Archive for the ‘Dante’

Censorship in pre-K

March 19, 2010 By: nooccar Category: Books, Dante, Parenthood, School

Recently Claire and her classmates were asked what their favorite books are. Claire said her favorite book is “Dante’s Journey”, which is a cute little children’s book we purchased for her in Florence, Italy last summer. It’s a cute little children’s book where Dante’s a little boy and goes through this land with Virgil, his doll. One level includes people who lie and what happens, and so there are these positive messages. She was excited to take this book to class, and at the end of the day, I asked her how it went. She said she wasn’t allowed to share her book “because it’s too scary.” She told me that her teacher said that, then i wondered if her teacher bothered to actually read the book. Perhaps she just saw the darker images or the child walking through a land that was depicted to be hell. Her teacher had the book put away where the kids could not see it.


So now we censor in kindergarten? It’s a child’s book, for God’s sake. It explains why you should not be greedy, why you should not lie, etc… It shows consequences. It’s not the original Dante’s Inferno (which they do teach in schools), so why censor? The kids read Where the Wild Things Art (at this age and younger) with their monsters gnashing their terrible teeth, etc…

So far I have kept my mouth shut, chose my battles and took the book home. But it still bothers me. How much censorship shall my daughter and I go through in her education over the next 13 years?

Jogging the Canal

October 21, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Dante, Exercise, health, Leisure, Pets

Jogging the Canal, originally uploaded by nooccar.

Every so often I think (read: I know) I need to exercise, and recently I became friends with an exercise freak. She bugged me (read: ecouraged me) all of the time to get out there, but part of my problem (read: excuse) is that it’s damn hot in the summer. Well, two things happened recently. 1) It’s cooler in the fall/winter. 2) She began teaching an online jogging class.

I know how funny that sounds, and I’ve gotten some odd looks. Well tonight I began my class officially. I did a run through last week with the dog, which I loved. All weekend I promised my daughter, Claire, that I would take her on a long walk up to the park where there’s a pond. I figured we could walk the canal after that and then come home the same way the dog and I walk.

Claire wanted to bring her wagon to carry her water and doll. Dante hates the wagon and won’t ride it it. Claire won’t really ride in it either since she’s pretty active. She runs a lot and never gets winded too. I ended pulling that damn thing 2.5 miles while she walked the dog, ran around, and had a good time at the park. I finally convinced her to let me pull her when we hit the highway on the other side of the canal, but as soon as we were off the frontage road, she was out of the wagon and running down the sidewalk with the dog. Even thought it was kinda fun, I think next time the daughter and wagon get to stay home.

Christopher Creek ’08 Video

October 11, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Dante, Leisure, Parenthood, Travel

Christopher Creek camping

October 10, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Dante, Leisure, Parenthood, Pets, Travel

CampingcollageMy father isn’t the most social or warm person in this world, so the times in my youth where he was focused more on his children were those memories that held tight in my mind. Two large parts of this included camping/fishing and skiing. He’s already been dragging Claire off to the slopes for two years now, but we’re not typically anywhere near Pittsburgh in the milder months.

This became my quest. Take Claire camping & fishing. I really miss the GREEN of nature from my youth, so anything to get out of the desert was great for me. We’ve just not gotten around to taking her and when she was younger she was too young.  Her babysitter had been up to Christopher Creek, and the photos she posted online were great. I was ready to go!

Last week we headed north, and we were impressed at how close some of this beautiful nature really was to us. It only took 90 minutes to get to Christopher Creek campground under the Rim. The forest ranger told us it may snow that night, and the temperature would be in the low 40s at best. I’d packed the car, and realized we didn’t really bring coats, hats or gloves. Ooops.

Claire was dressed in an old pair of jeans, Merrell shoes I’d bought her, a Grand Canyon sweatshirt we rummaged from day care, and my Smart Wool cap. She ran around the campsite while we unpacked and put up the tent. I was eager to get to the creek for some fishing, and the ranger didn’t really gave a good idea of where to fish. We decided we’d walk down creek and look for a spot. The four of us (Dante too!) headed down the creek. I had the fishing stuff, and Donna had the kid. Dante was a real good sport about walking over rocks and through water. We found a hole around the creek bend and dropped our lines. Donna took some photos of me teaching Claire how to fish with the new pole I bought her. Donna and Dante sat against some trees so Donna could read while we fished. I enjoyed myself, and Claire was relatively and surprisingly quiet. She didn’t really dig the whole fishing thing because we didn’t catch anything.

At dusk we headed back to cook some hotdogs and marshmallows. Donna made up a fire and we unlocked the food from the truck (bear & elk are common in this area). Claire wasn’t really into the whole idea of Smores, but she liked the marshmallows. After a bit, Claire announced she was ready for bed. Donna took her into the tent, and Claire went right to sleep. Donna beat me in a game of Continental before we headed into the tent ourselves.

