Today, while pumping gas, I noticed my car door was smirking at me.Share on Facebook
Joey, Holly, Ivy, Rusty, and Fifi!
I got this dog in April of 2004 while doing a satellite installation job at a house in Arkansas. The house was very trashy and full of cats and dogs. All of the dogs were running free in and out of the house except one. This puppy was on a chain because the owner said he kept running away. “I can’t imagine why!?” I thought to myself.
I felt kind of sorry for him and petted him for a minute or so, then the owner said, “You can have him if you want.” At first I hesitated, but then I thought I’d let him off the chain at least and play for awhile. The moment I let him off the chain, he ran to my truck, hopped in, and sat there tall and proud as if he had been waiting all day to go.
So I took him home and he quickly became an great dog and and excellent friend. I’m not exactly sure of his birthday, but I regard April as his birthday because that is when I adopted him. So 10 years later, he’s still around and available for scratching any time of day or night.Share on Facebook
March 29th-30th was the annual Children’s Festival in Houston. It seemed to be better organized and a little bigger this year. Ivy actually got tired and was ready to go before I was. We didn’t actually see the whole thing, but we certainly had a bag of loot by the time we left.
Rusty had been acting strange for a few days, but on Sunday morning I awoke to find him sitting out in the yard and shaking feverishly. The slightest touch would illicit a yelp, so I knew something was wrong. I did a quick search for emergency pet clinics and found one on Katy freeway. So off we went to spend the morning fixing my dog.
Turns out he had three problems: First, his kidneys were not functioning properly. Second he was having the first signs of arthritis in his spine at his shoulder blades. Both of these are fairly common problems in older dogs. The third problem was his ‘cherry eye’ had become infected and bleeding. He kept rubbing his eye and making it worse, so hence the doggie collar – which he completely hated.
The drugs they gave Rusty seemed to do a great job! His shivering and whimpering (presumably from pain) went away within about 24 hours. I continued to give him medicine for about 2 weeks, and each time he would be stoned for hours. I think he kind of liked it.Share on Facebook
Every time I pop in a game into the PlayStation, my daughter Ivy scrambles to sit beside me and demands a turn at bat too. Unfortunately, many of the games these days aren’t really suitable for a child to play or watch, and trying to play a game with a 5 year old team-mate can be an exercise in frustration anyway. Still, on the few occasions I let her play I noticed she was surprisingly adept at following story lines and controlling the characters on the screen. So one day I set out try to find at least one game that she and I could play together.
Turns out, there are a few good games out there that both a parent and a 5 year old (or thereabouts) can play together at the same time and both be engaged and have a good time. In fact, there are several games that girls actually find engaging because they are more social, inclusive, and collaborative. Some games can have up to 4 players on the screen at the same time, so while she’s enjoying chit-chatting with you and playing with the digital dolls on the screen, you can be instilling some team work and communications skills. Oh, sure, my daughter still has her moments where she wanders off and gets distracted by a shiny object, but for the most part I can say, “Okay, Ivy, I need you to pull that lever over there so I can open this door over here.” She gets it and usually gets right on to the task. Along the way we laugh and bicker and cheer and boo until we finally reach our goal.
Overall, this has been a great way to spend some father-daughter time. Here’s a few video games that I’ve found which are clean, creative, and that a parent and child can play together at the same time.
Anything LEGOs is good. All the Lego games are multi-player, clean, non-violent (well, cartoony type violence I should say) and have hours of puzzles, problem solving, treasure finding, and multi-player action. Many of the puzzles require one player to perform one task, while the other player perform a different task at the same time. All the LEGO games are good… and there are a bunch to choose from! I liked Pirates of the Caribbean the best. We’ve also played Indiana Jones, as well as the Star Wars Lego games. All were fun and provided hours of playtime. There are plenty more that we’ve not tried yet including Harry Potter, Batman, Lord of the Rings, and Marvel Super Heroes.
LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean
LEGO: Indiana Jones
Little Big Planet
Probably the best game I’ve ever seen that both a parent and child can play together is Little Big Planet. It’s like playing with dolls and stickers – two awesome essentials for a kindergarten girl. But I like it too because it is creative and imaginative that I found myself eager to get to the next level just to see what cool stuff the creators had come up with next. Little Big Planet is loaded with puzzles and pitfalls and amazing gears and gadgets. There are lots of jumping and popping bubbles, as well as pushing blocks and pulling levers. There’s very little violence, and if your doll (called a Sackboy/girl) does happen to get electrocuted or squashed beneath a tumbling block then her death is cartoony and short lived. Pop! She’s back again at the next portal. I loved LBP 1 & 2! They can keep making these games forever, as far as I’m concerned. These get a big thumbs up from me! Ivy too!
