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Showing posts from August, 2007

happiness is dry underwear

we started potty training jack on thursday. we followed a program called POTTY TRAIN IN ONE DAY, which, by the way, i think is kind of crazy. i mean, if someone were to offer you a book called, "ACHIEVE WORLD PEACE IN ONE DAY" i don't think you would take it seriously. and yet here we are, trying to accomplish an equally daunting task in one 24-hour period. it is intense. the day is shrouded in a lie because as soon as your happily diapered child wakes up you tell him that it is a big party. we had balloons and streamers and noisemakers and silly string - all the trappings of a legitimate party. but it is most certainly not a party. it is a hellishly exhausting day. as soon as jack got out of bed, we gave him a present: an anatomically correct doll that wets himself. jack named him quincy. several times quincy successfully peed in the potty and even had an accident or two in his "big boy underwear." he also dropped a deuce that looked and smelled sus

on how we are connected: my tamburitzan memory

the last time we were in pittsburgh we had the opportunity to go with my parents and sister to duquesne university to see the tamburitzan history and culture center. it was a pretty cool pilgrimage for me because my grandfather on my dad's side was one of the first members of the duquesne university tamburitzans. the tamburitzans are still around today, much larger than they were in 1937 when my grandfather was a member. they are a song and dance company that specializes in performing folk songs and dances of eastern european countries. being a croatian, my grandfather fit right into this group, playing many of the stringed instruments of croatia and the surrounding cultures. the tamburitzans continue to tour today, and to find out more about them, check out their website here. here he is in the above picture; he is in the middle on the top row. he passed away when i was 3, so i don't remember him much, but i have certainly heard many stories about him, and have always l

30 things in 1 day

hello friends. its been a crazy week since i last posted. more on that later (one word: pottytraining, which is actually two words, but who really cares?). anyway, i wanted to follow up to my last post which was a celebration of shannon's 30th birthday. on her big day we celebrated by accomplishing 30 items which she had put on a list. one of the items, for example, was to change her cell phone ringtone to happy birthday. one of the other items on her list was that she would take 30 pictures to document her day. and so here you can see a few of the results.... i made her this cake which not only has 30 inferno-bright candles, but also is decorated with 30 m and m's. we ate cake for breakfast, which was another item on her list. it was a big day, you know? as she said, you only turn 30 once. so we treated it like the new years and stayed up the night before to count down to midnight, and then we toasted in the new year, and then we celebrated by...turning off the lights and su


you know those guinness commercials with the animated irish guys that look like paper cut outs? i love those commercials. the one guy, a very agreeable chap, just keeps saying, almost shouting really, "brilliant!" to whatever his friend says. when i see one of those commercials, i suddenly feel european and i begin saying "brilliant" to everything and everyone around me, but my lame attempts at being cool are not brilliant. the commercials are not brilliant. funny, but not brilliant. and dark irish beer in a bottle is not brilliant either. not today, anyway. today, everything else dims in comparison to the brilliance of my wife, who is celebrating 30 years of living today. as i have been reflecting on this big day for her and who she is as a human being, i keep coming back to the word brilliant. for as long as i have known shannon she has been brilliant. she excels at everything she does, and, more than that, she just brings an indisputable kind of light to every co

in self-defense

okay people, after reading a few comments to my last post, it has become clear that i need to launch into a lengthy and impassioned defense of my irrational fear. i took this picture! so you may have noticed in my little profile to the left that i am afraid of bees. its true, i am. call me crazy, but there is something at least slightly irritating about the presence of an insect that is fully armed to sting the living bijinkers out of you, flying around your head in an imperceptable pattern. now, imagine that same scenario, but multiply it, since insects seem so fond of being found in mass hordes of crawling buzzing potential stingery. does that sound like fun to anyone? imagine you are out sunning yourself, with your beautifully toned and equally sensitive epidermis exposed to the natural world. now imagine that said insect lands on you. is this enjoyable? or worse, imagine that you have a shirt on - now the dimunitive devil can crawl inside your shirt, where an escape route


