Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost

..into a new year around here and we made it through the holiday madness relatively unscathed. CP had a good time with her grandparents and seemed to enjoy opening her presents from Santa and family. We did manage to get a tiny Canon Elph camera for her to use. She loves playing with mine, so we figured a small ten year old point and shoot from eBay would be good.....and we were right. She's already working on filling the little CF card with photos of her feet, her mother, and the cats.

The LW cooked enough green bean casserole to feed 100 on Christmas day...no, really....and we took that and a ham from Costco down to the place where the Giving Tree was having their Christmas week edition of Project Feed. It's a good thing and the people that run it work hard to help everyone that she can.

Yesterday was leaky diesel day. After the car almost not starting due to a pump distributor o-ring leak, I decided that 68 degrees was warm enough to work on the TDI. I almost got a sunburn out there in shorts and a t-shirt. I got the parts a while back from Jim at dieselgeek.com and the little kit that he sells is great. The first time through the procedure I pinched the o-ring and the pump wouldn't prime....plus it was leaking worse than it was originally. The second time through, which was faster than the first time, I sprayed some silicone lube on the seal and it worked fine. I hope that this will stand up to the switches that we make back and forth from B100 to ULS D2 in the tank. We ran all summer on B100 whenever we could and one tank after switching back to D2, it started leaking. There was so much diesel on the engine, the whole car was beginning to smell like an old tractor. It starts much easier now too - I think that there was just too much air being let into the lines.

Friday, December 12, 2008

B&B ...or a Hotel in the GGGG..Ghetto

We looked up some places for the parents to stay today and found a really nice B&B that's close to our house and run by a former chef. Mmmm....breakfast. Well, my parents aren't accustomed to B&Bs where you meet the owner and stay in a nice personalized space - they like chain hotels and staying next to 400 other people that they don't know in questionable areas of town, so they didn't like the idea of a B&B. I called my mom and asked her if there's a "Stay in a crappy part of Tucson" website that they search to find the places that they stay..... This time, it's a chain hotel for $110/night down by Irvington and I-10. I guess they will be close to a Honda shop and an RV store that's in bankruptcy. Sheeeshh....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why...

...I sometimes really can't f(*$#ng stand people. I spoke to a kindly old gentleman in the Wild Oats a few minutes ago and had the small passing type of conversation that you have in the veggie isle.... then sonofabitch hands me a jeezus pamphlet and wants to debate his delusional creation story with me. I stopped it when he moved too far into my personal space. One thing was funny though, how quickly he turned up his nose and dismissed the creation stories of various other cultures when I brought it up. What a f(*$#ng $hitstain. He was handing out a pamphlet to everyone in the store too. Why is it that I just want to pound on a$$holes that do this...?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pendant Lamps

You wouldn't really think that pendant lamps would be an issue to fight about, but in my house, you'd be wrong. It was shaping up to be a really nice Saturday morning until I picked up the latest issue of Ready Made magazine. Well, the light section discusses how to make a pendant light and this is where it all begins to go south. I see the pendant light cord that they show with a two blade plug on the end of it and say, "Hey, we could just clip that plug off and tie it into the wall fixture that's vacant".

It gets ugly here. Evidently the wife has done some extensive and time consuming research out there on the interwebs and found that you void the UL stuff by doing that and is completely, and rather ferociously against it ....and against me all of the sudden for even having the nerve to suggest it. Well, we live in a 1960s house that was a rental for a llllllllong time. The furnace fan runs on an extension cord with electrical tape and all of the outlets have 3-wire fixtures even though the whole house is still just two-wire. I guess having these is the limit for her UL voiding level of comfort. I eventually got told that someday "in my house" that I could have whatever I wanted.

After a half-hour of searching, I found a place that sells 18/3 shielded wire for pendant lighting and they probably have the fixtures for the bulb as well as the cover place and stress relief pieces for attaching it to the wall. Man, I really just wish that whoever built this tiny house had put in cieling fixtures instead of wiring things to the sides of the walls.

The wife just piled the baby into the car and left the house in a huff with a slam of the door. Ahhhh...Saturday.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Movies

Recently we watched two really good movies: Spirited Away and Porco Rosso They're Japanese animation, but have been dubbed with the voices of American actors. I happened to pass a person in the library who was picking up a copy of Porco Rosso and he recommended it highly...and now I do too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cloudy and Cool

Pies, pies, and more pies this morning.

It was pure joy to listen to CP singing to me, and into the phone to her paternal grandmother, who 39 years ago on this day as a 20 year old girl, sacrificed her birthday and Thanksgiving to push me out into the world. Thoughts of family and friends today run around the map like the scent of pie spices in the house - the Mississippi delta and central cattle country, the outskirts of Kansas City, California's wine country, and the left turn (x4) redneck racing capital of North Carolina.

We'll be off this afternoon to spend time with good friends, or what's sometimes referred to as "the family you pick". I'm taking a break from everything this afternoon to do some work behind the camera and I'm looking forward to it. My LW was up until 10pm or so making pies to give to a local charity today. Chocolate pecan and banana cream....she said that, "everyone needs a little bit of home cookin' on Thanksgiving".

It rained most of the night here and it looks like it'll be a good day.

Hanksgiving

Holy smokes. KXCI is playing Hank songs from all of the Williams generations (that count) and others named Hank today. It's great!

Hearing a toddler sing happy birthday is icing on the cake for today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Lessons from Mary Gordon

There's a nice article called past, perfect on preserving traditions in the October issue of Real Simple. It discusses hanging on to relics of happy times. The article is only a page at best, but it's sure to get you thinking about your own history. I immediately thought of the thing, for me, that has stayed the same over decades. My paternal grandparents live in Cary, Mississippi. The fact that not much changes there isn't really a plus in the tally sheet of our modern plus/minus columns, but it's a huge positive when it comes down to comfort. The article discusses how great the feeling of something familiar can be.

Green bowls and old spoons. Every time I'm at my grandmother's house there is a pot of chickenndumplins. Really it's chicken and dumplings, but it's never pronounced that way, it's Mississippi after all. They're always dished up with an old serving spoon with a floral mark on the handle and I always eat them in one of my grandmother's plain old green bowls. At a garage sale, the whole set might fetch 50 cents, but they're irreplaceable. There's just a bit of perfection there in those bowls - with my childhood and a pinch of salt.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Visit from the Human Debris Fairy

Last night, after hearing all of the thumping base that I could stand from four houses down (yep, that far) I called the police. Well, the person who is the shacker-up with this lady was walking down the street and heard me talk about TPD coming soon. A little while later, the inverted bowling pin of a woman came down and beat on my door. Straight away, it was "You gotta problem with me?" and I knew that it would go downhill from there.

It did. The next part of the tirade started with, "You people...". Yup, us, the respectable ones that haven't been forced to move out by this person. Three houses close to this person have sold in the past 1.5 years. Two of the three cited this person as the reason for leaving.

After a stream of deluded consciousness and a few pretty funny nonsequitors, I got in a word edgewise and told her just to keep her f$(*@$g kid's music down. It really got funny after that and she started screaming obscenities and more nonsensical stuff at the top of her lungs, which for this little troll, was surprisingly loud. Her 20-something live-at-home son came down with a .45 or 9mm on his hip to see what mama was getting herself into and she must have realized that things could get ugly, and started to leave. Now, this kid is a superstar ....really, so I was a bit concerned about how he'd react, but he stayed in the street and only talked smack. So, by now, I'm pretty bent, and all of my neighbors have come outside to watch the show. She got in her truck, which she'd parked in front of my house, and left. After I settled down a bit, I called TPD again to speak to dispatch and let them know that they can add this to the incident report for this episode.

A couple of nice officers from TPD showed up an hour or so later to see what was going on. Talking to them, I got the impression that they thought she was as crazy as I did, so that was mildly reassuring. There wasn't really anything that they could do since the music was down, but they stressed that if *anything* else comes up, that I should call them immediately. They've got a tough job dealing with the crazies, but I'm really glad that they do it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The American List

I found this list of American made things while reading around at Sweet Juniper. It's a pretty good line of things and I'm glad that someone has taken the time to put it up - I only wish that it were longer. I asked the owner of the list to add Vornado fans, since, like my wife, they're made in Kansas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost...

...got signed in before CP emptied her entire bladder on the couch....."because she wanted to..".

