Friday, January 30, 2009

Foul Language

I’m not an advocate of foul language. It doesn’t work for me nor does it seem to carry the waft of intelligence. If someone else foul mouths it that’s up to them. But sure would be nice if they kept that language away from kids. Even their own.

I was at the park with the kids one morning. Swing set, slides, sand pit. All the attractive nuisances. A little boy, five years, got upset with someone and tossed off some inappropriate language. What can you do but look at the parents and wonder what that existence is like.

Now then, I’d be untruthful if I told you that I don’t get upset or lose patience with people, situations, and things. I do my best to temper my language.

Summer 2005

We frequent a local water park every summer. Season passes, we secure. Pulling out of our parking space one time and ready to proceed to the exit we were caught behind a driver seemingly confused with what they were doing. This necessitated that I wait beyond my tolerance threshold while they figure themselves out.

“Come on you clown,” I said out loud losing my patience and forgetting that the boy was in the back seat.

“Where’s the clown, daddy?” came a query of pure innocence from the back seat hoping for a glimpse of a colorfully attired goofball. He was four.

I was glad that I didn't foul mouth it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brosnan Joins Us on Vacation

February 2003

The lovely Wife Klem and I were vacationing in Hawaii in 2003. Kauai. We had just checked into our rented condo, dropped off our luggage, and set out for a grocery store. We prefer to eat most meals at home or pack sandwiches as cost effectiveness measures. It was at the grocery store securing supplies we had a brush with celebrity.

Foodland. Produce section. Pierce Brosnan, grocerying with his boy, was casually attired in jeans and a button down Hawaiian shirt (not a silly one, a classier variety of Hawaiian shirt). Seeing him from 15 feet away, “Hey,” I couldn’t help but blurt out without thinking and now feeling like a graceless lummox.

He looked up at me and I pointed to Wife Klem. She was picking produce from the same bin five feet away from this Brosnan when she looked at me to see why I was making a nuisance of myself. As he looked to see where I was pointing, Wife Klem looked to see where I was looking. They made eye contact and exchanged ‘hellos’. Smiling the three of us and the moment was over. We returned to the tasks at hand.

Our grocery bill was $130. Expensive out there in those scenic Sandwich Isles.

We aren’t the type, I guess, to canvass the fella. But should the encounter repeat I would be tempted to approach and say, “Thank you for Matador.” Matador. A silly film of his from 2005 that I enjoyed.

I bid you good day, sir.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Child ‘Reads’ a Book

Watching somebody learn how to do anything can be a grueling experience whether it be math, reading, tying shoes, or throwing footballs. It’s an exercise in patience, spectating such a thing.

Wife Klem and I have one reader and a second child that is at the beginning of this learning process. A considerable struggle at first, sitting with them as they sound out ‘the’ or ‘and’. Then there’s the struggles of enforcing a reading regiment even in the face of the child’s protests. Then one day you tuck them into bed and they reach for a book to read as they lie in bed waiting for sleep to arrive. An encouraging sight. Reassurance that the battles and struggles and frayed nerves have been well spent.

Just before this, however, they don’t understand the combining of sounds and how letters are used to make words. Preschool level. They know a book is a story, they see the letters and words all over the page. But haven't any idea how to decipher the puzzle between the words on the page and the illustrated story. All the child knows is that mom and dad open the book and this great story floats on out.

So at some point the child, trying to mimic mom and dad, opens a book and ‘reads’ it. Oh they’re not reading, they’re just combining what they remember about the story and the illustrations. The result? An emanation from their inchoating brain matter.

Our girl is at that age where she sometimes wants to ‘read’ to mommy or daddy instead of having a story read to her. I’ve even seen her sometimes in her room sitting on the floor ‘reading’ books to her dolls. Irresistible. Doubt it, do you, this irresistibility? Supporting evidence follows.
[Video was removed by klem on 5/12/2009.]
A happy fella.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hockey Puck

Winter 1979.

