First Snowman

This was a post I wrote back in the fall, had in draft form, but never finished. 

As I continue to fall behind in everything, it is appropriate that I publish this story about one of our first snows of the season now that our snow (at least we hope) is gone for awhile.

"I don’t know if it we got enough Luca," I said.

The little girl named Sissy and I struggle scooping snow with a garbage-can sized container.

After many tries we have a small pile.

We shape the mound into something resembling a body.

Then place two sticks for arms.

Argh, our frosty friend’s snow head is not going to work—it is not packing well.

I grab an oversized-plastic ball and balance it on top for the head.

After a quick trip into the house, I return with hastily cut colored paper for the eyes, nose, and a mouth.

We tape them to the ball.

Needs a hat dad,”  Sissy says.

Returning inside I grab a baseball hat and scarf and adorn them on the frozen guy.

Luca look, snowman!” Sissy shouts. 

Luca impressed for a moment, goes back to sliding and climbing.

Sissy follows him. 

As I admire our “art,” Charlie, the 95 lbs. former coal-town stray that we adopted last year, investigates the snowman.

With stealth and intent, he grabs the snowman’s hat with his chomper jaws, knocks the ball head down, and topples the frozen body.

Furry dog trots away shaking the ball cap.

Sissy noticing the small pile where our once proud snowman stood, asks “Dad, what happened?

Sissy, properly trained, we humans can become dog's best friend,” I reply. *


* NoteMy comment is based on a saying by Corey Ford.

Status Updates at 55 mph?

I apologize for my lack of commenting on other blogs as of late and for my snail like responses to emails--I hope to be back to full steam by May.


When I rode the school bus as a teen, I remember the middle-aged driver kept one eye on the road and the other eye on what the thugs were up to at the back of the bus.

I think the following driver would be one eye short for that approach:

Police arrested a Trumbull school bus driver after they say she was caught on surveillance camera texting while driving the bus.

Evelyn Guzman, 47, turned herself in to Trumbull police Wednesday.

Between April 6, 2010 and May 15, 2010, Guzman sent and received 1,068 text messages while driving the bus full of school children, police said.

Detectives launched the investigation after the arrest of Guzman's daughter in May 2010. The daughter, Jennifer Davila, 24, was charged with assaulting a special needs student on her mother's school bus. Davila worked as the bus monitor.

It was while investigators were reviewing surveillance video from the alleged assault that they realized Guzman had been texting while driving, according to police...

I like what one of the commenters said:

"Rough math here, 1068 texts in 6 weeks is 178 a week, 5 days a week is 35 a day..."

I wonder if she has a blog with incredible content, or simply offers detailed play-by-play opportunities to follow her work day via FB status updates or less than tantalizing Tweets?

Dinosaur Sighting

A police officer friend of mine snapped the following photo while on routine patrol in a big city. 

I am not sure what the horizontally rectangular shaped object labeled "PHONE" with the yellow nozzle-looking thing is, but I am sure it has some sort of historical significance.* 

Perhaps it is an antiquated communications device--but wouldn't the part one talks into be germ infested considering the number of different mouths pressed up against it?   

I am open to suggestions.


*Note: This is a corrected post with the underlined part added.  Why I described the phone as "horizontal" (yeah, real horizontal) when I meant "rectangular" while writing this post late last night is a mystery--I'll claim a senior moment.

Fatherhood Reduces Ninja Time

I wish that it had been made more clear to me that being a father significantly reduces a dad's time to be a ninja warrior:

Police say a western Pennsylvania man left his sleeping 4-year-old son home alone while he went outside and pretended to be a ninja warrior.

Online court records show 28-year-old Ross Hurst, of Scottdale, has applied for a public defender but has yet to be appointed one.

The Daily Courier of Connellsville reports Hurst was charged March 3 after police found him outside about 1:30 a.m. dressed all in black and "playing ninja" on a borough street. Scottdale is about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Police say Scott told them his mother was watching the child, but the boy's grandmother said Hurst never asked her to babysit...
I mean I have a dusty pile of black attire, masks, throwing stars, nunchucks, but when will I ever be able to play dress-up again?

I Would Pick Tasker over Sheen and Lohan Any Day

If you were unsuccessful in wading through all of the Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan "news" this week, you may have missed this story:

 The body of a soldier who died along with his record breaking sniffer dog in Afghanistan last week has returned home to the UK.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, was shot dead while on patrol in Helmand province.

