Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrappin' Up '08

Wow, another year draws to a close and where has the time gone. I've prepared an extensive and well thought out year end post to highlight all the big happenings of 2008. Not really, I got nuttin. Because really, when you've got young children the big events of the year happen in a few seconds each and every day and who has time for a retrospective of stuff that I can't quantify or put into words but that made fireworks go off in my head. The Short People... are stinkin great. There ya go.

What I'm going to do instead is sing the praises of my darling Missus. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time but it's hard to find a way to get it all in. Anyone with a family knows how much work goes into running a house and she pretty much does it all. At the risk of sounding dated or chauvinistic I'm pretty much bringin home the bacon and she's pretty much at home, barefoot and pregnant. Well, not really, she also does a ton of philanthropic work and she's usually wearing slippers. Pregnant though... yeah, and how!

Yesterday though she was really sweet to me. I had to work the red eye shift, starting Sunday night and then go right into the day shift. By the time I finally got home I had just enough energy left to get to a couch and pass out. She had an appointment to go to though, so she called a babysitter so I could sleep. Said babysitter woke me for dinner, I checked my e-mail, took a shower and was in bed long before the Short People.

That girl takes pretty good care of me. The home made bread alone is worth the occasional pair of diamond earrings or... I dunno... a BMW at least. I can't even begin to list all the stuff she does for us that is way above the call of duty. So as you celebrate the new year, heist a pint to my Missus. I love you, Babe.

P.S. If you haven't already voted in my survey over at Simple Terms you've got till midnight on the 31st. Then I'll break it all down in a big summary post after my hangover clears up.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Sound Of Music

Ah yes. The house is alive with the sound of... the same three CDs played over and over and over and over and over... and over again. My short people have all developed a serious interest in music. I almost look back fondly to a time when Veggie Tales was the entire scope of their interest. There was a stretch when a playlist on my iPod was good to go for all of them while in the car. I was feeling really good about introducing them to a wide variety of music.

Lately though, J-Man has taken to a CD made by some friends of mine. I do a lot of sound work for them and their music is a part of all of our lives. It's become an outright obsession for him though. I would not be exaggerating when I tell you he plays is twenty to thirty times a day. He only plays it on the player in the boys' room which is a blessing because it's the farthest from the rest of the house.

The stressful part of that situation though is that wee H-Bomb still loves him some salad music. So when the lone Veggie Tales CD that we can still find makes its way into the player it's usually not there for long. DJ J-Man hustles right in there to swap it out for his disc. Then there's a lot of punching, kicking and screaming. It's kind of like being at a Slipknot show but with no beer and fewer tattoos.

Miss O has her own particular drama. She's been craving a princess alarm clock from Target since this summer. She finally got her wish under the tree. The night before she was relating all the various wonders of said alarm clock to me. It had a CD player and a tape player and the radio only played princess music. (Oh boy...) I spent a while explaining that it probably didn't do any of those things. She got really defensive and I let it drop. She's a smart little cookie but there was no way I was going to convince her that all radios got the same stations at that late hour.

Come Christmas morning though it did turn out that the clock does play special princess music. It's only a thirty second sample from Cinderella but it's better than nothing. When she got tired of that I tried to turn on the radio for her but she doesn't like any of the stations. I told her I could make it better if she could wait till the weekend. The feature that projects stars on to the ceiling was consolation enough for the time being... thank God.

So today I spent an hour in the shop gutting the thing and adding an input jack so she can plug in a CD player or iPod and listen to whatever she wants. I got screamed at for playing a lame kiddie CD but once a good kiddie CD had been located she thought it was pretty neat.

And The Missus is now in possession of her veryown iPod. I've been loading on a bunch of CDs she hasn't heard in a very long time. She's also pretty excited about downloading some that have been lost or wrecked by the short people. It's been a long time since she's been interested in music. It's tough for a classically trained musician, the standards are pretty high.

Anyway, whatever it is they're listening to I'm just glad they're listening. I couldn't imagine having kids who don't like music. I did used to wonder what my kids would find to listen to that would drive me nuts. As much as Veggie Tales grate on you after a thousand times it's still pretty good music. I heard mention of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers the other day and I got my answer. It won't be long now till the Pop Crap Invasion hits my hosue. I better stock up on Anthrax for private listening.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas '08

I'm so totally whupped that I'm not the least bit interested in typing at the moment, but if I don't then I won't be able to ever remember any of this. Not that Christmas was all that difficult this year, but I got a call at 4 AM to go salt the parking lot at work so I was a little off all day.

