The Diaper Change

What follows is an actual exchange between myself and Tevye who is almost 6 months old. I am loosely translating his portion.

“Time to change a diaper.”

“Okay. Sounds good. I’m kind of tired of this wet diaper on my rear. HEY! HIS ISN’T WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR! THE AIR IS COLD!! THIS SUCKS!!

oct 2014 tevye change“Hey now, it’s going to be alright.”




Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment

Music Monday: The Attractions

A month ago I did a Music Monday post about Elvis Costello, and while he has had a lengthy solo career, his backing band for a long time was more than just a bunch of hired musicians, it was an actual band – The Attractions. They weren’t pulled together until Elvis Costello’s second album, though not credited on the album’s cover. Elvis Costello’s third album would be credited to Elvis Costello & The Attractions.

mad about the wrong boyThe next several albums would feature The Attractions alongside Elvis Costello. A couple of years into the partnership The Attractions would break off and release a couple of singles and an album. I didn’t know about this album. Heck, I didn’t even really get into Elvis Costello’s music until after “the split” and even then it would be a few years before I understood the importance of The Attractions to Elvis Costello’s music.

They would patch things up and record again and tour, then tensions between Elvis Costello and bassist Bruce Thomas would eventually lead to the permanent (so far) disillusionment of The Attractions. While keyboardist Steve Neive and drummer Pete Thomas continued to work with Elvis Costello with a new bass player under the moniker The Imposters, the “classic” line-up of Elvis Costello’s backing band is in the spotlight for this post.

“Straight Jacket”

I don’t remember exactly when it was I discovered that CD of The Attractions, Mad About The Wrong Boy, bu I do remember where. Vancouver, British Columbia. There was a Virgin Megastore on Robson street and for a long time it was my favorite record store because it had fantastic sales, the exchange rate was solid and as part of The Commonwealth what would normally be considered (expensive) import albums were often classified as regular releases. I literally stumbled upon this CD on the racks one day during one of our frequent trips north of the border (Laura and I used to go to Vancouver every few months – before kids).

“The Tap Dancer”

No, it’s not the greatest of music, but this is the sort of stuff I love. For the most part this release is forgotten, not even a footnote in music history. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There are some hard to find albums I’d love to have.

“Single Girl”

The CD I picked up is a sort of compilation. It gathers up the whole of the Mad About The Wrong Boy album along with the two singles and E.P. the band released. A very specific style of 80’s pop that reminds me of Squeeze at times, thought not quite the same caliber.

“Mad About The Wrong Boy”

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Phamily Foto Phriday 10-24-14

A packed week full of… well, let’s jump into it.

Tevye is starting to sit up on his own now. He’s five and a half months old, has two teeth and smiles a heck of a lot.


Saturday saw another gymnastic competition for Déla. This time I got some video. Here’s her vault routine which is showing a lot of improvement.

Here she is on the balance beam. The vertical orientation of the video was the best way to ensure that I captured the whole thing.

Finally here is her floor routine.

I was so upset my phone wouldn’t workk during her bar routine. As soon as her routine was over it started recording. Hopefully I can get some video of it during the next competition.

Earlier this week I went to the doctor. Maybe you saw this picture in that post. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, it’s one of my favorites from the week.


August had a Cub Scout meeting this week where they worked on their “welding” project (chocolate bars stuck together using the same principals as welding). The goal was to see how much your welded together bars would hold, and August’s held the most out of his den! Something along the lines of 3500 grams.


We had some nice (and not so nice) weather this week. We went to Fred Meyer for groceries and had the opportunity to ride the horse.


August got silly during dinner one night.


Here is another shot of Tevye happily bouncing away.




Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Shower Referee

I am in the shower when there’s a knock on the door. Laura has already gone to work and with time before the kids have to get to school I had a few minutes and was trying to put it to good use.

Déla said something about Ciárán and while I didn’t catch everything she said I replied “What do you want me to do about it?”

She left and I continued with my shower. Then a moment later Ciárán comes and knocks on the door. A similar sort of conversation ensues.

A moment later Déla comes back and we have another conversation where I don’t know what the child is complaining about. Then Ciárán. Then Déla again. At no point, thankfully, did the kids open to bathroom door. It was nice they respected my privacy, but it didn’t make it any easier to understand what the complaints were about.

Not having any real knowledge about what the disagreement was, since I couldn’t really hear much of what they were saying through the door and over the sound of the water helped. If it was really bad they would have come in. Essentially I just told them to figure it out and be nice to each other, and I don’t know if it worked but they weren’t complaining about whatever it was when I was done with my shower.

