A fun flashback…..

Little timeline things pop up now and then and say “Hey, remember this?” and it’s fun to look back at old writings I did here.  Sometimes I forget that I’ve been writing this for over 14 years.

13 years ago I posted about a nice October week we were having in 2006, including some fun times in the yard with family.  This bit cracked me up:

Today was a nice day; family time, some work around the house, Jeanne’s sister Jackie and her family came over and we played a bunch of catch, and enjoyed an unbelievably beautiful October afternoon. I’m absolutely exhausted, from the whole week, but also from racing my son’s Razor scooter around the driveway with the kids and my brother-in-law Joe. (Zipping around the circular driveway were two scooters, a couple of motorized kid-sized jeeps, and a couple of bicycles.)

For the record: those scooter things are a blast.

Also, for the record; it’s been a while since I rode on anything like one. Witness the following exchange, which is pretty close to accurate, if you allow for the whole “my mind was scrambled so I might not get all the details right” part:

Dad?! Are you okay?
Yes, Maggie, I’m fine.
You kinda crashed!
Yes. Yes I did.
At least you missed the tree.
It doesn’t feel like I missed the tree.
Are you just going to lay there?
Yes. Yes I am.
Can I use the scooter?
Yes. Yes you can.
Cool!

Yeah, that sounds pretty much like the 8-year old Maggie!  Now she’s 21 and spent the last couple days back at home for Fall Break, and it’s been wonderful having her home from school. We’ll get Max back for a few days, too, their breaks almost overlap.  So we get a little time with the kids, they get some time at home visiting us, and the dogs!  I expect nowadays if they found me laying on the ground next to a scooter they may panic a little more quickly, but I’ll try not to test that theory!

My Son!

As amazing as it sounds, my son had his last day of High School today! I’m so proud of him. Up next for him: a year in Germany, for his Gap Year Student Exchange Program, before he goes to college. I think the current plan is to come back after that and go to college for music composition and production.

I am super proud of his abilities as a musician and a composer, and jealous! I can’t wait to hear his music as he grows, and studies, and his talents expand even more.

Here’s a link to his Sound Cloud account, where he has a number of his songs posted. Check it out!

One of his songs, Jump, has over 11, 000 listens! His song Again was just chosen by the head of the Chelsea show choir, Company C, to be included in their Spring performance, where it was played with choreographed dancers performing to it. That was a pretty amazing honor for Max!

So, in honor of my son’s last day at school, here is a pic montage designed to make me cry.

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CASTLE PANIC!

A little QFT.*

Castle Panic is a fun, silly board game that creates a surprisingly high level of… well, panic! 🙂 The players are all on a team, playing AGAINST the game, so it’s a fun collaboration to stop all of the attacking hordes before they wipe out your castle!

I love this picture, though: Maggie and Jeanne are adorable as always, and Max is adorable in his “I will never ever just smile normally for a picture” way! 😂 Plus, if you zoom in, at the top you can see our picture on the wall of the kids when they were really little, being photogenic on a playground slide! ❤️

I hope with the upcoming holidays, and snow days, that you all get a chance to relax with some *Quality Family Time, whether it’s movie and popcorn night, or battling evil monsters who are hell-bent on destroying you and your castle!

Monday Morning Pic Post

Random pictures from the life of a random guy who is also a dad, husband, director and nerd.

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This is the glass blowers studio across the street from Williamston Theatre. Folks who came to an evening performance of The Woman In Black had a little surprise waiting for them after the show. It was so much fun to see who would spot it, and what their reaction would be!

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Sometimes you put stuff in a desk drawer, and it slips behind the drawer, and maybe under it, and just gets lost in the desk. Then after a while, sometimes after years, you open the drawer and that something that you’d forgotten all about falls out from under the drawer. Sometimes that something is a few pictures that your kids made for you when they were little… Like this collection of all my favorite superheroes that my son, who was probably in first grade at the time, made for me because he knew I liked them…

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…or this picture and note that my daughter made for me. I won’t lie, working on the play that I’m directing now (which is all about family, and parents/kids/grandparents and growth and change), finding these pictures from years ago was a little bit of an emotional moment. Now the kids are teenagers, busy all the time, and the days of wanting to write notes to mom and dad is gone. And I guess the bittersweet thing about that is that I don’t remember exactly when it happened. *sigh*! Still, their are more parenting adventures on the way!

