Monday, June 27, 2005

Someday he too will be as hairy as a mammoth . . .

I'm proud of myself - I managed to use the word 'mammoth' twice in the space of two posts.

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The Trip to Polish Fest June 26th

For those of you wishing to skip a blatant attempt to avoid the rigors of scrapbooking, scroll down to find the usual, meatier fare.

In my continuing quest to educate America about Milwaukee's tourist attractions, may I present the family's 2005 trip to Polish Fest, America's largest Polish festival.

We went at the request of my father-in-law, who along with his wife volunteered at the event.

Along with the upcoming (and mammoth) SummerFest, Milwaukee is home to different ethnic festivals almost every weekend in the summer - Irish Fest, Festa Italiana, German Fest, Asian Moon, Mexican Fiesta, and more.

Held on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the skyline and the lake as a backdrop, Polish Fest is in its 24th year of showcasing the cultural, religious, and political heritage of Poland.

(yeah, yeah, skip your jokes - among others, Poland has produced Chopin, Copernicus, John Paul II, and most importantly, moi)

That's not to say the festival doesn't recognize a certain flair for goofiness, as if it's embracing the stereotypes as a means of rejecting them.

That, or the festival organizers really are as corny as I am.

There's the Polka Police, uniformed accordion-carrying men that will stop and ask you to Polka. There's tongue-in-cheek T-shirts galore:

"Let's Gdansk"

"Czarnina is bloody good"

"Beer Polka Beer"

"You bet your dupa I'm Polish"

and the one my eldest wore, garnering her some great reactions from the crowd:

"Part Polish is Better than None"

Sure, there's plenty of beer and a Polka stage (which, honestly, doesn't make it al that unusual in Milwaukee) but there's also a rock stage, a classical music competition, ethnic dances, craft displays, a Polish mass, and scores of shops.

There's also, it goes without saying, all manner of Polish food available. Unfortunately, as thefestival fell a day before payday we didn't have the funds and chose to eat when we got home.

Well, chose is a bit of a euphemistic way to put it, but still . . .

[embarrassing secret that betrays my ancestors: like German food, I find Polish food too heavy for my taste. But I do have a solid appreciation for vodka - straight, no chaser - just the way my first landlord, a Polish immigrant, taught me to enjoy it.]

Our one splurge at the fest was a ride on the ski lift that operates between both ends of the grounds. I took both girls along, and while they had a blast (bopping their heads to the music beneath us and saying with awe "we're higher than Spiderman") I was kind of nervous when Middle Child decided she was too big to have me hold her on the ride.


The girls played in a splash pool on the grounds and tore the heck out of a huge playground located at the festival. We also browsed the lakefront and a collection of sculptures depicting Polish folk tales.

Not exactly a night at the Roxbury, but a fine time for all - even if it was scorching in the sun.

Come check it out if you're in town next year.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Three Pics of the Kids, for no good reason

YaYa, in complete canine ('Cocoa') costume on a 90+ degree day . . .

The Middle Child in her typical pose . .  .

and Parker, taken at the lakefront today . . .


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Friday, June 24, 2005

Quote of the Day June 24th

I volunteered at Miller Park this week on behalf of my daughters school. 

The Brewers have a program where non-profit groups staff and run vending stands during home games, taking home 10% of the take for their organization. It might sound like a piddling amount, but last year some groups made as much as $7000 for their cause.

A great idea, good cause, blah blah, but when it's 85 degrees in the shade the last thing you want to do is hunch over a grill for hours at a time.  

But I'm trying to make a good impression on the parents and teachers that will play a part in my daughter's future, so I volunteer to be the grill guy. It went fine, but it separated me from the rest of the workers. Six hours into the shift I still hadn't learned anyone's name.  

So I stop to chat with a middle aged woman working nearby. The conversation immediately turned to the heat.

 "Oh, it is so hot back here! Part of me wishes I could change my shirt right here," she said.  

Cue Danny.  

"Much as I might like to see that, it might not be appropriate behavior for a Catholic school group," I said, tongue in cheek.  

She looked at me oddly.  

"You're right," she said. "Especially since I'm a nun."

A nun. The one person I talk to - the one person I make an off-color joke to - is a NUN.  

My Dad, who was also volunteering, sadly shook his head. I think he's learned to expect such things from my karma.  

Here's hoping the next nine years go quick, huh?  

