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Showing posts from March, 2013

Spring, Day 8

This was the perfect spring afternoon I'd been waiting for.

I was actually inside working on some freelance stuff most of the morning and early afternoon. I took Popcorn to buy dog food at PetSmart, dropped her off and went to pick up the boys from school. After we got home, we went to Ben's baseball practice. The practice went well on the partly sunny, warm spring late afternoon. On his first time on the batting machine this year, Ben got four hits in only about 10 at-bats -- a big improvement over last year when he got only three hits all season during games.

We returned home and ate dinner, then I took Popcorn for a walk to a little wooded area near Emigration Creek where I can take her off leash. I threw a tennis ball to her, usually uphill to get her good and exercised. We walked back to the house and settled in for the night.

I'll admit, the day wasn't that eventful. But it was sunny and warm (low 60s, but it felt great) and was a reminder of how nice spring days…

The Nostalgia Files: American Top 40

I thought at some point over the last six years, I blogged about "American Top 40." But looking through the old posts, I can't find it. If I do, I'll rewrite this first paragraph. For now, I'll paraphrase what I thought I wrote. I discovered AT40, hosted by Casey Kasem, in December 1980 while listening to the radio while taking a shower. I had taken a liking to music countdowns, with WLS' Big 89 the New Year's Eve before and "Solid Gold" (and that blog post I found).

I consistently listened to AT40 the next couple years, first on WBBM-FM in Chicago, then on WLS. Gradually, I was sleeping a little later on Sunday mornings or finding other things to do, because I didn't listen to the countdowns as much. Still, on the couple hundred tapes of songs I recorded off the radio between 1982-1989, bits of "American Top 40" -- and the songs in between Casey Kasem's voice -- pop up here and there.

A few decades later, the classic AT40s are…

Spring, days 3-7

Something got in the way of my spring blogging: wintry things.

Over the past five days, we got more intermittent snow and some chilly temps. The weather seemed to finally turn back to more springlike in the past 36 hours, and should be nice for the next several days. Huzzah!

I watched plenty of basketball over these past five days as well, to the point that it got so late I didn't feel like blogging. I can't get enough of the madness, even if it started a little later than normal this year (the Final Four won't begin until April 6).

I took Ben back to the game store Friday, and we tried Ticket to Ride, which was fun. Michael skied for the last time this season that day as well. Saturday was a well-deserved nothing day in which we cleaned, relaxed, and didn't have anyplace we had to be. We went to Mass on Sunday and Ben had his first baseball practice of the season despite a cold breeze (it wasn't so bad once the sun came out). The boys and I went to the Jazz game M…

Spring, Day 2

So less than eight hours after my decision to blog spring, it snowed in Salt Lake City.

Thankfully, it wasn't a lot of snow, and it all melted by mid-afternoon. But baby, it's cold outside, and is supposed to stay that way (highs in the 30s) for the next few days.

These are my two favorite sports days of the year: the first two days of the NCAA Tournament. So after running some errands, I watched basketball most of the afternoon, including a 59-58 lucky victory by Marquette. I'm guessing I'll watch even more hoops tomorrow.

Not all the basketball was of the NCAA variety. Michael played his last basketball game of the season (I counted 25 for him among three leagues) on the JCC team that I coached. We only had four players at game time, but the other coach was cool and we went 4-on-4 until our fifth player arrived. And we finished with a victory: 18-10, with Michael scoring 12 points and grabbing at least 15 rebounds. Playing on the short court, 5-on-5 can get a little …

Spring, Day 1

After blogging summer last year, and after not blogging much this year, I'm trying a new endeavor: Blogging spring. This will only go through about the third week of May, when I jump ahead and officially summer as having begun. My hope is to chronicle the boys' last couple months of third and first grades, baseball and soccer season, my progress toward getting in shape for summer, and the emergence from a winter that sucked.

Unfortunately, my first day of spring was somewhat boring. I woke up with a sore throat and was just tired all day. I don't think it's a cold, but rather, allergies starting to kick in. Nevertheless, the combination of the being under the weather, the weather being cloudy and rainy, and coming off an incredibly busy Tuesday resulted in kind of a lazy day. I made pizza for dinner, and we played board games after we ate. I took the dog for a walk and watched the last half hour of "2010" on TCM.

