Friday, November 30, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Thriller

Thirty years ago today something happened that changed the course of rock history. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released on November 30, 1982 and neither music nor skin-tight red leather jackets covered with zippers have been the same since.  


Though the album was released when I was just 7, my older siblings must have exposed me to this masterpiece early on. Full of amazing songs, I picked one for this week’s Rockin’ Friday tune and it’s probably not the one you’d expect.

Though Beat It is a gem, due in part to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work, I chose the first track from Thriller: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.  Though as a writer I should find the title’s horrible grammar abhorrent, the killer opening bass line takes care of business.  It’s the perfect launching point for this rock masterpiece. 

Even though I’ll likely never understand what “Mama say Mama sah Mama Kusa” means, this is an epic song that is nearly impossible to resist tapping along with the beat to.

Check out this great live version (but you don't have to look at the dancers who look like rejects from Cats): 

What's your favorite track from Thriller?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Chicken

Maybe you guys know
where McNuggets actually come from?

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful for Metal

While sleepily driving the Little Dude to preschool last week, I decided to do something radical and turn down the music with the intention of having a conversation. Now that he’s a couple months into preschool, and loving it, the entire 12 minute ride is no longer filled with I don’t want to go to school repeated on a loop.

Thanksgiving was upon us and it was really the first time that the Little Dude should have been able to understand what the holiday is about. Beyond the tales of pilgrims and Indians, boats and turkeys, rests a concept that is so often overlooked. No matter what situation we have in our lives, we are lucky. We should think about that and appreciate it.

So I asked my newly 3 year old if he knew what Thanksgiving was about and he replied “turkeys”. Um, sort of. I went into a long speech about how everyone has certain things in life that we need to be thankful for. For example, he has a Mama and a Dada, a new baby brother and an adoring dog.  I told him that not everyone has those things. Being the inquisitive toddler he is, he asked why. That’s a hard thing for a toddler to comprehend so I told him that every family is different. Some have two Mamas and some might have 5 sisters.Whatever our situation, we should be thankful.

I told him that he is lucky to have a bed to sleep in and clothes to wear. He has food to eat and a school to go to. He has friends and family. He has his health. I asked him if he was thankful for all those things.He said “Yes…and for my Hot Wheels, too”.  Ever since he received his first Hot Wheels a few months ago, he’s been in love with them. He talks about them day and night and sleeps with a few on his nightstand.  He memorizes their names and looks forward to earning more. 

Everyone has their priorities. He’s 3 years old, I know his will evolve.  And maybe next year he’ll consciously realize everything else he is so fortunate to have, even if it is not made of die-cast metal.

I know I do. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Bottle

No wonder I'm exhausted,
this bottle is almost bigger than my body.

How would you caption this picture??

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rockin' Friday: My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Hard to believe another year has passed, but I guess that’s what happens when you aren’t clock watching. Since my last birthday I’ve been the lucky recipient of the Littler Dude and enjoyed the Little Dude getting older and wiser, too. And Mrs. Dude and I celebrated 5 years of wedded bliss, though that period has felt more like a month.
Not my cake, but I wouldn't mind if it was. 
Life certainly isn’t easy, but I think after 36 years, I’m starting to get the hang of it. Fortunately I have a great co-pilot and crew to back me up. As a wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And I don’t want to miss it.  So I’m going to end with this week’s Rockin’ Friday tune of the week: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad.

That title isn’t indicative of my current state of mind, but rather just an upbeat fun song as I’ve already conquered some of the road and am certainly living where the climate suits my clothes. It’s a classic folk song that has been remade countless times. Here’s one of my favorite versions: 


Thanks for your ongoing support of Dude of the House!!
You make the road I'm traveling much more fun. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Stolen Birthday

As the youngest of three siblings by several years, I never really had to get used to sharing.  When I was in elementary school, my siblings were in high school and college so I didn’t have to worry about them taking my GI Joes or WWF action figures. I don’t say that to make a point about selfishness, but more related to growing up with a high level of independence. What was mine was mine and I liked it that way.

