Wednesday, December 31, 2003


I usually avoid making resolutions because it's such a disappointment when I fail. However, in taking stock of my life during the past year I've found that I've achieved quite a few things. I have my temper a little more under control. I am a little more content with my life. I'm a little more caring and concerned for others. I've gained a few more skills for the job. I'm a lot better at the guitar than last year (seeing as how last year is when I started playing). I'm a little wiser and have a little more faith. That's all I can hope for for the coming year. Happy New Year and bless you all.

Resume Notes

This isn't to brag, only to keep track of it for my resume:

I just saw a commercial I edited a couple of years ago air nationally on ESPN in the Liberty Bowl Game today. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Let it (not) Snow

Friday, the day after Christmas, snow began to accumulate in great heaps. Most of the streets except for our were plowed almost immediately. I shoveled snow and helped dig neighbors' cars out for most of the afternoon. Yesterday the wind began to blow. It kept blowing all day. When I got home from work, my once-clear driveway had 3-foot snowdrifts. I was taking my five-year-old to the Jazz Basketball Game so I had to hurry and dig. I parked my little Sundance in the middle of the road and began digging. In the half hour that took, I also helped push two of my neighbor's cars out of the snow. I finally got the driveway clear enough to pull my car in and we went to the ball game. This morning, after a sleepless night and with bags under my eyes, I looked out the window and saw that the driveway was covered in deep snow again. I woke up late and had to get to work so I didn't bother with shoveling. Thank goodness for four-wheel-drive vans!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

After the Holiday

It's that inbetween time, the time between Christmas and New Year's that eases the pain of Christmas having come and gone so quickly with me not being prepared yet again. In there somewhere (tomorrow, in fact) is also my wife's birthday, another day for me to prove to her how uncaring, unthoughtful, and forgetful I can be, having not got her a present. Birthdays and anniversaries don't seem to be that important to her but I still feel terrible. I'm afraid she'll never know how much I adore her because I'm lousy at magically knowing what gift or act of kindness would light up her life.

Christmas was satisfying for me though. We got a lot of stuff that I'm pretty excited about. I know that's not what's important but it feels good anyway. Now we're in that clean up phase, much like after a move: There are still boxes and things that need a place to live (or die, in the case of the garbage). It will be nice when we get it all done and can stride into the new year in a clean house.

I'm up late because Rufflebutt woke me up and I can't get back to sleep. I'm facing a huge work day tomorrow after taking the week off, a daunting prospect. To top it off, I have new responsibilities now. I'm am writer/producer for a new show that will soon begin airing in several states twice a week. Daunting doesn't begin to describe that. The deadlines are going to be murder. And did I say this responsibility is in addition to those I already have? I don't deal well with this kind of pressure. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Eavesdropping on the Pizza Guys

My two boys while playing pizza store owners as overheard by me while I was unplugging the vacuum cleaner:

5-yr-old: Ok. It will be ready soon. Bye.
8-yr-old: What kind of pizza did he want?
5-yr-old: Pooperoni.
8-yr-old: I think he meant pepperoni.
5-yr-old: Oh darn it! Now I have to start all over!

That's Mr. Dinky to you.

Being a natural Narcissus, I am always pleased when I get mentioned on someone else's blog. But in this case, there was a mistake. Netwoman Tracy Kennedy thinks I am a woman. I guess this is understandable since I don't go on about sports or war or muscle cars. But I'm very much a man. Just ask my wife, my four kids, and my toy poodle Ms. Tinkle.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve

Having put off getting my wife (and everyone else) a gift until today, I piled the boys into the car and we braved the congested streets and actually went to the mall. Every year I think, "I'm going to start earlier, compiling a list of hints she gives me throughout the year, and get something really nice for her that'll make her eyes sparkle on Christmas morning." But it turns out to be the same kind of unlikely declaration an agonized, hungover lush makes when he says, "I'll never drink again."
The roads were terrible, not because of snow or ice, but because of the thousands of other procrastinators on their desperate quests for the last-minute presents. The wait at any given intersection or turn-off was at least ten minutes (if we were lucky), but I was prepared. The boys were all crooning along pub-fashion with the newly-installed cd player as it belted out tunes like "Put down the Ducky" and "The Streak" from their own mix disc while I listened to the book The Fourth Estate (which, incidentally, is absolutely fantastic) with ear buds that insulated my ears from all outside interference. Consequently, I was a very patient driver. The book is engrossing enough to keep me occupied, and while everyone else seemed to be in some sort of high-stakes race, I was very calm and collected.
Inside the mall was another matter. All the entrances to all the shops were congealed with a mass of shoppers, but we squeezed through somehow. I had to remind the boys we were shopping for mom everytime they stopped to look at a remote-control motorcycle or some lethal weapon. They had their own ideas of what she would like for Christmas, all well over our price limit and outside the realm of her taste. We finally saw some piggy banks that were kind of cute. She collects pigs so we were getting closer. Unfortunately, the one they picked had "lingerie money" embossed on the side. Since that's probably not the kind of sentiment a woman likes to get from her sons, we settled on "vacation money." Heaven knows she needs a vacation. I still didn't know what to get her myself, but I felt like I had travelled across the country and I was ready for a break so we went home. I ventured out again later and it had gotten worse. I still don't know what to get her. I know that she got me a subscription to a guitar magazine. She's not that easy to shop for, though. She likes plants and books, but she gets all the books she wants from the library and has no desire to read them again, and whenever I buy her plants they turn out to be poisonous and we can't have them around the kids. She has told me that my being so nice to her while she's been sick is Christmas present enough. I don't know. Sounds like a trick to me.
For dinner we decided to get the kids' ultimate Christmas Eve meal: We risked mad cow disease and got McDonalds.
After I ran around the neighborhood giving out the requisite candy-filled gifts, we watched "It's a Wonderful Life." I know people think it's overly-sentimental or simply overplayed, but I love it. I've seen it at the very least thirty times and I still bawl when I watch it. And I don't wait until the Auld Lang Syne seen to start blubbering, no, my eyes start brimming at the very start in anticpation of the emotional moments. I do my best to hide this from my wife who I think has become jaded from too many viewings, but of course I can't and I'm sure she thinks I'm a sappy idiot. I would love to be able to caterwaul like Diane Keaton does for days in "Something's Gotta Give." But I wouldn't be a man then, would I? No, I'd be Diane Keaton. Who, by the way, doesn't look good naked. Then again, neither do I.

I'd better turn in so I'm not the Christmas ogre I usually am. But before I do, I'd like, once again, to wish my family and the new friends I've made through blogging a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year full of joy and excitement.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Slow Motion Living

Laziness is not what everyone thinks. You see someone sitting on the couch watching tv all day, or at the computer playing video games, or just lounging in bed a little too long and you think, he's lazy. At least in my case, it's not laziness, it's A.D.D. I have many ambitions, many things I'd like to be doing. But when it comes time to do something about it, I can't see past the mountain of work that I assume must be involved. And still, that's not laziness. I'm not afraid of doing meticulous, tedious work. You should come to my job with me sometime and see what I do all day, or sit for hours with me as I do one of my drawings. No, laziness is not the correct lable for what is wrong with me. I can't focus. I can't formulate a plan of action. I can't remember what it is I want to do long enough to set out and do it. My head is a clouded fish tank floating with debris and dead fish. I have to muck around in it for hours to find a live one, something I'd like to work on. But even when I'm excitedly making plans and going forward, my thoughts dart away from me. I don't have the right lure or net. Something. I'm nothing if not tangential. I'm always flitting away from the point. Is there anything I can do? I think I could be really successful if I could only focus.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

In sickness and in health

Everyone seems to be getting better now. The coughing and hacking that once filled the house is now somewhat subdued. My five-year-old did not die as he thought. Princess Rufflebutt has been very happy today. She still coughs a little but she's much better than before. The nights were the worst. She was really ill there for a while. Mrs. C. seems to be getting better as well. I missed the whole thing. This is the first time I didn't catch what everyone else in the house had (knock on wood).

