Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm a Winner!

Words can't describe the feelings rushing through my body! I have been given the equivalent of the Academy Award for bloggers! OK, maybe more like an MTV award since it comes with a guitar and the words "Awesome Dude" attached to it.

YDS of Rattling The Kettle out in Cali was bestowed this ongoing award by another Awesome Dude Blogger and did a caption contest for this photo of a zebra he took at the San Diego Zoo. Apparently my caption was the favorite and I won! Thank you!

The rules of this award say that I now have to pass it on. I liked the contest idea. In the spirit of creativity I will also do a contest! The guidelines of this one are simple. Write a 26 word paragraph (in the comments section of this post) using words starting with each letter of the alphabet in order from A to Z. For example:

"Afterwards, Bob continued doing evil faces. "Good Heavens!" I jumped kicking loudly, making noise on purpose. "Quiet!" Roger screamed, testing unfinished Velcro while x-raying young zebras."

The best one chosen by yours truly wins the Awesome Dude Blogger award. In the event that a "dudette" has the best one I will alter the award. Good luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Left The Toilet Seat Up All Weekend

The Little Mr. and I had our 2nd Annual Guy’s Weekend last week while Mama and Little Bit were out of town for their 2nd Annual Girl’s Weekend. Last year for the inaugural event, my son and I went to the FedEx Kinko’s Classic golf tournament. This year we had a whole lot more planned!

Thursday we took it easy and went to one of his favorite joints for dinner and a chocolate milkshake. After dinner we came home and played outside with the neighbors until it got dark. Once he hit the showers and went to bed, it was around 10:00pm. Staying up late is what a guy’s weekend is all about, which is good because when he woke up at 1:00am I was still awake watching poker on television. The poker game at the stay-at-home dad’s forum ended about midnight but I still couldn’t go to sleep. An almost empty house is too quiet. So, Little Mr. crawled into Mama’s side of the bed and we watched poker until 2:00am while he made up new Dr. Seuss stories by reading about the pictures.

The excitement continues by clicking the Quirkee logo below!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Do You Act Your Age?

Even though you are the grown-up, do you ever find yourself...

cutting your own sandwiches into triangles?

turning on cartoons while the kids are napping?

wishing you could have gotten a sticker at the doctor's office?

opening the Happy Meal toy and playing with it first?

sneaking French fries off your child's plate when they are not looking?

jumping the gun in a race so your four-year old won't beat you?

wanting one of those motorized shopping carts so your kids can push you?

forgetting to cover your mouth when you sneeze, then looking around to make sure nobody noticed?

giving some of your vegetables to the dog so you can have desert, too?

coloring on the children's menus at a restaurant?

cursing the playground builders for making the monkey bars too low?

No? Then either I'm the only one or you are lying!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Guy's Weekend Haikus

Mama and Lil' Bit

Left for a girl's weekend trip

Just me and the boy


Saw Ratatouille

My son's first time at movies

My first time in years


Playing golf today

If the rain will stay away

He sure wants to play

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Have The Urge To Embarrass Myself

Some of you might be wondering why I would want to do this. Well, sometimes you just have to take one for the team. If you can't make fun of yourself, somebody else will do it for you.

This week at we are starting a photo contest. Have you ever worn something that was a little crazy? I'm not talking about Halloween costumes. For example, I went to my Senior Prom in 1991 with American flag pants, a white tuxedo jacket, red bow tie, blue cummerbund, white shoes, gloves, and a cane. I know exactly what you are thinking right now: "That's the coolest tuxedo ever!"

Thank you. I thought so, too!

This photo contest takes place over the next four weeks and the winner gets a free iPod Shuffle! Submit your photo today for the Quirkee Community to vote on! Sorry, as much as I know you want to, you can't vote for me. My photo is just up as an example of the quirky outfits people wear sometimes.

What are you waiting for? It's Quirkee time!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson's Funeral Cortege to Stonewall, Texas

I went out this morning and took some photos of Lady Bird Johnson's procession to Stonewall, TX, to be buried next to President Johnson. I was going to write a blog post about it, but a fellow blogging friend at the Statesman wrote one that is much better than what I would have written. So I will give you a photo that I took and a link to her post.

"Lady Bird's Passing" by Julie Brown Casey

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Statesman Shafted Me Today

It's my own fault, really. Last year when I renewed my subscription I paid for a whole year up front so I wouldn't forget to pay my bill. I could always tell before when my bill had gotten "lost" in the mess that is called my desk. I would mosey on up the driveway ready to pick up my newspaper and it wouldn't be there. I usually suspected a newspaper bandit was responsible, but quickly remembered seeing a bill in a stack. Somewhere.

