Friday, September 28, 2012

Postbituary


You might remember a cat wandering in and out of some posts here named Mittens.

She is here in a post called Catfestation:




Cute little thing, ain't she?

She may or may not have been this cat from A Cat and a Baseball Guy:




In Distract... ions, I actually suspected something was wrong when this cutie kept showing up:






Today, this came across my desk  was solemnly handed to me showed up on the floor underneath some dried up yogurt, blueberry I think:




Happy in life, happy in death, always... Mittens.

Cash donations to the Remember Mittens Memorial Fund may be handed to me, in person; large bills accepted.


from Marci's '... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ...'

*as the boys are both staring off into space*


D: "What are you two doing."
N: "Testifying to the law."
(I got nuthin'.)



I'm gonna start using it when somebody catches me doin' something suspicious...






Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Handburgers


I think traditions are not quite as traditional as we traditionally, well, think.  Nor do I think traditions are necessarily the joyous happenstance of a life well-lived.  Sometimes they are just another repetitious, obligatory annoyance.

That being said, I will show these hand images (I am using these from a respected and expensive image library on the innerwebs, they might be trademarked but hey, who cares).  I'll tell you why in just a second.






Hands, obviously boys hands.

Every Saturday night when I was a boy,  our hands were full of burgers. I've recently restarted the tradition and now every Saturday night here at ihopeiwinatoaster is Handburger Night actually here, now, we call it Slider Night, and I am happy I have begun the tradi...

See, now the whole thing sorta just falls apart...

I think traditions are hopeful myths, written and rewritten, adopted, dropped, readopted, forgotten.  Traditions are like Norman Rockwell paintings, perfect once, for one moment.

Once, mind you.

But, somehow we dilute that perfection in a series of not-so-perfect attempts to repeat that perfect time; recreate that iconic Christmas Tree; reenact that beyond-thrilling sled ride down that killer hill; jump once again in a pile of gold under blue skies with giggling brothers; sing over and over Silent Night, trying to recreate perfectly that one time outside a snow-covered, steepled church, teary-eyed, cold and so very, very happy. Honestly, traditions are memories.

So I have started a new tradition, oxymoronic as that may sound; started a new set of memories.  Around here we make small little "sliders," on those little buns, butter toasted, yum.  Not really the hamburgers of my youth which were monsters.  I grill mine on a flattop, my dad used charcoal.  Some things are the same, I grind my own beef and Dad had his ground when we got a half a cow for the freezer.  Man, it was good beef.

He always served the burgers with a plate of thick sliced tomatoes, homegrown in the summer, chunky onions and iceberg lettuce which, to this day we all, including my boys, call "the fixins plate."  He never put cheese on 'em, never.  We do.

There is a little more to the story; you see his dad made burgers every Saturday night as well.  I can only imagine how differently the sliders I make on an electric griddle in the early twenty-first century would compare to the ones he grilled on a mesquite-coal grill under the desert sky in the nineteen-thirties and forties, or the one's my dad grilled in the fireplace over charcoal in the sixties and seventies.

So, I guess I have to ask myself if I am carrying on a tradition or not, not really, but...

...but, as write this I can see my Dad's hands forming burgers, sure and true.  I am sure his hands were an echo of his father's hands forming the burger patties, rough and chunky in those days, I'm sure.  I will teach my boys how to make them and our four generations of hands will collectively remember, always, that our fathers did this.

Yes, I guess I'd have to say we have a tradition of handburgers on Saturday night.


As an aside, the first time ever encountered the spelling 'handburgers' was at the opening of a restaurant in my basement.  It was on the menu, but the chef said:  "You should try the Purge, Daddy." so I didn't try them. I explained a little more about sliders and there is a picture of one in another post called, aptly, "Handburgers."


And, in the interest of full disclosure, those are not stock photos from the web.  The top one N drew and Z, the bottom one.  In fact, the assignment in the vocab journal was to draw "moving a hand."  Look closely on Nick's, I am pretty sure that's a couple of guys using some sort of rope and pulley sort of apparatus to 'move' a hand.  It's weird here.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

"Watch... and learn."

Be afraid, very afraid...


Monday, September 24, 2012

"May Your Song Always Be Sung"



Oddly enough, the boys brought home some cool retro hippie posters:






Back in the seventies, you know, last century, when posters like these were popular, I heard a song by Bob Dylan.  (I can hear your eyes roll.)

