Wild Kingdom

May 27th, 2007

Living in the city is nice.  But a visit to the country is always a great event.  We went to my cousin Devin’s graduation party this weekend out at St Mary’s Hall just north of Calhan.  All the time I’ve spent out there I’ve never visited my cousin Scott’s place.  He was raised a dairy farmer, went to college to escape the country, then after graduation escaped the city to go back to the farm.  As we were leaving the graduation party it so happened it was afternoon milking time so we took the boys over to see where milk comes from.  Scott wasn’t around but his wife Robin gave us a tour.  First, they had itty bitty kittys, their eyes just barely open.  Then she showed us several calves, one was only a day old.  Of course there were a couple of border collies.  And then into the milking shed to see how its done.  Robin described each of the steps she performed before hooking up the milker.  One of the cows she said was real nice and let Caden milk it…he actually got milk out.  And good ol’ Steph gave it a go too and was successful!!  We said thanks and goodbye and headed off.  Cruising down one of the dirt roads I spotted a little turtle in the road…I slammed on the brakes, skidded to a stop and backed up.  I got out and went to get the turtle and that little sucker took off like a rocket (I thought they were supposed to be slow).  I ended up catching it and was able to let the boys see it and pet it.  Then I put it in the grass on the side of the road and made sure he took off away from the road.

I felt like Marlin Perkins (or Jim) on  Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom!!

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Music To My Ears

May 24th, 2007

Tonight we took Caden and our niece Sidney to a drumming show in Greeley.  It was put on by this guy, Mike Sherpa, who runs a drumming school in northern Colorado called Headtalk.  Sherpa was the drum line director for, AAHS, my high school’s band.  He is extremely good and expects a lot from his students.  The result is a bunch of kids as young as elementary to college age who eat, sleep, and breath all things percussion.  It was a great show.  They had drum lines, stomp style (using garbage cans, stools, pots, pans, etc), Japanese taiko, african, latin styles and big band (they actually had a horn section that was really good).  These kids were amazing!!  The big show ending was Sing Sing Sing, a tribute to Gene Krupa.  Turns out Gene Krupa was good friends with Sherpa’s father.  They had 8 full drum sets on stage, a row of probably 20 toms and the full horn section.  It was a great piece.  Now, for the pont of this story.  We get back in the car and are driving away and Caden says, “wow, that was a lot of music for my two little ears!”  It was probably 2.5 hours of music and Caden sat very still and quiet.  I could tell he really liked it and had a lot to say about it during the long, late ride home.

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Bag of Crumbs

May 18th, 2007

Its funny how two unrelated things from my past sometimes come together in the present. Growing up in a poor family (actually we were not poor but frugal, but as a kid I thought we were financially poor) we had to share cans of generic pop, haul bath water out to the garden and make our lunch sack and sandwich/chip bags last for years at a time. I’m sure it was probably on the order of days or weeks but it sometimes felt like years that I had been carrying that paper sack which was now as soft as silk and as tender as tissue paper.

Totally unrelated I have a distinct memory of having lunch over at Baba and Zedo’s house. In general I really liked having lunch over there but the one thing I did not like was they would place the chips or crackers of the day in a napkin lined basket on the table. The problem was this basket contained all previous days uneaten crackers/chips. On top of that, this basket sat out 24/7. So you would be eating a saltine that was flavored with crumbs from the previous days Doritos while a few greased on pieces of last weeks stale potato chips gave it that extra zing. Needless to say I usually passed on the chips and crackers.

These days I make a very good living. I could go out for every meal if I wanted. But I was raised frugal and I remain frugal…in fact I thrive on frugalness (is that a word) to the point of being considered “cheap”. So I take a lunch to work everyday. I’m so cheap I won’t even buy brown paper sacks but use left over plastic grocery bags. These are much more durable than the paper bags and so I actually CAN get years of use out of one of them. I also will reuse the same baggy for my chips/crackers…for weeks if not months. So, you guessed it, after awhile I end up with the chips of the day coated with all the past crumbs. It actually makes for some very interesting flavors. Today I had pita chips flavored with chili, cilantro, lime, and a touch of graham cracker….deeeelicious!! The upside is I use a ziplock bag to keep the crumbs fresh and flavorful. And as I eat my chips I think back to those lunches with Baba and Zedo and I smile.

