Sunday, April 30, 2017

More Vegas pics

My brother Brad and sister-in-law Tracy. They've been married since 1985. Through thick and thin. Made more impressive by the fact that I'm sure it's not easy being married to him.

My 21-year-old nephew Nick, who placed 6th in the World Team Trials.

I decided, since I'm losing weight and feeling kinda buff, that we should take our picture by the pool with our shirts off. Mano a mano. Because in my mind I think I look like I'm 35.

Bad idea. He looks like a Greek god and I look like Barney Fife. (He said I should've taken my picture next to Brad instead, which is true.) But Nick will be old too someday, and if he's very, very lucky he will look like me.

While we're showing skin, this is what I looked like at Freestyle Nationals in Vegas 30 years ago.

I just gotta work on the abs a bit.

Last but not least, this is my mom and dad. They are the best parents in the world.

I taught them everything they know about raising difficult children. They taught me everything I know about unconditional love.

They got me through the weekend in one piece. I am grateful.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


I'm in Vegas for the weekend. My parents invited me to come and watch my nephew Nick compete in the Greco-Roman Wrestling World Team Trials. That's him in the middle.

More than anything else it was an opportunity to be with my family, and just feel loved. That's my mom and dad on the right, and my sister-in-law Tracy next to me on the left.

This is my brother Brad...

We had an intense sibling rivalry for 25 years. He never knew about it. I am glad to be here with him. I am glad to hear his advice and know that he cares about me.

Selfie by the pool...

This was just the warm-up. I have to do a shirtless photo tomorrow with Nick, flexing our biceps, like every photo he posts on Facebook. Of course, he's 21. A side-by-side with him may not be the best idea.

These are the people that I love. I'm glad I came.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

There are flowers in the window boxes

There are people on this earth that I love. I need to make sure they know.

That's not a metaphor for flowers and window boxes.

I'm just thinking out loud. Lots of random thoughts and feelings.

I feel punched in the gut, hit by a train. I feel like so many things in life are out of my control, and nothing is permanent and nothing is solid, nothing can be counted on now, not even the big things that moved in sync with the moon and the sun and the planets and never wavered, and I counted on those things like I counted on the sun coming up.

And yet I feel blessed. I can be lost in self-absorption and pity and see a toddler, happy as a clam, and I just smile. There's so much beauty in the world amidst all the shit. I'm not the only one on this planet. 

And the sun keeps coming up, goddammit.

I need to make sure the people I love know that I love them.

I need to do a better job of that.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Three Grumpy Trucks

How cool is it to have two book announcements in two weeks? Who do I think I am? Bill O'Reilly?

This book follows the same story structure as Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!--the child protagonist is the adult, and his tantrum-throwing trucks (robots) are the kids. Get it? It's a metaphor.

Guy is going to be a great illustrator for this. He is known for animals, but I love the way he gives them toddler-like exuberance. The three grumpy trucks are just toddlers, after all. How great are these illustrations?

I want to frame this one and hang it on my living room wall:

And yes, he has drawn at least one vehicle in his life:

I'm excited.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Library Books Are Not For Eating

It started as an idea last February called "Dinosaur Librarian."

I wrote the first several drafts in prose. The protagonist was named Mr. Saurus.

14 drafts and 9 months later, it was a rhyming story starring Ms. Bronte. Much better name, don't you think?

And it's a story that's made for rhyme.

It sold in the first round of submissions.

Illustrator is Matt Hunt--here's a link to his work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

You know who is great?

My Aunt Donna.

She is one of the greatest people on this earth.

I talked to her on the phone yesterday, and she just made me feel like the world is good. She just knows what to say.

I'm blessed to have a terrific family. 

I'm sure a therapist would say, "Dig a little deeper about your family. You're blocking something out."


That was a fart sound, in case you're wondering.

(Listen, no offense to therapists, but the reason they became therapists is that they were trying to gain some insight into why they're screwed up.)

But let's not go down that rocky road of negativity.

We're here to praise Donna. Thank you, Aunt Donna, for being in my life. 

Roll tape...

Oh, oh, more...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Today sucked

I'll be honest. It sucked.

There is nothing you can do about certain things. You can't change other people.

And the funny thing is, when bad shit happens, you realize how lucky you are.

Truly. You count your f-ing blessings, and thank God your kids don't have Leukemia, weren't hit by a bus today, weren't gunned down in a school shooting, weren't born in Syria.


First thing I did this morning was open the refrigerator, see the unopened carton of milk that was about to expire, and think about Samuel, who used to drink a half gallon a day. Now no one drinks the milk. Or the Hershey's syrup.

I made myself a glass of chocolate milk and thought about how wonderful Samuel is, and how lucky I am to be his dad.

I have two book announcements coming out this week. 2018 is going to be a big year. I like to downplay it, but writing picture books means the world to me. I am the luckiest man in the world to write picture books.

It was 60 degrees and sunny. I went for a quick run on my lunch hour. I ran a half-mile in 2:54. All this stress has made me lose weight. The happy side effect is that I'm in pretty good shape again.

This afternoon I saw the first Mister Softee truck of the year. I thought about Samuel again. I had a black-and-white milkshake.

Tonight I talked to my mom and dad. Can I tell you what I know about my life? I am loved unconditionally. 

Can I tell you something else? Samuel and Ethan are loved unconditionally.

I am sad, but I am blessed.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Questions from a little girl

This video makes me smile. ("Why do trees just stand there?") And it makes me cry. ("How does life live?")

The meaning of our lives is ultimately about other people. 

It's about the love that we give our children, and the love that they will someday give to their own children. Love is like water. It is ancient and eternal and it just keeps recycling from generation to generation. We can't even possess it. We're just the custodians.

The thing about love is that it's so magical and wonderful, and yet, if you want to be scientific about it, it's just neurons and chemicals. Maybe a little stardust. Maybe it's the stardust that makes it magical.

I'm sad about some things in my life that I can't talk about here, not on a blog. I can't make sense of some things, and they've got me in a real funk.

"Hopefully" is a word I use a lot lately.

Hope and love are two good words to live by.

Tell someone you love them. And have hope. That's all we can do.