Friday, May 26, 2006

Run, don't walk

If you haven't seen X-Men 3 yet (and it opened today, so there's a good chance you haven't), GO! Now! It's great!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


There’s been a lot of talk about monsters in our house lately. Rachel has talked about monsters sneaking in her window, for instance. I told her last night that there are no monsters and even if there were, it was my job as daddy to protect her and I’d always keep her safe. The problem, of course, is that there are monsters in this world and it’s impossible to guarantee the safety of our kids. There are no monsters like the ones Rachel is imagining, all purple with big teeth and a big horned head, but there are people who act in monstrous ways. Today as we were driving to preschool, I had NPR on. I wasn’t really listening to it, but Rachel was. They were talking about the Muhammad-Malvo sniper case. The reporter read a statement by Malvo who testified that Muhammad had turned him into a monster. Rachel turned to me and asked if the woman really meant that or was she just joking. I told her she was just joking, which since Rachel was picturing purple monster with big teeth was not technically a lie. At some point I’ll have to talk to her (and Sammi) about the real life monsters of the world, but when? I am certain the time is not now, but I’ll admit to complete uncertainty concerning when that will be. And of course, it’s entirely possible, even likely, that it will be taken out of my hands and she’ll learn about the monsters of the world from her friends or someone else. Do all parents think about these sorts of things? Or do most just take a “it’ll all work out” kind of attitude?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A fun quiz...

I had never heard of this person. I am curious to know who else you can get. So take the quiz and share your results!

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

United 93

I saw this film a week or so ago. It was a movie experience unlike any other. I didn't feel like I was watching actors. I felt like I was watching the actual event. There was no focus on any one individual in the movie - there was no one hero that we were supposed to empathize with - but instead we saw ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And that is the heart of what happened on that plane on September 11.

I didn't go to see the movie because I expected to be entertained or even to feel good about how those patriots acted on that day. It was a very difficult movie to watch. The audience was silent. I was aware of the audience, though, because we were reliving that life changing day together. At one point I looked over and caught the eye of a woman who had an expression of horror on her face. I think I had a similar expression on mine. We shared a second of understanding.

I went because I felt I had a duty as an American to honor what they did that day. There are many ways to honor them and I don't think everyone needs to go to the movie to do it. But for me, it worked well.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I watched American Idol last night and was shocked by how good Elliot was. We've always known he has a good voice, but his past performances just haven't been good enough. They've been missing a spark. Last night was far more than a spark - we're talking fireball! I just have to wonder if it's one week too late. He was definitely the underdog going into the night and fortunately for him, Katherine was terrible. Both songs were screechy and just painful to listen to. She's just not that good when she's belting a song. She needs to sing the easy-going fun songs, like her second choice last week. Chris and Taylor were clearly good enough to make it through to the Final Three so it's going to come down to Elliot or Katherine. My prediction: All men in the Final Three.

(Poor Rachel. She loves Katherine. When I opined that Kat was screechy, Rachel said defiantly "She's great, Daddy!")

Monday, May 08, 2006

Still missing her...

Rachel told me tonight that she misses Great Grandma, who passed away March 1. It was the first time Rachel had ever had to deal with the death of someone she knew. Tonight I told her a story about Great Grandma and that seemed to help. She told she remembered Great Grandma wore a blue dress at the funeral. I didn't remember that, but I don't doubt her. She wondered if she was wearing shoes and I told her I thought she was. Rachel said she that she was wearing shoes, too.

It's suprising to me what a big impact Great Grandma's death has had on my little girl. They weren't that close; we didn't see Great Grandma nearly as often as we should have. I think she's probably dealing more with the idea of death than this specific loss.

There is a momento of Great Grandma's waiting for us at my mom's house - the binoculars. When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do at Grandma's apartment was look out the window with the binoculars. Grandma lived on the 17th floor and the view was incredible. Not that long ago, my mom took Rachel to visit Great Grandma and the one thing she couldn't wait to tell me about later was how she got to look out Great Grandma's windows with these really cool binoculars. I told her I had used those same binoculars when I was a little kid. We shared the same memory, only twenty five years apart. My mom managed to get the binoculars for us and we're both looking forward to taking that momento home with us.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"There were never such devoted sisters"

This morning Rachel and Sammi were pretending the changing table was a spaceship. Rachel was on top of it (with lots and lots of animals and baby dolls) and yelled to Sammi that they were talking off. Little sister was playing with a baby doll and not moving quickly enough for big sister, so Rachel warned Sammi that when the countdown got to one, they were taking off without her.


Sammi's not moving.


