Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quick Blog Update

I intended to post on Monday about football, the snow and all things Xmas Break related, but illness befell the blogger.

When the crippling headaches and body-rattling coughs subside, I'll catch up.


Monday, December 14, 2009


With the Festival of Lights occupying much of this past weekend, some necessary errands and chores fell by the wayside. Amid all the the latkes and dreidels and presents, not to mention appearing at three birthday parties, we neglected other things.

So in an attempt to earn points in the "Father / Husband of the Year" standings, I declared, "I'll stop by Walmart after work." I went in with the following list:
  1. Holiday-themed napkins
  2. baking soda
  3. printer ink
  4. hand soap (foam)
  5. turkey
  6. stamps
But as soon as you enter the store, it is impossible to remain focused. Right away, I was overcome with the smell of McDonald's french fries. Trying to bear in mind that I was simply making a stop on the way home to grill steak and salmon, I turned left into the masses.

Crowds left, crowds right, screaming children dead ahead. Bobbing and weaving, I headed first to electronics for the printer ink. I found a locked case, so I caught the attention of the cashier / keymaster, and he hooked me up with an HP 21 - black. Leaving electronics, I stopped and paid homage to a monstrous display of tri-flavored-popcorn tins ... some were decorated with polar bears, some with Santa, and some with the logo "Miller Lite."

(I'm no expert, but one of those things just does not belong.)

I found the "baking center" - but there was no baking soda. I soon learned that the "baking center" and "baking aisle" are different, and a few steps later, I found my Arm & Hammer.

As I was walking the store, I posted to Facebook "what can't you find in Walmart?"

There were many answers - some inappropriate. The most occurring answer was "alcohol," which begs the question to blog followers in other municipalities - "Can you get alcohol in Walmart?" Inquiring minds want to know. One Facebook friend pointed out "Where else can you get guns and lingerie?"

Good question.

I was unable to find stamps. I then wondered if I could open up a chain of stores near Walmart stores that sold things unavailable at Walmart.

I'm adding to my list of alcohol and stamps ... feedback welcome.

In other news:

Lilly was showered with gifts on Hanukkah's opening weekend. We feel very lucky to have family and friends who are so generous.

The Ravens beat up on the Lions yesterday. While the Ravens sit at 7-6, one cannot help but think that if they had won two or three of the six losses (Minnesota, Cincy #1 and Indy come to mind), we'd be sitting pretty. But at least the team is playing meaningful games in December, and if they win out (Chicago at home, at Pittsburgh, at Oakland), the playoffs may happen.

I need to mention my Orioles ... adding Kevin Millwood was a good move. Just as I have great trust in Ozzie Newsome, I think Andy MacPhail knows what he's doing. He needs to find a corner infielder with some power, a backup catcher, and a closer.

Maybe he'll look at Walmart.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Am I being a whiner when I say that the Ravens game tonite will end SO late ... ?


But they "control their own destiny" ... what does that really mean exactly? For football, it means "the Ravens can win all of their remaining games and make the playoffs without needing another team to lose." In life ... well ... that's a bit more complex?

I can barely control the weedwacker when I mow and manicure the area known as my lawn. I surely cannot control my wife or daughter. How the heck am I supposed to control a destiny?

On to other matters ...

I appreciate the phone calls I received this weekend about my car crash ... WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN! I posted on Facebook that the parking lot at the Y was a mess - Xmas trees in one corner, lots of cars pulling in for a hoop tourney, and snow. The quote was something like "perfect recipe for a fender bender."

Who posts a car wreck on Facebook? Seriously. Not me ... yet. But since you all are such literal readers, I'll slip in a few devilish posts to see if I can get a rise out of you.

For example:

Marty wonders where he can get bail money.

Marty is looking for brochures for 5-year-old-girl boarding schools.

Marty wonders what a bottle of Rogaine costs.

Feel free to call with your concerns.


Ravens win 24-16

I get a text asking "When can I wire the bail money?"

I get an email with a link to a school in Guam.

By the way, a funny hair story: Once upon a time, my dad took me to see a hair transplant doctor. We went inside the waiting room. We met the doctor. I learned that he was a former urologist.

We left.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Who Needs Sleep?

Besides being a title of a BNL song, this has been a long-standing personal motto. I have always been able to function on little sleep, and usually without the aid of a nap. (PS - BNL has a kids CD - pictured at right)

This is a trait that friends would marvel at during summers and/or planning weekends at Airy. This is a trait that has come in handy as a dad whose daughter tends to get up early in the morning.

Today I write to admit that I have met my match - it is the multi-headed monster known as "Thanksgiving-in-New Jersey-followed-by-an-overtime-Ravens-game-on-Sunday-night."

We always have a great time in New Jersey, but sleeping arrangements are always an issue. The issue ... is Lilly. With the exceptions of her bed at home and her beds at the grandparents' houses, sleepovers are challenging. When sharing a bed is needed, Lilly wiggles, and squirms, and grunts, and kicks. So, her 7th grade cousin is less-than-thrilled at the thought of sharing her bed ... but it worked for Thursday. I hunkered down with Pam in our nephew's room ... and his flannel sheets. Pam loved it - I sweat.

The next night, there was an extra bed, as Pam's folks left before dinner time. Well, by the time that the nephew reclaimed his room, and Lilly and Pam took the niece's room, and the niece took the guest room, I was ... off to the basement. I converted the futon, found some sheets and blankets, and laid my weary head to rest a few minutes after midnight. The cold, dark basement was just what the doctor ordered after the flannel-fest from the night before.

At 6:30 am, there was a tap on my shoulder. "Hi Daddy." Hello, Lilly. Sleep terminated.

By the time we got into out own beds at home on Saturday night, my back ached from the two strange beds from Thursday and Friday. I tossed and turned a bit that night, but I stole back a few minutes with a catnap on Sunday afternoon. The nap had a purpose - I expected to be awake until 11:30 while watching the Ravens game.

With a sigh of relief and a stomach ache, I laid down for bed at 12:30 am, following the Ravens 20-17 overtime win. My alarm went off promptly at 5:00 am. Destination - Thurmont.

I was dragging today. I must have been the only person at school today who was in a thick enough mental fog to have no clue that students were dismissed two-hours-early today. Imagine my surprise when the lunch shifts started at 9:42 am.

Off to bed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We are T-minus 24 hours from turkey consumption, so naturally I have Thanksgiving on the brain. This holiday brings to mind many tales and factoids, including:

Many of us think of Squanto as the key Native American who befriended the colonists, but I have recently learned of Samoset. I admit that I am somewhat embarrassed to admit to just now be aware of Samoset, considering that I majored in history. But Samoset may be the coolest, little-known figure in American history. Various research tells that Samoset greeted the Pilgrims naked, and asking for beer. If that's not an entrance, I don't know what is.

Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird. Not sure why ... considering he is so closely affiliated with Philadelphia (Franklin ran away from home and ended up there when he was 17), it is funny that he disapproved of Eagles. So do most Philly fans.

Top 10 Thanksgiving Foods:

  1. Stuffing

  2. Turkey

  3. Mashed Potatoes

  4. Ham

  5. Cranberry "Sauce"

  6. Pumpkin Pie

  7. Rolls / Bread

  8. Sweet Potatoes

  9. Green Bean Casserole

  10. Turducken

I didn't make the list - I just report it. What the heck is "turducken?" Is that the crazy looking bird that John Madden used to do a show-and-tell routine during a Thanksgiving football game?

Thanksgiving TV is quite football-friendly. With the advent of an evening game, pigskin enthusiasts can get their fill from 12:30 pm until midnight. It also is a time for thumbs to rest ... since there is only one game on at a time, the channel surfing is minimal.

I have one co-worker whose family loves turkey, but chooses not to eat turkey on Thanksgiving. When I pursued a reason, she said simply "We have turkey all year." I asked her if the family was also skipping bread, potatoes, wine and water. She laughed.

Have a good celebration, and if you head out shopping at some unholy hour on Friday, try not to get run over in a stampede.

And save me a drumstick!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yup - I'm a Slacker

I haven't posted for a while, which is to say that many of you were secretly hoping that I had given up the blog and gone away.

Not so fast my friend!

Actually, a few people asked about he Blog, or rather the lack-there-of.

Without further ado, and in an effort to make up for lost blog time, here we go:

From the world of football
(I actually wrote this part before the weekend, but I never got around to posting)

Ravens are scuffling ... 5-4 with the undefeated Colts coming to town. Ironic that the Colts' kicker is Matt Stover, and that yesterday, the Ravens cut the kicker that succeeded Stover. It should be pointed out that after 10 games last season, the Ravens were 6-4. The Ravens / Colts game has an EVEN spread, which means that gambling folks think that the undefeated Colts are in for a tough game. The Ravens are good at home, and the Colts are not great playing outdoors. Terrell Suggs will not play, so here's hoping that Haloti Ngata does return to the line-up.

Prediction ... I think the Ravens squeak out a win, maybe 26-24?

Sunday update - Ravens lost, but the game was close for 60 minutes. The Ravens gave away many chances to win. The new kicker made 5 out of 6 kicks, but the miss was bad. Joe Flacco threw a terrible interception, and Ed Reed was guilty of two major mistakes - burned for a touchdown pass by Dallas Clark, and the fumble / lateral late in the game.

Other items of note:

What's up with the trial of Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon? She didn't testify ... does that matter? Jurors are sending notes to the judge, courtroom observers are shouting and hollering, and all the while the mayor is making appearances around the city.

I saw "The Blind Side" - the movie based on the book, which is based on the Ravens' Michael Oher. It's a feel-good flick that intentionally dodges most questions about race and class. I laughed a bit, and it was cool to hear the whole theater cheer when Oher's name was announced at April's draft.

I chaperoned my first Thurmont Middle School dances on Friday. There is a dance right after school for 6th grade, and then a 7th/8th grade dance at 7 pm. Coming from Crestwood Middle School, the dances up in Thurmont are, comparatively, mellow. The kid turn-out was decent - over 150 kids between the two events. We old folks persuaded the DJ to play "The Humpty Dance." Kids didn't recognize the song - the grown-ups loved it.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving - we'll be in New Jersey with Pam's brother and his family. We hosted last year - had I been blogging then, there might have been a post entitled "Pam's No-Good Terrible Very Bad Day." We participated in a "Turkey Trot" run / walk that morning around some lake. At one point, Pam was walking with the kids and showing off her version of a "Turkey Trot." Enter back injury. Then, during a pre-dinner / post-cooking dish washing cycle, bubbles began to ooze everywhere. An unnamed family member put dish soap - not dishwasher soap - in the machine. What a mess. Pam was none-too-pleased.

This year, I'm thankful for my family and friends, the fact that I have a job, and for the medical marvels that have taken care of my niece Izzie, our friends Dennis and Kailey, and certainly many others.

Until next time ... Peace and Humptiness Forever.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where can I get a sandwich in Arbutus?

I'll explain what that means in a moment, but let me begin by saying "Thank Goodness" that Halloween fell on a weekend. There is no scarier prospect than Halloween falling during the school week - the candy, the sugar-rush, the pranks, the silliness ... and then there's the students.

We hosted a Halloween gathering - my folks, Pam's folks, the Albrights, the Miles, the Roussillons, and the Monfrieds. The spread was fantastic - a tray of nuggets from Chick-Fil-A; Margie's crab soup, Dennis's chilli, Tracey's meatballs, Holly's cornbread, Jen's cookies and cupcakes ... and a platter of sandwiches from Mars.

Not the planet - the supermarket.

Not in Ellicott City - in Arbutus.

I am one of the first people to be willing to drive for good food ... Friendly Farm, The Tasting Room, Waffle House, and others. In fairness, the sandwiches were very good - a collection of shrimp salad, tuna, and chicken salad. Soft potato rolls. Pickles.

But the deli around the corner from us was out of something key ... how does a food store run out of food? Anyway, so we decided to pursue the same sandwiches, and the good people at Mars pointed up toward Arbutus.

The two towns are more than 10 miles apart, but it feels like another universe when you drive into Arbutus. And my experience in the store proved the point. I proceeded to the deli counter, took my number and waited my turn. The lady that waited on me took my name and shouted to a guy in the back who walked into a big fridge ... and then she took a plastic spoon, dipped it into the big container of shrimp salad, and ate it . She appeared to mull this over, and as she tossed the spoon into the trash, she announced "Too much mayo - not enough Old Bay."


The guy with the sandwiches emerged from the fridge, walked to me, and kept on going. Puzzled, I followed him and we got in line to pay. I offered "you don't have to wait here" but he shook his head and said something about needing a copy of the order form.

So we're in line, and I ask the guy to show me the paper, because I did not know the price. I must have been reading aloud to myself, because I next hear "MMMM, I'm coming to the party at your house!"

The speaker is a classic "Bawl-mer" woman ... jeans, a Ravens t-shirt, and looking as though she'd had a few too many Natty Bohs in her day. I chuckled, and responded "Well, I'm looking forward to the nuggets from Chick-Fil-A" and then she and the deli guy both got excited.

Now they both wanted to come to the party. I let the comments slide, paid my bill, and headed back to the car.

Other Halloween observations:

Best costume - a guy wearing a pig mask and a t-shirt that said "Flu"

Best candy - the family that gave out a full-size Nestle Crunch bar

Best use of a stroller - as a candy-hauler and a bottle holder

Best comment - from Lilly: "Daddy, I want more candy but I'm tired of walking."

Next holiday update - Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Bye Week

Along with my down-but-not-out Baltimore Ravens, I enjoyed a football bye week(end). In the absence of pigskin, we sought out adventures all over the fine state of Maryland.

The Run Down:

On Friday, we tempted fate and headed over the Bay Bridge to the Easton High School homecoming football game. The rain held off, and the Warriors held on for a 17-14 win. A soccer player on the football team kicked a 41 yard field goal for the winning margin, and the Easton defense made a late stand to preserve the win. The visitors - Kent County - were driving late toward a tying or go-ahead score, but our favorite player Cory Berry made two big plays on defense. Cory provided blanket-like coverage on a pass intended for his man, and came up with a great open-field tackle on a runner who had been giving Easton fits.

The postgame victory meal occurred at La Plaza Tapatilla - good fajitas. I went for the chicken / beef / shrimp combination.

The rain continued to hold off on Saturday AM, and Team #2 in the Girls Under 6 North soccer division took to the field (that means Lilly's team - I'm the coach). The ladies engaged in a spirited scrimmage, running hard and completely earning their postgame snack of juice boxes and mini packs of cookies.

As morning became afternoon, Lilly shed her cleats for her swimsuit and headed to the Y for a swim lesson. From there she headed home for a shower, then a "Daisies" campfire, then a playdate, then a sleepover at Grammy and Pop's house.

With the Lil out of the house, P-Roch joined me for a trip to Frederick and a birthday dinner celebration at "The Tasting Room." Good wine and good food - I thoroughly enjoyed my filet Mignon; Pam opted for the scallops. Ross, the guest of honor, smacked his lips through his plate of Veal Osso Bucco.

