Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another episode of LOST Untangled

Here is the latest recap of last night's episode "The Variable."

It wasn't the best episode of the season, but it was pretty good. It'll get us into the final sweep of three episodes driving toward the end of this (overall) excellent season.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No new post tonight

I've got Sarah's Brownie class tonight--I'm dropping her off now--and an oil change to take care of, as well as "Fringe" to watch later. . . And finally some work on a deadline to deal with after that.

So, this is the best I can do today (though this is from my iPhone--exciting!).

If you need more, I might throw some random thoughts up on my Twitter feed (which can be seen in the side column on the right side of this Web page).

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, April 27, 2009

More art

People have often jokingly (and not so jokingly) said that I favor Sarah far more than I do Grace. I admit that on the public face of it, it seems that I write negative things about how Grace and I had a fight on one hand and Sarah did something good on the other hand. But, I try to hold off judgment on myself. Grace is (by fact of birth) at a different place in her development than Sarah was--and had I been regularly blogging during some of Sarah's earlier years, I am sure I would have spent much more time than it appears expressing my frustrations with her inability to hear me or react when I am asking for assistance with something, etc., etc.

And so, I also remember that the great glory and the greatest challenge with raising more than one child is that . . . there is more than one child. And it is not the same child. And the two or three children react differently to every situation. It is the glorious differences that makes having children so insane and yet so rewarding. In fact, this is the major reason that we decided to pursue Hannah (before we knew that she would exist for us as she does today). It was that possibility of new, of different, or unexpected. The richness and the depth that Hannah would bring to our family of four proved to be an attractive Possibility. Lynda and I imagined what our family might become with the addition of Someone New.

I write all of that as a way of staring to say that while I say that Grace is different, I am aware of the possibility of unequal treatment. And so, I want to try and give a bit of equal time to Grace tonight by celebrating her own piece of artwork that I discovered in her book bag tonight and am happy to share with you.

Grace drew this picture of a tree after her recent trip to Inniswoods Metro Garden. During a nature walk they pass trees that have been decorated with wooden face masks and some of the trees have been carved in by previous park-goers.

So, Grace's tree replicates the initial carving in that classic style--and she chose Lynda's and my initials. I love it so much and I was so surprised to see it when I was reviewing old papers that had accumulated in her school bag over the last week.

It'll definitely be getting its own frame and place of honor in the house somewhere. I hope that years from now I can look at it and remember the love that it symbolizes between Lynda and myself and that it was created by one of my girls. That makes it extremely special.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Art happened at the Capitol

As I said yesterday, Sarah created art work at her school that has been honored and displayed at the Ohio State Capitol.

Yesterday there was a ceremony to honor the art students in the "map room" of the Capitol building. You can read more about the experience here.

We were downtown for a while on Saturday--always a dicey prospect for suburbanites such as ourselves. We tried out best to look cool and keep our mouths closed as we rubbed elbows with the hip urbanites. Naturally, we failed utterly to find a suitable place to eat lunch after the experience (but . . . I am not going to go into that here, since it just will remind me of bad feelings. I only note it obliquely as a memory jog and a nod towards a complete understanding of history. Moving on.)

I also took some very sketchy videos of the event--and I'll include links to part 1 and part 2 here, thought there is nothing very good to recommend them, I fear. (I've REALLY got to buckle down sometime and learn how to edit video properly. Right now I simply throw up there whatever I happen to record. And that doesn't really work.)

The rest of the weekend was spent outside enjoying abundant sun and cooling breezes. I spent lots of money on mulch and spread them all around the front yard beds. Lynda dug up and transplanted hostas that were in desperate need of more shade from the front to the back. And today the kids conned us into blowing up the inflatable pool so they could splash around a bit.

My back hurts.

And now I've got "work" to do.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Capitol Event

This morning we are all dressing up and taking a visit to the State House.

Sarah had a piece of artwork chosen to be displayed inside the Capitol and we are attending the reception at 11 am today.

It's a good thing Sarah's art teacher called last night to remind us or we would have forgotten and missed the entire thing.

I'll have video and photos to include later today.

Friday, April 24, 2009

365 is dead; Long Live 363!

The 365 posts in 365 days challenge is dead. But I'm not too upset about it.

Wednesday night when I got home from work, I faced choices--either think of something to post about (when I didn't really have a specific idea) to keep the streak going . . . or to let it go and focus on the work that I needed to do that night. Needless to say, I chose to acknowledge that the post challenge was just an artificial device to get me to focus on the discipline of blogging. I think in that aspect, the challenge succeeded. I have been pleased with the number of posts I was able to string together for so long and most of them were of interesting quality.