When we moved to AZ we bought this perfect little "tent in a bag", which was perfect for two skinnier newlyweds. Now that there are four of us and we’re thicker, this tent was squished! It’s 6′ X 6′, and I quickly realized that I need a new tent. I didn’t sleep well and was up at 6AM. We cooked coffee in a french press and boiled water for oatmeal before deciding to hike down the creek a few miles. We packed up a backpack with jackets, an axe, tons of water, snacks, a compass, etc… and off we walked. I had Dante and Donna had Claire. We found a few people who pointed us towards a scenic walk south along the creek. The weather was beautiful even if they now called for rain, and after about 2 1/2 miles we climbed onto a huge rock to have a nice lunch.

One thing that was a bit of an event was that Claire would not go to the bathroom in "the hole" (outhouse), so we were a little concerned she wouldn’t "go" until we got home in the next day. After modeling what she needed to do, she finally went! It was really funny, but after that first time, for the rest of the trip she’d just drop trou wherever she was! Later on a trail, near a road, she just began pulling down her pants to pee!

After our nice lunch, we walked back up the creek, grabbed our gear and drove out toward the general store. The cashier pointed us up the Rim to Woods Canyon Lake, and she said they’d stocked the lake with trout. As we rolled up to the lake, the clouds rolled in. I tried to get Claire to fish some more, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Donna, on the other hand, saw some crayfish (the call ’em crawdads here!) in the lake. She grabbed the net and began catching crayfish, which she wanted me to use to fish. We didn’t really catch anything and eventually it began to pour. My rain coat was in the tent back at camp, but I wanted to catch my kid a fish so I stood there fishing in the rain while my women waited under a pine tree.

We were all wet, and I didn’t bring Claire clean socks or panties! The nice woman in the store found Claire some socks in the back, and we bought some dry wood. Back at camp the rain had dissipated somewhat, so we began dinner while I dressed me and Claire in our rain suits. I mostly put my rain pants on so I could sit down! We threw some corn in the fire, roasted some dogs and sat soaking went and happy for a few hours. We were soaking wet, and that night the tent felt wetter than ever.

The next morning Donna was up packing at 6AM, and we were off to Phoenix at 7AM to get home in time for Claire’s first bowling league. 


September 19, 2006 By: turtlegirl Category: Dante

Lately Dante (our dog) has been trying to join Devon and me in bed.  Tonight, Devon went to sleep earlier than I.  When I came in later with the dog, Dante jumped up and defiantly laid down in the middle of the bed, butt dangerously perched by Devon’s head. 

I asked the dog, "What is wrong with you lately?  Are you frisky?  Why do you want to lay in bed with us?"

No, he didn’t answer.  Dante just put his head down and looked up at me with cliched eyes.  I responded:  "Fine.  Just don’t touch my pillow.  When I come back your ass better not be near my face!  Do you like it when ass is in your face?"

It was then that I realized I lost the argument.

Back home and back to work

July 24, 2006 By: turtlegirl Category: Adams, College, Dante, House, Leisure, Pets, Pittsburgh, Travel, Work

Things will never be the same again.  Not that they ever could be, but I am occasionally a dreamer.  Especially when I’m being lazy and it is easier to dream about something than to actually do it.

But to imitate Devon, I digress.  Last week, Devon and I returned from a wonderful two week vacation in Pennsylvania.  It was relaxing and joyful.  The weather was wonderful.  Only two humid days and one day of rain.  (Athough Devon would have loved the weather even if it had rained each day).

Mini-trips to Conneaut and Warren were made to visit relatives.  Philly relatives made the trek to PGH at the latter part of our vacation.  We packed the time between trips by getting a mani/pedi (me and mom), attending my 11 year high school reunion, seeing Pirates of the Carribean 2 AT THE THEATER, visiting the zoo, going to the mall, celebrating Meghan’s 25th birthday, taking a Ducky Tour of the city and doing a few other random things.  Claire had a great time with her peeps and learned to speak a few new words – all of which are acceptable at daycare, so no damage has been done – yet!

We returned Sunday afternoon after a day of travel to 94 degree temperatures.  No, not outside (it is over 100 in AZ right now).  The AC at our house broke while on vaca and we had to vacate and stay with Ryan, Laura and Emma.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your hospitality!!  Devon and Claire battled it out in the heat temporarily on Monday while the AC guy replaced the transformer and wiring.  Good news – it didn’t cost too much.  Better news – AC is now working.  Woo-hoo!