A dinner highlight included the waiter eavesdropping on one of our random conversations, and then using sharing with us a picture from his cell phone - of Gallagher. Yep, that guy.

Sunday was a day of Fall Frivolity Baugher's Orchard. We picked pumpkins, made scarecrows, and stocked up on the world's best applesauce. Puts me in the mood for a porkchop.

Until later,


Monday, October 19, 2009

My Theme Song

Perhaps never before have song lyrics been so fitting:

Every other day, every other day,

Every other day of the week is fine, yeah

But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes

You can find me cryin' all of the time

Thanks to The Mamas and The Papas for their melodic motivation - as
Inigo Montoya said, "Let me explain. No there is to much, let me sum up."

I'm moonlighting as a nurse once again, as Lilly has ... well ... something. The fever has dipped to the 99 degree range, but she can can't shake it. This morning, there's pink in the eyes - we have a noon appointment with the doctor.

Let me give some major props to Barb, Meg and the good people at Thurmont Middle School. They have graciously covered for me when daddy duties have come up. They are a family-first outfit, and I appreciate them for it.

This Monday also brings about another reflection on a Ravens loss. Yet again, another entertaining (or gut-wrenching) late 4th quarter loss. And who do we blame this week? The popular goat is the kicker - He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named-That-Replaced-Matt-Stover. But I disagree.

How about we put the spotlight on Ray Ray and the vaunted defense? In six games, the team has allowed 130 points - that's more than 20 per game. In the three defeats, Ray Ray and friends have let up 33, 17 and 27 points - that's 77 points ... more than 25 per game. With the exception of the Browns game, the defense has looked ordinary. Some good plays have masked some overall deficiencies.

I think the team misses Rex Ryan and Jim Leonard more than it misses Bart Scott or Matt Stover.

My take on a few other sporting items:

1. Tim Tebow is not healthy, and the Florida Gators look a bit off.

2. The Phillies are good. The Yankees are really good.

3. Brett Favre, who annoys me, was right to un-retire - this time.

4. I'm looking forward to watching the Barry Levinson / ESPN film about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band. But they could have come up with a better title than "The Band that Wouldn't Die" ...

Other blog-worthy items:

Have you ever seen so much rain in one weekend?

Doesn't the "Where The Wild Things Are" flick look a bit dark and menacing?

The Balloon Boy nonsense ... what a fiasco.

If you are looking for a tasty meal, I recommend J&P Pizza - Frederick, Mt. Airy, Eldersburg ... good pizza, subs and Italian fare.

Until next time, be well, and if you have a ham sandwich, be careful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's like Deja Vu

So here's a new post ... stop me if you've read these before, or heard these in your travels.

1. I played nurse again for part of the weekend. Pam got a second wave of whatever made her sick 2 weeks ago. Target clinic, 2 prescriptions, many boxes of tissues - not fun.

2. Family illness got in the way of another family celebration. First, it was the Lilly / Pam bug that kept us from heading to Jacksonville. Then, it was Pam's new bug that prevented her (and Lilly) from going to the wedding of a cousin in NJ. We'll have to do a better job of planning illness on the family calendar.

3. Should be a long week at work ... middle school kids are nuts, and they are extra-nuts when the schedule is changed on them. Well, we're giving the kids not 1, not 2, but three days of not-normal-schedules. It's parent-teacher conference week. Should be a blast. At least tomorrow is a dress-down fundraiser day, and one night the PTA is feeding the staff dinner.

4. Ravens lose ... again ... and many folks are blaming the referees ... again ... and I disagree ... again. When you profess to have the best defense ever and have a 4-point lead with 2 minutes to play, you better live up to the hype. The personal foul on Ray Lewis was obvious and stupid. The pass interference call on Frank Walker was close, but stuff happens. As Coach Harbaugh said after the game (paraphrasing), "You have to be good enough to make those penalties irrelevant and not a deciding factor."

Cincy is not a very strong 4-1 team ... but they're a first place 4-1 team. The Ravens at the moment are neither 4-1, nor strong. Next week is a trip for the Ravens to Minnesota - and the undefeated Vikings. I sure home the Purple Birds soar into the bye week at 4-2 instead of licking their wounds with a mark of 3-3.

By the way, I'm not a big fan of Brett Favre, but I have to admit that his TV commercial for Sears is quite funny. You can see it here. A close second ... the ESPN commercial about Favre.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Update

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when I would look forward to "Saturday Night Live" and the Dennis Miller spoof-news-show. Miller anchored the desk from 1985-1991, and it was funny. I gave his replacement, Kevin Nealon a chance to impress me, but he didn't, and thus my allegiance to the show ended. Too bad - when your curfew is midnight, you rush home just in time to get a snack and turn on SNL.

Anyway, Miller made a bit of money between his HBO work and his Monday Night Football stint, but I'm not sure Weekend Update fully recovered from his departure until Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey arrived at the news desk. I'm just supposing, because I have not watched the show in quite some time ... but Fallon and Fey seem to be pretty funny, and they have made a splash in post-SNL projects.

For MY weekend update:

The Orioles finished strong by winning 4 in a row, but it's too little to late. I'm glad that they avoided 100 losses, and I'm glad that Dave Trembley will be back as the manager. Matt Wieters is fantastic. But, looking ahead, you have to wonder:
  • Can Adam Jones stay healthy?
  • Who will be the team's closer in the bullpen?
  • Can they find a big bat to play 1st and/or 3rd base?
  • Which of the young pitchers can stake a claim as "ace?"
I went to Saturday night's game - great seats on the visitor's dugout, courtesy of Dennis Albright. It was nice of Dennis to go to the extra lengths of getting "Super Fan" to sit in our section. What a unique man?!?! He had a cape. By the way, did you like the Facebook picture of me at the game?

The Ravens lost - and not because of the refs. The Ravens fumbled the opening kickoff, threw an interception near the end of the first half, and dropped a first down pass with under a minute to go in the game. Those three plays account for the 6-point loss, not to mention Dawan Landry's struggles to tackle Patriots. I think the Ravens win that game if there is a playoff rematch - everyone will be just a bit wiser. Playoffs, you wonder? If the Ravens can go 3-1 in every four game stretch, they'll be 12-4.

My niece was a true champion, coming through her surgery with rave reviews. There will certainly be some bumps in the road, but we're rooting for the days where Karen and Dimitry (who have been so poised through all of this) can have regular first-kid-worries, as opposed to the past three months of hospital worries.

In the spirit of a true "Weekend Update," here's my take on the David Letterman drama - maybe he wants to rename his production company to "World Wide (caught with your) Pants (down.)"

That's the news, and I am outta here!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Darlington County

That's right friends, the blog is kicking off in style today with a little bit of The Boss. One of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs is "Darlington County" from the "Born in the USA" project. While many people feel a connection to "Dancing in the Dark" (nice to meet you, Courtney Cox) or "Born in the USA" (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda from WWF fame), for me it was the song about two guys and a road trip. From the same CD comes one of Bruce's silliest songs - Bobby Jean. Check out the lyrics - so bad.

I've got Bruce on the brain tonight, as he has a Baltimore show on November 20 and I've been reading some about the ticket fiasco. So I'll work in some Springsteen as the blog rolls along.

Bruce Springsteen is not a football fan - while you might think that this favorite son of New Jersey is a Giants fanatic, he has no ties to any team. Bruce played the halftime show of the Steelers / Cardinals Super Bowl this past season. I tend to think that Bruce would be a fan of a blue collar kind of team - maybe the Packers or Bears.