When I talked about the broken streak at work today, it was suggested that I could just write a few new posts and back-date them to fill in the missing days. After all, who would remember six months from now what was authentic and what was not? But the point of the endeavor, as I noted before, was to make blogging a more intentional discipline than it had been for me in the past, something that I fit into my routine of living, something that allowed me to reflect on my daily experiences and put a spin of interpretation on it. I don't think have 365 posts, just for the sake of a recognizable number, would be worth achieving.

So, I'll just pick up the thread where I dropped it and move on.

[Random Friday night/Star Wars movie-watching thought]: How intelligent a group of protectors can the Jedi be if they intentionally allow Young Ani Skywalker to march into a hanger deck bay of droid gunmen--basically into a shifting web of laser blaster fire all around the boy (who doesn't have any means of protecting himself, let's note)--and simply say "Take cover, Ani!" Why don't they tell him to hide beyond the hanger bay doors, BEFORE they are enveloped by a hail of laser fire? It's just a good thing that droids can't shoot for shit. Moving on.]

Maybe my next blogging goal (after this year is up) will be improving the writerly quality of my posts. It'll be a difficult challenge and I probably won't be able to do something every day. Because, quality writing involves drafting, reflecting, editing, and rewriting. That is definitely not something that I currently do with my blogging. [Right now, in fact, I'm writing while keeping the girls company while they watch Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Not exactly the most conducive atmosphere for thoughtful, pensive, meaningful writing.]

Most of the time, when I'm writing every day, I can only find minutes here and there to squeeze thoughts together--either before dinner, when Hannah's getting a bath (if I'm not doing it . . . which usually I'm not), or after the kids go to bed. So, I'm hitting and missing at small moments during the day. The only reliable time for consistent writing is after 9 pm. And by then my mind is tired and just wants to watch TV or read a book. 

Improving the quality in the future means identifying a theme and working on parts of it when I can, then revisiting and refining and improving later. We'll see how it goes. But not now.

I do have some ideas to pursue in the next few days--especially a description of my "This American Life" experience on Thursday night. I'll maybe get to that tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April Showers and Twitter Posts

They'd better bring some nice May flowers, because it sure has rained a lot the last several days. I'm all in favor of the warming and the final elimination of snow. I just wish there was a bit more temperate weather coming along with it.


In other news, I've been twittering more lately (and when I say lately, I mean the last two or three days). Why? Can't say exactly. Just trying to do it. And maybe it'll serve as a working draft of each day's blog posting? Or maybe not if I just start walking away again.

But here are some Twitter posts from the last few days:

@ dentist again. Let's hope tonight goes better than the last. from Tweetie

@Hapless23 I hope you get "happened" for
your callousness! from Tweetie in reply to Hapless23

Put foot down on S's desire for
purchased candy at pharmacy. She's glowering but I don't care--not with
basketful of candy still @ home. from Tweetie

Another dental complaint--Lynda had
to reschedule today's filling because DentalWorks was (again!) overbooked. They
wanted a 45 min wait! from Tweetie

decided to use stairs rather than
elevator yesterday and this morning. Less electricity used and now the Earth is
no longer emperiled. from Tweetie

has noticed that my iPhone feels
unusually warm as I switch podcasts. Too much use or super-insulated pants
pocket? from Tweetie

gave up. Rescheduling for tomorrow.
Going back home. Grrr!!! from twitterrific

still waiting. Seeing lots of
technicians running around back there, but none towards us. from twitterrific

STILL waiting--twenty minutes past
appt time. And even better--Grace has one tomorrow and I've got one Wednesday.
Perhaps I should just stay from twitterrific

is with S. at the dentist office.
Naturally, we're having to wait. Why do we make appointments that mean
nothing? from twitterrific

notes that you haven't lived until
you has seen a coworker impersonate ducks! from web

So, you can see that (traveling backwards in time from the top) that I've been dealing with dental frustrations for the last two days. I waited for over thirty minutes with Sarah yesterday at our family dentist and never got called back for her cleaning. In frustration, I rescheduled for tonight (when Grace's cleaning was to be). But today, Lynda indicated that SHE had to reschedule her own appointment this morning as they were expecting her to wait well past her stated appointment.

I've got an appointment tomorrow evening, so I'm interested to see if they do a better job of getting me in on time. Really, my feeling is a.) why do they expect us to make reservations and b.) why do they call us to remind us of our appointment no less than three times . . . but when we get there none of that seems to matter? It's like a bad Seinfeld episode, but it is happening to me and I don't have wisecracking friends around me when I'm suffering through it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Earth Week! Here a story from my distant past.