I am a huge Dylan fan, always was, even before I knew it.  I sang 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'Mister Tambourine Man' for years before I actually heard Bob do them.  And then I heard him do them, and they blew me away.  So did this song:





I got the album Planet Waves sometime around nineteen-hundred-and-seventy-five and spent a lot of time sitting on my bed learning the tunes Bob Dylan had sent me, directly, it seemed.  The words to this song encouraged and brightened me; it was a song for the boy/man, artist/athlete, intellectual/idiot I was at that moment.  I sang it as an anthem, pounding the chords, and, singing like Woody, I shouted it to the mountaintops, a promise.  Then it was the prayer of a dreamer; eyes, heart and soul forward, ready to fly.

As a young man out of college, slummin' it, drinkin' too much, thinkin' too much, working too much at everything but a career, I sang this song dirge-like, with a melancholy angst that I only now begin to understand.  The part in life where you realize dreams don't always come true and, as it turns out, you can dream it and not do it.  I can vouch for that.  I sang it for us then, I guess.  I sang it for the young men I knew so well, dying of AIDS; I sang it to the brokenhearted actors, singers and playwrights selling insurance or bartending.  I sang it to a generation of lost, wandering dreamers.

Yesterday, I played it again, on the same guitar, vintage now but purchased new, on which I learned it.  I sang in the basement of my home, surrounded by love, content for the most part, and, if I can say it, a little wiser.  I sang it this time for our sons, my sons and yours.  I sang for children, I sang for childhood, I sang for innocence, I sang for hope.  I sang it forward, as Bob had done for me.  I will do for them.


May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others and let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
May you stay Forever Young

 May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay Forever Young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And May you stay Forever Young

Bob Dylan  1974 



Today, I send this out to my kids as a dream, to you as a prayer and to myself as a hope. The hope that I have done this thing, lived this life well enough; that I have laughed and cried with enough honesty; that I have loved enough with my soul to be worthy of saying:  "I have kept my promise, may my song always be sung."

Thanks, Bob.




Thursday, September 20, 2012

'My Kids Made Me Do This'


I noticed, amidst a pile of about three-hundred-plus of these sort-of Pokeman/football/baseball/wizard trading cards the boys diligently make and cut out (I'll show some more someday, but, it might take a video and that's sorta, well, difficult... for me), this:




My child-to-adult decoder ring is on the fritz but I'll give it a go.  First let's read it as is.  I get:  hells one prison all life.  Bummer;  life's a bitch and then ya die, sorta feel, dont'cha think?

The ring says this reads:  'Heals one person all life.'  Well, there ya go, that seems nicer.

But, you know what has me really confused is this image:




Really?  What the hell is that?  A pharaoh with an adder-headed stick?  A happy-helmeted-healer?  A golfer in rain gear at the first hole?  Nostradamus, the younger years?  I thinks it's just a retired happy face from the seventies down on his luck and looking to make comeback.

So, it is funny and odd and a little creepy to share this, but, my hope is that this will remind them of the hours they spent creating and trading and complaining because no one will trade a real card for the hand made ones, and laughing and explaining and hoping and living they (N in this case) put into these.


In the little paragraph below the title, you know, right up at the top of this page, I wrote, well, that:  'My kids made me do this.'  Honestly, I meant I felt like I had to show you this because this stuff is just too damned funny and ridiculous not to share.

Now I am not so sure...

I guess I have been looking down more carefully, kicking through the piles of arbitritus a little more, scrutinizing the take-home-folders with a little added interest.  I wondered why this morning and I realized a shift from, "oh that's funny" to more of a "we all might really want to see this someday" sort of attitude.


This is from a Manners series Z has been working on for The Saturday Evening Post, you know, like the Virtues paintings dude did way back when, you may have heard of him, Norman Rockwell, I think.  Yeah, these are like those:


'Things not  to do at dinner:  Brp (burp) no;  hood, no.'  Well that's about all you need to know about table manners, right there.  Next: cell phone etiquette, it's a picture of a smart-phone dropping into a toilet.  (And, yes we do have an off-balance purple pedestal table.)


They will want to remember.  I desperately want to remember. I need to remember; they deserve to.