My sister is on her way to Idaho to live with my parents. They drove clear to Arizona just to get her and bring her back. That's quite a trip. They'll be passing through here at about 1 am so I won't see them. Good luck with your new life, Banana. I hope everything goes well for you.

By the way, I finally won something at the company Christmas party. It is a car stereo. Now if I could only get someone to help me install it, it will be the most expensive thing about my car. My co-workers have made it clear that I can no longer snivel about not winning. Ok. I'll comply with that. The party included many departments and companies as it was the sports and entertainment side of the group that we work for. Our company cleaned up, most of the prizes going to our sales department. I'm sure it didn't sit well with the rest of the party, especially since our sales department does that nearly every year. Isn't it odd how the same people seem to win every time?

I'm taking this whole week off starting Monday (I have to work tomorrow) and there are many presents under the tree from our wonderful families, so this should be a very nice Christmas for us. Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Big Fish

I just finished watching the movie "Big Fish" and I just had to sit down at my computer and write about it. Tim Burton is back. This film resurrects the sublimely blurred lines of reality that I enjoyed so much in "Edward Scissorhands" and "Beetlejuice," and the kind of darkly uplifting and heart-rending story of the former as well as that of "The Nightmare before Christmas." Albert Finney plays Ed Bloom, a Walter Mitty type who's tall tales just might hold a little bit of truth. Billy Crudup is his estranged son who sees his father's stories as his way of escaping a life of bordom. The film is a progression of these myths interspersed with returns to the present, "real" lives of Bloom and his family who are trying to cope with his coming death from cancer. The tales are smartly funny and a touch scary at times. I love everything Billy Crudup does, and this performance is no exception. All of the performances are wonderful. This is Burton's masterpiece.

Sunday, December 14, 2003


Dinky Jr. and I love to play Battlefield 1942. It's not the killing. In fact, when he plays or when we play together, it's on a multiplayer map with no other players. His only interest is in learning how to fly the planes and choppers and drive the cars. Flying the Apache helicopter is my favorite thing to do. I've learned to do it with the keyboard which is rather difficult. I would love to have a joystick so that I could maintain rotor speed...right now it's either on or off, which makes flying in tight situations hard. When I was lamenting about this and the fact that I can't afford a joystick to my boy, he said, "We're going to see Santa at the party tonight, why don't you just ask him for one?" This morning he asked me if I had talked to Santa about it last night. I made like I was too shy to talk to Santa about it.

I have a hard time with the Santa thing. I feel like I'm lying to the kids. They're so sure that he's a real person. What do you do when they ask him for something you can't afford or hadn't planned on giving them? And when they find out he's not real, how do they continue believing in Jesus Christ who has many of the same characteristics? He's charitable and loving...and even more invisible than Santa. Santa is at the mall, after all. One of the things I love about my children is their unabashed belief in things they cannot see and in what we tell them is true. Right now, they believe in both Santa and Jesus. How do I help them keep their faith in Christ when their faith in Santa has been shattered? How will they still believe in me?

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Sick Kids

I don't think we have the flu at our house (heavy sigh of relief) but the kids have been pretty sick. The other night, my five-year old woke up coughing and screamed, "I'm going to cough forever. This isn't ever going to stop! I'm going to die!" We assured him he wouldn't die and gave him something for his cough and high temperature. Last night Rufflebutt was hot as well. She's crabby today but the fever is gone. Right now she is hiccoughing herself to sleep on my shoulder as I type. I have been washing my hands at least 24 times a day. I can't afford to get it.

Oh, and a friend of mine emailed this to me. It's a picture that shows where ice cream cones come from.


Every once in a while I help clean the church building. Today, my seven-year-old wanted to come. We cleaned the bathrooms for our part. When we started on one of the women's bathrooms, he said, "Dad, women like their privacy a lot more than men. That's why they don't have two toilets next to each other that they stand up at." This is a fine piece of deduction, don't you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

This is the last time

OK, I promise this is the last time I talk about my toe. I know it makes some people ill but this is a personal blog and my toe is very personal. I lost the nail last night. I was fiddling around with it and it came off. Now my toe hurts again. I'm going to miss the little guy. That's the second toenail I've lost from that toe. The first one was when I was about 9. I was riding my bike barefoot and I jumped off while still going and there went the toenail. You can bet I don't let my kids ride without shoes. No need to make them learn the hard way when their baffoon of a dad already did it for them. Hopefully they'll listen to me about other sage advice gained the stupid way, advice about drugs and alchohol, dating, etc. I'm pretty wise when you consider that wisdom is aquired as a consequence of foolish actions.

