emma’s emeralds / pierced ears

26 04 2008

Freshly-pierced earsAs an early birthday present to Emma, we took her to Claire’s at the mall to have her ears pierced. She has been asking about the possibility of having it done for months now, and we decided that it would make a good birthday present from Mom & Dad. With her birthday falling so close to Memorial Day (the traditional opening of ‘Pool Season’), we decided that we would have the piercing done early so that her ears will have weeks of healing & ‘setting’ before she jumps into a public swimming pool.

Emma’s birth stone is the emerald, so her ears are now sporting a teeny “crystal emerald” – your guess is as good as mine!

Another milestone & rite of passage for Emma Mankin.

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game over, dude

15 04 2008

Lately, I find myself startled at how well, clear & correct Peter’s language skills can be. Last night, he was playing a Blue’s Clues PC game on our old computer. One month ago, he had no mouse skills at all (often trying and failing to control anything). Within a weeks time, he was pointing, clicking and double clicking appropriately. He stepped away from the computer, came over to me & said, “The CD is broken, Dad. The CD is broken”. When I looked over at the computer, the CD drawer was open, and his game was, therefore, interrupted. He was independently playing, using newly-developed skills, interacting appropriately with the game’s prompts, reasoning out the puzzles put forth – AND verbally expressed a problem to me accurately.

Keep going, Peter!
(but stay away from eBay ’till you’re six)





elmo, pooky, and the next generation

11 04 2008

Dave Mankin & Tom MooreWhen I was growing up in Lakewood, New Jersey, my best friend was Tom Moore. Tom lived a few blocks away, was a year younger, and was generally made of ‘completely different stuff’ than I. Therefore, we got along famously. His home was my second home, his brother was my non-related brother, his mom was my other mom, and so on.

After high school, I left the New Jersey Shore – Tom stayed and built his business, married a Jersey Shore girl, and had two sons. As the years rolled by, I saw Tom occasionally, but once I married and started my family in Virginia (and my remaining relatives in NJ had passed away), trips home become scarce.

Casey, Justin, Dave & TomOne does not have to see or spend time with a dear friend often to be close. Tom and his sons came to Virginia last week. College scouting for the oldest son & Washington, DC sightseeing for all were the main reasons for the trip, but it gave Tom & me an opportunity to see each other again, and for me to meet his sons as young men now – not as little boys (as I had last seen them).

Tom got to meet my children as well. Remember the comment about ‘beingTom, Dave, Emma & Peter made of different stuff’? Tom’s family is delightful – raised with different stuff, no doubt. His sons have his wit and charisma – it will take them far.

Justin and Casey are fine young men – and Tom is the same. We laughed as we recounted endless stories and characters from our youth. Although 40 years have passed, the stories and memories were as fresh as if they occurred last week.

It is clearly the quality of a friendship, not the frequency of visits, that define its depth.

Pooky Ports & Prints Membership Card

“Pooky Ports & Prints” is alive & well after all these years!
(don’t ask – you wouldn’t understand anyway – trust me)





bedtime stories

5 04 2008

Emma reads a bedtime story to Peter

It’s a very touching event in my house that happens each night. After hours of loud banter between Emma and Peter, Emma sits in the big chair in Peter’s room and reads him a bedtime story. This is followed by a lullaby and Peter is left alone, where he “reads” a book until he’s asleep.

For 5 minutes, you’d swear you were watching The Waltons.





thrifty typo

4 04 2008

grocery store typoWe have spell checkers built into nearly everything we ever use to enter information via a keyboard. Normally, inaccurate input equals bad results. Remember the phrase from a childhood game of Monopoly, “Bank error in your favor – Collect $200”? This recent purchase at our grocery store must have been the result of a clerk entering the wrong unit price. (I doubt that 4 cents per pound is what they had in mind). We had pork barbecue for days – all for 17 cents!