Thursday, March 25, 2010


was two years. And I still miss her every day.

She was the greatest dog ever.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Floor Show, Part Two

We listen to a wide variety of music at our house. Most of it, as most music is, relates in some way to our lives, our experiences.

When I was a Marine, we had a training exercise out in the Mojave desert around 29 Palms. One of my jobs that summer was to keep a generator running so we had some electricity to run the firing computers, so we could keep shooting well into the night.

Well, that old generator was a big pain in the posterior, and would often just stop running for no good reason. Now, I'm no mechanic, and for the life of me I can't remember what I did to get it restarted, other than pulling on some levers, or flipping some switches, or pushing some buttons. I was probably doing more harm than good. But for whatever reason, it would mercifully restart for me. Now, the old generator was also exceptionally loud, and thus was kept a good deal away from our site. I also tried to sleep at a distance, so that I could, you know, actually sleep. But every time it broke down, I'd pull my boots on and run across the desert to get it going again. After a time I was so tired that I just hauled my cot and sleeping bag to within a few paces and crashed there.

As so often happens with me, I had a couple of songs in my head at those times. One was Clapton singing "Layla" (you got me on my knees, oh Layla, I'm begging darlin' please) which I named that generator as I silently begged it to restart. The other was Cat Stevens' "Moon Shadow". Because at night, in the desert, miles from anything, there were no lights. None. And getting up to run across the desert to start the generator, the only light I had to see by was the light of the moon. I think it was my second or third walk back to my cot that I noticed my moon shadow diligently following me. That song has reminded me of those youthful days in the Corps ever since.

So naturally, we have a compilation CD of favorite songs that was playing the other day, when "Moon Shadow" came on. The Boyo has listened to it a few times now, and when asked about the song says this...

"Oh, that's the song about losing body parts!"

??? After laughing heartily, I had the sudden realization that I didn't know what that song actually meant! But I think he's got it pretty close. See?

"I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow

and if I ever lose my hands
lose my plough, lose my land
oh, if I ever lose my hands
oh, well...
I won’t have to work no more

and if I ever lose my eyes
If my colours all run dry
yes, if I ever lose my eyes
oh well …
I won't have to cry no more.

yes, I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow

and if I ever lose my legs
I won't moan and I won't beg
oh if I ever lose my legs
oh well...
I won't have to walk no more

And if I ever lose my mouth
all my teeth, north and south
yes, if I ever lose my mouth
oh well...
I won't have to talk...

Did it take long to find me
I ask the faithful light
Ooh did it take long to find me
And are you going to stay the night

I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow

moon shadow - moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow"

Moon Shadow - Cat Stevens

What the heck IS that song about?

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Floor Show

Living with my little ones is pretty amazing. Watching development and growth. Seeing how they are so much like their mom or me, and somehow so very, very different. It's entertainment from wake up to bedtime. Sometimes drama, sometimes mystery, lots and lots of comedy.

Today the Boyo showed me a picture that he had drawn of two houses side by side. There was a driveway coming from 'our' house, he explained. And our family was standing inside the borders of that house.

There was another figure in the driveway itself.

"That other house is God's house." He told me. And that's God in the driveway, and he's building it. Because God is really good at building things."

Later in the evening, during songtime before bed, I was playing one of the kiddos favorites - The Dance Song - and watching the two of them boogie. Sweet Pea does whatever the Boyo does, and it is a very amusing show!

As for Sweet Pea, she has become a bit of a chocoholic. No thanks to her Daddy, who has a fondness for chocolate milk. So now, when her sippy cup is full of milk. She will bring it over, set it on my knee, make the signs for "more please" and say in a firm tone, " Dokat Dahee!" (Daw-cat Dah-ee)

It took once or twice, but I know know that the combo of signs and sounds means thus...

"Father, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I really would rather prefer a bit of chocolate sugar stirred into this rather bland cup of milk you have provided for my consumption. If you do not see fit to comply, I will be forced to raise said cup and smack you about the knees and head until you have received the message clearly. Thank you for your cooperation."

For the record, she doesn't get dokat every time she demands it. But if I imbibe, I think it's only fair to share!

Oh yes, chocolate sugar is what the Boyo calls Nestle Quick. He's quite the creative kid.

Bedtime now, I'm tired out after two night shifts!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taxes and Life

Had a meeting with our tax prep person today. Lots of fun! Loads! She's a very nice gal, and knows her stuff, for which I am very thankful.

