Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tag, I'm it!

I got tagged here by Dave. So here are my answers:

Eight Songs I Am Diggin’ On Right Now:

Dominic Miller’s version of Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata Number 14). Dominic is a fantastic guitarist. This is off his album Shapes and it features interpretations of classical pieces by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Elgar and Albinoni. He has appeared on Phil Collins' solo album, ...But Seriously. He later appeared as a guitarist on recordings by Sting, and has gone on to work on every Sting album and tour since 1990. Last time I saw Sting in 2001, his opening act Jill Scott had to cancel due to strep throat and with Sting in downtown DC receiving an award, Dominic came out and played for an hour until Sting arrived to start the show. That was incredible!

Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down from his recently released CD Live at Massey Hall 1971. This entire CD is fantastic. Trust me.

Burning Sun by Echo Helstrom. This is by an Oregon-based rock band led by former Blanket Music guitarist Ross Seligman and was named after a former girlfriend of Bob Dylan. I heard this song and Mad World below on XM Channel 50, The Loft when I was driving home from work one Saturday afternoon.

Mad World by Gary Jules. This was done with a friend of his Michael Andrews. It is a nice remake of the Tears for Fears' single and it was done for the movie Donnie Darko. The song has also been used on TV shows Without A Trace, ER, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Smallville.

Ron Sexsmith’s cover of Paul McCartney and Wing’s Listen To What The Man Said. I can’t remember where I got this version, maybe off a music blog aggregator, but the version I have is live from someplace in France. I heard about him on Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour and have been impressed with his music.

Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs: I love ‘80’s music. Why, I really don’t know. Maybe it was because I was drunk the entire decade and missed it? I always crank the volume of this song up when it comes on XM’s ‘80’s Channel. I don’t know why this was never top 40 here in the US back then. It’s a great song.

The City by Mark-Almond Band. This is off the album Other Peoples Rooms, released in 1978. Nice mix of rock and jazz here and it's over ten minutes long. I really don’t know a whole lot about this band, but I remember my friend Rick had this album and we listened to it when we were in high school. Again, I re-discovered this song listening to the Real Jazz station on XM. I guess that is a benefit of a one hour commute to and from work.

My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis. I’ve always loved this song and I have many versions of it by many artists. Right now I am on sort of a Miles kick and can’t get enough of his work. When Benjamin and I sit down for our music session, after we listen to his Baby Einstein, I’ve put on Miles and his music just relaxes me and Benjamin seems to enjoy it as well. Nils Lofgren did a nice version of this song at one of his Birchmere concerts in September 2001 and it was a treat hearing him do this live.

If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life?
Playing a lot of golf, living on a beach someplace, traveling to various places Weena and I are dreaming about and spending a lot more time with Benjamin.

Money is just that - an object, so why aren’t you doing it?
I haven’t picked the right combo in Powerball?

What’s better: horses or cows?
Cow as Benjamin can imitate a cow’s mooing when he sees one in his book of animals. It’s really funny hearing him mooooo.

What do you think the secret to happiness is?
Saying I love you to your wife and child as many times as you can.

When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit?
I had a dream I was with my late friend Gema and we were walking together. I was telling her all about Weena and Benjamin and she said "I know, I know". She was telling me how impressed with Benjamin she was and how she liked my family and wished me luck raising Benjamin. Everything became fuzzy and I remember screaming in the dream “don’t go” and I woke up. I told Weena this and she said it was Gema’s soul checking in on me. Once in awhile I have a dream about her. She was killed in a car accident in Madrid, Spain in 1999.

When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Washington Senators slugger Frank Howard. It was a dream come true when I met him in 1991 and shook his hand.

Complete this statement: Love is… oxygen. You get too much you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die. The Sweet, 1978

Can you tell a good story?
Sometimes, but I have a tendency to repeat things during the story. That kills the interest at times. I do a pretty good job telling my story at AA meetings because I know deep down I am reaching someone in the audience with my tale(s). I can feel the connection when I am speaking.

Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about?
Picking up Benjamin at day care. I take time out each day and wonder what he is doing, is he happy, what is he learning?

If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank?
My wife Weena for saying yes on July 1, 2001. My son Benjamin for handing me a random toy. We are trying to teach sharing with him.

I don't know who to tag so for those checking in, if you wish, please leave whatever thoughts or your own eight songs you are listening to in the Comments section. Thanks!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Barrage of Benjamin Pics!

Benjamin is seventeen months old today. He's been progressing well at his day care and we are proud of that. He's also had a couple illnesses which have slowed him down (this whole household has as well) but he's bounced back nicely from them. So for all the family, friends and various readers of this blog, here's what our little guy was up to this morning and afternoon. He's now sacked out asleep (and snoring) as I type this.

Let's go play some golf!

Listening to The Beatles "Twist and Shout"

Pics after church, what an awesome day!

Terps Spring football game is Saturday, April 28th at 3:00.
I'm calling Grandpa!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Baseball Cards

While I was doing some errands at the grocery store I decided to pick up some packs of baseball cards for Benjamin. I remember the thrill I got as a kid when Dad or Mom would bring home baseball cards and I'd get a Frank Howard or any Washington Senator in the packs. Benjamin is seventeen months old on Sunday and it's a safe bet he has no idea who Man Ram or Ryan Howard is. But I want him to look at the pictures and colors. Since we got these, he can say "ball" and point to the baseball and he can also say "bat" and point to it. We're progressing along with sports, he recognizes a basketball when I flip on the NCAA hoops tourney.

One card I got was this below (click it to increase the size). It's Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Look at the card and notice who is standing to the right of Jeter. The Commander in Chief, President Bush. In the dugout waiting with bat in hand is Mickey Mantle. I was wondering what was up with this when my friend Dave gave me the following link. It was a gag by Topps. I wonder how much it would be worth should President Bush and Jeter were to autograph it? Since I have no access to either of these two, I'll just file it in Benjamin's collectable's vault as these are being sold on Amazon and eBay for $20-$50.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thank You Terrapins!

With less than a minute remaining and the Terrapins down by two, Maryland's D.J. Strawberry collides with Butler's Brandon Crone on this play and is called for charging.

Butler 62, Maryland 59

A few hours to think about the Terps elimination from the NCAA tournament.....Here goes.

Thanks to the seniors on this team D.J. Strawberry, Mike Jones, Ibekwe and Will Bowers. The last six weeks of their careers they managed to get everything together and won seven straight games to secure an NCAA tournament berth.

Go back a couple of years during which Coach Gary Williams program was floundering (back to back NIT appearances) and it was nice to see this team and these senior's finally get on a roll and put the program back on track. They were playing unselfishly, making passes, playing defense, etc. It a drag that the season ended today. I wanted to see these guys one more game and watch them go up against defending National Champion Florida....

However, Terps fans need to be proud of their team's efforts. Look at some of the little things we saw that we didn't see the past couple seasons: DJ's improved drive and pull up shots, Ekene's defensive presence, MJ's ability to get free and scare the heck out of any team because he was deadly from anywhere, anytime, everyone's newfound teamwork and passing etc. They gave us one hell of a run during that time. Gary did a fantastic job rallying them from 2-6 in the conference to go 10-6. They swept Duke and beat the Tar Heels. Awesome stuff. Their season was similar to the Maryland football team this past season. The football Terps got off to a crummy start where everyone questions them and yet they rallied to finish up with nine wins, including a bowl victory.

I just wished the basketball team began this run in January. I feel that with even a few more weeks of learning and improvement, this team would have been capable of so much more. But the fact that they turned a 2-6 ACC season into a 10-6 ACC season and two NCAA games gave us all some wonderful, unforgettable Terp moments.

