Friday, January 30, 2009

Cirque du Stoneridge

Hi everyone - Here's Brenna singing "This is Me" by Demi Lovato last evening at her school's talent show. I admire her courage to get up in front of both her school Wednesday and the parents on Thursday night. She made the triplets, Mom MD, Grandpa G, Grammy K, and Grandma J so proud!

BTW - She confessed to ordering "Steel Magnolias" - so she's watching it this afternoon (she's home sick today)....OH, unfortunately for her, but very fortunate for me, the audio isn't working (probably due to widespread scratches on the DVD - gotta wonder how they get there?) consequently she's now watching in silence using subtitles. Yes, I'm being merciful...they're in English.

Questions to ponder while wondering why it took so long for the FDA to track and control this Salmonella outbreak (Mom Md and I ONLY ate 6 PB Clif Bars and the kids at 4 PB ZBARS), what kind of irresponsible medical party would allow eight embryos to be implanted back into a women who already has six kids under 7?? eight embryos, that's absolutely nuts!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Steel Magnolias in my queue???   Ok, I need to know, who the heck  put "Steel Magnolias" at the top of my queue? 

This is absolutely one of the cruelest tricks you can play on a guy.  I intentionally moved "Hancock" to the top just the other day as I wanted to play it on my new Blu-Ray this weekend.  Now I'm stuck as Netflix has already sent me THAT e-mail stating "for Thursday" here comes a smooshy gooshy chick let's list the suspects....

Bren - Most likely - She occasionally taps into my Netflix account to search new DVDs and likes to add such hits as the "Cheetah Girls" and "HS Musical Uno, Dos and Tres."  The fact that she chose a grown-up movie makes it less likely, but perhaps she heard about this "movie" from an older female friend or relative.

Mom MD - Slightly less likely - She rarely goes into my queue, but I know she likes this type of movie.  After I rented "Leatherheads" and "The House Bunny" I suppose she has good cause to question my choice of flicks.

Both - Possible - I can't rule this out.  Once in awhile, they do talk and agree on something.

A triplet - Not possible - The little ones don't know how to use the computer.

Reinventing  Dad - Uh, NO way, Impossible - not even in my weakest hour.

I wanted to point out to the person or persons responsible for this outrageous act that I have "Mamma Mia" and "Vicky Christina Barcelona" in the queue (& near the top I might add).  I also did sit and watch the Hallmark made-for-TV movie "Loving Leah" last Sunday even though I know I could have found something more educational on the Science or History Channels!

So this is a house mystery like the case of the broken Pottery Barn clock a few years back (no ONE confessed). This time, however, I believe with fewer suspects, we will know the truth real soon - I'll let you know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Taylor the Latte Boy

Let's take a break from my daily ramblings, order a hot beverage, sit down in a comfortable chair and relax to a tender performance sung by Kristin Chenoweth dedicated to "Taylor the Latte Boy." I first heard this poem/song performed in a cruise talent show by a young lady who did a fantastic job....Click on the link below...Enjoy.

"Taylor the Latte Boy"

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Joe Consumer, please do NOT discount me!

Pssst....hey....hi....over here....yes, I'm talking to the retailer and service oriented businesses throughout the vast reaches of Recessionville. My name is Joe Consumer which is not to be confused with Jane or in some cases, John Consumer. Nope, Jane sends her love, wishes you well and hopes to see you soon, but she's very busy. Therefore, I've been entrusted with perusing the aisles, comparing your wares, and bringing home all things consumable.

I'm not trying to frighten, but to enlighten, so listen up as I'd like to help you and your business stay afloat in these troubled waters. What can I offer you ask? Who the heck am I? Does what I say really matter? I'm going to respond with an emphatic "YES". I'm Joe Consumer, hear me roar..... or at least listen to me offer bits of advice that may help your business.

Let me start by saying that I've been infiltrating your retail and service establishments for years. Unlike my father, I'm not just about shopping for cars, electronics and sports equipment. I actually....drum roll for groceries, toiletries, clothes and other household supplies. In fact, unlike my grandfather, I probably know how to cook, clean, and wash clothes (all at least to a certain extent). I don't mean any disrespect to previous generations......traditional roles have dramatically evolved in recent years requiring everyone to broaden his/her knowledge and skills.

So do you know who I am? I think you've seen me around. I'm the guy cruising the produce aisle at Safeway comparing Fiji to Roma apples or wandering through the kids department at Target deciding if my 4 year-old girl should have a size 5T or 5 in crop pants. I'm making hundreds of household buying decisions every year deciding who gets a share of the ever decreasing discretionary dollar, so please do NOT discount me....listen to what I have to say! Jane isn't going to be able to bail you out! These are my suggestions.

  • Teach your employees to know the product(s). Best Buy over any other big-box electronic retailer hires and trains employees to know their product and talk to you at a level you can understand from novice to expert.
  • Friendly customer service representatives - Starbucks rarely fails to meet my expectations of at least a kind greeting before I order my Nonfat Latte.
  • Be Consistent - Each and every time I walk into Safeway or Target, I know that I'm going to get a clean store, fair prices and good customer service.
  • Blow me away - no do NOT shoot something positive that I don't expect like additional interesting facts about a product, a discount or a piece of gum.