Little Big Planet 2
SSX is a snowboarding game with some amazing scenery and action, although it isn’t multi-player in the sense that you can sit beside your child and play at the same time. However, Ivy and I would take turns doing a ski run and that worked out just fine for both of us. SSX doesn’t contain any violence at all, which is great, plus zipping down the mountain as fast as you can go is kind of thrilling. Controlling the character might be a bit much for a 5 year old, though; getting the super speeds and 1st place finish of a race (which allow you to advance) you must do some quick combinations of squares, triangles, circles and squares. Ivy could only master a few moves on the controller, and beyond that she mostly just tumbled and sauntered down the slopes to the finish line.
Diablo is a multiplayer game that literally the whole family can play at the same time. 4 people can play at once and go on missions together to do various things like release prisoners from a dungeon or kill an evil Warlock. This is similar to old-school Dungeons & Dragons games with it’s hit points and combinations of weaponry, so some of it is over the head of 5 year old. It also contains spells and wizardly, and LOTS of typical video game violence as you wield your sword and chop away at ogres and zombies and all kinds of vile beasts. But if those things are not troublesome to you, then you’ll enjoy going on missions with your kid and working together to defeat the devils that have taken over this evil world.
Here’s some great articles on playing video games with your kids:
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Off we go to Arkansas for Christmas again. I’d rather fly, but it was too expensive this time around, so we took the shiny new red truck for its first long drive. The entire trip was pleasant without any problems. Here are some pictures from our Christmas Eve party in Wes and Jenn’s house in Springdale, Arkansas. I didn’t take very many pics because I couldn’t get my camera settings correct, so they all turned out kind of blurry and blah. But it was a good time anyway! Enjoyed it very much.
After leaving Arkansas, we stopped in Dallas to visit with Holly’s aunt whom she hadn’t seen in 30 years. That turned out to be a great visit! We met Nabil & Toni Murad (Holly’s uncle and aunt), and their two sons Aly and Jamal, and daughter-in-law Melanie, and the cousins Vincent, Layla, Ava. Ivy just walked in and started playing with Vincent and Layla as if she’s known them for years. That was such a blessing because even though she has 2 cousins near her age in Houston, we never see them and she doesn’t even know they exist! We continued to enjoy the evening with some good food and lots of chit-chat, and even stayed overnight. Next morning, up and at ‘em, and met up with one of Holly’s friends at Denny’s Restaurant for breakfast. Then headed on back to Houston.
As for Holly’s side of the family… the usual. Her immediate family never rallies together for holidays or any other reason. A relative said to me, “Well, that sure makes planning holidays much easier for you!” That’s true, but sad.
As for everyone else, this Christmas season turned out nice! It was a sweet spirit and lots of laughs and catching up. I really, really enjoyed it! It was good for me. Thanks y’all! I needed that.Share on Facebook
Well, that was a surprise! Today, I took my mother-in-law to the Astrodome to pick up some chairs they had purchased a couple of weeks earlier. While we were waiting in line to pick up the chairs, a news reporter and her camera man were making their way down the line asking various people in their vehicles for commentary. As I approached, I asked Jane “Do you want to talk to these people?” She said that’d be okay, so we gave them this little impromptu interview.
December 2, 2013: Some pieces of the Astrodome are in the hands of new owners. Jennifer Reyna reports.Share on Facebook
Yes, indeed, it does. In fact, it is the second busiest port in the nation (New Orleans being #1 and New York #3). Many people don’t know that. Heck, I didn’t know that and we used to live in a Loft that was just a hop-n-skip down the street from the Denver Harbor/Port Houston. One fine day, though, someone told me it was possible to take a boat tour of the ship channel – and the tour was free! Sure enough, a quick search online confirmed that is a true fact, and you can make a reservation for your free 90-minute boat tour here —> Sam Houston Boat Tour.
Many moons and seasons passed, though, and somehow I just never really found time or excuse to take the tour… until finally this week Ivy got out of school early and I had to scramble to find something for her to do. Scratching my head while mulling over options I said, “Hey, Miss Ivy, what do you want to do with your afternoon?”
She replied, “I want to go to the Port of Houston and take a free tour of the ship channel!”
Great idea, girl! Let’s do that!
Well, okay, she didn’t really say that. In fact, all she said was “I want to play game on your phone.” But touring the ship channel sounded like a better idea to me, so I stuffed her into her car-seat and off we went to Denver Harbor to find the Sam Houston Pavilion.
Found it. Boarded the boat. Set sail.
At first, the weather started getting rough, and our tiny ship was tossed. But we forged on through the pouring rain until eventually the sun came out and the rest of the trip was breezy and pleasant. It is kind of nifty seeing all the big ships up close and in their natural environment. I also discovered why they call Pasadena ‘Stinkadena’ as we puttered past a few oil refineries that were in full operation. Phew! You can count plastic bottles floating in the water, and read the graffiti on various walls for extra fun.
Overall, for what it is, it’s a pleasant and interesting way to kill 90 minutes and see a ship channel up close and personal. Plus, you can’t beat the price!! I recommend it.Share on Facebook