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On Thank You's and how Tommy Thompson helps a guy with the ladies June 24th

True story:

On our first date many moons ago, my future wife and I went out to eat. Being the shy guy I was at the time, I didn't talk much during the meal.

By 'much' I mean 'almost not at all'. I think I said four words.

[Five if you count 'hello']

As you can imagine, this ticked her off. "This is a waste of my time. I'm going to finish my meal,then I'm going to take you home, and I don't ever want to see you again," she said.

A palm reader she was not.

What she was at the time was a liberal Democrat who (gasp, gag) had worked on the Clinton campaign. After her little declaration of intent, she decided to turn the meal into her political soapbox. It soon became apparent that the only thing we had in common was the hope that the date would hurry up and end.

And then she did it. She stepped over the line and slurred then-Governor Tommy Thompson.

No way I was going to let her defame the greatest Governor in Wisconsin history. Not on my watch.

No one puts Tommy in the corner.

So I came out swinging. After an hour of spirited and sometimes bloody debate, she asked me if I wanted to go back to her house.

[personal note: I played that line off to imply some hanky-panky, but the truth of it is she needed to stop by her parent's house to pick up her Book of the Month order. I like my version better]

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, to prove that chicks can't resist a man that follows Tommy. And two, to show that, traditionally, I'm really bad at small talk.

Small talk being defined as, say, responding to comments on my journal.

I've enjoyed all the attention I've received since being named AOL's guest editor last week, even if I inadvertently started a little controversy.

[personal revelation: ironically, that was the same day I learned I failed to make the cut in the Journal-Sentinel's open audition for a columnist. All the congrats from J-Land helped soften the blow of that rejection. It would have softened it more if AOL had offered me some money along with the title, but what can you do?]

I've read all the great comments - heck, I've done everything but frame the suckers and put them on the wall - butI get the worst case of writers block when it comes time to respond to them.

Rest assured, I'll visit every journalist/blogger that commented and return the favor on their site. If you didn't leave a url behind and I can't track one down, I'll send a short little email your way.

It might take awhile, but it'll get done.

Oh, and if (out of courtesy) I can get his permission, I'll post a great letter I got from the author of one of the sites I featured. As it is there's been some nice thank-you's - some on the blogs themselves, and one in the Non-AOL comments.

As for Slapinions, you might see a slight drop-off in production over the summer. I've really got to concentrate on landing a paying gig, and besides that I've let my novel slide for too long.

Ah, who are we kidding? I seem incapable of not posting here.

[web author secret: if worse comes to worse, I can always post pics of the kids]

Anyhow, thanks again.


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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why all children are liars June 19th

Okay, okay, I apologize for the Oprah post. I've heard from two readers about how weak it is and what a shame it's the first thing all the folks from the 'editor' thing see, blah blah. Well, here's the deal: I wrote it six or seven months ago and yeah, I thought it wasn't all that great. So I put it aside for a rainy day - and lost it. After two or three extensive searches I gave up, only to find it last week. After all the trouble it caused me, darn tootin' it was going online.  Was it really that bad?

- Dan

Art Linkletter was right. Kids do say the darnest things.

But let’s call it like it is; they don’t do it out of some angelic innocence. Sure, most of what they say is cute and aww-inspiring.

Of course, nature has a word for that. It’s called camouflage.

When I think about it, 85% my kids noteworthy quotes either

a) excuse an error

b) try to distract me from discovering an error

c) try to pin the blame for an error on someone else or

d) make an empty promise to get what they want.

It’s like we’re raising tiny little Enron execs.

A case in point:

Yesterday I was lying in bed when I heard a crash from the girls bedroom, followed by the cries of my youngest daughter.

Five years ago I would have been disgusted by any parent that failed to react to such an event. Now, three kids and a few trips to the ER later I think of it this way:

If they're healthy enough to cry, they're probably healthy enough to narc on one another and save me a trip across the house.

Sure enough, a few seconds later the oldest popped into my room.

"Um, Daddy . . . Livia took my Wizard of Oz," she said.

At age three, she's already developed a rhythm to her storytelling. Here, as expected, she paused while shifting from one foot to another, all the while looking as innocent as Ted Bundy.

"So I pushed her," she said.

Pause, eye shift, speech.

"And kicked her. And hit her," she said, all in a rush.

Quickly now, while stepping backward and preparing to bolt if I didn't buy her view of things:

"By accident," she said.

