Small World

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, December 31, 2009 1 comments


Sometimes it seems the world is small.

I had some old 35mm slides in a drawer which had been taken back in the mid 70s. I decided to have some of them digitized, so I took them into the OC Photo store in downtown Oxford. When I went in to pick them up, the lady who runs the store, asked if some of them were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park. She recognized the location in this photo.


It seems that she was working in Estes Park, near the park entrance during the same year that the photo was taken. In fact, we both graduated from high school (she in Michigan and I in Illinois) in 1974. She went out to Estes Park and worked in a photo shop there for several summers. I visited that very photo shop in 1975. I spent time in the National Park during the summers of 75, 76, and 78 as well as Christmas of 79.



Happy Holidays

Posted by Dutchman Friday, December 25, 2009 1 comments

Merry Christmas to everybody!


At the moment, our Christmas is white, but probably won’t be soon. It is very windy here and raining. The snow is being eaten.



Where is Our Snow?

Posted by Dutchman Wednesday, December 23, 2009 0 comments


How come Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Minnesota get snow? And why does the mid-Atlantic get record snowfall? Here in Southeast Michigan, we barely have enough to cover the ground. Zach, Tyler and I have 11 days with no school and no work. How are we supposed to cross-country ski, downhill ski, Telemark ski, or snowboard? Tyler has been to the local glacial kame, Pine Knob, but its manmade snow is less than satisfactory.

Most likely, as soon as the holidays are over and we go back to school and work, we’ll get snow. It will snow during the week, and then warm up and rain on the weekends. That will last until April.

All we can do is look forward to baseball and bike riding in May.





New Holiday Tradition

Posted by Dutchman Friday, December 18, 2009 0 comments

This is our second year of a new Christmas tradition for my sons and I. We celebrate the gift giving part of the holiday in a different way. This is mostly for logistical reasons as well as a little bit of rebellion against the whole concept of "surprise" gift giving. Basically, we have removed Santa Claus and his Christmas delivery system from the equation.

Before I continue, I must warn any parents or adults reading this that you may want to close your eyes or leave the room, as this whole concept is not recommended for normal parents, and could have an adverse affect on your mental stability.

Farting Around

Posted by Dutchman Friday, December 11, 2009 0 comments

Take your pick of the bad things that might happen:

A.  An asteroid or comet hits the earth.
B.  The Yellowstone super volcano explodes.
C.  Global pandemic.
D.  The magnetic poles flip or change position.
E.  Nuclear war and subsequent nuclear winter.
F.  Financial meltdown.
G.  Peak Oil and ensuing starvation and die-off.
H.  Global warming with desertification and rising sea levels.
I.  The Hadron collider creates a black hole.
J.  Global catastrophe in December of 2012.
K.  Job layoff and becoming homeless.

Any time you read the paper, scan the internet, or watch television, you will hear about these things. Any one of them could result in pain, suffering and death for us and the ones we love. As a parent, you hear about them and fear for your children. The last thing you would want, is for them to suffer in any way. So, sometimes you allow your mind to travel down the road of "what would that be like". You have to have the ability to jerk yourself back from those thoughts or you could be easily consumed.

Instead of worrying about all these possible scenarios, especially F, G, and H, which seem pretty likely to me, we will do something else instead. It is nothing new for us, so we will just continue doing it. We are going to bank assets for a rainy day.

We aren't banking money though, or gold, silver or anything else of monetary value. We are saving up memories. Some time in the future, when things are tough, or we find ourselves at an end, when all the Xboxes, Playstations, HD-tvs, fancy cars, laptops and desktops are gone or are valueless, we will make withdrawals. We'll withdraw memories of sleeping under the stars by the Rifle River, drinking water directly from Jordan Lake in the Boundary Waters, water fights while canoeing the Au Sable, flying down the Alpine Slide in Winter Park, crossing the Beartooth Pass with grandpa Scott, watching a bison pass within inches of the car in Yellowstone, frozen noses while skiing, falling autumn leaves along the Polly Ann Trail, catching a Northern Pike or Cutthroat Trout. We'll remember Tyler stealing second base, upsetting a rival baseball team, and scoring 3 pointers on the basketball court, and Zach learning to swim at Stoney Lake, taking photographs at the Detroit Auto Show, or watching the stingrays at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Basically, we'll remember all the "farting around" that we did with the ones with whom doing so, meant so much.

To quote from Kathy McMahon, Psy.D.:

"The next time you find yourself feeling miserable or paralyzed because you are uncertain how to proceed, do something counter-intuitive: Do as Kurt Vonnegut once said:  Fart around.

Believe that at this point in time, your “purpose” in life is to fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Think back on what you really enjoyed as a small child, and just do it. Make a baloney and chocolate bar sandwich on white bread. Jump in a mud puddle. Stay in bed and watch a funny movie as a “mental health” day. Let the ‘rational, on a time schedule, needing to decide, heading in the right direction adult’ take a ‘time out.’ Recognize that this “farting around” is your practice for being in the game you are playing, like it or not, and that we are all playing in that running water called life."


Typical Weekend

Posted by Dutchman Monday, December 7, 2009 0 comments

Most weekends when you have teenagers are similar. The parent becomes a taxi driver. Friday started with a trip north of town to pick up one of Tyler's friends, then back to the high school for 2 1/2 hours of open swimming. Then I had to pick them up and transport them to Collier Lanes for "Cosmic" bowling (black lights only). After that, back north of town to drop the friend off.

We were up at 5:45 a.m on Saturday to get ready for band competition in North Branch. Tyler was playing in a brass quintet. It took 8 minutes to play and be critiqued. It took 2 hours to drive up and back.

Next was the movie "Brothers", which was playing at the mall south of town. I couldn't figure out if the movie was about brothers, or was about the effects war has on people. I guess it was both. Tyler fell asleep part way through the movie.

Later in the evening, it was out for takeout food. Of course, we had to go to two different places, Chinese for Tyler and I, and McDonalds for Zach. I'm not sure that Zach really dislikes Chinese, but whatever food one wants the other doesn't. I guess they didn't learn much from the movie.

On Sunday, we headed to Tyler's baseball practice. His team has indoor batting practices every other week. When we arrived, there was a sign taped to the door "Absolutely no parents allowed in the facility during lessons. Please pick your player up after practice." The coaches need to be able to coach and the players need to grow up. The sign is a result of too many "helicopter" parents hovering around the practice.

Sunday evening, we attended a basketball game at the Palace. The Pistons were playing the Wizards. They put on a good pre-game show, with cheerleaders, Rap music, explosions, and 30 foot high flames. After that, they flipped a coin and decided it was the Pistons turn to win.

Back at home, the last load of laundry had to be cycled through the dryer. Then we start the whole process over.

Time Goes By

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, December 3, 2009 1 comments

I was going through old photos last night and came across one of Zach and Tyler, taken a few years back. I'm guessing it must have been around 2000. It's hard to believe how much they have changed. Of course, back then, they sort of liked each other. Now at age 13 and 15, they act like they hate one another. I guess that is pretty normal for teenage boys. I can only go by how I felt about my three sisters when I was 13. No mundane subject is too trivial that it can't be argued for hours. And the perfect antidote for boredom is to antagonize the other.

Regardless, I kind of like them.

About Me

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I'm a middle aged divorced father living with my two sons. We like to canoe, bicycle, fish, camp, play baseball, and spend money when we want and where we want, without permission from anybody. HA!


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