Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Arboretum Adventure Continues

With Rowan having the second of her two scheduled long days at Learning Lane, Sheridan and I returned to Mercer's Arboretum. This time we came in a more exploratory mood, and struck out for the far end of the park. On the way, Sheridan made commentary and offered names for the sights.

Although it's hard to tell without clicking on and blowing up the picture, the above structure is actually a fountain. Sheridan loved it and called it The Third Gate of the Heavens. I have no idea where he pulled that name from.

Then further back in the park, we crossed what he concluded was a decidedly creepy gully. The place did have a certain feel to it. It made me think of a gully mentioned in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.

Finally we arrived near the back part of the park, where they have a pond and a "tea house". At this point I was seriously lagging, and Sheridan had to curb his youthful enthusiasm for venturing onwards in order to give the old man a break. It worked out for him though, because he got to see a swimming turtle. And we did go on to the tea house after a breather.

So, it's been an eventful week, with one more day yet to go. I bought them a Slip'n'Slide and some kind of hopscotch game you hook up to a water hose, so I figure tomorrow will be featuring the back yard and a lot of water. I shudder to think of our water bill this month.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Dad Stuff

Rowan's session at Learning Lane was going to be an extra hour long today, so we had three hours to kill instead of two. I decided to take advantage of that by taking Sheridan to a more distant destination than normal, and this time we spent our time at Mercer's Arboretum. There weren't any ducks, but there were other things to fascinate the young mind and draw his attention.

As a matter of fact, we hit jackpot in the first fifteen minutes. While I stopped to do some filming on another project, an armadillo wandered by.

Then later, as we were going by a fish pond, and employee came out to feed the fish. The lady was very nice, and put some food down so Sheridan could feed the fish (and the turtle) himself. He loved every second of it.

A nearby colony of ants caught wind of this activity and started raiding the pile of food themselves. Sheridan got almost all of the food out to the fish, but the last few pieces were seized by the ants. Sheridan and I observed as the struggled to get their ill gotten gains home, and he had a couple of observations about ants.

And then it was time to get Rowan.

She had her own idea of how to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

After a long session at school, she couldn't think of a better way to unwind than to go to her favorite summer hangout...the pool in the back yard. That's a contented little girl finishing off her day right.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Coming Soon

I'm doing a short break of my three post a week routine to announce I just sent the corrected proof for my stories back to LL Dreamspell tonight for the Dreamspell Nightmares 2 anthology.

I have three stories in this upcoming anthology, and I'm really proud of all three of them. All three are ghost stories, but they each have their own character and feel.

I'll be sure an announce it when the anthology is released :)

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled three days a week...

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I have a headache, and my children are loud.

That pretty much sums up my existence. The children have been sent to bed, but the echoes of their screaming rampages...err, I mean playing...still echo throughout my skull. Phineas Gage's spike has nothing on mine at the moment. So I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

The family is doing fine (other than me and my enormous Head of Doom) and we look forward to getting through the last week of June. Amazingly, one third of the summer has already pretty much slipped by and I have not carried out a single one of the bloodcurdling threats I have issued in the direction of the children when they get obnoxious. I think they are more clever than I give them credit for.

I think they have figured out an invisible line called Daddy's Threshold, and they intuitively know to stay just under it. That way they get the satisfaction of keeping Daddy's blood pressure at a high pitch, but keep the risk of dire consequences to themselves at a reasonable level. Their plan must be to incapacitate me slowly, so that I'm still around to loan them car keys when I'm older, but too weak to resist.

Oh well, that's my life for now. Happy Monday!

(Ow...even exclamation points hurt)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Call of the Wild

So I have been taking Sheridan to the park while Rowan is in therapy, and been trying to make the most of our time. I taught him that the above black bird was a grackle, and that it could be distinguished from crows because it has yellow eyes while a crow has black ones. The Mallard in the background, and the female Mallard below will be the object of next weeks lesson. I'm taking pictures and running to the internet to help me identify these birds so I can point them out and teach them to the boy.

Above is one of Sheridan's favorite ducks. It is called a Muscovy duck. At first glance it has a somewhat vulture appearance, but it certainly got friendly when Sheridan broke out the french fries the first time he fed them. He was practically hand feeding the thing.

But low and behold...a Black Vulture dropped in to pay a visit, much to the Mallard family's dismay, so Sheridan got to see some carrion bird action after all. It wasn't a Turkey Vulture, which would have looked more like a Muscovy Duck than this fellow, but it was cool.

Now I have absolutely no idea what breed of goose or waterfowl the below pictured bird is. I have scoured the intarwebs to no avail, so if anybody out there recognizes these things please give me a heads up.

Anyways, I'm learning too.

And Sheridan is learning that ducks can get a little too friendly when you wave a popcorn bag in front of them.

