Month: August 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

⦿ Friday Links

Another music-heavy list this week. Including the promised articles about the 40th anniversary of Born To Run.


Rolling Stone shared the full transcript of an interview they did with Springsteen 10 years ago for the 30th anniversary of BTR. Of course, the mythology of the album is that his career may have been over had it not been a success. I think my biggest admiration for the album is how rather than playing it safe while operating under that kind of pressure, he completely went for it, making the biggest, boldest album he could imagine.

Bruce Springsteen on Making ‘Born to Run’: ‘We Went to Extremes’

At Stereogum, Ryan Leas offered this longer rumination on the significance of the album.

The Streets Of A Runaway American Dream: Born To Run 40 Years Later

And finally, no one could have written better or more poignantly about BTR than Joe Posnanski, arguably the man responsible for the impression that all baseball-focused writers are enamored with Springsteen. He took his essay in a direction I did not expect, making it even more wonderful.

Born to Run


OK, how about another icon from more than two decades ago? Duran Duran has a new album due out in two weeks. You can listen to about half of it on Apple Music right now. Steven Hyden has offered some positive advance praise for it. This article is the result of his recent sit-down with the remaining members of the band.

The Reflex


Greg Renoff has a detailed biography of Van Halen coming out in October. Vulture published an excerpt that goes back to when the band was playing backyard shows in Pasadena.

It’s Van Halen vs. the Cops in This Excerpt From a Book on the Band’s Wild Early Days


(An update added after this was initially posted.)

Touching on a subject I hit last week, Steven Hyden dropped a piece this morning about Ryan Adams’ just-completed cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. It’s a pretty solid – yet quick – look at Adams’ career and how he’s reached the position he’s in today.

Waiting Semi-Patiently for Ryan Adams’s Album-Length Cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’


Switching to movies, I watched Real Genius over the weekend. It’s probably been 15 years or so since I had watched it. It did not disappoint. Everything about it remains fantastic.

Here’s an essay by Phyllis Rostykus who was one of the inspirations for Jordan, the most notable female character in the movie.

The Real Real Genius


Charles P. Pierce on the mess surrounding Baylor football at the moment. If you’re a coach of any sport at Baylor, isn’t your biggest priority, when dealing with off-the-field issues, making sure you are honest and transparent with the public? The last thing you should be doing is covering something up or pleading ignorance. Thank goodness Ken Starr is on the case! I’m sure he’ll get to the bottom of things quickly!

Something Rotten in Texas: Baylor, Art Briles, and Sam Ukwuachu


And finally, you probably are not in danger of becoming dangerously dehydrated if you’re going about your normal, daily business and only drink a couple glasses of water per day.

No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Friday Vid

http://youtu.be/-OZV5i_6Rj4

“She’s The One” – Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band

Born To Run turned 40 this week. You may have read something about that somewhere.[1] The song “Born To Run” is one I remember from way back in, likely, it’s earliest days. It wasn’t a song for me, or about my life. But it was one that got heavy play on the stations my parents listened to. So it was already in my rock ’n roll DNA before I rediscovered it many years later and learned to love it on my own.

The rest of the album, though, was unfamiliar to me until the early 2000s when the joys of file sharing allowed me to dive into more of its tracks. “Thunder Road” became a favorite. I enjoyed the majesty of “Jungleland.” But, honestly, it probably wasn’t until just a couple years ago that I finally listened to the album in whole, front-to-back.

There are many different types of classic albums. There are those that define a genre, or take a fledgling musical movement and force it into the mainstream. There is the perfectly crafted break up record. There is the album full of hit singles. There is the carefully considered concept album, in which a common narrative thread ties every song together.

And then there is that slot that Born To Run fills: the album that projects the beliefs, fears, and dreams of people of an exact age, in an exact moment in time, in an exact place.[2] When you listen to Born To Run, you are transported back to 1975, when kids in their mid–20s weren’t sure about the world into which they were coming of age. Even if you weren’t alive then, or like me were too young to really remember the early ‘70s, Springsteen paints a dramatic, detailed picture of that era. It is an audacious, ambitious album that perfectly sums up the age it came from: the moment just before disco and punk and hip hop were unleashed on the world.

