Sunday Reads V: Authentic Living, Savvy Writing and Cookies You Won’t Believe Actually Exist

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photo credit: chris favero StormTrooper Bucket shot via photopin (license)

Never raise a hand to a child, I read once – it leaves your midsection unprotected.

Comedy writer Robert Orben said that. I’ve never raised a hand to any of my children. I have, however, left my midsection – from the bottom of my rib cage to my upper thigh – vulnerable. I’ve been kicked by kids in shopping carts a thousand times.

I should be writing this post in falsetto.

There are better, healthier ways for a dad to remain vulnerable. It’s crucial for us to exude strength to our kids; we often want to take it to the extreme, though. There’s a balance to discover, between The Terminator and The Cowardly Lion.

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with TV Reporter Caroline Vandergriff

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I’ve known who news reporter Caroline Vandergriff is for a while.

cd-interviewsBesides having a cool name, Caroline did a story on a hero of mine, Mildred Meachem. Mildred played in the All-American Girl Professional Baseball League. I knew Mildred from my time as a member at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte.

When Mildred died in January, Caroline did the story for Spectrum News.

Caroline treated my friend like the treasure she was. I expressed my appreciation, and told Caroline I wish she could have met Mildred, a pioneer for women’s sports whose accomplishments paved the way for girls like mine in athletics.

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Sunday Reads IV: Seasonal Nostalgia, Meaningful Numerals and the Day Life Began

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I’m in the midst of some of my favorite sounds of summer as I write this.

I’m in the press box at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia on a Saturday night. I’m covering a pair of Coastal Plain League games. It’s an odd doubleheader: Game 1 was a continuation of a game suspended by rain in the second inning, in another city, 10 days ago.

By the time the Gastonia Grizzlies and Martinsville Mustangs finished that game – a 12-3 Grizzlies victory – it was 10 p.m., and many kids still ran around the park on a steamy summer night with little reason for an early bedtime.

The CPL is a summer league for college players, with a rich history and wooden bats. What a dream it would be to spend a summer on one of these teams, living with host families and playing in historic ballparks.

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with Game Developer Carla Kopp

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I’ve made up a tabletop game or two in my day.

cd-interviewsWho hasn’t? My games were good for a round, maybe two. Today’s guest on #GirlsRock does way better than that! Meet Carla Kopp, senior quality assurance test engineer for Synapse Wireless, an Internet technology firm in Huntsville, Ala.

So smart, so creative. She has a cool job – but she does cool things away from work, too, with Weird Giraffe Games.

This is an occasional series on Coach Daddy to celebrate women who do cool things. Carla definitely qualifies. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a MS from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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Go Ask Daddy About Scholastic Schedules, Commemorative Symbols, and Picking Nits in Our Language

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This week, it’s all academic.

GAD GRAPHICMeaning, there’s some deep philosophical questions here. Well, one at least. And one about cheese, which to me is a sign of higher intelligence. Although, when I was in college, it didn’t really feel like a haven of higher learning.

Was it just me?

I once got an 8 – yes, e-i-g-h-t – on a science test. I stayed after to ask, “is there any mathematical reason I shouldn’t hit drop-add after this?” My prof, he of feathered hair and a beard before beards were cool, simply shook his head.

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Always Enough Happy to Tell You Something Good, Guaranteed

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I can make my famous brown and white sugar pancakes by heart now.

I save time. And a great way to avoid leaving out key ingredients – such as baking soda – or doubling key ingredients – such as baking soda. I’ve flipped these classics – this same recipe – for years, probably since the Milwaukee Brewers (or Jewel) were any good.

I looked Saturday at the dry ingredients in the bowl, mostly white even with the brown sugar integrated, and it started the wheels turning.

Not of Hispanic America’s integration or dispersion into modern caucasian culture. I thought of how sugar – brown and white – mixes with salt, baking soda and flour, to become greater than the sum of parts. To become something delicious.

And if you were forced to choose a single grain of that to eat, you’d wish for sugar, right?

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Sunday Reads No. 1: Routines, Reviews, and Roadblocks

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I wish I had more time to read.

I wish I had more time for other things, too. Like, watching Elizabeth Banks commercials, or melting cheese on anything, or eating cheese with Elizabeth Banks. I somehow manage, during times I should be doing other things, to read a little every day.

(Don’t tell my boss.)

Actually, tell my boss. Reading’s essential to be a writer. I think Stephen King or Steph Curry said that once. Lots of my blogging friends put together a list of favorites every week, and I’m honored they have the misguided tendency to include me sometimes.

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Go Ask Daddy About Saxophone Glory, the Cost to Watch and Celestial Endings

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So, this one time, in marching band …

GAD GRAPHICWe got to play at halftime of a Colorado State football game in Ft. Collins. It was Band Day, and they played the University of New Mexico. I played baritone sax. I was first chair, I might add. The cheerleaders came with us.

Stick with me … this will tie together eventually.

Her name was Kaylie. (It was actually Shawna, but I don’t want to use her real name.) She was dreamy. Silky, curly brown hair, hazel eyes, braces. Sigh. The universe had a little fun that day and put Shawna – I mean, Kaylie – next to me on the bus.

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3+ Uncommonly Good Gifts for a Happy Father’s Day

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Stormtrooper in a pickle at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

I just wanted them to pretend.

Kids are busy, though. There are church camps and chicken fajitas with friends in restaurants way past the dinner rush. There’s a whole day spent with a friend from school, laying out at the pool and baking chocolate chip cookies.

Kids my kids’ age don’t have time to pretend anymore.

So I will. My friends at Uncommon Goods have the coolest stuff you could possibly get your dad (outside of one of those sweet Rockies jerseys.) Uncommon Goods has some uncommon traits going for them as a company, too, in an effort for sustainability.

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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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