Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Puzzling Around

christmas2009_092Another Christmas for the books. We've managed to recover mostly. Wrapping paper and empty boxes have been bagged, most of the chocolate cookies are gone, and the new toys have all found a comfortable spot with the rest. Oh, and Christmas pics for 2009 are finally posted.

We spent a wonderful Christmas at home with Lana's grandma and dad. Don's doing great for those that remember his little emergency room visit. We baked cookies and slathered them in frosting, watched Christmas movies with the kids (Jack Frost and A Christmas Story, and then nerded out out to District 9. We even remembered to leave Santa his share of cookie tax before calling it a night.

christmas2009_055christmas2009_033Now the only problem is finding our regular groove. I think I would have spent the entire past week in pajamas had I been able to get away with it. I'll eventually get back on track I guess though I'm in no particular rush. It's rather nice not having regular jobs and being chained to a work schedule. :)

I did manage to pick up a new-but-old hobby. When Lana and I first got married we moved away to the far away land of Tennessee. I was just a newly promoted PV2, straight out of AIT, at my first duty station and neither of us knew anyone. Before we made friends with the people I worked with at the hospital, we found puzzles when we ventured out at 3am at Walmart. Looking back, it was really a pretty darn wonderful time. It was just us and we were both on my night shift schedule. We'd sleep all day and spend the whole evening together watching movies, playing scrabble, or putting puzzles together. On my off rotation we'd pack up and head out for three or four days and forget I was in the Army. I even have the Article 15 to prove it.

Lana bought a big value pack of puzzles at Walmart for us to do as a family. We tackled the small one first. We moved on quickly to the 1,000 piece puzzle. While it may not be what some call fun, I enjoy it. It's especially fun when Lana scoots up on the other side of the table. It becomes marvelous curveball of fun when Marcel sits down. Maybe you don't get it, but that's okay cause I do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa Town in College Station

christmas2009_santaswonderland15christmas2009_santaswonderland53So we finally got a majority of the Christmas shopping done. Lana and I spent an early morning wrapping presents together while the kids slept the other night. We're usually pretty late on the boat, but Lana's been all over it this year. This year, we did the bulk of our shopping through Amazon. So now we're just biting our fingernails and hoping it all gets here in time. I'm told by my Amazon account that it should all be here before Santa, so we should be good. The only trouble we have right now? Keeping the little girl from unwrapping the other presents under the tree. She can't seem to help herself. The moment she knows I'm not watching her she's tearing into a present. The next week or so will be a battle of wills that will end with us probably hiding the presents until Christmas Eve.

christmas2009_santaswonderland65Other than that, we're really just counting down. We haven't made our trip out to Prestonwood yet but we did drive out to Santa's Wonderland with some friends. It was really pretty impressive. I only wish I could have set up a tripod for some extended shutter speed shots but they don't allow you to get out of your car on the road that goes through the lights display. Once you've done the lights display, they even have a little Santa Town. They had live music, a Santa, and even a mechanical bull. Most importantly, they had funnel cake. :)

Other than that, it's been a bit lazy around here as we bunker down waiting for Christmas. I've been reading theHeroes Die books again and not been getting a whole lot of other things done. It's a bit dangerous to have books accessible through my phone at my whim. I'm going to write my Owlcon GURPS 4th Edition Demo game based off the setting written in the first two books. I've decided the adventure will take place in the years between Blade of Tyshalle and Caine Black Knife (Acts of Caine). Now I just have to write it in umm... three days? That's when the preregistration opens up which means maximum exposure to gamers. I do work best under pressure...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving Thanks Twice

christmas2009_005Thanksgiving is over - sort of. Like most folks, we're still living off leftover turkey but thankfully the sweets are long gone. Unfortunately a good portion of it went down my own gullet. We ended up actually celebrating Thanksgiving twice this year so it was a double helping of gut-busting food. I even made Sweet Potato Pie this year thanks to Alton Brown. I've recently discovered I actually enjoy cooking. I don't have the natural palette for it Lana does, but I know how to follow directions. I can't tell what needs to be added or in what quantities but if given good directions I get usually make something eatable. I've come a long way from paying my little brother to make me grill cheese sandwich.