Sammi bolts for the changing ta... spaceship.


She didn't make it!

Rachel says, "Okay, I guess we'll do the countdown again."

In the dramatic tension vs. sisterly love battle, score one for sisterly love.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Weekend with the girls

Sharon has jetted off to Minnesota for a baby shower leaving me with a Daddy-Daughters weekend. It's been a lot of fun so far. We went for a walk in the woods this morning. Sammi rode in the baby backpack and big girl Rachel walked. Rachel was surprised at how many hills we had to climb up. We ran across a dead mouse on the trail and Rachel said that was the first real mouse she'd ever seen outside of the Madeline movie. After a while we rested, ate peanut butter crackers and listened to a woodpecker peck some wood. I talked to Rachel about how much I like the woods and being out in nature, how this all real world and not man-made and that makes it special and precious. She said she really likes it in the woods too because she loves the green trees. And the woodpecker. The woodpecker was really cool. Sammi mostly just enjoyed the peanut butter crackers.

Sammi decided she wanted to walk on the way back and she did that for a while but then started demanding "Uppy!". So I carried her the rest of the way; she didn't want to get back into the backpack. We were all getting tired and hungry and were happy to see the van. When we got h ome, we had a nice lunch (cookies for desert!), and then all of us took a nap. Mine was the shortest and Sammi's slept the longest. Rachel cleaned her room while Sammi slept earning herself another cookie. Now Sammi is awake and the girls are playing with babies upstairs. Time for dinner, I think.

Tomorrow we're off to the Children's Museum.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Snappity snap

Rachel learned how to snap her fingers the other day. She is quite proud of this accomplishment. She told her daycare teacher about it, who was quite impressed with her. In fact, today when Rachel showed up, the teacher asked her how the snapping is going and requested a demonstration which Rachel was happy to provide. And that's what teachers are supposed to do. Show an interest in the kids in their class. It's not hard at all and it means the world to the kids, helps them to feel happy and secure, and leads to better learning. I mentioned in a previous post how unhappy I've been with Rachel's preschool. The fact is, in two years, Rachel has not bonded with either teacher. And I have talked to the teachers about this in a very non-threatening way. Just asked them to talk to Rachel, draw her out, etc. They're just not really good at that. I have also encouraged Rachel to reach out to the teachers. For instance, with this snapping thing, I suggested she tell the teachers about it. She said she didn't want to and she's just going to tell her two good friends. I know she learns things at preschool, but I worry that she doesn't get how fun school can be. And how a teacher can be someone you look up to. Sometimes I wish I had gotten this job earlier so we'd have discovered the onsite daycare early enough for Rachel to have gone there the whole time.

But still. Snappity snap. Next on Rachel's agenda: learning to whistle.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Working out

I have never been an "exerciser". I've never "worked out". Every spring for the last few years, I have prepared for my annual hiking trip by hiking the hills around here with a lot of weight on my back. And I do exercises to build up strength in my knees. But that's about it. This year, I have had access to my work's rec center. There's a large indoor track, lots of machines, a weight room, and basketball courts. With this new job, it's hard to find time to get out to the woods for the hiking training, but I can fit in a half hour or so at the Rec Center three times each week. So I've been running. I have always enjoyed running. Back in high school, lo those many years ago, I ran a six minute mile. It's been slow going getting back into running shape though. My first time out a few weeks ago, I could only run 3/4 mile. Last week I ran a mile and timed myself at right around ten minutes. Today I decided to push myself and ran a mile in 8 minutes. Not too shabby. I've also been strengthening my legs with one of the machines. I am really enjoying it, too. I have always enjoyed doing physical stuff within certain paremeters. Playing football with my nephews and brothers is a lot of fun. Hiking the AT, of course, is satisfying. I'll never be a jock (ha!), but I do enjoy exploring that side of me from time to time. With the rec center so convenient (not to mention free!), I may keep working out past my hike this year. As I get older, it's more important than ever to get into shape.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I wonder...

...if anyone actually wades through those really long posts.

Here's a short one. Rachel and I have a little song that we sing as walk into preschool. I say, "What are we going to do today, Rachel?" and she sings, "Gonna have fun todaaaay... gonna have fun todaaaay!"

Today she says to me: "Except you Daddy, since you have to go to boring ol' work."

My Survivor blog has the latest news and speculation as well as some spoiling about the show.
About Me

Name: Matt
Location: Coralville, IA
I am a Dad and a Husband. An Actor. An Administrator. A Hiker. A Writer. Probably a bunch of other things too. Read my blog and you'll find out more.
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

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