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My Klingon Piggy Bank went as a leprechaun for Halloween.

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This creepy doll is from The Woman In Black. Spooky.

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Maggie planted an apple tree several years ago – this year she got to collect her first crop of apples from it!

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Aaaaaaand I’m just sharing this because it makes me laugh every time I see it!

A pretty terrific evening

Had a nice night. Went to see a play with my son – he had a great time, we had some Quality Family Time. I was particularly happy we were able to schedule it because a work gig had me out of town for a lot of the last two weeks, and I missed hanging out with my family.

The best thing about the night wasn’t the play, though, or the fun power outage in the middle of Act One, or getting to hug and visit with friends I hadn’t seen in a while – although all of those things were fun.

The best thing was hanging out with my son, and having him enjoy hanging out with me, while he wore this jacket:

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I’ve worn that jacket for years now. Especially in the Spring, the early Fall, and on some cool summer nights. It was my grandfather’s jacket. He wore it when he took me to Tiger games, and lots of other times too. I’ve written about him before – about 7 years ago, when this amazing thing happened.

So, tonight, it was a little chilly and rainy, and we were grabbing jackets out of the closet, and when I pulled it out I handed it to Max. He said “Cool, this’ll work” and I said “Hang on! If you wear that, you have to take care of it for me. That was my grandpa’s jacket.”

He stopped, one arm in a sleeve, “Wait – so this was my GREAT – Grandpa’s?”

“Yep. He wore it when I was your age. It’s what I have of his.”

Max went and stood in front of the mirror by the front door, admiring how he looked – “Wow. Cool. Can I push the sleeves up?”

“Yep.”

“Cool. I’ll take care of it. I won’t wear it to school.”

“Okay. It’s a loan, I get it back for ballgames.”

“Awesome. Thanks Dad!”

And then we were off. He wore it all night – our evening out was terrific. And on the way home in the car we were chatting, and he said “So my great grandpa wore this with you when you were my age?”

I looked over, and he was tracing the outline of the giant Olde English D with his finger.

“Yep!”

There was a thoughtful pause before he said…
“That’s awesome.”

And I couldn’t argue… because seeing my son wear it was pretty awesome too.

Thursday Random Pic Post!

A handful miscellaneous stuff from the life of a Dad and Director:

I’ve been playing with the Vine app on my iPhone a lot lately, it’s fun.  I let my kids play with it while we were waiting around in a phone store the other day.  What did we learn from this?  The following: Dads, just because your kids are old enough to not run off in a store does NOT mean you can close your eyes and relax!  😉

A nice promo photo for Sweet Mercy by Melody Cooper, which I’m directing at MSU right now – we open next week!

photo

The Stephen King book Under The Dome was pretty good, I enjoyed it.  They’ve made a tv series of it that will premiere this Summer.  As a promo, you can see what your house would look like if it was “Under The Dome”.  So here’s mine:domed!Scary, right?  Of course, if there were a way to make this whole dome thing equal less leaf raking in Autumn, it could be worth it…

Hey! Check this out!  The Williamston Theatre was featured in the Actors’ Equity Association Newsletter this month!  (AEA, for those who may not know, is the union for professional theatre actors and stage managers)  You can get the Newsletter HERE and check us out on page 4!  (Below is a pic of what it looks like!)

WT in AEA Newsletter

And, in other Williamston Theatre news, here are 3 of the 6 plays we’ll be doing next year!
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Of course, I can’t really reveal the titles yet… but trust me, they’re pretty awesome.  🙂

Happy Thursday, everybody!

Friday’s Flotsam and Jetsam…

Miscellaneous things on a Friday afternoon!

A stair not worn hollow by footsteps is, regarded from its own point of view, only a boring something made of wood.
Franz Kafka

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It’s Opening Night for The Understudy!
Here’s a fun article from the Lansing City Pulse previewing the show

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It’s Towel Day! What’s Towel Day?! It’s a day celebrating the life and work of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, among other things!)

To celebrate, you’re supposed to carry a towel around with you!  “Why?”, you ask? Read on…

“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

Also, see: DON’T PANIC.
Alex and I, being very serious, with our very serious towels.
 