christmas2009_006christmas2009_004Even with crazy schedules, we managed to get the Christmas tree up! I brought down all the boxes from the attic room with help from Marcel. We sat around the fireplace listening to Christmas carols streamed through the TV from our home network, watching our family photos on the slide show, while we hung ornaments. Livie decided they were all too nice to hang and it was a constant battle. We'd hang two and she'd take one off. It ended up being a pretty lengthy task but that's all right. I'm not sure how many more Santa years we're gonna get out of Marcel. I think that he already secretly knows who the real Santas are and it does make me a little sad. Maybe that's why he hasn't said anything. Normally I wouldn't give a kid that kind of credit for being that sensitive, but Marcel's that kinda kid. I'm a lucky guy and I have a lot to be thankful for.

christmas2009_009So now we're on Santa countdown with the calendar. The kids move the little bear every evening together. Marcel reads the day's hint and Olivia looks for the spot to move the bear. It's really pretty damn cute. So at some point Lana and I need to finish our shopping. Olivia will be pretty easy but Marcel gets tougher every year. He claims he doesn't really play with his toys anymore but I can't help but notice the G.I. Joe's scattered across his bedroom floor in a very reminiscent fashion of a good ol' ass whoopin dropped down by his heavily armed and loved Halo figures. So I think maybe this year I'll grab a few Collectible action figures that he can continue to urmmm, "display" in his room.

I should go. The living room just got really quiet and when I rolled my chair out as a bluff move, I heard little feet take off running.

Friday, November 13, 2009

TINSTAAFL

hibiscusflower06I missed Veterans Day. I can't believe I forgot about it and let Marcel go to school. I'm not sure when it became okay for kids to go to school on Veterans Day but I don't send my kids to school but this go around I actually forgot. My father served in the Army and racked up four MOS's. One of his brother's served in the Army and had the privilege of becoming an Airborne Ranger. Another served in the Navy. I served in the Army as an Army Medic. So to say I felt bad about sending Marcel to school on Veterans Day is a little bit of an overstatement.

I was taught as a kid that we live in a country of incredible opportunities - if one's willing to do the work. Our country is based off the premise that the opportunity is provided for you to elevate yourself. Without going into my father's private life too much, he knew what it was to live in poverty and did something to change his life. He didn't ask for government handouts or welfare. He worked for it. I'm not sure what's changed in American mentality but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that most people believe that their government should provide for them what past generations worked for and earned.

karate_yellowbelt40Anyway, I felt bad about sending Marcel to school. So I picked him up from school early the following day and took the kids out. We had a little rehash talk on the road about his grandpa. I can't think of a better example of hard work and dedication than my own father's story. Marcel knew his grandpa's story already but I thought it important to remind him that the privileges most take for granted are not free. Not the freedom to express ourselves, to worship (or not worship) as we choose, medical care, welfare, social security, etc. Someone has to pay for it even if it's not you. Sometimes with a hit to our wallets, sometimes with blood. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

houstonzoo_noschool_41That was our little discussion on our way to the Houston Zoo. Of course, we talked about his newest girlfriend too but I know this stuff he'll remember even if he seems bored by it now. It was a fantastic day for a zoo trip too. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was cool enough that most of the animals were out and playing. This trip was made particularly easier since we had our iPhones loaded with the Houston Zoo App. Olivia makes friends everywhere she goes and at the zoo was no exception. She talked to the women sitting beside us as we ate, she made friends with the kids on the playground, and even charmed our waitress when we had dinner afterward. She kept Marcel and me pretty busy. Marcel and I were a bit disappointed that the Kipp Aquarium was closed but we did get to see the piranha at least. The kids were so worn out, they both fell asleep once they were in the car.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fun and Games

halloween2009_52With Halloween now behind us I find myself a little restless with nothing to work on that has a real deadline. Sure, laundry needs to be done every few days and the dishwasher has to be run every evening but nothing that really says, "Get Your Ass MOVING!" The kids enjoyed their candy far too much, Marcel's still running around wearing his mask, and Olivia still tries to squeeze her witch hat on daily. All the good candy is long gone but the kids (and me) are still chipping away at the left-overs. It's mostly tootsie rolls and suckers left now but we'll manage, I'm sure, to make sure none goes to waste.