A few minutes peace and quiet? Not really. Just more proof that a parent’s job is to always be there. No matter where “there” may be.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tummy Follow-Up

Yesterday I had an appointment with a gastroenterologist as a follow-up appointment to my hospital visit. This was at the main building on Capitol Hill, which if you’re not familiar with Seattle is close enough to downtown to be a pain in the ass, especially with parking, considering I’m coming from 7 miles north. Sure, it’s only 7 miles, but when dealing with kids, 7 miles can be a lot.

Yes, dealing with kids. The appointment was for 10 am, a couple of hours before Xavier started preschool. And of course I had Tevye.

Everything went as good as I could hope for logistically. Yes, it took me longer than I had hoped to find parking, but that wasn’t much of a problem since Tevye fell asleep on the road – something I was actually hoping for. He wouldn’t be getting much of a morning nap and anything he could get would be worth it. I had a bottle with me in case it was needed.

I checked in to the to place about a half hour before my appointment figuring if I was early there was a greater chance of getting out at least at a reasonable time, rather than showing up on time, waiting around and feeling like I was having a late appointment. If getting the waiting done early meant being able to have enough time to take Xavier to school on time it would be worth it.

xavier tevye doctor oct 2014Checking in we sat in the waiting area and I pulled out the Kindle tablet for Xavier to play on. There are a few games he likes to play and since I knew we would be waiting I had packed it in with the diaper bag. That kept Xavier occupied and I pulled Tevye out of his carrier and played with him.

After a while we were taken back and had the general intake with the nurse (vitals, going over the same questions as on the paperwork, etc.). Then of course more waiting. This was, however, about 10 minutes before I was supposed to be there for my appointment (9:50) so things were moving along almost exactly as planned. And the kids were both being very well behaved. Xavier was playing quietly on the Kindle and Tevye was his usual smiley self.

The doctor came in and I was seen and after more paperwork I was out of there at 10:30 which is a heck of a lot better than I had expected. Tevye fell asleep on the way home, which was alright, Xavier ate his lunch in the van (which I had already prepared and brought since I wasn’t sure how long we would be) so when we got home there was ample time to head over to Fred Meyer to get a treat for Xavier to reward him for his stellar behavior and patience – and to pick up a few groceries.

As for the actual medical portion of the visit, it was determined I should continue on with the medication for a little while longer, then wait a couple of weeks after that’s done to submit another sample for the H. Pylori test, then have another endoscopy.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Music Monday: Devo (Part 3)

Devo sent the link to this on twitter, so they obviously approve of its existence:

It’s just a shame none of the newer stuff was performed. Still, a good set.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Phamily Foto Phriday 10-17-14

Last weekend was crazy busy. Let’s jump into it, shall we?

Friday (after I had posted the week’s photos) saw the penultimate cross country event.  The Pumpkin Run, where kids run the mile course with the last stretch of the course lined with pumpkins. After the run kids get to pick a pumpkin to take home (oldest first and on down in grade order).









10-17-14-3aSaturday Ciárán had a birthday party to attend. It was ridiculously fun. I was sort of surprised at how much fun it was. For the first hour or so all the kids did a Nerf battle. Then there was pizza and cake. For the last 30 minutes or so a few of the dads got to jump in and help out the kids. And yes, I jumped in. I tried to get some pictures or video while I was playing but simply couldn’t play and operate the camera at the same time.


That same Saturday Déla went to a friend’s for a sleepover. It was a busy day because as soon as I picked her up from the sleepover we drove straight to a private gymnastics lesson. Here she is on the trampoline and getting ready to bounce off into the foam pit. After this it was time to go straight to the final cross country event of the season. It was the final race for the older kids, grades 4 through 8. I had brought with me Déla’s change of clothes for both gymnastics and the race when I picked her up from the sleepover. She was (understandably) very tired by the time she got home.








Wednesday evening was Cub Scouts – the pack meeting. This meant both August and Ciárán went. And the activity was carving pumpkins. While we didn’t finish we did get a solid head start on their pumpkins.








Here are all the kids (in the house) getting ready to head out to school yesterday. Just look at that expression on Tevye!




Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Tricking And No Treats

I like my neighborhood. There are some things about it that really help to make is special. The annual car show is one. The fact that I can walk to a number of different types of restaurants (Indian, Thai, pizza, Mexican, etc.) and the several bars and other types of businesses – well, it’s a good neighborhood.