A friend’s family had season tickets to the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. This dates back to the era of the Kings’ purple and gold uniforms. It was game day and they had a spare ticket. This friend, we’ll call him McNeil, invited me to join. I’d never been to a hockey game before nor followed the sport closely. But heck, I was a sports fan, and a game on ice? Cool. Accepted.

During the course of the game a hockey puck was whacked from the ice out of play over the protective perimeter glass and was caught by a man sitting behind me! So close! Exciting! Apparently in 5th grade I was still an adorable kid. He looked at me and handed me the puck. Neat, “Thank you.”

Spring 1987. Santa Barbara, CA.

I was in college, UC Santa Barbara, living in one of the dormitories, Anacapa.

I took that puck to college with me. Everyone’s handled baseballs and footballs, so I enjoyed the novelty of the hockey puck. Hockey is a game played on ice, so I thought it be appropriate for the puck to live in the freezer. I figured it’d be accustomed to, and preferred, a very cold habitat.

Had a party in my room one night. Bunch of folks, didn’t know them all, beers consumed, loud music, some chaos. A day or so later I realized the puck no longer resided in my freezer. Missing? Stolen!

I can safely conclude that the novelty of a hockey puck is enjoyed by more than just me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video Gaming Cross Roads

My son and I recently experienced a cross roads of sorts. We have a Playstation 2 video gaming system. Last year we got a few car racing games that he enjoys, Hot Wheels specifically.

When we first got the game he struggled at it and was easily frustrated, so much so that he would ask mommy and daddy for help. It’s nice when the kids look up to us, even when it’s just to tap into our video gaming prowess. His tenacious gaming, however, quickly yielded considerable improvement in his capability.

The cross roads came when it occurred to each of us that I can no longer compete with him. In fact, we went from him asking me for help to where he now talks smack at me while he’s beating me at the game one on one. He’s seven.

Where do we go from here? I thought I could practice up after he goes to bed each night and soundly defeat him one day with a 2-player challenge. But I think I might have difficulty finding the time to practice and maintain top form that would certainly be needed to remain afloat over his burgeoning improvement. Maybe this’ll be a good time to concede his superior position in this area and talk about the importance of good sportsmanship.

Oh, well. At least I can still handily crush him at the old Atari VCS cartridge games. It’s possible the block graphics from 25 years ago confuses him compared to the great quality of today’s gaming graphics. Besides, I know the glory of being a Guitar Hero. It’ll be years before he can challenge me here . . . I hope.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Picky Eaters

Our kids are picky eaters. They like what they like and they want it over and over again (peanut butter no jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese, bagel with cream cheese, buttered pasta, waffles, cereal). A formidable hurdle, it can be, a child’s unwillingness to step outside their self imposed eating restrictions.

The boy had declared at one point that that he is a vegetarian. That’s a decision I can live with once he’s older and making his own meals. It’s just not fair for Wife Klem to have to make several meals every time the family eats. It was on this point we recently battled.

I came with a three pronged offensive:

(1) “If you’re going to be a vegetarian you’ll have to eat tofu.” Served tofu for a meal. Didn’t like it, not surprisingly, but he still did not willingly expand into eating meat.

(2) As his seventh birthday approached I advised him, “When you turn seven you’ll be eating hot dogs once per week.” This worked out surprisingly well with the advance notification. He grumbles a little when he is served hot dogs, but he eats it now! Wife Klem and I will think of another food to implement into his eating roster for his eight birthday.

(3) Predator versus prey: The boy really likes dinosaurs. He’s quite knowledgeable, in fact, in this area. The boy and I talked about the difference between predators (meat eaters - Tyrannosaurus Rex and Raptors) and prey (plant eaters - Apatosaurus and Parasaurolophus). We discussed how predators have their eyes in the front of their head for better vision to see the prey. Plant eaters have their eyes on the sides of their head for better peripheral vision to make it easier to spot predators. We then discussed the same for mammals (lions and tigers versus deer and antelope).