halloween2009_50I guess I just didn't realize how much taking them trick or treating together meant to me until there was the real threat Marcel would be trick or treating without us. He'd gotten invited to a really large Halloween birthday bash - with trick or treating to wrap it up. I guess I just kind of assumed he'd always want to spend Halloween with us. I guess I'm just being a bit too sentimental. He ended up trick or treating with us since the party was actually just going to do a group hayride but no trick or treating so we got him for one more year. We'll have to do something enticing next year to make sure he decides to stick with us on Halloween I guess. I'll resort to bribery, you're damn right.

crosbypark_77v02So now I want to make something again. I had fun making the mask but honestly it wasn't difficult. I didn't do anything new. I made a plaster face mask, I sculpted the mask on top of it out of clay, then I made a mold from latex and plaster. From there I just mixed up a batch of milkshake and glassed the inside. Done. No real challenge.

With that said, I've decided to try my hand at making a few more poker tables. I'm going to give myself a deadline to make and see how it goes. To help the ball get rolling I went and sold the other poker tables I made to help grease the wheel and motivate me. I'm feeling more confident with my woodworking abilities these days. After making Marcel's wooden swords and tossing together a few push sticks for the table saw I'm ready for a new challenge. This go around I'm going to try to make pedestal bases. These poker tables are now attempt five and six. We'll see how it goes especially since I can't leave good enough alone. I've taken numerous poker table building plans and bastardized them into my own so there's no real detailed directions out there (that I've found) for what I plan on building. It's nothing too complicated other than a mishmash of a few plans but it will definitely be a challenge. The fun part is the planning right now. I'm using Illustrator CS4 to layout my lumber cuts and 3D Studio Max to visualize the dimensions. Does it get geekier than that?

It's nearly nap time, so I'm outta hear for now. I've got poker table plans to finalize and a workout to do while the little girl recharges.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Everyone Wins!

karatetourney_20v01So Marcel and Lana have been doing the whole Karate thing lately. It's pretty neat and they really enjoy it. Yesterday they participated in their first tournament. So I canceled my gaming day with the guys and charged up the camera for a day with the family. I had fun watching them despite having to chase a crazy toddler up and down the bleachers. All things said and done, she was really well behaved and in a great mood. There were a few scary moments when I thought I'd get the stink eye from other spectators but thankfully her super power cuteness was too much for anyone to resist.

While Marcel was going through his Kata in front of the judges I made the mistake of pointing him out to her. She proceeded to yell at the top of her lungs.

"Hey Bubba! Hi Bubba! Whatchu doing Bubba?!..."

karatetourney_59Then she decided to make a break for it despite being on my shoulders while I attempted to take pictures. When she saw her mom it was even worse because I made the mistake of getting in close for a few good photos. It was a steady stream of,

"Hiii Momma!! Whatchu doin' Momma?! Hey Momma!! Hey Momma, What u doin Momma?!!"

We were all of thirty feet away and my child was yelling at the top of her lungs while Lana did her Kata's in front of the judges. Luckily she trained for that too. Marcel took down a second place and Lana came home with first. I was very proud of em and 'Livie was too I think.

owlcon03In other good news, while on the way to the tournament I found out my Owlcon logo won! I'm not sure which version they'll go with yet but I was stoked to know mine was picked. It's the second time I've submitted a logo and a second win. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. My first submission was back in 2004. So I'll get in for free this year and get my snazzy shirt for free this year. I'll probably end up running a game or two anyway though. I'm really excited about Owlcon this year and I'm already counting down. Until then, I need to learn 4th edition GURPS just a little better. I plan on hitting the conventions heavy this year. I got the gaming bug again. It's good to be roleplaying regularly again and even better to break out of my usual comfort zone to try new games. :)

halloween2009_16I'm off to to a little touch up paint on Marcel's Halloween mask. He decided to be The Blue Spirit, from the Avatar The Last Airbender this year. It really hasn't been too difficult. The mask came along really well, I had plenty of scrap wood laying around for the swords, and I just had to sew a mask. It's been pretty fun putting together all the skills I've accumulated over the years and seeing results I can be proud of. Marcel actually made the comment that the mask is too shiny. My fiberglassing and bondo skills have come a long way :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Spirit

jessejonespark29Halloween has yet again snuck up on us. Honestly, I've been very disgruntled this year about Halloween. I know I shouldn't still be so bothered some asshole would sink so low as to steal something me and my family built together, but I have. I miss my reaper. More than missing my reaper though, I miss feeling that my home and the things I place in my yard are safe from losers with no sense of morals. I really hate feeling that way but there it is still. So I've decided to not put out my pimp headstones. I might change my mind later and just put them out a few nights before Halloween but as of right this very moment they're staying in the garage. Blaaah.