Later that day, after that dispute and twenty like it had had been settled, I was BBQ'ing outside while the kids played on the swingset.

For some unknown reason I decided to hoist the girls overheadin the palm of each hand, like a waiter carrying two trays of food.

Why this seemed like a good idea, I don't know.

(tho' if my wife was not a faithful reader, I might mention that a guy could conceivably think the display would impress the ladies in the next yard)

The kids enjoyed it. Both girls were giggling like it was a festival ride and I was feeling suitably masculine. It would have gone fine too - they are, after all, only 35 and 25 pounds respectively - if the oldest hadn't kept wiggling.

"Stay still!," I said.

"I am," she lied.

"No you're not. Promise me you'll stop squirming or I'll put you down right now," I said.

"I promise," she said.

Judging by her laughter, she’d have promised to circumnavigate the globe if it kept her aloft.

Ten seconds of squirming later, she started to fall. I caught her, put them both down, and glanced into the next yard.

The ladies were still pretending to be oblivious to my existence, but I could tell: They were disappointed in me.

I turned to my oldest with annoyance.

"You promised to stop squirming," I said.

"But I did stop squirming!," she said.

Pause, eye shift, speech.

"What's does 'squirming' mean Daddy?" she said.

Now I have no doubt my kids will grow up to be as honest as the next guy - more so I’d bet, because after many hours of practice they’re still so darn bad at lying - but for now I have to sift their words with care.

Hey, at least I don’t have to lock up the silver.



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Thursday, June 16, 2005

The First Ever AOL Journals Guest Editor! June 17th

When AOL asked me to be their first-ever AOL Journals Guest Editor I was flattered.  

Flattered, and a little upset.

After all, the gig included posting a pic of me on the AOL Journals homepage.

With so many gorgeous pictures of me out there, how could I be expected to narrow it down to just one?  

Joe, the (paid) Journals editor, asked that I do two things: come up with a list of eight sites I'd recommend, on or off AOL, and do it with a theme in mind. Or not.  

I tried to go with a daddy-blog theme in honor of Father's Day, but aside from my site, there seem to be very few blogs written from a father's perspective. I know - I even asked other bloggers for recommendations, and they came up blank.  

(if you know of any, tell me about 'em. We'll form a club. A small one.)  

So instead I went anti-theme, picking out a wide variety of blogs on different subjects. I skipped my AOL faves - AlphaWoman, One Girl's Head Noise, Random, (sometimes) photoblog, etc - as I think they've all been featured as Editor's Picks before.  

First, there's Tom's Astronomy Blog, a fine site that routinely puts out great picsand articles on what's going on in - er, outside our world. Don't worry, you won't need a science degree to enjoy the blog as he keeps it simple and entertaining. And purty.  

For another view of space - this time from the point of view of an ET with an abnormal interest in Bigfoot, check out Not Paranoid.  

PostSecret is something a little different. People are encouraged to anonymously submit postcards bearing their most private, funniest - and sometimes darkest - secrets.

ColdHearted Truth is a political blog that leans right but encourages some spirited debates in its comments and community blog section. He has his flaws (he's a Minnesota Vikings fan, which to a Wisconsinite like me is just plain disgusting) but his solid blog more than makes up for it. He even has a section of his site devoted to, of all things, American Idol.

 No One's Child is a book written chapter by chapter on a blog. Based on the author's own abusive childhood, this site quickly became a favorite of my wife.

The author of The Mad Perseid was born in the Soviet Union, settled in Canada, and moves his opinions to the web on a regular basis.  

I'd say the web site created by the author of my favorite comic, Arlo and Janis, qualifies as a blog. Each day's commentary links to the current strip and some of his archived work. Neat little fact: my favorite author, Robert B. Parker, not only mentions the strip in his books, but has been featured in it in return.  

(btw, if you like Parker, check out Bullets and Beer, a great site devoted to the Spenser novels.)  

Lastly, I did find one blog that is written from a father's point of view: The Squatch.  

Go take a look, and don't forget to tell 'em Slapinions sent you.

[BTW - Shameless self promotion: please check out my own online home here at Slapinions, a mix of Erma Bombeckish family posts, comedy,photos, politics, and more.  

You'll find a nifty little intro to my site in the All About Me section. I think you'll enjoy your visit, and I hope to see you again soon.]  