“Born To Run” is one of my 25 favorite songs of all time. It may be the perfect American rock song. “Thunder Road” is an all-time great side one, track one. And “Jungleland” is a perfect closer. But since I discovered the deeper tracks of the album, this song has always stood out for me. It’s a song that sounds incredibly familiar. Part of that is because of the Bo Diddley riff the entire piece us built upon. For children of the ‘80s, there is also the opening piano line and vocal mannerisms that John Cafferty borrowed a decade later for his biggest hit. And also it sounds familiar because this was the first time that Springsteen laid down the basic formula that he based so many of his biggest hits on. A formula that has been followed repeatedly over the last 40 years by countless artists. It’s not his biggest hit. And I can’t say it was his most influential. But it left a broader shadow that you might imagine.


  1. I collected a few articles published this week I’ll share here shortly.  ↩
  2. A big reason that The Hold Steady is so often considered Springsteen-esque is not just their bar band roots, but also that their best albums are the soundtracks of people of a particular age with a particular world-view.  ↩

A Bit Of A Photog

Without those pesky kids around during the day, I can finally knock out a few longer posts that I’ve been sitting on for months. First, a post I know Billy is looking forward to: a summary of my adventures with my new camera.


To reset, I purchased an Olympus OM-D EM–10 back in May. It is the first “real” camera I have ever owned, with “real” meaning one that offers full manual control and interchangeable lenses.

In the nearly four months since the camera arrived, I’ve probably taken more pictures than I’ve taken in the past couple years combined. Part of that is just me taking pictures more often. Another part is me taking 10–15 shots for every one or two I used to take. I learned quickly to take as many shots as I could get of a particular scene and then hope that one of the dozen or so would look good when I got home and reviewed them.

Since I was starting from basically zero in my photography knowledge, I did a ton of reading in the first couple months I owned the camera. I learned about aperture sizes, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. I learned about the different modes on the camera and which one served which needs the best. I really enjoyed this part of my new hobby but admit that I don’t always retain the knowledge the best. Or rather I should say that I can’t always recall the information when I’m out shooting. “What was it I read about aperture size and shutter speed when shooting action in mid-day sun?” Because of that, I tend to lean on the Program mode of my camera, letting it pick most of the settings for me. Or I try either aperture or shutter priority modes first, then flip back to P and let the camera decide so I can compare when I get home. I’m still learning how to select the best possible setting from frame one.

And I have a bad habit of turning on my camera and beginning to shoot without checking my settings from the last time I used it. For example, on the first day of school, I took a bunch of shots of the girls and when I reviewed, they looked terrible. That’s when I realized the camera was still set up to shoot quickly in bright sunshine rather than inside in morning light. A couple tweaks and I finally got some decent shots to put in the albums.

Something else I discovered quickly was that photography can be a real money pit. Even starting with a camera that is considered a pretty fantastic combination of capabilities at a reasonable cost, you can get sucked into spending a lot of money on glass. My camera came with a basic 14–42mm kit zoom lens.[1] It took OK pictures, but I knew I needed to upgrade. I quickly added an 40–150mm lens that would be better for snapping the girls at their sporting events.

Shortly after that I rented a 30mm prime lens that wasn’t terribly fast (f/2.8), but was awfully affordable. I really enjoyed the pictures I took in the two weeks I had it, but I ended up going with a 17mm lens I found fairly cheap on eBay. I was really interested in doing casual street photography and this focal length hit that desire just about perfectly. Again, not a super fast lens (also f/2.8), but one that seemed like a good starting point.

I shot with that lens most of the summer and began to get frustrated with some of the results I got from it. I looked long and hard at getting a much nicer Olympus prime lens, either a 25mm or 45mm f/1.8 lens. In the end, I decided to save money and buy a refurbished version of the 30mm lens I had used earlier in the summer, selling my kit lens to finance it. The new lens arrived last week and I’m anxious to get to work with it. So now I have 17mm and 30mm primes and the 40–150mm zoom. No high-end glass in there, but that’s a solid assortment for someone learning my way around photography. I’m confident that 45mm lens will join the collection at some point down the road.

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But what about the photography itself? Since most of my pictures have been of the girls, I can’t share them here, of course. But, at a minimum, I’m definitely getting better pictures of them for use in future calendars, albums, and so on. Thus I’ve met my goal for making the investment.

