fatherhood Archives

April 28, 2007

The Bug No Longer Stuttering

The Bug is no longer stuttering. Happy days are here again.

Heading out for a bike ride, but first I wanna share > the bug is no longer stuttering. Everybody told me not-to-worry, but it still bothered me.

He stuttered for ~ a month. Broke my heart. No more, tho. You can't imagine the sense of relief. (Happy days here again.)

He slept over last night. In the middle of the night, I felt a little hand on my face. I'm guessing he woke (in the dark) and wanted to know who was sleeping beside him.

He probably felt my (scruffy) face for a clue, then went back to sleep. (Cool feeling. Made me smile.)

Continue reading "The Bug No Longer Stuttering" »

April 29, 2007

Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II

Joomla! Open Source Content Management System (CMS)Thinking of splitting-out site content pertaining to my experiences as a dad .. to a NEW site, such as (oops, that domain name already taken) .. or (uh, that one is also taken). One reader suggested dadified.

Anyway, I'll find some new domain that will work. (Costs a measly $10/yr, and I already have tons of content I could transfer.)

What do you think of or Those two are still available. Ideas? (Shorter the better.)

Now that I have lastest version of MovableType installed (v3.35), and knowing that Movable Type allows you to publish multiple (unlimited) blogs, including to domains outside the one in which MT resides, I could use MT 3.35 to publish to a new rad-dad site.

In the grand scheme of things, despite how much I love cool technology, there aren't many things more important than being a good dad.

Update 03.May.2007 - I got new domain name today ( as detailed in this post > New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)

Continue reading "Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II" »

May 3, 2007

New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)

FATHERHOOD: It's Hard Enough

Recall a few days ago? When I mentioned the idea of getting another domain name, so I could split-out site content related to my adventures as Rad-Dad?

Actually, that post was sort of hijacked by the subsequent comparison of Drupal vs Joomla (two of the best open source Content Management Systems).

I've since been pondering various domain names, such as (which is already taken, tho I could buy it for a price) and (which is available). But none felt right.

Until today, at Newport Dunes beach park, where I was playing Rad-dad with the bug. (Gorgeous day, btw.)

Found myself visualizing what the new site might look like .. beginning with a simple title & logline, such as > FATHERHOOD: Harder Than it Looks .. or .. FATHERHOOD: It's Hard Enough .. in place of where I currently have RADIFIED: Indulge Your Technolust.

Then I thought, "That's it! > HardNuf." In other words, it's hard enough to raise children, without parents bickering. And it's hard enough for kids to grow up in two different homes, without undue tension between parents.

Continue reading "New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)" »

May 18, 2007

Learning Dad Tricks & all about Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Been playing Rad dad last few days. The bug is getting to that age where he knows what he wants (and what he doesn't want). No longer can I just grab him and do what I want. Now he must be dealt with.

He slept over last night. In the evening, while we watched Ice Age (1st one) out in the rec room, he insisted on removing his shirt.

It wasn't cold, but not warm enough to play Tarzan. Yet he was adamant about not wanting to wear one.

So I'm trying to figure out how to get him dressed. And I remembered a trick I saw his mom do .. the ol' trade > "If you want this, you gotta do that."

Ice Age ended and he wanted me to put in Polar Express (excellent flick, btw). So I said, "Okay, if you want me to put on polar express, you first have to put on your shirt."

Dude, it totally worked! Real slickly, too. Not one bit of grumbling. I was so pleased with myself .. outwitting a 2-year-old . =)

Continue reading "Learning Dad Tricks & all about Virtual Private Servers (VPS)" »

May 25, 2007

Rodeo Dad Snatches Streaking Toddler Mid-Stride with Impressive One-Armed Grab

Rodeo cowboy demonstrates proper calf-roping techniquePlayed dad last few days. After lunch today (at a taco joint in Corona del Mar), we stopped by Begonia park.

After playing a while, I carried the bug up to the car. There I laid him on a mat (on the grass) so I could change his diaper.

After wiping clean his little butt, I stood to retrieve a tube of butt-cream from the glove compartment and, when I turned...

... saw he'd bolted down the hill, giggling, running butt-naked, fast as his little feet could carry him .. which is pretty fast (downhill), considering he wore no diaper or pants to impede progress.

Continue reading "Rodeo Dad Snatches Streaking Toddler Mid-Stride with Impressive One-Armed Grab" »

June 5, 2007

Two's Not So Terrible

The bug will be next month, putting him mid-way thru the Terrible Two's, which I've heard much about, always wondering how much of the surrounding lore is true.

My experience (so far) is that he's at the coolest age yet, a blast to have around.

The real problem (at this age), I feel, is that kid's immune systems are still developing. Consequently they often get sick, with some illnesses more serious than others. And nobody enjoys feeling crummy, no matter how minor the symptoms might be.