i'm not typically that scared of animals. i mean, don't get me wrong, i will run away from a particularly aggressive squirrel as fast as the next person, but i think i'm quite brave when it comes to our 4-footed friends. take for example how close i dared come to these feisty wolves, which i found at the l.l. bean outlet. mysteriously, they never once moved. i am convinced that they were trying to get me to believe that they were fake, and then once i was within reach they would pounce on me and eat me for their dinner, tired as they must have been of whatever mr. bean was feeding them. i'm sure i looked like a tasty and meaty treat. but i didn't take the bait. i showed them no fear, walked very near to them, took their photos, the poor suckers, and walked away unscathed. i am wolf-master. so anyway, i'm not typically that scared of animals. this morning, however, i had an encounter with some local deer that really challenged my fortitude. when i leav

low expectations

i think i'm an optimist. that is, i try to look at the glass as half full more than half of the time. but if i'm being honest i will have to confess that i hate disappointment. and one of the ways i've learned to avoid disappointment is by having low expectations. when i was 12 we moved from our little corner of southwestern pennsylvania to somewhere in the middle of kentucky, about a six-hour drive away. as we had no family in kentucky, we would often make that 6 hour drive through the barren lands of west virginia during holidays and breaks. to a 13-year old, 6 hours is a really long time, especially if you are spending it cramped up on the floor of a volkswagon vanagon that keeps breaking down. i remember thinking that we must be at least halfway there once when i asked how much longer we had to go. "what?" yelled my parents from the front, having failed to hear me over the space-shuttle-loud roar of the german engineering wonder. i shrieked from the floor, &q

to blog or not to blog

wow. its been awhile. actually, the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. everyday has brought about a whole new set of activities, and, with the regular routine resposibilites of feeding, cleaning, bathing, dressing, undressing, entertaining, disciplining and otherwise rearing two young boys, it is all too easy to begin to lose track of the days as they speed by. that's one reason that i have really enjoyed keeping this blog. over the last 9 months or so it has really helped me to keep track, to document these days as they pass. but, over the last few weeks while i have so much time away from the computer, i've had the chance to really reflect on why i blog at all and if i really want to keep at it. one of the reasons why i do this thing is to keep people posted on our lives. i have been able to stay in contact with family and friends and give you a little glimpse into our lives through my silly anecdotes and our family photos. it seems to me that, for those wh

what's on your mind?

i found this crazy article from the associated press today. you thought you had problems... Pencil removed from German woman's head after 55 years August 07, 2007 9:30 AM EDT BERLIN - After being plagued for 55 years with the torment of a pencil lodged in her head, a German woman has finally had it removed. Margaret Wegner, now 59, was 4 years old when she fell while carrying the eight centimeter-long (3.15 inch-long) pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain. "It bored right through the skin and disappeared into my head," Wegner told Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild. "It hurt like crazy." At the time the technology did not exist to safely remove the pencil, so Wegner had to live with it - and the chronic headaches and nosebleeds that it brought - for the next five-and-a-half decades. But on Friday, Dr. Hans Behrbohm, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Berlin's Park-Klinik Weissensee, was able to use modern techniques to identify t

my week in brooklyn

well its a thursday, its mid-morning, and i'm sitting in my office here at the church. it occurs to me that last week at this very hour i was in a very different place. i was about a block and a half away from the coney island boardwalk. if i looked out the window i could see the famous nathan's hot dog restaurant. it was about 90 degrees and so hazy that i couldn't even see the top of the cyclone; it just sort of faded into fog as it rose upwards. i had never been to coney island before, and normally i soak all of this stuff in. but i wasn't thinking about the sights and sounds and smells of coney island. i wasn't a tourist last week. i was standing upstairs in a room that i had never been in. people were beginning to come in and find a seat in the rows of folding metal chairs. i was noticing the variety of people that kept entering the room: an older couple, i would guess in their seventies; a few african american women, a young hispanic man. it was clear, though,


hello again friends. i've missed you. as you know, i spent nearly a week in new york city. what you may not know is that i had to cut my trip a bit short to get to central pennsylvania for shannon's grandma's funeral. we spent a few days there, and we just returned home last night. so it has been a whirlwind week and a half. i am finally back. i want to reflect a little about my experience in brooklyn, as well as the passing of shannon's grandmother, but not today. i have about 6,000 emails wating for me to sort through, so i need to go do that. suffice to say that sometimes life feels to me like it is eroding. fading. washing away. that the stream of time just continues to rip off bits and chunks of us and carries it away to some unknown delta. the air is just full of these pieces of life and stuff, an assemblage of atoms, all streaming away. where does all this matter go? i want to believe, i do believe, that all is not lost. atoms and innocence, it wil