On Friday the same thing happened but I wasn't expecting it since I had paid for my renewal sometime last year. Well, apparently that was a year ago and the recent bill the Statesman sent me was misplaced. Somewhere. So I broke down and spent the 50 cents on Friday's paper. I know I could have easily read all the important news online, but something about sitting down with coffee and the paper in the morning just feels better.

Today when I got up to get the paper I was excited to see from the front window that all of the neighbors had free promotional issues in their driveways in the pink bags. That means I got one, too, and wouldn't have to drive to the gas station for my copy!

I was disappointed to see that I had been skipped in this little giveaway. It was sad to be the only one in our cove who didn't have a newspaper. Instead of turning around in shame knowing that all of the neighbors were now aware that I hadn't paid my bill and was been penalized for it, I walked on over to our neighbor's house and swiped theirs like a paper bandit in the night! I took it out of the bag and turned around to head home with a grin on my face. I had my free paper.

It's a good thing they were out of town.

Thanks for the free promotional paper, Austin American Statesman. I'll pay my bill on Monday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alpha Bits For Your Parenting Soul

Fatherhood has been a learning experience to say the least. Other than the Saturday parenting class at the "lady parts" doctor's office, we had no formal training preparing us for what we were about to endure. We were given almost every parenting guidebook on the shelves before birth, but after reading a few chapters I just couldn't take it anymore. When one book tells you something different than the next book and the next book, which is right? None of them, actually. People wrote those books knowing full well those tips and methods didn't work for them, either. They just happened to be good writers who thought they could make a buck or two by spewing advice in a book that should have been labeled "fiction" and sold alongside the Harry Potter series.

There is one book I enjoyed and read all of called, "Keeping the Baby Alive till Your Wife Gets Home." It is a humorous take on becoming a new parent. I like funny books so that is probably why I read it cover to cover. In the spirit of keeping parenting humor alive, I thought I might share some of the things I have learned since becoming a new dad. By no means is this a book I want to sell you or should you even take this advice. Nevertheless, here comes "Alpha Bits For Your Parenting Soul."

A - Always remember that even though you are the adult it doesn't mean you can scream the loudest. This is certainly true when two or more of your children practice synchronized screaming in the fruit and vegetable aisles at the grocery store while you frantically make a run for the beer and wine section.

B - Be careful when little ears are listening to you talk on the phone to your friends. One slip of the tongue and your child is teaching the preschool class new words that will get you a phone call from the teacher.

C - Cremating your deceased pets and having their ashes returned in a box will intrigue your toddler and creep you out a little bit.

D - Don't forget to pack an extra change of underwear and clothes for your son who drinks too much juice and can't make it to the bathroom on time. If you don't, he will end up wearing his best friend's underwear. You will also have to break the news to him someday that he wore his best friend's Superman tighty whities and they were too big.

Click the Quirkee button below to finish the alphabet!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Summertime Summertime Sum Sum...

Summertime. I hear it's on the way. Hot and humid days. It was nice to have a June that felt like April. It was nice to have the rain, although not so nice for my grandparents in Marble Falls whose back room flooded just two days before the annual family reunion. Since the town was upside down in asphalt and washed out homes, the reunion was postponed.

Yep, here comes summer. And since we had an extended spring I'm sure summer will last until the first of October, which means the Austin City Limits Music Festival will most likely be another sweat fest fueled by too many beers and spicy nachos. Oh well, you only live once!

Along with finally being able to treat my grass with fungicide to save the remaining sprouts of desperate St. Augustine blades hoping to form a runner to fill back in the bare spots, I'm also looking forward to some thunder and lightning free kickball games down at the rec center!

Little Mr. is on a coed team this summer and they are good! Their team wins every time they play! OK, so maybe they all win every time but that doesn't make it less exciting for the kids and parents. It's not like they are playing high school football or anything. They are a bunch of three and four-year old kids learning how to participate on a team and play an organized sport. I use the term organized very loosely, though. At some point all of the kids take turns running off the field during the innings to give their parents a high five or sneak a sip from their juice boxes.

We have snack duty for tonight's game. I was thinking something really unhealthy like Twinkies but my wife suggested fresh fruit. I guess we'll be taking fresh fruit and Little Mr. and I can eat the Twinkies later at home!