Things to avoid.

  • Don't insult my intelligence or talk down to me.
  • Don't be pushy or try to "up sell"
  • Leave me alone, I'll come to you when I have further questions or make a decision.
  • Clutter....Clutter....Clutter...I can't stand clutter (except in my own home, of course, as I'm used to it).

Here are things that I can not understand in general. Perhaps this is a universal problem and not unique to my neck of the woods.

  • Why do sales people follow me around? This is especially true at Furniture Stores. It's CREEPY with a capital "C"
  • Haven't electronic and automobile sellers learned by now that we will decide when we want to buy extended warranties...(side note-I've spoken with repairmen on this issue and they've said that they personally will buy the extended warranty if it's a new model from an existing company or a new technology from any manufacturer less than 5 years old).
  • When a restaurant advertises in the newspaper....why not give me a coupon...I probably know that lunches start at $5.95.
  • Why are casinos so smokey? In California, less than 25% of the population smokes, but the non-smokers are usually given a tiny room off to the side...don't they know that if they provided larger non-smoking areas, perhaps we non-smokers would be more likely to show up?....and we have more $ because we don't spend $ on cigarettes...duh!
  • Movie theaters? May if they sold a small drink for $1.50 instead of $4.25, they'd sell 3x as many? Do the math.
  • Sports arenas - The Sacramento Kings are averaging between 10K and 11K fans per game (capacity is around 17k)...why not start heavily discounting or giving away tickets, at least they'd get $ for parking, food and maybe souvenirs...........

OK, Joe has said his peace...any questions? Please comment and I'll answer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Go (Arizona) Cardinals and Kurt

We interrupt this blog for an important sports update - The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. I repeat the Arizona Cardinals are heading to Tampa, FL to battle the favored Pittsburgh Steelers!

Ok, so this is old news. Yep, but it's taken 5 days for this to sink into my head. The Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona football Cardinals have NOT been to a football championship since 1948. They are the football equivalent of baseball's Chicago Cubs. Since 1920, their record is 478-669-39 w/NO championships...........YIKES!

Where am I going with this? First of all, for those outside Pittsburgh who don't know which team to root for in the Super Bowl, please look no further than the Arizona Cardinals...they are the UNDERDOGS, and the feel good sports story of '09. During the regular season campaign, they were 9-7, dubbed the worst team ever to win their division, and were 0 for the East Coast including a major spanking vs. the Patriots. The former "Big Red" were given no chance of beating the Falcons, Panthers or Eagles in the playoffs, but they did.

Need another reason? What about wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the former water boy of the Minnesota Vikings? He was inspired to work harder at his craft to become the consummate professional he is today.

Ok, again I have to talk about Kurt Warner. In a previous entry I discussed Heroes, role models and diversions. Well, this 37-year old man who will be the third oldest quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl game epitomizes role model. His rise from grocery store stock boy to professional quarterback was the feel good story of Fall 1999 when he was a part of the ''Greatest Show on Turf." The St. Louis Rams scored in buckets on route to an improbable victory in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Kurt and his wife Brenda's story beyond football is not only fascinating, but inspiring. There is an old passage being sent around the Internet that is not completely accurate, so I double-checked with and have provided an accurate summation of their lives (which is MUCH MUCH better).

Finally, for those in St. Louis...let's look beyond Bidwell's famous 1987 bolt to Arizona. Let's root for the underdogs as the Rams were in 2000. If you can't see yourself to root for the (football) Cardinals franchise, let's pull for Kurt whose real life story tugs at our hearts!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

76 Little Known Facts about Me

I was inspired by cw2smom to write down some random facts about myself that most of you don't know. Of course, I'm throwing out the givens that I have triplets and my wife is an MD.

Here goes nothing....and I really mean nothing!

1. I was considered my parent's second child after "Chad" the three-year old gray miniature poodle.

2. I was very attached to Chad and after he fell off the balcony at our cabin at age 16 (he was blind), my Mom and I cried for hours while my Dad took him to the vet to have him put to sleep.

3. I was an only child with ONLY two imaginary friends who I won't name in case they decide to randomly "Google" themselves in hopes of finding me.

4. My earliest memory is 4. I was on the teeter tooter part of an old style swing set with my "girlfriend" when a neighbor kid squirted me with a hose. I fell off and the larger bench-type swing sliced the inside of my upper arm. NO stitches, just a lot of bandaids & Bactine baby!

5. I never became friends with the kid who squirted me with the hose.

6. That girlfriend of mine and I soon broke-up....I don't even remember her name, but my Mom might.

7. As a child, I didn't like candy. In fact, after Halloween trick-or-treating my Dad pretty much polished off all my candy.

8. What I loved was Donuts and cheese (not at the same time). Both came from my Grandma Edie who picked up the donuts at Albertsons, and the cheese that was given to seniors.

9. My Mom and I learned about a new revolutionary food called the quesadilla from the Hispanic grocer at Champs Supermarket on Balsam Street. This became the primary destination for our free cheese.

