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QUOTES (permalink) 09.30.2013
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

VIDEO (permalink) 09.19.2013
more evidence of how truly un-equal our thoughts and efforts can be

KIDS (permalink) 09.18.2013
full frontal marty.
i forgot a detail about yesterday's ordering debacle. during the checkout mayhem anthony or alex wanted to take their food to the table to start eating. since we were trying to get rung up and paid for, the plate needed to stay where it was. the child whined that they were starving and couldn't wait until we paid to eat. an exasperated marty said, "you are an american child. you've never been starving a day in your life so stop whining and be patient until we pay for our food." this was one of those moments where marty forgot she was in public. the cashiers tried not to laugh but failed, miserably, and broke out laughing at the dress down. if the people behind us weren't so annoyed in how long it was taking us to clear the way, they might have applauded marty's glove's-off parenting style.

FAMILY (permalink) 09.17.2013
step aside, this one's on me. oh wait. maybe not.
we took our kids (and one of bella's friends) to dinner to celebrate some start of school kid achievements. since we don't go out to eat too often we're a bit of disaster at restaurants (e.g. we've found that most places don't appreciate shows of roman gladiator dominance around their other patrons). so, between the kids not knowing how to act or the effort of finding something for them to order, it is often a full-on debacle. this time it was exaggerated by that fact that at the end of chipotle's order line, which getting to proved most effortful, marty and i looked at each other to produce a wallet. with both of us tapping our empty pockets, we exchanged the classic but un-winnable "but i thought you said you had money" debate in front of the cashier, our three kids, one guest, six plates of food, and a growing line behind us. thankfully our twelve year old, the girl we were here to celebrate, once again bailed us out by holding up a hand and saying, "it's ok, dinner's on me because i do have money."

we backed away from the line telling the cashier we usually don't make our children buy our family dinner, especially when we're out celebrating the successes of those children.

QUOTES (permalink) 09.16.2013
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
cool & sophisticated

KIDS (permalink) 09.13.2013
twisted sister
one last thing to share about last weekend's charity event. the bike ride originated out of columbia missouri, two hours from st. louis and began early in the morning. for these two reasons bella and i drove in friday night so we didn't have to get up at an ungodly hour to arrive early enough to make the start time. after checking into our hotel, we were both spent from the week and in anticipation of tomorrow's effort we turned in at a responsible hour (especially impressive given the working television in the room).

i woke naturally seven minutes before my alarm was to go off (dontcha love it when that happens). seeing bella still asleep, i disabled the alarm and quietly got out of bed. i moved to the bathroom to pee. when done, i headed back to my bed to read for a bit. when i stepped out of the bathroom, bella was no longer in the bed. i scanned the room but she was nowhere to be seen. i looked back at the bed thinking maybe she was lost in the sheets. they were mussed but bella was definitely not hidden beneath the tangle. i stepped forward so i could see between the two beds. not there either. i glanced past the last bed, by the window. no sign. i scanned the full room wholly perplexed. i walked, somewhat briskly, to the bathroom but knowing there was no way she could have gotten by me, i checked all the same. nothing. i pulled the shower curtain back. nothing. i returned to the room, surveying the small space. my mind began sputtering irrational thoughts. i was initially in the bathroom for less than a minute and my sleeping child vanished without a sound or trace. as i stood paralyzed both physically and mentally, i saw a tangle-haired forehead peek over the back of a padded chair in the near corner. seeing me standing in the room, the head quickly ducked back down. when i acknowledged seeing her she raised up and pointed at me saying, "ahhh man, i got you. i totally got you." it would seem i wasn't the only one to wake seven minutes before the alarm clock.

and bella hasn't a clue about the degree in which she got me. just before spotting her, the last thoughts to run through my head were, "holy shit. i think alien abductions are real. and i think i'm about to tell a police dispatcher that i believe my child was just taken by aliens." i wish i was joking but i'm not. i also wish i could verbalize the sheer disarray that simple prank caused in my mind but i'm not able to do that either. it's almost like the experience caused me to pull a mental muscle that i'm still recovering from.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.12.2013
something i've learned over the last year twenty years.
a smart exercise strategy can be sabotaged, quite easily, by poor dietary choices.

it's far harder for a smart dietary strategy to be sabotaged by poor exercise choices.

in the end, it seems to be more about what (and when!) you eat than how often you move.

this has been my experience at least, an experience that took me an embarrassingly long time to interpret.

KIDS, SPORTS, HEALTH, PHOTO (permalink) 09.10.2013
ms150 2013 photo recap

day 1 start

middle game


end of day 1 smile

end of day 1 selfie

end of day 1 stats

end of day 2 smiles

KIDS, SPORTS, HEALTH (permalink) 09.09.2013
she did it!
on saturday, bella rode 44 miles in the first day of the MS charity ride.

on sunday, bella rode 43 miles in the second day of the MS charity ride.

if you recall, a week ago sunday bella completed a 28 mile training ride and followed that up on the monday holiday with a 30 mile training ride.

this puts her grand total over the last eight days on the bike at 145 miles. sprinkle in the usual getting around she does during the school week and she easily logged more than 150 miles for the week.

i should add that miles 2 through 9 of yesterday's ride were completed in a downpour. this was a rain so complete that when you drove your leg downward in the pedal stroke, bursts of water shot up between your toes given how water-logged your sock and shoe were. about five miles into this rain, a rain that didn't look to be relenting anytime soon, i pulled up next to bella and asked how she was doing. without looking my way she said, "i'm in hell ... but i'm not quitting." and as noted, above, she did not, completing the day's full 40 mile route.

and that's my sweet 12-year old girl who continues to amaze and astonish her father anew year after year. thanks to all of those who supported her/us on the ride.

