Friday, January 29, 2016

I'm back. Yet again.

My wife asked me to write again. I've been thinking about it, but always scare myself off. An interesting thing happened this weekend at the memorial service of my wife's dear, dear aunt. While waiting in the line to greet the grieving family, my mother-in-law (re)introduced us to a friend of hers. As we were introducing the kids, we get to Hope and this look of surprise and recognition comes over her face. "Is this the Hope that I read about while she was in the hospital?", she asks. I was floored. I couldn't believe that this woman had remembered that writing from eight years ago. She went on and on about how great it was that I'd done that and how it gave people a way to get to know Hope and to pray and wish for her. She kept telling Hope what a great writer I was. Maybe it is starting to sink in. Maybe I'll allow myself to believe the praise, maybe a little. As most creatives, I have long been my own worst critic. I'd like to be able to sit here and write that "from now on, I will no longer ...", but I'm a realist. I promise, though, that I will try every day to be better. I will try to write every day. I might not publish it here, but I will work to write every single day. Sometimes I will bore you with stories of the kids. Sometimes I will bore you with stories from cycling, training, racing. Sometimes I will bore you with reviews of cycling and other outdoor products. Every once in a while I might even bore you with an original piece of fiction.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the Blink of an Eye

It's amazing how quickly things can change. I had just finished cutting the grass, and was walking to the garage to get a shovel for my next job when Shane comes riding up the driveway grinning from ear to ear. He was so proud of his latest 'invention'. He had strapped his wagon to his bike with one of my cam straps from kayaking. I reminded me of my childhood days. My brother and I used to try to make all kinds of goofy contraptions. Shane had asked Olivia to jump in the wagon and was going to take her for a ride. In part because she was not wearing a helmet, and in part because it just seemed crazy dangerous, we talked her out of the maiden voyage. After she got out, Shane proceeds down the driveway and makes a sweeping left hand turn WITHOUT looking. And here comes a car driving up the street. We were yelling for him to stop but it was one of those scary situations where you feel completely helpless. Luckily, the driver saw the whole developing and slowed to a stop. Thank God he wasn't hurt, but needless to say you will not see him on his bike for a long time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Busy Weekend

What a busy weekend! And that's with canceling our date night. Normally, I wouldn't do such a thing, marriage is a precious and delicate thing, and with three kids, we find that we really need to carve out some alone time. But, we are going away next weekend for almost a week, and have 12 million unfinished projects around the house.

Lulu had her instructional soccer session on Saturday morning, we cut the grass, raked leaves, picked up sticks, played in dirt. If your kids are ever really bored, just get 5 or more yards of topsoil delivered in your driveway. Shane and Liv and the two neighbor kids were digging in this pile of dirt like they were at the beach. Building forts, burying each other, etc. I wished my I'd had my camera handy.

Today was church -- I think some folks forgot who we were its been so long -- and Shane's soccer game. The boys played hard, but got pretty much smoked by a really good side. This team had two kids who had an incredible left foot. After the game, and a little DQ, we were off to Lowe's to get the supplies to try and finally finish up this little powder room project, which my wife was kind enough to start for me while I took Shane skiing over Thanksgiving. Almost done! We actually now have a working (knock on wood) toilet again. Sink is next.

Then I went out to play a bit of soccer myself. This was my second time out in two weeks playing in this pick-up match. I was a goalkeeper in high school and college (my first college career, before I was asked to leave in 1989), but haven't played at all since (well, save for one match with my brother's side back in 1998 or so). I did pretty well. The diving and angle play came back like it was never gone, high crosses still seem to plague me a bit, and my goal kicks have been atrocious. In part, I'll blame the kicking game on a quad strain which I worsened tonight trying to be a hero. Good fun, though, and as long as our freezer keeps pumping out ice, I think I'll keep going back. I'd forgotten how much I loved the game. It's good for my sanity and gets me out of the house doing something fun and, save for the injuries (I also strained my achilles) good for me.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Groundhog Day!

No, it's not really Groundhog Day. I am well aware of that. My title to this post is more a comment on how I'm feeling. A good friend (I think we're good friends) once commented about how her day had become like the movie Groundhog Day, as life was imitating art or art was imitating life, and that each day felt just like the last. I, too, am stuck. Or at least feeling stuck. Every day, I think tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I will get up early and do yoga, meditate, write, whatever. And every time that tomorrow becomes today, I find myself waking up too late, or a child wakes up too early, or fill in the blank. I feel like life has become a series of excuses as to why I can't get anything done. This week I can't get to gym because:
  • Monday we had an intake interview for special health services through the county for the baby.
  • Today, I am scrambling around trying to locate our tax documents, and trying to figure out why once again we seem to owe the war machine more money
  • Wednesday, Hedgie is participating in a feeding study downtown
  • Thursday, those health service folks are coming out for an evaulation -- cautiously optimistic that we don't qualify for services; pediatrician just keeps encouraging us to get the eval
  • Friday, Hedgie goes to CHOP for sedated Echocardiogram

I was talking to one of my friends at the gym and he was talking about how the bigger part of him working out seven days a week is not for the reasons that most 7-day-a-week gym rats do it, it was more for his mental health. I've got to get back.