“Are your eyes in the front of your head or the side,” I asked him.
“In front,” the boy conceded.
“That’s right. So are you a predator or prey,” I followed up.
“So are you a meat eater or plant eater,” me.
“Meat eater,” he admitted.

Certainly omnivore is more precise for humans, but the point had been successfully argued. Unfortunately, this has not improved the desirability rating for meat entrees in the eyes of the kids. The boy is the key here. We’re confident his baby sister will fall in line with big brother should he eat meat.

The struggling reminds me of when I was a little guy. Eating was an inconvenience, I’d rather be playing or watching a ball game on tv.

Growing up we had Sunday meals with our maternal Italian grandparents. We were not big eaters, my siblings and I. Our grandmother would often tell my mom with some level of distress, “Make them eat something,” after only a light consumption leaving mountains of food on the serving platters.

Picky eating. So it has come full circle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail to the New Guy

Who’s the happiest guy on the face of the earth today? President Bush, probably. May he finally appreciate some peace and quiet.

So We’ve got this new guy in office, President Obama. Please allow me to voice my concerns about the new administration. I will immediately after aspire to act like a respectable adult and try to behave myself.

(1) No checks and balances. House of Representatives, Senate, and the White House all belong to the same party. This leaves an alarming lack of friction for any piece of legislation that is proposed. You certainly have gathered by now that I’m a political conservative. I bet Gridlock could make some noise as a viable 3rd party option.

(2) Spending. In my opinion this bailout business, call it what you will, that commenced under the Bush administration was a mistake. As difficult as it may be to accept, it may be best to let the irresponsible businesses bottom out and emaciate themselves away. Yes, that may be miserable to endure. Market forces. Supply and demand. This is too short an answer for what would take a 50-page essay to argue, but heck, who’s gonna read 50 pages. The point here? No more bailouts, please.

(3) Taxes. As tax thresholds rise more lower income households get a pass. This creates a society that is increasingly unaffected by taxes. As those who pay $0 in taxes gets larger, a larger segment of society becomes unscathed by tax increases. Finally, a majority will pay no taxes at all. At that point there’s no stopping any further tax increases because there won’t be enough No votes regardless of how ridiculous the tax.

Think of your Group Health plan. You probably have a deductible. That’s to keep you involved, in check to some extent. If it costs you $0, heck, you no longer care about cost, or more importantly, cost reduction.

(4) ‘Rich have to pay their fair share.’ I get really fed up with this pap because I believe strongly in fair share.

The richest 1% have 21% of earnings, but pay 39% in taxes
The richest 5% have 36% of earnings, but pay 54% of taxes

I’m not in those segments, but it looks like the rich are paying more than their fair share. (Statistics are from a 2007 Wall Street Journal article.)

But hey, I don’t want to get carried away. I just wanted to vent so that I may commence with the Obama administration with a clean slate effective tomorrow.

An honest note: The judge screwed up the pledge. Wasn’t President Obama’s fault, says this one. It’s really a shame that the sound bite is now befouled.

President Obama didn’t get my vote, but I wish him and his family health and good spirits. Hail to the New Guy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

College Prank

The college experience is a wonderful opportunity for learning and forming many life lessons. Young people living independently of their parents and making their own decisions for the first time. Defining moments laying the foundation by which a young person will go on to live their life. This anecdote, however, is not a sampling of one of those.

Spring 1989

I was living off campus in a two-bedroom apartment with three friends. We lived a mile from the UC Santa Barbara campus in a neighborhood that was occupied predominantly by students. Isla Vista by name. The neighborhood was dirty and the buildings often subpar in maintenance. Immediately outside, though, heck it’s Santa Barbara. Beautiful beaches, ocean, campus, and the student bodies!

