February 26, 2015

Dadventures #14 - Newborn Pictures

Take a picture, it lasts longer couldn't be more true when dealing with kids. They grow up so fast, change so quickly, and tend to be stubborn when you ask them to do something again, simply so that you can photograph them. Within a week of my daughter's birth, a newborn photographer arrived at our house with tons of adorable accessories to help capture our newest bundle of joy in all her glory. Too bad she decided to sleep through the whole session. Though we were initially disappointed, I'll take snoozing over screaming seven days a week. As the session went on, wardrobes were changes, lighting was tweaked, and accessories were added. And, of course, in my corny and silly way of thinking, I decided to bring in some additional "daddy" accessories to really show off my creative side. Unfortunately they didn't make the cut. I had the bright of idea of placing the child in a baseball glove. I also had a mini helmet and mini cheesehead I thought would make for an adrorable "sports-nut-in-training" picture. Initial disappointment once again took over my mentality, but a clearer mind and the arrival of the beautiful photos made the disappointment vanish.

February 24, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #129 - Movie Tournaments

Young men can be stubborn, indecisive and immature. However, on occasion, they can also be creative and display ingenuity. While living with two other creative souls, an epic moment of creative clarity was reached. Being sports enthusiasts, my roommates and I showed executed a very scientific method of determining what movie to watch that was sure to end all debates and lead to a decision all involved could live with: the movie tournament. Interested individuals would choose a variety of movies.  Then, at random, the movies would square off against one another with the majority advancing to the next level.  Basically, this was March Madness for movie watching. Angst was felt when a person's own movie choices faced each other.  Agony incurred as the final selection of an individual was voted off and thrown into the DVD abyss. Pure joy and anticipation felt by all as film after film was eliminated, leaving nerve-racking decisions ahead. However, as the final movie was laid to rest and the victor remained, it was crucial that all voting participants stay honest and abide by the predetermined rule that all decisions were final. The movie tournament meant nothing if fidelity wasn't adhered to throughout the process.

February 23, 2015

Dadventures #13 - A New Pet???

Bringing a baby home to an already established zoo was and continues to be adventurous. For a handful of years, the animals had sized up each other to form a hierarchy. Ozzie, the eldest housepet, was king before baby, and tries to remain on the throne to this day. Two other felines, apathetic a best, are in the midst of a continual hide and seek game with us. Nugget, the first dog to enter the fray, took an instant interest in the child. He even reluctantly gives up his spot on my lap when the child requests it. . Though he is by far the biggest of the animals, Brewzer, is the most easily spooked. He is genuinely interested in what is going on, as long as he is a safe distance from the action. Winston is a tortoise. As long as he gets fresh lettuce, he could care less what is going on.  The animal/child relationship grows daily. Canine wariness vanished as soon as they realized a baby was a constant source of snacks. The cats are fine as long a s a tail grab can be avoided. The turtle still gets his lettuce, so he is all good. 

February 19, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #128 - UPS Dreams. . . or Nightmares

People say your dreams can tell you a lot about you. I can only imagine what my two main childhood dreams say about me. Both are strangely connected by a UPS truck and tragedy. In my early adolescence, one dream dealt with the regular wiffle ball games I played with my pop. We would be playing a game when all of a sudden, a large siren sounded. The siren meant the UPS truck was coming and we needed to rush to my front stoop to safety. It was no ordinary truck. It barreled down my street with angry eyes and gnashing teeth. The dream always ended the same. I made it my stoop just to turn around and see my dad being swallowed up by the monster truck. My second dream occurred regularly during my high school years. My algebra teacher, who was a pizza delivery man over summer, randomly delivers a pizza to my door, but doesn't stay to receive payment. I call out to him to get his attention only to see him turn around and get hit by a UPS truck. UPS's slogan is "What Can Brown Do for You?" I guess my answer would be terrify.

February 18, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #127 - Musical Influences

Music has been and will always be an influential part of my life. That being said, not all music "influences" my behavior in the best ways. I might have been guilty of singing inappropriate booty-related songs in the presence of my infant daughter while changing diapers. I might have taken popular songs and changed lyrics to connect with whatever activity activity I am engrossed in at the moment. FYI- my wife and I have an entire album of home improvement parodies. Speaking of my wife, she will probably be the first to inform my reading audience of my wonderful ability of absolutely kiling a song by singing, humming, and/or whistling it (mostly off key) over and over as I meander through the house. My high school baseball buddies know my affinity of Europe's Final Countdown. Anyone who has attended a wedding with me knows of my addiction to Darude's Sandstorm. In either of these case, first, I apologize. Secondly, I plead the fifth to my behavioral reactions to these songs being played. Lastly, I look forward to the next time either of these absoloute gems are played in my presence. For your sake, I hope you aren't around.

