Day 31 – Night Night

Can’t believe it’s already March 31st. This Slice of Life year seems to have flown by faster than the others. Instead of saying goodbye, my son likes to say “night night” while waving. So, in the words of my sweet, beautiful boy….

Night night, WordPress. 

Night night, Screen. 

Night night, Clicks and clacks of the keys. 

Night night, Readers of these ramblings. 

Night night, Month of March. 

Night night, Struggles of thinking what to write. 

Night night, Slice of Life. 

Night night.

Day 30 – No More

I used to laugh when people would tell me about the things they could no longer do like watch a certain show/movie or listen to a certain song because their child has run it into the ground. Well, the chickens have come home to roost and the joke is now on me. 

I cannot read another page of “First Words: 100 Trucks and Other Things That Go”. IT’S NOT EVEN AN ACTUAL STORY! It’s just a page with a few pictures and a one word caption of what it is. Sometimes, the names aren’t even accurate unless it’s written for whatever regional dialect it is. Either way, I cannot read another page of it. It’s sometimes up to ten times in a sitting. My wife has tried hiding the book, but he always finds it. I don’t know how he does it! 

I suppose I should be supportive of his love of all things vehicles. I do enjoy singing “wheels on the bus” with him. He does enjoy playing with the cars and matching their pictures up with them. We brought him to the AutoShow this year and watching him run up to every car and inspect the wheels warmed the heart. I just wish he would choose one of the other car books…

Day 29 – Chipotle

Chipotle recently sent me a “year update” on my orders and… I cannot believe I ate there as much as they say I have. I refuse to believe I’ve spent that much money. But when I think really really hard about it, I know it’s true. It’s because I am a sucker! A sucker for my sweet, beautiful wife. She knows what she’s doing when she looks at me, smiles her cute little dimples at me and says in her sweetest voice, “can we have Chipotle for dinner?” I’m not a monster so of course I cave immediately. “Uh-huh, extra this? And this right?” I ask to make sure she gets the best, most perfect burrito bowl. 

She is an awesome mother to our tiny human and the best wife a guy can have! If she says she wants Chipotle, I guess we are having Chipotle. I know! I’m a pushover and should learn to say “no, but I’ll make you a burrito bowl myself!” But I knew what I was getting myself into when I proposed, every now and then I’d have to put my body through the punishing gauntlet of Chipotle food and the lottery surprise of “will there actually be enough of any of the ingredients in my bowl?” 

Anyways, I must end my writing here. I have to go to Chipotle. My order is ready in ten.

Day 28 – Closer Look

I think this might be the year I do it… again. Before I got into birding, I was very into macrophotography. As a youth, I always wanted to be an entomologist. There was something very cool about insects. It was like watching an entirely different universe unfold before my eyes. It was fun to photograph and document all of the tiny insects I had never noticed before with my camera. 

Then came birding and I have been in that world for a few years now. I feel pretty comfortable with the local birds in terms of photographing them so unless I go somewhere new, I think I will be diving back into the six legged world (sometimes eight) and capture another declining population impacted by climate and habitat destruction.

Macrophotography takes a whole new level of patience compared to birds. With birds, they will sometimes pose for you (unless they’re warblers) making it more of a skill of knowing where and when a bird will appear that you may be looking for. With insects, they are always on the move, which makes the focusing a new challenge. Throw in wind, light, etc., and the window for the perfect shot continues to shrink. I think that is part of the reason I want to dive back in. I love a good challenge and it allows me to work on something I consider art. I don’t use any editing software so I actually have to work on getting better at the settings, timing, framing. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I really do find it satisfying to put in the extra work instead of dialing it up into something that looks fake staring at a computer. Anyways, looking forward to seeing how many new species I find while also avoiding ticks.

Day 27 – Zoos

There’s something magical about the zoo and no, it’s not just because I got married at one! Every visit brings something new that you may have missed before. So, of course, when my son was born, we were going to start bringing him to the zoo as soon as we were able. It has now evolved into a quest to hit a zoo in every state.

