''.

and my excerpted reply:
there's something about shirtless men that are not at the beach that always gets the gaydar hoppin'. especially shirtless, muscle-bound men. fortunately my pale, hairless, concave chest doesn't give that impression.

and yet another email mentioned japris which are, obviously, cut-off jean capris. how beyond brilliant is that? and how surely are a a pair of those in the cards for me, to marty's future chagrin. and lastly, yesterday i bought two more pairs to backstop my first pair. why the need for so many you ask? because a lot can happen in ten years of daily wear.

FASHION (permalink) 05.25.2011
get 'em while they got em
forgot to mention the maker was REI. and they have a couple of different styles. i have the pair on the left.


hardwear ridgetop

salomon wayfarer

FASHION (permalink) 05.24.2011
from decades out of style to years ahead
around ten years ago marty and i were walking in the the shopping district next to our neighborhood. we are fortunate to live just next to one of our city's more vibrant urban scenes (and recently named one of the ten best streets in the nation) making it a place rife with curious characters. on this day many years back, a young man passed by us wearing capri pants. save his three quarter length nickers, the man looked completely pedestrian. as he passed i commented to marty that i thought the pants looked comfortable. she said i should get a pair. i asked if guys wore capris. she said they didn't but added that social norms didn't seem to play a role in my dress otherwise and was curious why this might be any different. while this could possibly be construed as a compliment in written form here, it certainly was not meant as one. marty publicly divorced herself (very much so) from my wardrobe selections quite early in our marriage. our union may not have survived else-wise. all that said, for the obvious reasons, i couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger in this case. wearing dated jean shorts is one thing, wearing a woman's pantaloon is another.

now jump forward ten years. a few weeks ago marty said i'd probably be pleased to know that bella's baseball coach wore capri pants. and not just once or twice. it was all she ever saw him in. after seeing the trend she commented on them to him. assuming she was goofing on him, he told her to go stand in line with his wife and daughter who had like opinions about his clothing choice. marty corrected him saying she thought they looked great and told him her husband would be jealous. she was right. i saw him (and them) at bella's game on saturday. after the game i caught him getting into his car and said i liked his pants. he studied me for a moment as we've never met and then he brightened saying, "oh! you're bella's dad. marty said you would like my pants". i said i did and complimented the look. i asked him more about them. he lit up saying how much he loved them and how versatile and comfortable they were. he asked if i was really considering getting a pair. i said i was. he asked me if i would wear them to the next practice so his wife and daughter could see. i shook on the deal.

good to my word, later that day i went to the store he referenced and good to his word, there they were, multiple styles of men's capri pants. after a pass through the dressing rooms and a trip to the registers, i owned my first pair of capris. upon arriving home marty and i had an evening suit-required event so i was unable to wear them out that evening. but i was sporting them straightaway the next day. when i appeared in the kitchen, marty studied me for a long moment before saying, "well, they are a step up from your jean shorts". please remember, since she has trained herself to be blind and numb to how i dress, this was a phenomenally supportive and animated response.

my first errand and public unveiling was a trip to the grocery store. after a slight hesitation before getting out the car, i didn't think of them again. i went in, collected my items and was headed to the register. after passing an aisle i stopped, backed up and looked down the row. standing partway down studying some cans was of all people, bella's soccer coach. and he was wearing his capris. i walked up to him and he glanced at me. then recognition set in and he gave a warm hello. the first question he asked was if i was still going to get some pants. i said i wasn't because i already did. he looked down and expressed what could be described as actual glee. i guess he may have doubted my conviction. we, two men in capris, stood confident and joyful as we compared notes about our comfy bloomers. i then thanked him for the hookup and we parted, but only after a moment of making man-capris look like the clothing option of choice, at least in aisle eighteen of our local grocery.

and then there was the awkward moment later that day when i wore my new pants to a work bbq. i have to credit candor-filled kate with breaking the ice saying something along the lines of, "how long are we going to pretend troy isn't wearing capris before we talk about it" which opened the door for my excited telling of the above decade-long saga.

FASHION (permalink) 05.23.2011
and another bucket-item falls
yesterday i realized a decade-long aspiration to wear capri-pants in public.

the back-story is as every bit compelling as you may imagine. sadly, i'm unable to tell it today as i'm still basking in the high of accomplishment.