Anyhow, after three weeks of the football season, I did not expect the Ravens to be the league's darlings. Everyone says that the Ravens are the best team, that Joe Flacco is an MVP candidate, and that Ray Lewis making the best plays of his career. I think that the defense is playing well because of their deep talent (thanks, Ozzie) and that the offense is playing well because of coaching (thanks John, Cam and the rest). The Ravens being 3-0 is cool, especially since both the Redskins and Steelers are 1-2.. This weekend's game against the Patriots will be a good test, but since weather will not be a factor, I like the Ravens to keep up their winning ways. The game will be close - maybe 24-20 in favor of the purple birds.

And one more thing- keep you thoughts on the "Streets of Philadelphia" ... my niece will be there starting tomorrow for her surgery. Needless to say, we'll be thinking about her, and about Karen and D.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello Nurse!

Kudos to anyone who new that today's blog title comes from "The Animaniacs." If you have no idea who "The Animaniacs" are, have a look at this link ... and before you scoff at it as some silly cartoon, it's Steven Spielberg's silly cartoon.

The "Hello Nurse" line was an Animaniac staple - notice the nurse pictured via the link above. It directly relates to:

Issue #1

I have good school stories to share, as I missed the last two days of work in order to stay home with Lilly. Lilly has been sick since overnight Monday / Tuesday, and missed the past three days of school. Her illness? The same illness that Pam had from Friday through Tuesday. Pam was out of commission all weekend, and missed work Monday and Tuesday.

Logic says that I'm due to have "it" as well, but as of this post (knock on wood) I'm holding up pretty well. My annual illness usually comes in February, but I suppose that in this day and age of flu mutations, anything is possible. It's back to school tomorrow for Lilly and for me. We took in a number of movies in our time together - High School Musical 3 and Kung Fu Panda at home, and a Thursday matinee of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Mr. T was great in his role as Earl the policeman.

Issue #2
I was looking forward to posting a food entry on-location from Jacksonville, FL this weekend, as we were headed there for a 50th anniversary celebration. Pam's aunt and uncle invited all of the nieces and nephews, and Pam's folks, for a rendevoux / suarree. After some painstaking deliberations, we decided not to go on the trip. Lilly's fever was still unsettled, and we had both already missed 2 days of work. We'll miss out on some good laughs and of course some savory food and beverage, but better safe than sorry.

Issue #3
The Ravens are 2-0 and a two-touchdown favorite against the visiting Cleveland Browns. While I would usually view this game as a potential clunker against a down-on-its-luck division rival, the Ravens should quickly and easily deal with the Browns. The Ravens have not played a clunker game under John Harbaugh - the six losses last year were to Pittsburgh three times, Tennessee, Indianapolis and New York (Giants).

The Browns do have Josh Cribbs, who may torment the Ravens a bit in the return game or in a "wildcat" formation. But Cleveland has scored only 26 points this season, and the Ravens are stingy at home.

My prediction - Ravens win 31 - 10.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy New Year!

The blog would like to wish one and all a "Happy New Year." It's Rosh Hashana, which translates to "Head of the Year." The holiday kicked off at sundown on Friday, and its two big customs are apples and honey, and the blowing of the shofar (a ram's horn). A third, unofficial custom in many families is ...

Issue #1 - The food

My mom hosts Rosh Hashana dinner - in many years, she follows up the dinner with a late lunch the next day. The stuff is good - plain and simple. Things kick off with matzoh ball soup - for those not in the know, this is chicken soup filled with soft, fluffy dumplings (but there's nothing inside). Add in a few carrots, and it's good to go. Most folks have a single bowl - me, not so much. I never have fewer that two, and one year, I had so much soup that they put my picture in the dictionary next to "bloated."

Next comes chopped liver and gefilte fish. Mom makes the liver at home from scratch - for those who love chopped liver, it's a delicacy. Tupperware containers accompany guests when then leave, as the liver is one of their favorites. I skip liver and fish - instead I slurp more soup.

The main course - served buffet style - is quite the sight. Usually, turkey, brisket and corned occupy center stage (just 2 of the 3). Surrounding the meats are a sweet potato casserole, stuffing, a grilled veggie medley, a jello mold, applesauce ... my eyes begin to spin at this point.

Dessert - chocolate chip cake, mondel bread, and ... who cares what else? Sometimes there's fruit - I'll skip the fruit unless it's strawberries dipped in chocolate, which magically appeared.

It was delicious - on Friday night, and Saturday night (along with steak tenderloins) and again on Sunday after I mowed the lawn.

Thanks, mom.

Issue #2

Does it get much better than Ravens win and Steelers lose? I suppose I could root for a Redskin loss, but why waste all of my rooting karma on one weekend? I am most proud of the Ravens - they proved most pundits wrong by travelling cross country to win on the road, against a team that many say will be in the Super Bowl.

From the "I'm a bit concerned even though the Ravens are 2-0" department, the mighty defense has looked more like a bend-but-don't-break group, rather than the immovable force group of past seasons. To be fair, it does not look so intimidating to give up 50 points in two wins; then again, 14 points last week were careless, as were seven more this week.

But when push came to shove, the Ravens forced the Chargers into four field goals, and made a crucial big play to end the game. That Darren Sproles guy gave the Ravens fits for most of the day. But on the biggest play of the game, Ray Lewis made the big tackle.

Next up, the Browns come to Baltimore - I haven't looked yet, but the Ravens may be a 10-point favorite. Cleveland is not so good.

Did I mention that Pittsburgh lost?

Issue #3

Our school attendance will take a dip this week, and not because of "swine flu." We have a number of students participating as exhibitors at the Great Frederick Fair. It's kind of refreshing that in an era where kids take off of school all-too-often for "vacations," we have some students showing off their skills and talents. I use to chuckle that the school system closes for a day for the Fair, but the Fair is a big deal. Have a look at this link.

Good luck, kids.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Big Crabcake

No, we're not talking about a dinner event at G & M, but rather M & T Bank Stadium - site of the Ravens' opening day win over the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-24. The stadium received that nickname from ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman - I believe the derrivation comes from Tampa(which happend to be the location of theRavens' Super Bowl victory in 2001). The Buccaneers played in Tampa Stadium, which was briefly renamed Houlihan's Stadium when the era of corporations buying the naming rights to sporting venues was in fashion. Berman had begun to call the building "The Big Sombrero" in reference to its hat shape.

The Ravens played at Memorial Stadium for a couple of seasons until Ravens Stadium opened near Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1998. Before the M & T Bank acquired the naming rights in 2003, the building was called PSINet Stadium. That company filed for bankruptcy. Anyway, with the absence of a compelling or catchy name, Berman bestowed "The Big Crabcake" on the building.

Some folks can't stand Berman - I think he's harmless, and his cheesy shtick at least shows he passionate about covering sports and having fun.

Back to the Ravens for a minute - a win is a win. The team looked awesome at times, and asleep at others. They will need to fine tune some things before the Chargers games next weekend. Although, I will point out that San Diego was 8-8 last year. Ravens were 11-5.

Food for thought - there really is nothing like a breakfast at Lenny's on a Sunday morning during football season. Everyone is wearing purple - patrons, cooks, cashiers. The pancake combo with eggs and bacon was great, not to mention the bagel and lox. Sipping coffee, talking about football and just relaxing. Too bad I had to ruin the experience by actually going to a football game and having a stomach ache for almost four quarters. It had nothing to do with the food, but rather the up and down play of the football team. Up 10-0, down 14-10, up 17-14, tied 17-17, up 24-17, tied 24-24, up 31-24, up 38-24.

