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Showing posts from May, 2014

What I'm reading

I have 3 pretty amazing book recommendations home from the library right now. (Don't forget I only read non-fiction.)

The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge by Werner Otto Muller-Hill. Introduction by Benjamin Carter Hett. Written between 1944-1945, this is a rare look inside Nazi Germany from a Hitler-hating German Wehrmacht judge who keeps a diary of his daily experiences.

Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos. Warning--extreme sex and drugs here. But also intellectual, contemplative, emotionally mature, and thoughtful. Melissa is a financially struggling NYC student who takes a job working as a professional dominatrix, she spirals into heroin use, battles inner demons, and comes out with an MFA teaching writing workshops and being an author.

Cycling Science: How rider and machine work together by Max Glaskin. I fell in love with this book while browsing the bookstore at my old science museum and had to go to great lengths to borrow it via interlibrary loan. It…

Our coffeehouse is divorcing us

Most of you know that I roast my own coffee.

But I don't always get around to the 30 minutes it takes me in the basement to roast and cool a half pound of beans. And The Mama drinks fluffy espresso double-shot caramel drinks that require a barista. So we've carefully selected our coffeehouse from probably a dozen or so choices within our zip code. Ranging from local indie to national chain. We were at a local, independent place for a long time before getting fed up with some changes. It was farther away. So we switched to a Caribou up the street that is about a half a mile from our front door.

We've gotten along well. They know our order when we walk in the door--sometimes we feel bad not ordering our usual when they've already started it. They know our kids. We know them. They write obscene things on the disposable lids of our cups. It's good coffee, too.

Our store was one that survived the first round of Chicago-area Caribou closings. Our store was one of the luc…

Marathon non-training

I probably should be blogging today about the amazing Memorial Day weekend we had as a family. Playground with friends, bike ride, first Farmer's Market of the summer, grilling steaks, playdate at the zoo with one of my son's classmates, trip to the nature center where we saw a fox, coyote, owl, hawk, drinks on the patio with neighbors. How the bunnies are sneaking into our side yard and eating my lettuce. 4 gorgeous days of sunshine.

Or maybe I should be talking, instead, about being alone with the kids next week again. Or our trip to Minnesota we're excited about (50 mile bike ride and my first Twins game). But I don't feel like posting about any of it today.


Today is about running. Which I've been doing very little of lately--I've been entirely bike focused. But--oddly...wrongly?--I'm fairly confident in my usual methods and preparation. Or, at least, I know what works for me so I'm not scrambling around searching for a training plan. In a month…

Back from the land of poisonous nuts

For those who aren't a native Buckeye like me...Ohio's nickname comes from the tree species Aesculus glabra--the Ohio/American Buckeye. A spring-flowering tree that produces spiked capsules with poisonous nuts on the inside. They resemble the eye of a buck deer. In my homeland, we dry them out, string them in necklaces, and wear them to large gatherings of people...usually while wearing scarlet. 

The Mama had some business in my birth state so the kids and I joined her for a few days of dual-purpose travel. We had a great time though I can't speak to the work-related aspects of it for her. We went to the zoo and saw a baby gorilla, the kids played with my old toys in ways I never would have, and they got plenty of time to see Grandma. My dad was on a business trip of his own, but we at least got a brief evening with my sister and her mom. 

The kids have new obsessions to be curious about...the wind farm we drive through along I-65, my mother's Swiss cuckoo clock, baby pe…

RxP is common sense for IL

The pushback against psychologists prescribing medications in IL has genuinely surprised me. There was the psychiatrist on Chicago Tonight the other night. A steady stream of very vocal psychologists complaining about "patient safety" in various news outlets. Enough that sponsor of SB2187, Senator Don Harmon, published a response in our local paper.  And members of the general public complaining about a variety of perceived wrongs, dangers, what have you. (Disclosure--I have a degree in psychology but long ago distanced myself from the field for a variety of reasons.)

For those of you unfamiliar with the topic (RxP), the idea is that licensed clinical psychologists should be able to get extra training and pass an exam to prescribe "psychoactive and ancillary medications." We're not the first state to try this...New Mexico and Louisiana already have it. The US Military has it...without a single malpractice case in 20 years. 

To most in the psychology community, t…

Bonkers for books

When my kids were first born--my son especially--I tried to keep a pretty detailed record of everything we were reading. That flew out the window over time. But they're both bonkers for books. My daughter even asked to turn off a movie and read one together this morning. We read 1 book before nap. 3 books before bedtime. And a stack of others throughout the day if the mood strikes. They're piled on shelves, they're lined up on the floor against almost an entire wall of the dining room/playroom. They sometimes accompany them IN the bed while falling asleep.

So I'm going to try to periodically mention a few books that really stand out. In some cases--like today--it may be a whole collection of one author or illustrator's books.

That's the case with Kate & Jim McMullan...they have a whole series of books revolving around work vehicles (and dinosaurs). I Stink is about a garbage truck. I'm Fast about a train. I'm Mighty about a tugboat. And so on. Each …

Happy Newfangled Milestones!

I'm not really one of those bloggers who celebrates each new Twitter follower with a cake. Pretty much the same way you'll get a polite "good morning" or head nod from me if we pass each other on the sidewalk while running or on the bike path.

But I felt like saying a few words this time.

I'm a small blog. Some of these operations get 100k pageviews a month. But I'm new content driven, work by myself, have no advertising, and don't promote myself heavily. So I consider my impending milestone of 25,000 readers to be a major achievement. I average, currently, about 1,200 hits per month.

Oh, did I mention this summer will mark the 3rd Anniversary of Newfangled Dad? Roughly 500 posts in those 3 years. When I started this little blog in 2011, I had no idea what to write or even who would read it. At that point, I had a barely year old son. No daughter. I was still working. Now, I have readers in 10 different countries.

You read me on your phone. You, apparentl…

Lyric Opera "Sound of Music" review

Last night we had the pleasure of using 4 tickets I won via a giveaway from Chicago Parent magazine. They were--ostensibly--a "family 4 pack" though with a 2 year old and 3 year old, we opted to leave the kids at home with a babysitter instead. (She had them both asleep in bed when we arrived home!) We ended up taking an old college friend of mine and her husband...they have a 9 month old little boy at home. So it was an exciting occasion to double date parents-night-out.

The stage version of Sound of Music definitely has those not-up-to-par, unfamiliar songs that leave the audience scratching their heads. Though as an old theatre geek, my comment is that there's a good reason they were left out of the screen version. And a few are mixed up. Maria uses the goat herding song to calm the kids down during the storm. And the familiar, beloved "My Favorite Things" is actually sung by Maria to the head of the nuns. In remembering the childhood song, it ends up as a d…

Bike Handling Clinic

Saturday started off chilly but warmed to the point where riders would be stripping off jackets and long sleeve jerseys. It was a great day for biking judging by the number of cyclists who were out. I was up early for a clinic with the tri club on braking, shifting, and bike handling. 
Drove to the bike shop, found a place to park on one of the neighborhood side streets, and ended up being one of the first ones to arrive. Some of us biked over and one woman from down the street in my suburb even took 2 buses. Triathlon bikes, road bikes, a cruiser...many of them with low miles from being so new...the clinic was aimed at newbies and is a part of my club's series of events geared towards those new to the sport with zero to maybe a few races under their belts. It was great to meet a couple of the shop's regular riders who were not-so-secretly hoping we were there for them. 
The indoor part of the morning was interesting in that Adam, from the bike shop, explicitly wanted to cover…