Thursday, September 26, 2013

No Kids In Sight - Time To Celebrate Revolutionary China

I enjoy stamps with scenes of socialist realism and often get inspired by the utilitarian slogans. I would like to design my own. One idea is to have pictures of kids grinning ludicrously while brushing teeth, the slogan perhaps reading, "Fighting espionage with good oral hygiene!"
The kids are on an extended martial arts field trip and I am taking a break from my usual child-oriented posts and instead focusing on my mementos from China. Who can blame me?

First in a series of statuettes my mother gave me.

Although hard to see, this is a red velvet Mao and is a personal favorite.
I'm often asked about the spork (not really). Mao would most certainly approve. Why waste having two chopsticks when one spork will suffice?

Comrade Portdaddia: These were my student documents when I studied in Guilin during the Three Kingdoms Period. The bank note is an archaic Foreign Exchange Certificate, good only at Friendship Stores and the black market.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life Moves On And I'm Glad

As a consultant to imaginary businesses, I often emphasize focus on core interests. The son has taken this to heart and cut loose the toys that no longer work for him.
A while back the crew did a Family Room Inventory, where we took stock of what we had and put what we didn't need/want anymore in the garage. A significant pile of stuff soon took shape in the garage. And, no, it wasn't that painful, at least for me.

My mood soared with the toy clutter pushed back about three feet -- it felt like our living room grew by 15 percent.

The bookshelf did not go unnoticed.
Only in the first few days of owning the bookshelf was it ever so orderly.
I can easily let others be nostalgic for when our babes hucked stacking cups willy nilly, for I am pleased and delighted in how the offspring are turning out. Sure there are those Amazon charges for vodka and cigarettes that we need to unravel, but I suspect there is a quasi-plausible explanation.

Adding to the good feeling, a neighbor with young kids really enjoyed receiving the discarded toys.

Life has challenges everyday, but living without the following has a certain attractiveness:
  • Stepping on a stacking cup; 
  • Being told to pick up said cups; 
  • Asking, and being denied, privilege of destroying said cups with a ball-peen hammer;
  • Seeing kid happily playing with those god-awful stacking cups;
  • Being told with a look that if I mention the cups again things will be bad;
  • Finding a stacking cup each time the couch is moved.;
  • Receiving yet more information why stacking cups are so important for child development.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daughter Takes Turn At Action Video

Not content to just be on-screen talent, the daughter insisted on making her own video.
In a move bound to be prophetic, the daughter launched her action video career this weekend when she filmed me paddling around on the river.

She had all the concepts correct, except that to make a great action video one needs plenty of fast and exciting action -- not necessarily a middle-aged crusty guy paddling around slowly on a SUP.

Still I applaud her interest in the visual arts.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Living Large In Oregon - Whooo!

The rain is coming down hard now, but I'm glad I caught some late-season rays this weekend.
One of the pivotal moments that inspired me to start blogging was, of course, reading someone else's blog. A windsurfer posted some pictures of his sport and wrote that he "wanted to proclaim his stoke for all the blessings."

There it was in a nutshell, simple, straightforward, cool. My first reaction was, Why does this guy get to just totally proclaim his stoke? Where are his qualifications? Why him?

I then realized that I was jealous that he had found a way to be the person he wanted to be. I have no evidence of this, just that I was envious he was proclaiming stoke while I was stewing in my own juices about nothing in particular.

When I realized that I needed a platform to proclaim my own stoke I had some tepid experiments on Facebook where I introduced the idea as some type of long-running inside joke. Generally people were supportive, but with Facebook when I posted something and it generated no response I felt bad. Plus my posts appeared sandwiched between the usual feeds and thus looked poor in comparison.

I suppose the link to this blog looks poor in comparison, but, well, blah, blah, who cares. Now that you're here, I can let the stoke be proclaimed.

Starting the Portdaddia blog was a great creative outlet, giving me a blank sheet upon which to express what, may or may not, need to be expressed.

Today is Monday and the day was dark and long. But when I see my family I am happy.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Apples And Creative Play

Thus began Applefest 2013
 Readers may note how the troops here pick plenty of fruit. We do because it tastes pretty good and reflects the lifestyle choices we have made over the years. Nothing screams LOHAS like 30 pounds of various apples and pears, so we grabbed some cartons and got to work.

The kids picked a few apples then get down to business playing on the cool fort made from old fruit crates at Kiyokawa Orchards. I chased after them with my phone, scripting their lines and blocking their positions to get maximum artistic effect for the blog.

When I sat down for a moment they sneaked away and had fun anyway.

It's a wonderful day for pie!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sixth Grade Fall Fashion

No more Hello Kitty, unless such is used ironically.
Our daughter continues to refine her fashion sense. Perhaps the above outfit was overly influenced by images from video games and "The Walking Dead" television show.

She is currently playing the video game "Batman Arkham City" and often does so wearing Batman-print pajamas pants and a yellow top.

Regarding fashion for the eight-year-old: sweatpants.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Speeding Driver Is Oblivious

Unknown driver rushes to get somewhere.
LSS has had a few near misses with the above lady driving the dark BMW. Each time LSS has honked and tried to indicate that BMW Lady's speed was excessive. The lady has so far failed to acknowledge LSS honking or adjust her speed.

Today I went outside with a camera and filmed her driving past (she did not turn her head as I panned the camera). She seems to have a schedule in mind, so when she is running late her speeds increase.

I suspect BMW Lady is a normal, nice person who would be bewildered by the commotion she is causing.

