Emily and I helped celebrate Hunter and Brayden's 9th birthday Friday with a pool party, which is pretty much the only way to do an outdoor kid's birthday party in June.

 

That's Hunter on top and Brayden on the bottom, despite the fact that Brayden is taller (for the moment).

 

Did I mention the pool part?

 

When you're about to turn nine, opening presents is a group activity. There were adults there too, but our group activity was hamburgers and German potato salad.

 

 

It's always better with ... Batman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus video! If it works.

 

Emily and I gave them a telescope -- always good to keep your eyes on the stars.

I got so busy with everybody being sick, getting my furnace back up and running, and my daughter's upcoming wedding, that I forgot to post my column for last week here. Probably for the best, since it covers some political ground -- just ignore it. If you do read it, you'll know the title it is a shout-out to Jonathan Swift.

On a more cheerful note, Charis is getting married this coming Saturday! You should see the twins in their little three year old tuxes. I mean, the twins are three, not the tuxes. I, on the other hand, tried on my dress uniform for the first time in a year -- and will be eating nothing for the next five days.  Meanwhile, I might be a bit sparse online for the next week ...



SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


I’ve paid more attention to the Occupy Wall Street crowd since they were endorsed by the American Nazi Party, the Communist Party of America, and Iranian university students. Anyone who thinks protestors can’t accomplish much should remember that in other countries all three of those groups started out with protests, and all three accomplished great things.
           
I mean “great” as in big, world changing things, mind you, not great as in “wow – chocolate ice cream!”
             
It goes without saying that most Occupiers are not racists, communists, or Iranian, just as most Tea Partiers are not from the fringe elements spotlighted by the media. In fact, both groups are similar in ways they’d rather not admit, right down to being against something “Big”. The main differences seem to be that Hollywood loves Occupy, and the Tea Partiers are less messy. )
Writer/actress Felicia Day commented over on the GoodReads site that she suspected the writer of a book she'd just finished (Unclean Spirits, by M.L.N. Hanover) was a male, and it turns out she was right.

When I asked her about it, she told me she could definitely tell, but couldn't say why -- just a gut instinct. (Yes, she actually replied to my comment, just as Amber Benson did to my comment on her Twitter some time ago. I don't expect we'll end up hanging out together, sipping coffee and discussing characterization.)

This is something I've thought about from time to time, as I've written three novels I call romantic comedies -- in other words, romance novels, written by a male. It's more common than you might imagine, but it's far from unheard of. Emily says it's okay; I write like a girl, anyway. Um ... thanks? :-)

Storm Chaser would be shelved as a romance, and the novel I'm working on now is from the POV of a teenage girl, so I'm curious: How many of you can tell whether a writer is male or female, and why? I mean other than their names, of course! If you see initials instead of a first name on a book cover, there's a good chance it's someone working in a genre that's usually thought of as appealing mostly to readers of the opposite sex.


Oh, I almost forgot: My internet presence will be sparse over the next few days. Emily's feeling under the weather (nothing serious), so we're going to stay warm and comfy at home as well as, if weather and health permits, spend some time at the Kendallville Apple Festival and hopefully visit with Charis, Vinny, and the twins.
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Jul. 7th, 2010 06:04 pm)
Emily and spent all day today at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. I thought Wednesday would be good because there would be less of a crowd, not realizing it was a special behind the scenes day ... until we got there and saw all the school busses arriving. Charis, Vinny, and the twins were supposed to go with us, but Hunter is teething and had a fever -- which turned out to be for the best, because I'm pretty sure the temperature at the zoo hit four digits. Emily and I had fun, though -- it was her first full all day visit to a zoo. Pictures will eventually follow, when we get less busy.
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SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

<lj-cut text="You people who read my Memorial Day weekend of woe post, you already know most of this stuff; I just retold the story to get a column out of it. 'Cause I believe in recycling.">
Frankly, I thought I was handling things pretty well.

We had … how can I say this …? An interesting Memorial Day weekend, in the same way the Chinese mean with their old curse, “May you live in interesting times”. It was fun for the whole family, in the same way some people say “fun” when describing tornado touchdowns and Ebola outbreaks.

Oh, let me begin this story by telling you the ending: Everyone’s fine. Remember that.

It started with my grandson Hunter getting poison ivy on his hands. He’s less than two years old, so that’s a big deal – although it’s hardly surprising, considering he’s one of those kids who has to grab hold of everything he sees.

To give you an idea of how the weekend went, by Monday I’d forgotten about the poison ivy.

Next was his brother, Brayden, getting rushed to the hospital with 105 degree fever. In an attempt to calm my daughter (Brayden’s dad had already gone airborne to the hospital, and he was not in an aircraft), I explained over the phone that high fevers weren’t nearly as bad for toddlers as for older people.

Which is true, but 105 is still pretty darn high. However, I was calm. After all, I wasn’t there.

When Brayden had to be admitted to the hospital Sunday to get intravenous fluids (because it hurt to swallow, causing dehydration), I told his parents that they’d take good care of him and he’d be wetting his diapers again in no time.

I confess, my optimism faltered when he had an allergic reaction to the medication that night, and had to be put on more medicine.

