Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dude of the Week: The Hooded Queen

I've never understood why Great Britain still has a royal family. No one really knows what they do all day, yet people revere them and they are very rich. I guess they are sort of like the British version of the Kardashians.

Though the monarchy is pretty much a waste, I found a picture online that immediately gave me my Dude of the Week idea. Queen Elizabeth II, who is 86 years old, was spotted cruising the streets in her Range Rover while wearing a hoodie this week. If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was probably coming from a collaboration with Kanye West.  Either way, she is pretty hardcore. Especially after parachuting into the stadium during the Olympics. Given this recent streak of behavior, Queen Elizabeth II is my Dude of the Week.

No word on if she was sipping on Gin & juice. 

If you would like to nominate a Dude that you think would make a good 

Dude of the Week please email me

Remember, it doesn't have to be a man or even a person & 
could be a graphic, sign or other Dudely interpretation.   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Suspenders

Cool shirt, right? 
Who's Larry King?

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Evil Child

At the recent birthday party of one of the Little Dude’s friends, I learned that some kids are just pure evil. And I didn’t know how to handle it.

Like the majority of parties we’ve gone to over the last few years this one was at an “indoor play place”. If you are a parent of young kids, you probably know the type: a very brightly fluorescent lit room filled with primary colors and runny-nosed kids. And some toys.  

Some kids are better sharers than others. My Little Dude happens to be an excellent sharer and I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid. In the interest of full disclosure, my son is a Thomas the Train addict and every time he goes to a place with a train table, he usually spends the majority of his time there. He likes to carry the trains around as he checks out the table, sometimes six or eight trains at a time.  But whenever another kid comes to play, he shares what he’s holding.

At this particular party, after the requisite cheese pizza and sheet-cake, the kids had free play time. The Little Dude spotted a Razor-type scooter and was enamored by it, despite never having been on one before. I watched him as he watched some of the older kids riding and knew he wanted to try it out.

He followed one boy who rode the scooter to the back of the playroom. The boy stepped off the scooter and laid it on the ground nearby as he went to play air hockey with another kid. Clearly he was moving on to something else, as kids tend to do frequently at places like this that offer myriad opportunities for play.  The Little Dude spotted the scooter on the ground from about 25 feet away and eagerly started running toward it. As he was getting close, the other boy noticed him, turned around and stuck his leg out. My Little Dude crashed to the carpet.

The boy, who was at least double my son’s age, looked proud of himself. “Ha, I tricked that little kid”, his face screamed. Until he noticed me watching.  I ran to my son, who was shaken up and confused. Probably more shocked by his fall than anything, he was clearly upset.  At 2 ½ he was too young to verbalize what he was thinking, but the sadness on his face which had radiated pure excitement 20 seconds earlier was heartbreaking.

I turned to the boy and asked him why he did that. He had no response. After a few carefully chosen words from me, which he shrugged off, he turned back to his air hockey game. We took the scooter and headed in the other direction. I was baffled. I’d seen kids play rough before, but never so blatantly toward my kid.

The tricky part of the situation was that I know Evil Boy’s parents. Not well at all, but extremely casually.  I don’t know them well enough to know whether this was his usual behavior or an isolated incident. I looked around and saw the parents on the other side of the room, not watching what any of their kids were doing.  I made sure my son was OK and as expected, within a couple minutes he lost interest in the scooter and headed back to see Thomas, Percy and company. He was over the incident. I was not.

I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to say something to the obviously inattentive parents.  I didn’t want to cause a scene at someone else’s party, but the reality was, their kid acted like an A-hole. They needed to know. 

I debated various ways of broaching the subject with the parents. A few times I saw Evil Boy cross my path. Each time, I gave him a very stern look. And each time, I saw a nervous look on his face before he took off in the opposite direction.  If the kid and his family were strangers, it might have been easier. But they weren’t.

For half an hour, my mind raced. Would my confronting the parents lead to further confrontation? I knew that I didn’t want to cause a problem, but I was unhappy and they needed to know so that other kids wouldn’t fall victim to their son the bully.

