Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'Annie' 2011 - Pt 2

The show was great. Really. More on the high school end of the musical spectrum than any grade school extravaganza you've seen, and the choreography and vocals on "Hard Knock Life" were WOW. I kid you not, WOW. I loved it.

I suppose it doesn't hurt that Lisa helped choreograph the songs, and did a lot of the costume work too.

Photobucket

I attended the musical with my friend Tre, and picked the one show that Lisa managed to watch from the seats (she was usually busy with costumes/makeup in back)

Photobucket

Photobucket

Man the girls did well!

Photobucket

In the week or so prior to the show Lisa picked up an Annie cross-stich kit and knocked it off as a gift for the director. Another Mom sewed it on a pillow and the cast signed the back.

Photobucket

I'm so proud of the girls. If you ever want to see a cheese grin on my face, put my kids on stage. I can be screaming bloody murder and I'd stop to break a cheek smiling.

Lastly, here's some pictures of the two little one's as I drove home from the play with Tre. Goofballs.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Monday, May 30, 2011

Game Six by Mark Frost

Photobucket

Game Six by Mark Frost may just be the greatest baseball book I've ever read. Worst case scenario, top three. Easily.

It's the story of the famous sixth game of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and the Reds, the game that ended with the iconic home run by Carlton Fisk. The Big Red Machine, chock full of Hall of Famers and seeking a ring, versys the 'cursed' Red Sox looking to bring a championship home to Boston.

The book details the game certainly, but it's so much more.

It uses that night -indeliably burned into the consciousness of sports fans - to extrapolate the ins and outs of that incredible season.

Well written, masterfully crafted, full of drama and emotion. Just an excellent, excellent book. It's so good I couldn't finish another book I picked up about the '75 season - it paled in comparasion to Frost's work.

If you're a baseball fan, you NEED to read this book.


~ read in 2009

Friday, May 27, 2011

YaYa's Scout trip to Adventure Rock

On Friday May 13th YaYa and her Junior troop took a trip to Adventure Rock, an indoor rock climbing experience. Yes, you read correctly: we sent our oldest daughter rock climbing on Friday the 13th.

Photobucket

Of course, they first had to sit down and listen to a safety seminar.

Photobucket

But then it was on to the wall.

Photobucket

YaYa said she was nervous the first time she climbed the wall . . .

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

But claims to have then climbed it "maybe 50 times. For real Dad, we were there like three whole hours."

Photobucket

Photobucket

She certainly seems to have enjoyed it, and it was great exercise. Well done YaYa!

Photobucket

Better than Solid Gold dancers anyday!

This was a tough year for dance. After skipping the 2009-10 season because of finances, we sucked it up and enrolled the kids for the '10-11 year. Monday's everyone but LuLu had practice, a three and a quarter hour stretch that often doubled as hel - er, heck. Have you ever tried to keep a three year old content in a dance studio wating from for two hours? It ain't pretty.

Saturdays were LuLu's day to shine, but unfortunately much of the school world revolves around Saturday's, so birthday parties, Scout trips, and the like chewed into her time.

But we did it, and in return the kids did us proud. Here are some gorgeous shots of my Gang (and note that YaYa is now old enough to do participate in two dances at the recital)

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Ain't they grand?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The 2011 Production of Annie

Let me tell you a little something about the school play at my kids elementary school. It's not the artistic version of a sprint, it's a bleepin' marathon.

For months before the play the kids practice twice a week after school for two hours a pop. In the two weeks preceding opening night ('tech week') the practices are daily, and often surpass three hours.

2011's Annie was YaYa's third play, and LuLu's debut.

Photobucket

YaYa was given the part of the orphan Tessie ("Oh my goodness!")

Photobucket

Photobucket

while Lu scooped up the role of an unnamed but adorable urchin.

Photobucket

Photobucket

You know the storyline: plucky Orphan Annie is set to be adopted by the rich Daddy Warbucks when some shady characters finagle a plan to walk away with the girl and some of Warbucks dough, etc. So I'll skip any further explanation and just let you gaze adoringly at some pictures.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Don't blame me for the lack of LuLu shots. All the pics were done by 'their' photographer, and I had to pay for the privilege of owning the shots.

Anywho, it was great. Really. I'll follow up with a post of pics from the performance day itself (well, one of three performances), and that's where I'll also prattle on about all the work Lisa did to help put on the show.

Til then folks.

~ Dan

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flashback: LuLu on the Computer 2007

Lisa has enforced a no video games/no gaming system rule in this house since the start of our marriage, and while I once chafed under this Luddite decree, I now see its value. Too many times we've chaperoned an event where the kids were just transfixed by their handheld systems, just brain dead and lacking social grace. Forget that.

We do, however, allow them access to the PC and approved games online, like Club Penguin (where, btw, I am the *best* mine cart surfer EVAH).

Photobucket

It's beginning to backfire on us, as the kids are obsessed with getting comp time, so who knows? Maybe we'll cut that off too in the near future.

At any rate, here's two pictures of little LuLu playing on the computer at her Grandma J's house in 2007 (age 4)

Photobucket

Photobucket

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The President Is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo

Photobucket

The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo is not nearly as florid and long winded as the title would have you believe.

It's the true story of the clandestine cancer surgery undertaken by President Grover Cleveland during his 2nd (non-consecutive) administration. It was a time of economic depression and turmoil, fueled largely by the divisive issue of whether to base American currency on gold or silver. Cleveland was entrusted with getting the country back on its feet, and in an era where cancer was seen as invariably fatal it would have been suicidal to his efforts to go public with the surgery.

Which is where the book slips the rails. As evidenced by the title, part of the narrative arc is showing the error and hypocricy of Cleveland's actions.But Cleveland was an unusually honsest politician. He did have legitimate and unselfish reasons to hide the surgery. Yes, one reporter paid the price for the lie, but even he was vindicated in time. All of this is stated and shown to be true in the text.

So, interesting tale, but . . . there is no villian to be found. Which is just as well. It's a swell read without that aspect, and Algeo does an exemplary job of bringing the issues of the past into sharp focus here in the present.

One major complaint - he uses quotes extensively, but provides no footnotes. That irks the history major in me, and I wish it could be corrected.

Finally: above all else the book proves yet again that there are no boring Presidents. Smart ones, brave ones, dishonest ones; but not a dull one in the deck.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lisa & the kids hit the Milwaukee Public Museum

During Easter Break this year Lisa took the kids down to the Milwaukee Public Museum to see the sights while I was at work.

Photobucket

This is a picture of the Art Museum, by the way, not the Public Museum. Apparently the camera made its way into little hands on the drive downtown.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

One of the hightlights of the musuem is the live butterfly room. The kids had a blast enticing the butterflies to land on them.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Then there was the bug room, full of roaches, centipedes, and worms. Here's how YaYa described the experience on her blog:

Photobucket

Photobucket

i find this so funny lol! we were @ the mpm and I was brave enough to hold beetles, millapedes, and other bugs ! But Ive never had much problems with bugs ' cept ants!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Yech!

Afterwards, Lisa had the Fearsome Four pose for group pictures. Not all the pics were great by our standards, but so what? Given that they featured all four of my youngin's, they were stupendous!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket