Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Our Kind of Father’s Day

Our younger and older sons surround their dad.

Our younger and older sons surround their dad.

When it comes to Father’s Day celebrations, ours are always low-key. Just like the Mister.

The boys made lovely cards.

The boys made lovely cards.

Our sons first gave their much-loved dad homemade cards.

Hope this gets a lot of use.

Hope this gets a lot of use.

Then the Mister got his big gift, as he was allowed to join the Nike FuelBand cool kids club (e.g., my younger son and I).

And now you don’t!

And now you don’t!

We always see a movie on Father’s Day. This time we opted for “Now You See Me” at our new Santikos Palladium. We liked both the flick and the venue!

That was followed with lunch at Pei Wei, and then everyone doing their own thing at home before we went to dinner at Wings ’n Things (the better to watch the San Antonio Spurs smack the Miami Heat). A fitting ending was our Netflix movie, “Think Like a Man,” which was pretty good.

This was the kind of day guaranteed to satisfy everyone . . . especially the Mister. What a wonderful Father’s Day for one of the luckiest dads in the world!

One-Word Wednesday

The Mister is a proud father with our two sons on Father’s Day.


Father’s Day Fishing

My three guys try their luck at fishing.

My older son gave his dad an unusual homemade card for Father’s Day. On the front, he drew a pair of fishing poles. Inside he wrote: “How about some fishing?”

Fishing with the #1 son?!? That’s almost as rare as an audience with the Queen of England! The Mister is a lucky man, because we all know that the last thing our collegian wants to do is be outside with a fishing pole in his hand. He’d almost rather do chores. Almost.

The brothers fish side by side.

So off we went in the early-evening hours last Sunday to one of the lakes in our master-planned community where the Mister and our younger son like to cast a lure or two occasionally.


At first, all that was caught was a filthy bag by the Mister. It seemed no one would have any luck.

The #2 son got one!

But then our younger son reeled in the first fish of the evening.

Concentrating on removing the hook from the fish’s mouth

And as quickly as he caught it, #2 took the hook out and threw the fish back in the lake. Catch and release is the rule, and we’re all too glad to abide by it (none of us wants to actually clean a fish . . . ick!).

The fisherman and his catch

The Mister was the next to snag scaly success.

The Mister works to get the hook out.

It isn’t long between the catching and releasing (and the photo-taking), but it probably seems like an eternity to the wide-eyed fish.

About to remove the hook from his second caught fish

Before we knew it, the Mister had caught and released another fish.

It’s little, but it counts.

And another (although it was pretty tiny). Seemed fitting that he would catch the most fish, seeing as how it was Father’s Day.

Dad tries to help son.

The Mister, our #2 son, and I were rooting mightily that the older bubba also would catch a fish.

Our older son is a good sport.

Alas and alack, #1, unfortunately, pitched a fishy shutout. But that didn’t matter at all to him really. He wanted to give his dad a special Father’s Day gift of time spent together doing something his dad loves to do; the act of fishing was totally secondary.

I’d say he hooked a whole mess of great memories.

My Quotable Sons

The Mister reads his handmade Father's Day card, while our #2 son watches TV.

In our family, handmade cards reign supreme. It has nothing to do with expense, although have you checked out the cost of greeting cards lately? Yowser! We just prefer that personal touch that comes with hauling out the crayons and colored pencils and cranking out sentiments that truly come from the heart.

Usually my sons create their own cards for Father’s Day, but this time they collaborated on one (where “collaborated” means my #1 son probably was too lazy to come up with his own card).

The front of my sons’ Father’s Day card.

#1 penned the front of the card, which said “Today is a Very Special Day . . .”

The inside of the card is spartan yet poignant.

My #2 son took over for the “Happy Father’s Day!!!” part inside the card. What impressed me the most about this particular project were quotes that my sons chose to include in the card. #2 went with the ever-popular “Thanks for being a great Dad,” attributing it to himself and then signing Michael Scott’s name, because Michael is a quote stealer. Methinks he’s been watching too many episodes of the “Office” lately.

But #1 went in a totally different direction. A lover of nonfiction baseball books, my older son has read more tomes involving the small, white, seamed ball than possibly anyone in the world. Why? Why not! The Mister shares that love of baseball, so it was no surprise that #1 picked a quote from a baseball player, Harmon Killebrew, for his sentiment:

Harmon Killebrew

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’

‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.'”

So are we. And it sounds like we’re doing something right for a change!

A Weepy Father’s Day

Our #1 and #2 sons surround their dad and the gift card they gave him.

I was a weepy mess on Father’s Day yesterday. Part of it was because I’m a sappy, sentimental person—just part of my basic nature. Seeing our sons show their love for their dad just brings me to my knees. Cue the tears.

But several other events of the day also caused me to reach for the Kleenex. First, I found out that someone I know is fighting the battle of her life. This gal, Sue Van Natta, is a wonderful runner. I met her years ago when she helped me overcome foot problems via reflexology, which is her passion. Sue has raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through running, biking, and triathloning. Truly, you couldn’t find a more giving person.

In mid-March, Sue had a terrible headache. She went to the doctor, and a couple days later she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Just like that! The cancer has spread, and she’s had a rough road since then. My thoughts have been with her, her husband, and her twin daughters, and I hope she beats this dastardly foe.

The toys return for the last time.

In the afternoon, our family went to see “Toy Story 3.” It was great! We loved it!! Andy, the little boy who owns the toys, has grown up and is about to leave for college. He has dark hair and blue eyes . . . just like another boy who loved Buzz Lightyear and Woody and will be flying out of our nest in late August.

I definitely was not prepared for an ending that moms of recent high school graduates should see with lots of Kleenex. I won’t spoil it, but it was very moving for me. My #2 son, who was sitting next to me, was laughing at me as I cried, which made me do that awful crying laugh that’s just hideous to see. Sorry for anyone who had to witness that!

Golfer Graeme McDowell hugs his father Ken. (Associated Press photo)

The final tearjerker moment for me was in the evening after Northern Ireland golfer Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open. His dad came out of the crowd, and the hug they shared set my waterworks off once again. It’s nice to see that at any age, guys are glad to have their dads near them.

Here’s hoping that my two guys always appreciate their dad, and that I continue to take photos of the three of them together through tear-filled eyes.

Hooray for Dads and Little Brothers


My favorite guys

My favorite guys (with flash)

Father’s Day always leaves me feeling sappy and sentimental. I feel so happy for my two sons that they have a wonderful father who has been a great role model for them. The Mister misses very few of their events, plays disc golf with them, has coached the #2 son, and has been a stabilizing factor in their lives.

Nonflashed guys

Nonflashed guys

When the #1 son was born 17-plus years ago, the Mister held him tenderly in the hospital. I told him, “We’re in this together. You’re not going to be like my dad or your dad. You’re not going to put work before your kids. So how about you change that first diaper?” Which he did.

The Mister's ice cream cake

The Mister's ice cream cake

The boys decided to reward their dad for always being there for them by buying him an ice cream cake from their favorite ice cream place (yellow cake with better batter ice cream) and making him a slideshow. They drove there themselves and used their own money. Are these finally signs of maturity popping up? I thought there might be some hope until I saw what was written on the cake: “Dad, You’re the Bomb!” Ah, boys will be boys!

Missing my three dads

My dad with his first grandchild

My dad with his first grandchild, the Beck, who is getting married next month.

I especially get sappy and sentimental on Father’s Day, because I miss my dad so much. He died after a four-year battle with leukemia 18-plus years ago, and I think about him every day. I often wonder what he would have thought about his only grandsons. I wish they had gotten to know him and he them. My dad would’ve loved today’s technology, especially digital cameras. I got my love of photography and sense of humor from him; he definitely lives on through me.

Other dads I miss more every day are my stepdad Earl and the Mister’s father, both of whom were two of the kindest people ever. They enriched our lives so much, and my sons are better because they knew both of them. Gone but not forgotten? There couldn’t be a truer phrase when it comes to my three dads.

Little bro dad

My dad and my groovy-looking little brother in 1970.

My dad and my groovy-looking little brother in 1970.

One dad I’m extremely proud of is my little brother, the hotshot Chicago lawyer. My father wasn’t a great dad role model for him, because his father was a terrible one. My dad’s mother died when he was only six years old. My grandfather remarried a single woman who didn’t want kids, so he put my dad and his older sister in foster homes, scarring my dad for life. I always wondered what his life would’ve been like if his mother had lived.

Despite not having someone leading the way for him, my little bro has turned out to be a terrific dad to my two nieces. He’s a cool, calm, and collected cat who always is there for them. I know he enjoyed his Father’s Day at the Cubs game yesterday.

The little bro and I a couple years ago.

The little bro and I a couple years ago.

Oh, and one more thing about my little bro: It’s his 53rd birthday today. Hope you have a wonderful day in your fancy-schmancy law office, dear brother!

Photo Friday: The “Perfect” Camera for Gift-Giving


Nikon D40

Nikon D40

My friend Kim asked me for advice: What kind of camera should she buy for her teenager’s birthday present? With Mother’s Day Sunday and graduation and Father’s Day around the corner, let’s ponder a key question: Is there a “perfect” camera for moms, dads, grads, and anyone having a birthday?

Of course, the answer is no. There’s no perfect camera for everyone, but there are excellent solutions. First, let’s talk category: Point and shoot, fixed zoom, and digital SLR (interchangeable lenses).

Nikon Coolpix S230 point and shoot

Nikon Coolpix S230 point and shoot

Point and shoots: There are lots of good ones, and they’re very-capable cameras if you’re not shooting action. Definitely the handiest of all the camera categories due to their size but also limited in their capabilities for the same reason. You can’t go wrong with just about any manufacturer’s P&S.

Canon Powershot G10

Canon Powershot G10

Nikon Coolpix P90

Nikon Coolpix P90


Fixed zoom: These compact digicams, which Digital Photography Review likes to call “enthusiast cameras,” are a big step up from the lower-end point and shoots. This category includes the Canon Powershot G10 and the Nikon Coolpix P90. They’re more expensive than a conventional P&S ($400-$500), and they can do almost as much as a dSLR. Almost. With their multiple settings (auto, manual, etc.), plenty of megapixels (at least 10), and a good zoom, they’re a great choice for an amateur photographer who wants to do more than just point and shoot. Plus they’re a natural progression for anyone who wants to eventually move up to a dSLR and lessen that more-complicated camera’s learning curve.

Canon Rebel XS

Canon Rebel XS

Digital SLR: Finally, there are the big kahunas, the top of the digital camera food chain: the digital SLRs. Every dSLR, from the least-expensive consumer model to the too-expensive-for-the-likes-of-us pro version, gives photographers great versality and potentially great results. The ability to change lenses from, say, a 50mm prime to a 70-200mm zoom enables you to get the most out of your photography and capture that terrific photo. And the consumer dSLRs, like the Nikon D40 and the Canon Rebel XS, cost just a little more than the fixed zoom digicams at $500-$600, which includes the low-end 18-55mm lens. They can be used on automatic or program while the confidence is building to get more hands-on.

You’ll notice that I’ve only mentioned Canon and Nikon for two of the three categories. That’s because I think they make the best fixed zoom cameras and dSLRs. Which one is better? That’s like the ubiquitous Mac vs. PC debate! The one that’s better is the one that you’ll use a lot! I started with a Nikon D70, because my buddy Deanna had bought one and let me use it. I fell in love with its ease of use (it helps that I have a film SLR background), bought one immediately, and have followed a Nikon upgrade path ever since (moving on to the Nikon D200 and then to my current D300). I have plenty of friends who have been happy with their Canon dSLRs, too. The best advice is to go to a store where you can hold both cameras; one may feel better in your hands than the other.

I’m told all the time that I’m a good photographer because my camera equipment is so good. Nice of people to discount almost 40 years of SLR experience! It’s almost a conundrum: Yes, the photographer needs to have good skills, but it’s almost impossible to take great photos with substandard or the wrong equipment. Tonight I’m going to be shooting an indoor dance show at the #1 son’s high school; I’d hate to try to tell its story with a point and shoot instead of my D300 and my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens. Good photography truly takes good skills and the right equipment.

What’s most important in buying a camera is getting one that you’ll use. The more you use it, the more proficient you’ll become. Experience is so important in getting top-notch photos. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time you pick up your camera.

My answer to Kim is to have her daughter kick in some birthday money and buy a digital SLR. It will give her maximum flexibility and growth, putting her on the road to a rewarding, lifetime photography experience. As for which dSLR, Canon or Nikon, beginner or mid-range? Go to the store and check ’em out—one might just feel perfect!

Speaking of Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms; hope you have a wonderful Sunday that includes either taking pictures or having your picture taken, no matter what camera is used!