10. I loved my Grandma Edie. She rode her bike to our house daily. She played games with me and taught me pinochle and scrabble. She was a great cook. When my parents dragged me to the big city of Bakersfield, she would ride along and we'd spend the afternoon sampling food at Hickory Farms and she'd always buy me a matchbox car and soft ice cream cone.

11. The only two fights I had with Grandma were over locking her out of the house (I was 13) and when she thought I had friends over to drink when my parents were out of town (I was 19)

12. I hated my third grade teacher. She was an evil witch who favored the girls and played insane mind games with the boys.

13. I played youth soccer, basketball and baseball as a child, but only played basketball in high school

14. I won two free throw contests, but my coaches never liked the way a shot the ball?

15. I contracted chickenpox 3x. The third time was on my 17th birthday and caused me to miss high school baseball tryouts which still stands as one of my more memorable disappointments as a young person.

16. At the time, I honestly thought I might die of chickenpox. To this day, I don't even like to talk about it.

17. I attempted three instruments (piano, guitar and trumpet), but none of them took

18. Trumpet was by far my favorite. In fact I pictured myself doing the solo on Barry Manilow's disco hit "Copacabana"

19. The very first girl that I went "steady" with in six grade was named "Kama."...sounds like a good omen of things to come, but not really.

20. The first girl who ever kissed me (my story) is deceased.

21. I have had three cats in my life (one in high school, one in college and one as a older adult).... Every name started with a "B" - Beethoven, Buddy and Baby.

22. I loved them all equally - Beethoven was a lover and a fighter, Buddy was just a fighter, and Baby was just a lover.

23. When I went to take my driver's license written test I was given the adult version and easily passed.

24. When the DMV clerk realized that I'd been given the wrong test, she made me take the brand new provisional test with statistics and crap, so I failed!

25. I have only been pulled over by the police 1x and this was when a guy in a similar red VW bug was cruising elementary schools and talking to children....I was in school and had proof!

26. In college, I gained 40 lbs which isn't so bad considering it was six years.

27. I went to Chico State with one of my best friends. We decided that we didn't want to be roommates our freshman year, but did want to live in the same dorm....we ended up across the hall.

28. I was a Journalism major for one semester.

29. I wasn't Greek, but I did join two clubs during college - "GDI" and "Men Against Rape" - what the heck?

30. My girlfriend was President of her sorority, so I was dubbed "first man" by my roommates.

31. My roommates and I never learned Rule #1 for hosting a kegger, never go out and get a second keg after 11PM.

32. Not one time was I given the responsibility to tap the keg and therefore never learned how to.

33. During college, a friend of a roommate's girlfriend knew a guy who played in a band. He'd come over on occasion and strum out "Big Balls" which I'd sing to.

34. A GDI morning Olympic event, followed by a few hours of sleep, followed by a night of bar hopping was the ONLY time that I can say that I was drunk twice in the same day (like a day/night doubleheader for you baseball fans).

35. I was always attracted to "achievers." Those coed's who had no time for anything but studying, internships, volunteering, sororities, etc. Most of the time, they didn't have time for me either.

36. I married one of them.

37. In college, my favorite TV show was "Unsolved Mysteries"

38. I never drank coffee until I was well into my 20's.....during finals week my roommates would say "I'm going to start a pot of coffee"...I'd say "what for?" I wonder why I could never stay awake.......This was way before the era of coffee shops.

39. I worked at a pet store for a couple years during college.

40. I helped my good friend get a job there and he didn't know anything about animals...the other side of that story was that he got me a landscaping job one summer for the city and I didn't know anything about anything!

41. I was entrusted to euthanize a bird one time and was told the best way to accomplish this was putting it in a plastic bag and sticking the bag around an exhaust worked!

42. For wild rats stuck on a sticky platform (trap), I was told to put them upside down in a hot bucket of worked too!

43. One time while baby sitting a co worker's 11 foot Burmese Python which was allowed to run lose in the store, I became distracted and it moved very quickly and ate a rabbit...thank heavens we didn't have any puppies or kittens at the time!

44. I was kicked out of the Madison Bear Garden one time for ordering a vodka collins which turned out to be a greyhound which I then thought the bartender was giving away for free since he messed up....wrong!

45. Since college I have had seven employers (all in mortgage)...only three are still in existence and I bet you've heard of two of them - GMACM and Citigroup.

46. I've lived in three states/three time zones.

47. I sing when I'm stressed.

48. I can't carry a tune to save my life.

49. I can't dance either, but I love "So You Think You can Dance"

50. I people watch and try to see which celebrity someone mostly resembles...for example Diana Taurasi, Kristy McNichol and Bernie from "Weekend at Bernies" all go to my gym.

51. I look at standard state issued license plates and try to make them into personalized license what do you think CA's "4YOR411" means?