My friends and I did imbibe of the barley beverages on weekends and occasional school nights. Fact is, some nights we imbibed much. This was college, such behavior may not surprise you. It can be sad when a person drinks irresponsibly. They can hurt somebody or themselves through bad behavior or foolish decisions. But there can be an upside, pending your perspective.

A friends of mine had guests visiting. We’ll call the host McGettigan the Younger. They got to drink. One guest indulged more than he should have. Passed out. College pranks upon an unconscious chum, let’s face it, are to be relished, so long as no permanent harm or damage is administered.

When the fellow finally regained consciousness he walked around slowly collecting his still askew equilibrium. Everyone laughed profusely as he turned to look at them. This in turn caused him to smile and begin to laugh. It was really an amusing scene. It wasn’t until he looked in the mirror that he saw he was missing an eyebrow. Shaved off, it had been. Curse words followed.

I never saw this guy again, but have wondered several times since. Did he shave off the remaining brow? Or leave his brows lopsided until the vacant one grew back? Tough decision.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


It’s possible this is overdue in coming, but we started an allowance for the kids only a few weeks ago. Allowance is paid on Saturday mornings and is dependent upon their completion of assigned task.

The boy earns $1 per week for reading a book of his choice to his sister every day. The girl earns 50 cents per week allowance for listening to her brother read. Doesn’t need to be a lengthy book (i.e., Andrew Lost, Jack and Annie), it can come from his sister’s library (i.e., Charlie and Lola, Fancy Nancy).

These two experienced difficulty in fostering a peaceful cohabitation over the holidays. The flare up over the Christmas break may be due to a coinciding two weeks off from school for the both of them. Too much time, was parlayed into too much teasing, arguing, rough play, and resultant crying. Scoldings get tiresome over time. At one point, intended as a brief alleviant, I said to the boy, “Read your sister a book, please.” Grudgingly, he did it. Proverbial lightbulb lit over my head.

We are two weeks strong into the reading / listening for allowance program. Hopeful.

[A Saturday morning sneak up on the kids while the boy is reading to his sister. (Recorded on my new flip Video gifted by my sister. Hey, thanks, this is really slick!) Incidentally, that is a great opening shot of me with the nostril-cam.]
[Video was removed by klem on 5/12/2009.]

Friday, January 16, 2009

She Likes Spooks

My daughter likes scary things. Scary movies (the animated Monster House and the like, we’re not talking the Friday the 13th series. She’s 4.), scary books (i.e., the Halloween variety, ‘monsters in the attic’ or ‘under the bed’ themes), and playing monster related games. I like that she’s into the spooks.

We go to the library once each week to get books and rotate the kids’ videos for the ‘snack and video’ segment of our evenings administered before bedtime. We’ve been doing this for several years. Result? They love books and going to the library.

We read books to the kids before bed. The girl gets three books read to her and the boy gets 2-3 chapters of his chapter books read to him. The girl’s preference? Scary ones. Here we are in January and she still picks, with the help of the lovely Wife Klem, two or three Halloween books each week.

I like seeing the kids’ personalities develop, even if it’s not immediately to my liking:

“Would you rather watch football with daddy or get eaten by monsters,” I asked the girl not long ago.

“Get eaten by monsters,” she chose with a smile.

I hoped it was the football watching she had a problem with and not an activity with her old man that drove her to choose the monsters. I later thought that as much as she likes monsters, maybe losing out to that choice doesn’t necessarily place me in a deep hole.

Either way, if you’ll please excuse me, I must prepare for a strategy session. We’ll be playing Monster Madness, a board game, at some point this weekend and I will be playing for victory.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

California Budget Crisis

The California budget problem probably gets no play outside of California, not that it should, but please allow me to vent. The state’s budget was due in July 2008 and has still not been turned in! The problem? The state is said to be between $34B and $42B in the hole and the proposed budget remains well in excess of the expected tax revenue. Our legislature cannot agree on new or increased taxes or budget cuts to make up the difference.