I don't mean to bitch, I am truly blessed. I just want to accomplish something. And not just beating the laundry monster.

Recent Trip to Franklin Institute

Our recent trip to the Franklin Institute. Four was a bit bummed, more than a bit bummed actually that we didn't get to see the Star Wars exhibit, but he got over pretty quickly as the rest of the place is so awesome.

Friday, March 28, 2008

King of Silly

So the other day M and LuLu -- now 5 -- were in the grocery store and LuLu was doing something silly, apparently singing some silly song. M says to her, "You're the silliest." Which was followed up by, "Actually, you're not the silliest. Who is the silliest?"

"Daddy.", came her reply. A conversation ensued in which I was named the King of Silliness, LuLu a Princess of Silliness. Ahh! What a legacy. Actually, I could not be happier. If the crown fits...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This morning, Four -- who's now seven -- was lying in our bed which happens just about every night starting around 2 or 3 AM, but that's a whole other story. Shortly after M leaves for her boot camp workout, he says out of the blue, "Dad? Even though I make a lot of bad choices [which is absolutely true, especially of late] I know you still love me."

Friday, February 10, 2006


I am SO far behind with my blogging that every time I sit down to write, I end up not knowing where to begin. There's so much to catch up on. I figure listing it below will help me organize and process some of it, and give me a checklist of things to write about.

  1. Christmas

  2. Smuggler's Notch

  3. Skiing with JJ

  4. CO and UT

These are just the big things, I am sure there are a lot of cute little stories that have and will fall through the cracks. Maybe coming back to writing will help fill in the gaps.

I'll leave with one quick story. Recently my parents took the kids to a Russian Children's Circus along with their cousin. After the circus the kids all spent the night at Nonna and PopPop's. LuLu had worn a skirt to the circus, her preferred garment for lower body wear (as opposed to pants). Well, I had packed a pair of cords and a long sleeve t-shirt for her to wear the next day. When Nonna tried to put the pants on, LuLu informed her, "I hate pants!" Since that day almost three weeks ago, the only pants that she has had on have been her long underwear and ski pants while we were in Vermont. I trust that this, too, shall pass.

Friday, December 23, 2005

How does she do it?

Yesterday, my parents came over to watch the kids while I finished up my Christmas shopping and started shopping for two parties we're hosting. It was amazing how quickly my time without the beasties slipped through the hourglass. But I digress. The point of this post was to wonder aloud how my mother was able to do so much in this one day WITH the beasties while I struggled to complete my list without them. After attending LuLu's Parent-and-Me dance, my mom did all of our laundry, baked cookies with Four, played Blokus with Four for over an hour and a half, played Barnyard Bingo with LuLu after her (LuLu's) nap, and made a salad.

This morning while sweeping the floor and ruminating over what to do for these upcoming parties and in what order to do it, I smilingly asked the kids -- as they trapsed through my little crumb piles -- "What's her secret? How does Nonna get so much done during the day?"

With his most impish little smile, Four says, "I can't tell you."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Everyone Loves a Parade!

At the parade!
Last night, we went to our little town's Annual Winter Parade. We tried to meet some of our friends at the local brew pub for dinner beforehand -- well, we did meet them its just that we didn't really get to eat dinner. The place was so packed we ended up ordering food for the kids at the little table where we were waiting for a real table. Normally that would have sucked but we were with friends from the 'hood, there was a 3-piece band playing Christmas songs, and we were waiting for a parade. Its amazing to watch these kids, any kids, at a parade. The way their faces light up and they are awed by the procession. Even the relatively low budget procession that graced our sleepy little streets last night. It seems like one of the last great traditions. A tradition that tenaciously holds the attention and admiration of kids and adults despite a culture of video games, virtual reality, and ever enlarging televisions. There's nothing quite like bundling up and sharing the street with your fellow man.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I Would For You

