“Copy Machine”, now in Polish

Following last month’s translation into Galician, my story “Copy Machine” is now available in the Polish magazine Szortal (pronounced “shortal” for us English speakers).

One more step on my way to world domination…

Just in case our family wasn’t loud enough already, we bought a piano

We have been planning to buy a piano for quite some time. The kids have been saving every penny they have for almost a full year, starting with Christmas presents last year. I have to say I am VERY impressed with the determination and focus with which they saved. Pretty impressive for two kids their age to stick with it for so long.

It’s kind of amazing how much money the kids were able to save up. We told the kids we would get a piano when they had saved up $200, so they put forward a pretty significant amount of money. A lot came from Christmas and birthday gifts, but really it came from everywhere: tooth fairy money, psych experiments, and any change dropped on the street in a 3 mile radius. It was kind of funny; when we finally opened up the “piano bank” to count the money, it was full of hundreds of the grubbiest, nastiest street pennies the city of Chicago has to offer.

We bought the piano from Keys 4/4 Kids, a “501(c)3 nonprofit organization that accepts, restores, and sells donated pianos. Proceeds from piano sales support music and arts programs for local youth.” Corbin was suuuper nice and helped us pick out an absolutely beautiful piano. Evie got her heart set on it immediately, so of course we ended up buying one that was at the tippy-top of our price range.

However, it was worth it, because Evie has just had a blast with that piano. She plays it every minute she gets. She’s decided she would like to be a “famous composer” when she grows up, and the floor around the piano is currently littered with the “sheet music” she’s creating. The two current favorites are “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater” and “Love Me Tender” (taught by Grandma Kathy). One or the other is played about ever 5 minutes, so they have a way of sticking in your head.

a girl and her piano

Looks like someone will be ready for some piano lessons, if you’re thinking of Christmas gifts!


It’s Quote Monday. That’s what they *do*.

Ollie: “Oh! Oh! I think my boogie went into your kiss!”

Evie: “But I don’t understand. We always buy chocolate at the store, but where does it go?”

Where indeed.

::playing frisbee with Ollie, and he kept making me chase it::
Me: “You really like to make me walk in the sun.”
Ollie: “Okay, well then run.”

Ollie, showing me a drawing: “This part over here is a tarantula. And this red part is a person inside the tarantula’s tummy.”
Me: “Oh no, the tarantula ate a person?”
Ollie, incredulous: “Uh, yeah? It’s a tarantula. That’s what they do.”



My Quest is at an End

For nearly 2 1/2 years, I have been on an epic quest. A quest, for a hat. And I’m here to tell you, my friends, at long last my quest is at an end.

Way back in June of 2012, I told you I was looking for a new hat. I needed something to protect the baby pink smoothness of my vast, vast bald spot from the ravages of the sun, but I felt like maybe I was finally too old for a ballcap.

Since that time I have quested ceaselessly for said hat. I mean CEASELESSLY. I have tried every possible kind of hat on god’s green earth. I have looked online, in department stores, in outdoor stores, at hat stores, basically any time I was in a store that sold hats, I tried them on.

When I try on a hat, I just feel dumb, like everybody is looking at me going “Whoa, look at that dude! Who does he think he is?” I just feel like I can’t pull it off. All of the hats imply a certain “look” and I just don’t have it. I don’t know what kind of look I have, but I guess they just don’t make a hat for me. And I didn’t want to spend the money on a hat and not wear it, so I just kept looking.

Until the other day, when I bought this fedora:

Now, just to be clear, I cannot pull off this hat. But I saw it, it wasn’t worse than any other hat I saw, and it was on clearance. Done.

Mainly I was just tired of the whole, endless search. It’s clear that I was never going to find a hat that looked good on me, so it was either buy a hat that’s not going to look good on me, or not buy a hat. However, I decided then and there that if I was going to buy it, then I was going to own it. No leaving it home because it looks dumb on me, no taking it off quick if I see somebody I know, no hiding it. If a two-tone blue striped fedora wasn’t my look before, it is now.

Basically, I’m relying on the fact that the key to “pulling it off” is just pulling it off. I’m going to wear that thing with confidence, and any funny looks I get, imagined or otherwise, can go find someone else to bother. That’s the kind of guy I am.

A fedora kind of guy.

Would you believe that Ollie is learning how to read?

The other day, on a whim, Sara started asking Ollie what letters he heard in words. “What do you think BOAT starts with? Ba ba ba boat.” If she asked him letter by letter, he could guess all of the letters. This may seem like a trivial thing, but I think it had never really occurred to him that he could figure out how to spell things. He knows how to write letters, and he often asks us how to spell things so he can write them down, but it was the doing it himself part that had not occurred to him.

So a couple of days went by, and they played this game a few times. All was right in the kingdom. We also hung up the Halloween decorations.

One day, Ollie pointed to one of the decorations and said, “Why doesn’t ‘Boo’ have a ‘b’ in it?” “That doesn’t say ‘Boo’,” replied Sara. “What do you think it says? Sound it out.” I don’t know what she expected him to say, but what he said was, “Sss Sss Sss puh puh ooooo kuh kuh spooky!”

I don’t know who was more surprised, Sara or Oliver. It’s like a lightbulb went off in his head, like he thought “I know this! I know how to do it!” Again, he had all the skills, but he had never tried to put them together before. He didn’t believe he was reading, that that’s all reading is, but once we convinced him he was pretty excited that he could read, “just like Evie”.

He’s also been writing a bit on his own now. At school he “wrote down the number of people who got wet outside”. As you can CLEARLY READ, the answer is 5:

ollie counts

Quote Monday invents some words

Evie, explaining a book: “Bo was really sick. She had pandemonium.”

Ollie: “Sometimes I say to them, “You’re a fastpoke!” But they don’t hear me because they’re already outside.”

Ollie: “The balloon is floating up because it’s full of ceilium.”

Ollie: “Who is on your jersey?”
Me: “Aaron Rodgers.”
Ollie: “I know someone named Roger!”
Me: “Is it Uncle Roger?”
Ollie: “Yeah! Is it that one?”

Uncle Roger didn’t know he had so many devoted fans.

Me: “Hey look, that goose has a collar on it’s neck.”
Evie: “I have 3 reason why that could be: One, she’s the queen of the geese. Two, her neck got hurt, or three they’re trying to track where she flies.”
Me: “…I bet it is one of those three, you’re right.”

Our Yearly Race

Sara pointed out the other day, that going to the Comer Classic is as much of a family tradition as pancakes and applesauce. This was our 4th year. Every year is a little bit different, but some things are the same. For example, they still have killer face painters.


(Ollie is a cheetah, because “they’re fast”)

The thing that’s different every year is how old the kids are. That first year, Ollie was a 1 1/2 year old. It’s a lot easier to manage the kids these days (even without the help from Grandma and Grandpa!). That let Ollie and I catch Sara a couple of times on the route.

Sara got a personal record for her race, finishing under 30 minutes…


…and Evie got one for her race as well. I could see that she was really working hard. She definitely left it all on the field.


This year Ollie got to participate in the (sort of lame) kids’ dash. Next year he has big plans to go up to the mile “like Evie”, except she has even bigger plans to run the 5k with her daddy. Uh….we’ll see about that one, sweetheart! Way to pick on the one person you can beat in a race.



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