But once he climbed safely atop the bench, the festivities resumed.

 Needless to say, his audience was most appreciative. He was Mr. Popularity, at least for a while. And if we keep visiting this park we're going to end up with a bunch of twenty pound ducks with Type 2 diabetes huffing and puffing around. So not only am I not getting enough writing done, but I've got a pending plague of duck obesity on my conscience.

It ain't easy folks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Issue

I have simply run out of hours in the day.

With both kids home, and me making a committed effort to engage them and keep them busy, I seem to have run out of time for other things.

I've been researching ducks so I can teach Sheridan the different ducks he sees at the park, and other activities designed to help keep an attention deficit kid engaged in the world around him, instead of disappearing into a Wii game. And then there is the complication of the five year old autistic kid needing her own forms of engagement, and trying to do that without the eight year old disrupting it.

I have lots of projects for both of them, but they require my participation so that has pretty much become my life right now. Everything else is getting kind of crowded out, as even my couple of quiet hours between the time they go to bed and the time I do is now dominated by me researching ways and means of dealing with each kiddo in the best way to suit there needs.

Not to mention, there have been several nights I just threw in the towel and went to bed at the same time they did because I was exhausted.

So writing and blogging and related things has been crowded off into a corner by these little guys, and it looks like there isn't going to be a lot I can do about that till school starts again. Oh well, I will do my best.

Anyways, that's what's up.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day rolled around, and do you know what my wonderful wife did? She told me she would be taking care of the kids all day, and booted me out of the house under strict orders to do whatever I wanted. So I thought about it...and this is what I did.

I went to the lake. 

I got me a couple of large bottled waters, and just plopped my butt on the pictured bench above. And there I sat for the rest of the day...just watching the lake.

I watched a large bird...either a heron or a pretty much the same thing I did. He stood there at least two hours, looking out across the waters.

And there were ducks. A myriad of ducks of many different breeds. I wished I had a bird watchers book with me so I could have identified the ducks.

And I looked across the lake and gazed at the large houses on the far shore. 

Many of them were grand structures, like personal palaces built by people who live on the far shores of other things than just a lake. 

I don't envy them...but their houses are nice.

So I sat there on a bench, and watched the lake go through the day. I saw people come and fish, and others paddle by in little canoes. Squirrels dropped by for a little playtime and chased each other around the little pavilion I occupied before heading off to their next activity of the day. And I realized something....

You don't really see a lake until you sit down and watch it. It doesn't exist in a snapshot, but as a living thing in motion. You have to take the time to watch it breathe.You have to see it go through it's day to see it for what it is...and even that is nothing but a bigger snapshot.

Overall, I had a great Father's Day...despite acquiring a significant sunburn...and wouldn't have done it any other way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Day in June

The sun scorched playground
Today only happens once
Where is everybody?

No peers to be found
He stalks the Ducks of Summer
Alas, no French fries

Dad makes some chili,
the balm for summer blahs
Extra cheese helps too

Suburban moonrise
Nightbirds duel against frog song
A distant horn sounds

Every day of summer is a snapshot of young eternity. We carry them with us into adulthood and occasionally unfold them in quiet moments. We thought they would never end, and now they are so far gone it almost hurts to recall them. And this summer when I watch my kids journey through their own youthful eternities, I just want to bottle it for them and put it away on a shelf so it will be there for them when they are old.

Sometimes I wish the world was big again.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Diving Deeper into Summer

As we head deeper into June, the kids are starting to adapt to their new surplus of time at home...and I'm starting to adapt to them. Sheridan has been busy splitting his time between the backyard pool, the Wii, the computer, and watching DVDs and cartoons...while if Rowan had her way she would probably just set up a mailbox by the pool and move in.

She doesn't care if he's out there to play with her or not. She is just enamored of being in the water and playing with it.

Also, another benefit of having Dad being the one home to take care of them is the fact that I'm the one who makes summer lunches...such as the one pictured below.

Hey, sausage on a stick and popcorn qualifies as nutrition, and the kids are convinced I'm an enlightened adult when it comes to menus. They sang my praises while the stuff was cooking.

And I'm still actually getting a little writing in. Not a lot...nowhere near my old pace when things were moving...but still enough progress to make a difference. At least enough that I can honestly say the project I'm working on is moving forward. It's just being done in snatches here and there, and I'm sure that will show during the editing. But that's okay. Progress is progress.

And the time with the kiddos is worth it. 

It may be cutting into my writing time, but I'm beginning to think that keeping busy and doing things with them is stimulating the old creative cells. I'm starting to notice things while I'm out with them, and looking at those things with an eye towards using them as elements in future stories. For instance, I was at McDonald's with Sheridan while Rowan was with her therapists, and I noticed this woman in another booth keep making the same gesture with her hand while talking. It occurred to me that I ought to experiment with adding personalized gestures to certain characters...just to make them a little more human and distinct. So this might actually end up helping in the long run. We shall see.

