Wednesday, August 31, 2011

365 Blog Posts, Bitches

I did it...

I cheated a few times, retroactively posting for a day I forgot, but I'm counting it. "It" was a commitment to just-write, no matter what.

A lot of crap resulted, and some days, as I said a year ago, it would just be one word. Once it was a period.

But that's part of it.

Learned a few things over the year:
  • I have a tendency to crave drama
  • Sometimes, the most important things that happen are just the things that happen, going to the beach with some kids, vs. big realizations and seemingly earthtweaking events
  • In spite of that, it's hard to find the motivation to document those daily things sometimes
  • I tend to enjoy reading those types of posts over again and experience less cringing when I do
  • I believe those posts also truly make up the substance of memory. Remembering simple instances says more about a relationship, or a time in one's life, then lengthy analysis of relationships or times in one's life
  • (e.g., I am studying for a pre-clinical exam which I'm taking on Tuesday. If I fail, it will kind of fuck up my situation. I'm very preoccupied with it, every minute. For some reason I'm not writing about that)
  • You can like the way you say things, but be embarrased about the way you write them. A lot of times, rereading posts, they felt corny and unsophisticated, where, in person, I would've said them with characteristic eloquence and rapist wit
  • People like Kelly, Elly, Tom, Pearl, my mom, "dbs," (and of course, my lady), are quality humans I count among my friends. Your comments make me happy, and I'm sorry if I forgot someone
  • I am, overall, a pretty decent human myself
  • There's something humble about writing, even though it would seem, in fact, to be the opposite
  • I'm still learning to use commas (see last sentence for example)
  • The dogs are far more important to our lives than they deserve
What's next? I have some ideas... I'm worried about my financial future. Paying off my student loans. Having a retirement. So I'm brainstorming about some kind of book I can write. I don't think my life is more interesting than anyone else's, and I'm not trolling for a complement in saying I'm also not a particularly talented writer (I'm just a talker with a keyboard, really). It's just a business thing. If I have any ideas I'll pitch them to you.

So thank you for reading my stuff and dog bless.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

(Typing with thumbs not to wake up my lady). I am thinking of writing some kind of book to pay off my school loans. More tomorrow.

(When I just typed that the iPhone changed it to "more Oreos." Hm. Great title).
me, cassie and the boys went to the high school football field to play catch

it was an archetype of late summer and early fall. the kids' shouts, the "pock!" of pigskin on human hands, and the pounding of tiny sneakers competed with a sudden flock of geese that gave us all pause

the astroturf, vividly colored in pristine lines forming the local team's name and insignia mascot, was springy

so much so that cassie's unexpected turds were held aloft to the darkening sky as an offering

before i scooped them into a half full bottle of gatorade and threw them away. touchdown.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

happy birthday to me

my birthday was almost a month ago but i finally got my present from the boys, a trip to see captain america. it was fucking awesome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

last day of summer

this summer i tried to keep fridays open to spend with my kids, a privilege i never had before because of full-time corporate jobs.

this friday was the last before their school started, so we went to the pool in the rich part of town. there are body slides, tube slides and a zip line.

"you're not like other parents when you come to the pool," Ezra said, "you actually swim." i did spend the entire three hours in the water, vs. reading the Spawn comics i'd brought along just in case. i tossed ambrose, who is still light, over my head countless times. Ezra wanted me to throw him too so badly. but that would be bad for my back. he's getting huge.

ezra is showing me lately that he is still willing to be a kid and still sees me as his dad. he was by my side the whole time "dad look at this," "dad watch this," "dad can you do this?"

no, i didn't read comics or fall asleep in the chair. but i do have one selfish, solitary thing i reserve for myself which is to swim underwater, way down at the bottom. many times, pushing off from the wall and wriggling way down low, seeing the hair sway in front of my face and washing my hands push the water. hearing the muffled bumps and cries but mostly, silence, retreating into it again and again with as much breath as i can save.

i come up again to the reward of swimming with my kids, tossing ambrose over my head once more, letting him swim up to me and throw his arms around my neck, pretending to be a shark and watching them scream.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holy Shit! Shaolin Kung Fu!

Just by random chance we were at the Mall of America today going to Sea Life, and there just happened to be a Chinese cultural exhibition featuring MONKS FROM THE ACTUAL FUCKING SHAOLIN TEMPLE.

I can't really explain the significance for me! I am such a fan!

I knew they toured, but I never thought I'd see them here. And the demonstration... it was fucking mind-blowing. OMG!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

if life really is random and unfair; cruelty diving down out of chaos to flatten us, even when we are at our most guileless and sincere; then only compassion---singular, direct and human---can save us. it sounds soft, i picture it like a knife. cutting across everything to pry diamonds out of even the most stubborn rock.

there are two parents whose only crime is wanting a healthy daughter, and when i think of their anxiety and sadness i want to look away. it feels like too much. i'm going to try and hold the feeling, imagine what it might be like, and hope that in doing so something will flash out across the darkness and reach them and find them safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This morning there was mist covering the ground, and it was like there was no ground. Or it was as if the trees were growing out of the sky.