I think if the Wife didn't have so much on her plate she would probably do all of that herself. But with our working in two states, and being in a LLC, and running a business, the maze of paperwork and regulations are stunningly confusing. As the Wife is busy working three jobs already (nurse, wife, mother) and I am mathematically challenged, and doubly so when it comes to the IRS, it is good to have someone in our corner that we just have to hand in our numbers and have them crunched for us.

In other news, our children are growing up far too fast. We were watching Hogan's Heroes tonight with the Boyo. It's a pretty benign comedy for the most part, and he usually stays interested for a few minutes before deciding that playing with legos or tinker toys or his sister is more interesting. Tonight though, Hogan left Klink's office and the Boyo said,

"Hey! He didn't say 'Heil Hitler'!" He has observed that that phrase is said at the end of all of the conversations between the Germans on the show.

Thus started an impromptu history lesson on Nazi germany and the second world war. Trying to describe Hitler as a bad man without going into detail, and why Hogan would not say that particular phrase. Trying to describe just what a war is, and that although HH is a comedy, war in general is very much not. At one point I explained that anyone who disagreed with Hitler would be sent of to jail or hurt or worse. To which the Boyo responded,

"Yes, but then you would just go and fix them, because you are a Paramedic and that's what you do!"

He said it with such finality that I simply agreed and finished the lesson. He'll get plenty of sucky reality as he grows up. No use in trying to explain that now. Besides, if he believes in a world with simple terms and solutions like that... well, for now, I'm just fine with that. He's growing up fast, and there is no stopping it. I just hope he gets to be a kid for as long as he can.

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Friday, March 12, 2010


Today I completed my 50th knife! I have built 50 knives. I haven't built 50 of anything before, so I am quite excited by this. Also, since it was my 50th knife, I decided to make the whole thing myself, blade and all! And, since I was limited with my materials, I decided to try a folding knife.

This may have been a mistake. I now see why guys who make folders charge so much for them! It took me MUCH longer than any other knife I've made before! And I think it's a little big in the handle or a little small in the blade. It's not much of a "pocket" knife. But will be great as a belt knife once I get a little sheath made for it. And I an getting better at sharpening. I used this one already whittle a stick into a sharp point!

I'm sure after I hit 500 knives, this one won't be very impressive. But you know what? I'm sorta a little proud of it anyway. My first folding knife from scratch. My 50th knife built. this just gets more and more fun! Here it is... #50...

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Woodcarving Knives

Well, Dad got these in the mail today...

They are the very first knives made completely by me! I finished them on Saturday and Sunday respectively, but wanted Dad to get them in the mail as a surprise and posting them here might have ruined that fun! I only wish I could have watched him open them! I ground the blades out of 440C stainless steel, and heat treated them with a propane torch. Not sure just how hard they are, but it was a fun experiment! I've asked Dad to pick one for Julio and for them to have their new friends at the woodcarvers club to sharpen them up. I got them sharp, but they need to be razor sharp for carving wood! Yet another skill for me to learn and get good at. Handle material is maple burl that was professionally stabilized. More like Corian than wood, and should last a good long time. Plus it looks spectacular!

My Boyo is reading along with me as I type. I am amazed at just how well his reading has become since last summer. He could identify letters well, and do some letter sounds. And I was really pleased with that. Now he's reading everything and anything, and reading this as fast as I can type it! It is a little like having voice recognition for typos though... as when he mispronounces a word, it's usually because I've hit the wrong key!

Anyway, happy carving to the guys down south. Anybody out there want a knife like this, let me know. I'm going to practice on a bunch more till I get it perfect. And the practice ones should be pretty nice as it is!

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Eight is Enough!

Mom and Dad came for a visit this week! But it was unlike any other visit. Dad and I spent all day Wednesday out in the shop (or going to the store to get things that we needed out in the shop) and built some wood carving knives for him and for my brother in law, Julio. Mom spent the day in with the kiddos, and I think had a pretty good time watching their antics, which I call The Worlds Greatest and Longest Floor Show.

Anyway, here's what a day of dedicated work in the shop produced...

Dad's set

Julio's set

Dad and Julio are taking a woodcarving class, so these were made for class. Dad did most of the work on his set, and a lot of it on Julio's. I think he should come up more often to build things in the shop! Next time though, maybe just a knife or two, or some other project. Eight knives in one day is a whole bucket load of work!

I think Dad now knows why I like putting knives together so much. Although it is sort of hard work, it is extremely fun watching these knives come out of a pile of parts.

So - Happy carving fellas!

In other news, something really fun happened yesterday and today. I did something that I've been wanting to do for quite some time now. I'll post about it on Wednesday or maybe Thursday. So stay tuned!

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