52. I believe that the Swivel Sweeper, DVR's and IPOD's are the best household inventions in the past 10 years.

53. I have 100% success playing Yahoo Fantasy Baseball, I've won 2x.

54. My favorite type of food is Mexican.

55. My favorite food is Filet Mignon.

56. My favorite beer is Anchor Steam.

57. My favorite restaurant is Mikuni (although I've never dined there, just take out).

58. I've sprained each ankle 1x.

59. I've had two surgeries in my life time (wisdom teeth and a back).

60. I have only been to one professional basketball, baseball or football game in the past 5 years.

61. I have learned more about myself in the past 2 years than I did in the previous 30-something. **** I'm running out of space, but I'll add a few more*******
62. Three of my favorite movies are "Footloose", "Grease" and "Chicago" - the ONLY conclusion you may draw is that I like MUSICALS!
63. I don't like elevators (been stuck in a few) or overhead lights (especially at 1A in the bars).
64. I don't like to gamble, but I love to play games especially Chess, Balderdash and Trivial Pursuit.
65. My wife and I are a killer Trivial Pursuit team.
66. I love Gin and Tonics....shall we Tangueray?
67. I love to read about American History.
68. I watch the History channel, but think the newer programming especially "Ice Road Truckers" is lame as sh#$!t.
69. I know what TV phenomena started 8/1/ you?
70. I was disappointed when Barry Bonds broke Mark McGwire's single season home run record, but hey - they were probably both juiced...........
71. I fell in love with St. Louis when we lived there from 1996 to 2000. What a beautiful city with so much to do and see....long live A-B.
72. My Mom's current age and sadly my only living parent or grandparent.
73. I knew ALL four of my grandparents, but none of my great grandparents....the first one passed away when I was 10, the last one died when I was 33.
74. I always wonder what my Dad would have said about 9/11...he died in 2000.
75. I believe people the main difference between people on the East Coast and people on the West that a person on the East Coast will drive the wrong way in a parking lot to beat you to a spot, but kindly hold the door for you as you walk into the store and talk to you in the elevator....a person on the West Coast will politely offer you the parking spot, but is more likely to ignore you and let the door slam in your face on the way into the store.
76. Not one of my four favorite professional sports teams have finished better than 4th this I'm not in a good place right now and usually read the sports page after the obits!

OK, that's enough...I can't stand it anymore....I'm stopping at 76 which seems like plenty......I'm wondering if Barack Obama had any time on his first day to jot down some unknown facts about himself......probably not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 44th President, Barack Obama

"Barack....Barack Obama....President Barack Obama." I continually repeated his name until it rolled off my tongue as I sat transfixed to the TV watching the inauguration proceedings unfold in our Nation's capital. In the midst of the weekday morning folly immediately preceding imminent departure to institutions of lower learning, I found myself oblivious to the typical commotion around me until my 4-year old son, Alec came up to me and asked what I was watching.

I told him that I was watching a defining moment in history as "we the people" of the United States of America were about to swear in our 44th President. He asked me what his name was and I told him. He practiced it a few times and put it to memory....I then told him that he was a decent man, a man of character and would work very hard to make our country a better place. I asked him again, what's our new President's name. "Barrack Obama" he said.

At that point, it was time to depart for school at 8:30A (thank heavens for DVR's. I was able to pause live TV and view the swearing-in and outstanding speech a little later). On our way out the door, Alec asked "Daddy, will he ever come visit our house?" I said "Alec, I would be honored to have him visit the Rileys of Roseville."

** Update to Post - I couldn't resist adding this to my original post as Alec's thoughts are priceless***

Scene:  Barack and Michelle Obama at one of the Inaugural Balls this evening.

Reinventing Dad to the triplets...."So who is the guy dancing on stage"

Julia "Barack Obama"

RD "Very Good Ju who is he"

Alec "He's the guy who goes golfing all day long"

RD "NO Alec, I believe you're thinking of Tiger Woods....this is Barack Obama, the President of the United States and leader of the free world."

Alec "Yeah, so why does he go golfing everyday then?" 

I swear I don't make these things up!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reinventing Dad's Dad

Reinventing Dad's Dad is no longer living on God's green Earth, but barely a day goes by when I don't think about him and wish we had more time together both in my childhood and adulthood.

Dad I know how much you adored Brenna and how important it was for you to see that she was baptized. She will remember you through video, pictures and personal testimony from myself, Mom MD and Grandma J. Though Alec, Ju Ju and Vivi were born after you passed away, I can already see some of you in them. By the way, Bren (what Grandma J calls her) takes piano lessons and it's easy to see Alec has an ear for music.

Dad as you can see I'm now unemployed (outside the home), but I enjoy life, family, friends, blogging and have had the opportunity to slow down and appreciate so much more than I ever had before.........

Dad you are gone, but NOT forgotten. I know we'll be together in another time and place.

Your Son

P.S. Mom was over tonight to watch football and sends her love.......

Friday, January 16, 2009

Birthday Parties

First of all, what a glorious day in Northern California! I believe the mercury hit about 65 degrees F. As you know I refuse to apologize for this or offer sympathy to those in the other 49 states (& let's not forget the D.C. area) as we Californians pay higher taxes in return for 300 + days of sunshine, a savage tan, and additional Vitamin D.

