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-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Bari graduated.

The ceremony was cool, including inflatable beach balls and an inflatable shark passed and bounced over the heads of the graduates. I don't have a zoom powerful enough on my little camera, but plenty of others do, and we'll get those pictures later.

The after-graduation party was great. Here's me and my tribe.

That's Bari on the far right.

Relatives from all over attended, and it was wonderful to see them again. My ex-father-in-law and I get along well, and we were laughing it up by the grill while we tried to get enough food cooked for everyone. He's a really good guy.

Later, we did a bunch stuff together. Here's Nick on a piggy back ride with me. That's his girlfriend, Ali, with Austin on her shoulders behind us.

And Bari's friends showed up and stayed for food and laughs.

It was a good day. Next stop for her: adulthood.

For about a week, I've been mulling over her life and her future. And with everything happening, I haven't emailed or blogged much, as you might know if you read this site often.

In two months, she leaves. Wow...

Tags: bari | my life
by Brett Rogers, 5/31/2005 7:18:33 PM


My daughter had her last final today. That's it - absent the diploma that will be handed to her on Sunday, she's done.

As she left the house today...

My relationship with my daughter has always been special. I remember when I looked at my wife, Jamie, and told Jamie that she was pregnant and that it was a girl. Jamie didn't know. In fact, it was only a few days after Bari's conception. Later that month when she suspected that it might be true and got a test, she was in fact pregnant. In the hospital eight months later, Jamie sprouted a fever and they took her to the operating room for an emergency C-Section. The nurse looked at me while Jamie succumbed to the general anesthesia and asked me what names we had picked out.

"And if it's a girl?"
"No, that's the girl's name. Bari - with an 'i'."
"And if it's a boy?"
"It's not."
"You had a test? The doctor told you?"
"No. I just know that she's a girl."

The nurse kind of shrugged and went to work with the doctor and 5 minutes later, she confirmed that Bari was born and doing great. Because Jamie was out cold, I was the one who held her for the first 45 minutes of her life. She looked at me and I'm not even sure if she blinked that whole time. I was crying, of course, and talking to her, but it was just me and her in the rocking chair in the 5th floor nursery.

Fast forward nearly 18 years, and here we are today. Bold, vibrant, loving life, and ready to rock the world... that's my daughter. She leaves in a couple of months. I'm glad that I have unlimited long distance.

This summer will be nutty. My son, Aaron, goes up to spend the summer with his mom. Nick will spend some time there too, but how much time is up in the air at the moment. During weekends, I plan to go camping with whichever kids are around. In thinking of that, and since my busy schedule lately hasn't allowed me much time to paint, I did a lunchtime sketch of a guy sitting in front of his tent.

He looks so relaxed. Sounds good to me. But with my boys bouncing around all over me.

Tags: bari | painting
by Brett Rogers, 5/24/2005 9:25:53 PM

Whew - Back!

It turns out that a cable in a box about 1/2 mile from where I live was bad, but it's been fixed, so we have good Internet connection again. And Qwest gave me a $20 refund on my Internet service, so all is well.

While my connection was down, I read some. My daughter hogged my desk, though, so no painting. She had a lot of project work to do for classes. She has 4 days of high school left. That's a mind blower.

Here she is on her first day of kindergarten:

That was a long time ago.

We watched Everwood last night, as we do every Monday. Interestingly, the main characters graduated from high school last night. Thinking of Bari in her cap and gown got me choked up.

And I'm now in my third day of being white sugar free. No more Snapple (there goes my product endorsement), no more soda, which I didn't drink much anyway... all for the best. I'm changing my diet as well. My morning is an orange-banana smoothie. (Oranges are 99 a pound, and bananas are 49 a pound. It doesn't get much cheaper than that. And did I mention that I love my juicer?) Lunches are standard sandwich and carrot fare, or a salad. Dinners are meat and veggies. If I feel like eating at night, I have another orange-banana smoothie. It's filling, and good for me.

Once I make it through a week or so of sugar-free-ness, I'll work on my portion sizes. Which should reduce my size.

In the past, I've lost weight by only doing two things: dropping white sugar and walking daily. That's all I've needed to do. To write that seems so simple. Perhaps it is and I just get distracted with other stupid habits. My foot is still broken, but with the inserts I walk okay. Losing weight will probably help my foot heal more quickly, with less weight on it.

I'll find a scale and track my progress.

Historically, January 1st has been the start of resolutions for people. But I think that's a stupid time to try to change habits. April 1st or May 1st makes much more sense. Most habits that need breaking require some sort of exercise or activity, and January 1st is smack dab in the middle of winter. To make a habit change in the full swing of spring is far more sensible. Anyone care to second the motion? All in favor say "Aye..."

Tags: bari | health | my life
by Brett Rogers, 5/17/2005 8:19:45 AM

Not Quite

I had wanted to release the Graffiti portion of the website last night, but unfortunately, I didn't. After hanging with my kids for a while, I did two computer caricatures for a woman with whom I work (she asked if I would work on something artsy of her children) and then I hit a brick wall called "fatigue." So I lay on the couch, Da Vinci Code in hand and fell asleep reading.

My daughter read the book about a year ago and told me that I need to read it. Then a friend recommended it to me, knowing my religious stance, and so I've started it.

I'm not too far in yet. Langdon has observed the body and just met Ms. Neveu (sp?).

History is the collective point of view of those who best marketed or offered their points of view. It's not necessarily what actually happened. The subjective nature of memory, screened through our biases and experiences, shade our view. As individuals, we're too small to capture "the truth" ourselves.

At this point in history, I think that a lot of people now notice that the version of events given in the media are not necessarily what happened. What they show may in fact be true, but does it best represent the truth? It's an open question. My opinion is that some reporters are good at getting the gist of the facts to us, and others are obscenely prejudiced and too driven by agenda to be trusted. (I did a fairly robust study of press bias last fall during the election and came away with the assessment that the Associated Press has too many reporters who favor the slant of the Democrats - and as I mentioned, some obscenely so, such as Liz Sidoti.)

My daughter has a deep fascination with history. I've never met a high school student so fluent with information about history as she is. For her, the Da Vinci Code proved riveting. Early church history is a murky topic in many respects, but the translated documents from 2nd and 3rd century forward are fairly available on the web for viewing. You can start with Tertullian and gobble up the writings of those involved in early Christianity.

But I'm quite sure that much has been suppressed. What we know today of early church history is what has been allowed to survive.

I don't know that the truth of early history matters much to a person's elemental faith. I don't expect the book to change my own opinions, but like my daughter, I'm fascinated with Dan Brown's grasp of information.

Tags: bari | my life | da vinci code
by Brett Rogers, 3/31/2005 9:48:56 AM