Friday, April 27, 2012


Caz had his first golf outing of the season with a kids only grouping.  He and Rosewood teed off after school.  Demi dropped off the clubs at the clubhouse.  The boys walked over after school.  They played 9 and then had snack/dinner at the 10th hole (clubhouse) after.  Soda, chicken fingers, and chips.  Snack food of champions.  I bet they have that on the menu at Augusta.
     Quite the set up.  Since there is no baseball, Caz got a junior golf membership.  He's outside.  He's active.  He's socializing.  Win/Win for all of us.  Demi has him going at least every Monday.  I bet he's out twice during the week while school's in session.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


What is Quiltytown?  Quiltytown is a throwback to the old days.  It takes one back to a simpler time.  A time where families celebrated a nice day with friends.  A time where kids gathered en mass and entertained themselves, without a joystick, computer screen, or electricity of any kind.
     Although it all started with an email from X's better half, an invitation to a BBQ turned out to be a return to Mayberry.  The adults gathered around in Adirondack chair with beverages, while the kids (about 10 at first but close to 30 by the end) started playing football or swinging on a old tractor tire.  How many men does it take to cook hamburgers on a grill?  Apparently it takes one very great woman to cook burgers and dogs for all the kids, while about 5 guys take over after the hard part is through, to pretend they have been doing the heavy lifting all along.  Of course nothing brings men to one spot like a grill.
     After scarfing down meat, meat, and more meat, we ignored the vegetables and gathered in front of the TV to watch the Bruins lose game 5 in OT.  Fortunately we missed the low point of the Sox misery, blowing  9;0 lead to lose 15-9.  We started watching the Rangers playoff game but brownies and the fire pit called.  The children were running around, playing man hunt.  When X got the fire blazing the beer came out for the adults (again), while the sticks and marshmallows came out for the kids.  The near scaldings from fiery, melted mounds of sugar were kept to a minimum.
     X started the kids on charades next.  Movies were the popular choice.  The abilities ranged from excellent to "what the heck was that"?  But a great idea by X.  That was the rule.  All the kids had to do charades, in order to be allowed to play Kick the Can.  This version of Kick the Can was new to me.  The 30 kids running around, hiding and waiting to kick a can was normal.  But the adults trying to catch said kids, with a flashlight was new.  It was sort of flashlight tag with a can kicking to get out jail.
     These are the nights that really mean something.  The kids will remember nights like these when they get older.  I know it brought back great memories of my childhood for me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy 100th Fenway!

The 100th Anniversary of Fenway.  Quite a milestone.  I set Tivo to capture all the festivities while I am at work.  I can wait to see who comes back.  The ownership invited everything living player back for the occasion.  Pretty cool!
     The boys are fired up to watch.  I talked about getting ballpark food for dinner:  wings, hot dogs, nachos, etc.  After the opening ceremonies, the boys would settle in to watch the Sox take on the Evil Empire.  Normally, that would be an amazing match up for the milestone event.  But the way the Sox are playing, I wouldn't feel good about a match up with BC or Northeastern.
     Our plans changed throughout the day.  I couldn't get any video streaming at work.  Coco was off on a hike.  Caz was the one watching the game and texting me scores on my commute home.  When I got home, I walked into the kitchen to see Caz boiling water for hot dogs.  Demi told me that he had wanted to surprise me.  My week of yogurt and salads was over.  How could I say no to a ballpark frank made by my son?  ....It was one of the best dogs ever.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beach Day

