Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Here are some Tweets.

Here is another edition of me doing a copy & paste post. The only minor edits are that I substituted Elle (pronounced like the fashion magazine), our daughter's nickname, for Kid/Daughter from the Twitter post. So, please enjoy some of Elle's wit and wisdom:

  • Elle (bedtime): "Reading doesn't make me sleepy, it just gives me more energy. You cannot tire me out." Followed by a devilish smile.

  • Instead of saying cheese when it's picture time my kid says, "Mischa Barton". I have no idea how that started. (My wife accepted responsibility for that - below, Elle's "Mischa Barton" impression.)

  • Me: "Is it a boy or girl?" Elle: "It's a boy. If it was a girl I'd be holding it low." She was referring to a B.M.

  • I did a double take this morning when I saw a sign advertising a "Pet Detective".

  • Elle: "A warm shower is a lot better than a warm glass of milk."

  • I had a Netflix movie I placed in the mail slot. Someone took it out, opened it and shoved it back in. I guess they didn't like the movie. (Documentary)

  • I bought my kid a harmonica. I think my wife will not be thrilled with this choice once she comes back from an hour+ commute.

  • Off to the park before it rains. Nothing witty or funny. My apologies. Maybe I can talk my kid into letting me get some coffee first.

  • Elle: "Dad today I woke up with wit & energy. Are you ready to do something fun?" Me:"I'm going to make some coffee."

  • Elle: "I'm excited that I get to spend the day with you, but I'm a little more excited that I don't have to go to school tomorrow."

  • My father in-laws advice to me about my blog: "more stuff about the kid, she's funnier."

  • Elle almost filled up her bedtime chart. She wanted a catfish & goldfish for it. I was able to talk her into getting a globe instead.

  • Elle to parents:"I just like making the day fun for you guys." (She said that after she broke her play dooh in to tiny little pieces and spread it all around the living room.)

  • My daughter is mad at her mom for giving her a time out. After mom leaves the room Elle says,"right now, dad, you're my favorite parent."

  • My daughter runs into our bedroom and likes to announce herself as the door goes flying open, "Psst, Hey it's me."

  • Elle: "I'm three years old and I like not cleaning up and relaxing. That just my style. Also, I'm not a fan of bedtime or school."

  • Elle: "I think I'm just going to forget about going to bed." Me: "Well, I'm going to forget you said that and say good night."

  • Elle: "Where was I before I was born?" Very deep question that I don't know how to even answer.

  • My kid saw a pic of Kate Gosselin: "Hey, that's the frustrated lady from the show with the kids."

  • Elle wakes up: "Hey, Dad, let's sneak out, get breakfast for mom, and stop by a special doll store for me. Doesn't that sound like a good plan?"

  • Stepping into Urban Outfitters yesterday made me feel insanely old. It's like a kid looking at a pager and saying, "what is this?"

  • Elle: "Dad, can I have a night cap? Dad: "Excuse me!" Elle: "You know, a cap that you wear to bed." Dad: "I think we can work something out."

  • My kid is starting to get sarcasm. Mom and dad will no longer have a secret language.

  • Now my daughter will say," are you being sarcastic?" I guess we have to start speaking French or Spanish. 'Til she understands that also.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Then and Now (A Guest Post From My Wife)

In what I'm taking as a huge vote of confidence, Edgar has offered to let me guest post on his blog this week. I have a whole new appreciation for what he does - this creative process stuff is tough. This year will be 10 years that Edgar and I have been together. We met when I was in college, we both worked at a local dive bar and pretty instantly clicked. I turned 30 recently and have spent a lot of time reflecting over our time together and about how so much has changed, even though the years have flown by.