Does Earth Week exist?

I doubt it, but all of the hype and the thought and the emphasis on Earth Day seems to be indicate a need for a week leading up to the day. But more importantly, it provides a theme upon which I can hang one--and maybe more--WWYG?! posts.

For instance, today, I'm going to celebrate the need for recycling by recycling an old story of mine. If I haven't specifically posted this story on the blog, I really should have long before now. But . . . I am not expending lots of mental energy trying to create something new here tonight in this post. So, maybe you could consider this post carbon neutral?


One of my friends told me today that his wife (who is a teacher) was involved over the weekend with her local prom. And when I heard the word prom, I flashed back to one of my life's most nefarious (relatively) moments.

You see, back when I was in high school, I had a friend S---. His dad taught at the two-year college in town. His mom was also a teacher in the secondary school system. S--- was typical in the fact that he often didn't agree with his parents. Sometimes he fought with them. This was a different experience than I had with my family. I guess that isn't terribly important to the story except to note that S---'s choices were different than mine and maybe that contributed to some of what follows.

ANYWAY . . . S---'s mom and dad were chaperoning at the prom my junior (?) year in high school. S--- had a plan. I came over to spend the night on the night of the prom and we were camping out in the side yard. At least, that was what we told everyone. In fact, we were going to take advantage of the parentless (due to chaperoning) situation to walk across town and hook up with another friend of ours. In fact, I don't know if we were going to do anything beyond this walk across town at night. There was no discussion of illicit drinking, fireworks, or anything else that I might think of that a law-abiding high schooler might do to bend the laws a bit. We were just going to walk for a long time in the dark, without telling anyone, and get back home at some point. Naturally, S--- assured me that his parents wouldn't bother to check up on our tent when they got home.

So, we began the walk and we talked and after a long while we got to our other friends house. We tried to wake him up--again, to do what?--but he didn't show. So, eventually we turned around and headed home. By now it was probably 1:30 am Saturday morning. All was well, so we thought, until we were about a block from his house and a police car drove by. The car slowed and began to back up. S--- immediately told me to let him do the talking, which I was willing to do since I had absolutely no experience with police interaction (thought I don't think he did either). 

The cop asked who we were and noted that there was an APB out for us. (Naturally, the parents HAD checked up on us and noticed we weren't in the tent. They called my parents (waking them up) and found out that we were not with them. So, they called the police. The cop told us to get in the car--where I discovered for the first--and so far only--time that the backseat of police cars don't have door handles. He took us to S---'s home, where his and my parents were standing around in the driveway. Once out of the car, my dad curtly told me to get my stuff. I RAN to the tent, grabbed my bag and ran back to the car. Without a word to anyone, I was driven home. I keep my eyes firmly in my lap on the ride home and for most of the next several days. I was ashamed and embarrassed and really worried about what my parents would do to me.

They told me they were disappointed and worried during my absence . . . and that was about it. If they gave me any specific grounding, I don't recall it. (Truth be told, it wouldn't have been much of a crimp on my "social" life anyway.) 

Mom and Dad mentioned years later that it was mostly all they could do to keep from laughing at my mortification during the ride home. They realized how badly I was taking the entire affair and so they knew they didn't have to punish me excessively.

I haven't run afoul of the cops since--well, except for a few speeding tickets--and I'll always remember (a bit fondly, I'll admit) my night out. Prom will never be the same to me. I can only hope that this is the worst thing that happens to my kids when they go to prom.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I apologize in advance

I've got a case of the Sunday night doldrums right now.

I don't want to crack open my work laptop later--even to do a minimal amount of work.

I'd much rather fix myself a cup of hot Earl Grey Green tea (with honey) and settle down on the couch to read Chuck Klosterman's Downtown Owl. (In fact, that sounds like an excellent way to spend the evening and--upon reflection--I don't feel badly about choosing that option.)

However, I don't really feel like searching my day to find something to go on and on about for today's blog post.

The most noteworthy thing is that I played 9 holes of (semi-)mediocre golf with Shirtless this afternoon. It was grey and somewhat windy, but we weren't bothered by any amount of rain. My first few holes showed that what little skill I had acquired last year had evaporated with the winter layoff. But, things improved for the second half of the round. And we walked as well, so exercise bonus.

But, that's about all my brain will allow me to think about.

In compensation, please enjoy this You Tube video that considers what it might have been like if the original Star Wars trilogy had been an 80s style sitcom theme song. (This theme, in case you don't recognize it, is from MacGyver!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Grass and hats

Yesterday's post was my 1,000th.