Continue reading "Two's Not So Terrible" »

June 16, 2007

Father's Day 2007 | Not So Happy, Could Be Worse

Father's Day 2007Father's day. Not so happy, tho. Was kinda hoping the bug's mom would offer me the day with him, cuz this isn't normally my weekend.

But when she came to get him Friday, it didn't happen. Things between us lately haven't been exactly a day at the beach (or a walk in the park).

So, can't say I'm completely surprised, tho really thought she'd come through in the clutch.

Perhaps I should note that Mother's day weekend, was *my* weekend with the bug, and I donated (gladly) the entire thing to her. (Most would assume this is the thing to do, right?)

So normally, you might expect this generosity to be reciprocated. But "normal" is not how I'd describe this relationship.

I really am trying (for the bug's sake) to normalize relations with his mom, but progress is .. uh, fleeting .. along with hope (of normalizing).

I find myself dealing with her as you might an institution, such as the DMV > unpleasant but necessary. You rather not be there, but you gotta stop by from time to time.

So you do what you have to .. or more accurately, (you do) what you can. Take nothing personal. Any ugliness > just part of the system.

Continue reading "Father's Day 2007 | Not So Happy, Could Be Worse" »

June 23, 2007

A Father's Thorn in the Flesh | Weekend Visitation Snatched Away

ThornThe Apostle Paul wrote (in 2nd Corinthians) > "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh..." Now I may not be an apostle, but I know that feeling.

With a little poetic license, using modern vernacular, this verse could be interpreted > "There was given to me .. a pain in the @ss." (the Rad translation)

I was supposed to get the bug this weekend. (Court order says I get him every other weekend.) I've been donating my Saturdays to his mom (trying to be nice).

She, unfortunately, doesn't respond well to nice. (Maybe she views it as a sign of weakness.) She only wants more, more, more. Anyway, I'm done being nice .. especially after she wouldn't let me see him Father's day (last week).

So I'm taking everything the courts granted me. His mom however, doesn't see it that way. She called yesterday, saying she was coming by to pick him up in the afternoon.

So I hid out out with the bug. We found a quiet little park, that nobody knows about. I threw down some blankets and made a bed for him on the grass, in the shade, with a cool breeze blowing. There he slept nearly 4 hours (looking peaceful & beautiful).

Afterwards we went home. She musta been circling the block for 4 hours, cuz we hadn't been home more than 5 minutes, when we all decided to go to El Torito (Mexican restaurant) for dinner. I was taking the car seat out of the Rad-mobile and transferring it to the other car, when his mom pulled up.

Continue reading "A Father's Thorn in the Flesh | Weekend Visitation Snatched Away" »

June 28, 2007

The Bug's First Theater Movie (Sorta)

Surf's UpTook the Bug to the movies today. (A first.) Seems like a small thing, but felt like something big.

We've stopped by the theater before today, but never gone with a specific movie in mind. Previous visits were merely intended to familiarize him with what it feels like to walk inside a (dark) movie theater .. so today (when it finally came) wouldn't be such a surprise.

We saw Surf's Up (dude). Strong reviews. A flick about penguins who surf. Pretty funny. Made me laugh out loud several times.

The bug is still small enough that he can sit on my lap. Before leaving the house I found the Surfs Up web site, and reviewed the main characters with him, so he'd be familiar with their names (Cody, Chicken Joe, Tank, Lani).

Continue reading "The Bug's First Theater Movie (Sorta)" »

June 29, 2007

Potty Training Commences!

Here's an entry worth staying up late to document » Potty training has commenced! Quite by accident, I might add.

We'd just finished eating lunch at a local taco joint (where Kobe eats) and it was time to change the bug's diaper (as usual, following a big meal).

I was unable however, to find a clean diaper anywhere. (Something I try to avoid, squirreling away spare diapers in every cubby hole imaginable).

Tore apart the car » no diaper anywhere. (First time that's ever happened.) Not good. So I say (after cleaning him up), "You gotta go pee here in the toilet." And he does an amazing job, if ya know what I mean. Better than I ever could've hoped for.

So we're high-fiving there in the bathroom. "You so totally rock, dude!" (I've begun patterning my style of praise, you might've noticed, off Crush, the 150-year-old turtle featured in Finding Nemo).

Continue reading "Potty Training Commences!" »

July 9, 2007

First Full Weekend Visitation in Months | Fireworks

Spent the first full weekend with the Bug (Fri-Sat-Sun) in several months. I had previously been donating my Saturdays to his mom .. but decided, recently, to take more time with the little guy.

Never ceases to surprise me how much depth to the relationship it adds by spending consecutive days together. Nothing like a big chunk o' time to develop the father/son relationship & bond. Very satisfying.

