The Force Was With Us!

Just a couple of quick photos...  We are exhausted.  More to follow.

 

StarWars Outside the Museum.

 

starwars1 Entrance to the exhibit.

 

starwars2 Inside the exhibit.

 

Admittedly not the best photos, but it's after 10:30pm and I have NOTHING left to give... This is what you get.

Some Link Backs....

Before heading off to the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota this morning, I checked my email, and what I found there was something I could not help but share with you all...

Three months after posting about a 360 day delay - my sister - mother of Two Texas Twins has finally created her very own, honest-to-goodness FIRST POST (complete with pictures!!)

So, while I am out at the museum, be sure to click on through, and drop her an encouraging word, or even tell her that I threatened you to do do so... It will only add fuel to the restraining order...

Then...

As a follow up to my SIX WORD MEMOIR post...

My Family and Other Animals has posted her Six word Memoir. Although... She preempted it with a "Today's Six Word Memoir" - which would lead one to believe that there may be more to follow! How radical of an idea is that??? Yikes!!! What a cool idea!

I also have heard through the grapevine that Many Things do not Fly also has prepared her Six Word Memoir, but due to "technical difficulties" with her computer - the post may be delayed a bit... So, I am looking forward to that!

And, one last item...

Without going into copious amounts of details, I'd like to ask for a prayer / good thoughts request from y'all. My supervisor's wife was in the doctor's office and an "abnormality" was found. She is going in for further checks, but if you have a moment to say a quick prayer, or have a good thought, or send some good karma her way - it would be much appreciated... My boss is a decent guy, and I truly hate seeing them have to go through stuff like that.

Thanks in advance.

A Contest...

Nope, as much as I'd love to host one of those Blog Contests that you see crop up from time to time on the blogshere, I am NOT hosting a contest here... (At least, not yet..)

I am (on the other hand) responding to a contest... One of my regular reads (Dad of Divas), posted about a contest another Dad-Blogger is hosting... It was a dad-blog that I had not yet discovered. I clicked through the link, and was delighted to find Joeprah - Parenting with Humor!

Joeprah is giving away a Sony Cyber-shot Camera package...
LINK TO GIVEAWAY

Since our camera is on the fritz, and we are using our camcorder as an alternative (which is ok, but it is without flash, and it is much bulkier than a digital camera...)

Now, I'd love to tell you NOT to head on over to Joeprah and partake in the contest (bettering my chances) but then I would not have shared the great content over their either... If we win the camera, GREAT! If we dont win the camera it is OK too, because I will have "won" another great Dad-Blog find!

Minnesota Dad Blogs

As I enjoyed the extra two hours of sleep this morning (on this, my first day of vacation), I laid in bed thinking about my Blogging experience over the past couple of years... The friends I have met, the things I have learned, the points of view that get to see (other than my own...). It has been (and continues to be) a great adventure!

That lead me to thinking about the whole "dad blogging community" as a whole. My link is up on several other Dad Blogs, some blogrolls, and a few lists of "dad bloggers", but something occurred to me this morning...

I have never seen a definitive list of local (at least local to me) dad-bloggers.. What I mean in this case, a list of Minnesota Dad Bloggers.

They are out there - that is for sure... I have run across a number of their blogs, and I enjoy a regular diet of a number of them already.

After getting up and out of bed, I got on line and did a couple of quick searches for Minnesota Dad Blogs. I was unable to find anything that resembled the list I envisioned. The closest thing I could find was a list to group of Minnesota Stay at Home Dads.
Unfortunatly, I am not among that group, but they seem to be off to a good start, so I'm going to throw them some "Link Love" - Minnesota Dads At Home
I decided that I was going to kick off my vacation with a "Minnesota Public Service Project". I am going to create, and maintain a list of Minnesota Dad Bloggers, and / or Minnesota Dad Blogs.

Now, this is NOT in anyway to leave out other Dad Bloggers... My BLOGROLL has a huge list of other dads that I read on regular basis, so to my other Dad Blog friends out there, please do not feel left out! In fact, on the contrary... I urge you to create a list of Dad Blogs from YOUR state.
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Minnesota Dad Blogs / Minnesota Dad Bloggers
Updated 07-16-2008

Blog of Rand - http://blogofrand.blogspot.com/
Electric Lazy Land - http://www.electriclazyland.com/
Ethereal Garage - http://etherealgarage.blogspot.com/
It's Not About the Badge - http://3daysnopay.blogspot.com/
Stuff In My Brain - http://lbsimba.blogspot.com/
The Adventures of Samok Daddy - http://samokdaddy.blogspot.com/
The King of Clubs - http://king-of-clubs.blogspot.com/
The Life and Thoughts of a Midwest Geek - http://tnbwalsh.blogspot.com/
The Life of a Father of Five - http://father-of-five.blogspot.com

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A couple of points here...