KIDS (permalink) 09.04.2013
child labor
another thing that happened this last weekend was bella, alex and i volunteered in a service project organized by the university i work for. in this program all incoming freshmen are encouraged to participate in this annual ritual where various projects are identified for them to work on throughout the city. these projects tend to be beautification efforts (e.g. clean-up, painting). last year i worked on a team that painted a high school football stadium. this year my team helped paint portions of an enormous inner city school.

the overall structure of the initiative is this. the university selects a number of projects to be worked on, via application i believe. each project is assigned a site manager. the site manager is responsible for organizing the overall effort. they will meet with the contacts at the work site, identify the work to be done, recruit and direct project managers, order the necessary supplies and manage all the communication between the relevant folks. for the last two years i served as one of the project managers. and each of the last two years i took bella and alex with me for the day.

on the day of, the project leads arrive early and figure out a game plan. then about a hundred students are brought by bus to each site. they are divided up among the project leads who direct and oversee the student effort. last year bella and alex just worked along-side the freshman (and out-worked, complaint-free, a great many of them). this year i asked bella and alex to be runners. given the size of the school we were working at and the number of efforts happening i asked them to move between the various teams carrying a crate of supplies (e.g. water, paint brushes, rollers, rags) around and asking if the groups needed anything special. when a group did need something, bella or alex would go find what they asked for and bring it back.

just after the students arrived, i was standing on a large stairway landing explaining our job to the twenty freshmen girls assigned to me. in the midst of the talk alex came up the stairs wearing an orange bandana, carrying his supply crate and began excusing his way through the collection of girls trying to pass. i stopped my instruction to introduce him, saying, "ladies, this is alexander and he ...". before i could continue he cut me off loudly proclaiming ...
hi. i'm alex. i'm a runner. that means i'll just be running all over the school taking things to people. if you need anything you ask me for it and i'll go find it. this is so you don't have to stop working and don't have to find anything. and i know where everything is at. so just ask me. and i'll get it for you. i guess that's about it. bye.
with this he put his head back down and continued cutting through the crowd and up the stairs to the collective, melting sigh of twenty, now smitten, college girls. this is an example of 'new alex' which appeared shortly after turning ten. 'new alex' is not only not meek and shy, he is actually quite outgoing, gregarious, and quietly charasmatic (and as just shown, able to turn a gaggle of college girls into doe-eyed, fan-girls with little more than a few quickly dashed-off sentences).

later in the day i saw bella and asked her how she was doing. she said ok but alex was making her angry. when i asked why she said that every time she went up to cute guys to ask if they needed anything they kept saying they did but that boy alex was already getting it for them. so, let's not forget to add hard-worker to new alex's resume.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.03.2013
we are a go. and a go. and a go. and a go.
last weekend bella and i completed our last two training rides in preparation of next weeks ms-150. on sunday we rode 28 miles following that up monday, on bella's insistence, with a 30 miler. we planned on thirty each day but a sudden cloudburst had us call the first day's ride short as biking in rain isn't ever really fun. this upcoming weekend, we'll complete the two forty mile options for bella's first organized distance ride.

for reasons i can't explain i never envisioned the part of parenthood where you get to do things you, and not solely your children, enjoy doing. i'm equally unable to express how impressed i am with my twelve-year old daughter's athleticism, commitment, persistence and agreeability even in the face of daunting endeavors (e.g. a surprisingly long hill twenty miles into a ride) which are surely pushing her beyond what she thought capable just a short few months back.

some of my latest, favorite observations i've most enjoyed about riding with bella:
  • how when i pull up next to her and start talking about something she might say, "just so ya know dad i can't hear a word you're saying because there's a good song on i'm pretty sure is better than whatever it is you're talking about".
  • how she refers to the homes in rich neighborhoods as "drama houses".
  • how she asks me, on virtually every ride, if her biking calves are coming in yet.
  • how she occasionally compliments me by saying stuff like, "you're not doughy compared to that guy who just went by".
  • how after i asked if she wanted to replace the side view mirror that broke in an spill she took, she replied, "nah, i think i like going old school and just looking over my shoulder."
  • how bella reacts when we catch guys overtly checking her out from cars, bikes and sidewalks. one poor kid looked so dumb-struck i thought his gum was going to fall out of his mouth. as bella was expressing surprise at this change in her life, i told her the bad side of the story is some people will wonder if she and i are a couple. to this, she looked as dumb-struck as the poor kid who almost lost his gum in the front seat of the family car. yes, every bright tale does have a dark-side it seems.
and there's still room on both of our pledge cards (granted there's way less room on hers than mine) should you be interested in supporting our ride and/or the ms organization.

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