Welcome to Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Betsy

The hall closet got cleaned this morning while the LW finished up the latest garden newsletter and got it shipped off to the printer. CP ran back and forth in the hall while I was working in the closet, yelling "excooose meee" with her baby in a small pink bedpan. It's pretty funny, but par for the course in Our American Life. I finished, closed the hall closet door..and the thrill of actually getting daddy to move,was gone. What's a little one to do? Run outside! Out the back sliding door she flew and into the flower bed with a shovel. I was able to sneak up on her with the video camera running and film her sitting her bare butt into the dirt so she could spray the surrounding plants with flicked up dirt.

We'll do some shopping, cleaning, and organizing today because Aunt Betsy gets here tomorrow afternoon. We may even go paint sugar skulls at the library.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why...

...do men even get interviewed on abortion rights stories.......ever? As far as conception goes, we're on the outside except for a tablespoon of proteins. Last time I checked, my wife's body carried the baby. Why do men even have a say in what happens in a woman's body. It seems a sad Stepford holdover.

I was listening to the jeebus lovers on NPR this morning in a story about a proposed ban (again) on abortion in that state. The anti-Roe crowd is hoping to take advantage of conservative sheep types in the rural dakotas to wedge this in and send a legal challenge to the supreme court (thanks mom and dad for voting McCain/Palin). Hopefully Obama will win and keep the court from getting red staters to fill the retiring spots coming up on the court. They'd probably have better luck passing something like this in the lobbyist run state of Mississippi, but I'm sure that there are plenty of 1950s-60s abortions hanging around in the society closets down there.

I told my mom that if some day, CP walks into a drug store and can't get a morning after pill or contraception because the jeebus loving objector behind the counter won't give it to her, I'd have CP call her and thank her for voting with her racist repugnantcan roots when she had a real choice to make.

Monday, October 20, 2008

-ings


Two -ings that don't necessarily fit well were on a collision course this weekend. Telecommuting and remodeling. The LW took control of CP's bedroom this weekend and is in the process of filling holes, applying primer, and painting. Well, it's to the taping point now and will be getting painted this week. As it stands, everything is out of CP's room for the most part so the remainder of our 750sf house has had to absorb it during the shuffle. It reminds me of when we first moved in because there is stuff spread out....e v e r y w h e r e.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Out of Steam

In 1994, when I was freed from the grip of Uncle Sam's Yacht Club at age 24, I road tripped home to Kansas City in my little red Nissan pickup. Along the way, I stopped at roadside attractions and just took it easy.This freedom from rushing, and from being owned by "the man" was quite a change for a kid who had been in the military for six years and it was an odd time full of new adjustments.

One of my planned stops was Williams, AZ. I picked this stop so that I could ride the steam locomotive up to the Grand Canyon and back. The trip was my first on this type of train and it was a joy. Little did I know that the owners of the train would later sell it out to people who would eventually shut it down. It's a sad day for the kids who might never get to ride the rails and watch the steam fly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Skewwwy Window

That's what CP said from the back seat this morning as we headed off to do our morning errands. I put up our newest Halloween purchase this morning, a pair of LW-picked menacing cat eyes similar to this on our front window. Last night we ran out and picked up a blacklight and some little spiders to add to this year's front yard menagerie. Our plan, of adding $100 worth of fun halloween things for the yard each season is working out well for us and it's really fun when the neighborhood kids get a kick out of it. I find some of the small apartment complex things in our 'hood to be scarier than our window on any day.


We were off to Centric this morning to drop off a 120 roll of film that's been in my old Graflex 22 since last christmas when all of the wife's family made the trip down to Union Station. They'll be developed and then scanned onto a disc. This is my first time doing this with these negatives and I'm anxious to see how it works out. Using my regular camera as a meter for setting up the photos has worked out pretty well in the past.....ohhhh, not this time....just checked my regular camera since I always seem to tweak the ISO. Well, the photos from this morning will be two stops under, so we'll just see how that works out, but it probably won't work out well.

Seedlings have started coming up in the back yard. Broccoli, spinach, sugar snap peas, and all of the rest are trying to make a go of it. If I can only keep the chickents out of there for another month, I'll be set.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tongues of Nuts

This morning, while reading the Sunday NY Times, my lovely wife discovered that our repugnantcan VP candidate is a Pentecostal. Speaking in tongues, crazy Kenyan witch hunters, the whole bit. She turned to me, after some sailor-like swearing, and said, "even the Jehovah's Witnesses think that they're off the deep end". Funny stuff.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Home Again

We got back from almost a week on the road and a week away from CP on Friday. The LW went down to Aunt Carie's house to pick her up while I was sitting on the lawn at the InnSuites here in Tucson. It was good to get away and see some new parts of the state, but we both missed CP and were happy to see her.

I was working on the GABA Cross State tour the entire week shooting in the morning and working on tired muscles in the afternoons. The day in Tucson was the only hitch of the entire week. The manager at the InnSuites here decided that they had an ESL teacher conference in the hotel and didn't want anyone in the courtyard, but they'd let me set up my table for the pawltry sum of $500. What a bunch of rat bastards. If you're ever in town, avoid this place like the plague. The manager was, through his employees, grumbling about all of the bags and bicycles...and everything. Moron.

We had a really nice stay at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. It was a cool old place and it had that 70s John Wayne era charm to it. We'll go back there if we're up in Flag again. We stayed at the BW Arizona Inn in Page (nice views!), the Anasazi Inn in Gray Mountain (Yikes!..scary), the BW Payson Inn in Payson (nice), and the BW Apache Gold in San Carlos (surprisingly nice), but Little America topped them all.

We're getting back into our groove with CP and it was the Zoo this morning. She fed the giraffe this morning for the first time without being afraid and it was fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catalina Pediatrics - Round II

I called the pediatrician's office last week to inquire about the claim for the last visit, well, the girl that I talked to at the billing office never called me back which led me to believe that they never filed the claim, as per the assurances of the office manager back in July. Well, my hunch was right this morning when I called back and was told that the claim had been submitted .....last week....after I called. I asked to speak with the office manager again, since she obviously dropped the ball, but was told that she'd call me back. Two hours later, she still hasn't responded. I figure that when/if she calls, I'll ask for the money that I had to pay up front be refunded and that they bill me like every other office does.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's That Time

The time of year where the weather gets back to perfect. The humidity has dropped out the bottom again and it's time to plant the fall garden. This is the part of the year when it's really nice to be in T-town. It's cool and all of the winter geezers haven't shown up yet.

The work plan is rolling along. My resume was requested earlier this week and we'll see how that works out. It's a bit hard to sell yourself after not having to do so for a while. One would think that someone could see "Business Owner" on a resume and would think, "Gee, this person has been the one running things and knows how things are supposed to run...", but that must not be how it works.

CP is doing well and is enjoying being outside at times when we have had to keep her out of the sun in the past. She's usually running around naked with only shoes on at times. We hope that she'll enjoy helping us dig and construct things in the yard soon.

We have plans for a strawbale studio, hoop house for the garden, and several fruit trees, but we'll see what happens.....life gets in the way sometimes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lots Happenin'

The LW is working on getting me in on the gig that she has going somehow, but I was recently dealt the hand that I'm sure many stay-at-home moms get when they look into moving back into the workforce, "your skill set is rather dated". Hmmmm..... The last time that I checked, electrons were still electrons, but oh well, I'm moving on to other prospects anyway. Some friends out at the local war machine may be able to help me at least geta shot at something actually using my military experience with missile and aircraft work.

The main reason that I'm looking is so that we can put CP in a Montessori (private) preschool that will take little people who are 2 years old. Most wait until 3 it seems - maybe they think that most kids will be potty trained by then, although from what I've seen some places this sadly isn't the case. (rant: Who in the hell wants to still be changing diapers on a 3 year old? Cripes, I'd consider myself a failure as a parent if CP was still crapping in her pants.) We went and took a tour yesterday and after about 20 minutes, CP didn't want to get in the car to leave. There were small animals in each room and learning activity stuff everywhere. We were sold, but now just need the work to come through so that the $700/month will work out.

The LW's used 700P Palm Treo showed up today and she was speechless just holding it. We'll probably both be using them soon enough, and even though it's not the swankiest new gadget on the block, they'll serve well as a multifunction device.

CP and I went to the park this morning for almost 3 hours. There were some other kids there that seemed to like playing with her and she had a blast. They ran, climbed, and slid until it was time to go home for lunch. CP's climbing ability is improving and she can hold her own with the other kids. I ended up getting stung by one of those big red ants and now know the pain that CP experienced a few weeks ago. It was my first sting from one of these and it's wicked. My hand still hurts and that was 3 hours ago.