First off..
This is NOT a complete list... I hope that this is just the "kick off ". This is going to be a "live" post... I'm planning on adding a link to this post in my sidebar Blogroll - available for future reference...

If you are a, or know of another Minnesota Dad Blogger, or Minnesota Dad Blog that is not on the list, then BY ALL MEANS, please let me know. Leave me a comment, or use the CONTACT ME link to drop me an email - I'd love to keep this list growing!

Secondly...
Many of these blogs have "secondary" blogs, wife's blog, or a "trifecta" of blogs (blush)... I'm going to leave it up to you to work your way through those...

Enjoy.

The Countdown Beginith..

God willing (no holdovers, sick calls, terrorist attacks, or "acts of God") - My summer vacation beings in just over sixteen hours.

As of Friday at 1500 hours (3pm) - I AM ON VACATION!!!! I do not have to return to work until July 12th at 0700 (7am).

This will be (mostly) a working vacation, and provide me an opportunity to catch up on some small yet nagging things that have been looming over my head for the past year or so.

Some of the PROJECTS on my list include...

About a day's worth of work to complete the DECK.
Woodwork and Trim in the basement
Removing a divider wall between our Kitchen and living room.
Help my Father in Law with prepping his almost-finished basement project
Oil Change
Garage Clean up
Closet project in #3 of 5's bedroom.
Closet Project in #2 of 5's bedroom.

But, it's not going to be all work... Nope.. I have some LEISURE activities planned too!

The Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Use my newly obtained smoker to smoke up some pork ribs!
Trying to squeeze a little fishing time in with the kids
Get a "walk a day" in - perhaps up to two miles
Catch up on some movie watching.
Smoke some cigars while relax on the deck.
Quality time with Ron, Fez, East Side Dave, Earl and the gang (XM - 202 - Noon to three (eastern))
Catch up on some DRASTICALLY NEEDED sleep.

Oh, I am quite sure that there is more I will try to fit in. I'll be here on the blogsphere, and updating over the next

Word of the day - Sesquicentennial

This year marks our church's sesquicentennial anniversary (sesquicentennial = 150th anniversary), and for the past 12 months, our church has been planning for "the big event". 
 
Tonight's plans included a "once in a lifetime" celebration at our Church.
 
Tonight's festivities WERE to include a Polka Mass, followed by brats, hotdogs (can you tell there is a strong German Heritage here??) and a dance featuring live music by The Schleprocks. 
 
I say tonight's festivities "WERE" to include these items, because... well, because I was supposed to attend them with the kids.  (Mother of Five is scheduled to work).  That was until 10:30 this afternoon (half way through my shift) when the dreaded call came in...  A "mid-shift" sick call.... Sigh...
 
Since we were running at "minimums", the vacated shift would have to be covered.  After all calls were made, and the shifts were offered as overtime to EVERYONE, there were NO takers... 
 
Any other dispatchers out there??  Anyone??  Any other 'spatchers representin' ?  You know what I am going to say next - don't 'cha?  Linda... Jeff???  Come on... Don't let me down here...  Any former dispatchers??  Krystal... Bill ???  (Never mind answering Jeff... Since I delivered the bad news about you getting the other half of this shift - personally). 
 
Well, for those of you not "in the biz", I'll demonstrate with a little math lesson! 
 
(Sick Call) + (Minimum Staffing Levels) - (Anyone willing to volunteer to take the shift) = A Forced Hold Over.
 
What that you say?  You had plans?  You have kids at home, a wife scheduled to work, and significant plans?
Well, that's nice - to bad you are going to have to change all that...
 
Hey, at least I had 4 hours notice this time...  I have (in the past) had five MINUTES notice...
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
The good news !?!?!?  (Can you sense the heavy dose of sarcasm looming overhead?)...
 
On Sunday Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, Emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will be one of the co-celebrants for Mass. A celebration luncheon will follow along with entertainment all afternoon.  This weekend's activities will conclude with a concert featuring our 10am Mass Choir. 
 
Which would be great, if it was not for my regularly scheduled shift... 
So, in summary... I get to miss THE ENTIRE Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration!
 
Well... I hope to make it for about 30 mintues before it's all done for the night on Saturday...
Sunday is (without question) a wash though...
 
I love my job... Most of the time...

Six Word Memoir

Definition
Meme - (pronounced /miːm/) At its most basic, an Internet meme is simply the propagation of a digital file or hyperlink from one person to others using methods available through the Internet (for example, email, blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc.).
Blogging memes usually ask the blogger to answer a question - or a series of questions about themselves as a means of self-promotion, then are propagated by having the writer list (or "tag") several other blogs to complete the same topic - asking that person to "tag" several more... And so on, and so on...

