Wednesday, March 29, 2017

LL's Birthday

As a snapshot of where he is, here are some of the things LL wants for his birthday:

  • mirrored sunglasses
  • a nerf dart gun/suction cup darts
  • a builder playset (I'm not sure what this is)
  • colored foam, like the kind with colored paper that makes it stick together (?)
  • NOT a younger brother (maybe a younger sister)
  • after explaining the long odds against a younger sister, he said that he simply wanted help making one out of a paper bag
  • a fun day

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dearth of a Salesman

The other night the FP Gal and I were talking about classic literature that we read in high school. This conversation was started because I was talking about my interactions with my classmates in my college literature course. My class has been sub-divided into smaller groups of five or six and my group consists of several young high schoolers, mostly women. Their approach to the poems and stories that we've been reading is very different than mine. This is understandable and not at all meant as a criticism. An 18 year old must have a very different perspective on fundamental issues like death and marriage.
Anyway, this lead me to talk with the FP Gal about what 'classic' stuff we had read while in high school. I mentioned that I'd happened to read 'Death of a Salesmen' twice and didn't feel the need to read it ever again. She calmly told me that it's probably a piece that isn't meant for high school. We both agreed that it might be valuable for me to read it now, as a middle age man who is frustrated in his work career.
Alas! I was pretty sure that it was all packed up. I probably have five or six copies of it in different collections but I've already packed the drama section of my bookshelves. I told her that I'd feel some obligation to follow up and reread it, but I couldn't.
You can see where this is going, can't you? Two weeks from now, in my lit class, we'll be reading 'Death of a Salesmen'.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More Musical Education

The musical education continues apace. This morning I played this gem for Relia and tried to explain to her what I loved about it:
I spoke about how smooth the music is. And indeed, when people speak of music being 'silky', this is what they mean. The strings and the back up singers all help, but George Michael's voice is simply gorgeous here. I then played her the original, which I also love, but maybe not as much as this recreation. As I was finding that, I found a version from Adele:

I like this too, but not as much as the others. It's faster, which can be ok, but doesn't do the song any favors here. Adele also uses that modern thing where singers must 'shake' their voices. (If I was smarter about this, I'd know the term I mean. Tremelo? Or am I making that up?) My personal feeling is that a little bit of that goes a long way. The industry feeling seems to be 'if a little bit is great, then a lot of bit would be even greater'.
Anyway, this allowed me to point to concrete comparisons so that Relia can see what I enjoy in my music.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Me to Leo: No, no, no. Your daily schedule is not so busy that you don't have time to put on underwear.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Relia Music

Lately Relia has been working me to listen to more of her music. Her purpose for this is so that I'll let her play the radio while we drive, but I'm trying to give it deeper meaning. I remember various times that I tried to bridge a gap with my parents by impressing them with the music that I'd fallen in love with and I want to give her that same opportunity.
So's not really moving that fast. She is big into Taylor Swift and a handful of other people that seem a little 'flavor of the day' to me. She's convinced that Taylor Swift is 'country' music and that may have once been true. But when I hear Tay-Tay, I hear pure pop music. Which is fine. I like pop music. But it ain't country music.
The other day while I was driving (and controlling the music!) this song by Morrisey came on:

 She called it country music. Well...maybe not. I asked her what made it 'country' and she said that she could hear the guitars. Ok, fair enough.
So she's working on me and lord knows that I have a long way to go. I'm hopeful, somewhat hopeful, that this will become a two way street.
Wish me luck!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Middle of the Night

We're working our way past Daylight Saving Time and it's not been easy. Lately, LL has been getting up sometime in the middle of the night and going downstairs. We don't know exactly when he gets up but sometimes he has made changes to his environment, like bring his clock downstairs. Last night I woke up about 4a (3a for my personal body clock) and I found him downstairs watching TV. I shooed him upstairs and back to bed.
From what I can tell, he went back to sleep pretty quickly, which makes me think he'd been up for some time. Unfortunately, I couldn't get back to sleep for at least an hour or so. Eventually, I made it back to bed. The FP Gal left around 7a and told me what time it was. I got out of bed around 7:20 and (incredibly) no one else was up. I had the whole place to myself!
Relia got up about ten minutes later and then LL. This made him late for school but that's no biggie. DF was still in bed at 8:30! All of our schedules are messed up.
Which...this is my long-winded way of saying that DST needs to be eliminated.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What We Know as Kids

One thing that I was very curious about with having children, is what kind of things that my children would just 'get' that I didn't at their age. This happened with me and my parents, most obviously with space travel. I grew up with rockets being a common thing. I literally never lived in a world where man had not walked on the moon. When it came to aspects like gravity in outer space, I feel like I just 'got' it in a way they didn't.
(This isn't to suggest that my parents are stupid, by any means. We simply grew up in different times and with different things happening.)
Anyway, the FP Gal just showed Relia this video:

Relia saw it and simply said, "Yeah, I knew it would do that." Either she just wants to look cool in front of her old parents, or she has grown up with people in zero gravity and just 'gets' how things operate there.
In any case, I think that the video is cool.

Raising Kinder or Raising Cain

It's been some time since I've written about the kids. There is a simple reason for this: I'm not sure how to do it anymore. The older they get, the more worried I am that I'll over-share and embarrass them. They probably don't want people to be able to search their childhoods when they're older. That...seems fair to me. The worry that I'll do that has made it hard to write. That's one of the big reasons that this blog has become semi-abandoned.
But I'm trying to work past that.
If Relia wants to, she can look back at her first couple of years and read about what was happening and how her parents dealt with that. DF can to some extent. LL can't at all. In many ways this is the classic third child syndrome, just moved from baby albums to blogs. It's too late for me to go back and write more about the previous four years, of course, but I'll try to throw a snapshot in here.

LL is now almost five. He's smart as a whip and constantly surprises us with his word choices. A few weeks back I was in the car with the boys and he found out that DF had said something false to tease him. (I don't remember the exact topic and it isn't important.) LL said to him, "When you do that, I become concerned!"
What great word choice!
LL sometimes has no regard for other people's feelings. The FP Gal tells me that this is normal for a youngest child but I don't know how true that is. He is learning some empathy with the cats, especially Ozzie. As I'm writing this, he is nicely petting Ozzie very nicely.
I'm starting to revise my long held belief that he will grow up to be a famous serial killer.

At times, he is very sweet. This is usually a) if he's very tired or b) if he's with the FP Gal. I'm hoping that he can branch out a bit and become sweet at other times too. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Great American Novel List

List found here.

I'm trying to figure out if I can resist this or not. I've already read nine of the books. It wouldn't hurt me to read the other 15.

Hmmm, will have to think about this...

The list, for those who don't click through:

  • The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
  • Moby Dick - Melville
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Lee
  • Huckleberry Finn - Twain
  • Mason & Dixon - Pynchon
  • American Psycho - Ellis
  • Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck
  • Underworld - Delillo
  • Lolita - Nabakov
  • U.S.A. - Dos Passos
  • Invisible Man - Ellison
  • Blood Meridian - McCarthy
  • Light in August - Faulkner
  • Absalom! Absalom! - Faulkner
  • Rabbit, Run - Updike
  • Infinite Jest - DFW
  • Adventures of Augie March - Bellow 
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blonds - Loos
  • Beloved - Morrison
  • Kavalier and Clay - Chabon
  • Freedom - Franzen
  • Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Diaz
  • These Dreams of You - Erickson
  • The Flamethrowers - Kushner
My, my, that's a tempting list.