But by the time I got back home at seven, the children were poised and ready. We diverted from the procedure I grew up with but no matter. Stockings, breakfast, presents isn't carved in stone, but the nutrition part would have helped. Peppermint patties and Starburst do not a nutritious breakfast make so we had some whiny children eventually.

I'll divert from the story slightly to stick in how much I love the way the entire world vanishes on Christmas morning. All attention is focused on the floor between the couch and the tree. Minimal attention is given to coffee and other such mundane things and the wider world is nothing more than something vague and white outside the windows. And now back to our regularly scheduled narrative.

They got all their presents opened in the space of half an hour and mostly without anyone opening the wrong one. Even wee H-Bomb at the tender age of two handled it pretty well. It was pretty satisfying to know that the entire pile of presents under the tree satisfied our short people even though we spent less on them than we did on holiday giving. The Missus is really good about emphasizing gifts being about more than getting stuff.

We also mostly diverted from buying toys that require assembly and batteries, with a few exceptions. J-Man got a ton of puzzles but the assembly is all on him. Miss O got a kid-proof digital camera but that was the only electronic item. Oh yeah, there were two items that diverged from being inexpensive and not having batteries.

The Missus and I both had shiny new iPods under the tree this year. It all started three years ago when she got me a mini for Father's Day. She really wanted one in pink but they were discontinued so I had to go on eBay to get her one for our anniversary. It turned out to be a dud so for the following Father's Day/My Birthday I got... her a digital camera.

She has made the occasional longing comment about still wanting an iPod since then. I've been coveting a Touch myself, mostly for the internet connectivity. I have a smart phone but it's too expensive to get on line with and when Apple came out with a box that can do more than just stripped down cell phone versions of the interwebs I knew I had to have one. I can totally write it off as a business expense though, being in the music industry and all.

I had an antique CB radio given to me that I was pretty sure I could sell for enough to get me one. The problem was I got stiffed twice (eBay again) and it was getting close to Christmas. I also didn't want to buy myself a second iPod before I got The Missus her first. When she asked me what I wanted this year I told her I didn't need anything, I had a plan. It took a good deal of maneuvering but I managed (on three occasions) to get around her without giving it away or seriously pissing her off. Last month I shot straight to the store after a gig and spent half my take on her little blue beauty. My radio finally sold and I got mine as well.

So now we're both blissfully iPodded up and she can finally have music in her car that's not NPR. (Long story but it involves J-Man stuffing thirteen CDs and a dollar worth of change in her car radio) I am finally absolved of my lack of providing her with a sexy music reproduction device from Apple.

Wow, that was a little longer than I expected it to be. Ah well, three years of drama takes up some space. I'm happy to leave the photos and cute excerpts up to her though. Merry Christmas one more time. See you in the details.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night By Candle Light


This was the night I had been waiting for. In a whole year of holidays and special events, none places higher on my list than the Christmas Eve service at church. I wait and I wait and bide my time through all the seasonal nonsense. Then the blessed night finally arrives.

I'm home from work, cleaned up and well fed. We pack the short people off down the street. The church is bright and full. It's all the same people I see every week, but they look so much happier on this night. The C & E crowd is there too. Folks I only see on those two days. They're radiant as well.

The service progresses. The choir cranks out the old standards. My Mom is next to me, singing along with the tenors. The air is warm and still. It smells of candles and sweaters. Then that blessed moment of all moments arrives. The first candles are lit from the advent wreath in the front. The flame is passed to the choir and then down the center aisle. This year Miss O is old enough to hold a candle and she passes me the flame.

We sing Silent Night together and everyone's really singing for once. The basses are paving the way. Those that can sing parts grab the alto and tenor parts and the rest sing the melody. Gone is the usual accompaniment. A single accoustic guitar floats its gentle tones across the room. The song ends and we say the final words together. The lights remain low. Some extinguish their candles. Others carry theirs still lit into the lobby. All is still quiet.