All is well.....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Can't Move

After our last trip to Arkansas, we discussed what it would be like to move back to Kansas City and back into the (bulging) bible belt so that CP could be around her cousins. We batted it around a bit, but it seems that we're ok with what's offered here - where there isn't a church on every corner and nobody lives in a dry county.

To add to this, CP's cousins live a split life between two households anyway, so I think that it would just add to the craziness that already exists there. We'd be hanging out on both sides of that fence and I don't know how that would turn out. Both sets of grandparents would be close and we'd love to have built-in babysitters. The thing is, we'd probably both have to work two jobs to live there. I don't think that the LW could land a $50k+ telecommuting gig back there and there are too many folks that sprint dumped still floating around. It'd just be tough for us there...sprint's been in the crapper for a long time, the KC schools struggle to get accredited, and even Hallmark is starting to bail out.

CP will grow up out west and live a completely different childhood from what the LW and I both had. She'll know the desert, trips to the ocean, and friends that are family.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nothin'...

..like waking up at 3:14am and having a toddler, under gastrointestinal distress, upchuck all over your arm and down your side. Today we're experiencing some of the joys of parenting and CP was even nice enough to pass a little bit of her fun and games on to me. The tiny slobbery smooches were worth it though.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sleep Number

This past weekend, the LW and I struck out on a mattress and pillow hunt. The pillows were relatively easy to find. The Sears right down the way had a 2 for 1 gig going on and we got some nice pillows for what they probably should cost anyway. Little did I know however, what a dramatic effect this would have on the way that most of my torso now feels when I wake up. If you'd told me that just getting a pillow that will support my head properly when sidelying would have made my neck feel this much better, I'd have suggested that you put the crack pipe down.

We both picked up a little bit of comfort, but a little bit of worry came with it. While we were at the store (cavernous department type), CP decided that she would run around and hide from us. Yayyy! Just what I wanted to do was to be "that guy" walking the isles of a store trying desperately to find my runaway progeny. Evidently she thought that it would be cool to disobey her mother's order to stop and instead head out of the area at high speed. This wouldn't be a problem at Costco or something that's laid out on a grid, but this was the home decor/curtains/bed pillows area of the store where everything is everywhere. She quickly found her way into a back hallway and through an open door into the stock/warehouse area. Just as we were about to get really wound up, a kind store employee came out of this area with her. All of this took place in about 45 seconds, but I think that I shed a few years off of my life in that store.

After this, we were off in search of a new mattress. A friend of ours works at a furniture place, so we shopped around a little before buying one from him. We found out later that all of the folks in there selling furniture work for 100% commission. On selling our bed, he made $4. What a bite in the arse. The LW and I found out that our coil spring sleep number is 380 + 8.1%. Geez, I hate to part with that much money for a mattress, but we need some really good sleep and I think that this will help. We'll know more on Friday morning....early.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stop Loss & Taxes

Paying quarterly sales taxes and city taxes today. Fun stuff. AZ has a website that allows you to file online and pay online as well. It's pretty simple as long as you have your online sales stuff setup correctly. Photoreflect has a page where you set up your taxes and stuff, but if you let it, it will collect taxes for every county and municipality in your state - not what I want for basically point of sale stuff here in my town. Folks will argue, like I did down at city hall, that the photos are purchased from the web and shouldn't be taxed, but when it comes down to it, the photos are being paid for here in town from me and printed locally, so I'll pay, support the good and the bad that come from my little bit of tax revenue and go on.

The war stuff topic came up when I was back in AR with the parents. They said that they had recently seen a movie called "Stop Loss". They couldn't believe that the military could actually do something like that. When they told me this I just sat there for a minute...stunned. I couldn't believe that after what's heading into a decade of the wore on turror, they had no idea that this was and had been happening. Heck, I was worried about that crap happening to me in the first gulf war debacle. They argued that I could go into downtown Durrrdanelle and stand on a corner asking people if they'd heard of it and that my percentages of positive answers would be really low. All of this from pretty smart people who have a "Support Our Troops" magnetic sticker on their over-sized SUV. They also mentioned seeing "Rendition", and couldn't believe that stuff either. I think that I asked them if they'd been under a fkn rock, then (again) told them to turn off Fox News.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Home Again

The recent trip to Arkansas went pretty well. We stretched the driving into two days on the way there instead of the usual two. It was a bit tough in the last hours with CP, but not too bad. We didn't have to stop on the side of the road anywhere and put on boxing gloves and that was a plus. This trip started out a little rough with all of the car parts and maintenance stuff. I was unsure about what a 100k mile cam and lifters set were supposed to look like and the fuel injection timing was a little goofy. The injection timing was well within specs though, so off we went.

We found New Mexico to be just as dirty and filled with strange folks as the last time we went through there. With a 600 mile fuel range, food and bladder space were our only limiting factors. Texas and Oklahoma were equally dirty and filled with strange folks, but Oklahoma took the prize for overall nastiness by a slim margin. We pulled in to what appeared to be a brand new pizza place in Okema to use the restrooms since we were traveling with a newly potty trained toddler - it was worse than some truck stops that I've seen - disgusting. (for reference for those who don't know me, I was in the Navy for six years and I've seen some really awful toilets..and countries that seemed to be just one big toilet.) After rolling back and forth through Oklahoma a couple of times, we figured that it must be really hard to get any kind of service employee - especially janitorial service folks.

We made it to Grandee's just after they had arrived home with CP's cousins from Kansas City. They were all happy to see each other and we were glad to be out of the car after 25 hours. We had a wonderful few days with just my folks and the cousins. It was good fun with play and pool time in abundance. My brother's kids are growing up fast and it was a joy to see how they are as little people. By Thursday, folks started showing up from all over. We got to hang out with relatives that we haven't seen forever and some that the LW has never met. My folks had a house full of people, but managed to keep everything running along smoothly. We visited and just got to be. Of course, my dad, in keeping with his genetic heritage, repeated the same stories several times (without the benefit of volume feedback from a hearing aid), but we all just smiled and nodded...again. My brother took all of the kids to the new pool up on Mt. Nebo and it was a big hit. There were some tired kids that night.

The day after we made it there, the LW went out to take the car over to the library at Arkansas Tech. Wouldn't you know, it wouldn't start. I started sweatin' about this, and literally too because it was 104 degrees by noon and 75% humidity. My dad and I started checking things over and I was worried about the timing. I did some reading on the web, which is a chore on dialup, and found that the o-rings on the TDI's diesel filter can leak air after a while and cause all kinds of crazy problems. Well, the filters that I buy, don't usually come with new o-rings, but that will change soon. Luckily, the OReilly auto parts place there actually had one of the filters in stock with the o-rings. After that, it was running like a top, but we adjusted the timing anyway. Later, I installed the Panzer skid plate (aka JackRabbit deflector) for the trip home.

In a blink, it was time for everyone to head home, and for us to begin the long trip back to Tucson. It was a good time, but maybe next time we'll head there when it's cool and the leaves are changing colors. On the way home, we split the trip up into three days and CP had a much easier go of it. We learned that if needed, she can handle a 13 hour day in the car with us and that she's good for 120-150 miles between potty stops. Also, the car got 44 mpg on the way out and roughly 48 mpg on the way back. P.S. If you're ever in Shamrock, TX, don't stop at the Dairy Queen there...it won't treat you right.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DieselGeek and Grandy Camp

Just the other day when I was talking to my mom about their American-made vehicle woes and other things, she mentioned that my two nieces are going back to Drrrrdanelle with them soon. Wow..a second Grandy Camp for the kiddies - they'll have fun. What a grand thing it would be to get CP in the same place as the lovely little nieces...hmmm.

This is a great idea, but the TDI is about to roll over 100k and needs a timing belt changed. We've been on several trips and a year ago when we bought it, the odo said 78k. Last night the LW and I bit the somewhat interest-laden bullet and purchased the parts for the TDI's timing belt repair. I've got the rest of the necessary things and should be able to knock it out without too much hassle....other than the 100+ degree temps and afternoon desert rains, that is. Mmmm...mechanicin' once again.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pooped

It's potty training time around here and it's been tough on both of us parents. CP is deathly afraid of pooping and it's frustrating the hell out of us. We hate to really take her anywhere because she'll wait until the most inopportune moment to load her panties. The LW has dealt with this on a 3:1 ratio to my chances at it.

