Monday, June 30, 2008

Madge Monday

This weekend my daughter said to my wife:

Daddy f**ked the cat.

Properly punctuated, it might have to read, "Daddy 'f**k'-ed the cat." But still. Yikes.
What happended was this. I was sitting on the floor, watching TV with everyone else when that stinker of a cat came from nowhere and bit my hand. Since this act surprised me, I jerked away my hand and exclaimed, "F**k you!" I agree it was uncalled for. Sorry, everyone. But the cat's Cato-like secret attacks have a long history and I really never asked for them and, frankly, I'm rather tired of them.
In Madge's mind, to f*** someone is to say the f-word around or at them. Hence her statement to Julie.
I guess I have some ssplainin to do.

Friday, June 27, 2008

the notebook strikes again

I do get to overhear juicy bits, after all.
For example, today: "Mommy says that a woman's parts need some air."
I guess now I have a conversation opener next time I hang out with this girl's mom.

(But thanks to this blog post, Julie might not let me.)

belated, but safer this way

School is out now. Last day was yesterday. Yippeee! Double overtime for Daddy.
So far so good.
I finally put on my cargo shorts again, which only concerns you inasfar as it means I'm carrying my old man notepad with me.
The first gem is something that came up when I talked to a little friend of mine who proudly told me he has two mommies. When I asked him if he had a brother or sister, he said, "I got a brudder." When I asked if the brother was big or little, he said, "He's a ogre brudder."
I smell the title of a kids' story there. The Ogre Brudder.

But I also found an older note in my notepad. It is something I overheard:
"Hit Grammy. Am I forgiven?"
The context was morning dropoff and the Grammy had accidentally scratched the kid's neck while fussing with some clothing. In response to the kid's unbelieving open-eyed pre-cry stare she held out her hand and asked to be hit. Once wasn't enough for her, but after a few smacks, she finally asked to be forgiven.
Issues In The Making for 500, Sigmund.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

EuroCup 2008

Let's just say papa wasn't happy for a while. During the Germany-Turkey game, the picture disappeared. It was obviously an issue with the feed, but the mind-boggling part was that the ESPN announcers weren't talking about the game as it was unfolding. It led me to believe that they were not actually in the stadium or that they lack the ability to verbally describe a sporting event. In this case it would have involved a lot of "the ball is tapped around at midfield. A stab is made towards the penalty area, but another sloppy pass made it a fruitless effort." Throw in some names and I would have been happy.
Also, they were able to show the fanzone and the fans' reactions therein, so the fanzone was obviously getting a feed. Why not have a camera aimed at the fanzone screen?
Blech. It was frustrating. And then they came back and a goal had been scored by Germany and out again and back in for some cheering for a goal by Turkey. GrrGrrGrr.
And ESPN is TERRIBLE at giving replays. They're cut way too short. All you see is the 0.214 seconds leading up to the ball crossing the goal line. Nothing of the lead-up. Amateurs.

Before the game, I had asked the kids what they wanted for dinner and they offered their usual overpriced suggestion: Hibachi! And I promptly shot it down, of course.
But then, during all the outage frustration, I figured: let's have someone at least have an enjoyable afternoon. So I said: "Tell you what. If Germany wins, we're having hibachi." See, it was tied at that point (two minutes before the end of the game) and I was trying to prep them for overtime. They're still learning about game-watching patience.
But then everyone won. (Except the Turkish team. Everyone in our apartment, I mean.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New old song I love

There's an Argentine singer, Carlos Gardel, of whom they say that his voice gets better every year (he's dead; they're nostalgic; it's supposed to be funny).
This guy is Silvio Caldas. iTunes spells it Sylvio and I "accidentally" bought an entire album of his. I was tired and wasn't paying attention to which "buy" button I was clicking.
But, man, what a worthwhile thing. First listen: eh. Then, however, it grows on you.
And this song is just awesome. On the album I downloaded he's much younger and has an orchestra backing him. But this thing here is exquisite. Any song that's a waltz in a minor key has a head start, in my opinion. Add to that his old, wobbly vibrato and stiff-ish playing (still remarkably fluid compared to mine, mind you) and, finally, the visual package and you've got a winner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coco Tuesday

It's the little things that drive you crazy.
This week is the last week of school for the year and Coco keeps saying that he wants to stay home. It makes no sense. There's basically nothing going on in school except parties and feel-good sessions and he wants to play hookie!
A slightly different problem I'm seeing is that he has a crush of sorts on Madge's best friend. He's only five and he's already working on a laugh that is meant to encourage her conversation and attention. It's funny to me since it's so obviously fake, but he sure doesn't take kindly to anyone snickering at it. Whooee.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Madge