The ashes of the 26-year-old's dog Theo were flown home on the same plane.

L/Cpl Tasker, who was called a "rising star" by Army chiefs, was shot by Taliban snipers and Theo died of a seizure shortly after his master.

The soldier and his 22-month-old dog had made 14 finds in five months while on the frontline.

The pair's successes at uncovering so many explosions and weapons had resulted in their tour of Afghanistan being extended by a month...

Tasker and Theo's duty had been extended a month after all of the lives they had saved by detecting explosives only to die there--strange world in which we live.

Whatever the reason for the deaths of Lance Corporal Tasker and Theo, there are lessons to be learned.

Rest in peace.

Also, as the former owner of a springer spaniel like Theo ("Sara" was with us for 14 years and allowed me to meet my wife so many years ago), I can't say enough good things about the breed.

When Being Fired is Not Such a Bad Thing

Back in October of last year, I blogged about a young woman named Marisol Valles Garcia who had just accepted the job of police chief in one of Mexico's many embattled towns.

Despite being recently fired from that law enforcement job, I was glad to hear that she was able to leave the position alive:

A woman who took the job of police chief in a border town riddled with drug gang violence has asked for asylum in the United States, officials said Tuesday.

The woman... who was 20 when she was named police chief of PrĂ¡xedis G. Guerrero in October, left with her whole family, including her baby son...

And the next time the mayor asks for volunteers to act as police chief, I am guessing he will be met with silence.

Dad the Multitasker

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and prayers for my father.  He remains hospitalized and is still unhappy about it. 

His most recent verbal sparring came after a nurse told him he should not be trying to do leg lifts at 0600. 

I didn't hear the health care professional's perspective (like he was being too noisy since he has a roommate, was going against his physician's orders, or whatever), but I had fun imagining the old gunny unloading on her starting with: "When I was a young buck in the Corps, they told me that we better not ever be seen doing nothing--move, move, move!"  and after several minutes of tough talk, eventually finishing with: "When I was a kid, I had to walk to school every day in the snow--uphill both ways!"

Anyway, I am going to work my way back to blogging slowly.  I'll be posting 2-3 times per week, and beginning to visit blogs again.

Here is a recent experience from the home front...

Dad is in charge.

Mom's working late, and it is me and 3 energetic rugrats.

No worries for an "expert" like me.

In the backyard, I entertain the growing twins. 

A warm winter sun reflects off the piles of previously deposited snow.

On this day, I illustrate multi-tasking at its finest--I push little Luka in the swing, while throwing a squeaky ball across the lawn for "King Kong" our clumsy 95 lbs. lab mix to chase, and at the same time playing in a make-shift soccer game with the little girl Sissy who tries to score as many goals as possible.

Meanwhile, older brother is comfortably inside watching the front door and waiting for a ride to a basketball game.

What is so hard about this parenting thing anyway?

The cell phone rings.  It is my brother with an update on my father.

I take the squeaky toy in my free hand and throw it toward the far gate.  Boom.  Crunch.

King Kong dog, in his craze to get the toy, accidentally plows over an unsuspecting Sissy.  The soccer ball goes flying.  She goes up into the air, starts to laugh, and then begins to cry after bouncing her side and head on the ground.

I get off the phone, scoop up little girl, and after a quick medical check and the amateur concussion test (how many fingers am holding up, count to five for me, where is mom, etc.), I walk her inside and get her comfortable on the couch.

Then, big brother announces that his ride has arrived.  I go to the driveway, briefly talk to his friend's mom, and make sure they are squared away.

Argh, where is Luka? 

I return to the backyard to investigate what our most destructive kiddo Luka is doing, and see our shed door is laying on the ground--broken off the hinges. 

I think about the math:  About fifty pound boy, swinging wildly for a few minutes, unsupervised since dad is nowhere to be found--yep, that is about where the door should be.

The dog breaks my moment of reflection by dropping his squeaker on my foot, requesting a next throw.

In the end, no one was permanently disfigured, and the older boy and I will get to spend some quality time together dodging snowflakes and icy winds while repairing the shed door.

Multi-tasking with dad; never dull, that is for certain.