On to other things:
It's pretty sad when you have to learn about your brother's brush with disaster on a snow machine by reading your sister's blog a week after the fact. Guess I should call more.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Conversations with the Boys

My five-year-old to my seven-year-old today at lunch:
"Remember when we were young and we used to pull the pepperonis off our pizza before we ate it?"

The other day to my three-year-old:
"I used to do that, too, when I was a little kid."

My seven-year-old to me while watching me play Battlefield 1942:
"If you were a coward like me, you wouldn't charge into the enemy's outpost like that."
"You're a coward?"
"Yeah, I always hide. I'm too scared."

My three-year-old anytime we're watching television:
"He said underwear! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

Friday, December 05, 2003

Ahhh Relief!

Looks like they won't have to amputate my foot after all. Last night I was examining the monstrosity that had once been my toe and what I thought was an extra-thick toe nail was actually a giant blood blister. Without being too graphic, I opened it up and drained at least a teaspoon of fluid out of it. It still hurts but the redness and pain are subsiding and I can actually concentrate on things besides my toe--like work. Thanks for all of the concern.

Is it possible? Rufflebutt is getting cuter by the minute. She plays games with me now. She likes to fly around like superbaby. When I lie on my back and hold her over me, she spreads her arms out, a wide grin plastered over her face. She likes to be held a lot. I mean, a lot. If we leave her on her blanket and do something else, she squawks loudly until we pay her the attention she craves. I did say she was a princess, right?

Thursday, December 04, 2003


Last Monday some buddies of mine and I were playing basketball and it got a little rough. We were playing speed, a game in which the players line up in single file and, using two basketballs, take turns shooting. You keep shooting until you make it or until the guy behind you makes it, in which case you're out. If you make it before he does, you go back to the end of the line and do it again until there's one person left. We always play this game and we were getting a little bored with it so some of the guys started making rules like, "Your first shot has to be with your off hand," or, "You have to bounce it of the wall on that spot then catch and shoot." So when it was my turn I decided for a no-look shot: "Your first shot is with your back facing the basket." I launched my first shot clear over the backboard. I went to retrieve it and when I turned around the next guys ball hit me square in the nose. My head shot back, sending waves of pain through my neck and I had that feeling you get when water goes up your nose. I had a dull headache for the rest of the night but I shook it off and continued playing. We then switched to 500. Someone had brought a wiffle bat and ball. We had a pitcher and a batter and the rest of us would try to catch the ball in as few bounces as possible, which was difficult since the ball had a mind of its own. On one pitch, the batter sent the ball speeding low straight at the pitcher. He put his hands down to catch it but it made a tight arc around his legs and continued, as if it had dodged him on purpose. I played pretty aggressively and skinned my knees and tore my pants and shirt. Then, after one high hit, my buddy, Scott and I went after the ball together. The floor in that room curves up at the walls and I jammed my foot into it. My toe hit the inside of my shoe causing the worst pain imaginable. I took my shoe off expecting my sock to be filled with blood. It wasn't, but my hands were shaking with the pain. I could tell the others didn't understand how much pain I was going through and I didn't try to explain it. I sat there a few minutes until it began to subside. I put my shoe back on and played again but the pain never went away. It still hasn't gone away. The toe is now infected and the nail is loose. It'll probably come off eventually. It's a constant pain with no relief. Surprisingly, I can sleep. But I know the pain is still there even when I'm snoozing. I should probably go to the doctor but I hate doing that. I've been wrapping the toe up in gauze with alchohol and triple-antibiotic oinment but it doesn't seem to be helping. It's making me irratible as well. Too bad for my family. Oh well, there could be worse things. It's hard to remember that I'm not a kid anymore.