Date nights weren't romantic, they were in.sane.
Then: Since we worked in a bar, we knew "the circuit" and traveled it regularly - drinking at various establishments, served by our friends for free as long as we left big tips at the end of the night. His: SoCo and Coke, mine: anything fruity. We'd scarf down bar food and drink, drink, drink. Often nights ended with breakfast at greasy spoon type diner as the sun was coming up. Crawl into bed, get a few hours of sleep, and repeat.
Now: On the nights my parents have Elle, we may hit a local bar for a few glasses of wine. Instead of restaurants, we opt for cooking together and popping in a movie that we can't watch when Elle is around (thank you, hilariously bad horror movies - you never disappoint). A late night ends by 11 and it can take us several days to recover if we accidentally overdo it. 

We had style, man.
Then: When we moved in together, words can not describe the agony that came with merging the limited closet space. I had an almost epic collection of shoes and handbags that needed prime real estate. Since his apartment came with 2 roommates, 1 obscenely large and smelly fish tank (thanks to roommate #2), and a revolving door of creepy people who may try to steal something, start a fight, or just pass out on the floor (again, way to do us a solid roommate #2 - no wonder you only lasted a few months), my stuff had to be secure. Edgar had more clothes than any human ever should - he worked retail in high school and everything still fit him (maybe that bothered me more than the actual clothes). I'm talking shirts that could stack over 8' tall, track pants of every color, more baseball caps than I'd ever seen. There was an actual sub-collection of visors. Visors! Ok, they were "in" then, but still. How do you fit all of this style into just 2 closets?
Now: E has already mentioned his Birkenstocks (we'll just leave that one alone) and ever since Elle was born I've been trying to trick my feet back into heels with little success. I think about what I used to spend on clothes and accessories and dream of putting that money into savings or towards a new kitchen. I'm slowly coming out of my "mom" style funk - my hair is back to being regularly highlighted, I put on makeup every day. I try to focus on the fact that I'm becoming myself again and ignore the facts that a) it's taken me 3 years and b) the old me would be so ashamed. I mean, Edgar looks even better than the day we met. I've got to step up my game.

So, how do you know when it's for real?
Then: We had a very rocky relationship at the start - we broke up and got back together on a regular basis, as I think most people who are 20 and 21 do. When friends would ask "why don't you guys just move on" I'd say there was just something there that I couldn't explain. When things were good between us it was really close to perfect and I just kinda had this feeling that once we worked all of this out of our system, we could be really great together.
Now: So, I was right and I was wrong. I was right because we worked out all of our issues and there was something really great there, hence the whole marriage and kid thing. I was wrong in the sense that for all of the wonderful expectations I had about what our life would be like together and what kind of husband and father he would be, I didn't even come close to the reality of how amazing he truly is. He is so much more loving, supportive, nurturing, and fun than I could have ever imagined and there is no doubt in my mind that this is what people mean when they talk about soul mates. So, honey, here's to 10 fantastic, hilarious, love-filled years - I'm waiting with baited breath to see what the next 10 have in store!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Storytime 3 (The Frog Princess)

Another edition of Saturday Storytime brought to you by Elle.

Once upon a time there was a frog princess and her name was Sleeping Beauty Frog. And once upon a time she wanted to marry a prince and that was funny because a frog can't marry a prince. And the children had to explain to her why she couldn't go to the ball. So she went to the lost and found for dogs and cats and mice and looked and looked and looked because she wanted a dog or cat or mouse because she wanted to eat one for dinner.

And then she went to the ball and found a frog ball and a frog prince was there. He had no one to marry, but she said she would marry him. So they ran around and ran around and ran around until they got tired. Then they went and had lunch at a frog restaurant. Then they went and played at the frog ball because no one was there so they had lots of room to play.

That's all I can tell you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just Frank.

Earlier today for some reason thoughts of my grandfather came to me. Now, he was my Dad's father and he was very clear that he was to be referred to as "Frank". He wasn't present in my father's life which may speak to why my father had difficulty being a father. Frank came back into my father's life I believe when my father finished Med school. That's what I know of it. Family history and the past is a closely guarded secret when it comes to my family. 