That doesn't mean anything, just something to note.

Yesterday was also the first time this season that I broke out the lawn mower and shouldered that particular burden of home-ownership. Thursday morning I had talked myself into doing it when I got home from work on Friday. Such a thing was easy to say on Thursday, soon after a shower, in clean clothes, heading to work with a fresh cup of coffee working its way into my waking brain as I headed to the office.

It was a less palatable chore to consider as I left the office on Friday, a bit worn down, my head full of office thoughts, considering a light evening of pizza, movie, and some book reading. Yet, somehow, between leaving the office parking lot and the arrival in the driveway, I'd re-talked myself into it. 

And so, after changing into some shorts and shedding my office shirt, I attached the spark plug, filled the gas canister, and pulled the cord. The mower started up and I did the deed. I guess I had talked myself into it by casting the chore as simply a walk outside, just pushing the machine back and forth, letting it do its work. And while that IS true, it is more than a simple stroll. I had to push up the front yard rise again and again to get it done and I'm always struck with the "unfinished" nature of my lawns grass. So, there is a psychological component of it as well.

But it was done. And just moments ago, here on Saturday as I type, I finished the job by trimming the tallest fringe along the border of the front yard bed. And so, its done for another week.


While doing  this work I wore my sweat-stained Pioneer work cap. I've worn this hat for many years, since end of high school or college summer's at least. It is an emblem of my time working for Dad and a symbol of hard work and a talisman of Dad himself.

I've got two other Pioneer caps--one I call a "dress" cap that is more for wearing when talking to agra-salesmen for instance or while eating barbecue and sipping sweet tea with a clean shirt on during a field day. The other, my newest, is a winter hat, best suited for those hardy Iowa farmers who fold down the flaps to cover their ears when the winds get bitter in the fall or early winter. (When I wear that one next, it'll likely be when I'm shoveling snow next winter.)

Coming from the South, I never had to wear such as the third. My cap of choice was the all-mesh (allowing the full--if often meager--breeze to get to my sweaty head for a bit of cooling off. And sweat in it I did quite often.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Frustration (and Star Trek)

What should I write about tonight?

I don't know for certain, so I'll troll through some ideas that I briefly noted to myself as potential topics . . . but didn't find the time to work on right away.

(This might not be a good idea, but it's too late now.)


Idea #1: Did you know that the new Star Trek movie is coming up in about two weeks? And did you further know that J.J. Abrams (my favorite geek director/producer) is the director of the movie?

And did you also know that there are some interesting promotions flowing out there currently about increasing the buzz on the movie. Well, here are some interesting things about the movie that you might like.

1. Around twenty model Enterprise space ships were given to artists and designers and such around the country. They customized them up and they are being displayed in theaters (mostly in New York, Los Angeles, or the Southwest). but maybe something will show up in the Midwest?

2. Also, the website Gizmodo recently sponsored a photoshop contest on how to best make fun of Star Trek . . . I guess? Anyway, here's the results.


Idea #2: In completely different news, have you heard about the YouTube "activity" ThisisNotTom? It is a series of videos that serve as puzzles that lead you down a rabbit hole of confusion into something I don't really know or understand.

I could link to it, but if you want to, just Google "ThisisNotTom" and you'll find it.

I heard about it from other sources and took a few looks. It is very hard (even though you can also search for spoilers in forums that will give you clues on how to decipher the complex videos).

But the only reason that I am even pursuing it is because one of my new favorite writers--John Green--has (I think?) announced on his blog that he  is working with ThisisNotTom to embed a new story behind the puzzles.

I HATE not knowing something. I hate feeling uninformed. I hate feeling stupid (and these videos make that happen almost instantly). But I also hate knowing that cool story/fiction stuff is hidden behind walls of complexity. Where is the "circle of trust"?


And that's all tonight. Sorry for the confusion. I'll do better another time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recap of "Some Like it Hoth"

Here is the LOST Untangled video for last night's episode.

(Remember that whenever I embed these things from ABC, I can't add to this post. So, if I write more today, I'll do it in a second post.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Spring Break mini-trip, part 2

(For Part 1, just see yesterday's post.)

On day two of the trip--our only full day of this short vacation--we wanted to get in some actual hiking in the Hocking Hills parks system. There were several natural attractions that were all close by, but we chose Old Man's Cave as our destination. It is the one that Lynda and I had experience with and we thought the girls would enjoy it. (We had plans to go to OMC in the morning, go back to the cottage for lunch, and then head out in the afternoon to see the Rock House or Cantwell Cliffs. But the rains worsened and we stayed inside the rest of Monday.