In my big guys short life, he has been to a zoo in:

  1. Brookfield Zoo, IL – He has visited both in the womb and out. He loves the fish, penguins, and goats. 
  2. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, NE – He visited this one at 7 months old. Of course, he loved the fish exhibit. I loved the underground setup underneath the desert dome. This zoo was AWESOME! It’s a good halfway point between my family and my sister’s so we will definitely have to check out the big splash pad area at some point for the boys to run around together. 
  3. Milwaukee County Zoo, WI – This was actually visited on his first road trip ever (he did great!). He enjoyed the otters, the fish (did I mention his first word was fish?), and mom’s Dole Fruit Cup. 
  4. Denver Zoo, CO & Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, CO – He got to feed a giraffe, play in the misters setup throughout the zoo cause it was HOT, and have a good time with his cousin. 
  5. Indianapolis Zoo, IN – It’s in Indiana. Over half the zoo was closed. The orangutan exhibit was neat?
  6. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, OH – Of course, fish, but also trains and things that move and have wheels and all sorts of animals to look at and touch. 

If you have any recommendations, I am all for them! Please and thanks!

Day 26 – Indiana

We have all heard the phrase “love thy neighbor as thyself.” But what if your neighbor was the state of Indiana? Can one truly come to love a state that is the Florida of the Midwest? 

I have tried many times to hold my breath until I hit Michigan, but it is darn near impossible. The place stinks! Not nearly as bad as Missouri, but it is still unpleasant. I have asked my state congress people to work with Michigan to help take the area along the Lake Michigan coast or at least collaborate to build a tunnel or bridge that will let our fellow citizens skip the state altogether. Unfortunately, I know both scenarios would eventually be clogged with Indiana drivers. There’s a saying, and I bet my fellow Midwesterners would agree, that “at the heart of every traffic jam is a vehicle with an Indiana license plate.” If I could skip the state altogether, I would, but it’s unfortunately the only way to get to states I actually want to visit. This means driving on roads that look like they were made of swiss cheese and gazing upon billboards advertising the most heinous of things. 

I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise so I’m going to skip some of the other reasons and get right to the point of why I brought up Indiana today and that is one of their elected Senators. If you haven’t heard, this Senator literally said that something like legalizing interracial marriage should be left up to the states instead of legalized by the Supreme Court (which happened in 1967 with Loving v. Virginia). So here is a picture of my wife and I and I’m letting the Senator from Indiana know we are NOT going backwards as a country. 

Day 25 – Birthday Boy

Depending on which side of the genetic tree my DNA fell, I’m either halfway through a good life or I’m not there yet. This topic got me thinking about things with absurdly long lifespans and the things these creatures witnessed. 

The Greenland Shark can live as long as 500 years. What is it even doing swimming around down there? That’s a long time to be spending in icy waters. Probably a pretty chill creature.  

The Galapagos Tortoise can live over 100 years old. I’m guessing it’s the relaxed, carefree lifestyle and moving at its own pace. I always wanted a tortoise of my own so I can pass it onto my child and they pass it onto their child… “this was my great-great grandfather’s tortoise” they would say at show and tell. 

There is a type of tree called the Bristlecone Pine that can live over 5,000 years. To quote Beyonce “If you liked it then you shoulda put 5,000 rings on it.” (Ah, tree humor… who wood have seen that coming? Oak-ay I’ll leaf this alone now.)

Imagine having a whale of a time like the Bowhead, a species that has been reported to live over 200 years! That’s a plank-ton of time to blubber on about the things they’ve seen. 

Sorry about all the bad jokes, but you have to pretend to like them and be nice since it’s my birthday. Farewell for now!

Day 24 – The Spaghetti Monster

With the speed and accuracy of an octopus,

Ten tiny fingers grasp sauce covered noodles.

In the blink of an eye,

they are gone.

Chomp

Slurp

I imagine this is what NASA sees

when the blackhole does it’s thing.

It’s funny to think about

an event horizon for spaghetti.

When the noodles disappear,

reinforcements are called in.

There seems to be no end.

A new tactic must be tried

Watermelon chunks are deployed.

