Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

It's Father's Day, and it's the first day of summer.
It's still real quiet here. All the kids are here, and that's something unusual. It's something I really, really appreciate. But they're sleeping in. They appreciate it, and I appreciate the quiet time, too.
I was blessed with four children. I always wonder about the impact I've had on them - mostly, it's been a case of just getting out of their way and not holding them back. I've occasionally tossed some challenges their way, but mostly they've challenged themselves. My job appears to have been to write the checks and pick them up, dust them off and not even let them think about giving up.
There have been plenty of failures along the way, of course. I hope I've taught them not to focus on them. After all, the story says Thomas Edison failed 6,000 times before he got the first light bulb right - and it only improved from there.
They're all different from each other, and all different from me.
I can't take credit for how they're turning out: Matthew, the car geek who's in the parts business, Andrew, the ski bum in engineering school, Katherine, the singer who's made it to Carnegie Hall - and who will master the art of spinning a rifle in guard - and Robert, the spelling champion and drum major who just looks so natural in a tux.
This is about you guys.
I sat down at my computer this morning to put up the Web site this morning, and discovered this from Andrew:
Happy Father's Day!

Thank you for being here for me when I need it.
Thank you for teaching me right from wrong.
Thank you for helping me through the roughest times.
Thank you for pushing me to greatness in my best times.
Thank you for changing my diapers when I was a baby.
Thank you for giving me money when I need it.
Thank you for cuddling me when I was a child.
Thank you for all the hugs.
Thank you for taking care of my wounds.
Thank you for being an inspiration of what a good father should be like.
Thank you for accepting me for who I choose to be.
Thank you for a truly warped sense of humor.
Thank you for teaching me how to write properly.
Thank you for teaching me puns and word-play.
Thank you for letting me be a rebel when I needed to be.
Thank you for letting me make my own mistakes.
Thank you for letting me learn from your mistakes.
Thank you for being honest with me.
Thank you for all of your respect.

Thank you for being a truly fantastic father.

I love you

I felt the tears well up. Thanks, guys, for being my kids.

- Dad

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Visiting Hell

The ZIP code in Hell is 48169.
Ever since I was a kid, I've thought it was hilarious that a little town in Michigan is named Hell.
When I was a Scoutmaster, I thought about organizing a 50-mile hike with a route that would start in the little Livingston County village, then wind through much of the nearby Waterloo-Pinckney Recreation Area. It probably would have been a great hike, and what other unit could have worn patches celebrating "The 50-mile Hike from Hell?"
Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I'd never been to Hell, until now.
Kissy Missy and I were returning from the Undisclosed Location, and decided to make a detour. This led to all kinds of cheap jokes, including "We went through Hell to get home!"
Hell has three businesses - the general store, the ice cream store and the bar. Interestingly, there were lots of bikers in Hell. All the businesses sell souvenirs, and yes, I bought some.
Later this year, we plan to visit Paradise. And Ishpeming. Ishpeming means "heaven" in Anishinabemowin. We'll bring back souvenirs, too.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just in from an undisclosed location ....

A source close to the family would neither confirm nor deny that the image above is an image of the undisclosed location where Kissy Missy may or may not have undergone what might or might not have been a significant medical procedure.
The source, who asked not to be identified because the source was not authorized to speak for the family, indicated that Kissy Missy may have returned to the undisclosed location for unspecified followup care for the unconfirmed previous medical procedure.
The source indicated the results are stunning.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The water tower

I recently had the opportunity to visit downtown Ypsilanti. As I turned onto Cross Street from Depot Town, my attention was drawn to the, uh, rather distinctive structure pictured at left: the Ypsilanti Water Tower.
It was erected - excuse me - 1890 as part of the city's first water system. It served the city as its only water tower up until the middle of the last century. It is no longer in regular service.
The water tower is listed as an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association; a historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The old Ann Arbor News, in 2007, quoted Ypsilanti's mayor, Paul Schreiber, as saying, "The water tower has a historic marker. And it's a very interesting thing if you look at the stonework."
The Joliet limestone stonework is, indeed, very interesting. I read the historic marker placed next to the structure. Neither of those things were what drew me to visit the site.
What were they thinking????

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Second graders at the paper

It's never too early to become media literate - and a group of second-graders from Mt. Pleasant's Vowles Elementary School got to see first-hand how their local newspaper is put together.
The group toured the Morning Sun, and staffers Tony Sapienza, Nancy Shackelford and I got to be their tour guides.
We showed them how ads come together, told them how news gets to be news, and how it all gets onto paper.

The presses weren't running, so we could stop and take a good look at the remarkable, precision machinery that puts ink on paper.

I pointed out how we can print in color, and how the web-fed offset press works.

And how, after everything's printed, folded and cut, it comes out at the end of the line, ready for inserts, packaging and distribution. I'v been around it for years, but I'm still amazed at what happens to produce The Daily Miracle.