Here are several pictures of our day 2 hiking journey.

And here are two videos:

The first is when we started the journey--

The second is when we arrived at the Cave itself. (Sorry that the water noise makes it harder to hear the scintillating dialogue. You can assume I was making a futile, ill-timed attempt to insert some geography lesson into the experience.)

You'll notice how careful I am to maintain my balance while walking along with Hannah on my back.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Spring Break mini-trip, part I

After church on Sunday we travelled southeast for a bit less than an hour to Hocking County, home of Hocking Hills.

Hocking Hills is an area of the state full of rivers, gorges, and all the nice geologic stuff that you just don't get living in urban areas.

The girls are currently on spring break from school for this week and Lynda and I had (sort of) light work schedules at the same time for a change, so we struck quickly and had an extended weekend.

This post is part one--of two probably. I know there will be two posts. But I don't think I'll rightly stretch my description of events beyond that. I know I am aiming for 365 posts, but that would be unfair . . .

Check back on Wednesday for Part II.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Time Travel Madness!

As I mentioned on Saturday, I am currently in Hocking Hills . . . well, ACTUALLY, I am currently writing this on Saturday night, in anticipation of this posting on Monday when I will be in Hocking Hills. So, I am projecting this post into the future.

(Is the future everything we wanted it to be? Have scientists developed transportation yet? Is everyone traveling in pneumatic tubes rather than in gasoline-powered automobiles? Is all food presented and consumed in pill-form? Oh, how I wish I could be a part of this future!)

(Save me some tablet creme brulee, okay?)

But, before all of that happens, you've got to experience this video, taken in the past, loaded in my present, and presented to you, the lucky dwellers of a glorious future!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter themed post?

No, I'm not taking video from within my church today.

On Saturday, the church held an Easter Egg Gathering. (I call it a gathering because there aren't any trees or bushes to hid eggs in at our land, so the eggs are just scattered about here and there and everywhere and there is not "hunting" involved.

But, once the bell is rung, the kids scatter to gather up as much as they can--and they gather quite a lot.

It's good fun and as long as its not raining--like last year--or snowing--like the year before that--then it's a nice (if chilly) time outside with friends.

Here is a rather lengthy video showing Hannah's first (halting) attempts to get in the swing of things. But Sarah and especially Grace, show her how it's done.

(You probably won't find a lot of Christian charity in this video. Sorry.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looking for Alaska--and Easter stuff

Breakfast was waffles and sausage and coffee--with a side of about a dozen hard-boiled eggs.

(We'll be coloring eggs for Easter activities later today, but first we've got to attend the Easter Egg hunt at our church.)

Last night I stayed up a while--after dozing on the couch--to finish reading John Green's Looking for Alaska. I liked the book, though I've never attended a private school in Alabama. There is a private academy in my hometown (though it is not a boarding school). It (like so many other academies in the South at that time) was created during the Civil Rights era to circumvent the school segregation efforts of the Supreme Court.

So, that is my closest connection to the setting of the school that is the setting of Looking for Alaska. I do understand--a bit--the unrequited feelings of the main character. But my pinings didn't lead in the same directions as they did in the book.

LfA reminded me a lot of A Separate Peace, though set in a different era and in a different region. Certainly Green's novel was much more modern than Fowles' book, but I felt similar themes of passing childhood and secrets confronted. (Nothing dramatically amazing there, since I think these are common themes in much of the YA literature.)

So, I'll stop trying to be a literary critic and simply say I enjoyed the book quite a lot. I look forward to reading Green's second book--which will be coming up once I whittle down some of the books I've borrowed from friends and need to finish and return.

More later?


(7:58 pm)

Sorry friends, but (other than this) no further updates today.

I realize that since we are going out of town tomorrow after the Easter services, I need to project ahead a few days in order to keep the streak going.

Yes, that's right. We are actually going on a small Spring Break vacation--and it doesn't involve a family destination! Shocking, but true.

We'll be enjoying the spring bloomings and improving weather in the Hocking Hills area about an hour east of Columbus. We've rented a small cottage and I don't think there will be Internet access. So, WWYG?! will be pre-written for a few days.

See you (more liveish) when I get back.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sorry for delay

(For the very few of my readers that like this item, here is this week's version of LOST Untangled for this past Wednesday's episode.)

Side note: For some reason, I didn't like this one as much as I've liked previous videos. (Though I did appreciate the smoke monster effect.) Perhaps it was the bit-too-graphic display of what happened to Cesar about halfway through? And the posture of the Locke action figure seemed particularly out-of-place alongside the photo cutouts of every other character. And the voice over seemed particularly smarmy this week, but that is almost always the case.