There’s more to it than just taking pics of the kids, though. I take my camera with me just about every time we go out to do something and try to get pics of interesting buildings, signs, or people. I’m working hard to learn how to get the right focus points, frame the photo in a cool way, and so on so I’m not just taking another picture of a building that’s been photographed thousands of times. I’ve also done the obligatory Lego photo sessions, when I can use the tiny plastic toys to play around with focal points and depth of field. I never understood why there were so many pictures of Lego figures on the Internet until I got my camera. Now it makes sense!

My only disappointment is that I have not mastered the birthday photo yet. The lighting in our house has always made birthday pics tough. I’ve had two chances so far, and on both birthdays my pics have been subpar. I have a hard time getting the balance between allowing enough light into the camera and taking the photos quick enough to capture moving kids. Hopefully I can get that down soon.

I’m also trying to simply get comfortable having a camera and shooting often. There’s a certain casualness that I think good photographers have. They aren’t drawing attention to themselves when they are shooting. They can get candid pictures of people without their subjects looking posed or awkward. I still feel a little weird sometimes when I put the camera to my eye and start to capture images. That will pass in time, I’m sure.

So, bottom line, I’m happy with my investment. For a starter camera, I highly recommend the EM–10. It is soooo much smaller and lighter than the Nikon and Canon DSLRs many people start with. And when you’re trying to move up from smartphone photography, I think that is a huge deal. Is it better than a DSLR? That’s a matter of opinion and not worth arguing about. I was awfully close to buying a Nikon, after all. I’m enjoying the self-education process and look forward to my pictures getting even better. And, as a bonus, my desire to get pictures in a variety of locations has us looking at new places to go visit on weekends.

Here are a few fun pics I’ve taken over the past four months. None of them are great, but they’re something to share, I guess. I can’t wait until I can look at a scene and immediately see what the interesting photo will be rather than just snapping a weird looking tree and hoping it turns out as a keeper. One goal for the fall is to put non-kid pics like these online in some kind of gallery. When I get to that point, I’ll let you know where to look.

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  1. For you photo gearheads out there, the EM–10 has a 2x crop factor, meaning as a 35mm equivalent, you double the values of its lenses. So the 14–42mm has a 35mm equivalent of 28–84mm. I hope I’ve confused a lot of you, because I had no idea what any of that meant four months ago.  ↩

A Periodic Site Housekeeping Update

Perhaps you’ve noticed, if you’ve dipped into the site’s archives in recent weeks, but I’ve been working on another clean-up project around here. I wrapped it all up this morning.

A couple years back I stopped putting pictures of the girls on the site. Well, at least ones where you can clearly identify them. The idea being I wanted to reduce the chances for people to connect their names with a picture online. That could be just for their friends who were Googling them and ran across some silly baby picture as much as for anyone who might try to use that information for something truly dangerous.

(At the same time, I scrubbed the site of full names of all my readers and friends. Since then I’ve tried to use either first name, last initial, or just last name when referring to someone that is not in my immediate family.)

Well the latest project was to get rid of the girls’, and my wife’s, names completely. Again, this is just to protect their identities a little. I don’t want people able to search for their names, come across this site, and then read some story about one of them having a blowout when they were a baby, or throwing a fit when they were two, or other anecdotes that could be used to embarrass them. The likelihood that would ever happen is very small, but I wanted to reduce it to as close to zero as possible. I figure they’re getting old enough that they will have plenty of chances to shame themselves online on their own. They don’t need any help from pops.

Same thing for my wife. I doubt anyone would take the time to search this deep, connect this quasi-anonymous personal blog to her, and then use it to somehow harm her professional life. But again, I want to try to make those chances even smaller.

So, from now on, first initials only for my family. My regular readers know who everyone is. And any random passersby won’t miss any great context by not having full names.

And with that done – which involved manually searching through each post and then Finding/Replacing – maybe I can get back to a regular posting schedule finally.

⦿ Friday Links

Well, the first full week of school is wrapping up. There was some more grumpiness in the mornings as the week progressed. But mostly things have gone well. We’re already super busy in the evenings. And I’ve had a nice, lazy week around the house, thus the dearth of posts.

But I’ve still saved some articles worth sharing. This week’s list is music-heavy. Let’s dive into the links, shall we?


First up, two music lists to get your blood boiling (perhaps).

Rolling Stone shared their list of the 100 Greatest Song Writers of All Time. It’s a typical RS list: heavy on artists who did their best work in the magazine’s earliest days[1] and light on hip-hop.

Going in a different direction, after Straight Outta Compton’s release last week, Steven Hyden decided to rank the all-time best side one, track ones from debut albums. Unlike Rolling Stone, his list is a lot more inclusive of varying genres. I like it, although I can certainly argue with a few choices.


News about two music projects I’m very excited about.

First, Frightened Rabbit announced they’ve wrapped up work on their fifth album. It should be out in early 2016, with at least a single likely to debut before year’s end.

FR had been my favorite current band since I first discovered them in 2008. The War On Drugs edged past them last year with Lost In The Dream, an album I still listen to at least part of every week.

Bands are always optimistic about unheard albums. They always talk about the “exciting new directions” the recording process took them. Still, I’m even more excited about FR LP5 after reading this interview with Scott Hutchison.

Frightened Rabbit on new album: “No one knew what the fuck was going to happen.”

And then there’s Ryan Adam’s latest project. The hyper-productive Adams – who has released a fantastic full length and at least four EPs in the past year – has been working on a song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. He’s been posting snippets on Instagram and Twitter. Those brief bits sound terrific. And, supposedly, Taylor is on board with the project. So we may have a Ryan Adams version of the most popular album of the past year soon. What a time to be alive!

Taylor Swift Shares Excited Statement About Ryan Adams’ 1989 Covers Album


Here is an absolutely fantastic profile of Stephen Colbert, as he prepares to take over CBS’ Late Show.

The Late, Great Stephen Colbert


I enjoyed this story of a Kansas City native who lives in New York about how she defended her home town team in Yankee Stadium.

A Confession: How I Came To Comprehend The Greatness Of The Kansas City Royals


Former SNL writer Paula Pell shares a few of her favorite skits that she helped create over the years. That Debbie Downer one makes me laugh so hard I cry every time I see it.

Legendary Saturday Night Live Writer Paula Pell Picks Her 8 Most Important Sketches


And finally, this allegedly contains every great line from Seinfeld, conveniently mashed into one clip. OK, there are a lot of great lines missing. Still fun to watch.


  1. I think it’s weird that RS has such a strong institutional memory. I know there are still some long-time writers there. But there also have to be a ton of writers who came of age in the 80s and 90s now, right? Yet the same icons from the 60s inevitably top any list like this they publish.  ↩

Friday Vid(s)

“Clampdown” – The Clash

“Johnny Appleseed” – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Joe Strummer would have been 63 today. Here are two songs that sum up the second and third phases of his career about as well as any. “Clampdown” is an absolute blowtorch of a song. It is roughly four minutes of righteous fury; a warning to either jump on board or get the hell out of the way. It is the epitome of what punk rock – at least from the Clash’s point of view – was all about in the late 1970s.

“Johnny Appleseed,” from his Mescaleros era, is much softer. Like so many of his later songs, rather than rage, it radiates a sense of community and a gentle call to action. It feels more of the 1960s, and I can easily hear Joe and his friends singing it around a campfire at one of the large European music festivals he loved to set up camp at in the final years of his life.

End Of Summer Catch Up

 

A very busy couple of weeks. I thought I was alone in trying to cram 857 activities into the finals days of summer break, but it sounds like that’s par for the course for the modern parent. Glad I was not alone.


We hit approximately 83 different parks over the final two weeks of summer. Parks we had been to before this year, parks we had not been to in years, and parks we had never visited before.

We went to the big city water park one afternoon. It was kind of nice to be able to just turn M. and C. (and C.’s friend) loose and tell them to check back in every half hour or so. The only bummer of the day was that L. was about two inches too short to do any of the really fun stuff. The “plunger,” the water slides, the surfing pool, etc. The lifeguards were letting kids who were right on the borderline through, but she was noticeably shorter than the little “You Must Be This Tall…” signs. So we went through the lazy river about 30 times and she sucked it up and played on the kiddie slides for, likely, the final time in her life.

The girls and I took a four-mile bike ride one evening last week. It was, by far, the longest ride of any of their lives. They all did well, although there was one extended, steady climb that pushed L. pretty hard. Fortunately she still falls for the “We’re almost there! Just a little farther!” line from me and powered through.

