Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The End of the 2013/2014 School Year

At the end of the 2012-2013 we jumped ship, abandoning the Catholic school the kids had attended since YaYa was in K-4 and signing up for the local public school. The reasons were many, and I can't say I was completely on board with the decision, which was largely Lisa's - but in retrospect, I was I had been. It's been a blessing for #TeamSlap.

Here's a pic of the kids on the first day of classes. You'll recognize this as a traditional shot for the family. Man, they were happy not to have to wear uniforms! LOL

We dropped them off because we needed to help them carry in the many supplies that were required. And because, me being me, I wanted some pics of the first day!

In this next shot you can (barely) see Lu , near the back in the white shirt and black vest. 

Lisa left the school that morning very upset. YaYa had sat in the corner and seemed very anti-social, and it seemed like she had squandered a perfect opportunity to start over. 

Boy were we wrong! She made friends instantly and has blossomed over the last nine months into a social - if occasionally grumpy - preteen. I don't think that would have happened at her old school. She even had her first boyfriend!

Smiley was blessed with a great teacher, Mr. Byrnes, who believed in and inspired my boy. 

LuLu, like all the kids, struggled slightly at first academically (so much for that high falutin' private school) but by the end of the year notched grades that were above her grade level in English! Socially, she never had a problem. Oh, and she loved having dyed hair at school.

Junie started off the year rough academically, and couldn't read a lick. By the end of the year, under the tutelage of a great teacher (Mrs. Eisemann) she was occasionally reading a 3rd grade level and had changed her allegiance to her new school, proudly announcing she liked it better because "I like learning and I learn there". 

Here we are picking them up after school. Looking back I can see they all lost a few pounds during their daily walks to and from school, yet another benefit of the change. 

Good decision Lisa!

Monday, June 16, 2014

RIP Tony Gwynn

I was just startled - and I mean that literally - by the news that eight time NL batting champion and Padres legend Tony Gwynn died today of salivary gland cancer. He was only 54.

What a loss, to MLB, to the fans, and most of all to his family (I used to enjoy watching his son play in the Brewers organization in the mid-aughts)

An Old Injury

One day last August I went out to start our lawn mower, only to be met with a nasty surprise. The engine seized and the starter cord flew out of my hands. It broke my left thumb in three places and earned me a run of stitches down its left side. It was nasty to look at and was an awful 1st impression for the first week of law school. 

The picture below was taken weeks later, so it had healed up quite a bit. Shortly afterwards the nail fell out, as seen below. It's been nearly a year and the nail is 90% back to normal, although I still have a numbness at the very tip of the thumb. I'm hoping that's not a lifelong problem, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Sweet Science

For those of you who don't know, I am officially on strike from Major League Baseball this season. I can't tolerate the hypocritical witch hunt that resulted in Alex Rodriguez's suspension, and yes, I feel strongly enough about it to abandon my favorite sport for a year. I don't know who's doing well or who's doing poorly, and I have no idea about the standings. I DO know my hometown Brewers are whupping butt so far, and ain't that just my luck - watch them go all the way in a year I don't pay attention!

Anyway, thank the Lord I have boxing to fill the gap in my heart. I've always liked boxing and periodically binge on it, but my knowledge and fandom has solidified in the last twelve months. 

Today I watched the Sonny Liston - Eddie Machen bout from September of 1960, a great exhibition of Liston's prowess that descended into a glorified wrestling match in the final round. I think Liston was a great fighter - albeit one that did throw the famous "phantom punch" fight with Ali, IMO (his first loss to Clay being a frustrating but true defeat) - and radically under-appreciated nowadays. What a jab!

I also watched a nasty 1965 dustup between former champ Floyd Patterson and George Chuvalo. What a great fight to watch, if spoiled a bit by Floyd's awkward attempt at commentary on this '60's rebroadcast.

And for those of you who dismiss the great Larry Holmes as a pretender, or someone who reigned large only because the competition was weak, think again: on the 36th anniversary of the fight I watched his 15 round brawl with the great Ken Norton. Not only was Holmes skilled, he could take a punch and not bat an eye. I like him. 

If you haven't watched boxing recently, or gave it up for MMA, revisit the sport. It's still the Sweet Science.