ANYWAY . . .

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Lemonade for sale!"

If you had wandered down the street in front of my house this afternoon, this is what you would have heard shouted from young throats during the hours of 4:30 and 6 pm. You would have heard the sound of optimism. You would have sensed the hope of capitalism. You would have seen works of charity.

And you would have had the opportunity to purchase a small cup of sweet lemonade for 25 cents while listening to the soundtrack of Disney movies pouring out of the speakers of my iPhone speaker system.

If you had come at one part of the afternoon, you could have seen Grace standing at the corner a few houses away from hours with a small sign (that you likely couldn't read well unless you were standing right there). Grace would be sporting some old sunglasses that I received after my cataract surgery--giving her a Gordon Geckoish aspect. Had Grace's sign and sales pitch convinced you, then step down this way a few driveways and belly up to the folding table for your citrusy libation.

Sarah would be your bartender at this point, politely asking you for your coin (though folding money will suit just fine--especially if you feel generous and don't ask for change). You'll get your dixie cup of lemonade and a quiet "Thank you."

Due to their hard work, they earned over $3 in lemonade sales today--easily the best haul they have had in their few lemonade outings. (And none of that money came from me or our nice neighbors.)

The best thing of all was that I got them to donate some of their earnings to the charity that they have been gathering money for all Lent. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More stuff about parenting

It's been in the air lately, so I wanted to provide some follow up.

NPR's Fresh Air w/ Terri Gross had a nice interview on April 7 that highlighted one psychologist's opinions on parenting techniques today and the softening relationship (my description--but I think it is an evocative, illustrative one) between parents and children. It is a bit long, I know, but it might interest you.

Then on Tuesday, I read the newest My Turn article from Newsweek. I admire this guy's willingness to discuss his failings as a father in public. And I don't want to come across as an uninformed "Tom Cruise" who doesn't think post-partum depression (female or male . . . apparently) is a real issue. But . . . after reading this article, I think the author didn't achieve any sort of fathering epiphany (as I read he is claiming) but instead just matured enough to accept his unavoidable duties as a parent.

In other parenting news, I've got a follow up to the saga of Sarah and the note-writing boyfriend. She thought about it over the weekend and spoke to him about it on Monday. It didn't go as well as she had hoped. but I'll let a note that Lynda wrote to Sarah's teacher tell the rest of the story.

"Sarah's been nervous about handling a situation at school. C--- gave her a very sweet note on Friday asking her if she'd be his girlfriend. On Monday, she told him that she didn't want to be his girlfriend. Then he started saying that he didn't like her anymore, which hurt her feelings since she still wanted to be his friend.

She told me that she didn't want to be anyone's girlfriend right now. She felt she was too young to have a boyfriend. I applauded that decision as a very mature one. I told her that probably C--- thought that she didn't like him and that his feelings were just hurt." 

We are proud of her decision and hope that C--- understands her thinking. (He's been out of school for a few days--either sick or understandably devastated by Sarah's decision.)

And now I've got to shut this post down before today becomes tomorrow and I don't get a post officially up for April 8th. (Though, in my defense, would have gotten it done sooner of I hadn't had to a.) spend a bit of time trying to comfort Hannah back to bed and b.) watch LOST on tape.

Tomorrow I'll post the LOST Untangled video and you'll see that it also had a parenting theme.

Until then . . . 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Abrams Trek

Last weekend when Lynda and I went to the movies, we also caught the most recent trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot movie.

I, of course, have been excited for this movie since it was announced, but I'm a Trek fan AND an Abrams fan. And while those descriptions also apply to Lynda, she is more level-headed about much of my geek obsessions.

However, once the trailer was over, she leaned over and said to me "That looks really good." (Lynda never responds to trailers like that, so it immediately got me very excited.)

So I am looking forward to it more and more--and it doesn't look like I am alone in my fan excitement.

Still, no matter how interested I am in the whole thing, it's not likely I could convince Lynda to let me do this--even if I wanted to, which I don't. (But it might be a pretty sweet modification to our basement now that I think about it.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

A short one tonight

Sorry things aren't very detailed and wordy tonight.

But I can offer you a new page in the ongoing saga of Raising the Awesome Family.

Tonight's installment--Step 3--Being an Awesome Couple.

And to apologize for the lack of a detailed post, here is the absolute first image that I came up with when I searched for the phrase "awesome family:"

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Closets & Doors

Swept up in the weight loss goal that is tantalizingly close, I gathered up Hannah in her stroller after church and loaded the under-seat sling with old library books. I set out to the city library (maybe 1.5 or 2 miles away?) on a slightly breezy, pleasant afternoon. EXERCISE!

