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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The "Luckiest Kid in the World"

Birthday Pie Blow-out

Aunt Kerry, Papa, Nannie, Elisa

Nana's "I'm the life of the party but don't think I won't use this" look

Aaron's 7th birthday has now come and gone, with three (yes three!) birthday celebrations for this one birthday.

The first celebration was Saturday in Laguna Hills at Aunt Michelle's (my former stepsister I just call sis). My former stepfather "Daddy Rick" was there, whom I hadn't seen since I was 8 years old (32 years ago!). As you can imagine, this was a very big deal for me, and the sad fact that there is no reunion photo is actually a testament to just how absorbed Daddy Rick and I were in our conversation. Sister Cindy and her family showed up too, and it was probably 28 years ago that I last saw her. Uncle Ryan (Michelle's hubby) took over entertaining the kids in the pool, and his father Carl was a very generous host for the whole deal. A big thanks to everyone involved.

The second party was on Sunday, Aaron's actual birthday. Nana (my mom), Papa and Nannie (Elisa's parents), Aunt Kerry, Danni and Michelle (Aaron's cousins), were there at the Arrowhead Village pizza place with me, Elisa and Sammy. Later that night before bed, Aaron said "I'm the luckiest kid in the world, because I get to have cake so many times!" Funny thing is that he neither likes cake nor believes in luck, (note the birthday pie in the pic above), but he was really referring to all of the birthday celebrations he was getting.

Which brings us to the final party on Tuesday, with friends from church, for which the camera was hiding somewhere, probably in my pocket... The Joiners, the Dunns, the Cookes, the Sharpes, the Ecklands, the Diaz's, and others were all there to imbibe the Star Wars motif ambience. Aaron got two more light sabers, one of which is spring loaded which Aaron calls "the ultimate light saber". At the end of the party, Aaron said "This is the best birthday I've ever had!" An amazing trio of celebrations for an amazing kid.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Safari Birthday with Cousin David

Aaron and Cousin David with 9-foot python constrictor

Sammy cuddling with unknown snake

Aaron and Sammy's cousin, David (actually their second cousin—Elisa's cousin Sylvia's son) had a "Safari Birthday" which included a cool treasure hunt and a visit with "The Lizard Wizard," a lady who had snakes, alligators, lizards, turtles, and frogs. Amazing how the kids will hold killer snakes when someone tells them it's okay...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Murphy Working Overtime

If you don’t believe he is real, here’s proof that Murphy (of Murphy's Law “if anything can go wrong it will” infamy) is alive and well. Worth reading if only to laugh at me, or with me if you’re feeling kind. Does this sort of thing happen to you?

(Murphy at work? Personal encounters at 12:08 and 3:25 a.m.)