By the way, the spread was 13. Boy is Vegas smart.

Quick education notes - Catoctin High School football (where ALL of our students go) is 2-0 after a win on Thursday night. Keep it up, fellas.

My daugher loves Kindergarten; my wife likes third grade; I still like middle school.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I love me some me!

As much as I would like to take credit for that quote, it actually belongs to Terrell Owens. I don't much care for T.O., but I dig the tee shirt that you can buy from his site.

The quote was said to me by a student at school today - how's that for a segue to ...

Topic #1

School was a-buzz today with ... that's right, you guessed it, the President's speech. Frederick County had made the decision last week to let each teacher decide for him/herself about viewing the speech with students. As parents began to call and write about their child being excluded from any speech activities, our front office staff (they are a great bunch, by the way) complied names and proactively sent the list to teachers. Teachers were instructed to check the list for student names before beginning any classwork related to the speech.

I guess Frederick County was on the right track to leave the decision up to each school staff. Harford County did a quick about-face - after announcing Friday that the speech would not be viewed today, the system issued a statement that students would have the chance to see the speech on Thursday.

Let me throw this out there - which of the President's advisers thought it would be a good move to make the speech text available for preview ON A DAY OFF OF SCHOOL? Were school employees supposed to interrupt their barbecues and beach days for a look at the speech? Maybe things would have been a bit smoother if the speech preview was available on Thursday or Friday before the long weekend ...

Topic #2

Football is two days away. Several publications / pundits rate the Ravens as the tenth (approx.) best team in the league; the Steelers sit atop most lists. The Redskins land around the 20th position. None of this really matters - that's why they play the games. But here are a few predictions for you:
  • The Ravens and Steelers will split their two games, with the home team winning each time.
  • The Cowboys will win the NFC East.
  • The 49ers will win the NFC West.
  • The Saints will win the NFC South.
  • The Vikings will win the NFC North.
  • The Patriots will win the AFC East.
  • The Chargers will win the AFC West.
  • The Titans will win the AFC South.
  • The Ravens will win the AFC North - what else did you expect me to say?
Topic #3

Breaking news - we ate at home tonight. Pam whipped up a batch of Parma Rosa sauce from Knorrs; I sauteed some chicken strips and shrimp (thanks Costco); I tossed in some peas; we boiled a box of wheat blend pasta, and BAM - what a meal! I'll be enjoying the leftovers tomorrow night.

This came on the heels of a delicious Labor Day BBQ - there was the classic burger and dog fare, along with pasta, potato and fruit salads. We rolled in with a platter of wings - half "honey barbecue" and half "spicy." There was not a single wing left on the dish.

Until next time,


Sunday, September 6, 2009

One Stop Shopping

The blog and its posse / mishpucha / peeps attended a Labor-Day-Weekend-BBQ on Saturday. The event was nice enough to provide material for all three aspects of the Blog.

Issue # 1 - The Fan

So we're at the BBQ for maybe 10 minutes, when I make my way with beer #1 to the deck where several of the other dads are hanging out. One is wearing a college football throw-back jersey - Archie Griffin from Ohio State. It's after 4 pm, and his team played a noon game versus Navy. Ohio State won the game despite some tense moments near the end. I say to the man "Ohio State had a tough time today," to which he responds incredulously "Well there goes that taped game ..." He looks at me, gets up and walks inside the house.

Are you kidding? He might as well wear a sign board that says "Hey world, don't talk to me about a football game that is already over. I want you to be a mind-reader and NOT talk to me about the football team / game whose jersey I happen to be wearing in public on the opening weekend of the college football season." By the way, that would be a really big sign board.

I did not and do not feel guilty in the slightest. Besides, if the game was that important, go to a sports bar, or follow it on your phone. Yutz.

Issue #2 - The food

Pretty good BBQ spread ... highlights included someone's homemade salsa. I did not get a taste, as many of the people sitting at the table monopolized the bowl and polished it off. I also had my first taste of "Shock Top" beer, an Anheiser-Busch product that tastes like a Blue Moon. Not too shabby.

I also had my first exposure to "spiked watermelon." The only alcoholic fruit I had sampled in the past came in a pitcher of sangria. I didn't stray from the beer to sample the wacky watermelon, but I thought it was worth a mention. Shrimp kabobs were tasty, as was the BBQ pork, hot off of the grill. Also delicious, but not homemade, was the nugget tray from Chick-Fil-A. Never disappoints.

Issue # 3 - Obama Drama

Since Friday afternoon, everyone who we have seen has said "You're teachers - what's your school doing about the Obama speech?"

This has become quite the fiasco. Most people I see and talk to (both educators and others) think that it's OK for a President to address kids about the importance of school. I tend to agree. Then again, while I am a cynic on many topics, I am not one on this. I don't believe that the speech is a veiled attempt at "social engineering" or "brainwashing" or even "campaigning."

The economy is a wreck. Our education system ranks below several other nations. What is so bad about a pep talk from the President? Politics and race will always be hot button topics - the two are combined here, and folks are yelling. If Taylor Swift wanted to do this, or Peyton Manning, do you think there would be this much drama?

That being said, I think some people are speaking out (which is their right) because their party and ideas are not the same as the President. Some people just like to debate and argue. The White House did say that the speech text would be released on Monday for schools to preview ... but schools are closed, so that preview is not going to occur. So much for that idea.

As for what Frederick County is doing, each teacher has the option to show or not show the speech. Some parents have called and written to have their child excluded from any speech-related activities.

For me, it's much ado about nothing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've been pondering ...

If you didn't know that the title of today's blog comes from a radio legend named Alan Walden, do yourself a favor and look him up.

Issue #1
Despite the fact that I find comedian Jim Breuer to be more annoying than funny, he landed one of the best commercial gigs. Pizza Hut now has a stuffed crust pan pizza. You can not be serious (speaking of funny, John McEnroe is funny)! Pizza Hut is not at the level of some of our local pizza establishment favorites such as Pasta Blitz (Howard County), Maria's (Baltimore County) and J & P's (lots of counties - originally Frederick). But the "Hut" is kid / family friendly, has Romano Cheese salad dressing, and a buffet for lunch in many locations. Yum. I look forward to sampling the new pizza and reporting back.

Issue #2
I'm just a bit jealous (and puzzled) how Howard County teachers get two consecutive four-day school weeks to open the school year. I know that the teachers have to work on Friday (attending meetings), but Frederick County opens up with two straight full weeks of school. Our kids and teachers stepped up to the plate to start the year, while Howard County is skating with just eight. To be fair, Frederick County kids are off on September 25 for "Fair Day." By the way, the "Great Frederick Fair" is pretty awesome.

Issue #3
My fantasy football team is sweet. I have Donovan McNabb, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, Daren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Vernon Davis and the Dolphins D. "Championship!"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Easy like Sunday morning ...

(Thanks, Lionel.)

I feel like The McLaughlin Group ...

Issue #1:

Crabs ... delicious, hot, heavy, Maryland steamed crabs. We dined with family last night at Ocean Pride. Throw in some steamed shrimp, cream of crab soup, "Old Bay" Chips, corn, and ice cold Yuengling - it was Scrumdiddlyumptious.

But wait, there's more. Dessert followed - we descended upon the Towson Diner. Talk about big portions ... and we didn't leave a drop. Two eclairs, apple pie a la mode, lemon meringue pie, a sundae and rice pudding.