As I debated internally, I watched my son playing with the trains. He had a chain of 3 going up and down bridges along the tracks & smiled each time they cruised down the hill. If he was already over it, maybe I should be too. I decided to not tell the parents.  Hopefully karma will someday.

What would you have done if you were in my position?

I'm hanging with the Yeah Write crew again this week.
Come check out some great writers and vote for your favorites on Thursday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Sweet Caroline

This week’s Rockin’ Friday tune comes from someone who is both much-loved and much-maligned. Neil Diamond is often criticized for his soft rock stylings, but the truth is he wrote some of the best rock songs of the 1960s and ‘70s, for himself and other singers as well, like The Monkees I’m A Believer.  He was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, so I’d say he qualifies as a rocker.

Mrs. Dude and I were lucky enough to see Neil in concert last week. I didn’t really know what to expect before we got there. Other than a ton of sequins, that is. We were the youngest people at the show by at least a decade. But that didn’t matter when he started singing the classics. Everyone was up and dancing. Even those who needed portable oxygen tanks.

The highlight of the show was the extended version of Sweet Caroline.  Neil knows how to work a crowd and he made this tune go on for 3 extra reprises. Whatever the case, it’s a great song. Just ask any Boston Red Sox fan.  Or Caroline Kennedy, who the song was written about.

What's your favorite Neil Diamond song?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Up in the Air

One of my favorite bloggers and also a good friend, You Know It Happens At Your House, Too, kindly asked me to write a guest post for her short series featuring Dad Bloggers this month & here it is. Thanks, Tara!  
You should follow her on Facebook and Twitter, too. Especially if you like pictures of Johnny Depp. 

Before I was married, I used to travel a lot for business. Connecting flights to random airports were the norm for me. If I was lucky I got upgraded to First Class. If not, I usually tried to sit in the quiet part of the plane, i.e. away from the parents traveling with little kids.

It’s not that I didn’t like kids, it’s just that I was invariably seated next to a mother traveling with screaming triplets and no other adults to help. I really think it must have been a similar experience that inspired the invention of noise-cancelling headphones.

Yes, I had no sympathy. I just wanted quiet so I could read in peace watch my DVDs of Anchorman or Old School for the 64th time.  Do you know anyone who likes being kicked in the back for 3 straight hours?  I walked off of many flights feeling like a soccer ball after the World Cup.

That all changed when I became a parent and started flying with the Little Dude. He was 7 months old and it was our first trip as a family of 3. We’d pre-boarded our aisle and middle seats in the bulkhead of the plane. A few minutes later, a woman approached and noticed us. The look of disgust on her face resembled Morgan Spurlock’s after he ate at McDonalds every day for a month.  I watched her complain to the flight attendant before ultimately taking her seat. Let’s just say that my kid is so charming that within 30 minutes of departure she wanted to hold him.  It wasn’t lost on me that the way I’d long felt about kids on planes was being forced to evolve now that I was on the other side of the equation.

Traveling solo, I was thrilled to board a recent flight before most of the cabin. I staked out my carryon space in the overhead compartment and watched the huddled masses squeeze down the aisle, silently guessing who I would get stuck with. As I was getting settled in my aisle seat, I saw a woman with a screaming newborn baby headed in my direction.  I cringed and empathized concurrently.

They slowed down and sat across the aisle from me. I thought to myself that it was going to be a long 90 minutes. But then my parental instinct kicked in and told me to chill. I watched as they got settled and the baby calmed down a little.  It’s not a stretch to say I’ve mellowed over the last 2 ½ years.  But I felt much more at ease than I anticipated given the situation was compounded by my lack of sleep and change of time zones. As I was trying to get comfortable, a man claimed the window seat to my right and I stood up to let him pass.

I sat back down and was checking email on my iPhone when I heard someone say “excuse me, sir”. I looked up to see a woman with a boy who was probably 7 or 8 years old. “That’s his seat.”

Caught off guard, I stood up and let the boy pass. He had an Elmo backpack slung over his shoulders and was clutching a teddy bear tightly. He sat nervously between me and the window-seat man.