It's difficult to make blog entries when I have him (impossible, actually, 'less he's nappin'). So he's normally gone when I sit down to write.

Difficult to watch him go. Afterwards, it feels like my heart was ripped out. Messes me up. To say it's disorienting is an understatement, but that's the best word I can find to describe the feeling. Takes me a while to recover (re-orient).

I don't really understand *why* I feel so whacked afterwards, cuz I know it's good for him to be with his mom, and she takes good care of him .. and by the time she comes to get him, I'm pretty whupped anyway.

Continue reading "First Full Weekend Visitation in Months | Fireworks" »

July 17, 2007

First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSS

Been studying new "Head First" book on XHTML/CSS .. currently ~200 pages into it (1/3rd way thru), now reading chapter 5.

Haven't seen much new material I don't already know (having learned most of my tricks from viewing the source of other web sites). Tho I have learned bits-n-pieces of cool info from the book, especially regarding the names (terms) of things (.. which I've been using for years).

So in that regard, it has (so far) been only slightly useful. But it's good to know that I know what I know .. ya know?

Especially since HTML is a prerequisite for learning so many other cool web technologies, such as scripting & databases.

NEXT chapter is titled Serious HTML ("Standards, Compliance & all that Jazz"), which sounds more interesting (than basic HTML).

From perusing the table of contents («PDF), it looks like the really cool stuff (stuff I don't yet know) starts in the second half. Looking forward to that.

Funny how they use a fictitious web design company named RadWebDesign (a "seemingly experienced firm") that always does things wrong. =) [Re: pages 148 + 156.]

Continue reading "First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book" »

July 20, 2007

Musings on Being a Part-time Dad & Milestones in Potty-Training

Baloo + Mowgli | Jungle Book is one of the Bug's favorite stories

Played Rad-dad the last few days. This was the first time I changed *no* poopy diapers. Woohoo! All poopies went in the toilet. (A beautiful thing.) Let the celebration begin.

He seems to enjoy this new activity. "Dada, come look," I hear him call from the bathroom. Eyes gleaming with pride. High-fives ensue.

Quickly tho, he dismisses me with a wave, saying » "Dada, go away." (Plea for privacy.) Sometimes he even slides shut the door behind me.

And I have another 'first' to report » he took a shower with me today. No, not a major milestone, but worth mentioning. The shower-head here is detachable, allowing me to better control the nozzle's spray.

The bug slept over last night. Good snuggler, he is. (Good sleeper, too.)

After telling him a story ('til he fell asleep) I lay awake, listening to the sound of his breath. The bottoms of his little feet rested on my legs (just above my knees). His head lay (peaceful) on my arm. My other arm drew him tight. Pretty dang close to heaven on earth.

Continue reading "Musings on Being a Part-time Dad & Milestones in Potty-Training" »

July 23, 2007

Difficulty Relating to an Enthusiastic Parent | Skinny-dipping in the Baptistry

Before becoming a dad, I had a job where one of my bosses spoke often & enthusiastically about his kids (teenagers at the time). Despite my best efforts (to suck-up to the boss), I had difficulty relating to his stories.

Pool at Mariner's church (in Newport Beach) doubles as a baptistryI remember thinking, "If I ever have kids, I need to realize that people who don't .. might have trouble relating."

Of course, when it's your boss, you try extra hard (to relate) .. laughing when he laughs, even when you fail to see any humor.

I even remember feeling it rude of him to expect me to care about his stories (when I had no kids of my own). Like I said, it wasn't like I didn't try.

At times I even felt inadequate, cuz I hadn't bred (yet).

Since becoming a dad, I can see that good parents *should* be tuned to their kids. Obviously, there's a ditch on both sides of this road.

A parent can be so absorbed they have no life outside their kids. Or they can be oblivious, not realizing when their kids are hurting. (I think this is called empathy, a natural part of parenting.) Balance is the key.

These days I tailor my conversation to the person sitting across from me. If they're a parent, I'm free to discuss whatever parental topics arise (cuz I know they can relate). If not, I find other subjects (unless they lead).

Even with the Dog, my best friend of many years (who has outstanding social skills), I've found a certain —distance— has developed. The Dog is excellent at relating to my challenges with the bug's mom, but struggles (I sense) at relating to my experiences as a dad.

Continue reading "Difficulty Relating to an Enthusiastic Parent | Skinny-dipping in the Baptistry" »

August 11, 2007

Exercise, Bizarre Dreams & Advanced Web Construction

ArnoldRemarkable how much better I feel whenever I work-out. I even feel better about myself (psychologically).

Shirts fit more snugly (in chest & shoulders). Arms hang a bit heavier. Each step flows more easily, propelled by stronger legs ("wheels").

