Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation from everything - 7/10-7/16

For some reason I couldn't post blogs on my recent vacation. I drafted a few. Simply couldn't post them, strange.

A week in New York was both exhausting and refreshing. It did get my mind off of job and money worries for a week. Ironically, that expensive city (a source for another post) also might have dinged up finances more than I expected. Hmmm.

It also got my mind away from politics for a second time this summer. Wonderful. I see in my week away that almost nothing has changed. Politicians behaving badly. The economy performing laboriously. And the NFL and its players are still unable to figure out how to divide a multi-billion-dollar pie of revenue. Sigh. I really didn't miss much, did I?

Anyway, here was our week in NYC:

Sunday -
  • Berenstain Bears Live
  • Trip to Central Park
  • Move in to our place in Brooklyn

Monday -
  • Empire State Bldg.
  • Museum of Natural History

Tuesday -
  • Bronx Zoo
  • First attempt to go to Top of the Rock

Wednesday -
  • Concert at Fort Greene Park
  • NY Transit Museum
  • Second attempt to get to Top of the Rock

Thursday -
  • Jones Beach
  • Third and final attempt to get to Top of the Rock

Friday -
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
FAO Scwhartz

Saturday -
An exhausted family returns home

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Apollo 13

I just finished watching the film with Sam today. It took a bit of time for him to stop calling Lovell "the guy who sounds like Woody." But he seemed to enjoy the film and, for the most part, to understand it.

Of all the stories from the Space Race, Apollo 13's triumphant ordeal has fascinated me the most. I remember first hearing about it on the spring 1970 episode of Our World when I was about 10. I find the tale of those three astronauts and all who worked to help them on earth remarkable. The fact that Russia offered to help, but that there was nothing they could do, haunts me. I can't imagine how agonizing it was for Americans to watch through the news bulletins.

Apollo 8, Challenger, and Columbia were devastating, but they were also sudden. There were multiple points in Apollo 13's ordeal where the mission could have cost the astronauts their lives. That's considerable tension for several days.

I watch this film again against the backdrop of the shuttle program's termination. I'm saddened that our manned exploration of space is stalled. Despite the expense, I loved the pursuit of glory along with the pursuit of science. I feel like we're going to miss something as we pause from sending men and women into space. I hope we resume before too long.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Some Neat Dad Moments

As week three concludes, I have this to say about being a dad . . .

  • Swimming with your kid is great. Swimming with your kid on a night where rain has driven everyone else away is better.
  • Taking kids under your arm to watch a PG movie (Apollo 13) is a pretty cool feeling.
  • I actually assigned homework for the first time today to my son: three pictures (that we could then label).
  • Calling my daughter my favorite nickname -Padiddle - when she explained that Mommy and I were speaking sotto voce about her older brother is pretty fun.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The First Year

"Daddy, I want you to play with me."

My son has made this request a few times this summer.

My son is entering Kindergarten in the fall. Shouldn't he be playing by himself? After all, he's old enough. He's moving on.

Of course I'm being melodramatic.

This summer has been an interesting study in better understanding childhood. My kids grew up a lot in this last school year. Most alarming to me has been my son's rhythm which now has moved on completely from naps in the daytime. Today I've decided I'm done with quiet time for him. Obviously, he's moved on.

But he needs me.

A wise guidance counselor with whom I once worked would preach to the parents of about-to-be-middle-schoolers the need for the parents to maintain their involvement in their kids' life. Common sense often tells these parents that their kids have moved to a bigger school, can and should handle more on their own. Ironically, these kids need us more in the first year of a new experience than they needed us in the last year of an old.

I guess they venture into something terrifyingly new. We're still old. And comfortable. And stable. And known.

She's right. Sam needs more of me than I think. Let's make sure I don't forget this when Caroline is 5.

* * * *

In brighter news I resurrected my Schwinn Sting Ray from my parents' garage. Good news: it's intact and working. The tires even hold air. Mine is like the red and yellow one in the ad below. Even with the grime, rust, and straw (I'm working on getting that out of the spokes) it's more beautiful than anything kids can buy today.