it's late, but a post is in order

i'll try to justify the occasion with a worthy offering- and still manage to get to bed at a reasonably sane hour not to sleep all day tomorrow (again).

Loren's been here for nearly two weeks now. he's been on his own quite a bit during the work week, but he seems to be enjoying himself. he always seems to relax when he's here for a while, and this is the longest amount of time he's spent here in at least a year- and by the time he goes back to school, it'll be the longest unbroken time he's spent with his pops since he lived with both his parents. i've given him some chores to do, and gave him a good book to read, and made sure he's gotten some exercise, but left him time to spend doing whatever he wants- which has pretty much translated to TV, video games, creating pictures in MS paint, messing with his Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering cards, reading up on D&D and making characters...all the usual stuff. just what the doctor ordered, i think. Chowder's certainly been loving the company; someone's been home all day and Loren takes him out for walks.

as for me, as of today, i'm on vacation! i had to work off the hours beforehand to get a paycheck this week, and even so, i came up about a day short of 40 hrs, but i have the next week off. tack on the weekends on either side, throw in Labor Day for good measure, and you get 10 days off in a row. well deserved, i think. i'd originally planned a trip for us earlier in the summer, river rafting in Oregon followed by some hiking and camping (which those who've been reading already know), but his unexpectedly extended stay in Alaska put the kibosh on that. when he made it back here, i managed to allow work and spending time with him to distract me from remaking those plans....so now i'm hoping we'll be able to put something together on short notice. procrastination strikes again. either way, 10 days off with Loren here will be fun, trip or no. Loren will be going back to school the day i go back to work, and i'll be dropping him off for his first day of 8th grade, the first time i've gotten the privilege of sending him off to school since he was in 1st grade....that's a long time.

i have my fingers crossed that he'll have more success academically this year than he did last year. he seems determined to make some effort toward that end, and i'm determined to help him as much as i can. i'm of the opinion a little success breeds more success, and i mean to see he gets to enjoy some.

the return of school also means the return of soccer season, so now i have to figure out how to get him signed up for that, if it's still possible (which is likely). one more birthday and he'll be too old to play in the league he's played in for years, then it will be a matter of whether his school has a team, or finding another league.

had a chance to spend a little time with my friend Chris this week. he was in town from Hawaii after the recent death of his grandmother, who lived here. their family had a lot of her effects to find a home for, or dispose of, and his mother (who also lives here) decided to move back to Hawaii herself, which required packing a bunch of stuff as well. those were two jobs and a half, and kept him pretty busy. i was the grateful recipient of a nice dresser, a large shelving unit, and some power tools. Loren chose a WWII-era machete, possibly from the Philippines, owned by Chris's grandmother's husband, and a pair of eyeglass-frame type flashlights that run on AAA batteries- nifty. i just realized i could be repeating myself here...but i might have mentioned these little details in an email rather than a blog post. the dangers of not posting for extended periods....

in any case, it was damn good to see Chris. he came over last night (again, it's still Saturday to me, i haven't slept yet) and we got to hang out for a while. the conversation turned to the same types of things it always has with Chris: building things, music, common friends and family, creative pursuits. i hooked him up with a few boogie board blanks i've been holding for him for quite a while, and an old GK amp that's been gathering dust on a shelf here, which he couldn't take to Hawaii with him when he moved there about 4 years ago. hard to see him go, he's one of the few people i truly enjoy spending time with, and a True Brother. Aloha, Chris! hope to hook up with him again on his home turf...always wanted to see Hawaii, and hangin' with him over there would be the more Worthy.

Chris is another one of those guys who's always got something brewing in his head, like i do. there's what's actually going on, and then there's what you'd like to be involved in if you had more time or energy. sometimes just a little push in the right direction is all it takes, and mulling those types of things over with Chris always pushes me into a more-likely-to-take-action stance. i guess if i really have a little more motivation than i've had, the evidence will show up here.

but back to the mundane: gotta get some school shopping for the boy accomplished this week, give us both a haircut, get him mentally prepared for school, and talk with his mom about a more acceptable visitation schedule for the next 9 months. i've discussed a likely option with Loren, and he agrees it's worth trying, so now it's up to me to broach the subject with his mom. the last time i was over there i told her i thought my reception the previous time was pretty chilly, and that i didn't feel like i'd given her any reason to be upset with me, and that i'd like to feel like we could get on with the business of trying to work with each other- and she seemed genuinely happy to let the tension go, at least for the moment. that's a step in the right direction, i guess. i'm all for more of that.

after Chris's visit last night i had a pretty decent headache going, and hit the hay. Loren wasn't inclined to wake me up, and i'd killed the alarms, but i didn't expect to sleep until 2:30pm. must have really built up the sleep debt this last week. i was certainly exhausted yesterday (Friday). but even that wasn't enough sleep; i managed to fall back to sleep on the couch for another hour and half later in the afternoon. Loren seemed alright with it; i can't help but feel a little guilty when i'm sleeping all day on his time, but (while it's certainly not the rule) it's not unheard of for me to be exhausted and crash like a Big Dog. i feel 100% better than i did at the end of the work week, and if you can't sleep as much as you want on vacation, when can you? the rest of the week'll be a different story- hopefully i've gotten the sleep debt out of my system.

so tomorrow we try to accomplish some things, and still have some time for some fun, and i get to spend a Sunday not dreading work on Monday. and maybe i'll have a little more time and motivation than normal during the next week to post, and again have something interesting enough to make posting worthwhile.


well, well...another couple weeks with no posts.

haven't done anything exceptionally noteworthy; mostly just work and chores. wheee! what a life.