Eventually the talking begins but it happens slowly. Eventually everyone is catching up and hugging, shaking hands and wishing a Merry Christmas over and over. We usually linger till the very end, it's just so warm and wonderful.

And that is what Christmas means to me.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Early Christmas Present



Tis the season to be giving and as much as I have received from all the blogs I read, I wanted to give a little something back. So here's my award. It's not for anything in particular, just for doing what you do and writing about it for me to enjoy. There aren't any rules for this award, just copy the code to throw it on your blog and pass it along to anyone you like.





Here are all the people that I read as often as they post. Some are heavy hitters with hundreds of readers, some are friends and family members that are only read by a few. Merry Christmas to all of you and keep up the good posting.

I'll start with the list of people who receive top billing on my blogs due to their extraordinary writing.
  • the dayton time Because she is my Missus and she writes about stuff that happens at my house in a way that makes me want to check in every day. (Not to the house, to her blog)

  • Embellished Truth and Polite Fiction Because Church, Punk and Mom never sounded so sweet together and her multi-part posts keep me coming back day after day.

  • THE WIND IN YOUR VAGINA Three words: Black. Hockey. Jesus. Says is all.

  • Mama's Losin' It Because June Cleaver with a beer and a smoke is the kind of mom I want to read about.

  • Hey You! Remember Me?! Because she is the all time Queen of the serial post. She is also currently MIA. Our thoughts and prayers are with you thatgirl, where ever you are...

  • i am bossy Because nobody can get away with posting in the third person quite like Bossy.
And now the list of bloggers that I know in real life, who also blog eloquently but have a different list because they've been to my house before. Here they are in no particular order:
  • The Daniels 5 Because my pretend cousin Jill cracks my shit up... and she likes my fiction... and she's of the McCarthy Clan.

  • Beauty in Distress Because this babysitter turned into one of our grownup friends and because her blog is different.

  • small town values and a simple lifestyle Because she's another former babysitter that we're still good friends with... and she is also of the McCarthy Clan.

  • I'm just thinking outLOUD Because Green Panda and I are kindred spirits of the stage and she knows what I mean when I say, "Hail Poetry!"

  • Anth K, The Super Jew Because you do not mess with a Polish Gangster Jew, that's why.

  • Team Dudgeon Because some friends never become distant, no matter the distance.

  • relevant tech Because Kevin can't write, can't spell and doesn't believe in punctuation but has a blog anyway. You've got to respect that.

  • Welcome To My Life Because Sarahliz is my BIL's sweet girl and if they ever break up the whole family will likely side with her.

  • I Know Things Because my other BIL occasionally posts something funny.

  • The new home of Amalthea23 Because my friend from college has a life so dramatic that you just couldn't make this stuff up.

  • John Beckler Because that guy has been sharing elaborately constructed alternate realities of sketch comedy with me for years and his posts make me pee my pants.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quote Of The Day - Armpits

I sat on the couch for most of an hour today reading "The Return Of The Indian In The Cupboard" to Miss O. When she was three I used to make her laugh when I read stories to her by randomly switching to jibberish or inserting the word "watermelon" in the story. Both those tricks still work. Another verbal tickle I discovered today is "armpits". It must have just been the moment but it was making us crack up. The Missus was sitting next to us, knitting a hat and thinking we were nuts nearly peeing her pants too.

Eventually we had given up on the story and were just exploring the comedic potential of the word "armpits". I said when the boys come back from gym class and are all sweaty she could say stuff like, "Hey stinky armpits! Stop bothering me and go take a shower!"

Then we looked at the cat sleeping on her lap and I said, "I sure am glad I'm not a cat and don't have four armpits!" The three of us had difficulty breathing for quite a while after that. I guess you probably had to be there. Maybe not, armpits are funny.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bah... Humbug!

I'm about to come clean. I don't like Christmas trees. I don't care to decorate them, I hate to clean up after them when I forget to water them, getting them is a chore and getting rid of them is an even bigger chore. Even though we get our trees from a place that does sustainable harvesting it still bothers me a little to kill a tree just to have as a pet. I used to be in the business of killing them so that somebody could have a house that would likely last a hundred years or more. The poor sap in our living room will be going up in flames sometime before Easter. Despite all this I'm about to go back in the house and be charmed by the one I just hauled in. The Missus will have all the lights strung and I'll get to look for a while before the 7.825 x 1045572937561923 hand made ornaments come out.