Ok, back to the blog and I promise that this will be shorter and to the point today. HMMM, wait a minute. I'm wondering why I chose the adjacent picture as Alec has a sad look on his face. My best guess is that while we were on the cruise, we told him he couldn't have another dessert.

Anyway, it's one of the more recent pictures we have of the triplets which leads me to my topic. What do you do when all three of your triplets are invited to a birthday party that has two birthday children? This is the case tomorrow and I know what we did, but I'm curious if others handle this quandary in the same manner? Assumption, price per gift is immaterial as total amount of $ spent (for 2 birthday kids combined) is the same whether you purchase 1, 2, 3....x gifts. Therefore, one could spend $1M down to $1. Do you...?

  1. Buy six gifts, wrap them all individually and have each triplet give one gift to each of the two birthday kids?
  2. Buy six gifts, divide them into two bags (one bag for each birthday kid), and give them each a gift bag of three gifts (you may put the "from" for each triplet or just say that each bag of gifts is from all three).
  3. Buy 2 more expensive gifts and label each to one birthday child (from all three triplets).
  4. Buy 1 even more expense gift and label it from the triplets and say it's for both birthday kids to share.
  5. Gift each birthday kid only a card and say you've donated a nice gift in each of their names towards Habitat for Humanity.
  6. None of the above - I have a better idea, dumb dumb.

Let me know what you think...........Mom MD and I had a short debate about this topic (she won), but I'm curious to see what others do in this circumstance. I suppose the scenario doesn't have to be triplets to could be quads to twins...or singletons to quints...or just X siblings to X other any case, there must be some commonly used formula! Anybody know it?

Here's to: Heroes - remember in a previous entry I couldn't cite a specific living hero....well, here's one.........Chelsey B. Sullenberger III, the pilot of the U.S. Airways jet that successfully landed in the Hudson River saving all 155 lives. His dedication to his craft, expertise, preparation and ability to make a decision under extreme duress is not only remarkable and honorable, but a testament to all that is good on Mother Earth.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NOT dat one Daddy!

Most mornings before dawn I'm awaken to the pitter patter of little feet traipsing across the bedroom carpet towards Mom MD's armchair situated in the sitting area opposite the TV. The figure sighs, pulls up the blanket, sighs again...and after a few moments says "Daddy, can you turn on da TV?" I know this little voice very well. It's our middle triplet with the slight New England accent....Ju Ju.

What cracks up Mom MD and is kinda cute (if you're a spectator) are the moments immediately following her request. Groggy, I fumble and bumble around for the remote control which I pray sets on the nightstand. When I find it I quickly hit the power button and wait for the unit to warm up. Ugh, sometimes I swear it's as slow as the old picture tubes!
As soon as the picture appears on screen, inevitably I'll hear those oh so familiar four words "NOT dat one Daddy!" OK, so by now I'm awake as I can ever be prior to my morning cup of Joe. I have to think fast to avoid hearing those words a second, third or fourth time which will most certainly become increasingly louder with a less patient tone. I must find that perfect kids show. Ju Ju isn't going to stand for ESPN or the morning news.

Stay with me now as what seems so simple becomes so complicated. I have to consider two important questions; the time and the day of the week. First, time is easy - I look on the ceiling (we have one of those projection alarm clocks). Secondly, what day is it? Weekdays are easy, Mom MD goes to work. Wait... sometimes she goes in on Saturdays or Sundays. Damn! I'll take an educated guess using high probability that today is most likely a weekday.

Have any of you done this? Be honest. Now, based on the two questions above, I have to find the right channel and kids show with the understanding that there are certain shows she doesn't like such as "Jack's Big Music Show" on Noggin. I know PBS is option #1 as she likes "Between the Lions" at 6:30 and "Maya and Miguel" at 7:00, but what if it's 6:28? Damn!
Slowly I'll punch in the numbers 4-1 for Disney Channel which takes a couple seconds to change channels as the ENTER button doesn't work. Yuck, it's "Imagination Movers" .... "NOT dat one Daddy." Fine, I'll hit the down arrow a couple Nickelodeon, channel 39. Oh, Damn! Good show, but commercial...."NOT dat one Daddy."

I then proceed to flip channels like the Utah Jazz used to make crisp passes in their triangle offense, but instead of Stockton to Malone, back to Stockton and over to Hornacek (shot/all net)'s pro channel surfing...117 up to 119 over to 45, down to 41, up to 141......back to 6 (that's PBS), SLAM DUNK "Between the Lions" has started! I'm done.

The day has begun with the "NOT dat one Daddy" I heard the phrase 3x (sometimes I lose count), so I consider this yet another victory for Ju Ju....current score, Ju Ju 100, Reinvent Dad 1. Now all is good in the house. Perhaps I can catch a few more zzzzz's until Alec & Vivi get up and the trio starts the second game of the day "2 Chairs for Triplets Slam Fest." - this game, however, I'm not a participant...I'm the referee.

Here's to: The Sacramento Kings winning in TRIPLE OT last evening to beat No. Cal rivals, Golden State. Hey with a few more wins, perhaps soon they can hurdle over said Warriors and become "Kings of the dip sh#ts" for the NBA Pacific Division....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reinventing Dad Meme #1

Kat at 3BedroomBungalow was kind enough to customize an interview or what's known in the blogosphere as a Meme. As you know I'm much more of a list man, but thought that this would be a great exercise for Reinventing Dad....questions, plz...........