With an even faster fervor,

Squish

Squash

They are rapidly depleted.

It seems the months between the last batch of watermelon

Left the taste buds longing.

Alas, the end is near.

The tiny hands begin to share the remnants of what’s left.

A toothy grin tells me

the Spaghetti Monster is satisfied.

Day 23 – My Wife *Borat Voice*

My wife is an incredible human being. It’s one of the many reasons I married her after all. One of the things she does best (besides being amazing) is putting up with me. Specifically, putting up with me when she asks what I want for my birthday. I am not a gift person. My usual response to gifts are, “this is too much” or “you really shouldn’t have” followed my many hours and days of thanks for their generosity. This is only slightly ironic, because I truly enjoy giving gifts. So when my wife asked what I want for my birthday, I responded with a nice dinner with my lovely wife and son. This was met with a sigh, but little did I know she was going straight to work planning gifts.

Since we began dating, my wife has brought me into the fold of her tradition of opening gifts as soon as they arrive and avoid the whole waiting until the actual day thing. I’ve grown accustomed to this so it was really cool to experience the waves of gifts that began arriving throughout March.

The first one actually arrived back in February with a “Happy early birthday!” We have parent-teacher conferences this time of year and I had mentioned a long while back (or maybe it was just in my head?) that I always wanted a bird tie. When I opened the package, I saw a beautiful, green tie with my favorite bird, the black-capped chickadee on it. I was pumped to wear this to conferences and look forward to the next time I get to wear it out and about. It even came with a patch to put on my birding vest!

The next to arrive was a gift that I had been scouring the internet for weeks prior so I could buy it for myself. I was elated to see it when I opened it. My wife and I have a common phrase of “get out of my head!” it seems like we are always reading each other’s minds. I don’t even know when I mentioned this to her. I think it was a five second exchange of “check out this awesome hat” that was in a Tweet. I now have an awesome Chicago American Giants hat to go with my Kansas City Monarchs hat. Following this beautiful hat was a mug adorned with my handsome baby boy. It’s always great to sip on a hot cup of coffee at work and smile looking at his little, smiling face. I had needed a new mug since I had gone on an awful streak and accidentally broke two other mugs, which I felt horrible about. Finally, yesterday, a forest, green Black-capped Chickadee hat arrived. Another hat I have been looking for to go with my birding attire.

I don’t know how or when she was able to accomplish any of this or how she was able to read my mind on some of these that I don’t even recall mentioning. She knows me so well and really out did herself for this year’s birthday gifts. Best. Wife. Ever.

Day 22 – Vitamin OMG

In between bands on Saturday, my buddy goes, “You’re gonna be 35 next week, right?” Wrong! I explain to him I’ve still got one more year on the survey age brackets where I’m lumped in with the mid-to -late 20s kids then it’s off to being lumped in with the 40 year olds. We got to talking about fatherhood and what a joy it is. His is already in first grade with responsibilities, while mine is still doing what toddlers do. It was talking about this love for my sweet baby boy that I expressed my desire to have a time machine. Not so that I could go back and do anything extraordinary and change human events, but that I might be able to scold myself as a child into eating vegetables and to tell myself to keep running and exercising in my 20s.

Getting older always makes you think a little about your own mortality… at least I do anyways. During one of our family group hugs (the little guy LOVES these), I realized I’ve really gotta start upping my level of taking care of myself. I want to be around a good long time to see all of the things he’s gonna get up to and grow really old and wrinkly with my lovely wife. Recently, I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin, vitamin D supplement, trying some cholesterol lowering thing, switched to the “zero” pops, trying to eat smaller portion sizes, and going for runs (weather permitting). The runs have been a lot of fun lately, still getting used to running with one arm with the stroller, with stops at the park or to point out birds, dogs, planes, etc. Despite being fairly lazy exercise wise this winter, I’ve been able to maintain a decent 9:30 mile pace. I’ve got about 13 pounds to lose to hit my goal weight. Anyways, I’m going to make the most out of my last year of this age bracket so I can enter the next one and the one after that and the one after that.