Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wait, There's More...

Yesterday I posted a picture Nick drew that was part of a book of abbreviations he did in Second Grade.  He just started Third.  I am a bit behind here on "The Toast."

I wanted to show you the rest of the booklet so I can remove it from my WIP folder and move on with some fresher stuff, from, well, later in the Second Grade.

Curiously, the title page was done on an old school dot-matrix printer:

This page introduces the abbreviations (a word in desperate need of an abbreviation, in my opinion) which he will be using in the assignment and page two shows his teacher, who name is blacked out by me because I refuse to implicate others in this nonsense:

You've already seen the Mr. Peebles page. The next page utilizes a screen-cap from Google Maps I think.  It's nice to see the schools integrating the Internet into the curriculum so flawlessly.  Yes, we do live on "Younyin sematary rd."  (I like the way he snuck in that road abbreviation there, clever.)  In his defense Cemetery is a very difficult word to spell.  I always tell people it's all "e"s.

Yes, that is my truck and I am good friends with the squirrel who lives in that hole in that tree.  Google Maps is amazing.

As you can see this was in January.  And, Ohio is a good state.  "Horay!"  It's not a grate state, it's a good state:

Our pediatrician is nice, although I am not sure how he ties those magnificent bows in his sneakers with no hands, and, April does only have five days, it's a new thing.

Well, I just thought it would be fair to show the whole thing.  And also in the interest of fairness I will also remind you of the post about Dr. Mat our bentist.

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

"LEGOs are dangerous ... but fun."

 Yep.  And weird, LEGOs are very, very weird - around here at least...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Factual Post


I look exactly like this:

See what I mean:

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

"This guy's new, so sorry if he shoots you."

Never trust the new LEGO guy, ever... 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Post Gaps

I worry sometimes about the gaps here on ihopeiwinatoaster, I worry that in later years the boys might think I wasn't thinking of them or there was nothing noteworthy or that I stopped caring or...

Well, you get the picture.  I have plenty of material, so much in fact that I would like to do a post a day for the month of September to get caught up so I can begin to use the fodder which will be coming home from school this year.

The problem is, and I mention this often, to the point of obsession, I can't seem to find the time and that really frustrates me.  Anyone who takes care of a household knows the feeling, I could list, right now, twenty - at least - things I should be doing right now.  I'll get some of them done, others I will put off, and, truth be told, this blog is one of things that always seems to get put off.  I put off my music as well, in fact just today I cased up my guitars and music and put them on a storage shelf because I needed the space on my workbench, which seconds as a music area, to sort out some paint and painting supplies.

Sometimes, I want to apologize to myself for it, but, I guess I don't want it enough, or I don't have very good time management skills or, and this is the best guess, I am overwhelmed.

And, on top of everything else, today I am going to use some pictures my dear wife already posted on Facebook of the boys first day in Third Grade:

I think this one is pretty good, the look, well, reasonable ,

This one seems nice enough.

This one is probably my favorite, though.  It really captures the spirit of the summer break don't you think.

I, of course, realize that this is a lackluster post.  I might not even it post on the Facebook page.  But, the laundry is on its final spin, the grocery store is calling and there is painting and yardwork and...

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

"I have not found my true potential yet."

Ain't that the truth...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blog Block

(Zoning is a very odd looking word.)

I am having trouble lately getting to my computer.  Oh sure, I have some writer issues, you know, direction, voice, tone - little stuff like that - and,  actually, I have been letting myself get a little too thinky and afraid to write too much hit publish, but, that's not what I mean.

And it's true that some of the things I want to talk about don't really belong on this blog, stuff about me and how I got to this point and love and self-image and self-doubt.  I'd like to talk about my musical journey and how, after four decades it has hit a final, it seems, insurmountable wall.

It doesn't seem appropriate to whine about my aging, my yard, my beard or my impossible cravings for meat.  What has that got to do with my boys and the story I am working on for them, about them, about the trip they went on between then and now, or, perhaps, now and then?

I'd clarify that if I could, but, as I said, I've been having trouble getting to my computer, you see, there's a giant Hotwheels track in my flippin' way:

Yeah, that's my chair in the distance, that black one, and in front of it is a wall of cushions topped with that famous orange track.

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

"LEGOs are dangerous ... but fun."

That is surprisingly accurate except... Ouch, dammit!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Horn Down and Run"

It is easy to forget that kids are using the same brains we are, I mean, like, physiologically.  They do not have the learning opportunities that a lifetime of experiences have given us; they do not have the vocabulary - words, emotions, feelings - that we can call upon to explain and understand our lives; they do not have the sense of security we may have which is garnered mostly from longevity, but their brains are capable of the same higher thinking which ours are.

"What are we gonna do tomorrow, Dad?"

"What shall we do after dinner, Mom?"

"Where do you wanna ride are bikes to?"

Or, a favorite of mine, perhaps the age-oldest unanswerable question:

"What's tomorrow gonna be like?"

This is all a roundabout way of getting to my own difficulties and anxieties these days, because, I can't know what tomorrow's going to be like.  I wish I could, I know it would help me a lot if I could.  The days have been long here, and, honestly, I haven't been doing the best I can to keep the boys entertained and busy in an intelligent and engaged way.  For this I blame the Internet.  Oh no, not that way, not the time wasting games they play or my stupid Facebook groups.  No, it's just that... damn, I don't want to admit this, but... everyone else is doing a better job at this than I am.  There, I've said it.