1. What is the biggest challenge in parenting triplets?

Breaking them apart, treating them like individuals and giving them Mom, Dad or Grandparent one-on-one time. So much of what they know and who they are comes shining through when the other two are not around to influence what they say and do. All three have such unique personalities and will go in three completely different directions (like singletons do) when given the opportunity.

2. What was your proudest moment?

For myself? In looking back many years, I'd say finally graduating from college. I absolutely struggled in my major coursework because I didn't enjoy what I was studying. Business Admin was NOT for me and the numerous poor grades I received were a huge blow to my self-esteem. I should have gone into education or political science. For the youngsters who read this….IF you absolutely don't know what you want to do…go in "Undeclared"…there is no shame in that.

3. What is your favorite quality about your wife?

She's a "Jill of all Trades." What I mean is that she knows a lot about many things (not a little about a few). She is the smartest person I know with the capability to learn and accomplish anything she sets her mind to do..….if only she had more time. In addition, she's very honest and great in the clutch.

4. If you could have any job in the world what would it be and why?

FBI / White Collar Crime division (if there is one). In my final years as a mortgage underwriter in the ever growing environment of mortgage fraud, I found myself doing junior background checks on almost ALL our prospective borrowers. I actually grew to like it and enjoyed busting the brokers' chops.

5. If you had 24 hours with no kids and no responsibilities what would you do?

I'd drive to San Francisco Saturday afternoon with my wife and meet up with some friends (none of them would be MD's, except Mom MD) and have grown-up conversation for a couple hours over dinner and wine at a fine Italian restaurant. We'd sleep in, have a delicious breakfast, walk around, shop and drive home Sunday afternoon….wait a minute, I just did that last weekend! Tremendously good for the soul I might add.

6. Who is your living hero?

I don't have a specific individual although many exist today. Heroes to me are not only those willing to make sacrifices for others (police, fire, military)….a hero may motivate, mentor or sacrifice his/her time and resources to directly impact a person, a group, or a nation for the betterment of planet Earth.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spammers are worse than knats!

UGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHh, I can't stand it any longer! How in God's green Earth do I rid my inbox of this incessant spammer, the one who anatomically speaking claims he can make me a much happier and more confident fellow. I've been receiving these e -mails constantly since signing-up for Carnival Wi-Fi a few weeks back.

For you much brighter-than-I computer this how he picked up my e-mail address from an unsecured Wi-fi connection? No, et tu don, it isn't what you're thinking either. I did a little checking around and another possibility was the knat picked it up from an unprotected site that lists my e-mail. I googled and that unprotected site would be my high school alumni website which has become so dormant in the past couple years that I'm not even able to contact the webmaster to make changes to my profile (& ELIMINATE my e-mail address).

What's strange too is that the sender of the e-mail is.....ME, not some funky domain from overseas. To combat these messages from H-E-L-L, I've attempted to move them to my SPAM folder. I've also tried deleting them ASAP, replying with nasty language, and kicking/screaming. On my MAC, I've gone into the message, tried to hit the unsubscribe button and a pop-up appears asking for my name, address, etc. to remove my e-mail from the list.....Uh, I don't think so, I've probably gone too far as it is.

So what do I do? Anyone anyone...Bueller...Bueller? (sorry, I couldn't resist the reference to the 80's smash hit). Further articles say eliminating spam remains low on the government's priority list which I'd normally agree with EXCEPT that it's happening to me.

Can anyone help, and NO I'm not giving out my e-mail address...Comment, please.

Here's to: Kurt Warner piloting the Arizona Cardinals to the NFC Championship game! I wish it was Chris Carpenter pitching the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series, but you can't have everything...and it's the best football story going on right now....who outside of Philly isn't pulling for the Old Big Red?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Heroes, Role Models and Diversions

As a young forty-something and father, I have no illusions about the role sports play in daily life. Unlike children, adolescents and even  some adults (& you know who you are!), I see professional athletics for what they really are, highly paid entertainers.  Following your favorite sports franchise(s) satisfies the desire to create a diversion from the stresses of daily living.  This need might also be filled with hobbies such as scrap booking, bird watching or gardening.  The difference between a weekend scrapbooker and NBA player, however,  is that top athletes are put on pedestals and branded as heroes.

Not to preach, but athletes (like entertainers and actors) are NOT heroes, and most can not even be counted as role models.   To the kids out there...a definition of a hero is someone who is willing to put the well-being of another (including strangers) ahead of themselves.  Our United States military risks their lives 24/7 for our freedom.  Police officers, firefighters, and rescue workers remain on alert for the safety of all Americans.  I would also argue a teacher might be hero if he/she has the ability to hold a young person to higher standards of learning and conduct for the betterment of his/her future.   Kids may consider a parent a hero, but from a parent's perspective....parenting IS our job and our primary goal is to be our children's primary role model.

