Go Ask (Someone Else’s) Daddy About Childhood Aspirations, Returns from Blog Vacations and How to Make a Bit of Sense of the Wacked-out Universe We Live in

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The kids get a break this week.

GAD GRAPHICCourtney of Baking in my Bathing Suit suggested I extend an invitation to the grown-up world for Go Ask Daddy. A handful of readers submitted questions, so there was enough to set the girls’ questions back on the shelf for today.

Mimi of Messy Mimi’s Meanderings asked me to tell the story of when I broke big-league news at a small-town paper.

I covered racing for the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record. It was my second job out of college. A racing writer at a tiny paper doesn’t make enough to pay country club dues. Hell, it barely pays enough to buy a club sandwich. In the country.

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Seeing the World Through Grrs and Greats

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Some ideas are so great it’s great to use them more than once.

(Using the same word in the same sentence twice isn’t a great idea. Oops. I did it again.) Think about some great ideas in history. Playing football on Thanksgiving? Great. Let’s do it again. The beautiful and comedic Elizabeth Banks on a real estate commercial?

Yes, great.

You can’t have greats without grrs, however. A grr is … playing football in a stadium like Heinz Field in Pittsburg, where it’s impossible to kick a field goal on one end. Ever. Or … persistent ads on Pandora for problems of men my age.

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Go Ask Daddy About Vocabulary, Liability, and Rad 80s 3D Puzzles That Forever Stump Me

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Competition wasn’t a problem for me as a kid. It was the success I had a problem with.

GAD GRAPHICNo bother. I embraced a life of green and white third- and fourth-place ribbons on field day as part of my DNA. (I can’t remember which was for third, which for fourth.) I toiled on the second level of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, even.

I made the Detroit Lions look like the dynasty to end all dynasties.

Imagine if I’d been able to compete in something squarely in my wheelhouse. Alas, there existed no competition that involved eating tacos (that I knew of) or throwing a plastic football on the roof of my grandma’s house and catching it at least 20% of the time.

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#AtoZChallenge: Z is for the Zen in Building Chances

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Man – sometimes the shots just don’t fall.

ZI mean the shots, tactically (as in soccer) and philosophically (as in life) – and this is coming from a dude who sometimes sits and thinks. It can be a bombed test you studied for or the girl who says no (even when you stand up straight and comb your hair).

You might not get that handful of Skittles or promotion at work or the C- to raise you GPA (was that just me?), but in the building those chances, well, there’s a Zen to be found.

Zen (the term) gets as much overuse as Beethoven’s music in TV ads for toilet paper. It’s in those perfect moments, with full bellies and full beer mugs, in 70-degree bliss, bills paid and the trash out at the curb. It’s a good book and a better glass of wine, right? Zen.

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#AtoZChallenge: V is for Vague Differences Between Protecting and Sheltering

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I might be prone to excessive examination at times.

VEspecially when it comes to the philosophical, or soccer, or cheese. So many moments as a dad, acting in the moment and considering the impact later, at night, when I should be writing or sleeping or at least eating graham crackers.

Who am I kidding? I’m eating graham crackers anyway.

As I vacillate between the college kid soccer girl and the high school soccer girl and the budding musician/soccer girl, happy to have spots in their worlds, I think about how I parent, vague (or subtle?) differences in what we do.

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#AtoZChallenge: T is for Teenagers

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So, my friend Tiffany wrote about teenagers a while back.

TIt was more than two years ago. I kept the link because even back then, I lived among the mess of a life with two teen daughters – then 17 and 14. It was as if Tiffany, who writes Sounds Like Life to Me, had looked into our window. Tiffany even included comic strips depicting life with teenagers.

You know, those awkward yet lovable collections of our DNA and parenting skills and 80% other factors we have no control over.

Teenagers are like those cool tropical fish you get after you’ve mastered goldfish.

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#AtoZChallenge: N is for the New Plan

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What do you think of those Facebook memories things?

NCrazy, right? The damn site looks back at what you posted a year ago. It’s like finding a stormtrooper figure in the pocket of shorts you haven’t worn since last summer. Or, something. (This happened to me last week, I confess.)