That all changed three years ago this week. My birthday is coming up in a few days. I haven’t really been a big birthday celebrator in many years, partly because aging is a frustrating thing when your life isn’t exactly what you hoped it might be. I’m not complaining, as I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful wife and family. But for quite a while I brushed off my birthday as just another day.

The Little Dude was born 9 days before my birthday three years ago. In the Jewish religion we have a ceremony called a Bris that is performed on a newborn boy’s 8th day of life. It’s a powerful ritual that goes back thousands of years and is also an important milestone shared joyously with family and friends. Given the timing of his birth, the Little Dude’s Bris was held the day before my birthday. It was a wonderful day, but I think it made me a little jealous.

As parents of a newborn, Mrs. Dude and I mostly hung around the house for the first few weeks after he arrived. And just like the day before it, the day after the Bris was no different. But it was my birthday. And part of me wanted to reclaim it like a dog who gets angry when another dog finds one of his long-forgotten buried bones.

Little Dude & me at lunch that day. 
My parents were in town and we went to lunch on my birthday at a nearby place where we could sit outside. Southern California is one of the few places in the country that affords that kind of luxury in mid-November. After lunch we went back to the house to sit around and look at the baby. And it was boring. The Little Dude was a great sleeper since birth so most of the time we just watched him. That day we also opened gifts that people had brought for him to the Bris and ate leftovers from the Bris for dinner.  

Sometime that evening, I got upset. I didn’t know why, but my emotions got the best of me and I had a slight meltdown. I’m sure exhaustion played a part, but there had to be another reason. I was blessed to be sitting with my family and beautiful baby boy so what was the problem?

It wasn’t until late that night while lying in bed that I realized my life had really changed.  Because that day was supposed to be my day. And even though I hadn’t intended to celebrate my birthday in any particular manner, it had been unknowingly co-opted by an innocent person who, ironically, was partly there because of me.

I’d wanted to get dressed and go out to dinner that night instead of just eating leftover corned beef while wearing sweatpants as we actually did. And that’s when I realized what being a parent really meant.  It took me exactly 9 days of fatherhood to realize that parenting is about being selfless for the betterment of my family. So this year I will happily share my birthday with my wife and two boys and do whatever they need or want me to do. For they are truly the greatest birthday gift I could ever hope for. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Sure

Raise your hand, if you're sure
that you are exhausted.

How would you caption this picture?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Little Dude Turns Three

When I started this blog, my life couldn’t have been much more different than it is today. In a mere 16 months I have found a new career, I have a new baby and my pants are much more snug than they were then.  But one thing that remains is the Little Dude who inspired it all.  And today he turned 3 years old.

day 1
He has certainly changed since I started writing. In fact, my first post was written while he was taking a nap. Unfortunately napping has gone the way of floppy disks and bell bottoms in our household. That’s one change I’d like to have back, actually.

When I started blogging, my Little Dude was new to walking. 

His vocabulary was extremely limited.

He was shy in many situations.

Now he has turned into a very funny, smart and handsome little guy who is the star of his preschool class.  

He loves to identify every car by manufacturer when we are driving or in a parking lot.  

He has unbelievable knowledge of exotic animals that I’dnever even heard of until he introduced me to them.

And he’s a proud big brother.

Many people say he looks like me. Frankly, I don’t see it. He has my hair, finicky palate and inherent stubbornness. Thankfully he also shares Mrs. Dude’s gentle nature and good heart.

We've shared countless one-on-one Dudes' Dinners at his favorite restaurant

It’s cliché to say that the time went so fast, but it truly has.He helped me get through the loss of my mother and it’s amazing now to see reminders of her in him even though he was very young when she passed.

It’s an honor to call him my son and I look forward to watching him grow.

And maybe someday tasting a piece of pizza. 