Issue #2:

The Ravens continue to look like a very good football team. The loud groan you heard around 8:30 pm last night was Raven Nation reacting to the team failing to score a touchdown / field goal after a decent drive that stalled near the Panther goal line. However, Joe Flacco and the boys made amends and put up 17 points. Again, the defense was the defense - the starters have not allowed a touchdown in three games.

Reality check - none of this matters until November 29. That is the date of the first Steelers game. Until the Ravens beat Pittsburgh in a meaningful game, everything that Joe, Ray and the team accomplish is fluff. The Steeler game is Week 11 - if the Ravens are for real, they enter that game with a better-than-five-and-five record (my prediction - 7-3) and a chance to seize the division.

Certainly injuries can alter the landscape. The Ravens have not put together back-to-back strong seasons in quite some time, and the Steelers followed their Super Bowl win in the 2005 season with an 8-8 record the next year.

We'll see soon enough.

Issue #3

My kid starts kindergarten tomorrow. Can she really be 5? I love the irony of Lilly attending the school where I first taught, where her parents met, and where her mother teaches. Lilly has a great teacher - I taught her son when I worked there. It's a very familiar setting for us, so were excited and confident about her starting school for real.

One thing is for sure - she'll provide me plenty of blog material.

Until next time,


Friday, August 28, 2009

Swimming lessons

Calling upon my background as a teacher, I recalled that it's easier to write when you have a purpose, a clear picture of what the final product should look like.

I tried to write about myself. It yielded some material, but perhaps it was too deep of a pool of ideas. Deep water - and I had no raft.

So, I'm moving into the shallow water. Each blog will touch on three main topics: a sports story, a school story, and a food story..

I'll do better in the next entry on Saturday, but here's my first new blog:

We had a good first week of school. I'm watching the Orioles. Tonite's pizza was yummy - thanks, Pasta Blitz.

Shabbat Shalom!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I'll admit it - the blog has fallen on tough times.

And I don't see it getting much better, at least not right away. School starts today ... yes, I know I'm a 12-month employee, but the kids arrive, so it's different.

Plus, the lovely Mrs. Blogger heads back to school tomorrow - this means the end of slippers, newspaper and pipe waiting for me by the couch after I gloriously return home from a day at work. Then, my dinner is brought to me on a TV tray, and I watch all the celebrity sleaze shows ...

(And then I wake up.)

And football season is upon us ... this is a true statement because my Fantasy Football draft is on Sunday. I'm getting my kicker early - don't tell the guys.

Wish us luck up in Thurmont - may the gods of combination locks be smiling upon the timid 6th graders!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Channeling Rodney Dangerfield

How many people were able to identify the "Back to School" movie reference from the title? Probably not many ... I have always had a bit of an off-beat view toward movies - two of my favorites of all-time include:

Clue - all three endings
The Hunt for Red October - "One ping Pricilly - one ping only please."

I also like TV shows that aren't on the Tivo list of many folks ... my weekly lists include:

Dark Blue
The Closer
Criminal Minds

I may try to watch the new NCIS-Los Angeles show ... LL Cool J is on it. I gave up on 24 and Prison Break. I like to watch reruns of House and Bones.

Getting back to Rodney ... his movie inspires me, as school begins for real on Tuesday. Teachers report, which means the kids aren't far behind. More so than in previous years, I'm looking forward to it, as it has been hard to get used to a new school when it's mostly empty. The Thurmont folks have been great so far, and it was nice to see / meet almost 200 families at the open house on Thursday.

For those keeping score, Fat Bachelor Friday had a low-key feel last night - I picked up sushi and watched a ton of TV - the PGA championship, the Orioles, and a bunch of stuff from Tivo.

Girls are on the way back from New Jersey - I better go and get my chores done!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

So long summer ...

I hate to be a downer, but summer officially ends tomorrow with the return of 5-day workweeks in Frederick County Public Schools. Friday's just won't be the same, but it was great to have a bunch of 3-day weekends. Somehow, it was not so much of a chore to deal with the lawn (keep your "it's just a townhouse lawn" comments to yourself)

The management of the blog would like to apologize for the time lapse between postings - we've been busy with:
  • swimming - Lilly's is almost a swimmer ...
  • bike-riding - we took off the training wheels, but then aborted the experiment and put them back on
  • an impromptu trip to Dutch Wonderland; Perfect weather, minimal crowds and an easy drive each way. The diving show with the "frogs" and princess was pretty amazing. And to wrap up the day, while driving home we made a pit stop at Sonic for snack. It was our first trip ever to Sonic - the food was OK, but it was cool to see a guy on roller blades deliver the food to our car. Besides Lancaster, PA and Bridgeville, DE, are there any other Sonic establishments around?
The girls are going to milk summer for a bit more fun - a beach trip to see family in NJ, and then Lilly has a soccer camp on tap (with Brits, no less).

By the way, we're selling some Raven tickets - holler if you are interested.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back and better than ever

The blog took a few days off between the OC vacation and today.We spent part of Monday celebrating my sister's birthday and visiting Izzy. This week also included returning to work in Thurmont and rekindling old friendships with two favorite dining establishments - Bollinger's and Rocky's. (Is there any connection to my doctor telling me at Tuesday's appointment to adjust my eating habits?)

Today was yet another FCPS-created long weekend. Fridays off through most of the summer is great. I golfed 9 holes with my dad today before the rain arrived.

I must give props to Pam and tonight's dinner-crock pot pulled BBQ. I was teased by the aroma for hours this afternoon, and the meal did not disappoint!

Saturday and Sunday are wide open - there is a 50-50 chance that I will be very productive, or stir up some trouble.

Any predictions?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

Wednesday - All-You-Can-Eat crabs at Higgins; dessert at Dumser's

Thursday - lunch at Smitty McGee's; dinner at Dough Roller on the Boardwalk; junk food at every turn as we made the rounds

Friday - dinner at Waterman's; dessert at Dairy Queen

Saturday - breakfast at Dough Roller ... perhaps a night time trip to Candy Kitchen or Fisher's.

Sunday - a day of food rest

Monday - back to the gym

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Live from Ocean City, It's Tuesday Night!

I don't know if it was a burnt offering, or just good clean livin', bur we have made out GREAT so far with weather here in OC. We came down on Sunday AM (before our 3:00 pm check-in) and enjoyed clear blue skies. Monday was more of the same, maybe a bit warmer.

(At this point, many of you may be saying "Marty, we already know this - Pam stole your Facebook account and blabbed that to everyone.")

When we got up this morning, it was raining - A LOT. I was due on the golf course at 8:30 am ... along with my brand new / old iron set. We set out to the course - about 15 minutes from the condo. When we turned onto the driveway of the course, the rain stopped. And it did not come back for the duration of the round. Decent weather ... occasionally decent golf.

The sun then decided to come out for good around noon. We got in three hours of beach time, and then headed upstairs.

But the information that inquiring blog followers want to know is "What have you eaten at the beach?" Ask, and ye shall receive:

Sunday - dinner at Tequila Mockingbird

Monday - dinner at Grotto Pizza ... the Lewes, DE "Grand Slam" location

Monday - dessert carry-out from Dumser's Dairyland

Tuesday - brunch after golf at Layton's on 92nd

More to follow ... the week is still young.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

My summer vacation, so far ...

1. I got a new set of golf clubs - just the irons. Nothing fancy - I bought a used set from a second-hand shop. Those of you in the know are aware that I am not a very accomplished golfer. My father is a pretty accomplished golfer, and has been kind enough to send my way clubs, balls, bags and advice in an attempt to better my game. To date, not much to show for the effort.