halloween2009_08What really sucks about feeling like this is that I really absotively love Halloween. I love making stuff and Halloween is such an awesome outlet to really just have fun. So despite feeling upset every time I look at my unfinished reaper or headstones, I decided to make Marcel's costume this year. He decided to go as The Blue Spirit from Avatar The Last Airbender. Thankfully it's a pretty simple costume. The most difficult part is going to be the mask I think and I've already got that sculpted out. Next will be to make the mold the evening, cut out the swords, and shop for the black outfit. I think I can get it done in time but since I put off waiting so long I doubt I'll have time to do anything for myself or Lana. I'm sure with the boxes of costumes and props we can toss something together.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taming the Yard

pottygirl_02So it's been a while since I've posted. The monster that's been taking up a majority of our energy these days is our backyard. We finally got the dead tree that fell over on Father's Day taken care of. With that out of the way I was able to put the fence back up. Feeling a little feisty, I decided it was time to attack the backyard grass with the lawnmower. One thing led to another and we eventually ended up with a new gas weed eater but renewed eagerness to try another round at this gardening stuff.

bouganvilla01With so many other distractions on our plate the past few months we let the backyard go a little wild and out of hand. I forget how big our yard is sometimes. We sit on two lots both on a corner so it's a bit overwhelming at times. The plan this following spring is to plan ahead and take it a little slower. I wasn't prepared at all last go around and my imagination was larger than my knowledge and skill base. Maybe this time around I'll manage to keep some of the plants I put in the ground alive.

Other than that, it's been pretty quiet around here if you ignore the chainsaw buzzing and lawnmower roar. Marcel's been home sick the past few days. I'm hoping we all dodge the bullet but I doubt we'll be so lucky. Poor kid is home from school and he hardly has the energy to take advantage of the Xbox sitting under the TV he's so exhausted. I even managed to beat him at a few rounds of Gears of War.

Well, it's time to clean the kitchen and dose Marcel up again so I'm outta here. Just thought I'd stop by and say whatup...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Return to Sender

buttercupyellowhibiscusclippings01I've been attempting to try my hand at gardening and so far have failed in almost every instance for one reason or another. I haven't given up though because I'm stubborn like that. Here lately I've been trying to successfully root clippings. I'm told it isn't that difficult. Well, it looks as though I might actually have gotten a few of mine to root! The one pictured to the right is a clipping I took from an apartment complex parking lot. It's a buttercup yellow single bloom Hibiscus. With Ribblette in the house, Hibiscus flowers are in high demand these days. Out of the dozen or so clippings I made it looks as though a few might take. Yup, that's a small bit of green growth branching out of my clipping. :)

Now I'm hoping my other clippings will yield a few as well. I've got clippings for triple bloom buttercup yellow and peach hibiscus so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Everyday we walk to check the mail, we grab a few blooms off the hibiscus we have in the yard. I'm hoping next year to add a lot more.

Speaking of checking the mail...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Birthday Madness!

August is finally over. The cakes were finished on schedule, Olivia is now free from her cast, and Don is now in the comfort of his own home. It's been an insane month, to say the least.

I was very happy with the cakes and even happier with how much the kids seemed to love em. What I didn't think about though, was Marcel's cake gave everyone black teeth since the fondant was colored with black food gel. Once the girls realized this, Olivia's cake began to go quickly. I did warn everyone that the pumpkins were basically jawbreakers. I'm not sure who ended up with Jack Skellington but I do know the cake slices looked pretty cool since each piece got a few headstones and pumpkins.

marcelbdayparty11_041marcelbdayparty11_038The aftermath of of the birthday party? Lots of boxes, wrapping paper, way more cake than I should consume by myself, and two very happy children. I sent home cake with anyone who would take some but I'm still left with far too much temptation. I think next year I'll be using a lighter recipe. The recipe I used was intended for stacking layers but I didn't really need anything that dense. Lessons learned I guess. I did have fun though. Cleaning up wasn't really bad at all since I had a lot of help from everyone before the left. I just wish they had taken more cake.