Happy Father's Day  


Dan aka Slapinions  

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Monday, June 13, 2005

The Long Lost Post about Oprah June 13th

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There is one person in this world that my wife loves more than me, more than her children, and yes, even more than chocolate.

That person is Oprah Winfrey.

Don't laugh. I'm not joking.

I don't know why I even bothered with her last name. It's rarely uttered anymore, lest you mistakenly believe Oprah unworthy of the 'Madonna-Cher-Gallagher' class of fame. Give her a few more years and she'll transcend that too, as the transformation to a single vowel moniker has already begun.

Her magazine is called 'O'. Oxygen, her cable network, has big name actors moaning 'O' in its commercials, and my wife claims to miss the 'Big O' whenever we‘re ‘together‘.

As if it wasn't enough that the woman was on TV 'only' once a day.

The Cult of Oprah is upon us.

Rest easy, dear reader, for I assure you I am no Oprah basher. I have watched many hours of the lady's work, enjoyed most of it, and I still watch an average of two shows a week. I think she is intelligent and highly talented, with one of the smoothest interview and hosting styles I've ever seen. She was born to do what she does, and no one does it better.

That having been said, I dig the guys at Dairy Queen too, and feel no need to elevate them to Gods.

The problem lies with her success. I've long worked on a theory about how Americans love the underdog until they actually win (don't worry, I'll treat you to the long version sometime). The trouble is that didn't happen with Oprah.

Aside from some tragic events in her youth, there’s been no insider trading scandal, no slanderous ex with a nasty videotape, no anything to tarnish her gold.

What's the worst dirt there is on the woman, that she has a weight problem? Big shock there fellas.

Without that bump in the road to slow things down, Oprah and America have turned a perfectly good talk show into a syrupy love fest. You would think, as a red-blooded American male, that I'd enjoy watching an hour of woman after woman professing love for a large-chested woman.

You'd be right.

But these women keep their clothes on, and that changes everything.

Is there any reason for Oprah to be the cover girl for every issue of her magazine? Martha and Rosie didn't do that. Couldn't she cede some cover time, or at least appear with someone else? Do we really need an hour of "After the Show", the boring drivel that didn't make it into the actual show? And is there anything more gratuitous than "Oprah's Favorite Things", her annual Christmas giveaway show? [of course, by my wife's own admission, 'Favorite Things' is her favorite show of the year and must (by law) be accompanied by twenty cries of "Why can't you get me tickets for that?"]

Now, as I said, I like Oprah. I wish her no harm, to her person or her pocketbook. And I certainly don't long for the days of Phil Donahue. Call Jerry Springer evil all you want, at least the only people wearing skirts on the show are the guests - male guests, but all the same . . .

So I guess we've reached a stalemate. A rather one sided one, as Oprah herself doesn't know or care, but a stalemate none the less. And there are worse things in the world than having my wife devote an hour a day to the woman.

Now about The View . .

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Life Cycle of a Blogger

I stole this article on from Mad Perseid.

I'm posting it here to honor all my fellow bloggers out there. 

1. Start reading blogs.
You start out as a lurker and by either having met a blogger or run across an intriguing and challenging post from someone else’s blog, you start mulling about in your head for either a forum for response, challenge, or agreement. You *could* start by commenting on other folks blogs first, but you start having a gradually increased desire for a space of your own. Like when you’re living in your parent’s basement and the rest of your friends are making weekly trips to Home Depot and using words like “mulching”. You begin to wonder if you want to belong.

2. You start a blog.
Maybe at first it’s on blogspot or livejournal. You start writing about cheese sandwiches. You use your full name and the full names of your friends that are involved in your occasionally mischievous exploits. These things satisfy you. Hubris starts taking a more significant part of your site as you develop your tiny homestead online. The notion of fleshing out your online personality becomes important.

3. You become a stats whore.
Daily stats/referrals and meme participation for webrings, quizlists, personality profiles, and the occasional sepia toned webcam photo to make you look all “emo” and “sultry” and “sensitive” or at least a little bit thinner. And definitely like a Kpop music video still image. You voraciously groom your links list as you build a posse. The wishlist makes it’s initial appearance and creepy strangers start sending you gifts when your birthday comes around. You consider this slightly weird, but hey, then again, you *did* get that Star Wars Box set that you always wanted. You *start* memes just for the additional traffic. Perhaps you even start a webgame of sorts.