Rewind to last Friday - the golf outing in DE with my father-in-law Jim. With his mathematical and engineering brain power, he spent the day analyzing my game and said to me at one point, "Marty, your swing is OK. Your set up is OK. I think it's the clubs."

My clubs are from my dad ... those clubs were custom fit for a man of his height, not mine. Those of you in the know are probably laughing at that mental picture. By the way, does anyone know a good chiropractor?

I was slightly embarrassed that I never came to that realization - I was convinced that all of the bad golf was just my fault.

Now I could blame David. (just kidding).

So I took the new clubs to to the range today and ... not to shabby. I'm actually looking forward to our two rounds this week in Ocean City.

2. I got a pedicure. Pam was leading the chorus of "Your ogre toes will scare people on the beach." So, we sat in side-by-side chairs at the nail shop. Oh the carnage ... oh the inhumanity ... I'm not talking about the pedicure, but rather watching Tiger Woods on the TV in the nail shop. My day was better than his, and I was being jabbed and stabbed by a stranger with metal tools. By the way, the toes look pretty good.

3. Paul Blart - not very funny. We watched it last night. One of us fell asleep. The other one was jealous.

Must finish packing ... me and my ogre toes are hitting the beach tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday

Quick trivia - Can anyone name the band that sings the aforementioned song, and/or any members of the band? Click here for the answer.

Now here's the funny part ... the band was four people, then had a break up. Three of the original members returned. The new, fourth member is named Michael Steele - a white woman, not to be confused with the black, male, former-lieutenant-governor of Maryland.

Sticking with the unnamed band for a bit longer, another member of the band made an appearance in all three Austin Powers flicks ... as a member of Austin's band "Ming Tea." The last two original members are sisters.

Coming back from the 1980's to the present, I had set out to write and complain about today being a Monday - a manic Monday ... see the connection?

I complain because:
  1. for the next three days, there are no sports on TV ... the baseball All-Star game does not count.
  2. without a remote control that works, I have to do crunches from the front seat of my car in order to change the Sirius radio receiver.
  3. because I cannot get a definitive answer if today is National French Fry Day, and/or National Beans-n-Franks Day. I'd prefer the fries, although beans and franks sounds funnier, especially in this clip.

I suppose it could be both ... makes you wonder if tomorrow is National Antacid Day?

Have a good day, and if you get some free time, walk like an Egyptian.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Greetings from Lewes

Cutting to the chase:

1. Golf was fun. Hi-lights included a par on the Par 3 17th, and a really good hot dog. Many thanks to my father in law for using his free golf voucher on our round today.

2. We got home from golf and were greeted by a 5-year-old (my 5-year-old) who was ready to head to the pool. It's summer, and I had the day to golf, so I rallied with my sun burned neck and headed off for a swim. Lilly is getting pretty brave in the water ... trying to swim, dunking her head, doing "cannon balls." We played and splashed - it was fun.

3. When we spend weekends in Lewes, we hardly lift a finger. Dinners are cooked for us, and the beverages are plentiful and free-flowing. In the morning, the Flavia coffee is fired up and ready.

4. It's "Happy Anniversary" #5 for Heather and Ross. Yes, I'm shocked too. Heather is a saint.

5. With Saturday and Sunday still ahead of us, the question is: Will the Rochlin family spend more money at the outlets, or on Grotto Pizza?

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Golf spelled backwards is ...

FLOG - which is what I might do to myself if this foray into golf takes a turn for the worse (or worse-er, whichever is most appropriate for a bad golfer).

I hit a bucket of golf balls today - more of them went airborne and straight than went into the ground right in front of me. I have a round coming up on Friday, and then two more while on vacation in Ocean City. Talk about a reason to drink ...

I have decided that golf is maddening for most people - just look at the titles of many golf books on the shelves at Amazon.com:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Golf Book: 101 Great Stories from the Course and the Clubhouse - if there is a "Chicken Soup" book on a topic, head the other direction. When a hobby leads to your soul needing soup, that's a problem.

Golf Digest's Ultimate Drill Book: Over 120 Drills That Are Guaranteed to Improve Every Aspect of Your Game and Lower Your Handicap - Holy Red Flag! When a book talks about drills (think about math flash cards) and handicaps, run away! And by the way, when the title boasts "over 120," what number are we talking about - 121? 954? Be specific, please.

Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game - Seriously? As if mastering the swing isn't enough?

Lost Balls: Great Holes, Tough Shots, and Bad Lies - Enough said. Sounds like a night of drinking during college.

The Fundamentals of Quitting Golf - This game must be pretty complex if there is a book telling you how to quit.

Tune in next blog for an update on Friday's golf round, and other happenings from the Rochlin weekend in Lewes, DE at Casa de McDonald.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finally Getting Some Recognition

When you think of "overshadowed" or "under-appreciated," what comes to mind?

I think of:

Let's add one more to the list - being July 5. Does anyone care about this day? It's a day for cleaning up after a BBQ, recovering from a late night / hangover, and getting on with the rest of summer.

Did you know that on July 5, in history:

  • The bikini made its debut in Paris - 1946
  • Huey Lewis was born - 1950
  • Arthur Ashe won the Wimbledon tennis championship - 1975
  • Dolly the cloned sheep was born - 1996

Join me in the quest to give July 5 its just desserts!

(By the way, July 5 is also National Apple Turnover Day. Bon appetite!)

PS - We had a fun and festive 4th ... many thanks to the Charkatz family for their pool, food, drink and a special invite-only fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Concierge

Greetings and salutations ... the holiday weekend is close at hand, and with it comes cook outs and vacations and pool parties. I still laugh out loud at the thought of Lilly trying to learn to say "Happy Fourth of July!" Can't you just hear it? A kid with a mostly toothless grin announcing to everyone she saw "Happy Fuh - lie."

The blog has a handful of staunch supporters. Some do more than simply read. Others perform essential functions that give the blog material. Tonight, we celebrate "Pop" - Lilly's grandfather and my dad, David.

We often joke that Pop isn't retired - his job is to wait for phone calls when we need something. Today, it was semi-serious (Serious would be a phone call asking Pop to bring a lunch to Lilly at school because her parents forgot to pack and send one, or asking Pop to spend the bulk of two different days waiting at our house for Sears repair technicians to come and NOT fix our appliances).

Today, Pam needed to unexpectedly drive our niece to meet her father ... Natalie came down with something during her visit here, so she headed home a day early to be able to see her doctor. Pam drove to meet Glen near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

All of this is supposed to happen while Lilly has dance class at 5:00 pm. I was involved in packing up my office and could not get away from school easily. What would we do?

Pam said she would call me back - that meant a call to Pop. When Pam called back, Pop had been booked. He'd come get Lilly and take her to class - then I'd take over.


But wait - what about the shoes? Pam remembered that Lilly needed new shoes for dance class. The plan called for me to meet Pop and Lilly at the shoe store and then take Lilly to class.

Whew again!

As I am driving out of Frederick to meet Lilly and Pop, Pam calls - there's a new plan. Shoestore 1 does not have the shoes; Shoestore 2 does, and it is holding the shoes for us. I couldn't make it there in time ... but Pop could!

Pop and Lilly (keep in mind that Lilly is in full dance gear) headed to the mall.

They pull in to the dance studio parking lot around 4:40 pm. Lilly comes out of the back seat - chocolate donut in hand. Pop walks to me and hands me a dance bag, a bag of new shoes, a blue Gatorade and a handful of napkins.

If that wasn't enough of a bail out, Grammy and Pop picked up KFC for us all for dinner at their house, and then they kept Lilly for a sleepover.

