Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sam's Hair

Every weekday morning is a vortex of four people trying to wake up, shower, dress, eat and leave the house for work and school.  I've been sick the last 6 days so I'm a little slower than usual but getting on the road by 7am is key to beating a bunch of traffic.

I was finishing up my dressing with about 10 minutes to go this morning and Sam came in the room with hair brush in hand asking that I help him fix his wildly crazy hair.  He had showered after basketball practice the night before and went straight to bed.  He has a lot of hair and is nearing his next scheduled haircut on Saturday.  That stuff on his head was going all over the place.  It actually looked cute to his father who thinks he looks adorable almost 99.9 percent of the time.

I was in a hurry and said, realizing their was no quick fix, "you look great the way it is" and went back to getting ready.  He went back into the bathroom and I realized that this wasn't about what I thought about his hair, it was what he thought and how he felt he would be looked upon at school that day.  I remembered when I was roughly his age that I was very worried about my hair and then in my 20's and 30's I was pretty comfortable and now I'm worried about it again, the lack of it that is.

I fortunately recognized my mistake of brushing off a serious issue to him, put down what I was doing and went into the bathroom where he was trying to brush out a giant bush of completely dry hair.  I grabbed a towel, put it around his neck and shoulders and dropped his head towards the sink where we doused his head with a whole lot of water.  With the head all wet again, we brushed it into a state where he liked what he saw and it wouldn't make him self conscience or uncomfortable all day.  He has a girl friend now and stuff like this is only going to get more important.

He didn't complain when I said I wouldn't help him at first but I know he was happy that I took the time to find a solution with him.  It's the little things you do to build that bond that will last forever, it's being at the game, watching the practice, helping with homework, honestly answering a tough question, watching a movie together, falling asleep and waking up down the hall from each other.  He has likely forgotten all about this but I'm pretty sure that the 5 minute investment in time will payoff in spades for the next 30-40 years.  

Monday, February 25, 2013


I was able to get to Schaumburg for the uncle Denny's visitation on Sunday and funeral this morning. It was a quick trip but I'm glad I got to say good bye and hang with my parents, aunt and a few second and third cousins. Funerals are a good place to re-connect with the people still here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mary Carpenter

Mary Margaret (Diedrich) Carpenter, 94, of DeKalb, Illinois, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

Born May 26, 1918, in DeKalb, the daughter of Fred and Clara (Driscoll) Diedrich, Mary married Oliver Arthur “Ollie” Carpenter on April 18, 1942, at St. Mary Catholic Church, DeKalb.

In her early 20s, Mary took on a six-month temporary assignment at IDEAL Industries. This turned into a 40-year career in its trust and accounting departments. Mary loved her work experience and often spoke fondly of her co-workers and the company.

She met Ollie at a dance at the Sycamore Armory. Over the next year, they formed a strong love and friendship that was the basis for a 68-year marriage. Ollie was the “front man” in their relationship, but behind the scenes Mary was the organized and strong partner who kept things on track.

For many years, Mary and Ollie made their home on Delcy Drive in DeKalb, where lifetime friendships were made as they and their neighbors, all young couples, painted, planted, and raised families. In 2002, they moved to Oak Crest, where Mary again made a warm and comfortable home for them.

Mary’s interests were gardening, needlepoint, traveling and dancing. She was a parishioner at St. Mary Catholic Church in DeKalb her entire life and served in many volunteer capacities for the parish. Her faith was very important to her and she lived the tenets of the church. She also was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America, the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Auxiliary and the Oak Crest Red Hat Society. She is survived by her brothers, Loras and John (Donna); many nieces, nephews and extended family, as well as too many friends to count.

She was predeceased by her husband, Ollie, in 2011; brothers, Robert and Arthur; sister, Eileen; and numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews.

Dennis Carpenter

Dennis A. Carpenter, 71, of Huntley and formerly of Schaumburg and Arlington Heights. 
He was born Sept. 26, 1941, in Sycamore, Ill., to Gladys and LeRoy Carpenter and died Feb. 18, 2013, at Sherman West Court in Elgin after a lengthy battle with a rare brain disease. He married Carole M. Carpenter, nee Lundeen, on Aug. 7, 1965, in Rockford, Ill. 
He graduated from Sycamore High School in 1960 and Augustana College in 1964, received his Master's Degree at Northern Illinois University in 1965 and his Doctorate of Education at Vanderbilt University in 1981. Dr. Carpenter worked in school administration his whole career; in Wheeling/Buffalo Grove School District 21, as a principal and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, as the Superintendent of Schools in Harrisburg, Ill., and in Park Ridge School District 64 as a principal and Director of Business before retiring in 1994.
Survivors include his wife Carole M. Carpenter; brother Marshall and sister-in-law Carolyn Carpenter of Wayzata, Minn.; nephews Jeffrey Carpenter of Hopkins, Minn., and Mark Carpenter of Alexandria, Va., and niece Rachel Carpenter of Orono, Minn., and their families.