So where am I going with all this?  From a previous entry I mentioned that I neglected to pick-up trash at the movie theater and was called out by Brenna.  The next morning at preschool I pulled up along the red curb (in a light rain mind you with no one else around) to drop the triplets off and Alec said "Daddy, what are you doing?  This isn't a parking space."  Perhaps, the kids are more alert now that they're getting older.  Perhaps, I'm making excuses.  Perhaps I should be a better role model!

Back to the zillion dollar sports industry.  Yes, most athletics are paid obscene salaries and some behave badly.  Can you think of one or two or three, etc.?  With that said,  I have an enormous  THANK YOU to deliver to MY favorite football team that's long overdue. You see back in the fall of 1999, my Dad was fighting a losing battle with colon cancer.  In fact, he held on for at least six months beyond what anyone expected.

This was Mom MD's final year of medical school and our destination for her residency was still unknown.  She was extremely busy and I often found myself shuttling 1 year old Brenna to and from childcare and after work either coming home to an empty house or going to my Mom and Dad's house where my Mom, a pillar of strength and courage, held down the fort.  Not only did Mom attend to Dad who was rapidly deteriorating both physically and mentally, but she was taking care of her elderly Mother (Granny) who lived with them.   

To top it all off, we were having difficulty with our drunken idiot of a next door neighbor who threatened us and threw broken glass in our backyard...Good times, good times.   Honestly, what kept me going during such a down time in my life was my diversion....sports....more specifically football and the St. Louis RAMS!  This team came from nowhere to post a 13-3 NFC record and #1 Seed.   Mom Pre-MD was kind enough to spend her morning calling and calling to obtain two tickets to the divisional game against the Vikings on 1/16/00 in which we were fortunate to have been able to attend....the first home playoff game in St. Louis history and a blowout victory.

Sadly, my Dad passed away two days later, five days before the famous Ricky Proehl catch from Kurt Warner in the NFC Championship to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-6 on rout to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory on January 30th.  I only hope my Dad would understand how painful and difficult a time it was (for all of us).  Brenna was my shining star, but the Rams with Kurt Warner who went from grocery stocker to QB gave me something to look forward to, talk about with coworkers and kept me going.....THANK YOU St. Louis RAMS........!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Worst Movie EVER

Holy crap!  Do you know when you make a wrong turn or two in the bad part of town, end up in a dead-end alley, and then get mugged?  This is how I felt today when I accidentally went to the wrong theater.  I intended to go see the Tom Cruise movie "Valkyrie" and thought it was playing at the local UA theater.  Nope, it was at Century just down the street.  Strike 1!

So I thought what the heck, why don't I randomly select another flick perhaps during this period of Academy Award caliber movies, I'd hit the jackpot.  Uh, nope...Strike 2! "The Spirit" was the next movie to start at 1:10 P.M., and it was absolutely terrible! I know, I know..well, NOW I know that the same guy who directed "Sin City" and "300"was behind this stinker, but that didn't help me as I hadn't seen either movie (nor do I have the desire).

Some of the movie's faults....well....gosh, where do I start?   First the's based on a comic book from the 1940's...our "hero" The Spirit was a police officer who died and came back to life as a super hero fighting his arch enemy played by Samuel L. Jackson.  The backdrop is desaturated of color, but each scene has at least one color element (like a red tie)...which very quickly becomes tiring.  The acting is terrible. At one point the hero spends time talking to his cat. Another character takes a picture of her butt...I could go on and on, but that would be more mention than the movie deserves.

Ok, so a Reinvent Dad first. I had NEVER stood up and walked out on a movie...not "Howard the Duck"...not "Shadow Conspiracy"...not even "Home on the Range."  Other movies like "Nims Island" and "Leatherheads"  would probably have been other candidates for an early exit, but alas I rented those clunkers.  This time, I said I can't take it anymore and after a 20- something couple walked out after about 30 minutes I followed their cue...Strike 3 (I'm outta here)...I decided I wanted that extra hour of my life back. Fortunately I was able to get my money back!

Don't see this movie! Don't even think about it!  I had more fun coming home and reading the miserable reviews on Yahoo.   Notes to self:  next time bring the newspaper along to reconfirm where the movie you really want to watch is playing, and don't randomly select a movie after arriving at the theater....lesson learned!

Monday, January 5, 2009


I recently had a revelation about myself and it wasn't too flattering. Just the other day I was standing in line at the Fry's customer service counter waiting (and waiting, AND WAITING) to return a new refridgerator bought out of desperation (different story) and was observing all the customers shopping for new routers, DVDs, HDMI cables (in other words, mostly geeks) when I noticed a guy being helped by a CSR.

I'd say he was 35-45 with a scraggly beard, longish hair, hat, sweat pants/shirt and flip flops. My first thought was "what a slob....I bet he just crawled off the couch after a morning of PlayStation 3...maybe he was trying to master Spider-man: Web of Shadows...." Then, I looked down.....

Yes, Yes, I know that I've gone from shaving once a week to almost once every other week (& on special occasions like visiting the dentist), but c'mon I shower at least once a day and have really tried to NOT go out in public in sweat pants. Since winter began, I rarely wear my Teva's out (except w/socks underneath). In fact, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to improve my overall wardrobe which would contribute to a better appearance in public, right?