Yesterday I pretty much got a definitive vote of no confidence from her on the potty training (..and parenting) front and had to get in the car and leave the house swearing. I figure that holding CP down at the potty even though she's crying isn't all that torturous when I know that she's about to poop on the floor. The LW thinks that this is "ruining" her and making her all that more afraid of pooping and of me. While that may be true, I feel that there comes a time when coddling and letting the little one do what she wants to do needs to be replaced with stern parental steadiness .....and that's what I supply. It's a tough go either way. Add to this a muggy 80 degree house and it's a recipe for some serious fun and games.

On a happier note, CP was the belle of the ball again at the track & field event. She did the 50M and the softball throw, and the long jump, I think, but this time added the 200M. I missed most of it while taking photos, but heard other people talking about how she stopped at every relay blue line and would wait for the LW to say, "ready...set...go!". This kid is a funny one and everyone got a kick out of seeing her run.

New Memory

I don't know how many of you have used them before, but NewEgg.com is the best. I had some problems with their chat support yesterday, but that's probably outsourced to a generic call center like most other places. Calling NewEgg's customer service line was the ticket and it got my problem (caused by "Brown" - see previous post) handled quickly.

I called after the chat person asked me if I'd like to have a refund or a replacement. Well, I need the equipment so I asked for a replacement...only after this did I find out that it would take 7-10 days to get the replacement on the way. That's a no go, so I called NewEgg customer service. I talked to a nice lady and told her the story of what had happened. She said that they'd finish the claim with "brown", but that I needed to order another unit. Well, that's my only option for getting one, so I said ok....now here's the kicker....the NewEgg CSR said that when I ordered the unit, to set it up for overnight delivery and they'd credit the shipping charges ($25) back to me. I did as she said and my shipping was credited. In addition to this, the hard drive showed up this morning ahead of the time that FedEx said that it would. It's now formatted and handling the load of raw photos that were waiting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Brown Did for Me

I use NewEgg.com for computer stuff and they ship UPS. Well, yesterday I cursed as I watched the UPS truck pass our house only to stop 3 houses down the street. I thought that he might come back because evidently they don't have anything on the truck that tells them that there are other packages for that area on the truck. It's happened before. This time I wasn't so lucky. I checked the tracking number and it showed "delivered - front door". There's just one problem, they delivered it to someone else's front door. Getting the package (a hard drive for my photo business) has proven to be an exercise in futility since the neighbors aren't home and the UPS depot won't answer their phone calls from the national customer service folks. So, one of my neighbors has my hard drive, I've got photos that need to come out of the camera to be processed for sale, and all I got from "Brown" was "I'm sorry". What a joke.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tucson Track & Field

Tucson Parks & Recreation has a track & field series that is really great. The only bad thing is that tonight is the last night of this term. I've been taking photos at the event for a few weeks. The LW got tired of CP on the sidelines not too long ago and decided to enter her in some of the events. I'm glad that she did because CP absolutely loves it! She does the 50M run (not really a dash), long jump, and the softball throw. It's the highlight of her Tuesdays and she can't wait to go. Here's the kicker.....it costs $2 to enter your little person in as many events as they want to try. The staff are really nice to the kids and they put up with the chaos with a smile. There's even a guy there with kids who compete who owns a Papa John's franchise out on Silverbell - he sells mini pizzas for $2 each.

I really wish that the city could advertise this series a little better next year. We wouldn't have found it if we hadn't been in the park one day and seen a lot of people running. On Thursdays, the same series hosts distance running events at different locations. Here's the tiny little tag line from the city's website:

July 1, 8 and 15 - 6:30 p.m. - Adults: $3/children: $2

2008 All-Comers Track and Field Tuesdays continue for the summer. Includes long jump, softball throw, shot put, high jump and various dashes/runs. Contact the Sports Office at 791-4870.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Health Care

Some of the problems with health care in this country became very clear at our house yesterday for this self-employed person who is married to a contract tech worker. I took CP to the doc for a shot and a checkup and they told me that I needed to pay them right there. Well, the LW and I have high deductible insurance, but usually our stuff still runs through the insurance for system for the discount that they've negotiated - well baby isn't covered. The lady at the front desk made sure that I heard this and didn't really want to hear anything else. "Well baby isn't covered, you'll have to pay today." On we went. I tried to explain that it goes through the insurance and then we pay the discounted rate.......nothing. So, we get called in and all is well with the doc. Her nurse comes in and gives CP the shot and we're on our way to the billing desk. The nurse, by the way, was the quickest with a syringe that I've ever seen. It was over in a blink and CP didn't even have time to react before the brightly cartooned bandage came out. Well, we got to the desk and all that the lady there wanted to tell me was that I needed to pay and that well baby visits weren't covered by my insurance. She called another girl over and that's what she said too. I argued that it should be run through the insurance and she eventually realized that too, but she said that she didn't have the authority to allow that. Well baby visits aren't covered. Well, I was at the point where I was going to bitch slap the whole lot of them, so I paid the bill and left, only to find a new Acura TL parked so close to CP's door that I couldn't open it. So we walked around to the other side, cleared the seat and I put her inside. This wouldn't have been a problem regularly, but it was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock outside. After I cleared the front of the car, soaking wet by this time, I yelled at the lady sitting in the car and asked her whether "she always parked like a dumbass!?". Then we left.

$300/month for insurance with a $5000 family deductible and well baby care isn't covered. It's time to bail out of this country because it's going to $hit. All the lame-ass fox news types (my parents included) want to do is bitch about how bad socialized health care would be and how high taxes would be. Just let one of them fall off of a company payroll with a heart condition and see how much they like life after their cobra coverage wears out. The rat bastards will be crying for socialized health care when they have to tap a 401k just to afford Blue Cross. They might just get a taste of being treated like the rest of us.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1 Chicken Down

This morning as I was chasing our main garden destroying chicken out of said garden with and old yard rake, she expired. I don't recall doing anything to press her out of the garden that I haven't repeated on several occasions, but there was a flurry of chicken feathers against our low flimsy fence and then it was over. I have mixed feelings about it really. I'm glad that my garden will be safer and that the chicken I most despised for waking me up is gone, but this was the LW's favorite layer and she's understandably saddened by all of this. This incident has put me, and the chicken on the stove right now, in hot water.

In other news: it's hot. It's about 80 inside and sticky right now with the swamp cooler going. Ahhh.... the rainy season.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Johnny Nash & The Mayor

I was discussing with the LW, my thoughts on having a quiet house and a relatively clear head this morning. I've been able to turn off the "Holy #@*t, where's CP?!" switch in the back of my mind and relax without worry. "Without worry" is a pretty tall order with a toddler in the house.

Being able to just sit and think this morning, without having to constantly be ready to react to something toddler related, is for me, akin to the way the local desert looks and feels after a slow cool rain. Everything is clear and clean. I thought of that Johnny Nash song from my childhood. Bright sunshiny day indeed.

I heard this story on NPR this morning too. It reminded me that many things are possible when kids are loved. Listen to it - don't read the text.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Run to Logan

CP and the LW took off this morning for a weekend wedding trip to Boston. A cousin is getting married and the LW has some other business stuff there. I talked to them when they were sitting in O'Hare and all seemed well. I hope that the iTunes downloads will keep her busy. She has a whole season of Yogi Bear, Thomas the Train, and TeleTubbies to watch on the LW's iPod. I even watched some of the old Yogi stuff yesterday while it was downloading and syncing up. It struck me as odd to watch that old cartoon on such a tiny device. When I watched that 'toon as a kid, the TV remote was 8x as big as the 80G classic....and that's if you had a TV new enough to have a remote. Dad used to tell us that's what we were for...changing the channels.... in addition to tax relief, of course.

It's been a tough couple of weeks here. CP has grown increasingly agitated and I think that it has to do with staying inside. I can't really see turning her out into the 108 degree heat, so it's just been rough. She's doing well and really starting to turn on the wordplay. I'm sure that she'll be a big hit this weekend.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday

It's Friday and I have nothing planned. It'll be a good day though. CP is snuggled up next to her mom and I couldn't go in there with the camera or it would wake both of them. Last night I got out on the bike while the LW and CP were downtown with friends. A photographer buddy of mine was shooting a swim meet over at a local pool. It was a hoot! All of those little people running around...

We missed our first pickup as CSA members and I'm pretty bummed about it. For some reason, the alarm in my Zire didn't transfer to this week.