I made it down there and Hannah was a good as gold all the way. She (I believe) enjoyed the sun, the breezy wind, the fresh air, and the occasional bird that we might hear in between the swhooosh! of the passing cars. (And really, that swooosh! was almost constant throughout our walk. It probably took 30 to 45 minutes to walk from my house down to Walnut and then west along Walnut toward the library. The passing of cars was a constant variable throughout.)

Once there I let Hannah out to stroll around with her sippy cup of water while I pushed her empty stroller. We headed back to the kids section so I could pick up some more Reader books for Grace. I also grabbed John Green's Looking for Alaska for myself--a direct result of all of the Brotherhood 2.0 watching that I've been doing over the last few weeks. I started reading the first few pages tonight while I was playing with Hannah post-bath. It is reminiscent of his vlogging personality, but it is his professional self, so I am looking forward to continuing later tonight. 
(I took on a new book for my bedside table since I finished Stephanie Meyer's New Moon last night. In the continuing saga of Bella Swan and her platonic relationship with her vampire boyfriend and werewolf third wheel . . . oh! I should have said SPOILER ALERT!!! . . . my annoyance with Bella continued to grow. As I Twittered/Fbooked earlier in the week, I much rather my girls take on Hermione Granger--or even Lavendar Brown--as a role model than Ms. Swan any day. So, my bias is established as we continue into the second half of the Twilight saga. Why am I continuing to read them? Well, I guess it's a completist compulsion as much as anything else. And because I can't stand to not know what all the fuss is about. I guess that speaks badly about my ability to be an individual.)

(Oh, I should also note that I didn't walk back home on the return trip. Lynda was out with the girls dropping off registration fees for a summer Girl Scout camp and she swung by to pick me up. So, I didn't get the full round-trip effect of my walk. But it was a good endeavor nonetheless.)
Because I've decided to read tonight, I am NOT going to do the small bit of work that I brought home with me. And that is probably a good thing overall. As the saying goes, one never reaches their deathbed and laments that they didn't spend enough time completing a technology spreadsheet.

As I contemplate an end-point to this blog entry, I note that I didn't finish one of the other tasks I set for myself this weekend--cleaning up my contact information in my computer. You see, now that I have an iPhone that can carry around all of the contact info from my laptop, I find that said contact info is hopelessly snarled and disorganized. And since technology is forcing me to be more efficient, more in-touch, more connected, and more informed, I find that I can't be lackadaisical about it. Which is good for all of the neat-freaks out there in the world and all of the consumer products created to appeal to those types of people. But it is simultaneously challenging for me to step up to the task and make it all seamless and fluid and beyond reproach.

I made a start on Saturday, making my way into the M's where I inevitably get bogged down with family information--the place where I have the most information and the most variations on phone numbers/emails/etcetera. And the more you dig into the Contacts program on the computer, the more customization you realize is available. This allows you to be more precise with your information--adding spouses, children's names, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like. But once you do it to one, you must do it to all for which you have available information. And maybe you can find the information for the one's where it is not readily at hand. So, out come the church directories, out come the elementary school directories, out come the things you never even use anymore, all in the name of completeness.

It's a sickness, you see?

Maybe I'll finish someday. But will Nirvana await?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Last night's date

I can't think of a better, more appropriate title than this. Perhaps at the end of the post, we'll see where I've landed and then maybe I can come up with something different. (And just in case I do, the original post title was "Saturday." Now, assuming I did come up with something better, aren't you glad I did. And . . . if I didn't, well . . . sorry.)

So, um, we've established that it is Saturday. So, step one accomplished.

Yesterday was Friday, and checking back to the content of that post, I see that I promised a mention of the movie that Lynda and I watched during our date.

It was, "I Love You, Man" starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. We both enjoyed it. We had previously liked "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" also starring Segal. And we are fans of "How I Met Your Mother." So, we knew we were in safe hands with at least half of the main cast. But, what about Paul Rudd?

All the magazines have been telling me that I need to appreciate Rudd now that he is headlining his own film. He's been everybody's boyfriend or male best friend for a decade or more but now he's only a few hits and several million dollars south of . . . um . . . lets say Mark Ruffalo territory? Is that right? Is Rudd bigger than Ruffalo now? Maybe its safer to say Rudd is shooting to be a more Ruffalo-flavored Jake Gyllenhaal?

Well . . .