I visited the hospital for only a short time the next day, under the theory that he needed rest, which a bunch of people fussing over him wouldn’t provide. At the time, I thought I was putting up a pretty good front of willingly walking away from the expression of misery on that poor tyke, but who knows if witnesses would agree?

That was one ongoing sage, interwoven like a good detective movie with another storyline, only without the multimillion dollar salaries. The other started with a three a.m. phone call Saturday morning. A hit and run driver blew a red light in Fort Wayne, slamming into our family’s little Nissan Sentra and pushing it into a guard rail.

So right there came two of a parent’s worst nightmares: My grandkid was in the hospital, and my daughter in a car wreck. At least it was the other daughter, not the one with the twins – one person can only go through so much.

I handled it very well. Honest.

Emily and I, who had both just fallen asleep after a very long Friday, headed to Fort Wayne. I haven’t dealt with a situation like this in many years (and didn’t have a clue), so by 5:30 a.m. we were knocking on the door of my other daughter, whose boyfriend is something of a mechanical genius. (And whose son was sick, but Brayden was home and seemed to be doing okay at that point.)

Vinny, as expected, jumped at the chance to help out, because that’s the kind of person he is. (Actually he shuffled at the chance to help out – it was 5:30, after all.) But we were on a time limit: The tow company’s lot closed at noon, and wouldn’t reopen again until Tuesday morning. We either moved the car that morning, or paid a daily lot fee for three days.

I have no doubt Vinny could fix it, despite the bent wheel, broken headlight, and missing rear bumper. But was it worth it? The Nissan was twelve years old, covered in rust, its driver’s side window stuck in the up position, and with no working dash lights. I had only liability insurance for it, so that wasn’t a factor – it could be fixed and maybe run for awhile, or be compacted into the world’s heaviest ash tray.

Even with another tow fee, we could make a little more in scrap metal than it would cost to get it out of there. But it was late Saturday morning, hot, and I’d been up all night. Trying to get it moved was more trouble than it was worth. I signed it over to the towing company, and that extra couple of hundred bucks for scrapping it out was theirs.

I remember the day we bought that car: Jillian hated it at first. But both my daughters learned to drive in that little 1998 Sentra. It was the car I drove 500 miles to meet Emily for the first time, and we went through both good and bad times in it. Some of us were a little emotional.

Not me, though. I was being practical. I must have presented a cool, collected picture, a calm center, as we steered our collective canoe up Crap Creek without a paddle.

Then, a couple of days later, I saw the picture.

Charis wanted a photo of me in front of the Nissan, just for old time’s sake. If the paper has room to print the picture, look at my face. I looked like I’d just been forced to shoot Old Yeller. I was amazed at that haggard look, and will never again pretend to be the guy who’s not being affected by things.

Okay, I probably will, but I won’t let anyone nearby with a camera.

What the heck: We all survived -- except for the car -- and on Monday I slept for almost ten hours straight. It’s possible one or two good things even happened during that period.

But that doesn’t fit the theme, so we’ll save it for another tale.



<img src="<a href="http://s25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/ozma914/Family/?action=view&current=wreckedNissan.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/ozma914/Family/wreckedNissan.jpg" border="0" alt="wrecked Nissan"></a>" />
</lj-cut>
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Sep. 29th, 2009 08:36 pm)
I went into work early tonight to cover for another dispatcher, and the twins stopped by to visit! Yay! (Well, their mom was with them, of course.) They were -- naturally -- a hit. :-) Plus, they gave me food.

In honor of that:

http://s25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/ozma914/Brayden%20and%20Hunter/?action=view¤t=Brayden-1.flv

Hunter,twins
Been a bit busy over here, as usual. We fed about 600 at the fire department's fish fry Wednesday, and things are looking possibly stormy for the parade Saturday -- the perils of fair week. I'm still working on the final revision to Coming Attractions so I can get it in the mail to Avalon -- when a publisher says they want your manuscript, you send it to them! That should be done by the end of the weekend, and on Monday we're going to Indiana Beach, a local amusement park, for a mini-holiday. A week from tomorrow -- the twins' birthday party!

meanwhile, I got a message from the White Knight Awards, where She Would be Thirteen has been nominated for the "Ludicrous and Far too Breakable" award. It's just a world of squee, isn't it? I see familiar names there, and all the great stories nominated can be found here:
http://wka.moments-lost.org/nominees.php

Thanks to whoever nominated me! I'm working this weekend, and it being summer and festival weekend, I suspect I'll be overly busy; if you don't hear from me, I'll check back in next week.

The column, and one of my favorite pics by Charis (which I think I've posted once already):
A Twin Landmark )
Happy birthday to [profile] wisemack and [profile] cathyteach2!!! May your days be full of fun, chocolate cake, and no kerfluffles. :-)

Now, why am I posting another weekly column, only a day after the last one? Why, because I posted the last one a bit late, and won't be around at the time I normally post the next, so they've circled around and run into each other. I'm off for at least the next four days, to prepare for and attend the Relay for Life and Jillian's graduation, and again won't be online much. I'm afraid this might be one of those few times when I don't even get to read my flist, let alone comment, so please take note of anything you think I should know about! :-) Have a great weekend, and wish me one that's relatively trouble free.


SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

A Five Generation Photo doesn't come along every day: )
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