I am not a HUGE fan of the memes... I think of them as the "Chain Letters" of the digital era... But, on the other hand, I think some of them can be fun... They can (after all) give you a glimpse into the mind and thoughts of the blogger - without the usual "event" that (in my case) triggers a post...

I started this blog as a means for my children to someday look into to the past, and see who their Dad was, what made him tick, and why he did (or did not do) the things he did do (or did not do).

I use that formula (will this tell my children more about ME after I'm dead and gone) to determine if the meme is worth the work... (But, they are always a good way to get past a blogging "block" or a "rut"!)

So, when Dobeman from PostulatesAndPasttimes tagged me for a meme, my first instinct was "uh-oh". But, as I read his reply, and started contemplating it, I thought that this particular meme fit into my formula, and would not be all that difficult to write - so I decided to take this one on.

The rules are as follows....
- Write your own six word memoir.
- Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
- Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
- Link to this original post if possible so it can be tracked as it travels across the blogsphere
- Tag 5 more blogs with links
- Leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Upon a little investigation... This meme seems to either trace back to, or stem from a project by Smith Magazine called "Six Words". The "Six Words" project led to a book titled "Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure" - By Larry Smith

Now that I have completed it, I am glad I did this one! I took a short personal inventory as I thought this topic over for the past couple of days. I came up with two words I felt I wanted to use, and from there it was easy! So, without further ado, I present to the world my "Six Word Memoir"...


"Surviving mediocrity, diligently battling for sanity."


"Mediocrity" and "Sanity" being the two key words I wanted to work off of...

I will complete the first four of the six "rules", but I am not fond of "tagging" others to compete these memes... Instead, I will list a few bloggers that I know I would enjoy seeing how they would write as a "Six Word Memoir". THIS IS ONLY A SUGGESTION! By no means should any of these people feel obligated in any way, shape, or form to write this meme.. If they choose to ignore this, I wont loose any sleep, and I hope they wont either!

Again, without feeling guilty for this (because after all you can feel free to ignore it) - I'd LOVE to see a "Six Word Memoir" from (in alphabetic order)...

Now, if you did not make the list... PLEASE do not feel bad, or take any offense... Nope... I tried to "mix it up" a bit... I have a couple of "regulars" along with a couple of "less than regulars"... I know some people LOVE being "tagged" and others who HATE being "tagged". I tried my best to avoid the known "tag haters" out there. If I was wrong - please forgive me.

If, on the other hand, I was wrong and you LOVE being tagged, and REALLY want to complete this meme... Consider yourself (voluntarily) tagged by me...

For what it's worth... This really was a fun meme to complete!

Upgrades!

umbrellaUpgrade #1

Yup, folks... I have been so darn busy for the past two weeks, I have neglected to mention a couple of "upgrades" that we have received.

On the trip home from "The Guy's Fishing Weekend" (post pending) - we stopped at a local discount retailer / reseller / warehouse / thrift store / junk shop called "Milaca Unclaimed Freight"  (just look for the bright yellow water tower!). 

While shopping at MUF, Something caught the corner of my eye...  It was a forest green "market umbrella" that (while not an "exact" match) did not look like it would be too bad of a match for our new patio set.

They only had a few left, and at the price they were selling them for ($14.99) - I could not resist grabbing one!  I also picked up a set of woodcarving tools while I was there too! 

As we were checking out, my dad (who was in line with me) paid for my umbrella, and for my woodworking tools!!  (Thanks Dad!) 

-----------------------------------------

Upgrade #2

At the height of activity over the past two weeks, Mother of Five called me at work, and told me about an antique dresser we had spotted at one of the local antique shops here in town.  The dresser was priced so that it was considered as a possibility for the girls (#3 and #4 of 5's) room - but it was also priced at a level we were able to walk away from it without feeling TOO bad.

A few days later, I got to thinking that (since it was an antique shop) - that there was some room to haggle, and that a price that would make it more "appealing" may be struck. 

Before I had the opportunity to even talk to Mother of Five about this, she called me (as stated above) and told me that the price marked was dropped by $50.00.  (My original thought was to haggle it down fifty...).  I told her about my plan to haggle it down fifty, and said that later next week (which would be today) we would go in and see if we could haggle it down twenty or so dollars.

Mother of Five told me it was too late, and that she purchased it at the reduced price.

"WHAT?!?!?"  I asked, "no haggling?" 

Mother of Five replied "You got it at price you were planning on paying... what's the big deal"?

How could I argue with that???   So, after my schedule settled down, we collected our booty and replaced the Sauder manufactured board (fake wood) chiffarobe  that we had been using to store their clothes, we replaced it with the antique antique-dresserdresser we bought at the antique shop!

 

sauder-dresserOut with the old..

  In with the new!

 

or... In this case

 

Out with the new..

In with the old!

 

(Click for larger)

Shhhhh....

If you see my nephews "N" & "J" (The Two Texas Twins), please don't tell them that their Mémère & Grandpa Ken, Uncle Daver, Aunt Shell, and their cousins (all five of them!) are sending the boys their belated birthday gift this week!

sw1-6

It should not be too much of a problem though... From what I hear they have been too busy playing light sabers, Star Wars Figures, Star Wars Transformers, and roll playing the final duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan from Episode 4...

"I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan."

There is a long story behind them getting ALL SIX of the Star Wars Movies at once... But that will have to wait for another post.

Happy Father's Day

First off...
 
To my Father (who I know checks the Blog from time to time)...  Happy Father's Day. 
To my Father-in-law... Happy Father's Day. 
To my Brothers-in-law (Brian, and Artie) - Happy Father's Day.
To all my "Father Blogging Friends" out there... Happy Father's Day.
To ALL the Father's out there... Happy Father's Day.
and, of course...
Happy Father's Day to me.
I'd also like to wish a happy Father's day to a couple of local fathers who's lives were cut short.  Their deaths have made an impact on our small community, and so I'd like to recognize their family's loss on this Father's day... 
 
To the families of SPC Joshua R. Anderson - a father from our community who lost his life serving overseas in Iraq - and Wally Cobb, a father who lost his life in a tragic train accident less than a mile from my home - I'd like to send you all some warm thoughts and prayers on this Father's day...
Now, at this point I'm usually pretty good for a bit of sentimental rambling... But, to be completely honest, I am feeling a bit exhausted...  Since the kids have been out of school for the summer, we have been on a non-stop whirl-wind tour of work, overtime, kids activities, pre-planned events, doctor visits, and trying to keep up with everything going on in and around our house... 
 
Yes, it is true I spent a few days fishing - but even that was crammed in-between a couple of other items, which reduced the "relaxation quotient" of the trip.  (Dad's Outdoor Journal Post Pending...)
 
So, father's day sits in the middle of my seven-day work week, and starts off a series of overtime shifts for me...  I will be at work from 7am - 7pm on Father's Day - and a several more subsequent days. 
 
Yeah, yeah... Oh, woe is me - right???  Well... I do recognize that in this day and age, and in the state of our current economy, that I am very lucky to have the job I do.  I am thankful for my job - a job that I do not "hate", and that (for the most part) I enjoy.  I am thankful for a job that keeps me gainfully employed, helps put a roof over my family's head, and food in their tummies. 
 
After all... A "good father" is a father who sacrifices his wants and needs for his family. 
 
Truthfully, the best Father's day gift I could ask for, I have received.  I am the proud owner of a happy, healthy family...   And so, even though I'll be working for most of it - I have exactly what I want for Father's Day.

Live Music - Courtesy of IMSOM

After a particularly busy and stressful stretch at work, the time had finally come for the IMSOM event that I had planned on attending.

IMSOM is the acronym for the Indian Music Society of Minnesota.

I have a fondness for Classical Eastern Indian instrumental music.  Particularly the sounds of the Sitar and Tabla.  I have for many years.  I remember in high school, combing through the racks of CD's in one of my local record shops (try and find them nowadays) looking through the "world music" category.  

For several years, my enjoyment of Classical Indian music was limited to my CD collection.  Mainly comprised of Ravi Shankar and a few other miscellaneous MP3 downloads that I have come across.

A couple of years ago I discovered the IMSOM website, and while browsing their website, I noticed an upcoming event.  Pandit Nayan Ghosh was to be featured playing both the Sitar and the Tabla, Sri Arup Chattopadhyay on the Tabla, and Vikas Falnikar on the Harmonium

Being a bit nervous / apprehensive about the cultural differences, I contacted one of my closest (and most culturally aware) friend - Lisa (from Many Things Do Not Fly).  We (Lisa, and her Husband, Myself and my wife, the Mother of Five) all went out for dinner before hand.  After dinner (since the Mother of Five had no interest in attending the concert), the three remaining went to the concert. 

The concert was better than I imagined.  The folks at IMSOM were so polite and helpful.  Any apprehension about any cultural differences were quickly extinguished, as the crowd was as culturally diverse as a visit to your local mall.  Then there was the obvious difference between experiencing the music LIVE, and the pre-recorded music that I am familiar with.  I could (and did) close my eyes, and truly FELT the music.  I have already posted this link once, but if you are interested in reading more about this concert, please visit the article from MNDaily HERE.

After the last concert, #3 of 5 told me he would be intrested in going to the next concert.  I also discovered that a high school friend of mine (Dr. Edward (Ted) Ulrich is the Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of St. Thomas) was also interested in attending the next concert.

It has been just about two years now, but I finally found another concert that I could attend!  This concert featured dual sitars, and dual tablas!  Purbayan Chatterjee and Partha Chatterjee on the sitars - and Anindo Chatterjee and his son Anubrata Chatterjee on the tablas.