I looked around, expecting his mother to be headed off the plane after having dropped him off. Maybe to see his grandparents or his father, I wondered to myself.  Instead, she was headed 4 rows behind me to her own middle seat.

It was my turn in a heated game of Words with Friends, but I was suddenly distracted despite an available Triple Word space.  I started to feel badly for the young boy stuck alone between two strangers.  It wasn’t that long of a flight and he had things to occupy him, but I wondered how he was feeling. Was he scared? Should I say something to put him at ease? And it made me wonder how I would feel if my own young son was in his position.

I looked to my left and suddenly that baby didn’t seem to be crying so loud anymore.

I stood up and turned around. I spotted the boy’s mother and asked her if she wanted to switch seats.  With a look of joy and a tear in her eye, she happily said yes.

So I grabbed my things, headed down the aisle and crammed into a middle seat for 90 minutes. It was totally worth it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: White Hat

I'll be right back to take your order,
First I must rehydrate.

How would you caption this pic?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Crib Fairy

The Crib Fairy stopped by my house last week and left a trail of uncertainty behind on her way out.

At the suggestion of the Little Dude’s pediatrician, Mrs. Dude and I decided to remove the crib from our 2 ½ year old’s room and move him into a “Big Boy Bed” in advance of his brother’s arrival. The doctor said that we should remove the crib and put it somewhere out of sight so that when our new arrival starts using it in a few months, there won’t be jealousy or resentment from the previous tenant.  

The crib
Tinkering with the sleep habits of any kid is not easy. Tinkering with the sleep habits of a Rip van Winkle prodigy like my Little Dude had the potential for great disaster written all over it. But we had to do it with the longview in mind.  Bringing a new baby into the house is going to be an adjustment for all of us. As parents, I trust that we’ll handle the transition better than our happy toddler who is used to being the center of attention. Or at least I hope so.

My wife started prepping him weeks in advance with news of the Crib Fairy’s impending arrival.  As the story went, the Crib Fairy was going to come and remove the Little Dude’s crib, leaving a Big Boy Bed behind for him to sleep in. On top of that coup, CF was also going to leave a present. Seemed like a Michael Scott-style win/win/win for everyone involved.

As part of the preparation Mrs. Dude took the Little Dude to Target and let him pick out some new bedding. As a Cars aficionado, he settled on a nice Lightning McQueen set after his first choice --pink -- was thankfully vetoed.  

On transition day, the new bed was brought in and Mrs. Dude was tasked with disassembling the crib. Why was literal and figurative heavy lifting imposed on my 7 months pregnant wife? Because she put it together originally and knew how it all fit. I had a more difficult task that night anyway: occupying an antsy 2 ½ year old who was unaware of what was happening behind the scenes. I figured the best thing to do would be to make him more tired so that he might sleep better in his new environment. So after dinner we went on a walk around our neighborhood while my wife went to work. I didn’t think the disassembling would take very long, so when I texted her after 45 minutes and found out she wasn’t even close to finished I knew it was going to be a long night for us. Hopefully not for multiple reasons.  

We headed back to the homestead and I left the Little Dude with his favorite babysitter: Elmo and a sippy cup of milk, while I headed upstairs to check out the situation. Crib pieces were everywhere, making his bedroom resemble a war-torn minefield.  I stealthily started bringing crib pieces downstairs, not wanting my cover as half of the Crib Fairy to be blown.
The Big Boy Bed, just before the grand unveiling.
Finally it was time for the grand unveiling.  As our sleepy Little Dude headed upstairs, we told him that he was in for a big surprise. He ran into his room and saw a giant void where his crib had always been. Then he realized that the Crib Fairy had stopped by and he asked where his present was. On top of the Big Boy Bed was a Great Dane-size image of Lightning McQueen on the new comforter and on top of that was a gift bag.
He ripped into the gift bag as only a toddler can, finding a slew of Hot Wheels cars inside. He started pulling them out one by one and eagerly examining each exotic new vehicle. He was clearly not thinking about the imminent transition. Could it really be that easy?  