Been adding weight, too (muscle-weight, hopefully). Lost ~15 lbs following the back injury. Each time I've visited the gym, my weight has climbed (on their digital scale) » 188 » 189 » 190 » 191 » 192, & today » 193.

I like how, once I get in shape, and develop a routine, I develop a desire to work-out (instead of a dread). Getting to the gym is half the battle. Once you're there .. the hardest part is over.

The routine that works best for me » legs+abs on day-1, shoulders+arms on days 2, rest day-3, back+abs day-4, chest day-5, rest day-6, repeat cycle (2-on, 1-off). Each session begins with 10-min aerobic warm-up. (For which I prefer the recumbent bike.)

Sleeping better, too (zzzz). Still having bizarre dreams, tho .. such as the one where I was » flying around Laguna Beach on New Year's eve with the bug in a slow-moving, over-crowded commuter-jet piloted by Tom Hanks...

Continue reading "Exercise, Bizarre Dreams & Advanced Web Construction" »

August 18, 2007

The Bug is Back | The Dog is Married

This was the longest stretch I hadn't seen him since .. well, since those dark days of '05 (.. which I'd rather not remember). It had been more than 2 weeks.

Baba YagaHis mom took him to Michigan, to visit family there. He has made the trip several times now. Getting to be a little frequent-flyer.

In the car, as we drove away this morning, I asked, "So, did you like flying on the big airplane?"

"Yeah," he said enthusiastically, "It was too much fun." =)

Speaking of the car .. as I arrived this morning, the bug was out front, where he spotted me waiting at the light across the street. "There's dada," I heard him shout.

As I pulled up to the curb, he ran over to the car. I reached across and opened the passenger door. Into the car-seat he scrambled .. all by himself. His mom shut the door behind him and we drove away. (Pick-ups don't get any smoother than that.)

He talked the whole way home. Never seen him so vocal. Seemed to have a lot on his mind. At the coffee shop this morning, the girls there made a fuss over him. Everybody seems happy to have him back.

Continue reading "The Bug is Back | The Dog is Married" »

August 27, 2007

Goodbye Tears + The Bug Drinks from a Water Fountain

Played Rad-dad this weekend. This was the first time the Bug didn't want to go back to his mom. He actually cried (tears). That's never happened before.

Water fountain, Laguna BeachCan't think of a reason for the change. My rock-climbing buddy (Tom) said a similar thing happened right after his ex weaned his daughter.

"Come to think of it," I said, "the Bug hasn't mentioned the m-word since he returned from his trip back East (earlier this month)." So maybe that's what happened.

"If he's been weaned," he said, "that would explain things .. cuz it would put you on equal footing with his mom."

Haunting Images 

I know it's not a problem, and he'll be fine soon as I leave, but it really bothers me to see the Bug in distress. The sight of him holding out his arms, crying, "Dada," as I drove away .. ugh » it's haunting.

Continue reading "Goodbye Tears + The Bug Drinks from a Water Fountain" »

September 1, 2007

Hasta la Vista, Baby

Hasta La Vista, BabyReceived a certified letter from the bug's mom, saying she is moving to Michigan. (A few thousand miles away.)

Such threats are nothing new, but this is the first time I received an official notice (as required by law).

Ironically, I have a sense of peace about it. Perhaps it's just a defense mechanism kicking in. (I don't understand it, myself.)

Or maybe it's the new vitamins I started taking, but this is the best I've felt in a long time. Weird, huh? I actually have a sense of optimism about the future I didn't have before. (So maybe this is a good thing in disguise.)

Of course, I've had feelings before I couldn't understand, so this is nothing new. Still, it surprises me, cuz I thought I'd feel devastated.

I mean, if you consider I can no longer afford an attorney, since my last trip thru the legal system wiped me out financially (I'm still trying to recover), it's not likely I'll have much luck fighting this in court, representing myself, against her lawyers.

(Speaking of which, I don't know how these people can sleep at night, taking kids away from their loving fathers. Is it the money? Can somebody explain it to me? I could never do that .. no matter how much money was involved.)

Of course, that won't stop me from trying. But you know how the courts tend to favor the mom. And few people I spoke with had anything encouraging to say. "Unfortunately, there's not much you can do," they said.

Continue reading "Hasta la Vista, Baby" »

September 8, 2007

More Goodbye Tears + "Dada's poops are stinked up!"

SkunkLast week I mentioned how the Bug cried when I brought him back to his mom .. and how that threw me for a loop, seeing it was a new development.

This week wasn't such a shock, tho yesterday, again, brought more goodbye tears. (The Bug rarely cries. Tears are rarer still.) Yet surprisingly, I'm still struggling to get a handle on this new twist.