Lisa was unable to attend, but Dr. Ulrich was!  So, #3 of 5, myself and Dr. Ulrich made the arrangements, and met at the concert. 

The concert was most memorable.  It started off with Partha Chatterjee and Anindo Chatterjee playing together, then Purbayan Chatterjee and Anubrata Chatterjee came out and played together.  Seeing and hearing the differences between Partha and Purbayan's playing style was very interesting, and was even more noticeable when (after a short intermission) all four musicians were on stage together, and performing.  It was breathtaking at times!

#3 of 5 was all smiles, and although he seemed to like the sitar, when the tablas got to playing... He would turn to look at me (and I turned to look at him) - with one of the biggest smiles I have seen!  It made me feel so good to share something so wonderful with my son!

I'm not sure weather #3 of 5 will become a Classical Indian music enthusiast or not... But I am quite sure he enjoyed himself, and I believe if I attend another IMSOM event, he will be intrested in joining me!

Speaking of #3 of 5... During the intermission, a woman approach me (no, not in THAT way)... anyway.. she approached me and asked me if #3 of 5 was my son, to which I affirmed.  She then introduced her son to us, and we started talking about how nice it was to see our boys at a classical / cultural event like the concert, and how rare it was that they actually wanted to be there instead of home playing video games, etc.  I was very proud of this, and let #3 of 5 know!

Other than #3 of 5, and this woman's son, there was indeed a noticable lack of "younger" folks at the concert (which is why she may have tracked me down, and asked me about #3 of 5.)  Although I did notice a few college aged kids in tie-died clothing and thick long dredlocks who were (no doubt) "expanding their minds" with the music and perhaps the aid of a "mind altering substance".

The concert continued until 10:15 pm, and since I has started work at 3am the day before, and had to be up at 5am the next morning - I was exhausted.  We headed straight home, and straight into bed.

I truly enjoyed the concert, and enjoyed it even more with my boy there with me! 

Last Day of School / Graduation

Last week was the day most parents (well... at least THIS parent) reaches with mixed emotion... The last day of school.

Like I have said before... We parents GET TO have our kids home for the summer, and (in the same breath) we parents HAVE TO have our kids home for the summer... 

It's always a little running joke I tease the kids with... That the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is a "party day".  It is a day that all parents get together and throw a HUGE party... all without the kids knowing one thing about it. 

Then, a few years into this, the boys got smartalecky smart enough, and turned the tables on me.  They teased me about the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, and how it too is a "party day".  It is a day that all kids get together and throw a HUGE party... all without the parents knowing one thing about it.

So, I guess what comes around, goes around...   And I am off to cower in fear celebrate the fact that I GET TO, and HAVE TO have my kids home for the summer...

----------------------------------

On a related note...

This year represents the end of #2 of 5's sixth grade year, and his graduation from St. John the Baptist School.  Sixth grade is the highest grade level that our kids' school goes to....  #2 of 5 spent a total of nine years (two years of preschool, Kindergarten, and first through sixth grades) with the same core group of 15 students.  They have grown up together in so many ways, and now that they have "graduated" from St. John's, they move on to bigger pastures.  They move into a class of close to 100 students.  They are going from uniforms to a liberal "dress policy".  They are going from knowing everyone (and I mean EVERYONE.... from the preschoolers, up to their own grade) to not even knowing everyone in their grade.  I will miss the small school atmosphere that St. John's provided..

Link to Article in the Local Newspaper

My ONLY disappointment with St. John's School - is that they do not run through 8th grade.  Many years ago (before our time at St. John's began) the 7th and 8th grades were removed for (what I believe to be) financial reasons.  Now, there seems to be interest in establishing a 7th and 8th grade program, but finances prevent the startup.  (There may be more to it than just fiances, but that is talked about quite a bit...)

I just hope by the time the girls (#4 and #5 of 5) make it that far, there will be a Junior High program established at St. John's... 

Man, how I'd love to win the lottery!  (even though I don't play)...  One of my favorite "daydreams" that I think through, is my winning the lottery (and winning it big).  Then some evening in Church - taking an outrageous sum of CASH (in $100.00 bills) rolled up tight with a rubber band and a note from someone named "anonymous" (that's me!) that says "This is for a Gymnasium".... Then a few weeks later, I do it again - this time the note (from "Anonymous") that says "This is to start a Junior High Program"...  A few weeks after that, yet another outrageously large roll of 100's with yet another note from "Anonymous" that says "This is to boost the teacher's salaries"....  And each time, the School staff confront me (because it's huge news, and everyone knows I won the lottery) trying to thank me - and I just keep repeating the same thing.... "I'm sorry, I do not know anything about that..."

This little school has withstood the test of time.  This little school has been a home away from home for my children, my family, and my children's friends (and their families).  This little school (and it's staff) are well deserving of some "good fortune"...  but in the mean time, they will continue doing the wonderful job that they have been doing (and have been doing so well) all these years.