I’ll try to avoid getting too party biased, but heck, in a mess like this there’s enough blame to go around for everyone, and it’s been going around for about a decade now. Suffice it to say that I’m in favor of the Laffer Curve getting consideration in any tax talk. [‘the Laffer curve is used to illustrate the idea that increases in the rate of taxation do not necessarily increase tax revenue.’ Thank you, Wikipedia, (]

Two things that have already been discussed as the state’s money runs out:
  • One week furloughs for some state employees. Time away from work with no pay sounds like a good start. Besides, it beats lay offs.
  • State parks and DMVs may be closed one day a week.

An outline of my proposed fix for the budget woes:

(1) An expense freeze. No new expenditures and no increase in any line over the prior year’s expense. This freeze continues until tax revenue, some year way out in the future, finally catches up with expenses. This includes overriding built-in automatic increases already assigned to some expenditures.

(2) Sunset dates. Why do sunset dates only apply to tax cuts? These should also apply to every new program, expenditure, and tax increase that is implemented. Enough of these perpetual expenses and programs that begin and then never conclude.

(3) No more automatic / built-in expense increases over the prior year. Make every program and expense susceptible to justification. You want more money dedicated to something than was spent last year? Show the results that justify the request.

(4) Wish list item: A furlough for the entire state legislature for the balance of Q1 and Q2 of 2009. Save a ton on salaries, staff, catered meetings, lodging when out of town, and their transportation. Plus, they may return on 7/1/2009 inspired to get the next budget in on time. Or turned in at all.

(5) In real life, these plans would not go far enough because of the gap between expenses and tax revenue. How about every state representative pick one program or budget line to make eligible for cut. Governor Schwarzenegger can then draw straws, roll dice, or throw darts to decide on 25 of them that are to be cut 10% or eliminated. Why dice, straws, or darts, you ask? Because discussion and arguing for the last six months has not yielded a legitimately decided answer. Let chance decide.

I’m just feeling a little fed up. Like someone should be taking away their crayons, assign a hall monitor that’s not afraid to send someone to detention, and actually make a leadership decision. And no, the decision to stand and state loudly that it’s the other guy’s fault is not the decision we’re looking for.

Sure this is from a naive perspective. But I am thoroughly disgusted by the work, or lack thereof, produced by our elected officials. Thanks for hearing me out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brooks Robinson

This Robinson played Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles until retiring in 1977. Third base, he played, the hot corner as it’s familiarly referred. He was the American Leagues Most Valuable Player in 1964, won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards (awarded to the best defensive player at each position), and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bottom line, he was good.

Summer 1978.

Mom Klem noticed a newspaper advertisement that Brooks Robinson was going to be signing baseballs outside the toy store at a nearby shopping mall. ‘Neat,’ I thought. [I was 11, I thought ‘neat.’] Mom dropped me and my two older brothers off to see the baseball hero and obtain autographed balls.

The line was long, I was patient, met the former baseballer, was handed a ball with signature, said thanks, and sat down to wait for mom’s retrieval of us.

Ten minutes passed. Still waiting for mom. Line for ballplayer was now small. I reengaged, waited in line, and got to Brooks Robinson again! He remembered me, “Didn’t I already sign a ball for you,” said Mr. Robinson smiling as he signed and handed me a second orb. I confirmed the suspected previous encounter with an affirmative head nod and reached for the ball.

Two weeks later I gave one signed ball to a friend of mine. It was his birthday. The second ball sat on a shelf in a closet for many years. Over time it was boxed and moved several times and was eventually misplaced.

Fall 2008.

Thirty years after receiving those two baseballs I was cleaning up the back yard after my kids had enjoyed a vigorous 40 minute frolic. Picking up balls (footballs, tennis, golf, Nerf footballs, and a few baseballs) and putting them back in the ball bin in the garage. I noticed one of the balls had an aged water stain and a signature. In clear handwriting Brooks Robinson’s signature adorned the ball. It had been relocated! The ball bin had it all these years!

