Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


A Good Man Gone

November 4, 2010

A few months ago, I told you about how I wound up with a box of golf balls. Remember? I’m looking at those golf balls again tonight, because the sweet, decent man who gave them to me has died.

Glen was my wife’s stepfather. He was a rakish type with a Cary Grant look to him, tall, dark and handsome, with the kind of eyebrows people talked about after he left the room. I knew him only in his later years, quieter, older, and in the grip of illnesses that stripped him of his strength and memory. But in those moments when he knew who he was, and he knew who we were, he always made us smile. This guy was loaded with wit and curiosity, things I value above most else.

He was a good man, and he had a good run. But our world is diminished without him.



October 14, 2010

Three brothers. Here we are in 1996:

And here we are in 2009:

I love my brothers, but I don’t see them often. There’s 13 years between these photos because we are only in the same place about once per decade. Geography is part of the issue. Brotherhood is another. It’s a tricky business.

I’m the one in the middle. The one on the right just became a father again. The one on the left is in jail. They are good men. They just walk different paths, as I do.


My Daughter II

July 29, 2010

The day before my baby girl turns nine, I offer up this photo (and it was a real 35mm photo, not digital) of her baby self examining the aftermath of a tornado that hit our neighbourhood. This was taken about an hour later. It knocked down dozens of century-old maple trees, including the one that crushed the police car in the background. She still gives me this look after a wave of destruction has rumbled through town, although now she tends to play a more hands-on role.

"I didn't do it."


My Daughter

July 26, 2010

My little girl is about to turn nine. Here’s a photo of her as a baby, eating a waffle.


Oh, Meccano

July 9, 2010

Oh Meccano, oh small and slippery, oh lost somewhere in the carpet, or perhaps behind the sofa

How you foil my palsied touch

How you foil my years-old plan

To keep you hidden in the cold storage room, where you have lain since you were given to my oldest son by my mother, who means well with presents, but once gave me a pink sweater with a picture of a sailboat on it, and it clashed with my mullet

Oh Meccano, oh tiny and difficult, offering promises of wonder but instead proving to be fucking annoying as hell

How your packaging tempts my younger son

How your marketing makes him think he will soon have a new toy car

But all he ends up with is a frustrated father who remembers why he left his career as a watch repair technician behind and instead followed a path that does not involve fine motor skills, and never golf, by the way

Oh, Meccano, oh stupid little wrench and miniscule washers

How the car I built wobbles and looks stupid

How my son, halfway through, started shooting me with his Nerf gun

And will awaken in the morn to be told the Tooth Fairy came and took his Meccano, because that’s what she does on her vacation.


The Peter Blaskovic Experience

May 20, 2010

Thank you, Peter Blaskovic. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. But my children and I have discovered your amazing website, and the heartsparking ideas you have, and it led to a moment I will always remember: my three children sitting around a table, each at a computer, each creating art with your concepts.

For those of you who have never explored this stuff, start here, with Flame. It’s what I used to draw that thing up at the top there, which took about a minute. Play with it. Change the noise of your brush, or the colour. Mess around. Have fun. Create.

When you’re ready, click here to learn that Blaskovic has been at this for a while, and he knows what he’s doing, and he puts it out there for us to enjoy. He asks nothing in return. He simply shares. Now that’s art.

I used to be an artist. Somehow, along the way, it slipped from me. I can still draw a pretty mean cartoon, and I love to paint, but the passion vanished. My oldest son, now 11, has a tremendous artistic gift, something we indulged for years until, over the last few months, he has decided art isn’t cool. Until he found Flame … now he’s cutting loose, and I see the artlight inside him glowing again.

Whoever you are, Peter Blaskovic, you got my kids interested in art again, and you have us all creating. Nicely done.

  • Update: I forgot to mention that I drew Mr. Demon up there with the mouse, but we’ve been using the Wacom tablet and pen Cogswell sent me, and getting some very nifty results.

Just Like He’s Ringing A Bell

May 1, 2010

Here’s a photo of my oldest son playing guitar in our 70s rec room. Did I mention that he’s finally become fixated on baseball? I could not be a happier dad.