Until then, enjoy this clip of a very quiet little girl enjoying her summer in a backyard pesky brothers required.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wet Weekend for the Kiddos

Saturday was the Raingutter Regatta for Sheridan's Cub Scout troop. They got to build little boats, and then play on the inflatable waterslides until race time arrived. Siblings were welcome, much to Rowan's delight.

Sheridan and Rowan both got to be in a race. Neither brought home any trophies but they both had such a great time that Karla and I thought that it was now hot enough for more water activities to take place. So we went to Target and bought them a swimming pool and some water soakers.

Needless to say, the combination was a big hit with the kiddos, and it gives us an opportunity to start spreading some water around our bone dry back yard.  The kiddos had a great time, and played till almost bedtime.

The next morning, they hopped up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to hop back into the pool. I slept in and their bleary eyed Mom sent them out to have fun.

And they did.

But instead of spreading that good old H20 ought amongst the yard, somebody got it in their little head to bring the yard into the pool instead. Yes, this is what I walk out to see when I got up. Notice the pure sparkling water now...

So, action was taken...and the kids enjoyed that too.

Oh, and I actually got some writing done...but 'nuff said on that.

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The World as It Is

So Friday is here and the first week of summer home with the kids has passed. I guess we all survived it pretty well, but it’s going to get tougher for me from here. That’s actually good news in a way, because the reason it’s going to get tougher is that Karla got some steady work at a vet clinic so I won’t have her home as much to help me with the kids…but on the other hand we don’t have to eat our shoes.

Yay, Karla!

I didn’t even have any idea how you are supposed to cook shoes.

Meh, they probably have gluten in them anyways…

So there’s that.

On another front, I have been reading and cogitating, with just a little writing thrown in here and there. I really kind of think I ought to write one or two more short stories to add to a future horror anthology I intend to put out, but I’ve just been in a mellow mood lately and can’t think of anything horrible…other than eating shoes, and who wants to read a story about that?

So, I’m just in kind of what I hope is a pregnant pause in short story writing. At least until I can start thinking of horrible things again. I kind of think they will come.

We’ll see.

Anyways, my strategy is simply not to worry about it and focus on the world in front of me for a  while. My son is going to do his Raingutter Regata in Cub Scouts this weekend and that should be a lot of fun. It’s just little homemade boats racing each other in a “gutter” of sorts. I’ll soak that in and enjoy life as it happens…after all, it only happens once…and I’m sure the writing will take care of itself.

Things are okay J

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So It's Wednesday

And I slept in.

There really hasn't been much to report. Just me watching the kids. I've got a feeling the rest of the summer is going to be a lot like this.

My needle has been running pretty close to the E on my personal fuel tank, and since I don't feel sick I suspect it's only my CMT acting up. If that's the case I'll just have to be patient and ride it out.

So here I sit with nothing to say.


Does "Bleh." count?

Probably not.

So the garbage men picked up my trash today...just like they always do on Weds so I guess that doesn't really count as news either.

Yeah, foks. It's that bad.

I'm even starting to miss the raccoon.

Sigh. It ain't easy being me.

I hope all of your humpdays out there are going better.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer is Here

So, the kids got to enjoy the first weekend of summer.

They started by getting up at the ridiculous time of seven in the morning and wanting to be fed. It doesn't matter that they have to be drug unconscious from their beds at this time on a school day. Nosiree! Now it's summer and they can get up any old time they want to...and they want to get up at the crack of dawn! What do you want to be bet this phenomenon lasts right up until the last of August before it comes to a screeching halt.

Then they spent a rousing day in front of the computers, the TV, and then playing the Wii on the TV. Somehow I remember the summer days of my youth being a little different.

Oh well, on another front, my yard got watered.

Yep, that is authentic H2O falling from the sky...something we haven't seen around these parts in several months. We have been fighting just to keep whats left of the grass in our front yard alive, and our back yard is now pretty much bare dirt. So this is something of a blessing. I'm hoping to see a lot more of it (without a hurricane attached if possible, please).

Surprisingly enough, both kids are sleeping right through it. I went and checked my bedroom, expecting to find to little forms huddled under the blanket in our bed, but they stayed put in their own rooms. I guess it comes from getting up so early.

So the first weekend is over, and I'm not sure how I'm going to differentiate it between the rest of the week since nothing much changes. I'll still have the kids, and the housework to do. I wonder how I'll keep track of the days, now that I don't have the school bus dropping by to let me know it's a weekday? Pretty soon they are all going to be the same.

Oh boy... I guess everything IS zen.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's The Last Day of School

...and now I have the kids home for the whole summer...