Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Another year gone
and not much to report
I'm just not a bold
or embellishing sort

Most of my year was spent
earning a buck
and dreaming of finding
a job that won't suck

I wrote some good stories
or so I've been told
They may become books
but they haven't yet sold

I'm not any wiser
It's sad but it's true
There's practically nothing
I learned that was new

I didn't get famous
I didn't get rich
At least I'm not lying
face-down in a ditch

I stayed out of prison
I stayed deep in debt
I didn't go broke
(Though it may happen yet)

I didn't do anything
shameful or lewd
I didn't tweet pics
of myself in the nude

Or assault a hotel maid
or steal from a granny
or father a child
with the family nanny

I didn't get carried away
in a twister
Or marry a f-ing
Kardashian sister

My children got bigger
so big that it's scary
And one of them even
a little bit hairy

They're healthy and happy
And so is my wife
And that, pretty much,
is what matters in life

So I shouldn't complain
but sometimes I still do
Happy new year to me
Happy new year to you

Friday, December 30, 2011


I would be perfectly happy to eat off paper plates and use paper napkins for the rest of my life--throwing everything away after each meal and avoiding ever having to load or unload the dishwasher.

(I rarely load or unload the dishwasher, but that's not the point.)

I do happen to do laundry sometimes, though, and tonight, as I was pulling the whites out of the dryer, I noticed my Grandmother Tarpley's linen napkins. I remember them from the Christmas dinners of my childhood. I didn't even realize we'd used them for our own Christmas dinner this year, along with Jennifer's grandmother's fine china.

But I noticed them tonight, and it made me smile to think of my Grandmother Tarpley and how she would've loved seeing Samuel and Ethan at 13 and 10, and me and Jennifer still happily married after 21 years, and my mom and dad still happily married after 50.

And that's a good reason to use the fine china and linen napkins now and then, if only to remind ourselves that some things in life are disposable, and some things aren't.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Home for the holidays

My mom and dad are spending Christmas with us in NYC. They brought Samuel back with them from Arizona. His architecture workshop at Taliesin West was a success--here's his academic output: a tree house.

We opened our gifts on Christmas morning with Mom and Dad on the sofa and Jen's parents via Skype on the laptop.

Samuel got a pocket watch, Portal 2 potato science kit, and a shirt that plays music.

Ethan got a computer writing tablet, a new pair of Heelies, and a flying inflatible shark.

On Christmas night Jen and I took my parents to see "Avenue Q." I whispered to Jennifer that Ethan would enjoy it. Then suddenly there was a puppet sex scene, and I whispered, "Probably better that they stayed home."

Here's to family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tarp Street Journal 2011

The holiday photo and newsletter came out pretty good. Not everyone's going to get it, obviously. Maybe had we dressed up as the Kardashians. Alas, I'm a child of the '70s.

Here's a look at some holidays photos from the past...

The newsletter is here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We miss Samuel

Samuel called us this morning from Scottsdale. My mom made him pancakes for breakfast. He's doing fine.

Last night Jen dreamed that Ethan went on a bus by himself to the mall, and she was panicked that he would get lost.

I dreamed that my in-laws took custody of my nephew, and my sister-in-law wanted him back.

Ethan dreamed that he was a back-up dancer for the star of a Disney show, but he wanted both of them to be in the spotlight at the same time.

Funny how our subconscious doesn't simply let us say, "We miss Samuel."

I forgot to ask him what he dreamed about last night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Busy Saturday

Today was Samuel's first airplane trip alone--to Arizona to visit his grandparents and attend an architecture workshop.

We rented a car to take him to the airport. I signed up for the "whatever is available" rental car option from Thrifty, and this was what they had left on a Saturday in mid-December.

So we immediately put the top down.

We dropped Samuel off at his airport gate, then proceeded directly to Jen's favorite place in the world: Target.

Tonight we went to a holiday party at friends' apartment, where the girls were holding a contest to see which dad could do the best combination of handstand, cartwheel, and splits.

Seriously, was there ever really any doubt?

Santa even showed up...

We miss our Samuel, but he's safe and sound in Scottsdale...probably playing Minecraft on the grandparents' computer at this moment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Ethan: "The only thing that makes me feel better about our apartment is watching 'Hoarders.'"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tree

Things I like about getting ready for Christmas:

1. Picking out a Christmas tree.
2. Reading Samuel and Ethan's Christmas lists.
3. Listening to my niece and nephew tell me their Christmas lists over the phone.
4. Eating the cookies that Jennifer and Ethan made tonight.

Things I don't like about getting ready for Christmas:

1. Getting decorations down from the closet.
2. Tree sap.
3. Pine needles.
4. Having to clean up the house in advance of having a cleaning person come clean the house.

Here's our beautiful tree with a slumbering lump of Cocker Spaniel in front of it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Working on the holiday photo...

We didn't get much done this weekend, but we did manage to get some shots taken for our holiday photo--against a green screen on the living room wall. I've got them in Photoshop and we'll see how much progress I make tonight.

It will be an "album cover" theme this year, in case the visual isn't familiar yet. (We've done "Help" and "Abbey Road" in the past.)

Stand by.