Checking out the new presents.
We proceeded with his usual bedtime routine of bath, tooth brushing and story time until the moment of truth was upon us. We dimmed the lights as he wiggled under his shiny new covers, slowly exploring the much more expansive sleep space than he was used to. As he clutched his Hot Wheels tight we tucked him in, turned out the lights and let out a collective deep breath of relief.  Just before he said “I wanna sleep in Mama & Dada’s bed”.

Damn Crib Fairy.
A moment before he realized this was for real. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And the Winner is...

If you’ve kept up with my $50 IHOP gift certificate contest, you know that the response was tremendous. Do people still call them gift certificates anymore? I mean, I know no one really uses those long paper certificates like the old days, but I still think of them that way. Even though they are usually just very colorful credit cards these days.
Speaking of gift certificates, I was at the dentist recently and they had a sign on the front counter advertising that they sell gift certificates. For dental work. If anyone actually took them up on their offer and bought one to give someone else, that might be one of the worst “gifts” ever given.

Apparently there are a lot of people who want free pancakes. And I’m thankful for each and every one of you who took the time to enter. Though I know you only did it for the potentially free Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity I might bestow upon you and your loved ones.  Hopefully you’ll stick around my blog and become a regular. Speaking of being regular, you should definitely try IHOP’s brand new Whole Wheat pancakes.

So while I’d planned on dragging this out for a while, I think I’ve gone far enough. Thanks to some random generator I found online, the winner of the $50 IHOP gift certificate (OK, card) is Zannah Brown. Despite the fact that she didn’t leave a handy email address on my site.

Zannah, the clock is ticking. Drop me an email to claim your prize.  

If you snooze, you lose and another winner will be picked. So hurry up, Zannah!

Thanks to the kind IHOP crew for letting me sample their new items and for sponsoring this contest.
They gave me free pancakes, but I also like cash, for future reference. 
All opinions expressed during this giveaway were mine. 
Even if they were written while in a maple syrup induced  haze. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Elvis

This week marks 35 years since the death of The King of Rock and Roll: Elvis Presley. Known as one of the pioneers of American rock music, it is only fitting to feature him this week for Rockin’ Friday.

Elvis was considered rebellious for shaking his hips on national TV in the 1950s. If anyone who was offended by that was alive today they would probably have a heart attack the moment they turned on their TVs.  If they could even figure out how to turn a modern TV on, that is.

He was not afraid to take chances and was truly a trailblazer in the world of music.  Though usually thought of as one of the first rock stars, Elvis was also known for his Country, Blues and Gospel music.

This week’s Rockin’ Friday tune of the week is my favorite Elvis song. Though he had dozens of hits and well known songs, Suspicious Minds was both his 17th and his last #1 song.

A great song about a totally dysfunctional relationship, Suspicious Minds has a very unusual rhythm and tempo and features the King’s excellent horn section.

It was a true loss for when Elvis passed at the age of 42 on August 16, 1977.

What is your favorite Elvis song?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Finger Crayons

Check these bad boys out! 
Hey, why do you keep calling me Edward?

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to the Future

As the weeks keep rolling toward the arrival of our second child, I can’t help wonder what the future holds as our family of three grows into four.  I’ve read articles, talked to people whose parenting styles I respect and speculated endlessly but still have no clue how #2 will turn out.  And how his almost-3-year-old brother will handle his arrival.

I don’t sleep as well as I used to and frequently when I wake up in the middle of the night I look to the glowing beacon beside me for comfort. (You might refer to said beacon as my iPhone.) A few weeks ago, on a night that my bladder cursed me for drinking tea before bed, I found myself awake at 3:52am. As I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep, the antidote to my uncertainty suddenly appeared in a form I never expected. An email from LivingSocial. 
The subject nonchalantly said “1-hour Psychic Reading” and when I opened the message to find a price of $13 at a place very close by, I knew it had to be the answer.  So I bought it right then, for I didn’t want to miss out on this rare opportunity that must have come direct from the online coupon gods to assuage me.