Loren's mother eventually returned from AK with him, and we managed to make it out to see the Blue Angels. it was good times. hung around "backstage" with Matt and Chuck for a while after the air show. there was another group of jet pilots there called the Patriots; don't know who they're affiliated with, but they put on a good show too. at one point two of the jets made a big heart with red smoke, and a third put a white smoke "arrow" (just a straight line, really) through the middle of it. the crowd really liked that one.

after the air show i took Loren to see his Grampa at his new inline store in Northgate Mall, and then we went for a (very) late lunch at Wendy's before heading over to see his Gramma for a while. then it was on home.

Loren simply wasn't prepared to spend the rest of the summer here, so i wrestled with that one quite a while. eventually i decided to let him return to his mom's if she'd put it in writing that he'd return this weekend- today at 3pm, actually. after the events of the last week i'll not be surprised in the slightest if he doesn't return today- but i remain hopeful. we're long overdue to spend some time together.

finished The Damnation Game by Clive Barker yesterday. other than sleeping, it's really the only thing i did. hated to see a perfectly beautiful day go to waste, but i certainly must have needed the rest, since i slept the whole night through as well.

saw Chris's band Fallback at the Boxcar Ale House, a bar on the north end of the Magnolia area in Seattle. it was their first live gig, and they acquitted themselves pretty well. they managed to squeeze their 6-piece onto an absurdly small stage, and rocked before a crowd of mostly friends. they were well received. from a critical point of view, i'd have to say their mix was remarkably good, especially for a first gig, and considering that they miked only the vocals, relying on their amps to get levels. i only noticed a couple minor hiccups in their performance, which probably went largely unnoticed by those in the audience for whom critically appraising a performance isn't part and parcel of the experience of taking in a show. i suppose being fascinated enough by an art form to pursue it for yourself does in some ways detract from the pure enjoyment of that form for its own sake. i doubt a filmmaker can watch a movie without being aware of the camera moves, and the editing, and the lighting techniques, etc. in some ways, the price paid for the greater understanding of an art form is compensated for by the greater appreciation of fine execution of the principles involved, but in others, i suppose it's akin to knowing how the magician performs his illusions.

in any case, it was fun, and i got to see some old friends of Chris's i've met before, and meet some new ones. even pulled a little roadie duty, carrying Chris's amp back to their ride. it was great to see the breathalyzer i got Chris for Christmas last year passed 'round- i don't think we were using it quite properly, since i had 3 or 4 beers and a shot of tequila in the space of about 3 or 4 hours, and blew a .02%- i expected it to be about .04% or so? i only had a little minor buzz though, so i suppose it could've been accurate. if it was accurate, and the effects of alcohol accumulate at a somewhat linear rate, then the state's .08% limit is certainly not an unreasonable place to draw the line past which someone is clearly 'under the influence' of their drink. for instance, Chris's sister Jennifer blew a .06%, and she seemed clearly a bit tipsy to me....as well as, i might add, enjoying herself.

and, back to the musical part of the observations, the whole thing made me think i'm spending entirely too little time on musical pursuits, reminding me (again!) how much fun it is to play live music before an audience. i'll have to remedy that.

but on to other topics.

today is another sunny day in what amounts to the longest string of nearly-unbroken fantastic weather that i've ever seen in this state. it's been simply gorgeous all summer, with no more than 3 days that remained overcast and only 1 of rain. actually, if anything, there's been too little rain this year. my hydrangea is certainly suffering. normally i don't need to worry about watering the plants, but this year the hydrangea flowers (usually beautiful this time of year) are almost all brown. the leaves are green as ever though, so the relative drought isn't threatening the life of the plant. the rest of the plants in the front jungle are surviving as well. the rose tree isn't as prolific as it has been in years past, but it stil sports a glorious red blossom occasionally. more time spent watering the plants would definitely be in order.

haven't done a damn thing to the back yard in ages, much to Chowder's chagrin. he's long overdue for some running around, and i'm forced to conclude that wishing i was finished with the project i set myself won't get it done. unfortunately i haven't been up to the task for weeks. i was just getting ready to give it the last big push when i dropped a pretty big piece of steel on my foot at work, the hard way, edge-on. it landed on the knuckle of my big toe and i've been hobbled ever since. i'm getting to where i can walk basically normally again, but i still can't bend the damn thing right. on top of that, i cut the hell out of my left little finger in a futile attempt to catch that piece of steel on its way down. actually, my foot hurt so much i didn't notice it immediately- i only realized i'd lost a fairly large chunk of flesh when i saw a little pool of crimson, with some brightly shining steel dust in it. then, a few days later, i punctured the end my right middle finger on another piece of steel, and it wouldn't stop bleeding either. hobbling around my trenches with bleeding hands wasn't the most appealing prospect, so i gave up on the idea for the moment. as of this writing, i'm feeling physically up to the task again, so i expect the motivation to get to it will follow soon.

i found a piece of software online called 'Inform' that's a tool for creating interactive fiction (such as the old adventure game Zork). the moment i saw this (free) piece of software i knew Loren would be interested in it, so i downloaded and installed it. he took to it immediately. he's had more time to play with it than i did, so he's becoming the resident expert on it. he spent most of his alone time here (while i worked last Monday), and a good deal of time at his mother's since, putting it through its paces. should be interesting to see what he does with it, as well as how long he plays with that before something else captures his attention.

for his part, Chowder seems happy to have my (somewhat less than thrilling) company this weekend. he's certainly a social animal. i think he'll be quite happy to have Loren here for a while. i've set Loren the task of walking him while i'm at work, and though Chowder's certainly more enthusiastic about that than Loren is, i think it's good for both of them.

well, i suppose it's time to move on to something else for the moment. the chores, after all, only wait so long before the house becomes unbearable. and i suppose a little music might be in order, while i put the house in order. PEACE

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