Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer of Winter

Isn't it funny how sometimes you hear music and it takes you right back to another period in your life? Whenever I hear "All-Star" by Smashmouth I go back to 1999 where we had the pop music station on in our changing room in the Corps. One of the Marines even incorporated the song into a running cadence.

But last summer I rediscovered the beauty of Vivaldi's Four Seasons - specifically the first movement of Winter. Whenever I hear that piece it will remind me of the summer of 2008.

And a few weeks ago I heard it - but in a new way. Petra and I were in Dubrovnik when we encountered an ensemble made up of a violinist, guitarist, floutist and a bottlist (see percussionist) performing the Allegro non molto masterfully. The video doesn't do them justice, but you get the idea.

Another World

If you're a fan of bridges to Terabithia or rings that take you from one pool to another, you might be interested in experiencing this other world.

We were able to visit with relatives from both sides of Petra's family last week when they came to Croatia. One of her cousins (not pictured) from Slovenia offered to build a tree house for two of her American cousins (pictured below) who are 11 and 7. Here are the results:
Pictures never do fantasy justice. Neither do blogs, but if you are interested in another site about another world, check out my father's site:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sunglasses and The Sermon

As I began preparing for my daily walk with Copland along the shoreline of the Adriatic I thought about taking my sunglasses. They're the cheap kind, the ones the vendors sell on the street that look like the latest name brand shades everyone's wearing. And even though they'll break if you sniff, they're stylish. The problem is I don't have contacts - a luxury I had back when I bought the glasses, but one we've decided not to renew. So in order to put on my stylin' shades, I'd have to take off my government issued 3rd and 4th eyes.

And I actually thought about doing it. I wouldn't be able to see the sea. The rocks that give the shoreline its uniqueness would be invisible, my path blurred. All told, the sunglasses would be worn solely for the sake of vanity.

But as I was going through the decision-making process it occurred to me that this is the general principle Jesus was getting at in so much of his Sermon on the Mount. It's the difference between being seen and seeing - looking good versus seeing well.

Take Matthew 6:5 for example: "When you give to the needy do not let your left and know what your right hand is doing." (NIV) Apparently there were some who were perverting the act of caring for others (seeing) and using it for the their own purposes (being seen).

And throughout the rest of The Sermon I get the impression Jesus wants us to keep our natural desire to be noticed in check, while increasing our ability to see clearly. What are we to look for?

I'll leave the pleasure of seeking to you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Like Birthdays!

I haven't been around too long so this birthday thing is still rather new. They tell me yesterday was my first. I'm not quite sure how long until the next one, but I'm ready for number two! Take a look:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh Bee Gee Why? En.


Gynecologist. Whatever you want to call them - I'm not uncomfortable anymore.

We've visited our friendly gynecologist quite a bit the last couple years. He's kind. He loves watching our kids wiggle around on his TV screen. And, he's getting up there in years.

Funny story:

We were headed back to the States for Christmas 2008 in 24 hours. Petra had taken a couple pregnancy tests that indicated she was pregnant, but had to see an OBGYN in order to make sure she and the baby were healthy and it was ok to travel. We ended up going to the only one who had time to see her.

The office looked more American than Croatian with a nice waiting room, pop music playing and the latest issue of Elle. We thought we were going to have to pay an arm and a leg to keep seeing this guy.

But after 5 minutes of getting to know Dr. Lederer, Petra realized he had met her before. 23 years ago, Petra's mom had been pregnant and had to get permission to travel to the States. While it wasn't legal for him to give her permission they talked about ways to make her look less pregnant than she was so the airlines would let her fly. One week later Petra was born in Illinois.

Fast forward to today. Dr. Lederer has become a good friend. And he should be. Now that we're pregnant (Petra more than I) again, we've seen him over 20 times in the last year-and-a-half.
He's affordable ($10 a visit) and will watch the ultrasound with us for a half hour if he doesn't have a patient after us.

Do you appreciate your OBGYN as much as we do?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Everything I Need to Know About Potty-Training I Learned From Baseball

After two weeks of not seeing my son, I've got him all to myself while Petra works time–and-a-half at camp. Even while I was in the States I began to create a gameplan of moving Enoh from diapers to underwear before he turned one. (That was of course before my wife brought me down to earth and told me it was impossible.) Regardless, I figured this two-week period was the time to teach my son everything I know.

So perhaps you think I'm crazy for putting my 11 month old son on the potty. Maybe I am. But the guy's batting .800. That's right - 8 times in the last 10 days he's found a way to get it done. Yesterday it was more like a bunt. But give the little guy credit – he put the ball in play. We've had a few hit and runs (crawls) and the first day we tried, he hit it out of the park – and the potty. But that one's my fault – I had it turned the wrong way.

What's the secret? Good timing I guess. He usually steps up to the plate right after a nap. I also have a couple toys he can only play with when he's on the pot. It's never a sure bet, but last time I checked .800 was still a pretty good batting average.