Weeks went by and I was still stressed out. What seemed like a great idea when I bought it now made me nervous to actually redeem. The whole thing seemed kind of spooky, actually. But if she was a psychic surely she had greater insight into the workings of the future or my brain or something. When I got an email reminder to use it or lose it, I called to make an appointment. As you might expect, the recording told me to go to the psychic’s website and book my appointment there.  

With precious few slots open, I grabbed one and eagerly waited for all of life’s mysteries to be revealed to me. On the day of the appointment, I left my office at a quarter til 5:00, knowing that it would only take 10 minutes to get there for my spot at the top of the hour.  When I pulled into the strip mall parking lot, I realized that I’d driven by this place a million times. How had I never noticed the psychic nook in the corner? Probably because I was focused on the pizza place in the middle.

I nervously entered the bungalow at the end of the parking lot. I looked at the woman. She looked at me. My heart was racing. Then she asked me a question that put everything into perspective.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Ummm, wasn’t she supposed to be psychic? How could I trust her to tell me about the future when she didn’t even know why I was there?  I reluctantly sat in the chair opposite her.

She looked at me and asked what I wanted to know about. Strike 2.  I assumed this was her wheelhouse, but she had to ask?  While I contemplated asking her to predict the World Series champion, instead I suggested discussing my career.  While staring through me, she gave a few vague comments that pretty much anyone off the street could have. If my career was currently headed toward a Zuckerberg-esque ascent, I probably wouldn’t be there.  She told me that things weren’t great for me now, but would improve if I was patient and assertive.  Was she a psychic or a high school guidance counselor?

She looked to a shelf beside her and pulled out a Ziploc sandwich bag filled with green crystals. On it was a white address-label sticker with the word “career” written on it. She told me to take a hot bath two nights in a row and use half the bag in it each night. She also mentioned that she normally charged people $50 for these crystals, but wouldn’t charge me.  I’m not a psychic or anything, but something about that sounded fishy. And when I say something, I mean everything.

I noticed that approximately every 30 seconds during our session, she would break her stare and gaze downward reflectively. Perhaps that is where her true insight into my chakras came from. Like how Fernando Valenzuela used to look to the sky while pitching, instead of at the hitter or catcher.  
While she spoke, I noticed she was holding something orange in her hand and twirling it within her palm.  I assumed that it must be some sort of magic trinket. My eyes bounced around the room to see if I could figure out what it was. I saw shrines with stones and statues like I’d never seen before. I saw jars of crystals and bottles of elixirs.  Then in the corner I saw a flat-screen TV with an XBOX below it. Perhaps part of her inspiration came from playing Grand Theft Auto.

She asked me what else I wanted to know and I was at a loss. So many things I’d worried about late at night and my mind was suddenly blank. I should have written them down in advance.  It’s not like I’m psychic and expected to forget.

I asked if Mrs. Dude’s pregnancy would be OK and was assured it would. I asked if the Little Dude should go to school this year and she replied “of course!” Though both of those responses really seemed more of a Jewish grandmother-type than psychic, from what I know.

Finally, at 22 past the hour, she thanked me for coming and wished me well. I told her that I thought it was an hour long session and she said it was. She also said that I’d arrived at a quarter-til, which was obviously not accurate as that’s when I left my office.  I assumed that space and time were part of the quantum nature of her art (science?), but she couldn’t even calculate an hour correctly.

As I stood to leave, not too thrilled by the future that had been predicted, I saw the object of her frequent downward gaze. A freakin’ Blackberry. Not only could she not communicate through space and time, she needed 4G to talk to her friends. And that shiny orange object in her hand: a clear plastic lighter like you’ve seen for sale on every gas station counter ever.   
So her secret helpers were not mystical beings or spirits, but rather butane and Verizon.  Not quite as mysterious as I’d hoped for.

As I drove away, I still wondered what the future held for my family. And was now $13 poorer for having tried to find out in advance.

