Thursday, September 27, 2007


My laptop screen is cracked, and the insurance I purchased on it guarantees it'll be fixed (or replaced) within TWO WEEKS.

When I balked at losing it for that long the customer service operator said if I wanted I 'could take into the store . . and wait a MONTH'. I swear, he said it with the pause and everything, as if we were on a sitcom.

So, with the laptop on the way out for a bit and the home comp still refusing to run AOL, this blog will *probably* go on hiatus for a few weeks.

Not that there's not a lot to post about (up to and including the baby's christening last weekend) but it's just so much of a pain to post from our home comp. Really, it is.

So if you don't hear from me. . . I'll be back. :)

Baseball this rainy September day

Milwaukee Brewers - Logo Background for Myspace or Desktop Wallpaper

Yesterday was probably the coup de grace (sp??) for the Brew Crew, who played a miserable game with a lackluster offense and a tattered bullpen. Again, for the uninformed, it's not that they're losing - I'm very used to that - but that they gave us such high hopes early in the year.

Because of the 2007 Brewers I'll now have to wait until the second week of September before publicly announcing my confidence in the hometeam.

And folks wonder why I love the Yankees. I need someone to root for in October, don't I?

* * *

The kids have been asking to go to a game as of late. I doubt it'll happen. In addition to a scarcity of tickets (and the time to go and the $ to buy them) it would be rather heartbreaking at this point.

* * *

This was the first year of my adult life that I had full 'basic' cable. Thus I've seen more Brewers games than in any year of my life, and for that I'm grateful. (Even if the color on FSN always seems dimmer than on other stations).

* * *

The literal asterisk on the 756 home run ball (of Barry Bonds)? Cute, but over the top. Count me against the idea.

* * *

My votes (like they count): AL MVP - Arod     NL MVP - Fielder  NL ROY - Braun.

Beyond those races I could care less.

Oh, and kudos to Corey Hart - the player, not the singer - who has quickly become one of my favorite Brewers.


Monday, September 17, 2007

RIP Robert Jordan

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."
On a whim this morning I looked up the wikipedia entry on author Robert Jordan and discovered, to my shock, that he passed away yesterday of complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy (cardiac amyloidosis).
Jordan is the author of the Wheel of Time books, a series I greatly enjoy even if it has grown too long for its own good.
How this will affect the as yet unwritten finale to the series is unknown, but I've read that he passed on his ideas to his family.
He will be missed.
Robert Jordan  October 17, 1948September 16, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parker and Lauren

I had to post this pic soley because it's so cute!

A shocking confession

Ok, first things first. The intent of this post is two-fold: one, to genuinely record a humorous and memorable part of my son's childhood.

The second is to embarrass him in the future.

For many, many months - far too many for my liking - my one and only son trotted around both our old flat and the new house wearing the girls dress up outfits.

Many was the day I'd hear the clip-clop of high heel plastic dress shoes and look up to see the bearer of my name wearing them.

Ditto Princess dresses, skirts, tiaras, clip on earrings, and gloves.


I won't pretend to be so enlightened that this didn't bother me, but I understood he was a little toddler greatly influenced by his two older siblings and the allure of bright, shiny objects.

Didn't make it any easier, mind ya.

Nowadays, all on his own, he seems to have abandoned this obsession, preferring his Spiderman shoes and a t-shirt and shorts and spending his free time happily destroying our house.

I wouldn't have it any other way :)

My week in court for my place of business

To my dismay I spent the week after Lauren's birth in court, acting in defense of my place of employment in a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a May 2006 accident.

[Just as with the accident itself I won't go into details here. Should this survive a decade or more into the future, interested parties can track down my two depositions, insurance statement, and testimony to evaluate the incident and my defense of it. ]

I was on the stand on two different days (during one time on the stand I noted it was exactly one week since Lauren's birth) and was called by both sides of the case.

I was petrified when I testified, to the point of stammering when asked to spell my name, but a mere sentence later felt a strange and detached calm descend on me.

I will not say that I was any star witness, as I'm sure folks have been more eloquent and persuasive on the stand, but I think I did more than hold my own. I got in a few points that were clearly in our favor, and I felt good about my testimony.

On the other hand I dreaded the whole week. Every day was an ordeal, emotionally (for obvious reasons) but physically too as I had trouble sleeping and missed my family.

In essense it wasn't just the business on trial it was my professional reputation too, and I had a lot vested in the case.