Everybody says it's normal, nothing to be concerned about. Intellectually, I agree. So why does it still have such a haunting effect on me?

My rock-climbing buddy (Tom) says it's due to the trouble that kids the Bug's age have understanding the concept of time, and that when you leave, they don't understand they'll see you again in only a few days. For them it feels like forever.

"I'd like to tell you it'll get better," Tom said, "but it's likely to get worse, first."

Yesterday I had all these cool plans for the evening, after the Bug's mom came to pick him up. After they left however (after the tears), I found myself disoriented, depressed, feeling waylaid, staring off into space .. struggling to get a handle on how to deal with this... Ugh, I don't even know what you'd call it.

"It rips you apart," Tom said. "That's exactly how it feels," I said. It felt good to know I'm not the only one who has felt this way.

Amid the anguish, it's easy to feel like we're the only one. But in reality, any parent who has ever had to drop off a kid at daycare, and leave while they're holding out their arms, crying, "Don't go," knows what I'm talking about. It's a horrible feeling. Emotionally paralyzing.

Continue reading "More Goodbye Tears + "Dada's poops are stinked up!"" »

September 15, 2007

Memories of Another Day

Steinman Park » Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the heart of downtownMy mom died more than 20 years ago. Cancer. It was over within a matter of months. ("Mercifully," some say.) Yet still too horrible to contemplate.

I was living in Pennsylvania at the time. Mom lived up in Connecticut (4 hours away).

Exactly one week before we learned the news, she and my aunt (her sister) drove down to visit for the weekend. (Something which had never happened before.) They rolled into town Friday afternoon, and returned home Monday (leaving as I left for work in the morning).

It went fast, but we had the best time. (Ever!) Downright magical. [Again, this was just a week before we learned the news. I can still remember the phone call...

.. which came unnervingly early Saturday morning » "Honey, I got bad news," my aunt said. "Are you sitting down?" .. the question which always harbingers the worst kind of news.]

Call it what you want » "God," "the Universe," "Destiny" .. whatever terminology you're comfortable with .. but that weekend felt like (and *still* feels like) a special gift .. one which I can always return to (in my mind) .. whenever I miss her.

Who knows why she decided to come down that particular weekend? Maybe she had a premonition? .. or intuition? .. or just pure coincidence. "Spur-of-the-moment idea," she claimed. But certainly, the timing was good as it gets. The following week, she went in for a check-up. (That was the beginning of the end.)

The height of our weekend came during dinner at a fancy restaurant » Windows of Steinman Park (situated to your left in the picture, just out of view). The place had a wall of huge floor-to-ceiling windows (hence the name), some two or three stories tall, overlooking the park below (located in the heart of America's oldest inland city).

An old black man, wearing a red beret, sat playing a grand piano there. His gentle music carried softly throughout the multi-tiered restaurant. My girlfriend at the time (a sharp-dressing manager of a woman's clothing store) had to work that night, so it was just the three of us.

Sitting around an oversized round table, with an envious view of the park below, we had a glass or two of Chardonnay with our appetizers. The conversation was scintillating. We even befriended the kindly, old piano player (Fess), who played many beautiful songs for us.

Something definitely felt different that night. She didn't even feel like my mom, but rather a close friend. All barriers had vanished. These things are difficult to describe. (Maybe impossible.)

Continue reading "Memories of Another Day" »

September 20, 2007

Everything I Can Possibly Do .. to Stay in the Bug's Life

Quick update to let everybody know that .. regarding the previous entry (and this one) » I'm doing everything I possibly can .. to remain in the Bug's life.

When you can't afford an attorney, there are only so many levers you can pull, and buttons you can push. But I'm pushing & pulling the best I can. (Couldn't live with myself if I didn't at least try.)

And as you know, lawyers can definitely help, especially good ones. If my efforts fail .. ugh .. I'll have to deal with that. But I can't not try.

I'm probably in denial, but I actually have a sense of hope & optimism.

Serious emotional stress here. Whew! This is the worst emotional stress I think I've ever experienced. [Funny that this comes right after the worst *physical* stress I've ever experienced .. just a few weeks ago.]

Continue reading "Everything I Can Possibly Do .. to Stay in the Bug's Life" »

October 3, 2007

Few Things Worse Than Losing Your Kids

Pooh & Piglet LookingNormally I couldn't care less about Britney's latest escapade (having enough problems of my own).

But today's article caught my attention, cuz she lost her kids. One line in particular jumped out (4th paragraph):

» The joke's over. At least for now. Because there are few things worse than losing one's kids.

This is an issue (sad to say) I've been preparing for. Naturally, I'm hoping for the best. But the decision is out of my hands. So I need to prepare for the possibility things don't go my way. (Sukus maximus.)