Time to rally behind the Lady Terps as they begin their defense of their National Championship and just six more weeks until the Spring football game.....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Tough Week

This past Monday night Benjamin developed a low grade fever and we kept him out of day care on Tuesday. Later that night, his temperature went up to 105 so we went to the emergency room. During the wait there, his temperature was taken by a nurse and it dropped to 103.5

What was positive was he was not lethargic, he drank his water and bottle of milk and he was going to the bathroom on a regular basis. We finally saw a doctor and she ruled out an ear infection but she ordered blood to be drawn and a chest x-ray.

It was tough seeing him get poked for the blood draw, but the little guy was a trooper. He cried a bit during the procedure but stopped once he saw the Snoopy band aid he got. When we got the x-ray results, Benjamin has a little bit of pneumonia in his lungs and we were given antibiotics. We were told to keep him out of day care for the rest of the week and we left the hospital at 3:30 AM. His temperature had dropped to 100 after we got him home and he slept right away.

Wednesday and Thursday his temperature went up and down, between 99-101 but he was his usual playful self. Friday and Saturday were good days too, his temperature was normal and his cough is improving. He'll be able to get back to his 'mates at day care on Monday.

Looking back, Weena was her usual calm self and I guess I'm calming down a bit too. When I was a rookie Dad, I would freak out at the smallest thing that happened. Tuesday evening when we took him to the emergency room, I was as calm as I could be considering this was the first time Benjamin needed emergency room treatment.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Haircut Time!

Benjamin's hair was growing out of control and since he hasn't had a haircut since last December, we decided to take him to the local chop shop for his third haircut. He's pretty good when it comes to this, he doesn't squirm or cry. Now you can actually see more of his face and ears. (Click on the image to get a larger shot)

Let's go outside!

Spring is almost here!

Watching the NCAA selection show-Go Terps!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Welcome Back Joseph!

We were in the kitchen feeding Benjamin with the news on. A report about Navy service men and women arriving at BWI airport from Kuwait came on and Weena and her Mom scream "There's Joseph!" as he was receiving a hug from someone greeting them. Joseph is Weena's brother and he's been in Kuwait with the Navy Radiology Unit since last July. We thought he might be coming home the last week of March. Unreal surprise and we just got off the phone with him. Joseph is reunited with his wife and son and my Mother in Law is in tears. Pretty cool moment at Casa Benjamin.

Welcome Home Joseph! Our Prayers were answered and thank you!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Benjamin's Day Care Report

Benjamin enters into his ninth month at his day care center. Every month he gets a growth report from his teachers. Here is a summary of his latest with a couple comments from me:

Language and Literacy-He can say hi, bye-bye, more, baby, ball consistently. He understands simple phrases and he likes to blow kisses to his family and friends. He loves picking up books and having adults read to him while he picks out familiar animals, shapes and colors.

Wellness-He can walk well, he eats food by himself. He likes to dance and clap his hands when we are singing. He assists in toy pick up. He smiles and laughs a lot.

The World and Me-He recognizes himself in the mirror, he likes to participate in finger plays and songs. He gets along well with his playmates but can get upset sometimes if a toy or other object is taken away. He remembers things and routines easy.

A lot of their activities in the infant classroom involve flash cards and reading. Playing with certain musical instruments, listening and singing to the classics like "Old McDonald", "Row Row, Row Your Boat" and "ABC's".

He's brought home some classic pictures he's crayoned and he's made some pretty neat paper cards for us. One thing I like to do when I pick him up is have the two of us mingle with his playmates before we leave. It teaches him social skills and he will say bye bye and wave to them.

He's learned how to high five us and he can shake hands. I've got him trying to kick a mini soccer ball in the basement. We got into a little game of pass back with our feet and I was amazed at how he understood this and completed the passes. Sure, a few were off target and he fell on his rear end a couple times but he understood what to do. Also, it looks like he's turning into a left handed thrower just like his Dad.

He loves his Sesame Street time, especially Elmo and last night while watching D.C. United and Olympia play before his bed time, he screamed out "ball!" as he saw players dribbling the soccer ball in the game. Both Weena and I are very pleased with his development. We still need to encourage sharing with others but many parents have told me this takes some time to learn.

We had some time to color today and we pitched in to help Benjamin with this.