Without the Internet, I wouldn't know this.  I wouldn't read blog after blog about wonderful crafts and learning games and trips and fun and educational ways to make your own backyard a "learning laboratory." I wouldn't see image after image of happy kids doing amazing things like traveling through Europe, making working trubuchets, taking yoga lessons, learning to program computers or taking extended road-trips, learning and loving along the way, staying in hotels and visiting seven ballparks in one trip.  Without the internet I wouldn't have to compare myself to others in a way that actually hurts me deeply.

And then I remember what Nick said one day, as I was explaining to him why I get so very anxious when I have to go somewhere new or meet new people.  He said he could really understand the way I feel and he said he gets that same thing, he called it a "dready feeling."  Yes, that's it exactly.  His vocabulary isn't perfect and the sentiment is a little vague and yet, from a brain merely newer than mine but in most ways the same, the precise description of my anxieties in life.  And then he said something that might seem trite and overused today, but, keep in mind his mind just came up with it, to him it is a fresh and powerful point:

"Well, we are who we are, I guess."


I know that it is profoundly unfair to compare myself to others.  I can't look at a friend's ability to grasp faith so strongly and integrally and see my own floundering, hopeless, amorphous faith for something less than theirs.  I can't see a mother of five do so much for her kids at the pool remaining upbeat and happy as her twin toddlers melt down and her older kids won't listen and compare myself to her, wondering why I can't be that positive and kind all the time.  I can't listen to the aggressive ramblings of a mother of a boy we know practically bully me into calling the school and insist on a certain teacher or program and feel the fear rise up in my heart, the fear that I am somehow failing them because I don't want to be, well, a prick.

We are who we are.  Thanks, Nick, it is easy to forget that.

I haven't been posting much around here.  I was a little disheartened by my last post, it, uh, well... wasn't very good.  It sort of just fell down around itself.  But, here's my secret, the side of me that I think is okay, cool in fact - I don't really mind, so what, it wasn't perfect, but, I tried and, I stand by it.

Truth be told, I sometimes try to be who I am not.  Sometimes I fake it pretty well, but, I can only maintain it for a while, and that duration is shorter and shorter as I get older and older.  Why do I try?  I am still working on that one.  Usually to impress someone, and, often these days, to try to be better for my boys.

So back on the horse today, I'll try to remember that I am who I am already and I suspect the boys are as well.

Here are some recent images I found on the floor, and the questions they silently are asking me:

Why does this penguin have a dagger in his skull?  

Is Tambo a baby penguin in a wimple or a dead mole, uh, in a wimple?

Uta Hagen was a unicorn, who knew?

Is "horn down and run" the absolute best advice ever given?

 Are "power glands" gross, or is it just me?

When will Nick learn to spell (and you know I ain't kidding)?

The whole glands thing is really creepy, is it not?

So, some seriousness, some silliness.  That's the way life is isn't it.  I could fine tune this a little more, I could trash it because I don't know if it's of any worth or, or, I could just leave it as it is.

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

"I'm giving you your saliva back."

Such good boys, returning what they borrowed, our work here is done, wait, what... 

"Horn down and run."  Hmmm, I might have a new catchphrase, I was getting tired of my old one.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Onehundredthmonth Day

Well, I've got a lot to prepare today, it's Onehundredthmonth Day, and you know how much there is to do.  I have finished all the traditional Rice-Crispy treats shaped in a '100', the Mylar balloons are ready for liftoff and I have all the hats ready for the 'silly dancing in respectable hats ritual' we all must endure.  But, it only comes once a lifetime.  I hope you all got your announcements, I mean, well, no one sent any money gifts, yet.

OHM Day, as it's come to be called, sure has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a celebration of having made it on this planet for one hundred months.  Quite an accomplishment in the medieval ages from whence this  modern tradition can trace its roots.  Most tribal societies also have some permutation of the special day as well, usually culminating in ritual dances or bungee jumping and wild body adornments.

Of course now it's all themed parties with fake unicorns, rented hats and factory-produced crispy treats, gluten-free of course but, they're really not that hard to make, folks.  And nobody uses Mylar anymore, regular balloons are fine, saying a hundred Mylar balloons for every kid is bad for the environment.  Whatevs, a tradition's a tradition.

Of course, the boys made their hut.  So often you see them prefab these days, themed of course, I saw a Spongebob themed OHM Day hut the other day and a Disney princess one as well.  What has this important celebration come to?

I know, I know, it's inside but, the weather has been so uncooperative and the bugs and finding enough sticks, well, we just went ahead and did it inside.

Zack has his hat finished:

Nick did his traditional pom-pom first, he'll get the hat done soon:

They both have been working hard on the legend they must tell, just as I did, just as you did, just as all those who came before us had to.  Nick's is based on this guy, Lefty-Life:

It's a cautionary tale set in the a Mayan rain forest before the Spanish annihilated them.  Zack's is a traditional story of knights and ninjas and lion-mounted rocket launchers:

So, I hope this all brings back fond memories of your OHM Day festivities.  Perhaps you will get out some pictures and share them with your families, tell some stories, remember your legend, maybe even dig out your respectable hat.  Hey, memories are what it's all about.

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


"I lost you at 'It is hard to explain'."

In my defense I was trying to explain how the E.R.A. is baseball is calculated, and, well, I'm not really sure myself...