February 17, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #126 - Retirement Party Emcee

I've been told I am full of energy. I've also been told I am very positive. Maybe these qualities led to my invitation to be the emcee at retirement dinners for my teaching colleagues.  I, of course, turned this opportunity into a chance to roast my peers and even embarrass myself in the process. One year, I wore multiple layers of shirts and stripped each one off to reveal a new shirt which represented the retiree in some way. One year, I did a similar thing with pants. Silly poems, wacky songs, and occasional jabs at audience members aside, I was honored to be chosen to lighten the mood of the crowd and show my appreciation for fellow teachers.  I remember the "crap" poem we recited for one teacher and revealing my teddy bear t-shirt and American flag pants for another. Planning these bits is stressful, though delivering them is a ton of fun, even when I slip up along the way. With all the embarrassment I've been able to deliver to others, I can only imagine what could be in store for me when it is my turn to hang up the lesson planner and call it a career.

February 16, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #125 -Dress Up Day Disaster

I missed just a handful of school days my educational career. When I was absent, my return was often memorable for the wrong reasons. I missed a Tuesday during a special themed-week where every day was a special dress up day. On Wednesday, it was dress like your future job day, at least I thought it was. I put on my full little league uniform which was bright yellow that year. I even wore my stirrups and spikes.  I was so excited I even accessorized and brought my bat and wore eye black to really stand out.  Boy, did I ever. You see, that week, I missed Tuesday due to illness.  I missed dress like your dream job today and instead came to school dressed like a ballplayer on dress up in your finest day. As my peers came to school in suits and ties and beautiful, ornate dresses, I showed up ready to take an at bat. This embarrassing mix-up was magnified as Wednesdays was chapel day meaning my faux pas would not be seen by just my classmates and surrounding classrooms.  Rather, I stood out like a banana in a sea of suits in our school-wide chapel service.

February 15, 2015

A Reader's Review

Book 4 of 2015 was certainly the longest. At 430+ pages, The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda was a delightful look back at how Brew City came to be. Being a homer and a history enthusiast, there was a special place in my heart for this book even before I opened it up. However, once I did get started, it didn't take long before wrapping up. It put the pieces of Milwaukee's local history together like a 1,000 piece puzzle. Little by little in a  precise and careful manner. From morphing marshland into manufacturing or Socialism into segregation, this book documented the highlights and low lights of my town in an unbiased way. I know have a better connection to many of the street names I travel on regularly, understand some of the "big players" in Milwaukee's development, and have more of an appreciation for this city now than I have ever had before.

February 9, 2015

Classroom Zoo #23 - It Ain't What It Used to Be

"That must be so much fun!" is what I often hear when I let people know I am a kindergarten teacher. And yes, while it is a blast, it is a job. Kindergarten is definitely not what it used to be. Rest time. . . not so much. Play time. . .as much as we can. Curricular responsibilities. . .of course. Assessments. . .well, I'll leave my comments to myself. My classroom has an open door policy and I encourage anyone to come in anytime to see what we are doing and lend a helping hand. While people have taken advantage of this when they have the opportunity, I have had parents and family members (on more than one occasion I might add) tell me what can’t come back. After my initial disappointment and confusion, they provide their reasoning. This is not the kindergarten I know. This is not the kindergarten I remember. I can only agree, but as they say, times. . .they  are a changing. Everyone involved with the educational process has higher and sometimes overwhelming expectations. This includes students, families, administrators, and teachers. So yes, while kindergarten is fun, it certainly isn’t what it used to be.

February 5, 2015

Discovering Dargatz #124 - Mistaken Identity

Over the years, people have told me I resemble someone else.  I've been likened to Adam Sandler and former Brewers southpaw Doug Davis. Oddly enough, I've also been told I look like a principal of mine, though he is African American. These mistaken identities started at a young age. Apparently, I looked like an elementary school chum named Patrick. Our similarities ended there as I was certainly a teacher's pet and he tended to be a goofball. I was no means innocent, but the shenanigans I engaged in in grade school paled in comparison to his track record with teachers. Unfortunately, those personality differences didn't save me as one of our third grade teachers often confused us and tended to confuse herself in the process. She would yell at Patrick, but called him Peter. Similarly, she would sent me away at times because students tattled on Patrick and she thought I was Patrick. On one occasion, she seemed to be so confused that she didn't know who to chide and both Patrick and I got sent out of the room without really ever figuring out why we were in trouble and what either of us did in the first place.