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 05.20.2011
that there be some mighty fine storytellin'
He didn't take the Spettle boys with him, for he had brought no spare horses. But the boys started at once for Lonesome Dove of foot, each of them carrying a blanket. They had one pistol between them, a Navy Colt with half its hammer knocked off. Though Call assured them he would equip them well once they got to Lonesome Dove, they wouldn't leave the gun.

"We've never shot airy other gun," Swift Bill said as if that meant they couldn't.

When he took his leave, Mrs. Spettle and the six remaining children scarcely noticed him. They stood in the hot yard, with a scrawny hen or two scratching around their bare feet, watching the boys and crying. The mother, who had scarcely touched her sons before they left, stood straight up and cried. Three of the children were girls, but the other three were boys in their early teens, old enough, at least, to be of use to their mother.

"We'll take good care of them," Call said, wasting words. The young girls hung onto the widow's frayed skirts and cried. Call rode on, though with a bad feeling in his throat. It was better that the boys go; there was not enough work for them there. And yet they were the pride of the family. He would take as good care of them as he could, and yet what did that mean, with a drive of twenty-five hundred miles to make?

He made the Rainey ranch by sundown, a far more cheerful place than the Spettle homestead. Joe Rainey had a twisted leg, the result of an accident with a buckboard, but he got around on the leg almost as fast as a healthy man. Call was not as fond of Maude, Joe's fat red-faced wife, as Augustus was, but then he had to admit he was not as fond of any woman as Augustus was.

Maude Rainey was built like a barrel, with a bosom as big as buckets and a voice that some claimed would make hair fall out. It was the general consensus around Lonesome Dove that is she and Augustus had married their combined voices would have deafened whatever children they might have produced. She talked at the table like some men talked when they were driving mules.

Still, she and Joe had managed to produce an even dozen children so far, eight of them boys and all of the them strapping. Among them the Raineys probably ate as much food in one meal as the Spettles consumed in a week. As near as Call could determine they all devoted most of their waking hours to either growing or butchering or catching what they ate. Augustus's blue pigs had been purchased from the Raineys and was the first thing Maude thought to inquire about when Call rode up.

"Have you et that shoat yet?" Maude asked, before he could even dismount.

"No, we ain't," Call said. "I guess Gus is saving him for Christmas, or else he just likes to talk to him."

"Well, step down and have a wash at the bucket," Maude said. "I'm cooking one of that shoat's cousins right this minute."

It had to be admitted that Maude Rainey set a fine table. Call had no sooner got his sleeves rolled up and his hands clean than supper began. Joe Rainey just had time to mumble a prayer before Maude started pushing around the cornbread. Call was faced with more meats than he had seen on one table since he could remember: beefsteak and pork chops, chicken and venison, and a stew that appeared to contain squirrel and various less familiar meats. Maude got red in the face when she ate, as did everyone else at her table, from the steam rising off the platters.

"This is my varmint stew, Captain," Maude said.

"Oh," he asked politely, "what kind of varmints?"

"Whatever the dogs catch," Maude said. "Or the dogs themselves, if they don't manage to catch nothing. I won't support a lazy dog."

"She put a possum in," one of the little girls said. She seemed as full of mischief as her fat mother, who, fat or not, had made plenty of mischief among the men of the area before she settled on Joe.

"Now, Maggie, don't be giving away my recipes," Maude said. "Anyway, the Captain's likely et possum before."

"At least it ain't a goat," Call said, trying to make conversation. It was an unfamiliar labor, since at his own table he mostly worked at avoiding it. But he knew women liked to talk to their guests, and he tried to fit into the custom.

"We've heard a rumor that Jake is back and on the run," Joe Rainey said. He wore a full beard, which at the moment was shiny with pork drippings. Joe had a habit of staring straight ahead. Though Call assumed he had a neck joint other men, he had never him use it. If you happened to be directly in front of him, Joe would look you in the eye; but if you positioned a little to the side, his look went floating on by.

"Yes, Jake arrived," Call said. "He's been to Montana and says it's the prettiest country in the world."

"It's probably filt with women, then," Maude said. "I remember Jake. If he can't find a woman he gets so restless he'll scratch."
excerpt from Larry McMurtry's LonesomeDove

PHOTO (permalink) 05.19.2011
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
MAY 2011

SCIENCE (permalink) 05.18.2011
imagine if he included balls of holly
walking down the hall, i passed marty getting anthony dressed in one of the bedrooms. she was crouched down helping him with his pants.

what anthony said:
there are two kinds of balls. there are balls in your body and there are balls outside of your body that you can play with.

what marty said to anthony in response:
the balls that are in your body have a long science name called testicles.

what marty said under her breath:
and, depending on the day and your mood, you might find there's a touch of overlap here.