Little Bit, Little Mr.'s younger sister, is a big fan of his kickball games. She runs around cheering and sometimes tries to jump in to kick. She is turning into a little troublemaker and I'm thinking of changing both of their nicknames to Big Trouble and Little Trouble. The two of them together are a force to be reckoned with. In January I wrote an article for about how they were slowly forming a coup d'├ętat. Their side has grown even stronger since then and I have started to look for hiding places around the house in case I need to reload. At this point I still have the upper hand but as soon as Little Bit gets control of her yogurt weapons I'm a dead man.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Poker Pal

A buddy of mine just came back from Vegas where he played some mean poker. Poker in Vegas seems to be a lot more exciting than poker at his house. Here is his post from day one where he managed to piss off an entire room of people.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I'm Free To Do What I Want Any Old Time

Freedom. It's a word that means so much and can represent something so little. We are free to choose where we live, where we worship, what sports teams to cheer for, and the clothes we want to wear. We also have the freedom to be morons, pick our noses in public, and eat junk food all day.

We are free to dance and free to sing, even if we have no rhythm and are completely tone deaf.

We are free to drive an SUV, a hybrid, ride a bicycle, or walk. We are free to spend our paychecks on gasoline so we can go to work and earn more gas money.

We have the freedom to learn, to read and write, and to teach others. This is a freedom that should never be taken for granted.

We are free to travel, to see new places, and to visit family and friends. We are free to leave this country and explore the world.

We are free to jump out of a perfectly good airplane for the sake of a short-term adrenaline rush. We are free to climb the highest mountain even if it means we may die.

We have the freedom to choose what foods we eat. We are free to stuff ourselves while others go hungry. Sometimes freedom comes with a little guilt.

We have many other freedoms not listed above. More than anything we should be thankful to the men and women of many generations that fought for freedom here and abroad. Thanks to them we have the freedom of voice and the freedom to share it.

Robert W. Grayson

November 13, 1921 - July 5, 2005

U.S. Marine Corps 1943 - 1946 Active Duty, 1946 - 1964 USMC Reserves (Retired a Major)

Thank you, Grandpa. Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Four Years Ago - Full Story

This Sunday, July 1st, is the day four years ago when my life completely changed. No, not the day I got out of rehab or jail. It was the day my son was born. All of the sudden it was no more late nights out with our friends closing down bars after work. No more midnight runs to the nearby bowling alley to squeeze in a few games and a few bowling pin shaped beers. From that day on it was diaper, feed, burp, change diaper, feed more, burp, change diaper, sleep for a few hours, then start all over with a clean shirt on.

We quickly got the routine down and the few hours of sleep every night were enough for us to stay alive. The bags under my eyes were eventually replaced with extra laugh lines. The hair on my head is a different story. Not long after our son was born my first gray hair appeared on my goatee. I plucked it. Then one appeared on the side of my head so I plucked that sucker, too. They say if you pluck them more just appear. That's OK by me because at the rate my brown hairs are vanishing I would much rather have more gray hairs than no hairs at all. I already keep a nice short cut and I estimate that in about five years I'll just shave it bald - but only if I can find out how to reconfigure my wine cork shaped head by then.

Many other things are different than they were four years ago. By quitting my bank job to stay home with our kids I confirmed what I always knew in the back of my head. I'm not the corporate lackey type and that's fine. Some people are mentally built to strive for a corner executive office with a giant leather chair and a huge mahogany desk paid for by "the company" as part of the perk of the job. Not me. I'm happy to drive myself over to Office Depot and buy my own leather (like) chair for $50. Couple that with the giant Kimball desk in almost perfect condition for $80 from my neighbor's garage sale, I'm sitting pretty. My home office is in the corner of the back living room with eight windows looking out into the backyard covered in large oak trees shading the only pet we have left. Old Maddie now gets to hang out with the family all day.

Also, in the last four years since my son was born I have discovered that he is just like me. He is even starting to look more like me, although shorter with more hair. He is a picky eater like I was. He is stubborn. He is constantly full of energy and on the go, and he loves the Dallas Cowboys. I started him cheering early on at two months old in his Dallas Cowboys onesie. He is also a very funny kid and I remember being somewhat of a clown growing up. Who knew I would write a humor column someday? Maybe my mother did. She was always my best audience and laughed at me all the time when I wasn't driving her bananas.

In the four years since my son was born we also had a daughter. I have since learned that with all that goes wrong in the world like wars, shady politics, economic busts, catastrophic weather events, etc. - at the end of the day everything is all good when my daughter flashes that beautiful smile and laughs. It breaks my heart to think that someday she will be ticked off at me for not letting her date that guy with a nose ring and tattoos. It will break my heart even more when she comes home one night with a nose ring and tattoos that she got while out on a date with that guy.

Four years ago I was almost thirty-one years old, I had been married for almost five years, and it was time to start the family I always dreamed about. It was time for me to grow up and take on new responsibilities. I sure am glad I did.

Happy Birthday, Little Mr.