Personal hygiene and appearance aside, Brenna actually called me out yesterday at the movie theater for NOT picking up my trash. Now, hold on a minute. I have NEVER ever EVER picked up my leftover $6 bag of popcorn or $4.25 soda...Heck, I didn't even realize that the theaters supplied trash receptacles, but as I was kicking my junk away so the kids could step over the pile of refuse, Brenna said "Uh, uh...people pick-up their trash at the theater." UGGGHHH - WTF?

OK, fast forward to this A.M. I decided last evening that I'd clean up my act. Today, I would S-H-A-V-E without an occasion. I'd also get-up earlier so I could make Mom MD coffee before she jammed off to work. I'd go to the gym and put forth more effort. I'd clean the upstairs including wash and change all the bed sheets. I'd go to the grocery story and purchase healthier foods.

Did I do any of those things? Well, HMMM a couple, partly, I guess. I went to the gym. It's still early so I do plan on heading out to the grocery store and cleaning the upstairs before I pick-up Brenna from school. Ooops, I missed making that first cup of Joe for Mom MD, but it isn't my fault she had to go in to work for early (& she likes to go to Starbucks anyway). I'll shave...later, and those bed sheets are getting more wrinkled in the dryer as I blog....

Perhaps, I better just shoot for tomorrow!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Julia's (Sleepwalking) Episode *by Brenna Riley*

Hi it's Brenna-reinventing dad's daughter. Well now my dad knows that one kid in this family sleepwalks-and that is my little sister Julia.

Last night, my dad said that he woke up at about 1:00 am to hear crying. He got up and walked toward the girls' room. Instead, he saw Julia walking up the stairs, crying. She sobbed and said, "Where is Alec and Vivi?" but she was out of it. He said to her, "They're sleeping, Julia," but she acted like she didn't hear him 

 ***NOTE from Reinventing Dad:  Nothing freaks me out more than being awaken from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. Alec has sauntered into our bedroom a few times, but somehow I've always "sensed" his presence.  No one I've slept with (that didn't come out right) one who has been sleeping under the same roof with me at the same time (a roommate, kids, guests, etc.) has EVER been known to sleepwalk...but Ju Ju was walking up the stairs (in the dark) when I found her crying.......bizarre....anyone have experience with sleepwalkers?  I did speak to her, but quickly and gently put her back to bed...that was it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Itchy and Scratchy

I swear, Alec and Julia have turned into Itchy and Scratchy!  I'll admit, I was totally unprepared for the constant bickering and fighting...short of calling The Nanny...what do you do when your multiples (or any kids of equal size/strength) can't seem to leave each other alone? 

See full size image

Friday, January 2, 2009

Things I don't understand about California(ns).

Let's assume that I'm somewhat qualified to make snap judgements and over generalizations about the "Golden State". In my 40+ years, I have called Cali my home for 32 (in terms of percentage, that's a big 8-0 for those youngsters following along). I grew-up in a small town in the Mohave Desert. I attended a state university in a college town. I've lived in two large metropolitan areas. I'm married with children, pay taxes, and have even been gainfully employed. I've also lived in the Midwest and what's up with California(ns)?

What's up with parking lots? Why are there so many "compact" spots when they know so many of us drive minivans, suvs and trucks? I see that these smaller spots are caused by planters used to plant trees for shade, but for whom? The employees grab those spots BEFORE you even arrive to shop. Finally, can't the lots just be straight across, two other words a tad boring, but more functional and safer...why not devote more time into architecture of the buildings, and less on the lot!

Why does Cal Trans insist on having "road cookies?"  You know, those yellow semi-circles that make an irritating grinding noise when you drive over them?  You don't find them at higher elevations where driving can be much more treacherous.  Other states with narrower, windier, darker, snowier, two lane highways have painted lines (gasp).  Drivers have actually adapted to use of headlights and safer driving techniques...

Another puzzling phenomenon  is health care insurance (no I won't even attempt to tackle the broken down Medi-Cal system). My question is why do new employees have to wait 90 days (that's 3 months!) to be eligible to sign up for their employer's health care insurance? Huh? My mistake as I thought California was one of the most socially progressive states in the union.......think smoking, seat belt and helmet laws!

Finally, let's talk taxes.......Californians SHOULD have the highest taxes in the United States. Please stop complaining so much that Arnold wants to raise taxes.  Few places on Earth, let alone these United States have such wonderful weather and allow travel from majestic mountains through gorgeous wine country, and finally breathtaking ocean views and sandy beaches....ALL in the same day!  You say what about "Nebraska, Oklahoma or Ohio?" - I think not.  We have fresh fruits and vegetables.  We have San Francisco. We have the ancient redwoods. We have so so much including the incredible weather that most places  only dream about!  Today, it's mid-50's and sunny in Sacramento!

Here's to:  New Years Resolutions - It's the first Saturday of 2009 and I went to Cal Fit and couldn't find an available elliptical machine....that has NEVER happened!