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
Four and Dad on the lift!
After a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, the fam spent the night at Chez Nonna and PopPop. Four and I woke up early for the long drive to Hunter Mountain in New York. Every year, in high school and early college, my buddies and I used to go to Hunter Mountain on Black Friday. It was a great tradition. Now that we've all moved on and/or away, it's time to start a new tradition. Not knowing how long Four would last on the slopes, I decided to leave early so we could be there for most of the morning and feel like we got in a good day if he faded during the sometimes crash-prone afternoons. Even though he was so excited to go -- skiing had been my carrot for the week to help remind us of our good behavior -- getting him up as early as we did was pretty comical. M, who was up getting ready for work, pulled the covers down and started talking to him gently and rubbing his back trying to ease him into his day. He sits up with his scrunched up face and 'hrumph' attitude, grabs the covers, and lays back down. After finally getting him up and dressed, we had the best day.

About an hour into the drive, we stopped for gas and coffee. I kept asking him if he wanted anything, juice, snack, etc. He politely declined everything. He only peed because I was going. We later stopped at a McDonalds (his favorite) just off the highway, I asked if he wanted anything. Again, he declines citing his desire to go skiing.

Once we got to Hunter and got our tickets, we only lasted two runs before Four's hands got cold. It was pretty cold that day. As we walked back to the van to get his other gloves and then to the lodge to get lunch, I nervously wondered if we were done for the day. Nonetheless we had a great lunch together, and when he got too shy to continue talking to the lovely Argentinian couple across the table from us, we went back out on the slopes. We had started the day with him in the Racer Chaser vest and a ski tip lock. At different times he would ask to try it without one or both of these aids. The only green run open had some sections that were probably steep enough to not truly be green. In these areas, we would fall often without the vest on. But really, he was doing great. As the day went on and our runs started piling up, he started to seem uncomfortable on the chair. I kept asking if he was cold, if we should call it a day, if we should take a break -- truth be told I was getting uncomfortable snowplowing all day in my nearly 20 year old alpine boots (my tele stuff arrived the Monday after). But he wanted to keep going. Finally, on what turned out to be our last lift ride, I could see him wincing in pain. He finally admitted that his hands were cold. For his last run, he wanted to ski down without his vest and tip lock. He did great. I think he only fell twice that last run and did a get job of checking his speed on the steeper sections. I was so proud of him!

After that last run, we started over to the van and he just melted down. His hand hurt. We turned around and went into the lodge for hot chocolate. His poor hands hurt so badly that he wouldn't use them to hold his hot chocolate. After lots of hugging and holding his hands we got it together enough to make it back to the van. As we got changed into our street clothes, I told him that he really should have told me sooner that his hands hurt, especially when I keep asking him. He replied, "I just wanted to make sure that you had a fun time." You could have knocked me over with a feather. I wanted to cry. I told him that the trip was about him and me having a great experience together and the number of runs that we made or the length of time we spent on the hill wasn't important, that being together was what was important.

We were pulling out of the parking lot at 3:48. Four was asleep by 3:51. As he slept, the words to an old Jane's Addiction song found their way into my head:
And if you wonder
What I would do
I would do
If I could
You know I would
I would
I would
I would for you
I would for you
And again, tears came to my eyes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Think Snow!

Having been a ski bum for two seasons, saying I love to ski is an understatement. As winter approaches I once again am growing itchy to spend some time on the mountain. Unfortunately, equipment woes have recently plagued me. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the interface between my anatomy and the equipment has plagued me. The last two pairs of ski boots that I have owned end up rubbing my shins raw at the top of the cuff after only a day of skiing, admittedly aggressive skiing, but this shouldn't be happening. One bootfitter suggested there may be an issue with the curvature of my tibia/fibula bones. Its gotten to the point where I was comtemplating not skiing. I am hopeful that my solution will come by way of telemark skiing. Giving the discipline a try last year, even on my two-days-of-alpine-bump-skiing-shin-bang-shin-bite-torn-up shins, there was no pain to speak of. Now, perhaps as I get better at the discipline a whole new crop of problems will spring up, but my friend made the switch for similar reasons. Plus he's such a good skier, I think he was bored with alpine. Anyway, I've become very excited about skiing again and recently took the kids on a minor road trip to try to find some tele gear. Coming home, I decided to try on Four's boots. I was nervous that Santa's unused gift from last year -- I know, I know -- would have to wait another year or more until LuLu could use them. Fortunately, they seem to still fit. Well enough that even after clicking into his skis and tooling around in the basement (on the rug only) and trying to do helicopters, Four was lounging around in the boots for quite some time. He is anxious to ski this season, asking, "When can we go?" and "When will it snow?" Last night, he insisted that I read him a book about snow. I am so looking forward to taking him skiing this season. Think snow.