The Dude and Little Dude, October 2012

Your birthday good wishes are appreciated in the comment section below :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Election 2012

Are you kidding me? 
I could do a better job than half the people on this ballot! 

How would you caption this photo?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Evolution of Halloween

Last week marked the fourth Halloween that Mrs. Dude and I spent with our Little Dude, even though he’s only 2 years old.  And each October 31st has been a tremendous marker of change for our little family.

On our first Halloween together after we’d started dating,in 2003, Mrs. Dude and I went to a big party at a well known L.A. location. (No, it wasn’t the Playboy Mansion. Unfortunately.) Our relationship was still new and we had a lot to figure out, which we did over the next few years. Fast forward six years to 2009 when we found ourselves back at that same exact location on October 31st for a very different type of event and in a very different situation.

The Little Dude’sFirst Halloween (2009):  
Costume: Uterus

Halloween is often filled with scary moments and unexpected twists and turns. We were hoping for the opposite in 2009. Mrs. Dude was 38 weeks pregnant on Halloween when friends of ours were getting married. Thanks to a presumed-very-large breech baby we had a C-Section scheduled for one week later, but sometimes babies make different plans. I was somewhat nervous as we drove to the wedding and hoped that we would have more treats than tricks that night.

Though there were definitely some spooky elements, we made it through the night unscathed and exactly one week after Halloween, the Little Dude arrived.

Second Halloween (2010):
Costume: Giraffe

We had just moved a few days before and couldn’t find the Little Dude’s costume, but through a mysterious source everything inexplicably turned up right when we needed it.  We carb-loaded beforehand with my family’s traditional Halloween dinner of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which was the Little Dude’s first time eating that delectable treat. That’s noteworthy for starting a streak of eating it every night for over a year.  Yes, he’s definitely my kid.  

Just a week shy of his first birthday the Little Dude hadn’t started walking yet, and wouldn’t for another 5 months,  so I was tasked with schlepping him from house to house.  It was worth it, as he was mesmerized by the lights and decorations we encountered going house to house.And because he earned several full-size Snickers bars along the way.  Fortunately for me his vocabulary wasn’t very developed at that time, so I assume he wanted me to enjoy them all on his behalf.

Third Halloween (2011):
Costume: Blue Monster

Two days before Halloween, the Little Dude caught the first fever he’d ever had. I was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to go out begging that night. And since he’d been walking for 6 months, I was looking forward to not carrying  him around our hilly neighborhood.  The day of truth was upon us and his fever had subsided. Even though he probably wasn’t 100% it was all systems go.  Obviously Mac & Cheese was a prerequisite for good energy and we brought the stroller with us just to be safe.  

It was a hot humid night and after about 10 minutes, the Little Dude ran out of steam. I figured we’d head home, but he wanted to keep going. Just not to keep walking. Somehow, just like the year before, I ended up carrying him door to door for most of the night. He got spooked at one house where the monsters (aka dumb teenage kids) jumped out of the dark to scare us,but beyond that had fun. And I got a full-size Twix for my efforts.

Fourth Halloween (2012):
Costume: Dragon

This was going to be my year. No more carrying the Little Dude!  He’s amazing, but also 40 pounds. Time to let his legs earn their keep. He had a friend come over who had never been Trick or Treating before. They ran house to house and the boy’s father and I tried to keep up. After a bit, they both ran out of gas and, not surprisingly, wanted to be carried. But the excitement and pure joy in their faces made it all worthwhile.  And this year the 5 ½ week old Littler Dude experienced his first Halloween, though he likely won’t remember it since he was passed out in the stroller all night.

So that’s how my 2 year old experienced 4 Halloweens in 3 years. He loved the experience and after double-fisting Tootsie Pops that night when we got home, he forgot about the bag he’d collected and moved on with his life. As for me, I can hardly wait until next year, though I’m not sure how we’ll juggle two boys that night. I guess I’ll need to have an extra scoop of Mac& Cheese to prepare.

How was your Halloween? What was the best costume you saw?