Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Hobby

I kind of have a new hobby. I make my own pickles. About 10 years ago I tried to cure fresh olives. My experiment failed.About 5 years ago I expressed interest in making my own pickles. That experiment also failed.

Last year my wife, Lauren,  remembered I had an interest in making my own pickles and she bought me some pickling spices.  I have been experimenting since the summer. Most of the results are a success.
I have tried adding various peppers, spices, and herbs and I now have a fairly decent and consistent recipe. I make about 4 to 5 jars of pickle spears at a time.

Lately, in an effort not to waste anything,  I have been taking all of the left overs; spices, pickling juice and the tips of the pickling cucumbers and making a jar or two of what I am calling "Just the Tip".
The results of "Just the Tips"  have been pretty good.

Lauren, as she said tonight, finds the name disturbing.

I need a new name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dog House

Last night we had an "issue". The "issue" was with the Xbox and playing time and "games saved" and "progress lost". At least that is what I tell myself.

The real issue was when I told my kids it was time to turn off the machine and go to bed.

My oldest and I exchanged words. Not positive words. I would like to say they were NOT negative words but anything outside NOT positive is not favorable in a 10 year old's eyes. There were gnashing of teeth,wringing of hands and rolling of eyes.  Tears and mayhem followed. The oldest is punished and privileges revoked.

It will be a long week or so for the oldest.

Tonight our one year old puppy dog had an issue. The "issue" was with the couch. The puppy dog chewed through the base of the couch causing a gaping hole and foam stuffing misplaced everywhere.  The hole will be there for many years since the couch is only 3 years old.  The dog and I exchanged looks and sounds. Why?  Because he is a dog. I would like to say they were NOT negative looks and sounds but anything outside of NOT positive is not favorable in a 1 year old dog's eye. Privileges are revoked.

It will be along week or so for the puppy dog.

I came home tonight after a few hours of meetings and sports to find the two of them, the oldest boy and the puppy dog , sleeping together on the couch. As they sleep, they are both peaceful.

The oldest son knows he is in the "Dog House" with me. The puppy dog knows he is in the "Kid's house" with me. Both of them dreaming of a way of how they can push their punishment off on the other.

As mad as I am,  I am also glad they have an ally right now.
It will be a long week or so for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kissing Wyatt

The first picture was posted on this blog back in 2006 when Wyatt was not even a month old. It is one of my favorite pictures. The second picture from 2012, just as he was turning six. He was cute and silly.  The latest from 2014, on the eve of his eighth birthday,  Wyatt is putting up a fight. I can't wait to recreate these pics when he is 13.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Defending Gwyneth

I have read many articles criticizing Gwyneth Paltrow's recent E-Online interview. Most of the articles with criticism towards Gwyneth Paltrow leave out the part of the interview where, and it is clearly in quotes, where she says "...I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because.." She takes some responsibility for her decisions and how it makes her feel. Also the E-Online Article is talking about how her FILM CAREER is trickier because of kids. Not how PARENTING is trickier because of her career. 

I also read the next paragraph as Miss Paltrow being  someone who thinks that the grass may be greener on the other side. She says, "I think it is different when you have an office job because it is routine..." Office jobs are routine to a certain extent. I have one. It is routine. I also have to travel with my job, and yes I hat missing out on certain activities my children may doing because of travel. But the reality is my work allows for me to be able to spend time with my kids on a more regular, dare I say, routine basis. 

Here is the other quote that no one criticizing her ever puts in their article "I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it's not like being on set." She is not saying having a regular job is not as hard. She is saying it is different. Does no one see the "of course there are challenges"? 

I am not a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. I think she is a decent actress. I really like her as Tony Stark's girlfriend. But I am really perplexed by the fact that there are so many bloggers out there that feel the need to attack her based on the words of another person's blog. 

Why are all the moms attacking her? Why are so few defending her for wanting to be a better parent?  Can someone explain? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inspiration on Mearns Rd.

I drive about 6.4 miles to and from work every day. I have a pretty good commute. Actually I have an excellent commute. 10 to 12 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes in the afternoon/early evening. I feel lucky to have such an awesome commute.

Recently my commute has been somewhat of a let down.