And, no, I am not making fun of the boys.  Honestly I find this stuff so cute that sometimes I have to delete whole paragraphs of loving tripe about innocence taught and innocence lost;  about inner beauty and the weight of the future; about the brilliance and cleverness they exude; about the love I have, right now, for who they are, the sadness I have for their, our, loss of childhood, the profound, sacred hopes I have for who they will become.


From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

Oh, the deep conversations in our house ...

Daddy: "Nick, are you getting hungry?"
 

Nick: "Is it raining outside?"
 

How existential.


Are you thirsty?
Where do fans get the air...?



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scoobiesnacks


In the post from a few days back called Niddi and Zat I was sad because I didn't have much of their talking recorded.  I stumbled across this looking at pictures today.  It seems I got some good stuff every now and then:


video


In the restaurant business a "Scoobiesnack" is defined as, and this is from the manual, a purposefully purloined, often prepared, sometimes raw, tasty little edible that kitchen help invent for their own private enjoyment.  It maybe as simple as a sliced carrot or fresh berries or as complex as beef tenderloin trimmings floured and deep fried with lots of salt and pepper dipped in simmering demi-glace`, not that I've ever done that.  It is important to note that "cookermen" (Nick's word for cooks and chefs) don't just cook with herbs, at least they didn't in the eighties and nineties.  Sometimes the herbs cooked them.

Out of habit, it's what I call kitchen snacks.  Z defines it well when he says "...when our eat things what aren't weady yet..."  Yep.


I have been restless of late and, as is becoming quite clear, I post too much when I get nervous.


From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

N: "I have a thousand."
Z: "I have a million."
N: "I have a billion."
Z: "I have a trillion."
N: "I have a hundred trillion forty thousand bazillion ninety hundred cajillion seventy three hundred pa-billion."
(pause)
Z: " I have that many ... plus one."


Wicked-good trump....





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Post-Jacked


Here is what I wanted to show you today:




















They are images from 2ack's "Creative Journal" that came home from the school the other day.  You all know I love the school shit stuff.  (I wonder if anyone will see what I did there?  No.  I wrote Z's name as 2ack because he keeps making his stupid 'Z' backwards and it looks like a 2. Wait "Two-Ack."  How cool is that?  I might just start calling him Two-Ack.)

I love the blockhead couple, holding hands, locked in some sort of mind-meld.  And tiger-striped-ninja-dude, what is there to say?  He's perfect.


However, life always gets in the way of simple things and complicates them.  Like evolution, why didn't we just stay single-celled, what's simpler than that?  And food, pick apple, eat apple; there is no high-fructose corn syrup necessary.  And packaging, good God... nevermind.

And stories, life certainly complicates even the simplest of narratives.  Say I tell you I went to the beach, you get curious; what beach, when, why did you go, with whom, what did you get?  Why, why, why?


When I chose the two images above and scanned them yesterday afternoon I had no idea at the time that I would meet them that very night.  I sure did.  At a local dive dump wannabe-biker bar tavern.  Oh what the hell, I am not going to tell you it's name so I'll tell it for real, the place is a dump.

I guess that sounds judgmental, it is truly not.  I have put in some hard time on both sides of the bar at more than a few dumps, or dives, or fancy-assed high end dumps because they are all the same, some grittier, some glitzier.

"What beach bar, when, why did you go, with whom, what did you get?  Why, why, why?"  See how it works?  Now the whole story gets hijacked because I feel the need to address your concerns and questions, such as:  Why the f**k was I in a dive bar?

Right, well, short version:  I play guitar and sing and this bar has a hosted open mic night on Mondays and I went to see what it would be like.  That was easy...

Of course the whole thing is a big complicated mess.  For instance, I've been thinking a lot these days about my role, our role, everybody's role really, in nurturing our kids, your kids... you get it.  I think that phase of their development is beginning to end (not that it will ever really end) and now we become mentors, role-models, heroes; someone to be emulated, admired, copied.

Why does this concern me?  Well, honestly, I don't do much besides take care of the family.  Again, big complicated mess.  I like what I do and think it is as valid a life option as anything else, I am cool with it.  However, there isn't a lot to see; you know, I cook, I clean, I shop, I deliver, I volunteer, I wash clothes.  Not really stuff seven year old boys really want to look up to.

