Category: Family

The following is a list compiled by my 7-year-old son about things in his life and how they rate. Rather entertaining, if I may say so myself. I’ve done my best to preserve the original spelling and punctuation.

Things To Do Good Or Bad
music no
science yes
keroty yes
art no
fun yes
boring no
Thomas Edison Great
xbox 3-60 Awsome
Wii Awsome
GameCube Awsome
Evry Game tation Awsome
Work Boring
x-box Awesome
Evry thing that a 7 year old boy would want Awesome ya
computer games Awsome
School boooooooo boring
homework boooooooo boring
weekends woooooooooooo ya Awsome
Barbie boooooooooo boring
Girl stuff terible boring boooooooooooo
People that kick my but Scary not smart mean
people that get me in trouble not smart
people that hog time not nice
candy wooooooo ya awsome
Hershy’s Woooooo ya Awsome
baby toys booooooooo boring
Remember when it was all so simple to categorize? Hee!

About three years ago, after a wonderful photographer could no longer justify travelling from Louisiana for employee shots at our job, Michelle and I took the kids to Sears. It wasn’t very good. The shots came out OK, but the experience was frustrating and the photographer even lost patience at times with the kids.

Well, today, we went back to Sears. What a difference! Look at the photos in my strip at the top of the page. Click on one to see the whole album in Flickr. The two ladies who handled this evening’s shoot had the kids laughing the entire time. The kids were having fun with all the poses. The pictures came out wonderful, and they then applied effects like vignettes and sepia tones. To top it all off, we could purchase a CD of the pictures with a release to use/copy them as we wish!

We’re SO happy with these photos. I hope you enjoy them even a fraction as much as we do. By the way, no edits here. Some of the photos are shots we did not chose to develop, but I left them in anyway. It’s just more fun to see all of them.

Simple Family Video

OK… FileLodge finally got their act straight, and as promised, here is the video of our vacation at Vero Beach.  I’ll warn you, it’s quite large (17 MB), but I wanted the folks at home to be able to see it clearly.
In case you didn’t know who’s who, I’ve captioned the video with that information.
Note:  This is not in the embedded media player.
P.S. – Yeah… I noticed that gut… I’m working on it!

To my Dad on our first Father’s day without him… you’re still with me, and here’s a very incomplete list of how:



What you did

What it gave me



Took regular walks in the “woods” (a string of overgrown vacant lots which is now Rt. 878).

Perspective to step away from the grind and just "be" once in a while.



Taught me to use Erector sets, electronics kits, model airplanes, etc…

The ability to see the whole from a bunch of seemingly unrelated pieces – to work with my hands and mind in unison.



Lay on the floor between the couch and TV.

An understanding of just how great it can be to do nothing while your kids climb all over you!  It doesn’t last long, does it.



Sang with the choir – no matter which parish you were with.

An appreciation for music.  An understanding of commitment.  The importance of being true to your muse. 



Took pictures.

Thousands of memories that we can carry forward in your absence.  They let me share some good times with loved ones who didn’t get to experience them firsthand.



Gave advice.

OK, a lot of times, I didn’t ask for it.  And some I didn’t want.  But there was a lot of good knowledge you had and which you shared with me.



Loved God

A faith that transcends religion.  The ability to believe even when things don’t seem  to indicate His existence.



Loved Mom.

The ability to enter a relationship and be realistic about it.  To enjoy the highest points, and stick it out through the lowest.  To be flexible.  To be there.



Loved your kids.

The desire and capacity to do the same.


I miss you terribly, Dad.  We all do.

It’s been a busy week, but there’s another one right around the corner.  I am categorizing this post as "Family" because of the bottom part.  It’s really a dual-purose post, though.


I didn’t get to work on this over the weekend, but here’s the building as I left it Friday afternoon.  Deannie asked what the hardest part of this is.  Well, there’s a neon sign on this building.  I haven’t even started on the lettering, but trying to get a convincing neon effect has been a bit vexing.  I discovered that, due to a software bug, you can’t render "glow" through a transparent surface (i.e. the glass tube or windows!).  I’ll be figuring that out later.  Another thing that’s been very difficult is determining the ins and outs of moulding.  There are so many places where it goes up or down and they look wrong if you don’t get them just right.  The flowers on the column are done through subpatching.  This is where you set the mode of the software to be "claylike" rather than "solid", so your bends and stuff look, for lack of a better term, gooey.  I undertand this will be an essential tool for creating anything organic in nature.