Seeing how I mishandled this ball so disappointingly I decided to gift it to a friend of mine. We’ll call him Cassidy. He’ll hopefully treat it better than I had.

It was fine to have met the great baseballer that morning long ago. I hope he is well. Thanks, mom, for your astute newspaper perusal and for caring.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guest Reader Day

It was Guest Reader Day at my boy’s grade school today. Silly thing, I was nervous leading up to it. But I handled the pressure packed ordeal and read without difficulty. Even nailed the big words!

The point of guest reader day is to read a book to the class and then explain how reading is important in what you do in your profession. I quickly identified behavioral traits in 1st graders that necessitated a change of plan. It seems that most of them wanted to participate by asking questions about the book during the reading and they needed answers (i.e., ‘What’s that planet’s name?’, ‘Why are they wearing helmets?’). They also wanted to tell me what their parents do. So I modified my game plan to suggest how reading is important to their parents’ jobs.

Nice meeting all the other guest readers at the morning reception. Lots of dads and moms whom Wife Klem and I already know through school events and socializing. The mayor was also present and participated, thought that was nice. It was a good time. I had 20 1st grade students and they were very manageable. Wonder if the guest readers for the older classes and their rowdies got heckled.

I read Martian Rock by Carol Shields.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NFL - Watching With Kids

These kids of ours have no concept as to the importance of playoff football. As good parents we do what we can to teach importance from the non. With only three more weeks remaining until Super Sunday our work in this regard remains incomplete.

Back in the college days my world came to a stop on Sundays during football season. Six hours set aside to accommodate the viewing of a morning and afternoon game. Little did I realize at the time the luxury that this was.

I watched today’s playoff football games. Both. With the kids. Both. Watching, present day, is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to viewing when I was in college. The kids don’t watch, so it became more an exercise of watching around them. To keep them occupied I simultaneously played, in sequence, Dino-opoly (Monopoly with a dinosaur theme), Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Paper Doll, and Balloon Lagoon (or Balloon Galloon as my daughter says - four years). The boy, meanwhile, was intermittently on YouTube watching Hot Wheels videos or in his room setting up a track playing Hot Wheels.

In college I used to feel pent up, restless, and loaded with energy after all that watching. Six hours mostly sedentary. Now, worn out and largely spent on account of all these board games and parental involvement with the offspring. Yet, somehow, I feel more fulfilled present day after watching and gaming as opposed to the prior luxurious leisure of college.

The reward for my footballing dedication and enduring too many games today? Dinner of homemade split pea soup! Thank you, my lovely Wife Klem. Revived. Football’s Championship weekend is in seven days. Bring on the Chutes and Ladders.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Friend At A Slower Pace

As you go through life you have the opportunity to meet a bunch of people. My favorites? Good ones that are easy to respect.

Fall 1992.

My first job out of college was for a large company in southern California. The business had a few thousand employees occupying several floors of a 13-story building. In a large business there is ample occasion to meet a significant amount of folks through job related events or sometimes just by milling about smartly. I made one such acquaintance that started with playing basketball on Friday afternoons after work with a group of other hoopsters. We became quite good friends.

In his job he had access to numerous meeting rooms and electronic equipment. He occasionally arranged for a few of us to take lunch while watching a movie in the corporate film room with nice reclining seats, large screen, and an above average sound system! Over a three day stretch of 45-minute lunch breaks we could take in a movie. Ferris Bueler’s Day Off and The Terminator were two of several films we viewed in this manner. A top notch dining experience!

We’ve enjoyed sharing good times, growth, and support over the years through our days as bachelors and now married with family. I leaned on him recently to ask questions about his own blogging experience. He’s a good guy. He’s Dan At A Slower Pace and you can read his blog at:


Friday, January 9, 2009

Baseball Card Prices Spike 50%!

Summer 1977.

I was a young boy pulling in a weekly allowance of $1 which handily funded my need for baseball cards and candy. There was a local candy shop my brothers and I regularly visited on Saturday mornings to outfit those needs. The Village Barn.