The reason the author puts losing-one's-kids near the top of Life's Worst Things, I believe (and again, this is something I've been staring at for weeks now), is because » parenting taps into some of our most basic instincts.

These instincts are hard-wired, deep in our subconscious. They tend to override normal conscious thought, and energize us with powerful emotions. This is why we do things for our kids we'd normally never think of doing.

So how do I cope? Defense mechanisms, I'm sure, play a major role. They protect us from thoughts and feelings too distressing to deal with.

Continue reading "Few Things Worse Than Losing Your Kids" »

October 14, 2007

One Week Since Nasty Mountain Biking Accident (Neck Tweaked)

Been a week since I went flying over the handlebars and landed on my head. Wish I were further down the road to recovery, but .. I knew it would take a while.

Frankenstein(.. from the nasty, crunching sound my neck made upon impact .. similar to what you hear when you break in half a fistful of dry spaghetti.)

The good news is .. I didn't miss any time with the Bug. Unless a doctor, or a judge, tells me I can't (or shouldn't) see him, I'm there .. bright and early.

We did low-key stuff .. like lay on the bed together and watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .. on my laptop (propped on my legs) while I held him. (Feels good to lay horizontal.) He seemed to enjoy that, saying, "This is cool, dada."

His favorite part is Me Ol' Bamboo, which makes him get up and jump around like the dancers. But caring for him in my condition is (as you might imagine) taxing. Hard for injured muscles to heal if they can't rest.

Today I'm trying to rest, and not move very much .. which is more difficult than I anticipated. Pain (my ol' friend) I can handle; I merely don't want to re-injure anything. I have a DVD on learning Dreamweaver CS3 that seems well-suited to my present condition.

People say I look like I'm in pain. Must be more difficult to hide than I thought. My head is crooked (like the Leaning Tower), tilted to the left. My left shoulder is raised. I walk like Frankenstein. Difficult to open my mouth to eat. (Corn-on-the-cob impossible.)

Continue reading "One Week Since Nasty Mountain Biking Accident (Neck Tweaked)" »

October 20, 2007

Feeling Gratitude Amid Trying Circumstances

Finding Nemo » Dory & MarlonFeeling a profound sense of gratitude, which is surprising, considering the challenges befallen me recently .. such as the tweaked neck and what-not.

I don't understand it myself. Perhaps I'm in denial. Or maybe I sense (intuitively) some good news about to arrive from the cosmos. (Wishful thinking?)

The neck is still sore/stiff, but it's the least of my worries right now. And besides, there's nothing I can do to make it heal any faster, other than rest. (Tomorrow will be two weeks since I went sailing over then handlebars and landed on my head.)

My overriding concern is the threat of the Bug being taken away. (Far away.) As previously mentioned, I'm doing everything I can to prevent that from happening. (For example, I spent yesterday afternoon at the courthouse.) But the decision is out of my hands. And I can no longer afford an attorney.

Speaking of the Bug, he slept over earlier this week. I had the *coolest* dream that night .. about us going to the beach - a magical beach, on a picture-perfect day, late in the afternoon.

The water was crystal clear and warm, the white sand powdery soft. The nicest people camped nearby - families, with fancy cameras, who shot video of the Bug & I playing together...

.. as tall masted ships sailed in agitated seas just offshore. We swam however, in tranquil waters, with dolphins and brightly-colored fish within a protective reef. Our beach-neighbors even offered me an extra coffee they'd brought along from Starbucks. Talk about an idyllic setting.

The dream left me in such an enchanted state that I felt wrapped in a glow of paternal contentment for days afterward.

Continue reading "Feeling Gratitude Amid Trying Circumstances" »

October 27, 2007

Exhausted after Court

Court yesterday .. regarding recent move-away issue. Came away with a favorable outcome .. altho I didn't really gain anything. I merely didn't lose the Bug. But that alone was cause for celebration.

Napping in the Energy PodToday I feel exhausted, on a deep, emotional level. (My bones feel tired.)

The past month-or-so I've had unlimited energy (and trouble sleeping). Now that we have resolution, I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Slept hard last night. Hard to wake this morning. Today I keep falling asleep (even after a triple-espresso), napping repeatedly during the day.

Yesterday was my best-day-ever in court. (My first without an attorney.) I never had to say a word. I think I said, "Okay," and that was all.

Continue reading "Exhausted after Court" »

October 30, 2007

New Identity » Good Dad + "Break Down the Subjects" (Bourne Ultimatum)

More people than ever told me today that I'm a good dad. Maybe this is something I need to hear. Seems like everywhere I went » the coffee shop, the bank, the library, Mother's market .. I ran into somebody asking, "Where's the little guy?" (Most I didn't even know.)