I won’t lie.  These pictures are not from Mother’s Day.  They’re from last weekend (S10 made his First Holy Communion, and we celebrated the next day).  But, this weekend, for Mother’s Day, we spent four days at the Fort Wilderness Campground.   We spent today at Epcot because they give every mom a carnation and a free family picture.  So, it’s become a tradition for us to go, and many times, for Grandma and Grandpa to come with us.  They have a camper, and we stay on the site in our tent.  It’s a lot of fun!  We’re all exhausted today, though.  Grandma and Grandpa have begun the two day trip home, so they’re somewhere around Atlanta,GA at the moment.

So, now that the house is back to normal, does that mean more frequent posts?  I wish, but there’s a lot going on, still.  M4 is graduating from pre-school this week.  That’s a fun time.  The school puts on a concert with the grads all lip-syncing to oldies.  It’s hilarious and the kids have a great time.  I’ll try to put a video up once we get it.  In the meantime, though, it’s render, render, render! 

…Michelle and I went on our first date.
(Pretend I posted this one minute earlier… when it was still 4/19!  Took longer to write than I thought)
We met at her apartment and headed straight to Epcot.  Thinking it would be exotic, I got reservations at Morocco.  We had a wonderful meal, although watching a belly dancer on your first date can be a bit awkward.  After dinner, we walked around through the countries and got ice cream at the African Outpost.  It was extremely hot, and the ice cream was melting fast, so we stopped walking and sat down to finish it off.
This part gets a bit elaborate (off-on-a-tangent alert!).  I’m still not sure how the whole thing happened, as the timing seemed impossible.  You see, there was an elderly couple who frequented the park and rode around on 3-wheeled scooters.  They were horrible, miserable people.  You’d never expect to see people like this at the park, no less as regulars!  They would cruise around at full speed and beep at anyone who got in the way.  If you didn’t jump to the side, you were guaranteed roadkill.
OK, so we’re sitting there facing the promenade and lagoon, just eating our ice cream, and from hidden compartments all around, spotlight assemblies rose to 15+ feet tall!  In response to these lights, hundreds of teeny-tiny little frogs came from the lagoon and began hopping across the promenade in our direction.  They were no bigger than insects.  They were cute! 
Off to the left, in the direction of the Mexico pavillion, a horn tooted.  A pair of headlights appeared as the crowd parted like the Red Sea in the DeMille version of the story, dozens of innocents diving for their very lives just ahead of them!  It was Mr and Mrs Nasty!  "But the frogs!!!", I said to Michelle,  "It will be carnage!"  They just kept coming, hopping across the promenade toward the spotlights.  Grimaces on their faces, the two old cranks plowed through the entire population of amphibian seekers of light. Six scooter tires of frog-crushing doom!  If any of the frogs survived, the reason for the spotlights took care of that.  A marching high-school band followed through soon after the couple did their damage.  I think somewhere, in a lilputian frog library, someone keeps the tome documenting this event.  If not, you have it here.
After ice cream, we discovered the car was somewhere in the massive Epcot parking lot, but we had no idea where.  Michelle had a van and was used to being able to spot it over the tops of the other vehicles.  I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet and was too preoccupied with the date to take note of the row.  It was entirely possible someone with an SUV parked OVER my tiny car.  Just when I was ready to start looking under 4WD chassis, we found it.  I played "Alone Again Or" by The Damned  for her on the way to Disney MGM Studios.  She’s suffered through a lot more obscure music since then.
At Disney/MGM, there’s a slight debate as to what we did.  I once volunteered us for the sound effects show, and I thought it was our first date.  Either I’m right, or I was more oblivious to the fact that she doesn’t like volunteering for shows than I remember.  I can’t imagine that I’d have done that on a later date.  But that doesn’t make it any more likely that I’m right.
We had a wonderful time, and the glitches we ran into along the way made the whole evening hilarious (and memorable!).  Obviously she was impressed because it started us down the road to where we are today.  I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world (even the Disney World)!  But I still mourn for the frogs.
Lynda, Howie, and Steven are here!
Steven (age 7) got us tonight with one of those "out of the mouths of babes" comments.  The conversation went kind of like this:
Steven:  Mom! I just saw my friend from home!
Lynda:  I don’t think so, Steven.  We’re quite a way from there.
(Lynda checks to see if it’s him… and it is!  All the way from Long Island!)
Steven:  Mom, why didn’t you say "Hello" to his mom?
Lynda:  I don’t even know his mom.
Steven:  I’m sure he’s got one… somewhere.
The boys are having such a great time together.  All four are finally asleep.  Tomorrow, we hit Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.  It’s going to be a long, tiring day, but one I’m sure will be full of great times!
Who’s gonna get the quote of the day this time around???
Steven and Howie in front of the San Francisco matte painting.
Steven, Lynda, and Howie (not under the influence!) at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular 
We went camping this weekend.  It was a great time.  We don’t drag everyone out into the woods and live off the land (yet).  We go to Fort Wilderness at Disney World.  It’s a nice combination of fresh air, tent sleeping, and civilized amenities.  The boys had a great time.
Saturday, we stayed at the campgrounds.  Luckily, we inflated the mattress before plugging in the van.  When I did, it blew a circuit breaker, and we were without power all weekend.  The good thing is our cell phones eventually died, and we couldn’t do a thing about it (disconnecting is good, sometimes).  That day we scootered around, hit the playgrounds, and in the evening went to the campfire and saw the film, "The Pacifier".  M4 gave out about midway through the film, and Mom brought him back to the tent.  They were both passed out by the time the rest of us got there.
Sunday, we took a pontoon boat out on the waterways.  Very relaxing and entertaining. 
I let the boys steer while sitting in my lap.  We went to the petting zoo, where the younger two rode ponies.  S10 was too old (but we took care of that the next day).  After dinner, we took a nighttime wagon ride through the campground.  We also hit the swimming pool before bedtime.
Monday, we started out with S10 proudly taking a trail ride by himself.  He rode all over the campgrounds and loved it!  He was talking to the horse like an old friend when he came back.  Then we went over to the Magic Kingdom.  The day proved a bit much for M4, and I took him home with a fever.  I needed to go to work today and had decided not to sleep in the tent anyway, but I expected to come home alone.  It was for the better, though, as Mom ended up taking the older guys swimming, which would be difficult for one parent with the littlest in tow.
Today, M4 was better, but not ready to go back in the morning as planned.  Mom, S10, and T6 packed the tent and came home around lunchtime, and that’s when I left for work.  They’d gone swimming again this morning and really squeezed every minute of fun out of this trip that they could.  We’ll be back around Halloween time!
Note:  The pictures are all added in the newest photo album.  You may have noticed in the past that I seek 42′s.  I found one on Tom Sawyer Island of all places!  Also, there was some signage that caught my eye.  They’re in with the pictures, too.