On behalf of #2 of 5, and from the whole FOF family... I stand in awe, and applaud the Church, School, staff, volunteers, and parents of St. John's.  You are an outstanding group of people, and your dedication to your children, and my children are nothing short of amazing!

I am WAY behind...

As I look at my list of unfinished posts, I start to get overwhelmed.... I have unfinished posts about the end of school, the IMSOM concert #3 of 5 and I went to, The College of Wilderness Knowledge (a post for Dad's Outdoor Journal), our most recent fishing trip to Uncle Greg's cabin (another post for Dad's Outdoor Journal), and about THREE new additions to our family... (I'm keeping the blog title as "Father of Five" NO MATTER WHAT!)

Over the next week - I hope to complete, and post most (if not all) these errant posts - and get back to a more normal schedule of "on time" posting...

Enjoy!

Guess Who's Back...

Guess, who's back, back again....

Nope, it's not "Slim Shady"... It's me. I am back! We extended our trip by an extra day, and returned this afternoon.

We had a great time, and the fishing was the best I have seen on this lake, in my entire lifetime!

I'll have more to share later... I have to unpack, unwind, and gather my thoughts...

A Quick Catch Up Before I Leave

Things have been very busy here at the FOF compound... Much busier that most times...

Between work, and forced hold overs (that interrupted what little time we had for Mother of Five's birthday party), #2 of 5's "Graduation" from school (post will follow later), a recent SWAT Activation at work (I am a dispatcher for our SWAT team), and the utter and complete lack of sleep the above items have allowed me (Honestly folks.. 7 (seven) hours of sleep in three calendar days...) I am utterly exhausted.

-------------------------------

School is out... One of the most... um... well - a day of mixed emotions for us parents. We GET TO have our kids home with us so much more, yet at the same time we HAVE TO have our kids home with us so much more! (Ok.. It's the "GET TO" that wins out... But, come Septemer when school starts again, there is something nice about how the neighborhood and the house quiets down significantly... )

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

-------------------------------

IMAG0116It's "guys fishing weekend" at my uncle's cabin.. My dad, my uncle, my cousins (and the kids), my boys and I are all heading up to the "north woods" for a weekend of scratchin', burpin', spitin', beer, cigars, pizza, and NO WOMEN-FOLK.. oh, yeah.. And some fishing. (No beer and cigars for the "men in training"... They can scratch, burp, spit, and eat all the pizza they want though!)

#3 of 5 spent the night at my mom and dad's. He, my dad, and my cousin Bob are leaving around noon today. My uncle and my cousin Mark (and his boys) are leaving around 3pm today.

Since #2 of 5 has a "graduation party" that we want him to be able to attend - this will be his last opportunity to hang with the whole group of students he has been going to school with since preschool... (all 14 of them). Next year he moves to the public school and a class of over 100... So, he and I are going to "hit the road" for the fishing trip after his party (10pm). I should arrive at the cabin between 1 and 2 am.. Then up for some early mornin' fishing around 5am... (More sleep depravation...)


Hopefully will have a couple of good stories for when I return...

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About a month ago I wrote a post about an accident that occurred near our home. The accident was significant, and resulted in a fatality. A young father lost his life that day. I was moved by something I saw at the accident photo soonscene later that day, and made a quick post about it.

Just recently, the family of Wally Cobb (the young father who lost his life that day) found my post, and shared it with the rest of the family. I have been getting emails from many family members sharing how nice it was to see my post.

It's funny when you write about the things that you observe in your life, how they affect you. You never realize that your words can affect others on such a deep level.

I pass by the scene of the accident every day, and think about Wally's family often. They will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers...

Congratulations!

The ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted, and the results are in...

The 2008 Best of Blogs are complete.

I was honored to be considered a candidate, and I had a lot of fun watching the contest progress.

Unfortunately, I was not the "Winner". Nor was I the "First Runner Up", or the "Second Runner Up". I did not win, place or even show... (sniff, sniff)

But, worry not dear readers... Because I do consider myself a winner, in a couple of other different ways...

Mantra - I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

- Stewart Smalley

First... To even be considered a finalist among such a group of great dads / blogs was an honor in of itself...

Second... I discovered a couple of new blogs.. I couple of REALLY GREAT new blogs, that I really enjoy!

Given these observations, how can I not be a "Winner" ?

In true "good sportsman" fashion, I am going to announce, and link to the "Best Daddy Blogs" of 2008! There are some well deserved winners on this list!

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The winner of this year's Best Daddy Blog is...... Literal Dan!

Literal Dan was one of the new blogs I discovered through the BoB's. Very witty, frequently updated, Literal Dan was a welcome addition to my feed-reader!

This year's First Runner Up...... Daddy's Little Tax Credits!