 Have you ever had an experience with a Psychic? What was it like?

read to be read at

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dude of the Week: Alex Morgan

By now you know that I'm not an Olympics fan. But I did see something a couple days ago that really impressed me, and inspired my choice for this week's Dude of the Week.

Soccer isn't my favorite sport, actually I think it's boring. But I saw the last 10 minutes of the USA vs. Canada women's soccer game and was blown away by the game-winning header with 30 seconds remaining in extra-time by Alex Morgan. Apparently she hadn't been living up to her reputation so far in the tournament.
Uh, I'd say that goal changed everything.

And to top Alex's Gold medal, she is also the Dude of the Week.

If you would like to nominate a Dude that you think would make a good 

Dude of the Week please email me
Remember, it doesn't have to be a man or even a person & 
could be a graphic, sign or other Dudely interpretation.   

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why I Hate the Olympics

Tired of the Olympics? Me too!
Check out my post “Why I Hate the Olympics” over at my vacation home Draft Day Suit.

Do you love or hate the Olympics? What’s your favorite or least favorite Olympic sport? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Leaves

Hey mister,
Wanna buy a leaf?

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Whole Wheat, Sweet!

Old habits die hard. Or as we say around my house, picky eaters are those residents currently under the age of 3.  You know by now, the Little Dude takes pickiness to a new level. His eating habits have gotten better in some ways, like just yesterday he ate a grape tomato at our local farmers’ market, but in many other ways there is no progress either forward or backward.  He still won’t touch a piece of pizza, which is both frustrating and ironic since my blood type is practically Marinara.

The one genre of food that he will eat pretty much any time (beside candy) is breakfast. I’ve told you several times about his affinity for IHOP, or as I sometimes refer to it, TORWMKWESFTM (The Only Restaurant Where My Kid Will Eat Something From The Menu). Not quite as catchy of an acronym, so we’ll refer to it as IHOP here.

The kind bubble-lettered people at IHOP asked me if I wanted to check out some new items on their menu, which presented an interesting conundrum. I know that the Little Dude likes IHOP’s Baby Cakes (aka silver dollar pancakes), but as a creature of habit would he try something new there? I took their offer as a challenge, and also as the opportunity for a free meal.

Since I’m a high roller, I invited the pregnant Mrs. Dude to join us at IHOP for our big night out. With our IHOP outings usually reserved for Dudes’ Days, this was a rare treat for her. Or at least that’s how I pitched it so that she’d attend.

We went for Breakfast for Dinner on a recent weeknight and immediately noticed the giant glossy pictures of the new Red Velvet, Sweet Strawberry & Whole Wheat Pancakes all over the restaurant.  As Mrs. Dude has a chocolate allergy, we nixed Red Velvet and ordered the other two new flavors. And just to be safe we ordered the Little Dude some of his beloved Baby Cakes. Oh, and some of the amazing looking Cinn-a-Stack pancakes, too, to balance out the looming healthiness of the Whole Wheat.

When everything arrived, our table looked like Dr. Atkins’ worst nightmare. Luckily I’m a professional carbaholic, so I could handle it. I decided to see if the Little Dude would eat the Whole Wheat pancakes. I cut a few bites and poured the brown maple syrup he likes on top. When he bit in, he knew something was a little different, but he went with it anyway. For about 4 bites. Then he decided he’d been adventurous enough for one night and I agreed so he went back to the Baby Cakes.  He tried them and didn’t spit out the first bite. That’s a win in my book.


 The advertised Whole Wheat pancakes (above) looked pretty close to the picture of the real product (below). 

Mrs. Dude and I shared the Whole Wheat, Sweet Strawberry and Cinn-A-Stack pancakes for a more objective take. The Whole Wheat was a bit grainier than IHOP’s standard pancakes, but that’s what whole wheat normally is. They weren’t bad and if you are going to eat healthier, there are definitely a lot worse options. They place banana slices on top of these pancakes which add a little moistness and also make them slightly resemble a crop circle.