Spring has sprung. But on Day 1, I wasn't …

The golden age of (my) television

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I possess a rather good recollection of our family's television in the 1970s.

Kiddies, there was a time when the primary TV in your house weighed 200 pounds and was essentially a piece of furniture. That's what our TV was: perhaps 3 1/2 feet tall, wood-paneled, heavy, no remote control. It took my dad and another adult to move it.

I remember our secondary TV as well, the one in our basement on McVicker and in my parents' room on Rascher. It was white, with probably a 27-inch screen, no remote control, and on a white stand we used for a while after the TV had died. My Atari 400 was hooked to it in the 1980s, years after we played a Pong console on it. I also remember the black-and-white TV we watched in our kitchen (it sat atop a rolling stand with a spot to put newspapers or magazines underneath, as well as the big standalone TV my grandfather gave us that actually had a clicker for a remote, a small color one (also from my grandfather) I had in my room in eighth grade and…

Green thoughts

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, but today was the parade in Salt Lake City. We've been part of this parade for five years now, previously with the boys' preschool, and now with their grade school. I'm sort of wondering what it's like to actually watch the parade instead of march in it. But I don't want to find out anytime soon.

This year, the school didn't have a float or a truck hauling the student band. It was just kids on their bikes and scooters and parents walking along side. However, we did bring one extra guest: Popcorn, our dog. She wore a green t-shirt, behaved and wasn't too overly excited (I thought she'd go bananas in the presence of the Irish wolfhounds), though she did pull a little bit once we started parading. And she was a star, with many kids wanting to pet her.

The boys had fun, too, parading with their friends. Luckily, the weather was warm and sunny, not cold and rainy as in past years. After returning home, we went to lunch at B…

And then there were 19

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I didn't lose my first tooth until I was almost 7 and in second grade. I was definitely a late loser. On the other end of the spectrum, Michael was barely 5 and still in preschool when he lost his first tooth. By the time he was 7, he had lost eight teeth.

Ben was taking after me. Two months short of 7, he hadn't lost a tooth yet. Until today.

The tooth started wiggling a couple weeks ago, but just yesterday, it got really loose. The poor kid had to learn for himself how to avoid chewing with a seriously loose tooth without being in pain. As a result, he barely ate yesterday, and Lori had to cut a pizza into little bitty pieces that he could just pop into his mouth rather than bite into.

(And for the record, I can remember the first time I bit into something with a crazy loose tooth and yelped in bloody pain -- I was with my dad helping my cousin Sharon move into a new house; she had a gumball machine, I chewed and could not believe how much it hurt. After the first loose toot…

The Nostalgia Files: Super Jock Football

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One toy I fondly remember from the '70s (maybe given as a gift in 1977) was Super Jock Football. If you don't remember the Super Jock toys, they were plastic humanoids, about 8 inches tall, and when you pushed down the head, a body part would move. The baseball Super Jock swung a bat. The basketball Super Jock shot a ball with his arm. The football Super Jock was a kicker, booting a plastic football toward goalposts that came with the toy.

I don't recall owning this toy for beyond a couple years. I did have the soccer and basketball Super Jocks, but the kicker was the signature toy of the series. Plastic toys, especially ones with moving parts on which you slammed your hand onto, don't last long, so I can't remember if it got lost in the toybox or just broke. Or, if I just got bored with it. I can remember using the Super Jock basketballs as whiffle balls, so either I did lose interest or was good at multitasking my toys.

Years later, I would love to get Super Jock…

March

By it's name, March is forward-looking. "March!" Don't go back. March is progress.

March is green. Green decorations. The green grass that had been hiding underneath the snow all winter long. Granted, green leaves are mostly weeks off, but we know they are coming.

March is alternately cloudy and sunny. But it's not as cold. The season is marching along.

I'm betting that I've watched more college basketball in March than any other month of the year. Heck, maybe more than the other four months of the season combined ... and there was a time when I watched plenty of college basketball all season long. March is brackets and coverage that jumps from one game to another.

But March is also the anticipation of another sport. Baseball is just around the corner. You know it's imminent, and with it, the cementing of spring. March only teases spring, the equinox notwithstanding.

March is "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" by Night Ranger and "We Are …