I know right?  I'll show them how to go to bars and drink beer.  Brilliant.  That's not the point, you see (and I've touched on this already in the post Everything Happens) I want them to see me as something other than just their caregiver.  I want them to see me as something bigger, I guess, a rockstar, a sports superstar, a hero.

So, I guess I went to the bar in some sort of Wagnerian attempt to become a hero in the opera of my boys lives.  Bullsh*t, but, it's sorta true.  I think they need to see me as something else, something bigger, wilder, hipper, dreamier; not something better, just more interesting, more noticeable.

So, I get to the bar a little early.  I sit at the far end of the bar, near the pool tables and order a beer.  I say hello to a couple guys involved in what appears to be a pool tournament, and look around a little.  I have been here before, a million years ago (actually twenty-eight), and it hasn't changed much.  It smells a little less smokey 'cause ya can't smoke in bars these days, but who could forget those weird brick booths and that half wall that runs down the middle of the place.

Then, the blockhead couple above walk in.  I think I recognize them and they go to the bartender, order a couple drinks and go to the two seats right next to me, swivel around, and proceed to play a TV trivia video game thingee mounted at the end of the bar.  For two hours.  Here, that was a while back I showed them to you:



Yep, that's them, exactly.  Isn't that odd?

I really didn't see this tiger-striped-ninja-dude:


But, if you took off his mask and put him in a a pair of cargo shorts, and a black t-shirt that said BOB, and gave him Jesus-sandals, but kept his spirit and spunk, he'd be a doppelganger for the harmonica-playing dude who accompanied the evening's host.  Everyone knows harp players are evil and, in exchange for the eighties gym bag full of harmonicas they always have and the ability to play them in an idiot-savantish way, they sold their souls to the devil.  This guy was a harp ninja, amazing, and very cool.  And he had that exact creepy smile...

The scene wasn't really one for me, in fact it was sort of like hanging out with a few old farts like me and playing a bunch of jam tunes to an audience of uninterested pool players, and, well, me.

So, I will continue to try to find my place to shine.  I wonder if this really makes sense to you, perhaps you are already visibly successful; maybe you play in a softball league and pound fat-ball homers over the outfielders' heads; perhaps you sing in church gloriously with humility and grace; maybe you are a fireman or a policeman, doctor, a vet; maybe you are a writer with shelves of novels to show or an artist working frenziedly in a paint-spattered studio.

Or maybe, you're just a parent.

And maybe you're already the biggest hero they'll ever need.


Monday, September 17, 2012

"Niddi and Zat"


This came from school.  You make a sentence, apparently a long sentence, or several sentences, from the word provided:



"My brother broke my ball(s) I am sad.  Zack brak's (breaks) a lot of stuff.  On the Wii in Skilandrys (Skylanders).  Zack broke my wining (winning) strek (streak).  I (arbitrary, I think).  Wans (Once) on new Super Mareo (Mario) brathers (brothers) I wans (once) broke his wining (winning) strek (streak)!"  Smiley face.

Of course, when I first looked at this all I saw was the front.  I laughed out loud at "my brother broke my ball(s)."  (I still can't tell if there is an 's' there or not.)  What are we from New Jersey?


Once when the boys were younger, maybe in their twos, we were at Costco and a man approached us wanting to give the boys some stickers.  He asked the boys their names and Z said:

"That's Niddi, and I'm Zat."

He carefully pronounced the names back:  "Niddi and Zat.  Well those are sure interesting names."

I didn't correct him.  I thought it was funny he thought those were their real names.


I find it is nice to remember the events of the past by taking pictures and posting the images of the things they make here, but one thing is lost.  Although there are a few videos of the boys, they are mostly short and have little meaningful conversations in them.  That's what is lost, the sound of their voices.

The other night I would have loved to have a recorder going when the following scene came about.

The scene:  Bunkbeds.
The time:  Way past bedtime.
The action:  Searching in vain for a "Twin's pillow."

N:  I just had it, Daddy."
Dad:  I know I saw it when you went to bed.
Z:  Oopsy daisy, I had it all along up here.
D.  You can stop looking, Nick.  Your chucklehead brother had it all along.
N:  Oh, Brother...  get it, brother, oh brother, like oh brother but he's my brother.
Z:  I get it.  That's funny.  Oh, brother.