While Devon and Claire were home, I spent my first day back at work.  Now considering that my job is the same, it shouldn’t be too different, right?  Wrong.  Gail is gone!  :(….  (I literally cried about this many times since she announced her retirement in May).  Now Jim is in.  OK, Jim is a nice guy, but he is not Gail and I quickly note MANY differences.  It has been a rough week back at work and I am now crossing my fingers, legs and arms that I’ll make it through the year.  Same job, different boss actually makes the job very different when your title is Administrative Assistant.  Your job is to assist the boss, so the actual person in the position has a HUGE effect on your job.  Well, I guess I’ll survive.  If you want more details, you’ll have to ask me in person because I don’t want to pull a dooce.

Oh Dante, Dante, where for art thou?

April 12, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Dante

Ever since our Oscar Party, Dante has slept in the room with us. Last night Donna called him into bed after sitting on our butts in front of the telelvision for way too long. She headed into bed before me. It irks me when she turns out all the lights and makes me find my pajamas in the dark. The next morning my alarm went off at 5AM and I got Claire from the nursery. After I was about ready to head to work and Claire was fed and dressed, I heard….

"Something’s wrong…"
"What’s wrong?"
"Dante. Where is he?"
"Dunno…He’s usually under our feet in the mornings."
"Check the bed room again" she suggested as she whistled for him.
There was no dog. My heart skipped, and I was going to check the back yard while wondering if I had too much wine and left him out all night.

As I moved toward the sliding door, "Hey Devon, check the office first."
I turned on my heel and walked down the hall before turning the knob. Immediately Dante bounded from the room, as if saying "Hey idiot, I just wanted to check to see if Auntie M and Uncle Jon were still here with Jasper."

I half laughed and guffawed, as I called out "He’s here. Just wanted to spend the night in the office alone reading.

Nether Regions

April 01, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Dante, Friends, Pets

I wish I had the kind of job where I can wear jeans daily. Of course the only person I know who has that kind of luxury is my best friend, Dan, who is permitted to wear cargo shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops every single day if he so chose. His work even has Hawaiian shirt Fridays. Now don’t get me wrong, I can wear jeans on Fridays and sometimes slip a pair in on a Wednesday or the rare “teacher workday”. But usually it’s some other kind of pant.

So I am living vicariously through my daughter and dress her in denim whenever I can. My wife thinks I should dress more “professional” and now she sometimes complains when I put Claire in jeans several days in a row, to the point last week that Claire was required to wear stretchy purple pants and a pink shirt to day care. She must’ve disliked the outfit as much as I did since when I picked her up they said half way through the day she pulled her pants off and ran (read: crawled) around in her diaper and t-shirt.

Liza’s son, Trevor, is a little older than Claire and he’s huge. His dad’s pretty tall and he will be like him. So Liza is teaching him different words, like “caca” and the other day he came hobbling into their living room (more than likely without his pants). And he pointed to the back of the house while something that sounded like a guttural “cccccc” came out of the recesses of his throat. Eventually his dad followed him back to Trevor’s brother’s bedroom where there was a pile of crap in the center of the carpet. Instead of picking it up and carrying it deliberately to the toilet to flush, so Trevor could learn the lesson, he chucked it in the trash.

Now I don’t expect Claire to crap everywhere and sure hope she doesn’t ever do that (of course, the ferrets think this is their single goal in life, but that’d be a whole ‘nother post), but you never know what it’s like with little kids in the dead of a fast approaching summer. Just yesterday the bank sign said 80 and Donna still wraps Claire in warm fleece hats to cover her ears, just in case they get infected for the umpteenth time. But soon enough our driveways will be hot enough to fry eggs, and I will be having my black lab shaved more frequently by the local groomer who pays close attention to his nether regions, much like Claire and Trevor and all of the ferrets.

A girl and her dog

March 21, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Dante, Pets

Did I mention that we have a black Lab named Dante. Now he’s
no Chuck but he sure is smiley and licky. He and Claire are the bestest of
friends, much like Jake and I were when I was little. When we bought him his
name at the shelter was Nicholas. Now who the hell calls his dog Nick? Surely
not us. We’re both "D"s and I think we know every single Dan in the
entire central-Arizona so suddenly Donna says "he looks like a Dante"
and so be it. He becomes Dante, which is kind of ironic because Dante means
"devil" and Nick is a name associated with Satan. Of course he
doesn’t sacrifice rats with wings who crap on the roofs around our house and
make hooting sounds so that my father-in-law swears that there are owl in the
middle of Suburbia, but he sure does lick. Always has. And Claire loves it. I
mean eventually she will date a boy and God forbid they will make out someday,
but she sure is practicing with Dante. So here’s a picture of him for good


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