 As a person of somewhat stretched faith, I am always looking towards other people to be the beacon of hope, the "restored faith in humanity" type of people. Over and over again, as I look at the people on my journey home, I am not seeing the inspiration I once cherished.

 I see "horn honking at slow green light responders". I see frustrated drivers, due to the condition of the pothole pocked streets, throw up their arms in despair.  I witness middle fingers and silent screams from many motorists behind their windshields declaring "whatever you just did, totally made my day suck".

What I used to see, on my way home,  the one thing that transformed my ride back from work, was a determined marching band student trying to perfect her abilities at swing flags/color guard for her high school marching band.

Let me go back a little. Almost everyday, on my way home from work, for the past 4 years,  I would see a girl (once a freshman,  then a sophomore, then a junior and, I can only guess, eventually a senior) practicing her flag techniques out in her driveway along Mearns road.

Almost everyday,  on my drive home during the school year, along Mearns Road, I would see this girl practicing. I was not sure if she went to Wood or to William Tennent High School, since their colors can sometimes can  be the same, but she would be practicing her flag throws, rain or shine,  every day.

She was always a great sight to see after a bad day at work. Her determination and focus on her task always made me feel a little bit better about how my day went. As I waited in the somewhat stilted, stop and go traffic along Mearns Rd. I could watch this Freshman (then Sophomore, then Junior and I can only guess a Senior,) twirl her large flag into the air over and over and over again trying to catch it. Sometimes she would miss it coming back down, but most times, and even more as she got older, she would catch it with confidence and flair. I would watch her, from the stagnant traffic, hoping she would catch the falling flag every time. I always wondered if she knew she was entertaining the people in the cars along Mearns Road. I know the sight of her prevented many middle fingers flying.

I know she entertained me. She was also an inspiration to me. She never quit. She always had a smile on her face. She was doing, and it was quite evident, what she loved. Everyday I saw her I wanted to be able to do what I loved. Most days I got to do just that. Or at least I got to appreciate what I had because this high school kid showed me. She was focused and determined. You could see it in her face as she stood in her driveway along Mearns Road,

I have to think that the flag bearer has graduated high school. It has been about four years since I first noticed her. I hope she is at some college getting a degree in what she wants out of life.

My drive home has not been the same. It has been somewhat of a let down.  I keep looking for the flag thrower  so I can, maybe, one day, tell her how her hard work was  always a pleasant sight to see on the way home from work, along Mearns Road.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ordinary People Change the World

I love writers. I used to write about them all the time. I really enjoy meeting them and listening them tell stories about them writing stories.  I have met EricWight creator of Frankie Pickle, blogger and cook book author Ree Drummond, young adult author and friend Eve Marie Mont, blogger and extremely funny Jenny Lawson,  the NY Times best selling author Lisa Scottoline and my favorite all time writer Brad Meltzer.
   Click Here for all of the numerous posts.

Brad Meltzer has recently released a few new books. The first, released last month, is the TV show inspired book History Decoded. The book explores unanswered questions and conspiracy theories. A very fun book to read and a good bathroom book (you know what I mean).

The second two books, which will be released on January 14th, are from Meltzer's new children's series Ordinary People Change the World. The books, geared toward kids ages 5 to 8, are illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos and tell the stories of, yep you guessed it, ordinary people who changed the world. The first two books are I AM Amelia Earhart and I AM Abraham Lincoln. 

I was lucky enough to get advanced copies to review and I have to say I love everything about these books. A few years ago Meltzer released Heroes for my Son and Heroes for My Daughter (which are two of my favorite books of all time) and the I AM books are perfect companions to the Heroes book. Meltzer, along with Eliopoulos' Bill Watterson-esque illustrations, does an excellent job making historical icons accessible and human for kids. Meltzer believes that everyone can be a hero, his I AM books illustrate that. Not only do I love these books but my kids seem to really enjoy them as well (but not in the bathroom that is what the iPad is for).

Go get these books, they are great. It looks like Brad Meltzer makes an appearance in each book. See if you can spot him.

I AM Rosa Parks  will be released in June of 2014 and I AM Albert Einstein will be released September 2014.