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Thursday, April 30, 2009


Spring Explorers

Our first road trip of the year came last weekend with a short drive north to Sandpoint. It felt good to be walking around outside without heavy coats and winter gloves.

The kids looked for arrowheads and other treasures along this beach in the small town of Dover, on the north shore of Lake Pend Oreille.

All they found was a rusty pipe elbow and a bunch of sticks.

But the day out was treasure enough. We'll be having many more of them very soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Dog Torture

I'm torturing my son.

For the past two weekends, our movie nights have gone to the dogs.

We started with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, then Bolt.

After that, it was on to Beethoven. Followed, of course, by Beethoven's 2nd.

Coming up this weekend? Hotel For Dogs and Space Buddies.

I swear, that's how they're coming up on our Netflix queue!

While the rest of us watch and enjoy the flicks, my son sits grumpily with a book in front of his face.

He keeps saying the same thing.

"They need to make more cat movies!!!"

Friday, April 24, 2009


Baby Shaker

Sometimes I really do worry that I'm going to hurt myself shaking my head over the idiocy of seemingly intelligent people.

Which is ironic, since I'm currently shaking my head from side to side because of a horrific iPhone application called Baby Shaker.

The idiot is not the man who made the game. No, that guy deserves a worse name than I can type on a family-friendly blog. I'm talking about the Apple employees who approved the program for sale. Those are the idiots.

Thankfully, there are some people with brains at Apple, and they've pulled Baby Shaker from their store.

But how could it have possibly gone through the chain of approval at the App Store without one single person saying, "Ummm, this so-called game is one of the most repugnant things I've ever seen."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The Kroc Center

We've been waiting three years for our community recreation center to be built.

Now the waiting is down to less than three weeks, and we are giddy with anticipation.

Today my kids and I received a special preview tour of the The Salvation Army Coeur d'Alene Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, or simply "The Kroc Center." It's a stunning building, with pools, a running track, climbing wall, 400-seat theater, indoor soccer and basketball courts, and so much more.

I feel a little selfish about the Kroc Center. It's going to vastly improve the health and well-being of my family. Or at least, that's the hope.

But what's even better is that it will be a refuge for many kids and adults who have nothing much to be hopeful about in their own homes and neighborhoods.

I wish every community could have a place like this.

I took a few photos for my local readers. Excuse the poor quality. All I had was my 2MP iPhone camera. And, yes, they have a lot of cleaning up to do before the grand opening on May 9th.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Snooze The Day

You've heard them all before:

"Live every day as if it were your last."

"Dance like nobody's watching."

"Just do it."

"Seize the day."

"It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

I find it nearly impossible to keep these words of motivation close to my heart when the kids are bickering, the yard is full of weeds, the cats are shedding on the clean laundry, and I haven't had a decent night's sleep in seven years.

As much as anyone, I'd like to get up each morning and accomplish great things, but there's the little matter of the mundane duties of life that get in the way.

Being perpetually tired doesn't help. And, if presented with a wide variety of ways to spend my day, I would likely choose the one involving a long nap and maid service.

How do you seize your day?

Friday, April 17, 2009


She's Got A New Spell

Don't you hate it when people correct your spelling?

Me too.

Only, when it's your job and you work for the largest media and entertainment corporation in the world, then you definitely deserve to have someone point out your spelling errors.

I spotted this on Disney's Movie Club site:

I was originally going to write about something serious, like child abuse, global warming, malnutrition, or the economy, but this late at night I could only muster enough outrage for a post on lazy spelling.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Slow and Steady

My son had his first soccer game of the spring season last night.

It's his ninth season in a sport that he enjoys more than any other, and it was good for him to get back onto the field and be active again after a sedentary winter.

But even after shaking off the rust and revving his body up to full speed, he's still nowhere near the physical level of the other kids on his team. Or on most of the other teams for that matter.

After all this time, you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But I still cringe a little to see him lumber up and down the field on legs that just aren't built for speed.

He tries. He tries really hard.

But he gets frustrated with comments from his teammates like, "You should've beat that kid to the ball," or "How come you're going so slow?"

And, of course, he never hears sideline cheers directed at him. Even when he does get his foot on the ball, and I'm shouting, "Good defense!" to him, it's not quite the same as when a dozen sets of parents are whooping it up for a kid after he scores a goal or makes a big booming kick down the field.

I wish those parents could see my son's test scores, or his poetry, or the essay he wrote on Theodore Roosevelt. I wish they could see him reading Time Magazine and debating government bailouts with me.

The cerebral stuff will never be exciting in our sports-obsessed society.

All these parents see in my son is a very shy, unusually quiet boy with slow reflexes and a heavy-footed gait.

I should just relax and realize that there's something special about the fact that he's participating at all. He knows he can't keep up with the other kids, but he still wants to sign up each soccer season.

Like the tortoise in the Aesop fable, he doesn't quit. He sets a slow and steady pace for himself and keeps moving forward. I know he'll get to where he's going and end up a winner.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The Busy Season

I was so eager for spring to arrive, but forgot what always happens this time of year.

It's the busy season!

Soccer practices and games suddenly erupted on my calendar.

Invites to homeschool field trips are flooding my email inbox.

State testing takes place over the next few weeks.

School lessons have taken on a new urgency as the kids realize that summer vacation is less than two months away. We're doubling up on math and science to finish on time.

The yard desperately needs attention after a long and punishing winter.

On top of all that, the warm weather brought out a kind of project madness in me, and I started painting the kitchen, building shelves in my daughter's room, planning redwood boxes in the garden, and getting estimates for a cement patio.

It's a paradox.

On the one hand, all this activity makes me feel very much alive.

But on the other, by the end of the busy season I'll be feeling half-dead and in need of revival.

I guess that's what summer's for.

Friday, April 10, 2009


She Did It

My daughter wants to play this weekend, so she lived up to her promise and finished her very first book report.

And she only rolled her eyes a couple of times.

I'm a little biased, but I think she did okay for a 7-year-old with an attitude.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Get It In Writing

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


All Play and No Work

My daughter will not...

Play Webkinz on the computer,
Read Garfield comics before bedtime,
Play with friends at the park,
Build sandcastles in the backyard,
Watch Meerkat Manor or Angelina Ballerina,
Eat Girl Scout cookies, or dessert of any kind,
Travel in her time machine,
Cuddle with the cat on the couch,
Swing, skip, scooter, skate, scamper, or sing,

Until she writes her Flat Stanley book report.

And I mean it!

Friday, April 03, 2009


The Time Traveler's Dad

I've been away for a few days on a very special trip with my daughter.

We've been traveling through time.

I know what you're thinking, but this is NOT an April Fool's Day joke.

We really were traveling through time, in a device that my daughter designed and built all on her own.

Here's a picture of her time machine:

Monday morning, she invited me to journey into the past with her. I stepped into the machine, she pushed a few buttons and, suddenly, we found ourselves zooming through the spacetime continuum.

She chose our destinations - one trip into the Cretaceous Period, where we were chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and then a quick trip into the future, where we found that cats had taken over the world.

I asked my daughter where else she'd like to go, and she decided it would be fun to travel back about 40 years to see her dad as a young boy. "Just to see what games you liked to play."

Thankfully, no paradoxes occurred when I met my 4-year-old self. I told him to brush his teeth more often, be nicer to his brother and sister, and invest all his money in Microsoft stock in the 1980's.

My daughter took another trip in her time machine today, but this time with her cat. She wants to show him the future world where his fellow felines are in charge of everything.

Imagination... There's nothing better.