Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Old Goat celebrates Father's Day

The Old Goat, 2434 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, is new - and was the perfect place to celebrate Father's Day.
 What better way to celebrate the Old Goat than take him to a place called ... The Old Goat?
Actually, it was my own idea. I'd heard about this brand-new place in the Alger Heights neighborhood of Grand Rapids, with a truly eclectic menu of truly great food. It's owned by restaurateur Cory DeMint - the same guy behind The Electric Cheetah and Uncle Cheetah's Soup Shop. And he's really outdone himself this time.

Katherine, Amanda, Matthew and Karen treated the Old Goat to a fabulous Father's Day lunch - on the day before Father's Day. The food was great - eggs in a basket and Cajun frites for appetizers, and main dishes of such things as breaded schnitzel, a pork belly-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich, jambalaya in a Dutch oven, and a Michigan green-gold salad with the most terrific, perfect asparagus I've ever eaten. The wait staff is knowledgeable, personable and fun.

Katherine and Amanda loved it.

And the "kids" let the old goat know he's not quite dead yet.

On Sunday, Father's Day, Robert Facetimed from Oahu. The Marine Forces Pacific Band next heads to New Zealand and Tonga. On July 4, they will be part of the festivities surrounding the formal coronation of King Tupou VI of Tonga. The King is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and the U.S. Naval War College.
And Andrew posted this on my Facebook page:

"For the one who taught me wisdom and love, the one who taught me strength and patience, the one who taught me determination and the will to never give up, I wish you a happy Father's Day.
"For the one who showed me what it takes to be a man, the one who showed me what it takes to be an adult, the one who showed me what it takes to be a parent, I wish you a happy Father's Day.
"For the one who never made my decisions for me, the one who trusted me without question to live my own life, the one who stood by me even when I was headed straight to disaster, I wish you a happy Father's Day.

"I love you."

Then Katherine jumped in (right on deadline, of course) with this:

"I've spent a lot of the day trying to come up with something cheesy or sentimental to say about Mark Ranzenberger, so here it is. Even though I don't say it all the time publicly, I do love him. He's helped guide me through life's challenges. He's supported me through dropping out of college and then pushed me to go back. He's been there when every silly boy I've dated broke my heart. He's been my biggest fan and shares many of my stories that I write, cheering me on to bigger and better papers along the way. All the while, he embarrasses me in front of many people just like dads should. I wouldn't be as good at puns and wordplay without his help. I can't wait to step out of the large shadow he casts in the Michigan journalism world and make a name for myself, and I know that nothing would make him prouder than for me to achieve that. I love you, Dad. Thanks for being you.

Listen, you guys, I don't know how I deserve to have kids as wonderful as you. Thank you. I'm so insanely proud of all you guys, and so humbled that you still put up with the Old Goat.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Ranzencats and friends

When I married Karen, she said her goal in life was to become a crazy cat lady. I should have listened.
It turns out that I love these critters as much as she does. I'm a man who loves cats.
It recently dawned on me that I sometimes will put cat pictures up on Facebook, but I've never shown off all the cats at once. So here's your chance to meet all the felines in the Ranzenmenagerie. They run the joint. They own us. We just wait on them.

• Minden, the alpha cat: Siamese. We've had him and München since 2008. He rules the upstairs with an iron paw. Karen is his human.
• Gus, the senior cat: Large domestic shorthair. Rescue cat. Gus wandered out of the forest of the Upper Peninsula and adopted Karen’s mother about 13 years ago. We inherited him. While he was once a hunter, he’s retired into a life of indoor luxury. Dad is his human.
• München, the skittish cat: Siamese. He was born about the same time as Minden, but in a different litter. He’s just happy to be under the protection of Minden, especially now that there are other cats around. Robert is his human, and München misses him.

• Ziva, the shadow cat: Domestic longhair. Rescue cat. Ziva’s usually the only female, and the youngest of the bunch. She’s always happy and dancing - but she’ll disappear at the first sense of anything at all.  She hasn't really picked out a human, but many nights, she'll cuddle up to Dad.
• Max, the spoiled child. Siamese, mostly. Rescue cat. This is Katherine’s cat, and he's her big baby. He’s around for a couple of weeks. Although he’s about the same age as Ziva, he’s still getting used to being part of a big, big family. Katherine is very much Max's human, and  he misses her a lot. While she's gone, she Facetimes with him almost every day. Seriously.
• Princess Sophia, the baby cat. Domestic shorthair, mackerel markings. Rescue cat. Sophia was rescued from on top of a power pole, and eventually made her way to us. She's currently recovering from being spayed, and soon will be on her way to live with Karen's friend Debbie. She doesn't let the boys pick on her.