I wasn't sure we were going to be able to pull off the cakes but I'm happy we did. I always feel like I'm not doing enough for the kids when I think about all they've done for me. Between all the other crazy stuff going on recently I felt this birthday needed to stand out in their memory just a little bit.

marcelbdayparty11_126marcelbdayparty11_133They're getting big so fast. It might seem a little weird but I think having Olivia so far apart from Marcel gave us a different perspective on this whole parenthood thing. So many parents look forward to their kids growing up and moving out I find it a little sad. I feel like if they could feel what I feel, they'd maybe realize what they have before it's gone. I enjoy Marcel's sense of humor. I'm amazed at Olivia's boldness and moments of shyness. Marcel shocks me with his tender-heartedness while infuriating me in moments he displays that family temper. I see so much of Lana and me in our kids but then there's so much of that which makes them so unique. I wouldn't trade this experience of parenthood for anything. It just doesn't last long enough.

So now that all the craziness is behind us we're looking forward to a little boring normalcy around here or at least a few moments of respite. I'm looking forward to a little hum drum scheduling for a little while.

"Sometimes, it's the boring stuff I remember the most."
--Russell, Up


At least until Halloween. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Birthday Plans

marcelbdayparty11_02With Marcel's birthday party just around the corner, I've been pretty busy sculpting. He decided on a Nightmare Before Christmas cake this year, which I was more than happy to indulge. It's one of my favorite Tim Burton films and I've been dieing for an excuse to try my hand at a custom cake. After watching far too many episodes of Ace Of Cakes and various other cake shows I felt I was more than capable of making something that sort of resembled something cool from the movie.

It's been a lot of fun playing with the gum paste despite having to sculpt on a clock. The stuff drys up pretty darn fast so you have to sculpt relatively fast. Thankfully we have good friend who happens to be a chief as well so I've been picking her brain a bit too whenever I got questions plus she was kind enough to loan me some of her equipment like awesome baking pans. So far all looks good and I'm right on schedule. Tonight I assemble Jack and zero, bake the cakes themselves, and begin working on the pieces for Olivia's cake. Yup, two cakes.

Olivia's birthday is so close to Marcel's we thought we'd do a double birthday. I shared quiet a few with my own brother and always remembered those birthdays fondly. Blowing out our birthday cake candles together was really special. Since Olivia is a bit younger than Marcel though, we figured she needed her own "girly" cake. Lots of pinks, polka dots, and flowers. I'm not sure how we're gonna do the Birthday song yet though.

The past month or so has been a blur of all the usual menial tasks (laundry, dishes, diapers, moping, etc) mixed with some roleplaying, guerrilla plant clipping runs, and playing NES Legend of Zelda.

clouds_beaminglight01We finally got a wireless router for the house. I configured the Wii and DSi to the network and the first thing Marcel showed me was the Wii Shopping Channel. He is a smart kiddo and knows how to sell to something to his dad. After that it wasn't hard to convince Lana and me to drop some money into Wii points so we could all pick out a few games to Download. I got Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros from NES, Marcel got Ocarana of Time from N64, and Lana got Donkey Kong Country from Super NES.

Playing all that Zelda got me back to thinking about our emulator and ROMs I got sitting on disc. So after being shelved for so long, we broke out the disc and started updating our emulators. After passing a few days away playing Atari, Arcade games, NES, and Super NES we decided we needed a gaming computer for the living room again. So starting next month we're gonna start building it - in an old Nintendo system! Yeah, I know it's super nerdy and I already caught a rash of shit from Lana and Helen but I saw the glee in their eye too. Nerds. :D

It's one of our older project ideas but it's not quite dead, just buried a little under the list. I got all my components picked out on newegg so now it's time to start building!

Well, I'm off to assemble Jack Skellington and Zero, then bake a few cakes!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here There Be Monsters

I know, I know. Two posts in in two days. It's just crazy but I just had to share these. I do miss having a camera that can record video. Enjoy but be careful.