As we drove back from NH, Demi and decided to make our first trek to Duxbury Beach when we got home.  We quickly unloaded the car and repacked with beach gear.  We were all anxious to collect Gizmo from my brother's.  We missed her a lot while we were away.
     Caz decided he was done and just wanted to lay low.  So he agreed to work on some homework and read.     Since we just came back from over 72 hours of family time, I was OK with this arrangement.
     Cars were coming off the beach in droves as we came onto the beach.  Fine by me.  I would rather have more privacy and space.  Too many knuckleheads find their way to the beach these days.  We experience a record heat day, so it made sense the beach was packed today.  I heard the harbormaster was kicking people with expired stickers off in droves.
     Coco had packed the car with stuff, balls, buckets, bats, kites, rackets,  shovels, and bocce.  He had a grand plan to do it all.  We started with a sandcastle.  Or rather sand fiefdom.  We had a huge Camelot type palace with a moat.  But then we had the farming village and wharf as well.  It was a massive undertaking, with a time crunch.  The tide was coming in.  But we got it done.  And our medieval village stood for most of the time we were there.  Coco got in some beach tennis matches with both Mom and Dad.  We got the kite up, flying high. Gizmo was thrilled to be free and with the family.  Then Coco and I dared set foot in the water.  Crazy, I know.  But we dove it.  Not for long.  Just long enough to freeze the family jewels.  All in all, a successful day.  Welcome, beach season.  Looking forward to a long one this year.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hiking NH

So far, a really great family trip to NH.  We mulled over taking advantage of Wildcat's offer for the last day of skiing for the season.  But it looked bleak.  The temp fell in the 70's.  Wildcat had no beginner trails open.  So we drove over and made the decision to hike instead.  We landed at Pinkham Notch, which is part of the Appalachian Trail.  It was packed with people hiking up to Tuckerman's Ravine to ski.  I was a little worried at first, since I couldn't get a lot of information on the trails from the "rangers" there.  I think they were old timers, just futzing around.
     We ended up hiking for 2 hours on the Long Pond Trail.  The sun shined brightly, with enough warmth in amongst the treeline.  It struck me as odd to be walking over layers of snow still.  We saw the Saco River running low from not enough spring rainfall.  We encountered a loud flock of mallards.  The boys made themselves walking sticks.  Demi captured the moments on film.  When we finally got back to the base lodge, I found a reliable source to help me pick out a good map for future hikes.  We could come back for years and not hit all the trails.  Looking forward to trying.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Teenage Wasteland

Happy 13th Birthday, Caz!

I wrote in my letter (I tend to write personal letters to the boys for milestone occasions on really nice stationary and in script) that in many cultures, old and current, the 13th birthday can be considered the gateway to manhood.  I kidded that Demi and I had not arranged a marriage yet, and would hold out for more than an ox or a couple of goats.
     These are really the years that he will look back and remember.  The years that shape the man he is destined to become.  Sure all these preceding years are important.  But a lot of it is just set up for the decisions he will make in the next few years.  You don't know it at the time, of course, but these decisions in years 13-16, have a big influence on what kind of adult you become later on.  Now, don't get me wrong, your path is not set in stone.  Kids screw up big in these years and recover.  But if you make enough good decisions in this time frame, it will add up to positive things later on.  The opposite would hold true as well.
     I think Caz is on a good path.  I am proud of what he has done so far.  I expect big things from him.  I challenge him to be the best Caz he can be.  Yeah, I probably demand that too.  I never said that being my child would be easy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Last PreTeen Night

It's funny.  Demi and I keep discussing Caz's impending birthday tomorrow with a lot of enthusiasm.  But Caz actually seems nervous.  I am not quite sure what he expects to happen.  Maybe he doesn't either, so that is why he is nervous?
     I almost can't believe that tonight is the last preteen night for Caz.  It doesn't seem possible.  It happened too fast.  Where did the time go?  My little boy is about to become a man.
     Of course, it's not like he hasn't been practicing being a teenager for months now.  The Lizard King has spent quite a few hours perfecting his teen angst.  He really should be all set to make the transition.  I will have to admit though the Lizard King's hissing has been less frequent lately.  Maybe he's mellowing out a bit?  One can hope.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