DLTC is another one of the new blogs I discovered through the BoB's. DLTC has a great sense of humor, and an enjoyable mix of sarcasm, humor, and real life.

And last (but certainly not least) This year's Second Runner Up....... DadStuff!

I am happy to say that DadStuff was one of the blogs I nominated this year. DadStuff is a GREAT "Father-Blogger" who shares many true life stories of raising his family, with his wife LadyDi, and their kids SweetPea & N1S (Number One Son). Through comments shared back and forth, I feel like I have gotten to know DadStuff pretty well. He may not realize this, but I have learned a lot about myself, and about fathering from him. He is truly an inspiration for me! A well deserved "Second Runner Up" goes out to the whole "Stuff" hanging chadfamily!

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BREAKING NEWS - BREAKING NEWS - BREAKING NEWS

This just in... Apparently, there has been a discrepancy in the ballots cast for this years BoB's, and a recount has been demanded. After all the votes were tabulated, many ballots were found with "hanging chads". I think someone better get out the magnifying glass! Break out some coffee folks, this is going to be a long recount!

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All kidding aside... The above listed Dad Bloggers are truly some well deserving fellas. Be sure to head on over and check them out if you have not already.

I also want to give a quick little "shout out" to the rest of the finalists this year. There are some true gems in this list! Even though they did not make it into the top three, any one of them would have made a great BoB winner!

DIYFather, The Life of a Father of Five, The King of Clubs, AtHomeDaddy, BabyDaddy, FatherDad, and DadsHouseBlog.

And, let's not forget The Adventures of Charlie Blockhead (another one of my regular reads). He coordinated the BoB's.... Let's give him a hand too!

Happy Birthday!

I'd like to wish the Mother of Five a happy TWENTY-FIFTH (!?!?!?) birthday!!

We were going to have a little party here at the FOF compound.... That was until I got the word that (due to a sick call) that I Carrot Cakewas going to be "forced to hold over" from 3pm to 7pm.

That is another "down side" to my job... Never knowing when my home phone is ringing, if it is going to be work telling me to come into work four hours early, or if already at work (and planning something after work - like your wife's birthday) finding out you can not go home.

Since my available time was significantly reduced, I did what any red-blooded husband, and father-of-five would do... I "baked" a cake (in the car on the way home).

As you can see from the photo of my cake, I put a lot of painstaking work into the details. The little "frosting carrots", the crushed nuts on the side... Heck, I even commandeered a custom sized cake holder, and printed a "nutrition guide" to stick on the side!!

WOW! If I knew I could "make" a cake so well, I may even consider selling them at Cub Foods!

Happy birthday Mother-of-Five! Like a fine wine, and an aged cigar - some things only get better...

You are one of (if not the) finest of 'em all!

The World's Worst Haircut

Haircuts....

Just like clothing.... A necessary evil.  

An "unavoidable" cost. 

"Utilitarian" in my mind.

So, I usually wait until I can no longer stand the length of my hair.  Then I go in and get it cut pretty short....  And I do so at the lowest possible cost...  Which means Cost Cutters, Great Clips, or Fantastic Sams - and usually with a coupon.

I have a couple of different of these salons that I have had better luck than others.  Within the past year though, I have crossed one of the two Fantastic Sams off my list due to a pretty horrific haircut.

Yesterday, while driving around doing some errands (and in need of a haircut) I passed by one of my "acceptable" establishments, so I decided to run in for that quick haircut. 

- - - - -

Before I delve into the horror that took place afterwards, let me remind you that I am a slightly socially anxious person.  Unless it is among a core few people in my life, I DESPISE bodily contact from others.  I actually cringe, and cower...

- - - - -

My FIRST clue that I should have just turned around and left the building, was the absence of the moderately dressed, "thirty-something" hair dressers that I normally find working.  In their place I discovered a set of chunky Girls Next Door.  There was three of them - Just like the Girls Next Door.  They were all bottle bleach blonds - Just like the Girls Next Door.  And they all appeared to be "disproportionally augmented" between the neck and the waist - Just like the Girls Next Door.  They were (on the other hand) slightly shorter, and heavier than The Girls Next Door.  (I can say that because I know first hand what "chunky" is - I see it in the mirror every day!)

Henceforth, these employees will be known as TGND's.

My SECOND clue that I should have just turned around and left the building, was when TGND #1 who was sitting closest to the door (and did not have a customer) looked at me when I walked in.  She looked at me, then looked back at TGND #2, who quickly told TGND #1 that it would be "O.K.", and that she could check me in.

TGND #1 then proceeded to check me in.  Having been to this establishment before, my name (and my cut preferences) are saved in their computer system.