There's a supermoto event this weekend ..and.. a nekkid bicycling event. I hope that I can make it to one or the other.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Coffee Bus & The Zoo

The SAHD meetup was this morning at the Coffee Bus. CP was yelling "City Bus!" the entire way there. We were out of the house early and had to run by the bank, but "City Bus!" was all that she could think of saying. We made it there a little after 9am and the rest of the gang were already there. We had five dads show up and a total of eight kids. It was a little busy up on the top of the bus with all of the little ones running around. I'm sure that the two girls up top thought that the conversation was pretty funny too.

Following this, I went looking for a Rash Guard type of shirt for swimming. CP has one and I think that it'd be a swell idea to have one too. That way all of my glowing whiteness won't turn to glowing redness. Well, all of the shirts that I found were made in Thailand, and evidently they only fit people from Thailand. There must not be too many 6' tall people there with 46-7" chest measurements...or is that just me?

After that bit of fun and games, we met Aunt Carie at the Edith Ball Rec center and were going to go rounds in the pool with the little people. We found once we'd arrived and unloaded that the pool doesn't open for free swim until 1pm. Luckily, Aunt Carie has a membership at the Zoo, so we went across the parking lot and found the water area there. You know, the one that's next to the otters. All of us had a good time and went out for tacos later. There's a tired kid asleep at our house now.

Drunk Morons and Crazy People with Guns

This and this pretty much say it all today.

I guess the neighbors of this Delich loser that shot the cops said that he would talk to rocks and fruit in his back yard. I want to know how that idiot got all of the weapons that he was shown with....and how he afforded a really expensive looking house. The house doesn't appear to be in his name, so maybe he was just renting or living off of someone else. Either way, he should have had some meds or a bullet.

I bet the guy that ran into all of those cyclists is trying to claim that he's a US citizen so he can lawyer up and get off. I wonder if Mexico would fry him up. I think that if someone did that at a race here, the cops would have to pry people off of their drunk arse.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Flavorbank

Man, the Penzey's catalog took a big hit in the shorts last week. My LW found a store nearby called Flavorbank. CP evidently had a good time playing on the piano in the store while the store owner, Jennifer, helped the LW shop for spices. We even got some samples! I think that the coolest thing she brought home is called RAS Al Hanout by Afrikya. It's the best thing for oatmeal since brown sugar. It'll totally change the way that you look at a tired old bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. We'll be going back.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Onward Atheist Soldier

Read this in my old local rag, the Pitch this morning and it just made me mad. That major that gave him a hard time is just a santorum style stain on the military, but there are tons like him. They've bought into several different flavors of koolaide and won't be persuaded otherwise. Another blogger has a good rundown. You'd think that a military leader with a college education would have the good sense......ahhhh, nevermind. Nothing's changed since I was in....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Funny Sh..tuff

Conversation in CP's room this morning:
CP: Mommy aaheharumfarted inaruhtub (giggle)
LW: Yes honey, you farted in the tub and it went further than that...

It's funny now, but it wasn't funny at the time. Toddler poop in the tub disintegrates quickly and can make a serious mess of the parents, bathroom, and toddler in short order. Ahh just one of the many things that you figure out as a parent.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

13 Days

nex
..spent on the road in one way or another.

We had some good fun at the Whiskey Off Road and I got to take some cool photos with some of the new and rented toys. The wife stopped before the 6 miles of downhill to help me with CP, who after a half day on the trail, was in full meltdown mode.

After we got home on Sunday, we did some laundry and repacked the car for our Tuesday morning departure for points east of the Mississippi. We decided to surprise the great grandparents with a toddler and a birthday party and it turned out well. Both grandmothers damn near keeled over when they saw CP standing at their doorsteps. We had two birthday parties and a visit filled with good food and happy people.

On this trip, we decided to start out really early in the morning so that CP would only realize a few hours in the car seat. It worked well until we started jumping time zones. A 1:30 wakeup for 7 hours+ of driving is a little old after 3 days in a row...and causes mumbled sailorish swearing after 4 days in a row. That time zone thing is pretty funny....nobody back there realizes that when they start clattering around the kitchen at 6am, that it's still 4 for us...and more importantly CP.

Our days of staying in the Van Horn KOA are numbered. They dicked us around by not unlocking our cabin when we arrived and the wife was....well...displeased. We'll probably start visiting the motels there. CP loves the rabbits that inhabit the place, but there are more rabbits than people in that town, so we'll find more of them.

I hope that in the next week we'll be able to catch our breath. We really need to drop CP off with some friends in town and have a weekend of down time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Whiskey

After I get done with the Farmer's Market at the UofA at noon (the Community Gardens has a tent), we'll be loading up and heading up to Prescott for the Whiskey Off Road. We'll stop in Tempe for some lens rentals and then, continue on toward the festivities. It's pretty funny to be taking more camera gear than clothing. The LW is doing the "15proof" ride and I'll be out shooting photos with CP. Hopefully some of them will sell! There's an option that CP might go with one of her friends while I chase mtn bikes through the forest, but I'm not banking on it. Maybe this gig will go off without the pre-trip fight! Woooohooooooo....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Country Boy/City Boy

The LW and I heard the song County Boy/City Boy by Chatham County Line this morning and really liked it. Pretty cool sound and nice lyrics.

It's Monday and CP is at preschool. Quiet around here.

I sold a bike Saturday morning down at the bicycle swap meet. Greg and his merry band of volunteers pulled of a good event and we really enjoyed it. Also, it was good to see some of the GABA gang and it was really nice to leave with $$ in my pocket. CP had a good time looking at all of the bicycles and we saw a balance bike that a small kid was riding. This is what CP will get before a bike. It's the Dutch idea of bicycle training...no training wheels. They actually have balance bikes like this, but they're wooden.

We packed the superjetta yesterday after a bit of family naptime and headed off for Patagonia. It was a nice little drive and we passed slowy through the town on the way to the lake. Our fate was sealed with a "squeal of approval", literally and at quite hight volume, when we pulled up by the pedalboats where CP could see the bridge over the water.

She loves bridges, water, and trains these days. Really...can't get enough of any of them. We walked a bit by the water and she threw rocks in whenever she could get close enough. We spotted a frog on a log in the water and she was just in awe. I think it's the first frog that she's seen and she just stood there and stared. We couldn't pull her away. The bridge was a big hit and she was all over it. It has a pretty steep rise and it was giving quite a few people problems, but CP was up it in a flash.

On our way down to the bicycle swap meet on Saturday we passed a house that makes us cringe every time we go by. Not that I condone tagging by any stretch of the imagination, but this one was pretty funny.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Condensed

There's a lot going on in the house lately, so maybe this blog will get condensed soon into a once a week thing. A second small business has erupted lately to take over what once was just a long-time hobby. If the initial success and joy from it continues in a linear fashion, it may become my primary vocation. It has plenty of benefits that my current gig doesn't....especially in the overhead, continuing ed, and paperwork departments.

I'm just getting over a bout of winterspringwhenevervomiting disorder. It's similar to our norovirus thing that hit me after that train trip a few years ago. Violent in every sense of the word. Every time it happens, I think of Amtrak. 24 hours in a bed is enough to remind me just how lucky I am not to have to be in on all of the time.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Neighbor Kid, KU, & Maya Writing

Our next door neighbor's son is in town for spring break (it's just now spring in Denver) and I've been watching him while his dad is at work. It's been pretty fun for the past couple of days. We went to the desert museum on Monday then to hot water park to do the birdwatching thing this morning. He's quite a bird spotter and impressed some of the adults there. CP had fun doing her impression of Ben Hur in the Chariot. She stands up in the seat and holds onto the side rails - it's pretty funny stuff really.

Last night, I thought that it was all over 'cept for the screamin' during the KU game. Auntie M, a fellow KU person, (funny Kansas reference intended) came over to watch the big game with the LW. CP enjoyed getting tossed into the air with a "SWOOSH" every time KU made a free throw shot. I'm glad that they won it because it would have been rough around here if they hadn't.

Nova tonight was awesome! It was called Cracking The Maya Code. I really enjoyed seeing all of the women scientists and what a large part they played in figuring all of the glyphs out. Of course, there was a guy who finally got it all together, but he stood on the shoulders of a quite a few smart women to get to where he could see. It was nice to see the Maya people learning their native language so many years after the Spaniards blew up their culture. I hope that CP and I can watch it together someday. Who knows what sort of mindless edfotainment drivel will be shoveled onto a TV screen by the time she's 12.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Redneck Denyin'

Not too far from where my red state parents live in Durrrrdanelle, Arkansas, there have been heavy rain, tornadoes, and heavy snow within a month. I can't really see how they could still argue against "all that crap" from Al Gore. Silly rednecks, they'll find a way.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

SAHD

It was good to see Stay-At-Home-Dads in Austin and the RebelDad.com getting some play this morning on the Today show. They went through all of the typical things, but it came down to the same thing we found. Child care is expensive and the LW, with a degree from KU, could make boatloads more money than I could. It just makes sense. If I were still working somewhere, my salary would simply pay for childcare.

