June 22, 2007

A request from the Boy Child

As I discussed yesterday, the Girl Child had her last day of kindergarten yesterday and I left her a note to tell her how proud I was of her for completing her year. She got a certificate for perfect attendance for the first semester and would have had a certificate for the second semester, too, if it were not for the strep throat at the end of the year. I gather the note, which she discovered when she came down for breakfast, was a big hit. I think it also made a big impression on the Boy Child for when I got home from work last night, he made his request.

There he stood, next to the kitchen table, naked as a jaybird, hair still wet from his bath, very earnest and hopeful expression on his face as he shyly stumbled through the following:

Pappa, I know I can't read, but do you think you could make me a note telling me how proud you are of me for pre-school?

The Boy got his note, left for him next to his breakfast spot for discovery when he came down this morning.

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June 21, 2007

Burnt offerings in the clearing on the left, please

Summer is here, today, officially! YAY! I am celebrating, not by making burnt offerings to the Norse gods, but by breaking out my seersucker suit (supposedly from the Hindi words "shir shakkar," meaning "milk and honey") and the madder silk bow tie (madder refers to a natural dye from a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Rubia tinctoria).

What else to celebrate?

The Girl Child finished kindergarten today! Her last day. I asked her last night if she was sad and she said she wasn't. I reminded her that she would most likely not be in class next year with the majority of her current class mates since the school likes to mix things up each year and she assured me, with a smile, that she knew "many people in the other kindergarten classes" and thought that she would be just fine next year.

The school year sure flew by. It seems like yesterday when I brought her to the bus and watched her recoil in fear as she exclaimed, "this isn't a little kids' bus; there are big kids on this bus!" She went from that to quietly proclaiming that she liked to sit towards the back of the bus and listen to the older kids talk because she found it "interesting". I just managed to shake off the inclination to home school her at that point, let me tell you.

We are off to Norway on Saturday for the burnt offerings, the swimming, and the attempts to play nice with the in-laws.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of summer, y'all!

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June 19, 2007

Mad dash

I am running as fast as I can. More or less. I mean, if I'm writing this, I am hardly running anywhere. Still, I am trying to figure out how to get prepared with two things heating up at once so I can still get on the plane on Saturday with my family to go to Norway for two weeks. If things get too hot here, I will not be on the plane. This will mostly make me sad as I had plans to spend alone time with my children. Only mostly sad, you see, because I could probably pass on living at my in-laws for two weeks.

In the run up to leaving, the Viking Bride had to prepare the kids for camp which begins the day after we return from Norway. The Girl Child intends to join the swim team at the Club and this week was Get Wet Week -- after school practice. Her first day was yesterday. She was the only one who insisted on staying to get extra practice in with the big kids after the little kids were dismissed. The coach was very impressed with her attitude, telling the Viking Bride that an attitude like that was going to take the Girl Child far in life.

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June 15, 2007

The kids

The children are still saying funny stuff. This morning, I went to the Girl Child's class for a Fathers' Day breakfast. My father came, too. He met us at the house. The Boy Child was not invited and not happy about being excluded. To make him a bit happier, the Viking Bride took him to get a donut for breakfast which he brought home to eat right about at the same time my dad arrived.

Grandfather: Boy, that donut sure looks good. I am sooo hungry. I wonder if anyone wants to offer me a bite.

Boy Child: You're kidding, right?

The Viking Bride joined me in New York City last night for another black tie affair; my last black tie affair until the autumn arrives (I hope). The babysitter drove her, along with the kids, to the train station. On the way, the babysitter told my wife the following:

Listen, I have to tell you that I have asked the children not to speak Norwegian around me. I am pretty sure that every time they are speaking Norwegian, they are plotting against me.

The babysitter, while possibly paranoid, is certainly correct. I am so proud of the kids for realizing the potential of a good, secret language. Up the revolution!