We finished Treasure Island a while ago. I use the pronoun "we" loosely since she fell asleep a lot during the readings. Now we're quite far into Tom Sawyer (actually The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which means you need to search for the title in the "a"s) and I'm slowly beginning to master the trick of keeping a level tone and not letting my voice or demeanor catch at words like "Injun" or "nigger." Tonight it was difficult because I. Joe got retrospectively outraged at having been horsewhipped like, well... I think she was asleep by the time we got to that part, though.

Madge Monday

I'm baking again. And I'm not a big fan of baking when it's hot and sticky. But what can you do, it's the end of the school year and picnics and parties and whatnot ask for cookies and biscuits and other yummies.
And now we're not only suffering from the added heat but from flared sugar-tempers and tears.
Fun stuff.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Madge and her friend were playing hangman today.
At first I was getting upset because they weren't actually trying to guess words in a strategic way. They were actually guessing letters in alphabetical order, can you imagine? Not in order of probability. Oh, well.
Then I finally realized that it's a game and they're just messing around.
So I didn't even intervene when they had the brainstorm of using four-letter words.
_ u _ _, for example, or s _ i _.
I didn't even correct them when they had this spacing for a word: _ s s _ _ o _ _.
I figured they'd learn the difference between whole and hole soon enough and this was not the context for me to intervene.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

it's almost like you're there

Except that you can fast-forward.
Madgie shows up from 3:22 to 4:16 and again from 6:02 to 6:30.
End of year excitement, I tell you. I missed it, but Julie got to be there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"My" Award

An anonymous reader who calls him- or herself "Mama" writes:
"Did you get an award too????? or just went for the fun of it. Mama "
"Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" won a Peabody. I work for the show, so I got to be a part of it. Peter (the host) generously let me go up on stage with the rest of them, which was quite awesome.
But "I" won the award only in resume-speak, in which I could also say that on Monday I had lunch with Heidi Klum. We both had the roast beef and the salad. She talked about her shoes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Madge Monday

I was at the Peabody Awards yesterday and was wonderfully ignorant of all the big names around me, so I politely nodded whenever someone leaned in and gasp-whispered "That's soandso."
But it did see a writer for "30 Rock" slip a dinner roll into her purse, for later. Writer's pay doesn't go far, even on a network show, apparently.
Julie took the day off to be with the kids and when I called home to tell them I was coming, Madge said, "Don't come home."
The day after father's day, she stabs me in the heart.
But I knew it was because they were watching TV and didn't want me to make them turn it off.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

I don't know how, but I had a dental appointment today, Friday 13th.
It went fine, though it turns out I hadn't been since '05 - my, how time flies.
Since the bit of a filling I had to receive - for a chip that probably happened from brushing too hard (don't worry, I'll never tell the kids that you can brush too much) - didn't require abstinence from eating afterward, I stopped on 32nd Street (Korean Way) for some Korean food.
Mmmm-MMM! That marinated beef stew with the pickled thingamagoobers on the side was great. Though I think what made it great is the same thing that made me crash and take a two-hour nap when I came home the MSG. I'm just guessing.
And this is where the tragedy of Friday the 13th struck (unless, of course, the whole shebang is superstitious nonsense): I slept through thee of the four goals in the France-Netherlands game.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

a quest

I promised the kids I'd go to the toystore to get some erasers.
I went.
They were sold out.
I asked the people at the store to write me a note, saying, "Your daddy was here and asked for the erasers. We don't carry them at this moment."
They laughed at me.
And I was left to face the wrath of the disappointed offspring on my own.

New Link

My friend George Wilhelm now has a website, where he's showing some work for sale.

He's quite good - not just as a person in general, but also specifically as an artist. Check it out.
The thing in the picture is a ring. We are seeing it from the top - i.e. the setting of the stone is a hand.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coco Tuesday

I keep forgetting to post Coco's succinct sountrack.

"Plop. YOW!"

That, according to Coco, is what it would sound like if a man gave birth through his youknow.

