Morning Fun

So it was a great morning to hang out on the porch after breakfast. Here’s some of the fun.

While he got a ‘big boy’ bike for his 4th birthday, Aidan still likes to cruise around on this bike — especially while on the porch.

Of course, he’s not the only one cruising around the porch! Look out, Aidan, Erin’s hot on your tail.

And when Aidan’s not on the bike, he likes to take pictures. This one is his. How’d he do, Anna?

And he took this one, too, as I help Erin climb up the slide, ready for a ride!

A good morning. Except for having to leave and go to work.

Check Me Out — Just Not Here

Well, it’s Monday. So that means one thing.

I’m a guest blogger today.

Check out my post over at Pessimistic Redhead.

See you there.

The Company We Keep

So I hadn’t been to the cemetery lately. I think the last time I was there was just before Christmas, to see the flowers my mom had put on my Brother’s and my Dad’s stones.

I should go more often, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. What does make it easy is the fact that Tim’s grave is literally about 20 feet from my Dad’s — just two rows up and one spot over. (A weird form of convenience, eh?)

Sunday night, I had dinner with my sister and her family to celebrate her birthday. On the way home, I decided to stop at the cemetery. And, I’m glad I did. It felt good to stand over each one and say a prayer, whisper I miss you and tell them both how much they’d love to see Aidan and Erin. (And, if you’re wondering, I do actually say this out loud.)

But, while there, I noticed something this time more than I have at any other time. I noticed that if we in fact are judged by the company we keep, then my Dad and Brother are in pretty good shape. Wondering what the hell I’m talking about or where I’m going with this? Consider the following:

As I mentioned, Tim and Dad are close. Which is good. And, of course, Mom will be next to Dad someday.

There are so many other familiar names within a few yards of both my Brother and my Dad.

A guy a couple years older than my brother who grew up right across the street from us is in the same row as Tim. He was young, too, when he died — late 40s. Neighbors in life. Neighbors in death.

Another of Tim’s friends from high school died young — he was a fisherman, lost at sea. He’s about four rows down from Tim.

Another one of Tim’s friends isn’t dead yet, but his stone is there. The friend’s father passed away a couple months ago and the large family stone is there with my brother’s friends name already etched in the stone.

That seems to be a popular thing. My Aunt and Uncle, for example, are one row away from my Dad — but they aren’t dead yet. The stone is there and ready — to save some work for my cousins, I suppose.

The same goes for the parents of one of my closest friends growing up. They have their stone in and ready — and it’s just a row away from my Dad’s. My friend’s father and my Dad did a lot for youth sports programs in the area. Only appropriate, I suppose, that they are close.

There are two other families we knew growing up who have their stones all ready and are close to Tim and Dad. In one case, one of the parents is deceased, but not in the other. I have to say, this is going to sound weird, but in a way, it’s very comforting to see so many familiar names.

A couple rows away is the grave of another family we know — just the parents. The mom died two years ago, but the dad’s name is on the stone. It grabs my attention whenever I see it because she was my home ec teacher and is the woman who taught me how to core a head of lettuce and make french toast.

Speaking of teachers, my first grade teacher is also in this section of the cemetery. She died very young, too. She was my first grade teacher and her sister was my second grade teacher. These are things you don’t forget.

The father of another friend of mine from growing up is two rows down from my Dad. I saw this man every day when I was kid. He never said much, but the fact is, he’s still the Dad of my friends. And while we hardly keep in touch, I still think of them when I see their Dad’s stone — and I’m somewhat hoping the same thing occurs when they my Dad’s (or my Brother’s) stone.

And as if that’s not enough, the cemetery is also where one of my grandmother’s (mom’s mother) is buried. It’s also the final resting place for a girl I went to school with who died way too young. I used to have a crush on this girl and if you ever see my old class pictures (you remember the kind where there are the little circle head shots of everyone surrounding the large class shot), her’s is the picture I’ve circled. Because I used to have a crush on her.

So, if it is true that we are judged by the company we keep, then please don’t worry about my Dad or my Brother. They are (and will be) surrounded by friends and family — regardless of how often I visit.

I Haven’t Posted in How Long?

Man, can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted. Yikes.

A few random thoughts before bringing you back to your regularly scheduled programming.

First of all, Happy Birthday to my sister, Lynn, who turns 29 (again!) today. We had a great dinner last night, and my present to her this morning was to call her and tell her that one of her tenants in an apartment they own was just listed in the police log! Ah, ain’t bein’ a landlord fun?

I’ve been living the life of a bachelor for the last couple of days. Renee, Aidan and Erin have been in Vermont since Saturday morning. They went up with Renee’s mom. Not great weather for them (rain all day yesterday), but seems like an OK trip. They should be there when I get home from work. Can’t wait to see them. The house sure has been quiet.

Ice cream and I are getting along too well this summer. Forty by Forty is struggling with that aspect. But, what the heck, it’s like six billion degrees. In the shade.

Ever seen Quick Change? They are perhaps the most amazing illusionists I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen them perform their routine live six times — including yesterday. It just blows my mind — every time. They were on America’s Got Talent last year. Check it out (including some drama after the performance) here.

I’ve got the golf bug again. And I like it. Played Friday and hope to play again this Friday — assuming the blisters I have heal.

What else? I got nothin’.

The Day in Pictures

July 9, 2008
Aidan’s First Game at Fenway
Sox win 18-5 (um, we leave when it’s 6-4…the fan in me goes crazy, the father in me, oh well!)