We also took a long hike through the nature trails at Holliday Park. At first the girls just wanted to play on the awesome playground and were complaining about the hike. When they saw we could hike down to the river and then up the sides of some very steep hills, they decided the hike was awesome.

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While it came after school began, we took the girls to an Indianapolis Indians game yesterday. It was Kids Eat Free day, so they were excited about getting a hot dog, water, and chips without having to pay. M. sat by me and paid the most attention to the game. We were fortunate to be in the shade the entire day. We left after the seventh inning and there’s no way they would have lasted that long had we been in the sun the entire time. The only negative on the day was there was a meltdown just as we were leaving, so I wasn’t able to get a picture of them lined up against the outfield fence on our way out.

It was also pretty fun to wear one of my Royals jerseys to a game when I was supporting a first-place team, not just showing my hometown some love like the last time we went to an Indians game a few years back.


We also squeezed in a quick, one-day visit to Bloomington with some friends who have a lake condo. We went to dinner in town, and it just happened to be August 1. I laughed at all the random, old furniture that had been tossed out of apartments as college students moved out before their leases expired on July 31. I bet I have a few pieces of furniture still floating around somewhere that were discarded in the same manner.


My final lake weekend of summer break was a week ago, when three friends from KC flew in for a guys’ weekend. We had a fantastic time lounging in the water, drinking many beers, and listening to my ancient cassette tape collection, which I just realized I still had a few weeks earlier. Our lake radio actually has a cassette player, so we were able to play several of them. However, between the age of the tapes and what I’m pretty sure is a slightly defective player, most of them sounded pretty terrible. That didn’t stop us from enjoying them, though.


The first (short) week of school went just fine. The girls all like their teachers, two of whom are new to us. L. has the same first grade teacher both of her sisters had.


The two older sisters have started practice for their fall sports. Both are doing different things than we planned last spring.

As I shared already, M. took one short run with me and decided cross country was not for her, so she’s back in kickball. She’ll be playing against both fifth and sixth graders this year, so she’s going to have to step up her game. She’s kicking better, but the coaches have also been teaching them how to bunt effectively. L. got to practice with the team a couple times when girls were still gone on vacations or at camps, and loved every second of it.

C. was supposed to play softball again. The league she plays in does not normally have a fall league, but decided to try one this year. They didn’t get enough girls to sign up, though, and ended up canceling. When we found out one of her closest buddies from school was running cross country, C. decided she wanted to as well. So we signed her up. Apparently her first practice was really rough, as was to be expected. So I went with to her second and third practices with her. The second practice was all track work, which she did great at. One of the coaches, not knowing she was my daughter, even said, “Who is that? She is fast!” to me when she raced by in a relay. The next night she had time trials and I ran with her. She really struggled in the warm-up mile, but did much better in her timed mile, knocking it out in 9:30. I figured out her problem was she was trying to keep up with her buddy at the start. That buddy ran a 7:30 mile (!!!) in her time trial, so I told C. just to let E. go and she would be fine.

L.’s soccer team is still a week or so away from starting practice. She’s up to U8 this year, and should have most of her spring team back with her. She’s excited to get to play on a bigger field, with goalies, and against bigger kids. She’s always been the best kid on the field in her three seasons. I’m excited to see how she reacts when that’s not the case anymore.


While I was at the lake, the girls did their fall school shoe shopping. M. got some bright pink New Balances. C. got some bright blue Asics with pink accents for cross country and black Chuck Taylor low tops for school. L. got gray Chuck Taylor high tops. She had designed a pair online that were in school colors (purple and gold), and they looked a lot like 1980s-era Converse Weapons, which I loved. I showed her pics of the old Weapons and she thought they were awesome. The customized Chucks were $70 and wouldn’t be here for three weeks, so she was fine with getting some single-color ones at the store.


Now for the first full week of school. Maybe I can finally get the house completely cleaned for the first time since May!

 

Friday Vid

“Queen of Peace / Long and Lost” – Florence + The Machine

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS NUDITY

A very artsy, very long video for one of the best tracks on Florence Welch’s latest album. Not sure I get the visuals,[1] but the opening song is fantastic. And rumor has it the segment for “Long and Lost” was shot in one take. Single-take videos/scenes are always fresh.


  1. Check the comments. There is a Facebook post that lays out exactly what the whole thing means by someone who knows a lot more about Florence’s life than I do.  ↩

R’s: Crazy Times

(Note: I wrote this last night while watching the Royals play Detroit. The R’s were up 4–2, Edinson Volquez was cruising along, and a sweep of the Tigers seemed imminent. Then an infield single, a walk, and another infield single to open the top of the 8th launched a 4-run Tigers rally that helped them salvage the final game of the series. As with K-State football two years ago, and Iowa State basketball last year, my jinx powers are strong. Never underestimate the strength of the blogger!)

What a summer.

As I keep saying, last October was one of the greatest times in my life as a sports fan. I realize I say some of that simply because it is the most recent time a team I follow made a deep run in the post season. But, also, it was because it was all so unexpected.

Well, what does that make this summer? I hoped the Royals would be better than a year ago. But I didn’t expect it. I figured they’d play solid ball all year, and, if they caught some breaks and stayed healthy, might sneak into a Wild Card spot again.

But run away with their division in August? Build up a large lead for home field advantage in the playoffs? Nah, that’s just silly talk.

Yet here we are on August 13, with the Royals 12 games ahead of second-place Minnesota,[1] already with more wins than they had in nine different, complete seasons since the 1994 strike.

Every night they play in front of huge crowds at the K. Loud, enthusiastic, passionate crowds.

Every night they find a different way to win. Once a week or so, they’ll actually score a bunch of runs. More often they scratch out some runs early and hang on the rest of the night. Or score a handful late to erase a small deficit. Some nights they get great starting pitching. Most of the time it’s the bullpen that puts the game away. Just about every night they do things with their gloves that amaze and astound.

They don’t seem like a dominant team. They win an awful lot of one and two run games, rather than pumeling teams the way Toronto is doing. There are a couple glaring holes in their lineup. Every time they suffer an injury – minor or major – they just keep chugging along.

These are crazy times. For so many years we Royals fans dreamt of a team that would just be competitive. To do what they’re doing this year, in the same division as big spending Detroit and a team that could spend plenty if they wanted in Chicago? Never did I think I’d see a summer like this from the Royals. Certainly not with all the flaws this team has.

A silly summer is bound to generate some silly talk. Perhaps it’s already the buzz in KC, but I expect to soon hear grousing about how the Royals will not be ready for the playoffs if they keep this huge lead through the end of the season. “Toronto and New York are battling each other. Houston and Anaheim keep flip-flopping each other. Those teams are going to be ready for October. I’m not sure the Royals will be.”

I don’t know about that. Baseball playoffs are like the NCAA tournament: a crapshoot. The best team rarely wins in the current system. I don’t know if whether you’re playing meaningful games in the final week of the regular season makes a difference or not.

That’s a long damn way away, though. I’m not going to worry about whether running away with the AL Central will help or hurt the Royals in October. I’m just going to enjoy the hell out of the last six weeks of what has been an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable summer of baseball.


  1. Now 11 games after Wednesday’s results.  ↩

First Day

This morning, the alarm went off at 6:20. I roused the girls about 10 minutes later, they shuffled down for breakfast, then back up to get dressed. We cut tags off of new pairs of shorts, found skirts that fit correctly, and laced up new shoes so they were nice and tight. Snacks and lunches were packed, book bags loaded up, and obligatory pictures snapped.

The school year has begun.

M. wanted me to walk her to her class only, not inside. But when she ran into a classmate she had not seen since spring, she kind of took off and lost us in the crowd. [1] While heading to M.’s class, C. somehow slipped away to her class on her own. So I was left to help L. get to her room and get started slapping labels on her school supplies. Once she was occupied, I walked down to C.’s room to make sure she was doing ok. Before I could find her, one of her buddies, who I coached in soccer last year and has joined us at the lake each of the last two summers with his family, came over and gave me a big hug. Neither M. nor C. gave me a hug!

Anyway, it looked like all the girls started off their first morning just fine. Last year was a little emotional for me, with it being L.’s first year of full-time school. This year no emotion at all. In fact, with a short day today, and then the weekend right around the corner, it feels like it won’t really hit me that they’re back in school until next week. I even have a couple writing projects to work on in the next couple days, so that should make this short week fly by even faster.

So the 2015–16 school year has begun. Summer sure went fast.

Her friend was lugging a book bag and a grocery sack full of supplies. I laughed when she said, “I’d hug you, but my hands are full,” to M..  ↩

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