Now that we've lost all of my readers that simply gave up and went on to something more entertaining, I'll continue by saying that we liked the movie in part because it wasn't too raunchy. So many of the movies that branch off of the Apatow tree (of which Segal is prime fruit and Rudd is a hybrid variety) tend to be funny, yes, but too reliant on being off color--or what the kids say is "authentic." There are some authentic cuss words within this movie, but it shies away from the body jokes and actually does a nice job of being realistic, funny, and appealing to adults.

Oh, and did I mention the significant role played by Canadian power rock trio Rush?! Indeed, Rush is a major character in the film, something that I was only too gleeful to remember and quick to apologize to Lynda for. You see, I grew up a Rush fan. (I attended the Power Windows tour back in the mid 1980s with my brothers.) But Lynda has never liked them and never fails to groan when she hears the particular voice of bassist and lead vocalist Geddy Lee coming from the iPod.

But I try not to take it personally. I don't have nearly the Rush discography that I did back in middle and high school. I shifted my allegiance to R.E.M. and other bands as I went into college. But Rush is part of my musical DNA, so I was glad to see them celebrated in this movie.

And I will say that Paul Rudd did a fine job acting as a "too nice" guy searching for a male friend before he gets married. Rudd was excellent portraying a guy that is aware of how to act "cool" but never, ever pulls it off correctly. And trust me when I tell you that only a trained actor call say "slappin' da bass" so badly in so many ways and be convincing. Rudd was appropriately cringe-worthy throughout, so much so that he could get a full time job on The Office if "Jim" ever wanted to leave the show.

So, it was a good night--noteworthy in the fact that we didn't really have a plan when we left the house and still we found a restaurant and a movie without arguments, confusion, or disappointment. There have been similar dates without initial direction that never ended so nicely.

I hope we have the chance to do it again soon, but adding up babysitting costs (well worth it, especially since AMB prodded us into the date in the first place), restaurant expense, movie tickets, and pizza for the kids . . . well, you know it adds up.

Thank goodness we can still afford it.

But we shouldn't push it or be greedy.

Until next time.

Friday, April 03, 2009

And I didn't know what I was going to write about . . .

. . . when I got home from work tonight.

(BTW, sorry for the late post. Lynda and I had a rare date tonight and so I am not getting to it until later in the evening. But, as I said . . . it provided a topic.)

So, when I got home from work, Lynda informs me that Sarah got a note as school today. That, itself, didn't perplex me. But then I got to read the note--which I am reproducing here:

In case you can't read it, the text says:

Dear Sarah:

I think that you are pretty and nice.
Would you like to be my girlfriend?

Your friend,


How's about that, huh?

Lynda seemed a bit more concerned about this than I was. I think its nice and I am definitely impressed with C's quality penmanship (did he get help, because . . . dude!) and the excellent drawing of the flower and vase is seriously quality work.

And Sarah was interested in C. before now. In fact, she asked me about him and her other long-time interest N. a few nights ago. She told me that she liked C., who makes her laugh (a definite plus in my opinion).

So, its an interesting development. Sarah received the note late in the day, so I guess she's got the weekend to think it over. Hopefully I can prevent Lynda from talking her out of it.


I'll discuss my impressions of the movie Lynda and I saw in tomorrow's post and some other stuff besides.

Good night all!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I'm feeling better today and much more myself. It doesn't cause severe pain to cough anymore and I can swallow much more normally now as well. I ate a normal breakfast and plan on eating a regular lunch as well--though I am cognizant that not eating yesterday did help me with my weight loss goal, but that certainly isn't a healthy way to go about it . . . nor does it make you feel good to be listless and without energy all day.

ANYWAY . . .

Today is more normal, as I said. It's Wednesday, so I'm wearing the DHARMA t-shirt and I'm awaiting tonight's new episode of LOST. I am staying away from work once more, but I am in fact working from home with emails and questions and reviewing documents and whatever else. I'm being productive in other words, even if I'm not there.

Thanks for the comments and phone callers about my post of a few days ago. I am chagrined about what I wrote, but I recognize the need in me to write it. Hopefully it is a way to move on from it and learn from it and become better about it the next time the situation arises. Hopefully I can make more intelligent decisions and everyone can come out of it in a better head space.

Off to get some more work done, eat a bit of lunch, and stuff like that. I might update more later tonight.


Non-update UPDATE @ 9:54 pm:

Got home from Hilliard "Bible"study, where putting Bible in quotes is okay because we don't actually read the Bible.

Now I'm going to watch LOST on tape--provided the VCR doesn't fail me somehow.

Then off to bed and back to the office tomorrow for the first time in days.