They kept saying it and kept laughing about it.

I couldn't help myself, I kept laughing at them laughing.

I'd pay good money to have that laugh track on tape.  Maybe that's something I need to figure out, a way to get their voices recorded so I can always remember how they sounded.  Remember the joy in their laughter, the quiver in their fears, the tear in their pain, the twinkle in their jokes.


From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

Mom:  The cat is playing the the toilet water again... boys, you really need to keep the lid down.
Z:  Maybe she wants to be baptized.


I would have to say that baptizing a cat would probably not end well...



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Arbitritus


I'm an arbitrarian.  It's not a word, a real word at least.  I thought I made it up.  Nope, already used and defined on Urban Dictionary.  But, they got it wrong.

Here it means a librarian of arbitrary stuff, arbitritus, if you will (that word is new, although it is a Latin verb form).

In a big pile, on top of the computer box thingee, tilting, close to falling, are all the papers and crap, the arbitritus, that I have scanned to use here on ihopeiwinatoaster.  If it were somehow preserved, as is, for several thousand years, it would certainly befuddle anthropologists.  It is a weird pile.  Here is what I am adding to it today.

This treasure map:















It is, perhaps arguably, THE WORST TREASURE MAP EVER!

I know it is a treasure map because it was rolled up and had a ratty little string around it when I found it.  It's old, judging from the tattered edges and aged patina.  I zoomed in on the old 'X marks the spot' part there on the right.  So, I guess you are supposed to leave "your house," meander through the mysterious, not so scary apparently, land of Onotamis, go right to the the very edge of the world and there will lie ye treasure.

But where is Onotamis?  Is it a water world, the treasure sunken beneath the wavy surface?  Do I live close, considering the fact that my house is the starting point?  Could I at least get a scale here, or one measly coconut tree?  I'll never get to my booty with this stupid map...

On second thought perhaps it is THE BEST TREASURE MAP EVER!

I am also adding this:



You don't know what it is, do you?  Well, I do only because I have encountered these before on intelligence tests (or perhaps it was a psycho test), where they give you three or four images or symbols and you are supposed to infer the final one and choose from a group of three or four.  Say there is a rabbit, a gun, a turnip and then you infer the last.  Obviously, you choose the steaming bowl of Hasenpfeffer.  Easy right.

Let's try it together.  Happy squid-amoeba-thing, backwards streaking S, puking fan-tailed opossum leads us to...  I'm gonna go with...

(He's from this post.)


See, easy, peasy.

So, two more bits of arbitritus added to the leaning tower of nonsense here.  Two more bits of the puzzle of their youth I am trying to create for them.  Two more grains of sand in the beach of love I have for them.

(Really, 'beach of love?')


You may remember from 'Stumpers and Befuddlers' that I sometimes don't get the full story when I find something to use here.  I wrote the above before I knew what I know now.

The land on the map, Onotamis, is, and this is clever because you'd never guess it, Anonymous.  Mystery land, indeed.  Oh, and Pirate Nick said something about "invisible ink."

Also, the IQ test?  Not.  Happy squid-amoeba-thing; a scorpion (wtf).  Puking fan-tailed opossum; an elephant.  And this...



is a "whaddyacallem, Daddy?  You know, a picture that you use to show something else, a... shogun?"

"A logo?"

"Yeah, a logo for the band Zack and I are making up called The Second Place Sluggers.  See, it's sort of an S, like sluggers and it's sort of a two, like second, and, it looks like a snail or a slug, like sluggers."

I can say this with some certainty:  Best band logo EVER.


I really want to be in The Second Place Sluggers, think they'll ask me?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Kindnesses


The primary school the boys attend is surrounded by incredibly lush  flower and vegetable gardens courtesy of a wonderful non-profit called Granny's Garden School which offers hands-on instruction in the gardens paired with in-class science and math curriculum.  Needless to say, it's pretty cool and the kids love it.

On the first Thursday of the first week of school all the children in the the boys' class arranged flowers in plastic bottles to bring home.  They also pressed flowers in phonebooks (about all phonebooks are used for anymore, that and booster chairs I guess) and came home with information on volunteering in the gardens and these (at least they were supposed to):







The adorable, rather hopeless one there on the bottom is Z's, and the one on the top, the one I'd have been happy with on the tables at our wedding reception, N's.  I think they are great and the program is incredibly valid and well-received.