Frank was, to say the least, a very eccentric man. He lived in the heart of Manhattan in a studio apartment. He was a bachelor for life that had a love of the silver screen and self tailored suits. One of my first memories of Frank was seeing him in tortoise shell framed glasses (the ones all the Hollywood types have taken a fancy to lately), sharp tailored grey suit with a pink lining, and a sky blue bow tie. This man never went anywhere with out a suit on. I don't think my mother was a big fan of my grandfather. I think one of the reasons was that he was a smoker. So, when he was coming down on the train the ashtrays came out in the house. The other reasons I believe fall under the "guarded" category. He not only had a love for the classic film he had a great fondness for everything Parisian. I remember he sent me boxes each month of VHS tape lessons in French complete with workbooks. Unfortunately, I didn't take the interest in these lessons that I should have, which I regret. I don't know how it happened, but he took an interest in me. I'm not sure if it was regret about the relationship that was missed with my father or that he saw something in me. What may have played a part in it was that I had an ability to talk easily with adults. Because Frank did not seem to like kids, but I guess I seemed serious enough that I wasn't seen as a kid to him. Each time he would visit he would bring a part of his vast collections of films for viewing. His apartment was filled with book shelves full of classic movies. Which he kept carefully organized on a typed list. My father and myself would indulge him and sit watching the films with him. His eyes would light up at certain moments in each particular film. In those moments he would speak glowingly of a certain actor or scene in the film. The one thing that my father and Frank had in common was the art of collecting. Frank's was classic films. My father's was music. Each had a vast library meticulously listed. Each had a love for their collection to the point of obsession. But, all they had was that, blood, and a name in common. He referred to my dad as junior, which pissed my dad off yet it was humorous for myself and siblings.

He had a way of being very blunt. When I was going through the awkward teen phase he told me, "you have ugly feet, you should never wear sandals". That led me to never wear open-toed shoes until I got to college. I then realized everyone was wearing them, even with ugly feet, so it must be ok. His other piece of advice: "Never let anyone buy clothing for you - and never let women buy clothing for you". My wife never got to meet Frank. I really wished that she did. Shortly before we got married he sent us an edition of "Emily Post's Etiquette" with particular sections tabbed and a note to call him and discuss the sections he highlighted. What prompted his sending of the book were my table manners at the previous Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I don't remember what I did or didn't do that was out of sorts. Most of our family functions were affairs of silence. 

Frank didn't attend our wedding. Well, pretty much none of my family attended our wedding. It was the tipping point when it came to my decision to end my relationship with my family. From an early age my parents' thoughts regarding marriage were very narrow in focus. They wanted us to marry someone who was Hispanic and of the catholic faith. But, like most parents that push too hard in one direction, the child goes the opposite way. My three older sisters each married outside of my parents hopes. So, I was the last one standing. I also chose someone who was neither of the two required categories. That and other assorted tactics on their part led to the door being closed. 

Frank wrote us a beautiful letter stating that he was sorry he could attend but he didn't want to go against my parents. In that decision I made, I did lose my connection with my side of the family and Frank. I don't miss my parents, but I do miss a few in my family. Frank being one of them. He was a good man as I knew him. And he would be happy to know I'm working on my French.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 2

We took Elle to her first baseball game. The game didn't matter it was all about Cylo, the team mascot. She made it through four innings. It was a winning event for her she got to meet Cylo and got his autograph. Since then she keeps asking when will I get to see Cylo again.

Just getting some quality time at the park before the rain starts.

A flower for Mommy.

"The Golden Shoes". Elle's favorite pair of shoes of all time. She loves getting compliments on them. She also doesn't mind fishing for compliments.

"What do think of my mustache?" The craziness that follows a little bit of Nutella.

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where have you been?

I received a few messages asking if I was still alive. As you can see by this post I am or someone is posing as me. If the later is the case then the impostor can feel free to pick up the dog poop and cut the lawn while they're at it. In reality, at the beginning of May I accompanied my wife on her five day business trip down to Charlottesville, VA.