The Crucible"I don't get him today," I'd reply. And they respond with some encouraging comment, and share insightful observations about seeing us together. I could tell their comments were genuine & heartfelt.

There's a difference between knowing something (intellectually), and internalizing it. I've always known I was a good dad, but I never really felt that way. (Until today.)

Perhaps the reason for this delay is cuz I've always felt I could do a better job .. or cuz I don't get to see the Bug as often as I'd like. I mean, days go by without seeing him. Sometimes weeks.

How good of a dad can you be if you're only together a fraction of the time? Or maybe it's cuz my parenting techniques are frequently criticized (.. by one person in particular).

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November 4, 2007

My First Halloween with the Bug (Dressed as Dorothy) + First Physical Therapy Session

Took the Bug trick-or-treating for Halloween. (A first for me.) He was dressed in a Dorothy costume (à la Wizard of Oz), complete with ruby slippers. Not an outfit I would've selected, but that's what he was wearing when I picked him up.

Yellow brick road | The Wizard of OzDid it make me uncomfortable to see my boy wearing a dress? Uh, a little. But he's only two. If he were five, maybe I'd be more concerned. Everybody agrees on one thing » he would've made a cute girl. =)

I almost didn't go trick-or-treating, cuz my neck was pretty sore that day. But Tom made it easy. He came by, transferred the Bug's car-seat (from the Rad-mobile) into his SUV, so all I had to do was hop in & go along for the ride.

As a side note, I find it interesting that Tom is probably the safest driver I've ever ridden with, especially considering how he prefers to indulge in sports which some might deem hazardous ..

.. such as mountain biking & rock climbing. He has even climbed El Capitan (which he calls "big wall" climbing). Yet he spent 10 minutes making sure the Bug's car-seat was fastened securely, and always lets the other car go first.

Tom has a 7-year-old daughter. She held the Bug's hand as they walked up to each front porch and rang the doorbell. Very cute. Many of these homes sported elaborate Halloween decorations (such as fog-making machines and mock graves that open & shut automatically).

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November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

President Bush pardons the Thanksgiving turkeyI trust you and yours had yourselves a pleasant Thanksgiving, with lots of bird to eat, and other yummy treats. I spent the day with the Bug (just the two of us), so it was most enjoyable.

Thanksgiving 2007

After tearing up the local playground, the day's highlight came when we took his "froggie boots" to the Newport Back Bay. There we found a feeder-stream he could tromp thru (something new).

The froggie boots kept his feet warm-n-dry. He seemed to enjoy dropping sticks in the water and watching them float downstream, and chasing after ducks.

After his mom picked him up (later in the day), I headed over to Tom's place, where his wife made turkey-stuffed acorn squash .. stuffed with nuts, peppers, cheese, and other nutritious treats. (Yummy.)

Tom & his wife are healthy eaters, so I knew it was gonna be good. They recently joined an organic co-op. Every other week, they get a bushel-basket full of organic veggies (such as the acorn squash we ate).

I think he said it costs $35 for ~35 pounds (of assorted veggies). The only bad part is you have to pay for 6 months up front. (And no, they don't deliver.)

Tom had spent the day tearing out his old carpet and sanding the underlying (concrete) floor. So his place had a distinct post-nuclear feel to it, with a slight echo. (Okay, it was more than slight.)

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December 2, 2007

EAOS anniversary, First Photoshop Layer & The Bug's First Root Beer Float

Space-Time ContinuumAdios November, hola December. Today is the anniversary of my getting out of the Navy.

The military calls it » EAOS [End of Active Obligated Service].

The six years that (seemed like they) would never end. Unfortunately, I didn't learn that counting days-remaining only slows time .. until I was already out.

EAOS Anniversary

I remember walking out of the Admin building (in Bangor, Washington) after signing my discharge papers [Form DD-214]. Tho I still had a few days remaining, the sky (literally) looked bluer (not a figure of speech) ..

.. the grass greener. Birds were chirping. My feet seemed to hover just above ground. Boundless energy at my command. A sense of satisfaction oozed from every pore. Funny how it was obviously late November, yet my recollection of that day seems more like mid-summer.

First Photoshop Layer

» In more-technical news, I created my first image using layers (in Photoshop) today. If you check out the previous entry, you'll see I put some radEyes in the skull pictured on the pirate flag there. Simple, but the technique is the same, no matter how sophisticated you wanna get.

Back when I first heard about Photoshop, a friend mentioned the program's real editing power was accessed by learning how to use layers. Of course, it's much easier to learn when you have somebody showing you how.

