It’s a New Year

When I woke up my daughter and wished her happy new year, before she even opened her eyes she pointed at the wall. Hanging in its proper place was a 2014 calendar. The last thing she did before going to bed, after watching the Raleigh acorn and the NYC ball drop to ring in the new year, was to replace her 2013 calendar with its 2014 sibling.

These are special calendars to her, but not anyone else. They are scenic America calendars from my insurance agent. They are not on slick paper. The photos are not spectacular. But each year they showcase 12 different scenes from 12 different states. And Grace hangs them up. She writes important dates on them. She crosses off days that have passed. And she keeps them. She now has three old calendars on her bedside table. Each is filled with birthdays, special events and 365 Xs.

And now she is starting a new one. Happy New Year.

Black Bean Chili Recipe

black bean chiliToday I tweeted that I put on a pot of chili and I was asked for the recipe by Matt. The easiest way to share the recipe was to share it here. I usually cook by feel, and recipes are never quite the same each time, but I’ll try to standardize it here. It will probably be more like a blog post than a recipe, but that’s how I think.

1 bag of black beans
Oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 lb of beef, cubed (you can also use chicken or turkey, but use cubed, not ground. It’s a texture thing)
1 large can of whole tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Cayenne Pepper
Oregano
1 bottle of dark beer (optional, if you need more liquid)
Continue reading “Black Bean Chili Recipe”

NC Girls Rock Camp 2010

Grace and Rachel

Grace attended NC Girls Rock Camp for the 2nd year. It is a great experience where young girls learn to work together in bands by writing a song, making posters and performing at the end of the week. Grace’s band was called Black Rose and here is their performance. The lyrics to their song, Back Off, are reprinted below with permission. Continue reading “NC Girls Rock Camp 2010”

Durham Skate Park

This past weekend I took my daughter to the Durham Skate Park in downtown. She loves skateboarding, so she was pretty up for it. The funny thing is that she doesn’t really know how to ride. She knows the names of all the tricks, but can’t even really ride on a flat surface. I figured taking her to the Skate Park would provide some inspiration and she would get some practice riding along the edge of the park. She really didn’t ride at all, but she was very interested in shooting some video. The above video was completely shot by my 9-year old daughter on a Kodak ZI-8, handheld HD camera. I cut it together using iMovie, but with some simple direction regarding cutting on action and creating a narrative thread, she organized the shots, and even discarded a few that didn’t work. This kid is not your normal 4th grader. She really gets this stuff. We will definitely be shooting more video, and soon she will be managing the editing software too. Oh, and we scored it in Garage Band and she made the choices in that too.

Call All Santas

My nine-year-old daughter still gets presents from Santa Claus. It is hard to tell if this is true or not, but this year she has gotten concerned with contacting St. Nick himself. Her mom has always told her that parents communicate with Santa by fax or email. Well recently her 11 year-old brother convinced her that she could actually call Santa herself, and his number is 1-800-NORTHPOLE.

Tonight she dialed that number and was so shocked by the response, she hung up. She quickly realized that she did not dial Santa. She is still pretty innocent and doesn’t use bad language. She had to whisper the words to her mom. The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Please hold, a hot porn star will answer your call shortly.”

Help Me Celebrate Movember


About 3 months ago I shaved off my goatee that I had for about two years. It was getting pretty grey and Grace, who never liked it, encouraged me to shave it. Before that I had full beards on and off for many years. Primarily I have either been clean-shaven, as I am now, or bearded. I will count a goatee as a beard. One of the few times in my life that I just had a moustache, besides the early peach fuzz that I first shaved for my Bar Mitzvah at 13, was at the request of the McDonald’s Corporation. I worked at McDonald’s for 6 weeks after graduating from high school and beards were not allowed. And yes, I had a full beard my senior year of high school. I shaved my beard, leaving my moustache that summer. Continue reading “Help Me Celebrate Movember”