Category Archives: Children

The Joy of Neighbors


As they say, you don’t buy the house.

You buy into the neighborhood.

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I was reminded of how wonderful our little neighborhood is this past Sunday morning.

No words necessary… Smiles on all of them. Brady, Jack, Jacob and Brooke.

I invited our neighbor’s two youngest kids out to have breakfast.  We had such a nice time albeit much too brief.

Although Old Man Jack and Mr. Johnson are no longer with us, the integrity of the neighborhood remains.

It is a neighborhood where I feel safe.  And I feel the kids are safe.

They are safe because our street is filled with good people.  Good parents.  Good neighbors.

They even bring in our trash barrels if they get home first.  It’s swell.

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But I marveled at how ALWAYS nice Jacob and Brady are with my kids…from when Jack and Brooke were born.

Jacob and Brady are growing up so fast.  They are becoming young adults now and very busy.  Yet, they find the time to play with my young kids.

Jacob is a super athlete.  Heckuva sportsman and is heavily sought after by the high schools.  Even now.  His dad is a jock so he’s a chip off the ol’ block.  (Don’t worry, dad.  You’re not THAT old.)

And Brady… She already is a boy-killer…and a heckuva dancer.  Smart one, too!  (Don’t worry, mom.  I won’t tell ANYONE I have taken over at least a hundred of my chocolate truffles.  Funny Jake and Brady rarely tell me if they were good or not… ;))

But most of all, they are great kids.

July 2003
July 2005
September 2006
September 2006
August 2006
August 2006
August 2006
March 2008

Jacob and Brady always take their dishes to the sink when they eat here.  Brady even cleaned off my (DISGUSTING) rangetop when she watched Jack and Brooke so that I could have my “date” with a varsity cheerleader and old friend for my 40th high school reunion last month.  I’m still on a high from that, by the way.  Thanks, Brady!

I had Jacob clear this irritating climbing ivy “someone” planted in my backyard.  It was climbing all over the place…and into my neighbor’s yard.  There wasn’t one branch left after he finished.  He even pulled out the roots.  Problem no more.  Thanks, Jacob!

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One other amazing piece of “togetherness”…  There are eight kids between our two families with an amazing connection…  The kids’ first letters in their names coincide – and in birth order, to boot!  They are:

  1. Robbie and Robyn
  2. Taylor and Takeshi
  3. Jacob and Jack, and lastly,
  4. Brady and Brooke

And one last (and upcoming) connection…  Robbie and Robyn are both getting married next year.

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Soon, Jacob and Brady will be seeking their own niches in life.  While Jack and Brooke will be sad, at the same time, I know their hearts will be filled with happiness and gratefulness for all their love, care and fun afforded them throughout their first years of life.

So many things to be thankful for…and Jacob and Brady are two of them.

A Movie


“Rise of the Guardians”

Being brother and sister, my two littlest ones can never agree on what to see at the movie theater.  Today – on Black Friday of all days – was no exception.

After drawing first blood, my son won out.  We saw “Rise of the Guardians”.

It was a good choice.

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Once and only once, Papa here won out.

Well, the two kids actually had no choice.  We saw “Captain America”.

But the first movie I truly recall seeing – at a drive-in with my folks – was “War of the Worlds”.  I still love it.

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But “back then”, a movie was a movie.

But before “back then”, a movie was truly magical.  The director and cinematographer worked together to bring you into their minds.

You had to use your imagination and senses to enter it.

Plus costume design.  Makeup.  And “special effects”…primitive by today’s CGI mania standards yet so wonderful.

“Wizard of Oz” is likely the best of the best.  Shot in 1938.  Entirely on SETS.  It sits at the top of my (humble) list.

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Rise of the Guardians

Regardless, a movie is to entertain.

Pure and simple.

I don’t look for special subliminal meanings or hidden messages.

(I also don’t appreciate paying seven bucks for a bag of popcorn imported from China.)

While the theater wasn’t crowded (perhaps due to the seven buck bags of crappy popcorn from China…with fake butter) for our showing, there was a very cheerful round of applause at the end of the movie.

From children, parents and grandparents alike.

I guess they were entertained.

We were.

(ps If my oldest daughter were there, she’d be balling her eyes out.)

Today


Today was Veteran’s Day.

At times, I mix in Memorial Day with it…  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

They will always be veterans in my eyes.

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Dad at Miyajima, Hiroshima in the spring of 1949.  I now have a bad case of “tennis elbow” and can’t retouch:

He was part of the US 8th Army’s Military Intelligence Service and served during Occupied Japan.  Being a “kibei”, he translated during the War Crimes trials, interrogated Japanese soldiers being released by Russia, Korea, Manchuria and China and translated Japanese war documents for intelligence.

Dad today with my two littlest kids:

Ninety-three years old.

Went to pay our respects to Old Man Jack.  Sun was just too low in the sky for a good pic… 😦  Miss you, Jack.

And went to see good ol’ Bob, too…  What a kind, great man he was.

Happy Veteran’s Day, guys.

Little Miss Firecracker


My youngest one… but the biggest firecracker.

The biggest handful of all four of ’em…  Well, probably she’s tied with my oldest son.

Lil’ Miss “I Won’t Go to Bed”.

“Papa… Pleeeeeze?”

“Oops. I farted.”

“Papa, I wanna do it!  I wanna do it!”

As I look at photos of my two grandmothers of a century ago, I wonder if they were like her…