And before you get any ideas, Pop is not for hire. By the time he's finished fetching for Lilly (and Pam and me) he'll be running across town for Isabella.

Good thing he didn't retire.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh my aching back!

A glimpse inside of the trials and tribulations of my world ...

I'm was putting away laundry after Lilly FINALLY went to bed ... she cried and yelled and hollered and growled about being sent to bed (she had pushed her luck one too many times about baking cupcakes). Somehow through all of the antics we made it to the bathroom, got teeth brushed, pajamas on, and into bed - clutching three pancake bears very tightly.

Pam calls from the garage that I need to come to the car ... she had just returned from taking our niece to Rita's for a sweet treat. I seems the power seat was acting up - I tried to fiddle with it and got stuck in the forward-most position. Not comfortable unless you are very flexible.

Long story short, we rushed the car over to the dealer's night-drop and borrowed a car from Dennis - our hero! (While he's on injured reserve, there's an extra car in his driveway.)

USA soccer lost, the O's have lost 2 in a row ... isn't football season around the corner?


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weekend Update

Bringing you all the news that's fit to blog from the weekend ...

I attended the O's game on Friday night with my dad. It should be noted that I was supposed to attend the game with my daughter, but she dropped me in a blink when she got a better offer (an Alice In Wonderland birthday for Jillian). Anyway, we saw Boog Powell as he was heading from the Warehouse to the bbq stand. He likes to cook - and eat. We sat in seats 2 and 3 in Section 45. All day long, I wondered how we wound up with those seats ... who bought just seat number 1? The answer soon revealed itself - there was no seat 1.

Now, I know that buildings will avoid a 13th floor, but the first seat in a row? Who is afraid of the number one?

As I write this, it is the morning after our niece's end-of -the year dance recital. She was great - best in the show if you ask me. There was no Hora, but there was one surprise - or rather, three surprises. After the show, the dance studio instructor came out on stage to over some remarks and awards. She then introduced her staff, which included three daughters - who just happen to be three of the tallest women you will ever see. Made me wonder - look what I found on-line.

So, that got me thinking ... what organization is out there to support me? Click and see:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Your feedback is welcome.

More to follow upon our return to Maryland.

See ya!

PS - Welcome home Dennis!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

With a musical introduction from Barenaked Ladies, I write today about returning to one's roots - sort of.

On Thursday, I learned that I had been transferred from Crestwood Middle School to Thurmont Middle School. The move is bittersweet - while I will miss the staff and community that made up Crestwood, I look forward to a new opportunity. I am flattered by some of the kind words and notes that were passed on to me today, and I hope to contribute to the Thurmont school community. The Thurmont folks have been gracious in welcoming me to the team.

This is not the first time that I have worked in Thurmont. I worked as a staff member from 1992-2003 at Camp Airy. Summers at Airy began for me in July of 1984. It was my love of Airy that led me to a career in education - how else could I have summers off? I went from camper to trainee to counselor, and later to a stint as one of the directors. I grew up there, and learned about friendship, service and loyalty. I made life-long friends there - old and young, American and Brit (and West Virginian).

Speaking of life-long friends, I made many at Crestwood. I affectionately refer to them sometimes as my "handlers;" they accepted me on Day 1 in July 2004 and haven't wavered. They inspired me every day - they made coming to work a privilege, and they taught me so much. They are always up for a good meal. That's a tradition we will hopefully sustain.

So, the new place is really an old place. I leave behind friends and head to a place where I first learned to make friends. I am eager to see what else there is to be learned, and what new traditions are there for the celebration.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Is it just me, or does it seem ironic and/or odd that I took Lilly to get a hair cut tonight?

While you ponder that one, I've got something else for you. I attended a workshop today on gang awareness and gang prevention in schools. The morning speakers came from various Frederick County agencies (police, social services, health department), and the keynote speaker was a man from New York. With a heavy accent and little concern for using profanity, he told a bunch of stories. One of the best can be found by clicking here.

It seems like we have a big decision to make for Lilly. I know who can we ask for help ...

I've read through a number of blogs to see what makes one stand out ... some have surveys, or top lists, or political commentary. I'll head in the direction of what I know best - FOOD.

June 24 is National Pralines Day (no kidding). Tell the truth - who has no idea what a praline is?
Have a look at this link if you don't know - and be sure to thank Aunt Sally!

Speaking of hair, consider this: What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

May the workforce be with you

I'm sure there is some TV sitcom episode - from "The Simpsons" or "Seinfeld" or "The Office" that hits on this, but it boggles my mind how some people at work can be totally clueless.

For instance, the guy at my meeting today. We had a administrative meeting with the Superintendent today - all principals, APs and other manager-types. It's the equivalent of the
State of the Union address, minus the national TV coverage. Anyhow, everyone knows to mind their P's and Q's, and be on time, and sit near the front, and pay attention.

Except for the guy on his laptop for the WHOLE meeting. I could see it all - first it was email, then some test score data crunching, then ESPN ... I could look the other way if he was texting, or just doodling, or even sleeping. But the laptop was a bit over the top

I can hear you saying, "Marty - you're a goody-goody - get over it." I get that, but I think I'm just miffed that someone would be so blatant in their act of not paying attention.

Other blatant, dumb workplace things include:

  • the one dummy that reheats seafood in the microwave ... and/or burns the bag of popcorn
  • the ding dong that parks so close to your car that you almost can't squeeze in at the end of the day - the white lines are there for a reason
  • the person that always clicks "Reply All" on email ... we don't care
And my biggest issue - the person that steals stuff out of the fridge ... this one really hits home - let me explain.

Almost five years ago, some friends at work surprised me and had Graeter's Ice Cream shipped to me at school . It's the best. I put the six pints in the staff lounge freezer around noon - when I went back to collect the cream at 3:30 pm, a pint had been pilfered.

I wanted to blow my top - get on the PA system and demand a return of my ice cream? But how would it look if one of the bosses rants and raves about missing ice cream? Talk about biting your tongue.

A few updates:

Dennis had his surgery yesterday - he's out of ICU today and on the mend.

Laura's keys have been returned, courtesy of a US Marshal (sort of).

Sean called me today - maybe I'll call back.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the Web ...

Thank you, thank you. It's good to be back.

Summer greetings to one and all, and a belated Happy Father's Day to the dads out there.

I appreciate how my girls celebrated me yesterday - breakfast at Bob Evans, Orioles tickets for Friday night, and a "Best Dad - hands down" t-shirt.

I give props to my mom, who gave my dad the best card - to paraphrase it, it read "Today is your special day. I'm OK with that, because the other 364 are for me."

Since last I blogged, I became an uncle. Isabella Paige is 10 days old today; Karen and Dimitry are proud parents. I look forward to spoiling / corrupting her as often as possible.

School's out for the summer - please click here for a musical interlude (enjoy, Karch). While I can't say that I have nine weeks off (well-deserved, I might add) like a classroom teacher, I do have Fridays off in exchange for a working a longer Monday-Thursday week. There are no kids around and it's not so bad. This week, I'll be at three meetings off-campus, and then back at school on Thursday to fold report cards and stuff envelopes. Contain your jealousy.

A few shout-outs before I have to get moving:

To Dennis, a loyal blog follower who lobbied for its return - have a restful day and an uneventful surgery. We'll see you soon.

To Laura, the president of the Eastern Shore blog fan club - we have your keys on the Crocs keychain.

To Sean, a person with a pure sunshine disposition- yes, I'll call you for golf; no, I'm not coming to camp.

Until later -