I think that CP and I will be headed to a SAHD meetup group activity at the zoo tomorrow. There are lots of things happening in town right now. Bike races, folk music, street fairs....

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Catchup

CP went to preschool two days last week and has gone for two days this week. It's a bit of juggling due to vacation activities, so next week she'll be all ours for all week again. Things have been coming down around here. The old shed in the back yard got disassembled and put out front for the scroungers. One guy was here at 11:00pm getting the metal out of the yard. It's good to see it avoiding the landfill. The cedar tree stump went down too. Our neighbor got tired of hearing me cut on it with an axe, so he came over with a chain saw and worked it down to nothing. It also worked his chain down to nothing, but he left with a smile and a cold beer in his hand.

This week's been busy at work. There are a good many bike races going on right now in town and the racers are keeping me going. I did some wheel truckin' for the promoters of the Tucson Bicycle Classic this past Saturday and had fun. It was good to see so many people that I know and everyone was happy......except for the guy that thought neutral wheel support was also feed support. Silly kids.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Way Out West

The LW spent part of the afternoon with Aunt B. and came home smiling. It was a good thing to see and a relief for me. Last night when the dust had settled around the house, I reminded the LW that there was cowboy music over at Javalina's. It was a cool evening and CP could be out and about without too much clothing holding her back. The decision was quick and in no time we were on our way. It was a smallish crowd, but that made it all the more fun. I actually got to take some photos although there was another chap there doing the same thing. We all had a blast and Slim, the upright base player, came over to talk to CP after the gig and put his huge hat on her tiny head. Upon seeing that huge hat on top of this tiny head, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. If you're in the area, you really should check the calendar on the Javalina's site, and show up. It's a good gig for seeing local, and not so local, musicians. It's also a really good gig for parents with small kids. There's plenty of room to run in the parking lot.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

First Memorial Service

I've never been to a memorial service until today. My parents had me at a young age, so there haven't really been that many funerals in my history. Today's service was for a good friend who I knew through the gardening program. He was a good man with a good family. He was always on the go (to the point of us having to guess which part of the world he was in every month) and had just finished selling his business off to his two sons. I wish that I could have choked out a few words at the memorial about him being able to smile through pain and laugh through hardship, or how much of a calm and brilliant person he was...... but I just couldn't. I was so damned sad to see that this wonderful presence was gone. Some day soon, I hope to be able to tell his sons that they come from great stock and that I am proud to have known their father, but it'll have to wait a little while.

His time for the "golden years" was cut short, but as discussed at the service, he made the most of the time that he had and enjoyed life. I came away saddened that I had only known him for a few years, but I was reminded that not to make every year a golden year is just crazy. I think that he recognized early, as I have, that we're only on this rock for a short time. Not maximizing the enjoyment of the time we have is, as my grandfather says his father used to tell him at an early age, "burnin' daylight".

On the trip there, I thought of how few times in our lives we gather all of our friends near to say hello and to enjoy their company in one big ball. Weddings maybe and then funerals. This, to me seems a little bit silly. At one of these events, we're too busy putting together the shindig to enjoy it and at the other, we're dead. I told the LW that we should have a party some time soon and celebrate the living in our lives. After saying this, I feel lucky to have heard the LW remark that we'd have to rent out some place, because our yard isn't big enough for all of those people. Enjoy today, it's the only one you'll ever get.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Koppel

I just heard this assessment on the radio and think that everyone should give it a listen. He talks about the money we owe, what it takes to keep our lives oiled, and puts it all together so that you can begin to see the where and why of things. It reminds me that no matter what happens in November, we're in for much of the same.....

Eight Diapers

The LW just told me that CP pulled eight diapers out of the bag and counted them all in sequence. She can almost get all of the alphabet and is making sentences as well. uhhh...yeah...... 22months old. Other big doin's in the bathroom this week too. Poopin' in the potty every now and then. I wish that we'd had a little potty a long time ago. I was just loath to buy another plastic potty device. Silly me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two Wheels

I was reading some of Chile's posts this morning and the wife and I got to diggin' around. We found these things:

Clever Cycles A & B
Dutchbikes

There's some really cool stuff out there and CP may be breezing along on something like this some time soon.

So, You Think You're Not Buying It.....

Well, it appears that if you walk down the isles at WholeWildSunflowerOatsMarket and pick up some things, then you may as well be buying those powdered orange noodles in the blue box. The LW just sent me this link. Boca, Naked, Odwalla, Earth's Best....it's all there.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Missed Harvest


I walked by a row of sugar snap peas yesterday that were just beautiful and as tall as I am. This morning, I found out that the owner of this garden plot that is so full of life, has passed away. He was a great friend and a wonderful gardener.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In the Garden

This afternoon, CP and I spent some time inside the little garden fence. She spent quite a bit of it taking dirt from one of my rows and pouring it over the fence and onto the back of whichever chicken happened to be standing closest to her. At one point, I was finally prepared to plant butterbeans. To most of the world, they're known as lima beans or Henderson and Sieva lima beans depending upon whether you want them to climb or stay low to the ground.

Last year was a fairly good crop of Hendersons, but the Fordhook 242s didn't do very well. I called my paternal grandmother in Mississippi to keep her up to date with all things in the garden, and when she found out that I planted Fordhooks, she exclaimed, "my my son, that's them big'ol thangs, I never did like them...". If they're not good enough for granny, then I won't plant them again. It'd just be plain stupid to go against the wisdom of 78 years of farming, flower planting, and growing vegetables. She still gets a kick out of hearing about our two short seasons here in the desert and always seems thrilled with whatever we have growing.

I wet the soil with the drip system and got out the garden rake to use George Brookbank's quick way of figuring seed spacing. He takes the rake and digs it in along the row he wants to plant, then continues down the row repeating this. It makes nice little holes for seeds and if you need 3" between seeds then you just use every 3rd or 4th hole. I asked CP if she wanted to take a break from emptying all of the soil from my garden and help out. She replied with a nod and we were off and running. I put the seeds out in my hand and dropped a few into the evenly spaced holes with a "padumpp" sound. Soon the little fingers were grabbing seeds and dropping them into the holes that I pointed to with a little high-pitched "padumpp" sound that bordered on a joyful squeal with the departure of each seed from her fingers.

I kept looking around for her mother, but knew that these images were fleeting and that I'd only have one shot at them. Disrupting her to bring out my camera or to get her mother to come watch would have changed what was happening. It was a beautiful scene and I hope that old age won't steal that memory from me some day. She repeated this at every little hole until we emptied the packet. In all, we planted about 6' of beans and will probably plant more so that we can put them up for winter. I hope that I've planted the seeds for a little green thumb.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grandparents


CP was sad to say goodbye to her grandparents on Monday when we dropped them off at the airport. She really enjoyed her visit with them and kept them plenty busy and very impressed most of the time. We went to the park, watched the old warplanes that were in town for an event, and visited the Desert Museum. It was a great visit. Sometimes family visits (on both sides) can feel like an obligation..."smile honey, be nice", but this one was a real joy even though I was sick most of the time. CP couldn't get enough of the newfound attention and took full advantage of having some new playmates. It really took the heat off of the LW and I and we were able to take a breather.

Tomorrow is March 12th. I met my lovely girlfriend on this day, about seven years ago. We're married now, but she's still my lovely girlfriend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Not So Rosy

It's a good thing that the Shrub and his merry band of miscreants have all of this election hoopla going on right now to cover their butts in the media while the story from David Rose in Vanity Fair hits the pages. It made me sick to listen to the story on DN. I can't believe how this wanker of a president that we have can say "Yur wit us or against us" and then give the ok to supply weapons to Fateh through back door channels. What smelly little pieces of poo this man, his vice president , and his secretary of state are. This on the heels of our congress giving a free pass for illegal wiretapping. Don't think that there wasn't some GSA contract blockage dangled around on that one. Where's Molly Ivins when we need her.