4. You become really personal on your site as the online and real-life worlds start confusing you.
As you recognize the possibility of being an opinion leader in your personal circle, people flame you. You occasionally flame back. You cry about comments that certain people make to provoke you. You bitch about these things as well. Then you take into consideration that comments were made by pimply 14 year olds who post jpegs of their warcraft characters online and realize that these lOZeRs aren’t worth your time. This gives you an sense of superiority. Haha! you say to yourself. I have a posse and a blog and you don’t. So fuck off, you lame twat. Hazzah!

5. You faux “retire” from blogging.
Having temporarily exhausted the emotional reservoir from which your personal blog has sprung forth, you post about retiring. Or a vacation. Or a hiatus. Or a sabbatical. You say this will be permanent. Or last a month.

6. You cave back into blogging in less than 72 hours.
You candy pants blogging crack addict.

7. You decide to “get serious” about blogging.
You seek out “The A-List” of bloggers and start reading more of them, and news about them, and news about blogging in general. You come to the conclusion that if you ever hope to join their rank, then you need to at least register your own domain. After all, will not get you linked by Kottke.

8. You have a pseudo flirty im/blogging/flickr flirting relationship with another blogger whom you have never met.
This will likely end badly. Very badly.

9. You decide that you must meet other bloggers.
SXSW seems like a good way to go about it. Or attendance at Fray Day. Or finding any excuse possible to move to San Francisco. At least a trip, after all. With a visit to SF, meeting other “celebrity” bloggers is just as tasty a tourist destination as going to Fisherman’s Wharf. Or more so. Definitely more so. Your blogroll grows threefold.

10. You take a step back and metablog about blogging and what blogging has done about your blogging.
You become pedantically navelgazingly annoying. For some reason, your blogger readership eats this shit up. This does not convince you, however, that you want to do something silly like smoke weed with Marc Canter. Because even *you* know that’s a bad idea.

11. See step 5.
Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

12. You decide that as a result of step 10 and having repeated step 5 more than 3 times in the course of your lifecycle as a blogger, that you need to sanitize or reinvent your blog.
You purge or hide archive entries and take more note to remove full names of your friends/crushes/accidentaldrunkenfondels from your site and links list. Your blog goes back to cheese sandwiches. But this time your site validates.

13. You either lose your job because of blogging, are afraid of losing your job for blogging, or join a company that builds blogging tools.
Either way, your blog either dies a horrible painful death, or becomes significantly less personal to the degree of trite and uninteresting compartmentalization or subject matter discretion.

14. You decide to start an anonymous livejournal blog.
Here is where you still talk about your crushes, the he said/she said crap, and that you really really really really really really really like Maroon 5. And it’s on your wishlist.

I'm currently stuck between a mix of #'s 3 (stat wh*re) and 4 (mixes personal and blogging worlds as I lose track of the difference between the two).

And yes, I have received birthday gifts off my wish list (which, sadly, is currently misplaced - the link, not the gifts).

If you're interested, I'll sum up the wish list: a copy of Death of the Messiah by Raymond Brown, and a decent laptop to use on the go.

I'm not picky though - feel free to send me a used laptop if that's all you can afford ;)

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Thursday, June 9, 2005

A-Rod hits his 400th, Joe Torre is ejected and some women flirt with my son June 8th

Anyone who knows me knows I love the Yankees. So when interleague play brought them to Milwaukee this week, it was a given that I’d be there to cheer them on.

I decided to bring my three-month old son along too. After all, what better way to introduce a son to the great game of baseball than to show him what 26 world championships looks like?

[Yes, I know the Yanks are sputtering along this year. Maybe they will watch the playoffs on TV, but I’d watch my mouth if I were a Yankee-hater. I think the best is yet to come]

[personal note #1: Sure it was a little conflicting for the kid, rooting against the home team while wearing a Brewers outfit and a Yankees bib. Life is one big confusing mess; its best he learn that lesson young]

I made it a multi-generational affair. Just my me, my father, and Parker. Testosterone, hear us roar.

Except that once we learned I’d have to buy a ticket for Parker if I brought his car seat along, I took it back to the car and carried him in a Snuggly.

It’s hard to project manliness with a baby strapped to your belly.

The little guy did me proud though. He was very alert and curious about the sights and sounds around him, much more than I remember his sister being at her first game.