Wednesday & Thursday, August 7 & 8, 2008
6:57 p.m. - Finish clipping fingernails using clippers on key chain (a guitarist thing).
6:58 - Put keys down somewhere. Go downstairs to change shirts to go to church men’s study.
6:59 - Bewildered at why I cannot find my keys when I just had them a minute earlier.
7:00 - Spend 10 minutes scouring the house for the keys.
7:10 - Find keys in basket by phone—which is the first place I looked but didn’t find them. They were camouflaged from the usual angle and only by defying visual perception and reaching in did I find them. Uncannily like a cartoon, where whatever you want magically appears when you reach for it (dynamite, anvils, etc.) Thus begins the surreal feeling of the rest of the night.
9:20 - A great men’s study ends. I decide to waste a little time shooting the breeze before going to pick up my mom at 11:20 curbside at Ontario International Airport.
10:58 - Arrive at airport. Feel guilty for telling mom that I didn’t want to spend money on parking. Decide to park, picking lot for U.S. Airways.
11:00 - I see no sign for U.S. Airways at this terminal. I do see there is a flight from United (the airline she departed on) arriving at mom’s 10:55 arrival time. Realize that in my hurry to get to men’s study, I forgot the paper with the flight number. Think to call mom. Realize I forgot Elisa’s cell phone (Murphy knows full well that mine is broken) and that I have no change for the payphone.
11:02 - I keep looking around for U.S. Airways information.
11:04 - Finally ask if this is the terminal for U.S. Airways. Told to go to next terminal.
11:10 - Feel grateful the parking attendant lets me out free.
11:12 - Park in other lot, proceed to other terminal, look for mom’s flight on the flight readout. See no evidence of any U.S. Airways flights whatsoever.
11:15 - Pace back and forth. Finally find an airport employee who explains to me that U.S. Airways does not “subscribe” to any flight readout display, and so no information is available for them. Begin to consider more and more that mom could be coming in at either terminal.
After all, because my mom couldn’t find her glasses, it was my 13-year-old niece who uncertainly said she thought the itinerary said U.S. Airways. Hmm, but mom flew out on United…
11:30 - Decide to loop slowly around the airport, passing by each terminal repeatedly looking for mom, feeling I’m bound to see her at any moment. Grateful once again another parking attendant lets me out free.
12:00 a.m. – Upon looking at my clock on the 5th loop, I begin cursing, angry that I did not bring the information paper or the cell phone. I stop cursing, pray briefly for forgiveness. Decide to leave airport to get change for payphone.
12:08 - A maze of loops and turns and endless stoplights later, I arrive at gas station only to be denied change by the “Change Nazi” behind the walk up window. He would not even sell me anything so I could get change. I shuffle my feet, moving sideways in what seems the required motion. The man behind me, who said “Dang!” was nevertheless able to buy a pack of cigarettes with no hassle.
12:10 - Arrive at the gas station across the street and proceed to get a bunch of quarters in change, purchasing a candy bar and drink to improve my odds for getting change. Succeed in getting $2.50 in quarters (enough to foil Murphy, I think). The cashier is incredibly slow counting out the change, says almost nothing and never looks at me. More feeling like I’m in a cartoon or bad movie.
12:15 - Call my mom’s cell phone from the gas station payphone. I hear her voice for only a split second, and then nothing. I assume she is getting in trouble on the plane for having her cell phone on. I opt to call Elisa, thinking my mom will have called her with any flight delay info, etc.
12:16 - Elisa tells me my mom’s plane was diverted through Las Vegas instead of Phoenix. Isn’t it obvious that the monsoon in Phoenix is Murphy messing with me personally? Elisa is able to confirm the U.S. Airways information and give me the flight number.
12:25 - Arrive back at airport and park at what I assume is the correct terminal. I wait. I wait.
1:45 – Almost an hour and a half later in an airport chair, I come out of the strange half-sleep. No sign of mom. The terminal is almost completely empty except for a few like me and the janitorial staff. Nature calls. I am rebuffed from bathroom entry by janitorial staff. I walk away, turn around, only to see a man walking out from the bathroom area looking “relieved.” I do a double take. I find the “family bathroom” he came out of, off to the side of the men’s bathroom.
1:48 - I myself look relieved upon exiting, and spot a row of very nice payphones just outside the bathroom, and realize these phones take VISA. No change required. Uh huh. Yeah. My eyes involuntarily cross. I decide to call my mom.
1:49 - To my excitement, mom answers. I ask “Where are you?” meaning, “where in this terminal?” “Las Vegas” is NOT in this terminal. Mom explains her ETA is 3:00 a.m. I tell her I’m going to go sleep in the car and how to find me in the lot.
2:00 - I consider my mom’s difficulties in finding things, and re-park the car so it will be impossible to miss. I go back inside to the payphone to give her the new directions.
2:01 - I lose 50 cents when my mom’s voicemail answers.
2:02 - My mom answers, takes instructions, etc.
2:05 - The tossing and turning in my car begins. Murphy has some serious fun with me, interrupting my pathetic hopes of sleep with not only the predictable screaming jet landings, but also a freight train, parking lot lights in my eyes—one of which flicks on an off every so often, and a sprinkler which sends a mist into my open window. I experience some semi-insane bursts of laughter, as if I was watching a movie about all this happening to someone else.
3:23 - I hear luggage wheels, look up, and there’s mom.
3:25 - After paying the $8 parking fee, I begin telling mom my tale. We visit the first gas station and I take this photo (above) of the “Change Nazi” dozing off on the job. I decide to leave it up to Murphy to bust him. But I think maybe Murphy really likes this guy—actually that this guy is probably a manifestation of Murphy himself, so why bother.
3:27 - I head over to the other gas station for a coffee and a snack. The only thing the cashier says is “17 cents,” the amount of my change.
5:00 a.m. - I get my mom home. We talk. I tell her to get some sleep.
6:00 a.m. - I curl up in my bed, glad that although Murphy seriously messed with me, I was able to keep my cool for the most part, and even laugh about some of it. And you?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Light Saber Show

Oh my, I can't believe how fun this is. Aaron (who is learning piano keyboard) figured out how to get the upstairs keyboard to play this demo song, and then he choreographed this "light saber dance" and even let me film it. He would only face one way, so I had to cram into a corner and was a bit close, but it worked out. Never in my life would I have imagined Aaron could come up with something like this. The boy's got moves to make even Yoda freak...

Oh, if you haven't seen Aaron and Sammy's track and field video, you gotta scroll down to June 7.