Every year we head out at the beginning of December to a farm up the road that does land office business in Christmas trees. You go out and pick one and a guy on a quad comes around and buzzes it off for you, then tows it back to the barn where you pay for it and they wrap it in netting so you can manage it. They also keep some in the barn that you can just pick up if you're in a hurry or don't want to drag your children all over the north country. Last year we went to the barn.

That was the plan this year but when we got there the only ones in there were a good deal shorter than me. So we headed off into the fields with our under-insulated children. Apparently it's a rebuilding year. It was seedlings and Charlie Browns all the way to the horizon.

A couple years ago we had read a book where a family named a tree in the yard "Steve". The last two years we've called our tree that and as the twilight descended we plodded on calling out for the next Steve to show himself. Miss O was sure we had found him a couple times but by the half dead look of them, there was no way we were bringing those guys home with us.

We finally settled on one and the rest of the fam started to trudge back. (Not that one, the good one next to it!) Well, the guy came and whacked it for me and it took both of us to get it on the cart. This years nameless tree weighed in at somewhere around 200 pounds and was close to nine feet tall if I'm any judge.

It was all I could do to wrestle that guy into the shop to defrost. I popped the straps and he made a jump for it from the top of the minivan. Like Atlas I bore him up on my shoulders and traversed the snowy wastes. His stump lay blocking the door and his tip lay somewhere near Wal-Mart in the next town.

Fast forward through several hours of cranky children and it was time to rejoin the battle. Fortified with a wee dram of Maker's Mark (which is really the only bourbon to drink this side of $120 a bottle) I made my way back to the shop and fired up the chain saw. (It's the battery operated Ryobi model for those of you wondering about the fumes). I trimmed off nearly three feet and over fifty pounds and it was still all I could do to drag that guy in the front door.

In the stand, stood up and sprung from the netting he stood proudly in the spot once occupied by the TV... one and a half inches from the ceiling. The Missus expressed her amazement which helped a little. I guess I haven't lost my touch with wood.

Now it's time to hit "post" and go in the house to sit quietly with my gal and take in the pine scented wonder of it all with just the tree lights on. Maybe just another quick nip to make sure I got all the humbug out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Pagent

I got drafted into the ol' Christmas pagent this year. It happened so quickly that I didn't even have a chance to grouse about it. I guess they figured that I'm getting used to treading the boards and relinquishing my role as a tech. Actually, we've been in the show a lot. The year Miss O was born, The Missus and I played Joseph and Mary, lil' O was the Baby Jesus. I've had a couple other forgettable roles as well, but this was the first time that Miss O really wanted a part.

A week ago I got handed our pages and we went to work. I was told that we could read from them in the show or just improvise our own stuff if we wanted to. I decided to stick to the words for the part that I had them. Being opposite a six year old it pays to stick to the script. To elaborate, I was Zechariah hearing from Gabriel (afforementioned six year old girl) about the birth of John. Then I was scripted to play scharades with Elizabeth (Miss O) to convey that I couldn't talk. We cooked up the material ourselves and it was pretty sweet.

Miss O went back and forth about wanting to do it or not. She, obviously, recognized the comedic dream team that we are and wanted to do the material. The only catch is that she hates to be laughed at. It came to tears quite a few times. What finally saved us at the zero hour was her totally sweet costume that she was just dying to wear, and also the angel costume that she got to wear for the finale if she went through with the Elizabeth thing.

When go time finally arrived she performed like a true professional, even going so far as to ham it up even more than we had rehearsed. Here's how it went down:

THE MISTER: (waving)
MISS O: Hi!
TM: (pointing to eye)
MO: You have a headache?
TM: (lifting eyelids and pointing)
MO: Eye?
TM: (picking up can of soup)
MO: Soup?
TM: (pointing to can of soup)
MO: Tomato?
TM: (thwacking can of soup in exasperation)
MO: Can?
TM: (pointing to eye and then can)
MO: Eye... can...
TM: (pulling out piece of rope)
MO: Rope?
TM: (waving her off)
MO: Twine?
TM: (tying a knot)
MO: Knot?
TM: (nodding, pointing to eye, can and knot)
MO: Eye... can... knot...
TM: (dropping props and opening mouth)
MO: Brush your teeth?
TM: (checking breath and trying again with big frustrated hand gestures)
MO: Tiger?
TM: (trying yet again)
MO: Tiger? (delivered that one a second time to enjoy continued crowd reaction)
TM: (pointing to eye, can, knot, and making chicken head motions)
MO: Eye... can... not... TALK?
TM: (flapping arms in relief)
MO: Why didn't you say so?