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December 9, 2007

Visitation with Young Children: Can't See Them vs Don't Want to

One of the most subtly-gnawing things I've had to deal with—as a part time dad—is the notion that the Bug (until recently) did not understand the difference between:Baloo happy to see Mogli

  1. I can't see him.
  2. I don't want to see him.

I mean, if your dad can't see you (cuz he's fighting in Iraq, say for example), that's bad enough. But if he doesn't want to .. uh, that's much worse .. something which could affect a child .. their entire life. So it's important the Bug knows » I want to see him.

Whenever I pick him up, the *first* thing I do (soon as we drive away) is make a BIG DEAL about how happy I am to have him.

I mean, I really whoop it up, big time » "Wooo-whooo! It's dada's turn to get the Bug." (High-five's ensue.) Then (after a while) I say, "I wish I could have you more."

"But we have to share," he responds. (It's too cute for words.) Then we do this role-reversal thing, where I protest (like *he* sometimes does) .. "But I don't WANT TO share."

"But we have to share, dad," he repeats. "Mom wants me, too." To which I continue my childish protest, "No. no. no. I don't WANT TO share."

"But we have to share," he says, calmly, like an adult .. until I finally relent and say, "Okay, if you say so."

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January 1, 2008

New Years 2008!

2008 Happy New Year. Mine was low-key. (No hangover today.) Spent the evening at Tom's. His wife whipped up a yummy batch of organic veggies (with dijon mustard & lemon) for dinner. Healthy stuff.

New Years Eve, Times Square

I like hanging out there cuz both he & his wife are very understanding (of my limitations). I was feeling blue last night (still am, actually), and that did not bother them. They've both been down this road, so they understand the challenges associated with my situation.

My engineering background has programmed me to try and understand problems (in order to engineer an effective solution). But I really don't understand *why* I'm feeling so blue.

I mean, I miss the bug, but that doesn't explain how far down in the dumps I feel. I was able to spend 3 solid days with him last week (after he returned from visiting relatives back-East).

I was excited driving over (Friday morn) to pick him up. Could actually feel myself getting happy. Then, after he left » bummer city. Haven't been able to shake it.

Didn't want to be a drag on my friend's New Years eve, but they assured me they understood.

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January 7, 2008

The Bug Turns 3 Years Old

The first three years (they say) are "most important" .. developmentally. The Bug will be 3 this week. (Can you believe it?)

Lightning McQueen

I feel good about his development, especially considering the challenges we've faced. So I won't say it's been easy. But he's pretty cool. (Big fan of Lightning McQueen.)

While picking him up last week, he said (while sitting in his mom's lap, as she tied his shoes), "I'm so glad I got you, dada." That stuff makes me melt.

He's entered the "Why?" phase. Everything is, "Why?" Of course, not all answers are easy to explain. But I try my best.

Along these lines, a friend recently told me, "'Because I said so,' .. is *never* an acceptable response." (Advice *my* parents obviously never heard.)

Sometimes I tell him, "I don't know." To which he asks, "Why don't you know?" =)

Sometimes I even say, "You're still small, and you probably won't understand .. but this is how it works..." Then I proceed to explain things .. in terms he can understand, cuz kids understand more than we give them credit for. And I finish with, "You'll understand better when you get bigger."

My biggest regret is that he'll never be able to spend more than a short time with *both* his mom & dad .. the two people who made him. But (as Tom said), "It's better than seeing those two people fighting all the time."

January 11, 2008

The Bug's 3rd Birthday: Throwing Rocks in the Water at the Newport Back Bay

The Bug is 3. The highlight of his b-day came at the Back Bay, where we thru rocks off a bluff .. into a canal below .. on a gorgeous winter afternoon in sunny SoCal.

At first, he couldn't reach the water. His throws fell short, hitting the thick, black mud, exposed by the low-tide. But some coaching from dad showed him how to put his hips into the toss, giving him the extra distance to reach the water » Ker-plunk!

I know throwing rocks is not Disneyland, but he couldn't have been happier. We thru countless rocks into the water.

I always try to pay attention, but on his b-day I made a conscious effort to really get down on his level and look him in the eye (and make contact). He seemed to respond accordingly. He seemed happy. (Maybe the happiest I've ever seen.)

The day before he never woke from his nap .. slept the whole afternoon/night thru. (Only done that once before.) So I wasn't sure if he wasn't feeling okay.

At one point during our hike at the Back Bay, I called out for him to "Come on, Bug," cuz he was lagging back, drawing something on the dirt-trail with a stick .. and he called back, "Whadju say, daddy?" Something about that touched me.

He talks well, especially for a 3-year old. I mean, you can have a decent conversation with him. I also like that he knows what he wants.

For most parents, birthday #3 is a special milestone. But for me (given what I've been thru), you can be sure it was *extra* special.

About fatherhood

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Ye Olde Rad Blog II in the fatherhood category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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