KIDS, PHOTO (permalink) 05.16.2011
the latest bella-beware ... or rather beware-bella ... sign.

click to enlarge

Bella DeArmitt or Bella D lives here!

No Anthony's!!!
home of 1,000,000 animals.

only come in if have permission and dressed properly.

if unsure of rules:

1. no anthonys!
2. need permission to come in.
3. need heavy clothing, helmet, hiking boots, and nose plug to come in!

( all rules listed above. )

i have no idea what the nose-plug bit is about. perhaps it is to scare folks off. unsure.

MUSIC (permalink) 05.13.2011

QUOTES (permalink) 05.12.2011
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

LIFE (permalink) 05.11.2011
on message
here's the latest installment of the troy regiment. a few thoughts about this rendition before the reveal. something i just recently observed about my regiments over the years is that it began as a very simple model and as i had success with it, i added more routines thinking that my system could shoulder whatever i threw at it. what i found though was that i made it too difficult to sustain and instead of bringing order and calm it caused stress and fervor. as such, i've returned to a more simplistic model. only weeks in, i'm already thrilled with the shift. it's been awhile since i've routinely given myself more time to do something than i needed. i've already experienced boredom more times in the last ten days than i have in the last year and for someone who seldom experiences boredom, the sensation can be quite scintillating.

and next, to answer a few questions i routinely get to save you (and me) the email:
(1) the chart is made using excel.

(2) yes, there is flexibility in this. there has to be. it is a schedule, a goal, a guide, it is not a mandate. for something like this to work, you have to be malleable to life (just like with our menu). that said, i often have days that line up well. i've never had a perfect week. close, but never perfect.

(3) for those who look at the chart and think marty is getting ripped off attention-wise, you're daft. if anything, marty wishes i'd sit around less looking at her to say something to me. my take, if you're going to error in marriage, it is the side to error on.

(4) and yes, i still get my books knocked out of my hands in the hallway and pushed down in the sandbox at recess. but not as frequently as i used to.

or view the four year evolution...
also note the summer of 2010 was when i finally became a morning person

click to enlarge

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 05.06.2011
i would have gravied my drawers
the email sending this link to me had the subject line "Japanese people are so mean to each other with their pranks!". it was not kidding. the friend who sent me this showed me another video from this show that was so cruel it couldn't even be deemed funny (it involved people getting shot). but this video had me laughing out loud and hopefully will do the same for you. great stuff.

i so miss the original candid camera.

LIFE, HEALTH, SWIM (permalink) 05.05.2011
never has five minutes seemed so long
here's a swimming update. for those who may not have been following along or don't care or can't remember, a brief re-cap. i spent three years trying to swim a mile (starting from not swimming at all). on december 12, 2010 i made it, swimming 2000 yards (a pool mile) in fifty-five minutes. upon reaching that milestone i set a new long, long, long-term goal of swimming those 2000 yards in under thirty minutes. in pursuit of this goal i plan on swimming 2000 yards once a week for the rest of my life. as a first sensible step towards the thirty minute mile i set out to get my time under fifty minutes. after a mere five months (!!!) of effort i made it last week with a time of 49:24.

a funny thing about the time is that i've been feeling stronger and faster each week. a few weeks back i felt so good while swimming i half expected to blow by the goal coming in at forty-seven or even forty-six minutes. on that swim it turned out i dropped two and a half minutes logging my worst time in weeks and ending at almost fifty-three minutes. then last week walking to the pool i felt terrible. i felt so fatigued and dull i almost turned and went home. i decided to go though the paces and assume a low time for the workout. instead of just limping through the forty laps it turns out i got my best time ever. as nike sagely and often suggests; just do it.

so i don't get called out again and have someone send me a chart, i thought i'd better go ahead and chart my progress ahead of time.

and if anyone besides me thinks me ever getting to a thirty minute mile sounds ludicrous, i figured out that if i can just improve my time by five seconds every month, i'll hit my mark by the spry age of sixty-two. if that sounds like a ridiculously long time away, i have an inkling we'll all be there before we know it.

also, the more accurate times starting in january are thanks to a super jazzy lap-counting watch i got for christmas.

next stop ... forty-five minutes.