Click the play button if you dare...
I probably should have warned you, being that she's so damn scary. I'm sorry but not really. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blood, sweat, and Tears

cloudsoverdowntownThe past few days have been bit of a haze with Livie deciding that she didn't want to nap. She hasn't been getting her usual monster-long nap of 3 hours which means I don't get a break. Thankfully today we discovered it was actually just the TV turned up too loud that was keeping her awake. When she goes down for a nap, I'm usually catching up on email or I do my workout but with Don recovering at our house the TV never goes off and someone has to be with him. Throughout the day the volume creeps up to an ungodly decibel so I just asked him to turn it down when she went down for her nap today and she was out within five minutes. It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Olivia is now stomping around in her cast. It's really quite amusing to see. Since it comes up just a little past her knee, it's a little awkward but she's adjusted quickly to it. It's become a very formidable weapon during diaper changes. I know and have the bruises to prove it. Before it comes off, I'm going to steal Lana's camera to make a video. Because this will, hopefully, be the only time she'll have to wear a cast on her leg. I'm counting down to the day it comes off as is Marcel. Especially since it's his birthday that it comes off. :)

ocarinainjury01This year I'm making his birthday cake, as usual, but this time around we're going for something a little special. I'm going to attempt my first real cake experiment with fondant and gum paste. We're shooting for a Nightmare Before Christmas cake. Hopefully it'll look something like the graveyard hills by the time I'm done but I can't promise anything. We'll see I guess. I'm confident about my sculpting skills just not my baking skills.

Speaking of sculpting, the ocarinas are coming along great! I have mine sounding off nicely, began shaping it with the dremel, and cut the mouthpiece channel on Marcel's today. Tonight Marcel and me are going to be playing with the twenty pounds of stoneware clay I picked up from Texas Art Supply. I'm pretty excited about it and can't wait to have a few ocarinas to play. I think what I love the most about this project is I get to teach Marcel how to do something I love so much. I get to show him how much satisfaction there is in creating something with your hands. Actually getting your hands dirty, working the clay with your fingers, knowing when to push and when to cut. How to hold a chisel, how to move with the grain, how to set a clamp to protect your piece. Little lessons along the way like even in failure we've succeeded in finding out how not to proceed next time or that hard work can be very rewarding. All the lessons of a little blood, sweat, and tears. So long as my fingers can hold out the injuries.

It wasn't too bad. I've had far worse from an exacto blade but those mini chisels are pretty damn sharp too and the cut was deeper than I expected. A little bit of super glue and I was carving again. I tried getting a picture while it was still an open wound but I was bleeding everywhere and I didn't want to get blood on my camera. Next time though... Not that I'm planning on opening up my finger again anytime soon but should it happen, I'm getting an open wound picture. You've been warned.

Off to take the meatloaf from the oven! 'Night!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Time Flying By

ribblette_07It's been a little easier the past few days. Olivia's mobile again in her own way now. She either booty scoots everywhere or does an army crawl when speed requires a hasty getaway. She's never fast enough to escape but it never keeps her from trying.

Summer is winding down and the kids' birthdays are right around the corner. Marcel gets harder to shop for every year but I guess every dad has this problem. The older he gets the less in touch I feel I am with his interests. It helps that we both have a lot of common ground I think and I've been trying to make more of an effort to nurture those. The teenage Marcel is right around the corner and I must be prepared.

ocarina_04When I asked Marcel the other day what he wanted for his birthday he asked for a Songbird Ocarina of Time. The dork in me quietly rejoiced. Until I saw the price. After looking up the price I phyically flinched. What if he never picks it up after the first time?? What if he breaks it??? So that lead me, of course, to the I-Think-I-Could-Do-That voice in my head. A few hours of research only reinforced the voice. I've got the sculpting skills, the tools and patience. What I didn't have at the moment was pottery clay. Here lately, I've been trying to live more by the motto of:

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
--Theodore Roosevelt


That's when my research lead me to try my hand at a wooden Ocarina. They're a little more involved but I have everything I need sitting in my garage right now. So it began. We sculpted out our chosen shapes, traced out our pattern, cut it out on the bandsaw, and hollowed out the centers. The hard part is going to be tuning these bad boys and getting the sound just right by adjusting the fipple. I swear I didn't make that word up. Go ahead, look it up.

So it's been a few late nights watching Big Brother After Dark while Marcel and me widdling away at our ocarinas. Teaching Marcel how to use chisels lead to an injury of both children. Marcel managed to slice his thumb and I scratched Olivia's head with one. I'm surprised I didn't manage to draw blood on myself. I've many scars on my own hands to show just how many Exacto blades have taken a swing at me over the years.