There is always more to a story, always, I guess that is why I enjoy long fiction and have forever thought short stories were just unfinished novels.

You see, Nick's arrangement didn't make it it home; he left it on the bus.  I know, a kid left something on the bus?  That never happens.  He was very upset, mostly because his brother had his and he didn't and they were "s'posed to give it to their moms."  (Hey, I like flowers, too...)

We have the best school-bus driver ever.  Ever.  When the bus arrived the next morning, Ms. L said that somebody left something on the bus and produced N's flower arrangement.  Of course we thanked her, Nick was very happy and the bus moved on.

There is still more.  I noticed something, something important.  I noticed, and you can see it in the image above, the arrangement looked very fresh.  The nights that week were hot and sultry as they often are in our area in late August and I was surprised the thing looked so nice.  Marci handed it to me and got in her car to go to work and that's when it hit me.

The water in the bottle was cold.

Yeah, the bus driver had put the arrangement in a refrigerator to keep it fresh, and remembered it the next day and secured it on the bus and drove two routes before our route and cheerfully gave it to my wife.

Kindnesses...

The teacher whose eyes tear up on the last day of first grade, for the twenty-somethingth year in a row.

Kindnesses...

The coach who runs out on the field and carries a frightened little boy with a skinned knee off the soccer field with the tenderness and patience of a parent, even though it wasn't his child.

Kindnesses...

The rough-looking guy in a beat up pickup truck who witnesses your son's dramatic bicycle crash and slams the truck in park and says, with genuine concern:  "Jesus, is he all right?  I've got a first aid kit if you need it."

Kindnesses...

The incredibly perfect pediatrician who explains everything to the children, not talking down, respectfully and earnestly.  The nurse who truly hates giving the babies shots but does it anyway.  The dental hygienist who won't let me go back as the boys get their teeth cleaned because it's better that way.  The emergency room child advocate who sits and reads to a scared little boy as he gets stitches on his forehead.

Kindnesses

Of course, I could go on and on and on and on...

I see them everyday, deliberate and unheralded acts of kindness that touch my heart soul in the same place from which they come; a place decent and deep, profound and sacred, bright and eternal.

And sometimes, these kindnesses make me weep.

And always, always, I am better for having seen and recognized them.


Thank you, and by you, I mean, well, you.  Your kindnesses do not go unnoticed, I promise.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back-Ass Halfwords


Blogwriting is a backwards, infuriating mess.  If you are new here, right now, all you've got are, what, these twenty or so words and sometimes a snappy (see above, what does that even mean?) title.

Click, you are gone.

See what I mean.  What if I'd shown you this first? Perhaps with a quirky little in, like:

You might remember me lamenting the loss of the boys 'take home folders' when school ended in the spring, well, the fodder faucet is back on, it's going to rain nonsense and cuteness for another nine months:

"I like me.  I like to play soker (soccer).  I like to ride my bike. I like to go to school.  I like flawrs (flowers).  I like the day.  I like to read.  I like cantre (country) mucik (music).  I like trees.  I like my techer (teacher).  I like 2 (second) grade


"I like me.  I like sports.  I like me.  I like music.  I like me.  I like my friends.  I like me.  I like aninals (animals).  I like me.  I like going to school.  I Lov-e me"


















And then, to help clear up the text, I would use my handy-dandy child to adult decoder ring, which you know nothing about although I have referenced it dozens of time in previous blogs and first introduced in this post.

Next I might say something cute or heartwarming or snarcastic or self effacing or tender like, say:

The assignment must have been (and here I am desperately hoping) something to do with 'I Like Me,' because, if it wasn't I have some seriously narcissistic kids here.  I love how N spells soccer, 'soker' and I adore how he butchers music into 'mucik.'  Seriously, how wrong is that? 

Z's letter is more on point, he states 'I like me' no less than five times and sums up with 'I love me.'  And you know what?  He does love himself, and he likes himself, they both do.  Actually, it's something we have discussed; liking yourself is incredibly important, not in a self-serving-look-at-me sort of way, but in a deeper way, knowing that you like yourself makes liking others, loving others, easy, and obvious.