Don't worry, I'm not going "heavy"

But I finally remembered to look up where the title "The House of Mirth" comes from, since so little in the book is mirthful - though very well written and very worth reading (Edith Wharton, in case you didn't know and want some summer reading).
Anyway, it's from Ecclesiates 7:4 (after penalty shootouts; 1:0 at halftime and 2:2 final).
I've appended the context, though reading Ecclesiates is a bit like quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's best quotes say, "Do it yourself," so quoting him seems to be missing the point. And Ecclesiates is always pointing out, "All is vanity," so why bother?

1A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

5It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
13Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
14In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

You ask, I deliver: a picture

In case you couldn't tell, the ones with the legs sticking out of them are the new ones.

Aaah. New sneakers. Tennis shoes in the real sense of the word. And by this week they're already squishy, soft and comfy.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Madge Monday

Lately, part of the bedtime routine has gone very easily. A bit too easily.
So I not only asked Madge, "Did you brush your teeth?" to which she replied, "Yes," but I followed it up with the irresistible, "Really?"
And she broke down. Not literally, though the recent drama (Mommy's out of town) would not leave that out of the question.

But she confessed and we were back to the old, "Do I have to?" "I'll do it tomorrow," etc.
Then, a while after she brushed, I did a smell-check and had to reprimand her for not using toothpaste.

And in very little time she'll start accusing me of not trusting her.
At which point I'll blog about it.

a big plus

The benefit of being a stay-at-home parent is that it is slightly more possible to juggle one's job with international soccer games. Group C games should be very interesting today. Let's hope the kids co-operate.
Can you say, "Computer time"?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

more on PALP

Parents as learning partners, that is.
I overheard this snippet from a kid to one of the teachers:
"Would you like to meet my dad's girlfriend?"
And then, because I am older and wiser and more mellowed, I did not hear,
"Only if you think this one will last."

Friday, June 06, 2008

learning partners

This morning was another Parents As Learning Partners, the last of the year - my, how time flies (like an arrow, according to Perelman, while fruit flies like a banana -- zzing!).
Anyway, it was a poetry recital. Fun stuff. Of course they were basically droned out, but that's not the point, really. Hopefully something will stick about how words work together and create a flow and rhythm and imagery and... how bloody awkward it is to stand in front of people and repeat words you've been forced to memorize and don't really believe in much, yourself.
Oh, well. I do hope some of the original pedagogic stuff sticks, too.
They recited in pairs and acted the poems out, which was great.
One pair of kids even chose William Blake's "Tyger, tyger" - a poem which I've never gotten and still don't see the greatness of, but there you go. I've always been but off by rhymes like "eye - symmetry" and I don't know what kind of a tiger Blake has seen that burns bright.
Still, a fun morning, full of drama and suspense.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Old man: me

My sneakers had the usual wear and tear at the heel. Then we got caught in a brief rainstorm (not to worry, we played Indiana Jones as we crossed the torrents at the street corners) and my sneakers got filthier than ever. After washing them, two eyelet rivets had fallen out and I also saw that the right sole had a gash in the middle.
So I acknowledged the inevitable and went to find some new shoes. "New" being a relative term since I went in the store, pointed at my shoes - I never said I stopped wearing them - and said, "I'd like these again."
They had 'em and I bought 'em.

Give me a few years and I'll probably buy six pairs of 'em just to make sure I can beat the odds of their obsolescence (and inflation).

The shoes are a blazing white - except for the green lime icee spots and the brown milkshake spot. In the first outing! Darn.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Coco Tuesday

We had a double playdate today. And although Coco was as cute as always and played well with his friends and later got wet with water balloons after shouting at me for taking the kids to buy swimsuits and get home too late for the "sprinkeler" to be on, this post isn't really about him.
It's about the au pair.
Apparently she has to go back to Ukraine for two weeks. An emergency, as far as I could tell from her demeanor. She lacks the English words for a situation like this but, as I understand it, her Ukrainian professor got arrested. Apparently she's still enrolled in classes there in order not to lose her spot while overseas. And now, because he's been arrested, she doesn't think that the school will honor the bribe her mother paid to insure that she would still get grades and now she has to go back to take her finals. Now, I'm still trying to find out whether the professor got arrested because he took bribes or for something worse, but she doesn't find the situation as humorous as I do and I'm still busy trying to be sympathetic.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Madge Monday

Madge Libs, we should call them. Her best friend called her today and played Mad Libs over the phone with her.

The other day she asked me why I like this friend of mine and I explained that this friend is like mommy in the sense that she's easy to hang out with, not demanding, and I don't feel like have to talk all the time. And then Madge said, "You mean like with [name withheld]?"

That kid sure is observant.