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June 14, 2007

A rebound

I have been a bit down of late, I must confess. Well, I don't have to confess it, I suppose, but I am going to just the same. I am feeling pressured at home by the difficult adjustment period my wife is going through, I am pressured by the demands of work, and I am wicked pressed by the financial side of things -- who knew windows could cost so much? The result for me is an increasing lassitude and difficulty in sort of pushing myself to complete the important daily tasks I used to just dash right through. This might also explain the paucity of posting here as I have difficulty rousing myself to write anything.

But, as I was walking on Park Avenue this morning, on the way to mortify the flesh at the gym again, as I do most every morning, I was thinking how nice and cool it was, and how the sun had perhaps not yet begun to take the chill of the darkness away. Then, I had a moment of clarity, a moment that perhaps, while not unique and known to everyone else already, was not robbed of its power in the slightest. It occurred to me that every day, the world is re-born. Every day, when the sun rises, it rises on a new world, a new day, a new you, even. Every day, at the rise of sun, you are given a new shot at redemption, a new beginning, a new possibility.

Even if you cannot wipe the slate clean from the day before, even if your personal balance sheet didn't reset and you carry over the debits and credits of the preceding hours, you still get the potential for grace. Redemption, it seemed to me as I paced the avenue, is not necessarily made up of a great epiphany or a grand and overwhelming gesture that tends to compensate for all the ills that you have performed or have befallen you. No, redemption is perhaps less of an end and more of a journey. Redemption, if you cease the moment and embrace the new day's sunlight, begins with and perhaps is entirely composed of small steps, halting movements that can become more sure over time. It has to start somewhere and it can come from making a small decision to do something different. It can even consist of a desire to change with the desire being the mother of the deed and that deed can be a baby step. What becomes important then is just taking another step and another step until you are on a totally different path.

Now, I don't mean to suggest anything is easy or even simple, that you can wipe out your debts simply by changing your mental latitude as the result of a ray of sunshine. No, not at all. What I mean is that you have to start somewhere and you might as well begin with the dawn. As Homer called it, "the rosy fingers of dawn". I wondered why he would choose to call them fingers. Perhaps it was because attached to the fingers is the hand and you can grasp the hand, each morning, and decide to pull yourself up and over and, in the process, begin anew.

And so, I choose, today, to take one small step, to throw myself at one or two small windmills and to, if not win the joust, tilt. For maybe it is enough to try. And maybe it is enough to keep trying, for in the trying, comes change.

And change can bring redemption. Every day brings that opportunity, that grace. Today it just seemed clear to me. So, today, I choose to take that hand.

I hope the above made some sense to you all. It was crystal clear to me as I wrote it.

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June 08, 2007

Not easily star struck, but. . .

Last night was cool. I got an invite earlier in the week to attend The Economic Club of New York's Centenial Celebration dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel last night. I am glad I overcame my initial reluctance and pulled the tuxedo down off of the back of the office door (doesn't everyone keep the full black tie get up at work?) and toddled off to the Waldorf.

New York is a place where everyone comes to or through. You can argue the comparative merits of living in Atlanta or Houston or Santa Monica, sure. But at the end of the day, they ain't NY. You just don't get the volume of interesting people passing through as you do in NY.

Take last night for example. I got to listen to Condi Rice talk about American Realism in foreign policy, Alan Greenspan as he compared JP Morgan's actions during the 1907 crash with his own actions during various other crashes, Paul Gigot from the Wall Street Journal, Lionel Barber from the Financial Times, and Pete Peterson of the Blackstone Group.

Rice was particularly interesting. I'm going to vote for her for President, by the way, should she ever seek the office. She noted that if she finishes her term as the 66th Sec. of State, and this is not a justification for affirmative action, that it will have been 12 years since the United States has had a white, male Sec. of State. I am still chuckling over that.

That was really pretty darn cool.

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June 06, 2007

A thought

I stumbled upon the following line in the middle of a book review and since I have been thinking about it, on and off, for a day now, I decided it was worth sharing:

[P]olitical correctness, which is to thought what sentimentality is to compassion. . .

T. Dalrymple.

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