This is pre-hot dog and after a long car/subway ride. Not particularly well posed, but there nonetheless!

In our seats. It was hot. No, make that HOT. Look at the sweat on his face. But, he’s had a hot dog by this point, so we’re in a little better mood.

Red Sox honored the armed services before the game. Pretty awesome flag, eh?

Not only were the seats fabulous, but they were within a minute walk to bathroom, ice cream, hot dogs and water. Couldn’t ask for anything better.

Before meeting Wally the Green Monster, Aidan got to meet Righty…

…and of course, Lefty. Notice how sweaty Aidan is. Did I mention it was HOT?

First, he asked Wally for his autograph (and said thank you!)….

…then he had his picture taken with Wally (who must have been dying in the suit).

And, finally, after a Fenway Frank, an ice cream, a lemonade, three waters, blue cotton candy, meeting three furry creatures and five innings of baseball at Fenway Park, we enjoy a ride aboard the T back to our car.

A great day.

A Day for Fathers and Sons

So today I’m taking Aidan to Fenway Park for his first Red Sox game.

He’s 4. And, honestly, he’s too young to understand everything, but I think he’s going to get enough positive out of today that we’re going — even if the goal is to only make it through five innings (which we’ve done twice at the local AA ballpark).

Aidan is all excited to see the Green Monster, and he’s a little bummed that Big Papi won’t be playing because he’s hurt.

He’s excited to try a Fenway Frank. And he knows that we’ll be getting some ice cream and also trying to find a way to connect with the Sox furry mascot, Wally the Green Monster.

Even before we get to the ballpark, he’s anxious to take his first ride on the subway — and asks regularly if it goes underground, and, if it does, will there be lights on. And I’m certain the volume of people and all the activity going on will capture his interest.

It’s not important for me today if the Red Sox actually win the game. Nor will I be upset if we leave in the fourth inning instead of the fifth. And hopefully there will be pictures.

My goal is to have a great experience with Aidan. Just me and him. Father and son. And someday, maybe he’ll look back and actually remember it as his first time. And I hope, too, that this is the first of many trips to the ballpark for the two of us. There will be family trips, I’m sure. But I hope there will be just Aidan and Dad trips, too.

I’ll also be thinking of my Dad, too. Today’s his birthday and sometimes it still hasn’t sunk in that he’s not here every day.

I can remember Fenway trips with my Dad pretty fondly. We’d always drive up, park near the ballpark, enjoy the game and always stop at the same great place on the way home for dessert.

I’ll also never forget the game when I caught a foul ball. It was me and my Dad. We had pretty good seats. And I had my autographed ball with me that I worked hard to collect more than a dozen signatures. Early in the game, a foul ball was coming our way.

As I shifted, my autographed ball fell to the ground and began to roll around, and I wasn’t about to lose that! All of my energy went to recover that ball, which I did.

But imagine my happiness when I turned back to my seat and found a foul ball waiting for me — a foul ball that Dad had caught. I couldn’t believe it. But there it was.

I think he was just as happy as I was — if not more so. And I think part of that is going to happen today with Aidan and me. And that’s OK, because it’s a day where he may not realize it, but Aidan will be as close to his grandfather through me as he’s ever been.

Baseball games are about a lot of things. But they are also about fathers and sons. And later today, I’ll be sharing the experience with my son while thinking quite a bit about my Dad. And I can’t think of a better way to experience a game.

Forty by Forty — Damn You, Ice Cream

So I did something last night I haven’t done in a while. More than a month to be exact.

I got on the elliptical machine.

Exercise has been the biggest missing link in the Forty by Forty Campaign — which has been, overall, going very well.

When we bought the elliptical, it took a week to put together because we could only do it at night after the kids were down and it was a tedious process. I did it for three straight days and then we had to ready our basement for the waterproofing work. Needless to say, that was a major disruption and it was almost a month before the basement was put back together. All the while, no elliptical.

And then, once all set, there it sat. And I sat right next to it, in front of the TV. I know when I get going, that I’ll be fine. It’s just the task of getting going that is the hardest part for me.

And, I also know that this challenge is going to be hard. Yes, I’ve had great success so far, but my goal, at the end of two years (and it hasn’t even been one yet!) is to still be down 40 pounds (at least). Maintaining is just as important as losing.

Summer has brought pitfalls — or more specifically, temptations of ice cream, hot dogs and cookies. My theory is not to ignore these, but to have them in moderation. Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) that can be a very hard thing to do. And I haven’t had the best last couple weeks eating wise.

However, two things happened yesterday that have renewed my motivation.

During the day, I was walking to a location at work and a woman who I see infrequently said, as we walked by, “You continue to look fabulous! Keep up the great work.”

Then, when I was meeting with someone I see about three times a year, she ended the time together by asking me what my secret to success was.

Those were good feelings. Very good feelings. And to some degree, part of my motivation is to not let these people (and you) down. You’ve helped and supported me. I don’t want to disappoint myself by disappointing you. Whatever it takes, right?

Then, last night, Renee (who continues to look beyond fabulous and is also buying clothes much smaller than she used to) said, “Can you give me an elliptical lesson?”

So, there I was, telling her how to use it, and there she was, hopping on for 20 minutes. Well, jeez, how could I not get on after that? So I did. And I made 20 minutes, too.

And tonight I hope to do the same thing. And tomorrow. And Thursday. And Friday. This is the key week. I need to keep it going. For you and for everyone who has encouraged me to succeed.

And, quite honestly, and more importantly, for me.