Demi did it again.  She created another family moment that will last in the kids memories.  She went beyond the great food and decorating.  Demi outlined a very enjoyable day.
     Demi scheduled brunch for 11 AM.  That would be followed by some games.  Naps were optional and encouraged.  The traditional Easter Egg Hunt would be next.  That would be held outside, next door at my parents, weather permitting.  Around 3 would be Linner (something between lunch and dinner).  Then maybe more games or naps.  5 PM was dessert time.
     Demi was sick of the chowing down and then folks leaving.  I can't blame her.  There wasn't enough socializing.  And this schedule really worked well.  Gametime was very entertaining.  We played Apples to Apples, which I highly recommend.  There is not a lot of "game" to get in the way.  You don't have a lot of pieces or strategy.  The player interaction is high.  And it does tell you quite a bit about each individual.
     The family actually spent some time before and after dessert, watching the Masters.  It caught the attention of all, even the kids.  Of course XBOX did come calling later on.  But the boys were really into the holiday and got into the spirit.  It really was one of our more successful holidays.  The only thing that would have been an improvement, was if some of Demi's family could have been here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Do The Right Thing

Part Two of the DYF annual meeting debacle:  I had tried to offer a decent compromise to the emotional uproar apparent during the meeting.  I raised my hand, then offered the thought that all head coaching positions were currently open by terms of the bylaw.  I proposed that since I had not made an official decision on coaching, I would withdraw my name in favor of bringing in a Pop Warner coach to act as head coach.  I would assist and help build a new coaching staff and team.  Since I had been coaching in both leagues for the past few years, I felt I had a unique perspective that would be valuable to this proposed merger.  It sounded good, but the Board glossed over it to put it politely.  One board member openly hissed at it.
     However, the gesture was not lost on the crowd.  It garnered a lot of talk after the meeting.  It seemed sensible to most, if I was willing.  And I am.  So why not?  I went so far as to say I would put my offer in writing to the board and reiterate it.  Which I did.  Then I sent the same note off to the DPW Board.  One thing about back room deals.  They don't really like the bright spotlight.  They tend to whither and die when faced with publicity.  I guess we will see.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grown Ups Behaving Badly

The dark, slimy underbelly of youth sports reared it's ugly head again tonight.  DYF held it's annual meeting.  Finally.  It was only 4 months past due.  This was going to be an interesting meeting.  The main purposes of this gathering was for the association to vote to merge with DPW.  I suspected going into it that it was going to be a slam dunk for the merger.  However, true to form, the board went about the whole thing bass ackwards.  They didn't present all the details and facts for the merger.
     They were bold enough to ask for carte blanche on amending bylaws as needed to "facilitate the merger".  Yet, they had secretly met on Sunday to try and name all the head coaches.  This was not only against the parameters of he merger, but against their own DYF bylaws.  In doing so, they took the opportunity to oust a long time head coach.  This coach didn't have a child in the program (and hasn't for year), was on the board, and invested extensive hours into the programs including an annual clinic.  The short version here is that some board members didn't like the offense this guy ran.  Petty.  Which, unfortunately, is not surprising.
     The thing about backroom deal is that their Kryptonite is publicity.  These tend to wilt when they see the light of day.  Well, this group would never be mistaken for the CIA.  The outcome of that meeting was known almost immediately and circulating around our small town.  The focus of everyone's discussion during the annual meeting was "the kids".  Well, the kids were impacted by this decision.  They were furious.  And the board tried to sweep it all under the rug.  To say the annual meeting was a firestorm would be an understatement.  But finally people got to see how this board operates.  The emotion was centered around the coaching issues.  The issue was trust.  The board operated in bad faith, and presented a small amount of the facts, and got caught.  Amazing isn't it?  What is more amazing is that the motion passed to trust these individuals to amend the bylaws willy nilly.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools

So is it wrong to eat a bag of popcorn while watching the Hunger Games?  Think on that one for a while
The whole family read the book and was eagerly anticipating the release of the movie.  The boys really had their heart set on seeing it on opening day.  But the movie was sold out for the first five days.
     You definitely want to see it with the older kids.  The violence is rating appropriate, PG-13.  I saw way too many younger kids in that theater.  Far be it from me to tell someone what is appropriate for their kids.   I find my kids had a good grasp on what is real and what isn't, and had that ability to discern that at a young age.  But I probably would have held this movie until they were older, if my boys have been much younger.
     The movie held true to the book.  It was well done, and well cast.  It's definitely going to make a bundle.