In other news, I finally came around to the LW's way of thinking on letting the chickens into the garden. They're out there now digging around in the soft dirt and tearing up the weeds and the last little bit of the lettuce before we plant this week. All of our seeds are in from SOC and SSE, so this week I'll be out in the dirt playing around. Dirt therapy....if I could bottle it up and sell it. The flowers in the front yard are all trying to pop at the same time. This will be good for when the in-laws get here tomorrow for a visit.

The whole house smells like ham hocks right now. I finally decided to get them out of the freezer and work over the last bit of the pig from two years ago. We'll have BBQ pulled pork and some split pea soup tonight.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Blooming Sinuses & Bye Bye Project Diesel

Oh, it's that time of year again. Everything blooms at once here in the desert and sends the small cavities in my skull into a fit. It's not really a lot of fun, but usually dissipates after about a week or so. This does make working and managing CP a bit tricky.

The little 81 Datsun diesel that could is on the block now. I've admitted failure on this project and dealt with it. Now it's time to move on. It's a good little project and will make someone a very nice little biodiesel burner...just not me. There's not enough time in the day or money in the bank to make this thing work.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Potty Chair & Farm Trip

Well, Aunt Carie gave CP a potty chair on Friday and yesterday she put it to use. It's funny to be so excited about a kid peeing in a round receptacle, but it was hard not to jump up and yell. We're pretty happy about it and look forward to seeing her move into regular washable undergarments. I wish that it had happened a lot sooner, but 22 months isn't bad.

Yesterday we loaded up Oma and George and headed down to the Agua Linda Farm for a visit. We recently signed up for the CSA and wanted to check the place out. CP enjoyed seeing the flowers and the baby goats and we enjoyed just getting out of the house.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Give Texas Back...

As if there weren't enough reasons already.... Heck, then I'd feel bad for Mexico. Hearing a young texan refer to a presidential candidate as a "stud" , declare his devotion to Huckabee, and then say that we should have a male running the country almost made me hurl my oatmeal and a few expletives this morning. Man, it seems like none of these huckster supporters read Rolling Stone. I don't know if their religions prohibit it or not, but jeeeeebus! These folks need some serious help and probably should escape from their own zip codes more often.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just Luck

As CP runs around the house happily playing among all of the crap that's accumulated in our tiny house, the radio discusses what happens to school kids in North Korea. Instead of spending time actually learning the three Rs, they spend time trying to find scrap material for that school that can be recycled. If they're lucky enough to get out, they need years of intensive catch up work. One girl that was mentioned was at least five years behind, but she was working through her high school studies in her mid-twenties.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Seeds For Some Change

Well, the LW and I just finally got off our collective butts and ordered seed for this year. As always, it'll be interesting to find a spot for everything - especially since the garden space was downsized by 40 square feet or so. We'll make it work though. There's plenty of space in the CGT plot and a good bit of unmolested space in the pre-CP version of our herb garden.

Today was jury duty for part of the day. It was rather quiet and I got to watch part of Hunt for Red October and read some of Animal Vegetable Miracle. I like this book more and more as I read it and can only hope that some of my relatives will enjoy it as much as I do. This weekend we found out that we got an invitation to join the Tucson CSA, so tomorrow we'll be headed downtown for a bit of a hike over there to submit our application. It's a first come or get none type deal for the application, so I hope that we make it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Team Roping and a Testy Toddler

On Monday the LW covered for me so that I could run up around Globe and shoot at a team-roping event in which Aunt Carie was participating. It was fun. I showed up at around noon and had 982 shots on the clicker and only had 35 remaining when I finally had to head back home. The event was for $10,000 and there were a buttload of folks there going for it. They had 900+ teams and I have no idea as of yet, how it went or how long they had to go.

It was my first run for the little prime lens that could. As it turns out, it couldn't. The focus mechanism kept hunting for focus and just about every shot that I took has some amount of blur in it, then there was the ghosting/flare....sheesh. Turn it to manual focus you say? - well, that'd be a good bet if it weren't a f1.8 lens. I had to keep it pretty close to wide open to get anything, which means that just being a hair off of focus blurs everything. All in all, it was a good lesson - a good lesson in why many photographers say "I could do that", but most don't. I really could have used the speed and accuracy of something like this or this, but the price is just a bit out of reach. If this stuff starts paying anything, I may just try to rent a lens every now and then. There are some companies out there that have a lot of cool equipment that's out of reach for regular folks.

CP has been exerting her will more and more of late. This has caused no small amount of distress and consternation among her parents. This morning at storytime, she didn't want to have any part of putting the bean bags back in the box after the games were finished, so we had to make several trips outside to discuss things....fun.fun.fun.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Persepolis Night Out

Auntie M. watched CP last night, so the LW and I were allowed to play around town like real grown-ups. It was nice. The first thing that the LW said that she wanted to do was to go see the movie Persepolis. Knowing nothing about it, I dutifully smiled and nodded. Once we made it to the loft, I recognized the movie we were seeing and was glad that we were there. It was just amazing. If you didn't catch it while it was in town, I pity you. It's that good. Really.

CP has returned from her overnight fun and has been on the go all day. There is a good bit of snow on the rich folks and rain flowing in the streets for the rest of us today. This photo is the reason that I recently picked up a 50mm 1.8 prime lens for the camera.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mommy on A Bike

Last night the LW and I tried to adjust her front shifter on the bicycle so that she could ride today. I'll know whether or not it worked when she gets home this afternoon. She was up with the alarm at 5am this morning and off to the Y for a workout, then came home, packed her stuff and was off to the library for some sorely needed "out of the house" time.

We put our names on the CSA list for vegetables yesterday, so we'll see where that goes. Just one more issue to be crossed off of the "put our money where our mouth is" list.

I hope that the LW's enjoying her time today because it's been great for CP and I, even though she's been upset a good bit. We got out and about this morning in search of a potty chair at Target, but didn't find anything. We didn't find a pottty chair, but we did manage to run into the wife of the architect who has offered to help us with the strawbale project. It reminded me that I needed to return his email. Sometimes I'm just awful about doing that. The inbox fills up so fast that I think I'd need 4 monitors stacked on top of each other just to see what's there.

CP's trick for today was to fall completely off of her chair at the lunch table and land flat on her back on the kitchen floor. On the way she bumped into several things, but it still didn't make her very happy with life in general. She's sleeping now and I'm trying to sneak around the house and let her get a nice long nap.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Busy Weekend

This past weekend was pretty full. The LW kept CP on Saturday when I went to a garden meeting, a photography meetup, and then ran up to Picacho to a team roping event to take pictures. The garden meeting was full of folks and it was good to see. The photo meetup group discussed composition, but I had to bail out before the comment/critique and monthly contest got started. Today was another garden meeting and it was beautiful out. CP got her foot stuck in the mud and was not happy about it. The mud made a suction around her foot and she couldn't get out. Pretty funny stuff really.

My event story: It took me almost an hour to get up to where the roping event was being held. Every road here is being rebuilt and at the same time the Gem and Mineral Show is in town. Crazy traffic - like Kansas City really, but with barricades and fewer orange barrels. This roping event was the Ivan Muxlow Memorial and it was held at the Aros Arena in Picacho. It was my first semi-official gig for the new photo business and it went well. I learned some things about the camera and about the event that I will be able to use in the future. CP's Aunt Carie is going to be in one of these events really soon and I needed the practice. She looked the shots over and gave me some good ideas and an overall positive critique. I showed up with 493 possible photos available on my camera's CF card and left with less than 50 shots available. There are over 360 shots out on my PhotoReflect website now and it's almost set up. I hope to have the Labtricity portion of the ordering process running by Monday afternoon and the website ordering portion will be ready to run full blast.

I need to get on the inside track for knowing who puts these gigs on though. I walked into the office as the event was ending so that I could drop off a couple of business cards for the announcer and it seemed to me that she kinda gave me a bit of the stink-eye. Almost in a "yeah, buddy..whatever" way. It's something that I'll have to work on.

In other news, the penguin humidifier is really doing a great job and CP's on the mend. I spoke to my folks this evening and she felt well enough to say, "Hi Grandy" into the phone. We hope that she'll start eating regularly again soon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sick Baby

Well, just like clockwork, with less than two weeks to go for her next checkup at the doc's office, CP is ill. A cough started over the weekend and is now a full-blown, fevery, and snot-laden mess. One trip to the mall play area in the flu/vomiting disease season is all that it takes. The LW was up last night at midnight with snotty vomit all over her. CP coughed so much that she finally started chucking, so the LW got in the tub with her and the tired baby got to play a bit with the light-up ducky. It appears to be flu-like and the LW and I are just wondering when, not if, we'll get it.