My THIRD clue I should have just turned around and left the building, came when after checking me in TGND #1 sat for (in reality was about 20 seconds) but what SEEMED like 20 minutes - staring at the computer monitor.  No.. It was more like staring THROUGH the monitor - Her eyes were not moving (as if she would have been reading).  Then, after that long pause, TGND #1 turned to me and said (as if she was in shock) "I can take you now"....  (What?!?!   Now?!?!?  Um... Like.... Ok....).

The FOURTH clue I should have just turned around and left the building, was (when asked about how I would like my hair cut) I told TGND #1 the same thing I tell everyone that cuts my hair. 

"Short on the sides, a little longer along the top, so I can part my bangs.  Over the Ears, and no sideburns."  I told her that "they" (other hair cutters) have told me to remember that I use the #3 clippers"

TGND #1 looked at me like I was off my rocker... "The Number three"? She asked...   "Yes, the number three." I told her as she looked more and more confused.  "Um... #3 blade for the CLIPPERS..."  (Ring a bell honey?)

"Ohhhhh!  The Clippers" she said, "It HAS been a long time since you got your hair cut hasn't it"?  To which I agreed (I hear that almost every time I go for a haircut).  She turned quickly went to work untangling the rats nest of tangled cords in her drawer.

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This was the point of no return.  I could have (should have) got up, and walked out right then and there.  Being the person I am (an optimist), I held out hope that she could pull this off...

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I did check the wall, and found the Cosmetology License issued by the State of Minnesota (with the name matching the name that TGND #2 and TGND #3 were calling TGND #1). That made me feel slightly better.

Then, the hair cut commenced...  Everything went pretty normal.  Clippers to the back, clippers on one side, clippers on the other side... then, (as she turned me away from the mirror (so my back was facing it - and I no longer can see myself)) - I felt that all too familiar tickle of the clippers move RIGHT UP THE CENTER OF MY HEAD... 

What??? What was that??? What just happened??  I couldn't see...  Then, (the all too familiar tickle of the clippers) covered more and more "real estate" on the top of my head. 

FlowbeeCould it be?  Some new style of clippers?  I usually have my hair "scissored" on the top, but perhaps TGND #1 was using some new-fangeld hair cutting tool!  Maybe she had a Flowbee... Oh, at this point, I PRAYED she had a Flowbee!

Then, she turned me slightly... Just enough that I could not get a good look into the mirror without being obvious.  (It was - after all - a bit too late to do anything about a bad haircut anyway.) As I was trying hard to peer into the mirror without making it obvious that's what I was doing, the bottom fell out of any chance I had a good haircut. 

The (the all too familiar tickle of the clippers) then went right ACROSS MY FOREHEAD.  I watched in utter disbelief as my bangs were horrifically decapitated from my head, as they thumped down upon my face, nose, and the bib that they put on you when you get your hair cut.... 

Defeated... Crushed... My spirit was broken.  There is not a chance in... well.. there was going to be no chance that my hair would turn out like I wanted it to...

With broken spirit, I slouched back into my chair and submissively let TGND #1 violate what was left of the hair on my head....

Then (as if this was not already the worst possible Scenario), TGND #1 kept rubbing up against me.... Uggghh... It was even worse than the hair cut while it was happening.  Her "disproportionally augmented appendages" kept "bumping into me" - and given my issues with social anxiety - I was truly FROZEN by this traumatic experience.

I (at one point) had to (obviously) close my eyes, and TGND #1 leaned down DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME - exposing the vast Grand Canyon of cleavage that I suspect she thought would yield her a bigger tip.  Well Chunky Girl Next Door, your cleavage flaunting, breast bumping, unwanted propositions for a bigger tip got you the exact opposite.  (Not to mention having given me an upset stomach...)

When I was finally turned around, and shown myself in the mirror, it was not as bad as I had pictured it, but oh-so-not-what-I-wanted either...  Blech...   I had hopes that a king's ransom with of hair spray may just allow me to do what I want with my hair.

Wanting nothing but to get out of there as fast as I could, I told her that my hair looked fine... She brushed me off, I settled up, and ran just as fast as my big feet would take this mountainous silhouette of man away from this hellish nightmare!  Thankfully, with all that hair gone, I think I was slightly more aerodynamic, and therefore was able to escape faster than I could have earlier. 

pinheadtoilet brushMy worst fears were later discovered.  My hair is so short even soaking it in hair spray does nothing to move it... I now look like "Pinhead" - with many more tiny pins (almost "hair like" in girth) - hair standing straight up, and out from my head....

I called home to warn the Mother of Five, who then shared this information with the kids.

When I got home, I found a gathering of my children, all snickering at me from the top of the stairs - waiting to see how "bald" their dad has become...  Thankfully I had a hat on.

Do you know what a toilet brush looks like???   If you do, you'll be able to pick me out of a crowd... Easily!  I'm the fella that looks like a chubby toilet brush! 

Hmmm... I wonder what is the Guinness Book's World Record is for longest time without taking a hat off? 

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