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Stair Diving

May 18th, 2007

Dacen is our stunt man. The kid has no fear and thinks he can do everything big people do. At the pool he wants no help and would just walk into water over his head if we let him. He loves slides and will go down slides at the park that even Caden won’t go down. He’s mastered going up the stairs but thinks he can come down like a big boy, holding the railing (which is way over his head) and walking forward. He also likes to play on the first couple of stairs in our dining room. The other night he was on the first step and wanted to get something sitting on the floor…he bent over to pick it up and if he had the big head Caden does he would have fallen right on his head. Steph quickly ran over and caught him before he fell (and before he got what he was reaching for) and scolded him and tried to convey how dangerous that was. She moved both Dacen and the thing he was after to another location and came back to the table. Like a flash of lightning Dacen was back on the first step bending over. But this time there was nothing to grab…instead I think he recognized that this could be the next extreme sport of the future olympics…STAIR DIVING. Before we could stop him he made the dive and it was actually quite graceful. But, based on his reaction, I think he will be working on a different sport for now. I’m afraid someday (maybe more than once) we’ll have to go to the ER with Dacen.

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Mr. Long Term Memory

May 17th, 2007

Caden has a very good memory…at least long term memory. Every night at dinner Caden asks me how my day was. If after I give a brief reply I do not ask him how his day was he’ll instruct me to “ask how my day was, Papa.” I’ll ask him as though I came up with the question on my own, “How was your day Caden?” His standard reply is that his day was good. I’ll then ask, “what did you do today?” He either stares back with a blank expression clearly indicating he does not remember or he will answer with something that was done on a previous day or say that he did nothing. Now, to his credit, it was not until very recently that he realized that the day before his afternoon nap and the day after his afternoon nap were the same day. So when he gets up from his afternoon nap at 4:00 or 5:00 and then at 6:00 I ask him what he did today I’m not suprised he thinks he’s done nothing as he’s only a couple of hours into his “day”. But now he knows that there is only one day in a day, not two. So you may be concerned about his memory. But do not fear. Thie kid has an incredible long term memory. He remembers obscure things from the distant past. One day he asked me to tell him the story of my friend Kyle. I had told him the story once, a long time ago and probably only mentioned Kyle’s name once during the whole story. But for some reason Kyle stuck in that noggin of his. The other night as we were reading the book The Smallest Stegasorous I thought I would simplify the language a bit to help him out. I read “…a stegasorous family woke up.” Caden quickly corrected me, “its awoke papa.” Later in the book the little stegasorous encounters an ornatholestes. I put the emphasis on the 4th syllable when according to Caden it should be on the 3rd. Of course he can also tell you that Jonah was supposed to go to Ninevah but that he ran away to Tarshish instead. How he can remember those things and not remember that he went swimming, to music class or to the park just hours earlier is beyond me. But I do know that he is a smart kid with a good long term memory.

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Two Seasons of Black Beauty

May 16th, 2007

My trusty Acura Integra (AKA Black Beauty) is a great car in many respects. And its got a ton of character. From the gentle 3Hz squeak of the speedometer cable on cool mornings, to the built in sauna feature from the black leather interior and only 4/60 AC. The loose wiring of the speakers challenges me to find just the right pot hole with just the right wheel to jostle it back into place for that full hifi stereo sound. And Black Beauty has a season detector. However, she only knows two seasons: hot season and cold season. I can tell when its cold season as I cannot remove the key from the ignition. She will eventually let me have my keys back but she makes me spend time with her, talk to her, tell her how this is not the day to do this and how frustrated she makes me. And now I can tell it is the hot season because Black Beauty will not start after work. She will eventually start like she’s a brand new car but only after I tell her about my day, how much I want to get home and that this is not the day to do this to me. I think Black Beauty is co-dependent.

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KLOVE on the Radio

May 16th, 2007

Caden loves listening to KLOVE (actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure he even realizes there are other stations to listen to…we’ll have to change that). Anyway, he really likes the song I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me and when it comes on the radio he tells us about it. The other day in the car Who Am I by Casting Crowns came on the radio. Part way through the song Caden tells Steph and I, very matter of factly, that the song is about Jonah. As adults Steph and I are often hardly aware of the radio at a conscious level…so we asked him why he thought that. He said “because they were talking about tossing him in the ocean.” I didn’t quite get it but Steph pointed out that there is a line in the chorus that goes “…waves tossed in the ocean…” Amazing!! By the way, Caden knows all of the gory details of the story of Jonah including the final destination of the boat that Jonah hitched a ride on…do you know? Anyone, anyone? Tarshish!!

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We Love This Time of Year

May 15th, 2007

Summer is here and, wow, do we love this time of year. The temperature is perfect, the days are getting longer, and we can spend a lot of time outside. Keep an eye on our early summer photo album…

Early Summer 2007

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Spring Is In The Air

May 15th, 2007

What a crazy spring we have had. The weather has spanned the entire spectrum. Have a look at our photo album from the spring.

Spring Highlights

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Testing testing…

May 15th, 2007

Testing one, two…sybilance, sybilance. Everyone has one so we’re jumping on the bandwagon!!

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