We did start getting eggs from our feathered pets this week though. It's a nice change and proof that spring is right down the road a bit.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Drippin' Eaves

Calling my brother back in KC to tell him about how I'm walking around in sunshine in sandals has come back on me today. It's good to see the rain though, since it really cleans the leaves and the extra blue brings out the deep green colors in the plants that is normally washed out by the sun. CP is at preschool this morning and I've been able to arrange photos and get things cleaned up in general. I also was able to book my first semi-official photo shoot with a friend this morning. I'm excited about it and nervous about things coming out like I want them to be. Either way it'll be fun and I hope to shoot some at some other events soon too.

This morning on the drive home, I was treated to this broadcast on NPR. It made me really grateful to hear that some folks are capturing stories like this and sharing them. There's so much dreadful stuff going on right now with factory farming and the chemical companies that run parts of the government.

Some folks aren't taking it and are fighting back. We really need to not only hear stories like this one, but seek out others and begin to understand what's going on with all of the things that many of us take for granted on the grocery store shelves. Perhaps folks think that they're immune from crap like the stuff that Monsanto is pulling, but none of us are immune if big companies gain a hold on the seeds, the very stuff that makes plants, and patent them. Yes, patenting seeds. Don't believe me? Check this out. They're taking seeds that have been around for eons - and claiming patents on them. It's almost as ridiculous as the schmucks at Smuckers trying to patent the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It won't seem rediculous though, when standard strains get mixed with the patented seeds and the patent lawyers come knockin'.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shutterfly

I've been working a good bit in the past two days to get all of the family albums from the most recent holiday trip set and uploaded to Shutterfly. I've almost got everything set, but I'm limited on the number of albums that I can "share" within a certain time period. Soon, family and friends will get an email that's full of links to all of the photos.

CP is busy rediscovering the mesh bag full of toys that I dug out from under the car seats...and is now wearing it over her head. She's doing well, but still has a lingering bit of diaper rash. The LW promises to un-tether herself from the laptop and escape from her code cave in order to go to the Y with me some time today. I don't think that she'll really do it.......it's just a ploy to pull me out of my 4th spot in the FitLinxx standings for my age group.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

School Closings

It looks like the super-genius school board we have thinks that it'll be a good idea to close CP's neighborhood school so that it will look, on paper, like they are saving money. The LW and I are LIVID and can't believe this. If this goes through and it looks like it will affect CP's education chances here, we might be done with this town. We love Tucson, but CP's education is our #1 priority. I thought the loss of accreditation in Kansas City's schools and the head-in-the-sand Kansas creationists were bad, but these guys are smoking crack.

The Day After

Well, CP made it through her first day at the preschool in pretty good form. She enjoyed herself, but came home with two issues that are getting better today.
#1. Something got into her eyes and she was rubbing them for part of the evening
#2. She had a little poop in her diaper and it wasn't changed for a while...this gave her a mean case of diaper rash and she's been upset with diaper changes.

I was pretty bent when I found this out, but we hope that this will change as the caregiver gets to know CP and her sneaky pooping ways. I'll be sure to have a bit of a discussion next Monday when I drop her off. She really seemed to enjoy herself, so I'm not too worried. She wasn't really interested in going home with me when I picked her up.......

This morning, I got two things sent to me. It's an interesting day. The LW sent me this. My new jeebus-fearin' sister-in-law sent this in an email about how this business owner should run for president. Try not to miss the irony in that last one.

Monday, January 28, 2008

First Day at Preschool

We got up this morning with the chickens and the LW got CP ready for her first day at preschool. Since she's been there before on a trial run, it wasn't really a big deal. By the time that I was getting ready to leave, I had to get her attention so that I could wave goodbye. I hope that everything goes well and that she enjoys her day.

It's awfully quiet around here.....time for iTunes!

I'm getting around to the research of photo hosting/sale sites. I started by looking at smugmug, flickr, and shutterfly. They all have sites where they charge professionals to load photos and then sell them for a commission. After a little more searching I found Exposure Manager and Printroom. These two seem like they cater only to professionals and have some nice little gizmos included.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mud Pies & Crackheads

Yesterday CP and I made mud pies in the back yard. We started with some of the sandy top soil and mulch that was available, but then added some of the dirt from a tree removal project that I've had going for about 6 months now (another story altogether). Anyway, the dirt added just enough clay to make the mud pies sticky and they went together nicely. CP enjoyed getting to employ Grandy's pat-a-cake method of "roll him up...thow him in the pan" and it made for some dirty hands, but that's about all. Today they were dried and she really liked picking them up and seeing whether or not they had any taste.

We were out in the back yard playing this afternoon when someone, who didn't look like he was out selling girl scout cookies, came wandering through the alley looking around at what was in everyone's back yards. It just so happened that I had my camera out and was able to snap some pictures of this character. I called TPD to see if they could run by and check it out, but never heard anything back from them....even after I told them that I had snapped a few pictures of the guy. Giving him the benefit of the doubt I figure maybe he was looking to cut through the neighborhood to get to the major N/S street, then realized that it was a dead end. The thing is that you can tell that our street is a dead end the minute that you turn down our street....so, chances are, he was probably up at the methhouse apartment complex and couldn't figure his way out of the neighborhood. Anyway, the PD can come to my blog if they want his picture. I just hope that they don't have to come back and put a chalk line around this character someday. I think that a police officer's son from Pratt Kansas mentioned a bit of wisdom that his dad imparted to him about only leaving one side of the story for the police to take.......

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Tooth Please....

..and could you bring that with a side order of cranky, a little draining snot, and a bit of intermittent malaise. Oh, and could you bring that out just before my next doctor's appointment so that I'll be off my food and lose weight? My parents reeeeeally love getting the stink-eye and lecture from the pediatrician when I fall out of the main portion of that little red weight curve diagram....you know, the one that's thrown off by all of the fat-assed similac babies.

It's tooth time around here again. It appears to be one of the larger pre-molars or molars and it's not very fun for any of us around here. We really enjoyed our weekend free day, but now it's back to reality.

We went to meet the preschool lady today and it was fun for CP. There will be two boys and CP. We're not worried about that and the place is pretty cool. The person in charge is a Waldorf type person and knows what she's doing. We've seen the results of her work in the child of a good friend and it's good. It'll be strange to have a day back during the week and I am looking forward to working more.

This morning there was an article in the "local" paper about women who are able to take their children to work with them. Reading the article and then seeing some of the comments that were left on the web, you'd think that this had been posted in Colorado City or in the Stepford 50's. Geez...some people in this town are smoking crack. Apparently all of the ills of society fall squarely at the feet of feminism. Damned uppity women wantin' to get out from the stove and go gallivanting across the countryside. Please. Today's problems have nothing to do with:

- the economics of today's world (and outsourcing or NAFTA)
- bad parenting (by folks that have no business procreating)
- that nasty little secret about the failure of at least 50% of heterosexual marriages
- wars involving this country for every generation since the turn of the 20th century (think about it (WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf WarI, Gulf WarII)

Nothing like that....it's all just those arrogant women forcing their "choices" on everyone else.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Haaaappy Birthdayyy Tooo Youuuuuuuu

The LW and I have been baby free for most of the day. She spent some of it downloading songs onto her swanky black iPod while fielding birthday phone calls from family and friends - I went to a neighborhood support network meeting. It worked out well because I was out of the house and she didn't have to chase a toddler. Auntie M was nice enough to play nanny today and it's a great thing. We're about to go out for California rolls and stuff at a sushi place and then hopefully pick up Pirates of the Caribbean 3 on the way home. It's fun just playing like we're adults again.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Park Afternoon

CP and I had a good time at the park this afternoon. It's getting to where she expects to be taken out in the afternoon after her nap and that's a good thing, I guess. There's a water fountain ring near the baby swings and she really wanted to see what was inside it this afternoon. I was cold, but we looked over the edge and into it anyway. There were other kids at the park by the time we finished with the swings and she had a good time watching the older kids running all over everything.

Unfortunately, some cranker had been smurfing under the playground equipment and left the cold medicine packs. I looked around in the sand for other garbage or maybe more dangerous things, but luckily didn't see anything. Speaking of garbage, you may begin to note that photos of CP will be small and probably increasingly grainy when you open them. I'm doing this on purpose after seeing what happened to another blogger with a cute daughter.