Before the closing our lawyer pulled me aside and warned that the closing would be rough. He believed  the opposition would  gouge and rip at my reputation and name to bolster his case.

What wound up happening was this: in the closing the only two times the plantiff's lawyer mentioned me was to comment on my role as a family man and as someone of intelligence and honesty.

I'm sure he didn't buy a letter of what he was spewing, but I think he knew I'd connected with the jury. He didn't want to lose the jurors by attacking someone they viewed positively.

IMO, at least.

In the end we won, and just having it over was a blessing.

The 4th of July Post, 3 months overdue

The new house is within walking distance of two parks and I'd often ventured there in my childhood to watch the 4th of July parades. This year the whole family took advantage of the park to see the parade; my wife's friend and her kids came along too.

We set up shop on a corner across from the park.

As is our tradition, the kids were decked out patriotically.

We brought bags for the kids to grab candy as the parade passed, but I didn't think it would amount to much. Wouldn't ya know it they all went home with a Halloween's worth of goodies.

Parker really seemed to enjoy himself. Note how he reacts to the music.

He loved Bango the Bucks' mascot

and the Brewers' Klement Racing Sausages

At one point he even ran into the road and down the street chasing after an RC car, to the laughter of the crowd.

* * * *

Later, in the early afternoon we were going to take the kids to a Decorated Bike contest at the park, but on the way to the event YaYa's bike's chain slipped off and it had to be abandoned. While the family pushed on I took the bike home and quickly slipped some of the decorations onto her scooter, then took that back to the park.

We arrived too late for the contest, and even for the ride across thestage. I got them in anyway, and they strolled across - albeit during the 'Boys 8-12' division.

I also managed to get the kids the goodybag and ice cream given out to contestants. I seem to have a modest knack for making the world conform to my wishes.

Lisa and YaYa then decided on the spur of the moment to join a pair of Chicken Dance contests. By coincidence both were assigned GHW Bush's #41!

First prize in each division was a surprising and excessive $50, with the smallest (3rd place) prize being $25 . . and we didn't crack the top three in either!

Listen, it was rigged! There's my wife, 1 month from giving birth and a dancer for years, doing a flawless routine and they give away the prizes to two hot young things and a crippled old man who's mind gave way back in the early nineties!

Rigged! And I have video to back up my tale!

That evening we went to the fireworks in the park and ran into the family of Lisa's maid of honor, and my Dad and sister Katie joined us too. Then it was back to the house to enjoy a warm summer night in July.

A very nice holiday indeed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lauren's First Week - Sunday

Sunday morning we had breakfast together then packed off the whole family to church. We didn't make it through the entire mass (Lauren's first!) but it wasn't Lauren's fault; Parker was terrorizing an autistic boy in the crying room by simply being his typical two-year old self, so we had to leave early.

We then picked up AnnaBelle, the girl Lis had watched all summer, to fufill a promise I'd made all week: to take the kids on a picnic.

We debated going over to the playset by Miller Park but instead went to 'the deer park' aka Whitnall, where we found a beautiful, empty spot by another play area.

The meal itself was standard fare- PB sandwiches, carrots, etc. But the company was great.

In a desperate attempt to knock out the jaundice and end the daily trips to the Dr, we put the baby out in the sun.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Worst Picture of Me since freshman year yearbook:

Unfortunately YaYa had a hissy fit at the park (jealousy over the baby?) and we packed it up and left. It was getting hot anyway, and I'd realized that we'd screwed up our schedule. Lisa's cousin was due to drop off a dinner for us that morning, but I'd forgotten and packed the family off for church. D'oh!

[BTW - Lauren's belly-button fell off later that night]

It was then time for yet another Dr. appointment, and I dropped the family off at Lisa's friend Jolene's house to wait out my trip with Park and Lauren. Good news - the billibrubin was on the way down and her wait up, ending the need for the trips, and Parker's infection was better.


Here's Jolene and her kids with Lauren:

Later that evening Uncle Kenny stopped by with Aunt Carol to see the baby:

And that pretty much ended the honeymoon . .the next day I had to return to work. As I told my boss, 'it was the best week of my life. Bar none'.

Why? The birth, naturally, and the baby and Mom safe and healthy . . no worries about work . . relaxing trips to the library . . evenings alone with the baby . . endless time to interact with the kids . .

I should be rich so I could do that full time. I'd do right by it, honest I would - I just enjoy time with the family.