Then there are things I don’t like about. Two major storefronts on the main intersection of the neighborhood have been vacant for a long time. It’s a problem. But it doesn’t upset me nearly as much as the annual neighborhood safe trick-or-treating event.

halloween 2014 flyerEvery year businesses in the neighborhood hand out candy on a coordinated night to give parents a safe alternative to trick-or-treating going door to door in the dark. I like this idea, I really do. But the execution of it stinks. Why can’t it be on Halloween? Even when Halloween is on the weekend this neighborhood event takes place the weekend before.

This year Halloween is on a Friday. This event could easily be done on Halloween. Businesses will be open. Why do this safe trick-or-treating event when kids wouldn’t normally go out trick-or-treating? As a matter of fact, every year why not hold this event on Halloween? By not holding the safe trick-or-treating even on Halloween it sort of defeats the purpose because kids will wind up trick-or-treating twice. Once on the day of the event and then again on Halloween. That doesn’t seem as safe as it should be.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Not Lunch

“What do you want for lunch?” I asked Xavier.

It was just him (4 years), myself, and Tevye (5 months) at home. The other kids were either at school or who knows where. Before taking him to pre-school in the afternoons Xavier has lunch at home. I almost always ask him what he wants, but it is almost always the same. Juice, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some fruit.

Today to save time I had the juice poured and sandwich made. All I needed was for him to pick his fruit. He didn’t know I had already done the prep work.

“I don’t want a peanut butter jelly sandwich,” he replied.

“Okay, then what do you want?”

“Fine, I’ll have a peanut butter jelly sandwich.”

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: Dropkick Murphys

I was wrong. For years I resisted Dropkick Murphys. I was confusing Dropkick Murphys with Murphy’s Law, the hardcore band. I saw Murphy’s Law in 1989 opening up for The Ramones and didn’t like them. Not that I have anything against hardcore punk, I’m just rather picky about which ones I do like, and Murphy’s Law didn’t fit that bill for me. When Dropkick Murphys came out almost 10 years later people said to me that I should check the band out and I purposefully shunned the band.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized that not only were Dropkick Murphys and Murphy’s Law two different bands, and from two different cities (Boston as opposed to New York City). Sure, both have hardcore punk roots but only one infuses bagpipes and tin whistle into some of the songs.

What got me to finally check out the band? I’m sort of embarrassed to admit it was what is apparently the band’s biggest hit “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” from the 2005 album The Warrior’s Code. And no, it wasn’t from being the theme song to “Rizzoli & Isles”.

Even then it wasn’t until a couple of years after that I heard a full album by the band. 2003’s Blackout is a solid blend of the two sides of Dropkick Murphys. Here is “Worker’s Song” off that album.

So I became a mild fan of the band. I heard a little more and like the band more.

From the beginning there was the Irish influence. Boston can do that. It’s nice that Dropkick Murphys fully embraces it, but it took a while for it to kick in. Pun not intended. The first aalbm, 1998’s Do Or Die has bagpipes on a couple of the 16 tracks. Then there’s the traditional number “Fiinnegan’s Wake” which doesn’t feature any of the traditional instruments and is turned into an almost pure hardcore song.

Follow that with “The Wild Rover” from just a few years later (2001’s Sing Loud, Sing Proud) which does the song much more justice.

Of course there’s a version of the song that features Shane MacGowan from The Pogues joining Dropkick Murphys and it’s a mess, as one would expect.

It may have taken a while but Dropkick Murphys has successfully blended the punk rock ethos withe their Irish influences. Here is “Going Out In Style” from the band’s same named 2011 album.

dropkick murphys live 01I got to see Dropkick Murphys last week while on tour. The lead singer had to leave the tour a few days before the end, but the bass player Ken Casey who shares primary vocal duties on records (and whom I met once but that is a different story) took over and a friend of theirs from one of the opening bands took over on bass allowing Ken to concentrate on fronting the band.

No offense, but Al, the lead singer, wasn’t missed. Well, he was, but Ken did a great job.

dropkick murphys live 02The band played plenty of songs off their latest album, 2013’s Signed And Sealed With Blood along with plenty of older songs reaching all the way back to the first album. The newer stuff is, in my opinion much better, and while the older more hardcore stuff is good, but not equal to the stuff blending the two genres.

And live it is a very potent mixture.

Seeing Dropkick Murphys live made me all the more of a fan.



Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment