Forest felled just in time for Mother’s Day

Three days, 1 dead mower, and a half dead trimmer, my backyard finally, (with a little more work tomorrow), looks like exactly that: a backyard. I have excuses for days about how/why I let it get this point, but the biggest, most realistic excuse is that I put every single other obligation in front of my need to cut my lawn. I work everyday with the youth of our community, I play in a Monday night golf league, it was raining (and it was), a ridiculous amount this year and on and on… The bottom line is that my “lawn” (mostly weeds at this point) has reached nearly 4 feet high and my poor dog had to carve out a small sanctuary, near the pine tree, to be able to exist out there during the day. These pics were taken yesterday when I was on the home stretch.
You might be asking how I let it get this bad, and my only answer is…um…time. Time works against me on a level where if I had only 2 more hours in a day I’d have it made. As it stands, our meager 24-hour day only allows for so much to happen, so many things have to be cut. Unfortunately, one of these many things is not my lawn:)So, it’s Mother’s Day, and once again, I’m up before 7. It’s not because I’m an early-bird, but because my little girl is always up before 7. During the week it’s great because I never oversleep and miss work, but on the weekend, the only thing I want is for Roe to sleep past 7…
Once I finally dragged my “I only slept 5 hours” butt out of bed it was time to get Roe dressed, hair combed, to Safeway and back before Kate came downstairs. Clearly this was too ambitious a plan, because she was on her way down soon after we got home. The upside is that I got the flowers Roe picked out, and the presents on the table just in time.

 A funny little moment during breakfast

The entire goal of getting the yard done was so Kate could spend the day getting her garden in order. We headed to Hare Creek Nursery to get supplies…

Of course, she wanted to ride on the wagon
Ultimately, we got Kate’s garden bed turned over and ready to plant while Roe took a nap. When she woke up, we finally planted her placenta under a lilac tree we bought, (better late that never). Roe had a blast finally being able to run around the backyard with Dag.
Time to feed the fish!
That last pic was from the last leg of the journey. We, of course, had to go wish my mother in law, Anne (otherwise known as Gaga), a Happy Mother’s Day. Super bonus, they asked if we wanted to go get Thai food, so, naturally we had to go. It’s been an incredibly long, productive day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard working, under appreciated mothers out there, and check back in the next couple days for all the Chi Town fun from last week.
Baba’s swing goes way higher than the one at the park
Roe munching on sour-grass and chatting with Gaga
You can’t tell, but she’ s watching the trailer for the new Winne the Pooh movie. No doubt that”ll be the first movie we take her to.
It’s crazy how hard she focuses when she drawing.

Dr. Janai Ryan-Marie Carr (My amazing little sister)

A few days later I’m still at a loss for words. In most families there is a shining star. Someone who really stands out. Someone who not only meets your expectations, but proceeds to blow those expectations out of the water with a Hiroshima sized atomic bomb. In my family, as much as I wish it was me, I have nothing on my sister Janai. I have called her Jane for as long as I can remember, and as of two days ago, you’ve got to call her Doctor Carr. Yes, my sister has done something few can say. She has earned a PH.D in Biochemistry. My entire family has always been aware of her high intelligence. She skipped the 1st grade for crying out loud! That aside, as snarky, playful and witty as she can be, this has never masked the fact that she is scary smart. I flew out to Chicago to watch her defend her thesis in front of a room of friends, family, peers and other scary smart scientists. She not only defended it, but made me wonder why or how anyone in their right mind would question her work when her roughly 50 minute talk ended. It was absolutely brilliant. Just listen in to her mentor introduce her:

As you can see, her colleagues not only admire and support her work, but they think what we’ve always known Jane to be: way above the rest of us mere mortals. One of the heads of her department made a point of pulling us aside and informing us that she was the best student they have ever seen. Did you catch that? EVER! While following all the terms and processes of her work was hard to follow to us laymen, it was obvious that what Jane’s doing is nothing short of groundbreaking. I have included a coupe of videos and pictures capturing this occasion below. What goes without saying is that my sister is well on her way to making her imprint in this world and our family could not be any prouder if we tried. Me personally, I couldn’t help but puff out my chest as wave after wave of her friends, coworkers and colleagues came by to shake my hand, say congrats, and share their experience with this most extraordinary member to the Carr family. Best of luck Jane, we love you so much. You’ve made us so proud!
(I apologize for the audio in the videos; she wasn’t miked)

Okay…Now say it in English.
This is a longer video, but the thank yous are toward the end. You might see and hear some familiar names *cough* Carr Family *cough, cough*
This is the part where Sean and I got pretty defensive of our sis because how dare they question her awesomeness!!
 Carr family dressed and on aproach
 She looks amazing, I know, but if only you could see the shoes…
 Title of Jane’s presentation
 Long name; longer hallways
 This room will be nearly full by the time Jane starts talking. Of course Jane’s friend Yalda had to get into the picture.
 Jane talking to her mentor Pradip and another really smart sciency guy
 Just one of her many amazingly detailed and informative slides. This made total sense at the time.
Carr family hanging on Jane’s every word; even if we didn’t understand it all.
Sean Jr. (my nephlet) didn’t quite make it all the way through, but he couldn’t have picked a better time to nap
Jane’s peers had everything all decked out
If you didn’t know, Jane’s favorite cake is strawberry shortcake. I normally don’t do cake, but this one was phenomenal!
Jane arrives to the party met with roaring applause
Hugs all around!
One for Uncle Don too. It was great to see him again. He seems to fly around the country in order to show up to our stuff. Thanks for all the years of support. We love ya Don!
Nephlet and DeeDee. I hadn’t seen DeeDee in a long time. It was great to see you!! We gotta hit the links again soon.
Proud mother
Yeah, it’s the cake again, but this time it’s not covered!
Yalda, Jane and a proud father. He seems to be talking instead of smiling, which is unusual because he’s normally so quiet:)
Looking good Carr family
Uncle Don, Jane and nephlet.
Jane’s friends
Looks like they are holding her up. Figuratively that’s what they’re doing
Yalda, Jane and her other friend Matt.
It’s a little blurry, but you can feel the love, right?
Jane standing next to her avatar. As Rowan would say: “Same, same!”
Jane’s very “tidy” workstation
Jane promised that they weren’t doing anything bad to this cute little mouse, but we had our doubts.
The guys down the hall doing a little “work”
This pic was hanging on Jane’s workstation wall. Talk about a blast from the New Year’s Eve past.
By the way, check back soon for the pics and vids from the rest of my antics in Chi Town…

Dragon on the Ledge

Finally

After hours and hours of screen time, my seniors’ rough drafts are finally graded. Managed to finish the last one during the first 10 minutes of my last period class. (I know, I cut it close) Huge weight lifted. After another couple hours I got sub plans written, my classroom organized and ready for the next two days. At the moment I’m trying to get Roe to sleep so I can hit the road and head to Sacramento. Tonight I’ll be staying with my little bro and jumping on a plane to Chicago at the crack of dawn tomorrow. I haven’t seen my sister since Christmas, and I haven’t been to Chicago in a few years. The point of the trip is to watch her defend her thesis and move on to her next step on her way to being a doctor. I’m so proud of her. I’m sad to leave my family, especially my wife, who is super pregnant and needs my help around the house and with Roe. I’ll miss them both terribly, but I’m stoked to get outta dodge for a couple days and see my family. I’m not prepared at all for next week but that’s Sunday’s problem. Now if only this daughter of mine would close her eyes…
By the way, my two YouTube vids are perma linked on my blog so check it out!

Easter ups n downs

It’s Easter Sunday and once again, up before 7am. Love my little girl for that! Anyway, once I got my ass out of bed Roe was just adorable looking for Easter eggs around the living room. The downside to the day is the stress has returned. I’m back to work tomorrow, and I haven’t started the senior papers, and honestly I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen. I feel like I’m letting the kids down, but my goal today is to be a good dad and husband. I’ve just finished my 1 of 2 church services of the year with the in-laws, and yes, Mass is still the same. After attending Catholic school from K-8th grade, two times a year is more than enough. Anyway, seven weeks of work and probably less until my little baby Zoey enters the world. I just have to remember to take one thing at a time. Gotta find done time to work today…

Procrastination and PB&J

I’m trying out this mobile blog thing and it’s pretty cool. The wife wants to go on a walk, but what I SHOULD be doing is grading senior papers. Will it get done? Not likely today, but it really should be done by Monday. Let’s see, that’s forty 6-8 pages papers edited and commented on during my spring break. Since it’s vacation do I actually have to work? Sadly, the answer is: always. I worked one day this week already and I feel that’s plenty. Shouldn’t English teachers be able to take time off too? My fear is that the answer is no. On the other hand my daughter got a silly amount of jelly on her shirt, so now it’s off, and she’s decided to make “spicy” pretend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That makes me smile.

When we met

Nine years ago I met someone. Four years ago I married that someone. Yes, it’s been that long. As long as it’s been, I can still remember the night I met my wife like it happened yesterday. Sure, that’s a bit cliche, but what else can I say. Let me take you back nine years…

I was taking a poetry class my second quarter at UCSC. I had a small group of poetry nerds I hung out with, and every Tuesday we’d head down to 99 Bottles of Beer on the wall to take over the upstairs area, drink pitchers of discounted beer and write poetry. One Tuesday night, my buddy Tim brought his newish girlfriend, Freda. It just so happened that Freda had a roommate named Katie. That night I walked into the restaurant and I saw Tim talking to his girlfriend at the bar. I walked up to meet his new girl and Freda introduced me to her roommate.

Never in my life had I met someone so unique. (Keep in mind that I was going to UCSC) This girl had short red hair following the curves of her rounded face. Bangs hanging draped over one eye. Her eyes were not the same color and her smile was just so sweet. She was wearing socks on her hands cut into arm warmers. One was pink and one was purple. Her black skirt hung knee length hiding the tops of her black knee-high socks which disappeared into low top Doc Martins…

The next thing I remember, we were sitting upstairs with everyone else, only talking to each other. We sat across the table from each other, lost in our own bubble of a conversation. At some point everyone else left, leaving behind many empty pitchers of beer. Buzzed and not wanting the night to end, we decided to close the Irish pub down the block, Rosie McCann’s. Every day after we spent together…that was 9 years ago.

To my best friend, wife and love of my existence…Happy Anniversary!!!

Dragon on the Ledge

Losing Part of My Dragonness

A first time emotion is an overwhelming thing. I can’t say I’ve lost a close friend or relative that was part of my life to the point, that when they passed, it truly caused me to feel a true sense of loss. Today was a different story. For some fucking reason a voice in my head keeps saying: “It just a lizard, get over it.” Fuck you. Lupe was more than a lizard. He was a Bearded Dragon for starters. He was a Beardie, he was awesome and he was my friend. One of my best. He rode along with me for 5 years. I dragged him to Seattle with me, scrambled all over town to find him and his brother a food they would eat. I loved him. He supported me, and always looked at me with that “Dude, what are you doing now?” look. He was a true friend and will be truly and sorely missed. I hope it was was just his time and not something I could have prevented. I will always love you Lupe. Thanks for journeying with me for so long….

Dragon on the Ledge