We have another neighbor who drives a light BMW. He immediately stopped when the eight-year-old on his bike veered quickly into the street the other day. I shudder to think what the outcome would be if BMW Lady were put to the same test.

I would like to ask her if she has grandchildren. I would ask if she would drive differently if she knew her grandchildren were in the street. I would tell her that someone else's grandchildren, children, wife are in the street and she should slow down.

I believe we will find this person's name and address as she apparently lives close by. LSS would like to start off by politely confronting this person.

I'm hoping for the best.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kid Asks To Be Subject Of Video

Feast or famine: Often hiding from the camera, today the kid was in rare form.
Contrary to popular belief I don't start the day filming my kids while simultaneously poking them with a stick so as to create action for the camera.

Many, if not most, mornings I am sunk into the depths of my own consciousness, numb to all but the most pressing of the day's requirements.  We are all like this on the weekdays, the kids too.

But every once in a while I get a live one! Here's the fruit of such good fortune.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Maker Faire At OMSI

Car covered in colorful yarn.
This weekend we went to the Maker Faire at OMSI. I'm not sure why "faire" is spelled like it is, perhaps to give makers of duct tape trebuchets a bump.

I had to look up what a Maker Faire was and came up with this: ..."An event created by Make magazine to "celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself mindset".

There were many cool projects on display, but it often took some detective work to figure out what was going on. An industrial supplier of circuit boards showed how his controller could move a small robotic arm, or a club for building astromech droids (R2D2 from Star Wars) cruised their creations through the crowd. 

Although everyone was brilliant in a tech way, most were not adept at interacting with the public. I had to really ask a lot questions. Still, it was worth it as we stumbled upon an organization that teaches kids to make video games.

The daughter had the "can we go now" look on her face for much of the time but this information got her excited.

I would definitely go again, especially now that I've been initiated.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Family’s New Philosophy – The Jerk Is Paid

LSS shared with me a video in which a Buddhist teacher tells a tale of life at the retreat – I would share the link but generally avoid any internet searches that are potentially more than 15 seconds.

Superficially retelling the story, a bunch of earnest spiritual tourists paid good money to stay at the retreat and learn from the famous monk. During the day the people are given various tasks to perform, each activity made extra burdensome by an obnoxious man who is either unwilling or incapable of getting along with others.

Finally the disagreeable man has had enough and leaves the retreat. When the monk hears this he is horrified and jumps into his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and brings the man back.

That night a student asks the monk why he retrieved the man who brought so much disharmony and ill-will into the community. The monk whispered, “I pay him.”

There it is, the big wisdom. If you knew all the annoyances of this world were put there on purpose for your spiritual improvement would that change how you handled them?

I can say yes, but it wouldn’t necessarily make me more friendly on the highway.

But what thrills me is that this story is easily understood by the kids. Perhaps because they talk about personal development in their martial arts program their minds are open to this possibility.

In any case, the burdens are easier to bear after hearing this story – and that I might find employment at the local ashram. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

That Summer Feeling Is Going Away

Although still warm, the chill of responsibility has taken hold.
School has taken the little freebooters to its bosom where I hope the kids will become socialized to some variation of the human race I can recognize without reading glasses.

Still, we had a great summer. Here's the nostalgia video.

Also, here's the extra Zambie art created by the 8-year-old:

Forgiving and forgiveness

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Zombie-Infatuated Media-Savvy Kids Means Great Blog Content

The 8-year-old son created this as a poster for his locker. "Zambies" is not a misspelling, rather it reflects a belief that any zombie apocalypse will occur mainly in the American South (thanks AMC!)

Today was day three of the school year and there was a strong theme of zombies. The son was making zombie posters and the daughter began doing zombie-themed cheers.

The moment of crazed transcendence came when the son ran and grabbed my phone from another room to capture the following video segment.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Report From The Front Lines Of School

A photo from the not-so-distant past depicts the kid in her first-day outfit.
Some stuff happened and the kid started telling it the way she saw (or imagined) it.


The good stuff!

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Day Of School Situation

Walkie-talkies provide dramatic prop as the kids psych-up for the big day. 
Too much discussion, time to get on with it.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome To The Sixth Grade!

The design has stood the test of time and then some.
No more grade school cubby-holes, or lockers with no locks. This is the big time, kid.

The daughter put her finesse with her lock on display all day yesterday, bringing back memories of anxiety that I wouldn't get the damn thing open.

Everyone has his/her issues. The daughter clearly does not have lock-opening ones. 

More importantly this is her official transition from being a Kid to becoming a Tween, then onto Official Teen and and finally Wack Young Adult. Other milestones could include Crazed Maturity, and finally Ultimate Decrepitude.

As one on the later end of the spectrum I applaud her advancement to middle school, where freedom and responsibility come with concerned looks from parents and educators.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Parenting Tip - Find A Really Big Sandbox

Parenting? What parenting. Kids just like to play in sand.
A really big honkin' pile of sand
We returned from a family camping trip at Jessie Honeyman State Park. An excellent place made better by a great group of friends.

Good weather, food, and the opportunity to cast the kids free on bikes made for a first-rate experience.

The kids really enjoyed camping, probably because we ate some form of chocolate and marshmallows every night. Our current addiction is stuffing a banana with chocolate and marshmallow, wrapping it in foil and throwing it on the fire for a few minutes. Bravo!

Each time we go the kids are able to do more around the camp. Seeing them explore and play outside does this screen jockey proud.

A blast from the past.