Baseball cards at the time went for 10 cents per pack. I was ten years old and relished the transaction that yielded an even ten packs of cards enriched with a firm plasticesque stick of gum for one meager dollar. The walk home, half mile, opening packs, stuffing gum in my mouth, and reviewing the cards of my baseballing heroes. Really a glorious time.

With much sadness I recall that gloomy Saturday morning I approached the counter clerk with my weekly supply of ten packs and he said so casually, “That’ll be a dollar fifty.” 50% price increase from the week before! I remember struggling with the required downgrade to six packs for $.90 and having an extra 10 cents left over. How hollow this felt. The 10 cents went toward candy, a distant second in preference to the cards. It was a sad walk home. All six packs were opened and perused long before I got there.

My little world seemed a cold harsh place.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Wife Klem and I have two super kids. How super, you query? A snapshot from this week follows for your consideration:

the Girl: Four years old. She was cutting paper this afternoon and accidentally cut her hand. She’s getting quite good at her cutting ability and has shown a surprising proficiency at not cutting the wrong things such as her brother’s homework, the mail, or books. But back to her damaged hand. After much crying and the application of a bandage the bleeding stopped. Two hours later she commented about her injury, “I was scared my bones was going to fall out.” The cut was small but certainly scary for her when she saw the blood. Regardless, I was amused at the image of her skin behaving like a grocery bag with a hole and the contents tumbling out.

the Boy: Seven years old. He came home from school having learned a dice game. Sure, a dice game, you say. This game was shown by his teacher and it’s great.

Game: Roll three dice and write the numbers in descending order. Add a comma after the third number and do this twice more. You then roll the set of three dice thrice more and write this number under the first number. Final step, add the two numbers!


No joke. A dice game that has him doing math and he likes it. He walks around the house with his three dice and a notebook for all his computations. Sounds like his teacher pulled one over on him.

Sure is fun being a parent. Especially since they’ve both been toilet trained.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a Pancaker

I’d like to start clean with you. I’m a pancaker.

It all started Halloween weekend 2005. Before this fabled weekend my breakfasts during the week were a fairly pedestrian pair of Eggos, a glass of water, and a vitamin consumed afoot while making lunches for myself and the boy (2nd grade currently) and administering his breakfast bowl of cereal. This worked fine for weekdays. When wrastling with a tight time parameter this quick breakfast menu was optimal, even if ranking low in the pageantry department.

For weekends, however, this eventually began to leave me with a lackluster feeling walking away from the breakfast table about to engage the day. I thought of pancakes and mentioned my desire to Wife Klem. With an amused curiosity, and much encouragement, she secured the necessary ingredients. It was at this point in 2005 my weekend routine took a significant upgrade.

Saturday mornings became my pancaking mornings. It took several sessions to work out the bugs in my pancaking protocol. The industrious employing of mixing bowls, measuring batter, and adding milk. I was pleased with myself. Very pleased, to be precise.

Eventually, having gotten myself into a comfort level with the pancakes, I sought out ways to improve. I added bananas one week. Another week mixed in blueberries. Yogurt another week.

It later occurred to me that the process itself needed improving. I stopped using the big mixing bowl. In fact, I stopped using any bowls. Mix the ingredients directly into a blender and simply push the liquefy button, I did. Oh boy, was I happy with myself now! Not only did this simplify the mixing process, but it was easy pouring the smooth viscosity directly from the blender to the pan. Clean up was also a snap. Disassemble and place in the dish washer.

A batch of pancakes, limited only by the volume of the blender, cooks up about a dozen cakes of respectable nine-inch diameter. The best part, perhaps? I freeze the pancakes that I can’t consume in that one sitting and eat the balance the remainder of the week. Monday through Friday morning I pull them out of the freezer, snap one in half and toss it in the toaster.

Pancakes. I enjoy ‘em.