He was preceded in death by his parents, the late Gladys and LeRoy Carpenter; mother-in-law Viola Lundeen and brother-in-law Lyle Lundeen.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sherman West Court for the compassionate care given to Dennis for the past eight years. 
Published in the Northwest Herald on February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two Carpenters

Mary Carpenter died last night from complications from a recent fall.  She was my great Aunt and the boys great, great Aunt I guess.  We only visited her and Oliver once with the boys but they enjoyed seeing the littlest Carpenters.  Oliver died a little more than a year ago.  They were both great people, pretty much like an extra set of Grandparents to me, Jeff and Rachel.  They didn't have any kids so they treated us like we were their own.  Mary left a voice mail on the machine a few days ago that I just picked up this weekend.  I don't always check our home voice mail that often and when I got it, it was too late to call back.  Her message was simple, she said "take care of each other"  We will and she will be missed.

My uncle Dennis Carpenter proceeded her in death by two hours last night.  My Dad's only brother who like Mary and Oliver, didn't have any kids.  My Aunt Carole has been dealing with Alzheimers taking him away for over a decade.  The boys never met him because he was not really capable of meeting them back when we were in DeKalb, where this picture was taken.  I realized I don't even have any digital pictures of him and will have to pull out the photo album to get some images.  I remember Denny always had a big laugh and keen interest in what we were doing.  I'm glad he's at peace now. The disease he had was horrendous.  He too will be missed.

Tough day for the Carpenter clan but a good time to reflect on two wonderful people. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Birthday Time for LD and GD

Dinner and some cake for Gil's birthday. Linda's is next week.

Presidents Day

Took a quick trip down to the Roosevelt, MLK and Jefferson Memorials at the tidal basin this morning. Grandma and Grandpa hasn't seen the MLK memorial and the boys hadn't seen any of them. It was a nice, crisp morning with brilliant sun shine. A "golden day" as my great aunt Mary once described to me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jump Shot

Sam is getting a better looking shot off each week. Presidents' Day tomorrow, got the day off with very little to do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birthday Dinner

The boys had a rough game today, losing by a dozen point and only scoring 6 and 8. They worked hard all the same. We had a nice grandpa and grandma dinner in Del Ray and then hit the ice cream shop across the street.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Dinner out in Shirlington with the crew. Nice Valentines Day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Sam has had a couple little knee twists at Saturdays game and again at tonight's practice. No real swelling but it has scared him a bit. Not sure if their is a real problem or he's afraid of turning out like me. I think a few days rest and he'll be fine.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Strummin

Getting in some late afternoon practice. I'm getting a little better.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Comeback

The Bombers started very slow today but gave 110% in the 4th quarter. We were down 20-4 at half time with a lot of shots but few baskets. Dylan played with the second line in the third quarter and shut the other team out with some ferocious defense and a couple baskets. Down 20-8 in the 4th, Sam rattled off 16 of his 18 points to while Dylan provided intense pressure at the top to defense to in finally win 27-24. Dylan had 6 points and 7 steals but he kept the other team from setting up any real offense in the second half. He was Charlie Hustle out there and had 8 rebounds as well.

I lost count after Sam's 20th rebound but he also missed a half dozen easy shots on his way to 18 points. I felt bad for the other team but a wins a win.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


The outfit is way too big but he loves it. It should last for years if he doesn't wear it out first.

Monday, February 04, 2013


National Geographic has thousands of shoes out on it's driveway about a block from my office.  They do this every year but I'm never sure why.  They will be gone tomorrow.


Saturday, February 02, 2013


Another tease of a storm. It still looks good on the ground.

Another Loss

Sam and Dylan tried really hard and kept their emotions in check during a 25-20 loss to the other team with mostly Clermont kids. These games usually get pretty heated but their were only 6 fouls total for both teams the whole game. Sam had 12 points, another dozen rebounds and a couple of steals. Dylan had 6 points, 8 steals and a half dozen rebounds. I think I was more frustrated with the game than they were. The boys did score almost all the points for the team but they missed a lot of easy shots. Yes, some poor shots but a lot of them just didn't bounce the right way. I hate when that happens and we have been on the wrong end of too many close games this year because of bad ball luck. Hope that changes soon.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Home on Friday

I've been away from my fireplace for the last couple weeks but I'm back in my favorite chair with my favorite kids on a cold Friday night. My favorite wife is on her way home and the kids are playing video games but their sound is off and my music is playing. Good times.

Trace of Winter

It was 70 for two days this week but we got another little tiny snowstorm this morning reminding us that winter still has some potential to be snowy.  Unfortunately, like that other snow events, this one was an inch or less.  It is pretty to see it coming down but man, we need a 5-7 inch snow to really get that winter feel going.  It was roughly four years ago when we got 28 inches in Snowmaggedon or was it Snowpocolypse?  Anyway, we really haven't had anything all that exciting since.