Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's for Dinner?

One of only three entrees liked enough to cut through the end of day "hangry" (tiredness and hunger). The other two meals are pizza and mac and cheese.
For those of us tasked with preparing the evening meal for our kids we know in our bones we are doing right by our families because of the endless abuse we receive. This is the core of what being part of a family represents. The kids imagine what dinner should be, then are frightfully saddened when the kale and curry appear.

The kids know all the jargon about eating healthy: yes to organic veggies, weird grains and legumes, and mushy bananas; no to trans fats, processed food with unpronounceable ingredients, and truly outrageous amounts of sugar (moderately outrageous amounts are OK on occasion). But when they come home from a long day, finding out what's to eat and showing howling displeasure has become a ritual.

When the kids are less tired they generally eat, and enjoy (although they won't admit it), a decent variety of food. I understand as the martyr of the kitchen it is my role to ever expand their circle of food and suffer for it. I will take abuse for my kids' ultimate culinary, physical, and spiritual growth. Several times my daughter has requested emotional counseling due to the dinner menu. Onward and upward, I say.

My advice to the kids is that they should have planned better and been born to parents with a subscription to a CSD -- a weekly delivery of community supported doughnuts. In the meantime, have some more kale.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kid Art - The Mind of the 8-year-old

Astute social commentary with a bold, yet playful, style.
I suspect the movie "Nacho Libre" may have had some influence on the above art. The kid wanted it put on the blog, perhaps because of the Dog Poop humor.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On To New Issues

This was our old PMA (Permanent Mess Area).

My youngest is eight-years-old, a veritable Methuselah when viewed through the lens of the guy dealing with diaper issues. My son uses the toilet and feeds and (generally) dresses himself. 

Today I discovered the new maturity of my kids by noting the downstairs toy area has stayed neat for a while, perhaps weeks. A few years before every time the toys were straightened up such was an irresistible invitation to play.

Somewhere LSS read that stacking cups or boxes were crucial to a child's development, so we had multiple sets. I've since rotated them out of the line-up. Every time I think of them I think of the hours and hours I spent retrieving them, looking for the right set, putting them away. I believe I could have graduated from law school with the time spent.

I'm pretty happy with the way things are going, bigger kids, more complex problems. Last night was difficult in that one kid was unhappy, while the other had a dehydration issue at 2:00 am that only a parent could solve. Today I took a moment to reflect and took heart with the notion that the toy area was neat and those blasted stacking cups were gone. Hooray!



Monday, February 25, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Purim Costumes

King Mordecai and Freddy Mercury posed to smite the evil Haman with potent song.

The kids got excited this morning about Purim. I'm on my way now to the spiel at their school, eager to appreciate the daughter's interpretation of this classic. If there is signing, I hope she'll do "Bicycle Race."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Las Bombas Apestosas

Which is more accurate to what people actually say, Spanish or English?
Today I reviewed my pictures from the weekend when I visited the Mythbusters exhibit at OMSI, reliving the excitement of bringing some concept of science to my juvenile brain.

I found myself reviewing the snaps of the exhibit on farting, where the show hosts tested if indeed farts could be ignited (yes!).

Reviewing the above information, written in a playful style, I found myself concerned that I had fallen into obsolescence by not being completely familiar with the slang: bean bomb; barking spiders; crunchy frogs; booty bombs; SBD; morning thunder; trouser trumpet.

Looking at the Spanish it appears that the quotation marks are meant to indicate slang or unusual usage as the signage could be a translation from English. But who uses the terms barking spider or crunchy frog? Did the translation go the other way? From Spanish to English?
 At least in the Spanish SBD is explained more fully (Silent But Deadly).

Morning thunder is translated accurately (according to Google Translate ), but pedo sonoro apparently just means "fart sound." I'm not that familiar with Spanish so I suspect there is more to the story here.

I suppose this is what is meant when people discuss visiting museums and how such have the potential to inspire learning and broader perspectives.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fatherhood Secret Revealed

Healthy choice, prop, or communication device?

A surefire hit with kids is to pick up a banana and speak into it as if it were a telephone (the old-timey sort with a handset as opposed to a cell phone).

If the kids are really little you tell them, with mock surprise, that, no, this is in fact a telephone.

 My kids are older, 11 and 8, so a bit more is required. Usually I'll start with the presumption that the banana is ringing and I am being summoned for a call. The people who might be calling include, but are not limited to: Barak Obama, Justin Beiber, Bob Iger, Po (Kung-fu Panda), Lindsey Vonn, Yair Lapid, Jeff Merkely, Thor, Jon Stewart, Richard Nixon.

Lately an anonymous caller has been ringing the banana phone inquiring about the emotional state of my kids. I earnestly give them a full report, often closing my remarks, "yes, I know, but can you say hashtag grumpy-in-the-morning."

I wear them down until they smile.

I know that eventually this will not work. One day the kids will let me know the banana gag seems like early onset dementia, or explain how it embarrasses them or feels like weird harassment.


But until that day comes...Briiinngg, brriinngg, someone's calling.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Branded OMSI Exhibit Pretty Cool

Bric-a-brac from the show Mythbusters.
I took my eight-year-old son to see the Mythbusters exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Like many who visit the museum he is quick to push the button with little patience to read or understand the larger lesson to be imparted. I'm always hopeful some new exhibit will capture his interest in a broader way.

I've only seen the show a few times, so I'm not clear what regularly goes on. The exhibit does a good job of bringing the thrill of blowing up stuff with larger issues of testing theories and observing results.