Already, you may have noticed, I highlighted some phrases above and linked them to previous blogs.  Now I don't want to do too much of that too early on in the post or you'd stop there, go to a past post and, tragically, you might leave.  Also, if I've done it right, I have them open in another window in hopes that you will open it and finish this post then, go back in time to read the antecedent of the remark or reference to which I just referred.  Whaaaa?

I know, it's confusing.  Ideally, if you've never been to ihopeiwinatoaster before, you should go to the very first post, 'Ain't It True' and read forward, yes forward, in time, then you would be all caught up and ready for a new post.

Get it?  Neither do I...

In a typical post I might sum up with something like this:

I am happy the boys are back in school, and not for all the reasons you'd expect.  It is not because I was tired of them and their constant badgering of me to play Wii and computer games and baseball or feed them; not because we were getting on each others nerves here in the muggy heat of August in the Ohio Valley or because my ass hurts from bike riding and my shoulders hurt from tossing them around in the pool, which was fine when they weighed twenty six pounds but is tearing me up now that they've doubled that; and not because I WANT SOME FRIGGIN' TIME TO MYSELF!!!

No, it's really not any of that.  The reason I am happy they are back in school is really simple:  They deserve it.  They deserve to be respected and taught and disciplined and celebrated, read to and sung to. They deserve have expectations fulfilled, dreams nurtured and friendships deepened; they deserve our respect and our admiration  They are important and I, no, we, love them.

Oh, and I did need some fresh content for this blog.

So, that's where I'd end things.

And then, as I like to do at the end of the majority of my posts, I might add...

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'  (A cute little feature I introduced in this post.)

"Ah, weaponry ... it is the way to go."

Finally, I say something cutesy and end it with an ellipse, because I like ellipses, or ellipsi, or whatever...


However, that's not what I want to do today.  Here is what I wanted to do today:


I have been thinking a lot about how I have not been very anonymous on this blog.  This is a big deal in the blogger world and there are at least a dozen several a lot a jabillion posts an a jabillion blogs talking about it varying form the excitable "never reveal anything" position, which some bloggers do brilliantly, to a "just be yourself" attitude.

The first position is, I would have to say, probably the wisest, and, it leads, in it's inherent annonymity, to a freedom of expression that I would love to have at times.  You can make fun of your neighbors and your family, you can rant on about politics, you can tell lengthy,  engaging and hilarious stories, both debaucherous and raunchy,  from your college years.  You can cuss, a lot, something I have chosen to try and limit, and you can be painfully, tragically honest.

However, and this is controversial, you risk seeming disingenuous or, dare I say it, fictitious.  I read some anonymous blogs and, honestly, I feel like I am reading a novel, albeit backwards.  The mothers are so perfect and crafty and interesting and involved; or, on the flip side, the dads are so grumpy or crunchy or hip or colorful or sensitive or whatever, I end up feeling like I am reading the words of a caricature.

But, the second position worries me as well.  I see bloggers posting millions of pictures of their beautiful families, mentioning the street they live on, where they work, their friends' names, the names of their kids' friends, their cup size, even their cell phone numbers.  It seems like a little too much, a little too, well, risky.

Now, truth be told, anyone who wanted to know anything about me could simply google me and find everything out I mentioned above (except my cup size, which I will never divulge) in about twenty seconds.  However, I don't try to make it easy or obvious.

I guess I would worry more if more than twelve people read these posts, if I had an international following, or if this guy immortalized me in a Lego video, but, for right now I will go on as I have been, somewhere in between.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Z69614XM


"Whatchyagotthere, Zack?"  I ask as he runs through the kitchen.

"Secret code.  Gotta get it downstairs, quickly!"

"Can I see it?"  I ask as I am temporarily distracted by his correct use of the adverb "quickly."

"Dad, I'm in a big hurry."  He shoves it in my hand.



I guess it looks harmfulless enough.  And yet, why am I afraid, very afraid?


From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

The boys were doing something silly.

I turned to Bill and said, "Those are your genes."


Zack overheard and replied, "Nope, these are my pants."


I'd like to say he was making a deliberate and clever pun... I'd like to, but... 


(Oh and Zack:  LEARN TO MAKE A "Z" CORRECTLY!!!!)


((I am doing something completely out of character, I am entering a contest:  Blogger Idol: Season Two.  I am sure it is not legit so I would suggest that all the Better Bloggers not bother.))