It was not, I admit, the most family friendly atmosphere. Success breeds jealousy, especially in a town that hasn’t seen a winning season in over a decade. While the Yankees were well represented, the Brewers faithful were not only vocal but bloodthirsty.

The best (PG)chant the crowd came up with? "Yankee fans suck, you only like them 'cuz they're good."

Uh, yeah.

‘Tis a shame for them then that the Yanks piled on 16 hits and 12 runs before it was over.

[personal note: while I am a rabid Yankees fan, I’m also a lifelong Brewers fan. Normally I wouldn’t conceive of betraying the home team, but I’m still reeling from the Brewers disheartening collapse of, oh, 1994 to the present]

With a two minute exception, Parker was the ideal child.

Quiet, alert, and cute, earning no less than fawning compliments from three hot women in the crowd.

Sadly, my son is already doing better with the ladies then his old man ever did.

You can’t blame him for paying attention. Not only was it a riotous atmosphere, history was made.

Along with home runs by Carlos Lee and Derek Jeter (accompanied by chants of ’Jeter has no peter’), and the unusual sight of having Tino Martinez ejected while playing in the field (leading to Joe Torre joining him moments later), there was one big milestone that was reached.

I’d mentioned to my Dad on the way to the game that Alex Rodriguez had 398 home runs, putting him on the cusp of history.

“Watch him hit two today,” I said.

Add psychic to my resume.

In both the first and the eighth innings A-Rod took the Brewers deep, becoming only the 39th man to ever rack up 400 home runs.

Even the Yankee haters gave him an ovation.

So the Yankees won. My Dad was disappointed in the lopsided score, a Yankee fan came up and shook my hand after the game, we got a free hot dog with our tickets, and waited out the crowd in the parking lot while soaking up a gentle summer breeze.

Not a bad time at all. We even had a chance to see the start of a drunken fight in the parking lot.

Good times, good times.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

YaYa's Final Week of K3 and my ensuing Depression June 8th

note:the pics of YaYa's first day of school featured in this post are of dubious quality as they were taken with an old, borrowed digital camera. Sorry about that  - Dan

This is my daughter’s final week of school before summer vacation.

I should be grateful. It means no more twice daily trips across town, no more school board meetings, and no more worries about whether or not her uniform is washed and ready to go each morning.

I should be grateful, but in fact I’m a little down in the dumps.

When the school year began she was two months shy of her third birthday. When I told people we were putting her in a full-day, year long K3 program the reaction was somewhere between pity for my daughter and disgust with us for ‘shipping her away’.

Much as I hate to admit it, I sort of agreed with them.

But my wife thought it was a great idea and my daughter, truth be told, had been asking to go to school since she learned to talk.

So I sucked it up and agreed to it.

I’m glad I did.

Of course that didn’t stop me from nearly crying when I learned she was required to eat breakfast at school, ending the daily routine I’d shared with her since her birth.

And it didn’t stop the actual waterworks that came every time I wrote out a tuition check.

It sure didn’t start on a great note We’d been sold on the promise of an ethnically diverse Catholic school with a strong tradition and even stronger academics.

What we got was a school where not only was my daughter one of only a handful of Catholics, she was the only white child in an otherwise all African-American school.

No one had mentioned that we were the reason they could henceforth use the word ‘diversity’ in their sales pitch.

When we showed up for orientation I think they were expecting us to walk back out again. It certainly would have been reasonable; no matter how open you are on the subject of race, no child should be put in a position where they are so easily singled out as ‘different’.

Thankfully, with the rare speed bump the issue quickly became moot.

Within weeks YaYa became the most widely recognized kid in the history of the school. When I dropped her off everyone from eighth graders on down would call out to her by name and say hello.

As a side effect, I stopped being an individual and simply became known as “YaYa’s dad“.

[I suppose I should have demanded some more respect, but it’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re seen doing the ‘Tootytot” dance with a class of three year olds.]

They were spot on about their academic promises, though.

As of this writing YaYa, now age three and a half, can identify and write the letters of the alphabet. She can count to 40 (if you don’t mind her constantly forgetting ‘17’). She can write her name and the word ‘the’. She knows her prayers and the meaning of each holiday. She’s learned to brush her teeth after every meal ,wash her dishes after snack time, and just shy of a thousand ways to create art with macaroni and a glue stick.