One thing: Lauren merged seamlessly with the family. It was as if we had 3 kids one minute and four the next (which I guess technically, is true). But do you know what I mean? She was a part of our family right from the start, like she belonged.

And she does.

Our family is complete.

9/11 Six Years Later

Here's a link to my memories of that horrible day.

What I find incredible is the overall lack of emotion/interest/horror the event inspires here in 2007.

It's been SIX years folks, not sixty, and yet everyone seems to have pushed the day into the history books and out of the mainstream. I'm guilty of it myself, but six years ago I'd have taken bets that the day would perpetually loom front-and-center on the American consciousness.

Maybe it's a good thing - certainly it shows that our country is more than capable of absorbing a tragedy and pushing forward - but somehow, in my mind, it just seems to brand us as shallow.

"Never forget. Never forgive."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Potty Training P-Diddy Wee Diddy

On September 3rd, the 24th anniversary of my maternal grandfather's death and the 19th birthday of my cousin Elliot and most importantly for 2007, a day the Brewers blew a big game, we tried potty training Parker.

Yeah, it didn't go well.

I mean, there was some success. At 5:08 pm , after literally an hour of keeping him on the toilet and singing and reading and blah blah, he peed  . . and peed . . and peed.

Ditto 9:02 am the next day.

But in between he shat his pants several times (tho' he did walk to the bathroom after doing the deed) and peed all over the house.

I should mention that the boy shows unusual . .dexterity with his, uh . . .well, yeah. He amused himself to no end with the acrobatics he demonstrated. I was impressed enough to consider contacting the circus . .

Anyhow, on a serious note: we have temporarily suspended the activities until the chaos of four kids has settled into a reasonable mode, and until Park shows more interest or vocal skills.

Lauren's First Week - Saturday

Saturday started with a bang. Parker couldn't put weight on his leg and was crying in pain. Overnight the scraped knee - this piddly diddly scrape - had become infected and swollen his knee.

Crap, and on my watch too.

So we loaded him up to piggy-back Lauren's appointment. This time Lis went too, in part because she is very close to Parker and sometimes the boy all but refuses to acknowledge I'm alive. Largely however, she was just p.o'd at the doctor about the comments she'd made yesterday.

Well, naturally the clinic spat out a different doctor, one who was quick to point out the fast-acting infection in Parker's knee. He drew a line around the site to track the progress of the infection and gave us two prescriptions. He also ordered some blood work, and brother Parker did NOT like that.

The baby's blood was drawn again and the count had climbed to (if memory serves) something close to 13.7. We were instructed to take her in AGAIN on Sunday.
There was another trip to the library that day, but I did it on my lonesome.
That afternoon Lisa left to go pick up a lot of premie girls clothes she'd seen on Craigslist (including an awesome baby binding blanket called a Kidapotamus, which I constantly and mistakenly call 'the papoose', genuinely at first and now for effect)
Meanwhile I set out to cut the grass, and just as I finished - I mean literally as the engine sputtered from a lack of gas and the last blade was trimmed, company arrived in the form of my Uncle Ken and my cousin Becky and her husband (w/ their new baby in tow), and her sister Mindy.
Here's a completely out of place pic of Lauren and YaYa, but what the heck.  
Here's Lauren with my cousin Becky
Here's LuLu's Godmother, Becky's sister
Becky's husband Pon
My Uncle Ken
Here's Becky's son Gentavon

and Caitlin, who went home that afternoon, with Parker
To try and snuff out the jaundice we put Lauren (still refered to by me at that point as 'the baby', 'it', and other generic terms) on the porch
meanwhile her siblings joined us. Keep in mind, the shirt Park is wearing at age 2 fit YaYa loosely when we bought it in her K4 year!
I don't remember much about that evening in particular, save that it was wonderful and relaxing and full of love and all that good stuff. Sometime that weekend or thereabouts Lauren also had the joy of seeing ARod hit a homerun (albeit on TV) - indoctrination to Yankee lore is an important aspect of raising any child!
[note: I have some footage of me and YaYa during the 2001 World Series, screaming and scaring her as the Yanks hit a homer to win the game]
[note#2 - just to F with me, as she is now happy to do, YaYa will go around professing her love for the Red gag Sox and the (vomit) Cubs . . then giggle while her eyes sparkle. Disgusting!]
Sometime this week Lisa and the girls also had a talk about breastfeeding, 'tho I think that took place much earlier in the week . . by Saturday the baby was being supplemented with formula for a number of reasons, including the fact that formula fed babies tend to fight off jaundice earlier. . . .