It is fun though. I absolutely love working with my hands. Shaving the wood away, the detail of sanding away with a hobby file, and the success of getting it to whistle! It's a little reedy right now but hopefully with all the helpful folks at Ocarina Network I'll get it right eventually. ;)

To make it even better, they will be something of a momento of our house. They're made from the wood from the built-in desk we tore out of our living room.

Well, off to widdle away at the ocarina some more while I listen to some awesome ocarina music!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad Puppy

newcast_10It was a busy day. Today Olivia and I went to get her splint removed and her cast put on. Everything went pretty smoothly and the doctor assured me it was a minor break and would heal without issue. I spent most of the day running around the hospital getting her records from the Emergency Room visit. I bounced around from records to Radiology. I had to pick up her x-rays. I was fully expecting to get a big brown envelop with her x-rays in it. Having worked in an Emergency Room for years, that's how we always transported films but then it has been a long time. Welcome to the digital age. I got a disc!

newcast_13Her appointment went pretty smoothly and she was loved by all despite the embarrassment of explaining to everyone that my child was not saying "shit!" every five minutes. She brought along her special puppy for comfort but was in a bossy mood. She kept sticking her finger in puppy's face and yelling "sit". The only problem is that when she says "sit" it sounds like "shit" and if you know my little girl you know she is not quiet. When puppy decided he wasn't going to listen she threw him down from her stroller and continued to berate him to "SHiiit!"

The nurses and patients were all very amused. I had to keep explaining to everyone around me that she was really telling her puppy to sit, not take a crap on the floor. I was very happy when they said I could go. I was even happier when they gave me her radiology disc back!

The first thing I did when I got home was pop it in my computer. :)

oliviaxrays_01oliviaxrays_02It didn't take me long to figure out how to use the radiology software on the disc and export the images so I saved them for posterity. It's actually some pretty sweet software they're using and I had fun playing around with it a bit.

She really likes the pretty pink and I imagine it's far more comfortable than the splint was. She'll be "StuuuCK" in the cast for four weeks. Until then she'll be booty scooting and low crawling her way around until she's comfortable enough to put weight back on the leg. The doctor said she'll be able walk with the cast. I'm waiting for her to realize she can use it for a weapon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Emergency Room Adventure

oliviacast_0101Let me say first and foremost, Marcel is the big brother I wish I had been. He's always there for his little sister, plays with her despite the age difference and is a huge help even when we don't ask it from him. That being said, my little man was racked with guilt like no ten old should ever experience when we decided to take Olivia to the Emergency Room at around midnight a few nights ago.

It started with the kids just running around playing at around 10:30pm. Marcel was carrying her around, zooming around the house with her giggling the whole time. He'd been warned to be careful with his sister but that didn't stop them from having fun. He was in the process or hopping over a baby gate when they both fell over together. It was near her bedtime so I dismissed her fussiness for sleepiness. She refused food and just got angry at anyone near her. After she refused food Lana laid down with her and she finally fell asleep an hour later but woke up screaming when Lana accidentally bumped the leg. Then we noticed the swelling and the very warm knot in her leg.

The emergency room was incredibly fast and efficient. Every time I went to text Lana an update, we moved on to the next stage of our emergency room adventure. Marcel was at his little sister's side the whole time, crying and trying to hide from her. He never really stopped crying the whole time and all I could think about was the many times I sent my own brother to the emergency room or the many near misses we had growing up. I knew what he was feeling and it was heart wrenching.

He was eventually convinced of his little sister's undeniable love for him when she began hollering for her Bubba when the nurses and doctor descended on her to shape her splint. It wasn't Da Daddy or Da Momma she called for, but "Buuubbbaaa" she hollered for when she was a little scared and in pain.

It's been a new learning experience for all of us. Marcel's never broken a bone so we've never done this part before. It's particularly difficult emotionally when she hits her full leg splint hollering, "Ahh stuuCK!!"

She's making good though and has taken to scooting along the floor on her butt or doing an Army low crawl to get where she's going. She is a sneaky strong-willed girl though, and if no one's looking she'll try to stand up from the couch. We've a follow up with the orthopedics on Monday.

By the way, I'm sorry for pushing you down the stairs in a laundry basket Mike. I never wanted to hurt ya - ever.

I still think it would have worked if you'd have leaned back a little more. ;)