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In other miscellaneous news – today was “Moving Up Day” for my daughter. This means that she spent the day at the High School she’ll be attending next year, in an orientation. This also means that suddenly my little girl is in High School!! WHAT?! Oy… didn’t we just start her in kindergarten?! *sigh*

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
Franz Kafka

Wednesday Pic Post: Fun in May

So, life is busy. Starting performances of The Understudy this week, my son had his 12th birthday, my daughter and wife just got back from a trip to Washington DC where they did all sorts of cool things. Busy, but good!

Here’s a fun video from Tech Day of The Understudy, at Williamston Theatre:

And from tech day, here’s a shot of a fun little corner of the set that I like!

And a picture that I like a lot from the show:
(Michelle Held, me, Drew Parker)

Also, my friend Michelle (who is in The Understudy, and pictured above), did a photoshoot for a talented photographer, Chris Arace, and I think this is a really cool picture!

Click on the picture to go to his website!

Maggie, hugging a panda bear statue. I love this picture! 🙂

A couple more shots from Max’s birthday party:
Everyone who came got moustaches to wear. Just because. And, as you can see, they took them very seriously.

and…
Here’s a handful of the party-goers relaxing outside!

I hope everyone out there is having as wonderful a week as I am! 🙂

Sunday Night Quotes: Growing/Playing… and some rambling

People tend to forget that play is serious. -David Hockney

My son had his birthday party this weekend, the “kids” party, where he got to invite a bunch of friends over to spend the night. He’s turning 12 in a couple of days. (Wow, those years went by quickly.) He asked for a Hunger Games party, since he’s read the books and seen the movie… so we set up a Hunger Games party!

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold. -Joseph Chilton

Our yard and our neighbors yard were the battle arena. There were about 14 kids, all using foam swords, lots of Nerf dart-guns, and foam balls to throw at each other. They each wore 3 “life ribbons” (Flag Football style), and you lost a life by getting a ribbon pulled off or by getting hit with a weapon. Of course, hidden around the yard were lots of fun things, like…
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Also hidden, among the helpful treasures, were traps, like “poison berries” that made you lose a life ribbon if you opened the box.

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. -Abraham Maslow

They had a blast, and played 2 games well into the night! Walking around as the “GamesMaster” was fun, because I got to watch all the action, maybe be helpful or mischievous now and then, and take some fun pictures:
The remnants of an epic battle…note the weapons, supply bag, and discarded Life Ribbons. Really hits home, no?

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Khalil Gibran

A fallen warrior…

As the night wore on, I watched different kids respond differently. Some were teaming up, some stayed loners. Some played with honor and fairness, some bent the rules whenever they could.

We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves. -May Lamberton Becker

The thing that was the most striking was how much fun they had, while also taking it so seriously – strategizing, plotting, but also pulling details from the books and movie into the game and weaving storylines, calling each other by character names. They created drama, but disputes were largely solved by the group.

And all the while, I watched my son – who I’m pretty sure was just born yesterday – as he enjoyed his day. He was loving being the center of attention, but also gracious to his friends. He moved through the “cliques” and made sure everyone was having fun, and no one was being left out… I was really proud of him, and amazed at how grown he’s become. Sometimes I think I’m too hard on him, or I’m too strict, or I’m not patient if he’s doing things in a way that I wouldn’t do… seeing him at his party reminded me that he’s a young man now. How *I* would do something doesn’t have to be the way he would do it. The Dad part of me has to keep hoping that by example, suggestion, and hopefully more discussion than discipline, I can do my job and help him grow into an adult of good character… and seeing him be a kid of good character was pretty great.

Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won’t do that. -Walt Disney

So tonight, when I got home from work, I found him sleeping in my bed. Sometimes he’ll crawl into bed with Jeanne if I’m not home. As I looked at him sleeping there, I realized that soon I wouldn’t be picking him up anymore, soon he’ll be too big or won’t want to be lifted… and that’s a loss that I know will come soon, but one that I’m just not ready for. As I gently picked him up to carry to his room, his arms wrapped around my neck and he nestled his head on my shoulder.

And, sure, I could’ve just set him on his bed right away – but tonight, I just couldn’t bear to do it. Tonight, I just listened to him breathe, and I held him until my arms ached. This moment, this could be the last time I get the chance to do that. This event horizon that we’re on right now, we stand on a thin line and I can look to one side and see his childhood, and just a step away in the other direction is his adult life, and I know that step has to be taken, but…

I thrill at what the future holds for my kids… but I will miss moments like carrying them to bed more than I’m capable of expressing.

How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted. -Voltaire