Smart as we are, with two other kids to take care of, I can’t imagine her learning all that at home.

She’ll miss the routine, the interaction, and the challenges over the summer. No amount of swim and play classes can take the place of that.

But there’s a far more insane reason the end of the year brings a tear to my eye. Miniscule as it may be in the long-term, she’s done with K3.

Her first year of school is over, forever.

To me, it seems like the days of driver’s ed and prom dates are just on the horizon.

I’m not ready for that yet. If it was up to me, I’d like her to stay in K3 for, oh, another decade or so.

Which is why, I‘d imagine, father‘s don‘t have much say in the matter.

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Best of the Best


While, ironically, I find most of the hallmarks of blogdom annoying (quizes and memes and assignments, oh my!), I think I'm going to start a new blogish feature here at the good ole U.S. of Slapinions.

Every once in awhile I'm going to feature a blog I actually frequent on a daily or near daily basis. I'll still have the blogroll on the sidebar, but consider this the Best of the Best.

The fine author of  (sometimes)photoblog has done me the honor of spotlighting me on two occasions, so the humble first offeriing goes to him.

His site (updated daily) features some beautiful photos, mostly of nature and the insect kingdom.

I respect his work and enjoy having the opportunity to view it. Please stop by and take a look for yourself (and tell him slapinions sent you).

*A word of warning though - if you are going to subscribe to his site, skip the aol alert feature. He updates daily - no really - and it can clog your incoming mail in a hurry. (I have the misfortune of having my alerts ring my cell phone. My phone bill is now sky high :)

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Quote of the Day

I was at work the other night when a boy approached the desk.

"I'd like a Henieken please," he said in his best immitation of a James Earl Jones bass.

My co-worker and I laughed. The kid was no more than eight, ten tops, with a nervous but impressive habit of twisting his right ear into a knot that stayed tied until he unwound it.

"Do you have I.D?" I asked.

"Why do I need I.D?," he said. "Don't I look twenty-one?"

By now my co-worker had collapsed in giggles. Somewhat cooler, I kept a straight face and looked him in the eye.

"Either you come up with some I.D showing your twenty-one, or you find a hundred dollar tip for me. Those are the only two ways you're getting a beer tonight," I said.

[Yes, I was joking about the hundred dollars.

I'd have done it for fifty.]

The kid broke into a big grin and dropped the rumbling voice.

"I'm only kidding, I don't want no Heinie," he said.

He paused for a moment, just long enough for us to let our guard down.

"The stuff tastes like shit. I'm a Bud man myself.", he said.

I haven't laughed that hard in a good long time.

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Sunday, June 5, 2005

The Birthday Party June 5th

Okay, I said three updates, I meant four. :)

We had the party at a McDonald's. When YaYa had her 2nd bday party at McDonald's it was a disaster. Crowded, ill-run, just a horrible experience. This time my wife scouted out a location at the far end of town with a heck of a play area and less of a midday crowd.

It worked. Not only was it roomy, it was well-run and just a very pleasant, relaxed party. They even had a tiny toilet in the playroom - perfect for my daughter, who is in the midst of potty training (two successes at the party, 1 mistake :)

Anyhow, here's Parker at the party

and YaYa

and the birthday girl on her throne

we brought a cake just for the adults

while McDonald's provided one for the kids

speaking of kids, here's one of the four group shots I took. Good luck getting them all to have their eye's open and a smile on their face at the same time.

and one of my daughter with one of her godmother's (she has two godmothers and no godfathers; YaYa has two godfathers and no godmother. Long story)

And lastly, I thought I'd add this pic of one of the many great gifts she received. It's a sandbox that now resides in our backyard, courtesy of her other godmother.

Really, a nice, nice day.

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One pic of Park for good measure

What a stud.

My Daughter's 2nd Birthday

Man, I can't believe it's been two years since this little cupid came into our lives. While her birthday party was today, her actual birthday was Saturday. As a present we took her to Build a Bear at the mall.

While there she picked out a bear

helped stuff it by using a pedal

and put a heart inside her bear

and gave it a bath

We named it (drum roll) Birthday Baby Bear. She loved it, almost as much as we love her.


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Family Pics

This is the first of three - yup three - family pic updates due today.

These were taken Wed or Thursday in our backyard. Note the long sleeve shirt. It's the last you'll probably see of it, as the temperature has been a muggy 80ish for a few days now.

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