Depending on the user and the posts, they’re also a peek into our former selves – or current selves, if we’re still in the same currents.

Spring’s often been a time of loss for me, and only sometimes could I blame another slow start from my beloved Rockies. (Who are in first place at the time of this hacking, I might add.)  It’s also, then, a time of renewal, right? If we’re looking with a positive light?

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How to Recognize Your Past to Appreciate Where You Are

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A little more than a year ago, I stood outside with my 11-year-old as she took pictures of a rare winter landscape here.

“I am where I am,” I said, of course, in 27-degree weather wearing shark pajama bottoms with a curious child who goes out of her way to spend time with me. It’s also where I am, at the bottom of stairs looking up at where I hope to be or at least feel like I am someday.

Yes, you’re way down here, I told myself, but you’re looking the right direction.

Who knows what path I’ll take. But parenting, the divergent routes and surprises and development and growth and discovery of ourselves on the journey will power me upward. Meredith, who writes the blog The Mom of the Year, inspired this post.

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Go Ask Daddy About firewood, Kickass quarterbacks, and loooong shots

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We tell the kids stuff not to do all the time. Here’s 42.

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  1. Don’t eat cookies in bed. Share them on the couch with dad.
  2. Don’t leave the door open!
  3. Don’t leave the fridge open.
  4. Don’t drink daddy’s soda.
  5. Don’t drink daddy’s rum.
  6. Don’t play your saxophone after eating a KitKat.
  7. Don’t run in the street.
  8. Don’t pick the cat up by the tail.
  9. Don’t text in church.
  10. Don’t quote Macklemore songs in church.
  11. Don’t use your tablet after you’ve eaten a rack of ribs.
  12. Don’t yell, “don’t listen to coach!”
  13. Don’t wear sweatpants with words across the arse.
  14. Don’t wrestle by the fish tank.
  15. Don’t leave your soccer ball at the bottom of the stairs.
  16. Don’t use a throw pillow as a placemat.
  17. Don’t spit sunflower seeds in the living room.
  18. Don’t retaliate for a foul.
  19. Don’t leave bubble gum in your pockets.
  20. Don’t talk to the refs.
  21. Don’t pick your nose if the Kiss Cam is going.
  22. Don’t grab a catfish around the fins when you’re taking the fishhook out.
  23. Don’t use the same hand to eat Double-Stuft Oreos as you do for baiting your hook.
  24. Don’t change the station if Electric Light Orchestra is on.
  25. Don’t sneak pizza slices into your jacket pockets at CiCi’s.
  26. Don’t fall down in the shower the morning of game day.
  27. Don’t try to call time out in a soccer game.
  28. Don’t pop more than three M&Ms, or any candy, in your mouth at once. Savor them.
  29. Don’t root for the Seattle Seahawks, externally.
  30. Don’t let go of the Wii remote.
  31. Don’t pass up a chance to watch soccer on TV. Or in person.
  32. Don’t walk barefoot in a dog park.
  33. Don’t disparage your president, the pope or Kesha.
  34. Don’t put an egg in the skillet, and go upstairs to paint your nails.
  35. Don’t pay retail for banana chips.
  36. Don’t forget to stand up for your friends. And even those who aren’t your friends.
  37. Don’t sing or cry with your mouth full. In church, at least.
  38. Don’t skimp on the cheese.
  39. Don’t forget mother’s day.
  40. Don’t say anything bad about Samantha Ponder within earshot of daddy.
  41. Don’t drink dad’s rum when it’s in his Coke (Thanks for this, John).
  42. Don’t burn crepe myrtle.

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A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal: Unfinished Business

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Last night, I was late to kickoff.

theme reveal 2017Of no fault of my own, mind you. Our schedule set kickoff against the team we’d consider our biggest rivals – if we could beat them, that is. We set off to arrive at 5:15 for a 6 p.m. kickoff on the lush grounds of Gray Stone Day School.

Only, the game was to start at 4:30.

I let Gaby the reborn Pontiac Grand-Am take the country roads between us and them with patience and grace, not willing to imperil myself, my daughter or her teammate – or Gaby, really – because of a “miscommunication.” We’d get there in time.

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