What a team we are.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 5)

How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 1)
How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 2)
How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 3)
How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 4)

This part of the story is short but sweet. The Miss and I had been officially dating for about a month, and she had decided to move back to the area from Cleveland which made things a lot easier. The week before we were to move her stuff back we were taking a nap on her mother's couch. When we woke up I started talking about how I guessed I'd better sell a guitar or something so I could buy her a rock. She said any old rock would do and we could upgrade later. That was as much actual talk of marriage as we had gotten out in actual not-dancing-around-the-subject speak.

I went back to my folks place to tell them and my Mom jumped up, said, "Don't move!" and ran out of the room. I figured she was going for the camera. She came back a minute later with my Grandma Flora's engagement band. She said I could have the stone and my brother could have the gold. All that remained was to come up with a setting.

That night at our favorite pub The Miss was playing with her rings and left one on the table when she got up to go to the loo. (That's what you call it when you're in a pub.) I tried it on all my fingers for a sizing and wound up with pinky finger, second knuckle for a reference. The other item that came up that night was that since her father was MIA with someone from work (an inmate where he was a guard) she told me I'd have to ask her brothers' permission to marry her.

That Tuesday I met a friend for a cheeseburger. That friend happened to be a jeweler and said he could set me up with Grama's stone in a new setting by Friday. Frickin sweet! I asked her youngest brother's permission and his head just about exploded. We were already doing gigs together and he was pretty psyched about being my right hand man.

The other brother... not so much. He was a roofer at the time, while on college breaks. Some guys from church were roofing a friend's house so I took the opportunity to ask him while on a water break. In front of my father and a handful of men from church, he went on (at length) about how it wasn't such a good idea, and she'd been engaged before, a couple times, and she was kinda flaky and maybe it would be better to just wait and see. I gave him the big whatever.

That weekend I drove to Cleveland to pack out my girl's stuff. I had the ring in my pocket but didn't want to propose at her place there. Despite having a totally sweet second story porch, if we ever wanted to visit the place of our betrothal, it was going to be kind of difficult. So I held on to it until we got back to town.

It was about this time that I knew I was going to be buying my Grandparents' house from their estate. It's three doors up from where I grew up and a quarter mile from where she grew up. I lured her up there on the premise of seeing what she thought about a second story deck on the back. Then...

Right outside the back door, I mumbled something about being really happy with her and wondering if she'd maybe like to make it permanent. I fished the ring out, grabbed her right hand, and proceeded to attempt to jam the ring on her middle finger. One slight detail that I forgot to check on. She finally stopped me, got it on the right finger on the correct hand and gave me a big kiss.

And that is how we got engaged. There's more but I'm going to stop here and end with a plug for my friend Tom who has to date made wedding rings for several other friends of ours and saved them thousands of dollars. If you're in the market you should totally drop me a line and I'll hook you up.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oral Surgery For My Birthday

LinkI'm slacking again. I'm not even bothering to think of things to write about because the people that I read are coming up with such great stuff for me. For example, my BIL did a posts with twenty-five questions and you post responses based on what your iPod spits out on shuffle. Frickin' hilarious! That's over on Simple Terms.

Tonight I'm writing about my worst dental experience ever because Kat over at Mama's Losin' It is handing out topics and it's an opportunity to shamelessly attempt to drive traffic to my blogs. My wife will likely not be reading the rest of this post due to her aversion to all things teeth, but she was there anyway so on with the story.

I harken back to the date of my birth, several summers ago. It must have been 2003 or 2004 because we just had the one short person at that point and the dining room was still in the front of the house. My former dentist (God rest him) told me when I was eighteen that my wisdom teeth were about to come in but there was plenty of room for them and he didn't recommend having them out.

