A Birthday Photo and Muppets

Here’s a picture of my daughter and I and her “princess cake” she wanted for months. It’s an ice cream cake we bought at Dairy Queen and was very yummy. Also note that in our defense my wife did have the daughter’s hair in “pig tails” but they didn’t come close to surviving all the way to the party.

Here’s something else I came across today that I had to share. It’s called Henson’s 11, an awesome mashup of Ocean’s 11 trailer and the Muppets. I loved The Great Muppet Caper as a kid, so this one made me smile. I’m looking for smiles today, as my Penguins lost in the playoffs last night, forcing a Game 7.

A Beautiful Day (Weekend)

Ever cram a month into a weekend? We did that this weekend, and you know what? I have no complaints.

Friday I took the day off of work to help get ready for the birthday party on Saturday. It was a pretty productive day. I was able to strip the paint and re-paint my front door frame. It was chipping and looked pretty bad. This is what I saw first every day when I entered the house. It feels so great to have it looking nice, although I doubt any of our guests noticed the difference.

Friday night I wrote the final two lines of my novel. I didn’t complete the final chapter yet, but I now know where it’s heading. And knowing is half the battle.

Saturday was the party and began with everybody waking at 6:00 AM. It was a whirlwind from then until I read my daughter a book to get her asleep at 8:00 PM (we know she was exhausted because it normally takes at least three books to get her to sleep). Everybody was so generous with their gifts. She got a baseball mitt, a soccer ball, two baseball bats (that she used as to play hockey in the back yard!), some rain galoshes she’s wanted, and many cute outfits. Plus she has a sandbox on the way.

My grandfather finished my novel at the party and my wife’s Dad started the novel. He nearly finished it too. They had to pry it out of my father in law’s hands to get him to go home. He didn’t say, but I think he enjoyed the story too. This is very surreal to me. I get very nervous watching people read my writings.

Sunday to our chagrin started at 6:00 AM also. It was a good thing, though, because we had to get the house cleaned for a visit from my wife’s best friend from home. We took a nice walk to the park and the kids got to run all around. We saw a mother duck and five little fuzzy ducklings in the creek. Very cute.

Sunday night we took the moms out for dinner (my wife and my mom). That was a good time as well.

The baby did an amazing stretch of five hours without waking up Sunday night. I had an actual dream, although I forget it, of course. I’m tired today, but it could be worse. All in all, it’s a good life.

Party Day

Sorry I made everybody cry with the last post. I’m happy everyone liked it, though. Thanks for all the kind words.

Today is the day of the party. It will be a busy day. 🙂

Three Years

Baby Pushups
Three years is nothing more than a twitch of Father Time’s eyelid. And yet, three years can also feel like an eternity. It feels like both to me as we get ready to celebrate our daughter’s third birthday.

When I look back at myself three years ago it’s amazing how much I have learned. Back then, I knew nuthin’ about nuthin’. If I were making the decision right now about myself then, I would never allow myself to be in charge of a tiny infant. And yet, that’s what they did, and that’s how I learned.

It’s not really about me, though. It’s about my daughter. She shares her name with a Jane Austen novel, but that’s not where she gets her name. She gets her name from her great-grandmother (both of them if you consider her middle name). If she could be half the person as they were, she will be fine. She is well on her way.

Just today, after work, my daughter regaled me with a lovely rendition of an original song, titled “Friends”, which itself is a variation of her original work “Happy day.” “Happy day, happy day. Happy day, happy day.” Repeat at the top of your lungs.

Most days she makes my face hurt from laughter and my eyes tear with pride. Nearly every day she amazes me with her quick wit and her memory (far superior to mine). She is definitely a bundle of joy.

It seems like we went from being astonished she smiled, to her first wobbly steps, all the way to her counting to 30, in the course of an afternoon. We don’t have a baby anymore, that’s for sure. We have a little girl in the house. I have a feeling the rest of her life I’ll be running just to keep up with her.

Anyway, happy birthday my sweetie. I hope it gives you as much joy as you’ve given us.


Smelly Memories

Have you ever thought about how closely memory is tied to the sense of smell? I honestly notice a smell from time to time that reminds me of something, but never as strongly as I did yesterday. And no, I’m not talking about the locker room at the ice hockey rink, although that smell is strong enough to get Dick Cheney’s heart to beat again.