The design of the exhibit was exciting in that it brought a fusion of common objects unified in odd and industrial manners.

The one display we spent the most time with was a video screen which had a large knob at its base in which one could advance scenes of explosions and mayhem frame by frame. My son carefully worked his way through the entire video segment. "I want to watch the show now," he said. "I want to see more things get blown up."

If this is the seed that grows into science I say yes! If not, then, well, we'll all merely enjoy seeing more things get blown up and be the better for it.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Can You Identify the Kid?

From the mouth (fingers) of a babe (8-year-old).
The other night as I waited for my daughter's martial arts lesson to finish up, I handed my son my phone to help him pass the time.

Generally my phone is a big disappointment to my kids. I don't have games on it and will get upset if any settings or layout are changed. If I pick up my phone and something's not right, I must fix it before anything further can be done. By that time a) much time has been wasted; b) I've forgotten what I intended to do in the first place.

My son respected the lunacy of his old man and began texting LSS. The above is a snippet of that text conversation. Interesting to note that LSS was the one using the fancy emoticons (I don't have them).

This morning in the cold light of day I was impressed by the kid's style and wit --Bravo!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Philosophers Arise!

Half empty, half full, or whatever.

It's not enough to answer you are an optimist on a Briggs Meyer survey, or incorporate elements of hopeful speculation on random schoolwork. The true test is if you can be cheerful in the morning.

My kids are not cheerful in the morning.

These words might find expression when I call the nippers down to breakfast: cross, fussy, grouchy, grumpy, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, grumpadelic, grumpzilla.

Let me know of other good ones to add to the list.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Neighborhood of the 8-year-old

Schwarma: the food of superheroes!
The following is from my son's schoolwork:

What I Like About My Neighborhood
When: In the fall the air is cool and crisp
When: The midnight train passes
When: The garbage truck wakes me up at 6:00 am
When: The wolf wakes me up
When: There's a forest

Feed me schwarma.
The Middle Eastern kind
Is there a Middle Eastern restaurant in your neighborhood

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Sleeping (Disney) Monster Awakes

I suppose Disney sent out this picture to remind us of the good times we had on the cruise.

Last December I went on a Disney cruise and had a pretty good time. My fears were that marketing opportunities would trump enjoyment opportunities and I would be stuck in a commercial for 7 days at sea with a daily ration of snark not enough to support my Portland-smuggness quotient of 8.47.

Happy to say that the marketing while on the cruise was confined to a staffed table in the lobby and several branded promotional items -- placemats, clock, poster, -- stealthily placed in our state room by housekeeping.

Now that I have completed the cruise, myself, wife and kids are official members of the Castaway Club (Yes, we have a card!) and receive notices of special promotions and opportunities. Too bad for Disney the Anti Spam Act of 2003 means email from legitimate businesses have a functioning unsubscribe button.

Also too bad for Disney is that the magic of the cruise has worn off and I can honestly return to being ridiculous when they send me cheesy marketing stuff. I believe the cruise delivered good value and was a great time. All the same I can only wax poetic when The Corporation sends me the above picture -- the card having a magnetic strip on the back so it may be displayed on a refrigerator or power tool.

I'll keep Disney in mind next time I open the fridge. I just wish I knew who those people were!

Monday, February 11, 2013

More DIY Birthday Wack

I'll take this down when the copyright police figure it out.

This is another example of how a Generation X dad Does It Himself in search of authenticity.

The daughter enjoyed the card and generally the birthday went well.

I may not be cool anymore, but I'm thrilled my kids are ascending in this regard. The daughter brought the card to school to show it off.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nugget In a Biscuit For Reals

This is where the mayhem started.
Because of this video going Platinum in our household, my daughter wants the following prepared to celebrate her birthday:

  • Nuggets
  • Biscuits
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Barbeque sauce 
  • Birthday cake
Being no stranger to the unusual, I'm happy to make her dream come true!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Birthday DIY Generation X

The above birthday card created for my son reflects the Cold War ethos that I grew up in -- that, and he is really into spies and stuff.
I used to think I was special. My mom told me so. But now that I'm an adult I can see clearly I am a demographic statistic, easily defined by any number of studies. I am a Generation X dad and live in Portland, Oregon, and everything else that follows is merely commentary.

Of particular note for those of us in this demographic is the search for things that are "authentic." Obviously that term is fraught with subjectivity, but for us here in mossland this concept is most often expressed in appreciation for DIY projects (Do It Yourself), or the retail counterpart of small producers doing artisanal stuff.

I must admit if I can be assured something -- especially food items --is done in small batches I'm much more likely to think highly of it even if it means putting botulism into my body. Out of touch national retailers? Bad! Out to lunch local retailers? Good!

I do stuff, too, like open cans of organic products for dinner, feeling smug about how I have chosen authenticity over corporate mismanagement. But the ground zero of my zealotry comes from not purchasing greeting cards, instead DIYing them in my home studio (desk) with my own production facilities (gluestick).

The kids generally enjoy my cards being too young to know any better and my relatives don't complain too vociferously, having realized any critical comment will send me off on a diatribe that starts, "How can you say I"m crazy? I went to your schools, your institutional learning facilities..."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Incentive For School

A new pair of kicks brings a high level of excitement to a kid's tepid interest in education.

After being home from school for a few days due to a cold the kid demanded that he be allowed to return as he needed to show off his new shoes.

My mind has begun devising a schedule to use shoes as a learning incentive. I suspect this high level of materialistic enthusiasm occurs only once a year.

Well, the shoes are pretty cool.