I just like this…

This is a happy farewell…
Dad’s piano is on the way, but a little over 10 years ago, we bought a "rescued" piano for $250.  It’s a beautiful piece of furniture, but had a few missing ivory covers and a little buzz on some of the notes.  We’ve tuned it once or twice, but it didn’t hold for very long.
Now, I have no question that I am NOT a pianist, but I thought I’d share and example of the mistake-laden music I could produce with this instrument (in the media player).
The point is that I play for myself.  I can, but generally don’t read music.  I play almost entirely by ear.  It sounds good to me, and my wife seems to enjoy it, and that’s as far as it has to go.  And I know this sounds like a cop-out, but I play so much better when I’m not aware there’s a computer recording the performance.
When the time came to make room for Dad’s piano, I had to let this one go.  I had no interest in making a profit off it.  I’ve had so much satisfaction in just having a true piano around the house that I just wanted it to have a home and be used.

I brought these four pictures into work.  I had no less than 12 "takers" in the time the pictures were up.  Then they realized just how large the piano was.  They all backed down due to space or tranportation issues.
Then the pictures disappeared.  I got an e-mail from a friend, Debbie.

Debbie has a friend, Jeff, who has a daughter.  This daughter has been begging to learn piano for a long time, and he couldn’t see dropping the money for one on what may be a passing interest.  He was thrilled.  Today, he and his clan (and a friend with a trailer) came by and moved the piano and its bench out of the house.  Tomorrow, Dad’s piano arrives.  So, I say good bye to an old friend, and hello to an even older one. 

Dad’s piano is the one I banged on as a baby on Mom’s lap.  It’s the one I sat at, heads down, eyes closed, listening to "Only You" as performed by the Flying Pickets and learned to play their arrangement of the song note by note (rewind-play-rewind-play, etc…).  I’ll be happy to be poorly playing the songs I know on that one in the next few days.