Well... he was full of shit. They shoved my other chicklets around like drunken slobs in a mosh pit, causing me no end of misery, headaches and leaving my lowers looking like a row of hundred year old tomb stones. Not only was there not enough room for them to come in, but there also wasn't enough room for me to brush them properly. Not even a child's toothbrush could get all around them.

Cavities? HA! I had one go so supremely rotten that he was nearly able to pluck it out with his fingers. That was in 1999. Three years later I had the Hollywood Bowl on the right side and two other major sporting venues on the left. After every meal I would have to pry LARGE chunks of food out of all of them. Huge slabs of tooth would break off like calving icebergs every so often too. It was awesome!

So, it was finally time to get the buggers out. I went in for some x-rays and my new dentist told me I'd have to go see an oral surgeon. Yay. An hour drive provided me with the information that I could not just have them removed, but due to their position and the structure of my jaw it would be full bore surgery and not just some quick work with the tongs.

The only day he could schedule me in was on my BIRTHDAY! Hooooo-rah. I woke up cranky, wan't allowed to have breakfast and drove with The Missus to the surgeon. I sat back in the chair and the guy came in. I was pretty much fuming about having to shell out three weeks pay on my birthday just to get rid of some teeth that seemed to want to leave on their own anyway. He made some typical doctor-type banter and then stuck me with a huge needle.

"This is going to feel like having a few beers" he said.

"Yeah... jusht like" I said, I'm such a lightweight.

"Just like having a couple two, three, fourteen beers." he said.

I remember thinking of a smart ass response but I never got it out. Then the good doctor spent the next hour chiseling on my jaw bone and doing needlepoint on my gums. The next thing I knew I woke up and staggered out of the room. Somebody scrambled around and got me in a wheelchair so I could be properly discharged. At the car I stood up, much to everyone's surprise, and got in the car.

"What... I been way more fupped duck than this before! I went to college!"

I proceeded to giggle like a seventh grade boy the entire hour drive home. It was starting to make The Missus a little paranoid so I decided to pursue the breakfast shake I had brought along.

"You're never going to be able to get that down." The Missus informed me.

"I went to college, remember? I can drink this." I said. And I did, without spilling a single drop.

At home I was ushered into bed with the statement that The Missus would be up to check on me and bring me some Oxys in two hours. I could have cared less because I was so hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Yeah buddy! Three weeks pay didn't sound like such a raw deal with that stuff coursing through my veins. When The Missus came up to offer me drugs I just took some ibuprofin because really, I went to college and I wasn't quite ready to invite Oxys to the reunion.

I made it through the recovery in good shape and my jaw has never been in such good shape. My only regret is that I couldn't have had them out one at a time so I could have some more of that good juice.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life Is Pretty Good

I'm home from work, fed, the dishes are cleaned up, the children are in bed, I've showered, my wife is approaching sanity, I've been playing blogs for half an hour and it's only just nine o'clock. Pretty frickin sweet dude! I've also been racking up overtime like it's my job... er... yeah, and it's looking like we might start the new year in pretty good shape.

I'm being lazy tonight as my fingers are already tired of typing. My BIL got us started on a typing test web site and we've been racing and racing to see who can turn in the highest number. I just edged out The Missus, but she saw a girl who broke 100 words per minute. I need to train more. I'm pretty sure I can type at that rate when I'm working stream of consciousness, but reading words in a line that don't make sense next to each other is a challenge. I'm at 86, but I get 8 wrong every time, so I'm actually at 94 but not really.

At any rate (Ha! Rate...) the link to that oh so addictive pass time is over at my other blog, Simple Terms. Also, there's a survey at the top of the page that's closing at the end of the month. You have to read the post that goes with it and then cast your vote. It may be slightly offensive as it plays on musician stereotypes and their girlfriends. But hey, I'm all about stereotypes. Wearing them out is the only way to take the sting out of them. Just ask your gay friends why they casually call each other "fag". Anyway, I'll be writing a big summary article when the poll closes on New Year's Eve. Actually, I'll be writing it somewhat after the recovery period and a goodly number of homemade sweet rolls.