I experienced the smell to memory link yesterday when I walked into Lowes of all places. I’m not sure what it is really, but Lowes has a distinctive smell an aroma of plywood mixed with herbicides mixed with I don’t know what else. All I know is that I stepped into that store and I was transported five years into the past, a time when my wife and I were still newlyweds and the house was much quieter. The floors were not yet filled with the pitter-patter (and slam slam) of little feet.

Five years ago, when we first bought our house, my wife and I used to go nightly (it seemed) after to Lowes for little odds and ends as well as plants and gardening supplies. The version of us in my head is a couple that is so young, naive, and carefree, even if we were 26 years old and had plenty of cares I’m sure. It was all rosy, as the past always is in my memory.

Anyhow, I wound up buying some mulch and looking at but not buying any flowers for the flower garden (who has time to plant anything). I’d like to say that younger feeling stayed with me for the rest of the day, but it didn’t. When I got home I was greeted at the door by my daughter, who always does a little dance on her tippy toes when she sees me. I was also greeted by my wife, who was holding our little son. I guess there is some good things about the present too, now that I think about it.

Writer Down!

I had my writing critique group meeting yesterday. It was the first meeting we’ve had in a few months. Normally we had been meeting in the homes of each member, but yesterday we decided to meet at the cafe in Barnes and Noble. It was a good time, even though we were missing a few of our members.

To my dismay, we found out one of our members will no longer be attending our meetings. Not only that but she may have given up writing altogether. This really got to me and I’m still reeling from it today.

This is somebody who had just completed a novel. It was a fun and entertaining novel and I had the pleasure to read the entire thing and critique it as well. More importantly, as the story progressed the writing seemed to progress as well. In fact, the final chapter was very good and I struggled to find anything that needed to be adjusted with it. This was a novel that wasn’t far away from being publishable. It was a novel that deserved to be read.

I’m not sure what happened. This particular writer was always very hard on herself, but I had hoped it was just self-deprecation and she didn’t really think everything she said. We all tried to encourage her and let her know she was on the right path. In truth, I think she is a better writer than me.

Anyhow, I hope she returns to our little group. And if she doesn’t do that, I hope she at least keeps writing. I know how hard it is to finish a novel. I hope she doesn’t throw all that hard work away.

Writer’s Utopia

Remember a couple months ago when I mentioned here that I got a proof copy of my NaNoWriMo novel printed at createspace.com? (There’s a picture of the cover I designed for it at the top of this post). Well, my little novel without an ending has been making it’s rounds in my family, and the reviews have been positive. My Dad read it in a week, liked it, already has a sequel in mind, and also has actors picked out for the movie version. Thanks Dad!

This leads us to yesterday. My Aunt and Uncle were up visiting from South Carolina, and a big portion of my family gathered together at my parent’s house for a huge lunch (and dinner). As always, we all had a great time visiting with each other. My wife and I also took advantage of all the extra hands and let the rest of the family hold the baby for a bit.

At lunch, my Mom and Dad brought up the subject of my novel and my entry in the newspaper. I think it was at this point that my face turned a bit red. I sometimes feel like a make-believe writer and having everybody ask me questions about my writing just embarrassed me. I’m weird.

So my novel was floating around the lunch table and landed with my Grandfather. He had seen it a couple weeks ago and seemed interested. Let me tell you he was even more interested yesterday. In fact, my Grandfather sat and read my novel for two hours straight. Without pause. This is just amazing to me.

There is no better honor to a writer than to have their work read. It’s an even bigger honor to not only have one’s work read, but for it to be a page turner.

This is motivation to me to get this novel finished. For me, for my Dad, and for my Grandfather. And when I do get it finished, I’m gonna order a new copy of the book and I’m gonna sign it and give it to my Grandfather. I can’t imagine anything cooler than that.

Let’s be honest here. I don’t expect for the novel to ever be “published”. I’m not being modest, just stating the facts. It doesn’t really matter, though. What does matter is I’ve written a book that has caught the attention of at least a few of the closest people to me. That is an amazing thing.

PS Don’t worry Mom, I’ll get the book back to you so you can read it too!