When we’d ordered, I asked the waitress what the difference was between the new Sweet Strawberry pancakes and the regular Strawberry pancakes was. She told me “nothing”. That wasn’t quite accurate, however, as the new ones have a cream cheese glaze drizzled across the top. Beyond that, they seemed very similar to this IHOP regular. These new ones were good, but as someone who was getting a root canal two days later, I wish they’d been served with a side of fluoride. IHOP’s marketing team was not kidding when they named them “Sweet” Strawberry.

The real Sweet Strawberry pancakes (below) look like a volcanic eruption of the official picture (above).

So would I order these new items again? Surprisingly, of the two new styles I’d actually order the Whole Wheat again. I expected them to sit in my stomach like a ton of bricks, as whole wheat/grainy food often does, but that wasn’t the case here. Were they as light and fluffy as the regular IHOP pancakes? No, but that’s why I’d order a side of Cinn-a-Stack again to go along with them. They made an interesting, and ironic, complement to each other. And for my picky Little Dude, I see more Baby Cakes in his future.

"I take my pancakes very seriously"
Yes, we went to town.
The super-kind IHOP people wants one of you to come check out their new products, too. Actually they want all of you to come try them, but they are generously offering a $50 IHOP gift certificate to one lucky reader. To qualify for this prize you must:

1)      Leave a comment below stating your interest in participating in the contest along with your favorite IHOP item.
2)      LIKE me on Facebook for another chance to win & mention that you want to win the IHOP GC
3)      Follow me on Twitter for another chance to win & Tweet “@DudeoftheHouse rocks @IHOP!”
4)      Follow me on Pinterest and share my pics from or this story there.

You can earn up to four entries per person. 

Winner will be randomly selected on Friday August 17, 2012 at 3:00pm PST.  Winner will be notified via a blog post on Dude of the House and will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. 

The opinions expressed in this post are entirely mine. And partially my wife's. 
IHOP gave me gift cards to try their new items in exchange for writing this post. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rockin' Friday: My Girl

Now that we are into August, I wanted to think of a great summertime song for Rockin’ Friday this week.

To paraphrase a device used in many kids’ books:

I sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and came up with nothing.

Then I walked outside, looked up and immediately had my tune:

Yes, I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. Most of the songs I play for the Little Dude are late ‘60s through late ‘70s Rock oriented, but this tune swings back into 1964 Motown. The Temptations’ My Girl is a classic song about a boy in love and the elation he feels just having her in his life. When I see skies like this, it sort of makes me feel the same way.

What’s your favorite Motown song?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lost in the Snow

I anxiously watched the snow dancing from the sky through the Jewish Community Center’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The sun was shining ironically through the dark gray clouds.   

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother dropping me off for pre-school in this building. Everything looks so much smaller than it used to.

I had been in the room hundreds of times before over the course of my life. School plays, meetings, speakers and more. Each time different, but none like this.

The crowd was huge. Four hundred people. Maybe five.  I hadn’t seen most of them in several years. Some not for decades.  A common thread united us all. 

I pull my phone from my pocket to send my mother a text. She won’t believe this.

I get distracted by another familiar smile and slide my phone out of sight. The warm embraces momentarily wiped the falling snow from the back of my mind.

Each face I encountered sparked another memory. An old neighbor or a Sunday School teacher. My memories of these people had evolved over time. Youth lives on, but often in the most romantic fashion.

I don’t remember her being so short. What’s left of his hair is now gray.

I took my seat next to my wife and infant son. The speaker began. My mind wandered as I looked around at the massive crowd.

Wow, I can’t believe he’s here. She looks younger than she did twenty years ago.

I need to call my mother to tell her what that guy just said. But now is not the time.

As the speaker rambles, my son lets out an enormous wail that jolts the room.   


Mother won’t believe it when I tell her that so-and-so walked in 20 minutes late.  

The speaker gives way to another. And then another. I hear their words but am lost in the sea of faces. Each one different like the falling snow.

I hear my name called and rise.  I ascend the stairs.

Now is the time to tell my mother what’s on my mind.

As she rests in the pine box next to me. 

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