I had this thought --- about how the mist covers up the real root of things, like an illusion, and yet we enjoy the illusion, and that if everything were too obvious we couldn't really become enlightened, because there'd be nothing difficult to train our minds against --- but by the time I got home from the nature trail to write the thought down I had lost it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Counting seconds

I ran that half-marathon today. Realistically I thought I'd get 2:20, which is a little more than half of my full marathon time from '08. In a perfect world and by some miracle, I'd hoped to get under 2. I made the decision to urinate part-way into the race, just so I wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable the whole time, because there's discomfort enough. It brought me 44 seconds away from the miraculous, a mere stream in the great flow of time. 

And not to diminish the good fortune of completing the race. Running offers powerful lessons about the mind, and practice in the way of mindfulness. 

If you think too much about what's ahead, your spirit flags, and you see how directly your thoughts can sap your energy. To stave off this leaching of vital energy, you have to focus only on each step and allow each step to be all that matters. The mind leaps into that space throwing up new distractions, and you keep repeating to yourself that only running counts.

But let's not be false under the cover of being pedantic. Really, running a lot is just a perfect excuse to eat bacon, with impunity. I had fried food twice today, bitches.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Went to a baby shower today. It made me think about what it was once like to have babies around. Running a race tomorrow, so we made our own spaghetti dinner. My lady fixed my messed up neck so I would have a better run. She takes care of me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thanks, Mom

My mom has been with us for more than two weeks watching my boys while I had to work. She took them swimming and mini-golfing and spent hours teaching Ezra to play new songs on the piano. All of us went camping and climbing and just hung out. Yesterday she prevented my dog from burning our house down, I'll tell that story later, and she keeps doing the damn dishes and trying to pay for everything. It's a transitional time in all of our lives, particularly hers, and I hope the happiness she brought us will fly back home with her tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On a very serious note

Blogger friends... Can you please help me?

Apparently it would cost only $50 to give someone clean water for the rest of his or her life. Watch this video:

I'm not the one who needs help, actually. I'm running a half marathon this weekend to raise money for kids and families in Africa. I would love it if you'd visit my page and give whatever you think you can manage:

I wouldn't use my blog to raise money, normally, but the people who read it are just uniformly nice. I thought you'd like an opportunity to help. Thanks guys!

Famine Facts

What is a Famine? Here are a few UN guidelines:
  • 100% of livestock dead
  • More than 1 out of 3 kids are acutely malnourished (have a bicep circumference of less than 12.5cm)
  • Less than 2100 calories per person and less than 4 litres of water per person each day (11 million meet this criteria)
The UN has declared a Famine in two regions of Somalia and may add 6 more by September. Many other areas in the region (in Kenya and Ethiopia) are forecasting a Food Emergency.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This was Sunday. The night before, Ez and I rowed to the center of the lake and had the full moon on one side and the setting sun on the other. He's just at the age where he gets that kind of thing. "Look at that, Dad," he kept saying. On this day however we just lazily rowed and had fun. This included changing positions without tipping ourselves over, as each kid wanted a turn at the front.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tomorrow we're leaving for four days' camping at Goat Island. That is the title of a Disney Movie, isn't it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rock-Climbing Lite at Taylors Falls.

You should see Ambrose climb. He isn't just a natural, he's a force of nature.

 See folks at home, Grandma can climb too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

tonight merry made cupcakes. they had the consistency of rubber but they were very sweet, sweet because she made them, that is.

i cut ambrose's nails and realized i have not done that for years. he is still little, and i still indulge in moments of being the father of small children, holding his hands and carefully doing something he can't do for himself.

ezra has a stuffed animal dog named "noire" that my mom just bought for him. i hope we have one more year of him being still little enough for that kind of thing. I wouldn't mind, however, if he didn't pathetically keen to himself because i made him go to bed.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Grandma is here to spend the week with the boys. Everyone is happy. Hopefully we will have a moment to catch up ourselves. There is a lot to discuss.

Earlier today we said good bye to the best babysitter, leaving for college. Want to be in my favor? Take good care of my kids.

This weekend, camping with all the kids the uncles aunts and two grandmas.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tore down a shed, pounding out nails with a sledgehammer, prying at shingles and tar with crowbars, slapping away displaced hornets, bouncing a dull ax against stubborn two by fours that set me vibrating. Then we went to cowboys and aliens. The cool darkness, the tumble of ice cubes, the crack and boom of cinematic thunder in the pixelated glow of reassuring darkness distracted me from the stiffness and soreness. Tomorrow is Monday, but it isn't Monday yet. Back to the dark now for the night show in my head.

summertime and the living's easy

today we went "tubing" on the Apple River. it was good to be with my lady and float effortlessly along under the dappled shade of overhanging trees. hawks wheeled overhead, their cries competing against the hoots of college kids with floating coolers shouting, "Show us your tits, show us your tits."

Friday, August 05, 2011

Memory is made up of details. Tonight we stayed in and ate Chinese food.