I'd like to close by giving a warm shout out to the recent additions to the list of my followers:

Thanks for keepin tabs on me and thank the rest of you for stopping in as well. You have no idea what it does for me to know that you're reading my stuff.


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Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Concert

I worked all weekend and still managed to cram in cartoons with the short people, a nap, and a Christmas party. At dinner tonight Miss O mentioned the Elementary Christmas Concert was this evening and people she knew were in it. I figured a little extra face time with my peeps wouldn't be a bad idea so The Missus took H-Bomb for a visit with my folks and off we went.

The kids were relatively well behaved and I got to just sit in a fairly comfortable auditorium seat, warm and full, and enjoy the event. My memories of a long boring event flitted briefly through my head but I decided to ignore them and look at it with a fresh perspective.

As the fourth and fifth grade band mangled the first few holiday favorites I was lost in the sound. It was a strange dichotomy to be hearing such discordant sounds and yet be so full of Christmas cheer.

As they filed off to be replaced by the chorus I was looking more closely at the kids. I spy on older kids so I have some idea of what's coming. When I was that age Van Halen was at the peak of their stardom, parachute pants were still in and MTV still played videos. It was a totally different world, I need some perspective.

The same girl went by three times, but apparently there's a cream dress with a velvet top that's popular at Wal-Mart this year. A lot of the kids were pretty nondescript but a few were obviously into looking put together. Amid the plain white shirts there were a couple boys sporting emo hair cuts, and a few of the girls had elegant ringlet curls.

What was more interesting than the fashion tastes of nine-year-olds was watching their performances. A lot of them were well on the way to having proper vocal technique which was inspiring to a jaded sound guy. I got a chuckle when I noticed that they had changed "gay" to "bright" in one of the arrangements.

The sixth grade chorus was last, middle school kids. As they shuffled onto the risers I witnessed in sharp relief the transition from kid to teenager. The really interesting thing though was to watch the faces of the kids that just didn't want to be there. Over the years I watched thousands of musicians. They all wanted to be there though. Watching half the kids barely mumble the words was a real mind warp. Art as a requirement, huh.

My own shorties thought it was great until they realized that there was no intermission and therefore no snacks. I made them stick it out for the whole hour though and I was glad I did. When Miss O's friends filed by on the way to their seats she actually jumped up and hugged three of them. Her two friends from church were all right with that, but a boy named Damien that she just knows from the bus didn't know what to do about that.

A familyl friend saw us and was surprised to see us there. "Eh, we do all the shows." I said, "We're a show family." My short people so love them some production. Sigh. Well, I'm off to do my chores, with thoughts of elementary school echoing back through the terrazo halls of my memory.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back To Normal

Back to the normal pace of blogging. I posted once a day for the month of November over at Simple Terms as part of the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) project. I also managed to squeak in a few over here, which in my mind makes up for the two posts that I slipped in via cell phone to make the deadline. Toward the end of the month I had completely run out of stuff to post about every day so I turned to writing fiction. Anyway, all that's over there if you care to take a look.


In other news, The Missus came down with a condition on our anniversary, as did the wee bairn in her belly. So, she spent the evening with some other dude's hands on her goodies and I had a three hour bedtime battle royale with our short people. Yeah, three hours of slogging back up the stairs to put their royal hienies back in their beds has left me with a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth tonight. H-Bomb has started parroting J-Man's bedtime travails. He's also really taken to the other bedtime activity. The one that involves me eating copious portions of stinky jammy feet. So instead of beating them tonight I was extra hard on the dishes while I loaded the dishwasher. Yeah... those guys won't be creeping into the living room with little whiney complaints. Ha dishes! I win!

The Missus turned out to be fine. They thought the baby was a quart low, but he turned out to be fine.

I'll close with the quote of the day. The short people have recently perfected the art of the back seat quarrel. I got treated to my first real session on the way to pick up some medicine for The Queen Mum. Usually it's a perpetually unresolved argument about who is oldest. Tonight it went like this:

Miss O: J-Man! Think of a number.
J-Man: Uuuuuum. Hippo!
O: No! Think of a number!!
J: Ummmmm. Ewefent!!
O: NO! Think of a NUMBER!!!
J: EEE-wev-en.
O: No, six, I'm smarter.

Thank you, good night. I'm going to go lay in the weeds and drink now.

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