FAMILY, SOCIETY (permalink) 05.04.2011
when you're getting grooming advice from me, it's time to spend more time in front of the mirror.
my family was eating at lion's choice (a local roast beef sandwich house) enjoying a rare trip out for food. while ordering our food i glanced at the guy next to me. he was an older gentleman and was in the midst of talking to the cashier. his face was framed by the take-out window and in the daytime sun, i noticed a significantly long hair sticking out of his nostril. now this was not a weekend growth variety of nose hair. this one had been brewing for many months, if not years, and had become dislodged with a sneeze or snort as it was sticking out a full inch or better. my immediate inclination was to tap him on his shoulder and motion to my nose letting him know he should go check it out, but he was putting in his order and my cashier was talking to me as well. when i finished paying and turned the man had already moved on.

moments later we had our food and took our seat. i distractedly looked around and saw the man sitting on the other side of the dining room with a guy about my age who i presumed to be his son. prior to seeing his table mate, i assumed the man was alone and had no one to tell him he had a wayward nose hanging more than an inch out of his right nostril. seeing he was not alone, i got annoyed that the guy with him did not let him in on the matter. marty noticed my glance and asked if i knew them. i said i didn't but told the table what i saw. we then spent our lunchtime talking about acceptable ways to handle such moments and how informing people of such things, even if embarrassing, is the neighborly thing to do. it also came out that i was bummed out that i didn't get a chance to give the guy a heads up but going to the table uninvited to tell him in front of his lunch date was even a touch out of my comfort zone.

our table's conversation moved on but i'd occasionally look the old guy's way wondering if there was anyone else in his life who may let him in on his grooming mis-step or if he'd have to wait for the weight of the hair to pull it from the follicle naturally. after his meal was complete the man stood to refill his drink. seeing this i hurriedly excused myself grabbing my own still full drink and headed to the soda counter. he was already there and i positioned myself to his right. noticing me he shifted to the left giving me room to share. knowing the moment was short, i began with a smile ...



oh. excuse me.


i think you have a hair getting away from you there.


(i rubbed my nose and quietly added) you have a nose hair making a break for it. the next time you're in the bathroom, give it a quick look and you'll see it.

i then sidled away. his last look didn't seem to register a quick comprehension of my point but that is not the sort of conversation you tend to draw out any longer than one needs to. when i returned to the table i excitedly told my cohorts of my adventure which they eagerly took in.

that was several months ago. last week after our family dinner was wrapping up and alex and anthony had excused themselves, bella, marty, and i sat in our chairs talking of this and that. shortly before excusing herself, bella said to me:

hey dude, you got one getting away from you.


(she wipes a finger across her eyebrow as if she's giving some old mafia sign). over here. you got a hair getting away from you.

where? here?

(she motions me to lean forward and reaches forward) no here. the next time you're using the bathroom, you should run it down.

after several futile attempts of my trying to grasp it, she reached up and grabbed the long hair that decided to start pointing straight out from my head instead of resting flat with the others. once she had a pinch on it, she gave it a few soft tugs to prove her find. seeing how long it took for me to get the message, i now worry i should have sent bella over to the old guy instead of me given how slow i was in understanding her not at all subtle clues.

and don't think i (or marty) didn't notice her perfect re-use of my technique (on me). and while i'm sure having a keen memory will benefit my children in life and school, i can see, already, it isn't doing my parenting any kind of favors given their seeming ability to recall my every bit advice, which oftentimes, when used on or against me, seems less sage than when directed at others.

KIDS, SCIENCE (permalink) 05.03.2011
just another piece of the puzzle showing why troy studied english and not math
i received the following from e-love regarding last week's post about aleo turning 8.
as your math dork friend, i should make sure you know something about the way we americans (and most westerners) do age. this past year was actually alex's 8th year (not 7th). most westerners wait until we've completed our year to say how old we are. that's why in your 1st year outside the womb, we call you zero and wait until the end of your 1st year to say you are 1. incidentally, my understanding is that the chinese do it the other way. they exit the womb and are called 1 in the sense that it's their 1st year on earth.
a true teacher is always teaching, especially when they are friends with me.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 05.02.2011
the results of this one should be interesting.
the happening place to be today is over the everyman way where the entrants to the 3rd annual everyman pro have been released.

this is not a year to envy being an everyman judge. that lot of folks have their work cut out for them this round.

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