It was our first trip together without Elle. We were both looking forward to the time away and Elle was excited about spending the week with her grandparents. For most of the time on our trip I was left to my own devices since my other half was occupied with work during the day. I had my head filled with ambitions of getting a ton of posts written. I packed my journal, camera and laptop to aid my ambition. But, nothing happened as I had planned.

The time I had to myself I spent just aimlessly walking about the city of Charlottesville. The whole time I was very much in my own head. I was just walking - taking in the sights and sounds. On the home front, most of the days are filled with errands or tasks that I want to accomplish before my wife gets home or things that need to be cleared off the to-do list before the weekend rolls around. It was an alien experience having none of those things on my plate. I would make a daily stop at the wonderful Cafe Cubano, grab a cafe con leche, take a seat on one of the park benches and listen to a street performer. It would take me back to a time when I was in school and often in class would get lost in myself. My teachers would say that I had a stone cold stare on my face. It wasn't that I had the thoughts of a madman running through my head as they taught their lesson. I was just in a different place.

When I was growing up we lived within biking distance to Great Falls Park in Potomac, MD. I would go there as much as I could. One spot in particular was my favorite - a large rock that was a semi difficult climb to get to, but from there you could see the power of the river crashing against the rocks and look across to Virginia. It was a place of peace, a place I could escape to and re-center myself when needed. I haven't thought about that place in a long time. I think passing through Potomac and driving by the sign for Great Falls brought those memories rushing back. Not just of my favorite place to go, but also my family.

It's been almost seven years since I have had any contact with my side of the family. As we were drive through my wife asked if I missed them. The simple answer is no. I know that seems cold. But it's a long history that has brought me to that "no". I have tried many times to write about the subject. They always remain drafts. I don't know if I keep it buried or that I have finally healed. One day I will open the gates. But not this go around.

To bring things back: I was away and I missed my daughter more than anything. We returned mid-week and my wife had the rest of the week off. So we spent quality time together, all three of us. Elle went to her first baseball game (we made it half way through). Meeting the mascot Cylo, a red cow, was more important than the game. She was standing on her seat shouting, "Cylo, it's me, Elle!" and was over the moon when she got his autograph and a picture with the weird red cow. We worked in the garden and took long walks around our home city. As a unwritten rule, when it comes to weekend and free time with the wife and kid I stay away from the computer. Just out of respect. So, even being back it has taken me a few days to get out of my head. Now a week later and finally caught up on house work, it's back in to the routine. Finally got a post up.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To My Love, Happy Mother's Day

To My Love,

I am not a writer or a man that has a magical touch with words. I often stamer or take long pauses when I speak. But, some how you truly understand me. I love how you have made me a better person. Your desire to spend every minute of your free time with us speaks volumes of your commitment and love for our family. You have a way of bringing strength to my weaknesses. Your love is something I have never experienced in my life. I am truly fortunate to have this gift of love that you give to me and our beautiful daughter. Being your husband is what I want to be for the rest of my days. The other day you told me that I am a fantastic father. It's because of you and our child. Thank you for being you and for all that you do for us and because of us. You are a truly wonderful wife and mother.

Now and forever your loving husband. Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Storytime 2 (Sleeping Beauty)

This is Elle's version of Sleeping Beauty. I believe she has an underlying message to her parents in this tale.

"Once upon a time there was a princess named Sleeping Beauty. There was a witch and a dragon that lived in the dark woods. The witch cast a spell on the princess. She had to sleep for a very long time. The Prince came to help Sleeping Beauty. He carried her past the nasty dragon and together they escaped through the woods. He brought her to his castle. They played together and did what they wanted to do. The Prince and Sleeping Beauty ran around outside for almost a week. Then they both went to a restaurant and ran around outside some more. When it got dark out they played for such a long week because the palace had no beds. They also jumped around for ten minutes and ran around some more."

I missed certain parts in the transcription of this story because Elle was telling it as she ran around in circles in the living room.