Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'm tired. I've been slaving away from sun-up to sun-down. I barely have time to eat. But it's fun. I'm learning lots of new stuff.

A word of advice:

If you are going to die of an accidental overdose, don't do it where your kid can find you. It's not a very nice thing to do.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Finished

Playtime at our house.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time for a Road Trip?

According to the Fast Food Maven Blog at the Orange County Register the Washington City, Utah In-N-Out Burger is now open.

It's about 362 miles up there. That's a long day of driving (there and back) but it's doable.


Somebody Get That Kid a Tissue

The Guy's Been Dead for What ... 15 Years?

Every morning I listen to Kevin and Bean on KROQ during my morning commute. I wouldn't call myself a "Kevin and Bean Listener" because that implies I spend most of my day smoking pot and playing video games. I don't. But I do enjoy the show.

And every day they play a Sublime song. It might be "Date Rape" or "What I Got" or "Wrong Way" or "Santeria." I didn't like Sublime back in the early 90's when they were new and Bradley Nowell hadn't yet killed himself with a heroin overdose. The passing years haven't caused me to love them anymore. The daily dose of Sublime on the Kevin and Bean Show is my cue to switch over to NPR.

You're thinking "No problem." I'm a mature listener who can change the channel on my radio. True.

The problem is that I get caught up in whatever story is on NPR. I start listening to a piece on an outbreak of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa or one on a young Palestinian girl trying to attend school in spite of the fighting in her town and miss an entertaining break on KROQ. Malaria and the plight of Palestinian school-children might be important but they're not Federleezy, "Brow Down", or Loquisha.

And don't get me started on the daily Red Hot Chili Peppers' song.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why I Avoid Costco, Generally

We went to Costco yesterday to look for something. We found something else. We bought this really cool airplane see-saw. I spent the late afternoon yesterday putting it together. Today we play.

The Times, They are a Changin'

I cleaned out my locker at work. For eight years it was packed floor to ceiling with things I might need. I was surprised at some of the stuff I found in there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Has This Ever Happened to You?

So there I was. I had a number in my hand, a folder containing a birth certificate, adoption paper work, and a social security number application. And a smile on my face. I had double checked the Social Security Administration's website to confirm I had the right documents. I was all set.

We finalized Aidan's adoption in November of 2006. Our social worker told us it would probably take a year for them to send us the amended birth certificate. She told us to try and get a social security number using the court documents. The local Social Security office wouldn't do it. Even though the SSA website said they would.

The customer service rep on the phone said that each office determines what documents it needs to process a new social security number. My local office was a little more strict than most.

So we waited.

We had a son. A real live son. But if anybody checked, we couldn't prove he was ours. We had no birth certificate or Social Security card. He was a non-person.

In October 2007 I opened an envelope containing Aidan's birth certificate. I hurried to the Social Security office in hopes of finally acquiring his social security number.

My number came up. I walked smiling to the bullet-proof glass shielded customer service rep. I slid my documents through the opening. I sat back in my chair fully expecting a successful interaction.

"Do you have a medical ID card with his name on it?"

"No." My blood pressure started to rise.

"We need a medical ID card."

"No you don't. Every document you need is right there." I wasn't yelling but I was very close.

"There's no need to get upset." She said as she stood up to talk to the supervisor.

"You better believe I have a reason to be upset. I have been waiting over a year to get my son's social security card. This is my third trip and I have never been told to bring an ID card. The SSA website says I need only those documents." These words spilled out of my mouth.

I haven't been that angry since I tossed a desk across a classroom in college.

The supervisor came and told me I needed to prove Aidan had never been issued a Social Security number in his pre-adoption alias. I needed to bring his current Medi-Cal card with his new name and the old card with his alias. I also needed to calm down. I gathered my documents and left, thinking vengeful thoughts all the way home.

The next day I returned with the same documents, adding only his current Medi-Cal card. The smiling lady behind the bullet-proof glass took my documents, processed the application, and wrote out a receipt. She said I would receive his new card in about two weeks.

Four months later I got his social security card. "F" the SSA.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Was Listening to NPR Yesterday...

... When I heard the Pope speaking at the White House. I didn't know the Pope was an elderly German lady.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Conversations With Two-Year -Olds

"Aidan, your toy motorcycle is a Ducati. Can you say Ducati?"


"You can at least try. Ducati."


"No, Ducati."

"To Potty. To Potty."

"Close enough."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm Not Very Organized

Let me describe my filing system for you.

I get a bill. I stack the bill on the desk. I pay the bill. I put the bill in a drawer. When the drawer gets full, I shred some of the bills. When the drawer gets full again, I put the bills in a box. When the box gets full, I push it up against the wall. When Tabitha gets frustrated with the clutter, I move the box to the garage. I don't know what happens after that.

I could write a book.

I Start My New Job...

... in about a week and a half.

There's all these rules and regulations I have to remember. On top of that there's a bunch of legal stuff I'm supposed to know.

Who knew it would be so complicated.

Mis-Steps of the Relationship Kind

I mentioned Barbara in my last post. She was a girl who started attending my church right around the end of my senior year in high school. I thought she was cute. Really cute.

Barbara was a couple of years younger than me. She lived with her mother and step-dad. She went to a Catholic girl's school. How cool is that?

Anyway, Barbara and I had a lot in common. We liked the same music and... Okay, we had nothing in common except we liked the same music. But when you're a young man, who cares about minor obstacles like that.

Barbara and I both liked Depeche Mode. As luck would have it, Depeche Mode was playing a concert at the Rose Bowl. My friends Greg and Eric, my sisters and I had tickets for the show. Barbara's mom bought her a pair of tickets.

Barbara wanted to sit with me at the show. That was cool except for one thing. I was certain my tickets were closer to the stage. I didn't want to sit with her if her seats weren't as good as mine. My friend Greg volunteered sit with her.

It turned out her seats were the same distance from the stage as mine. They were just on the other side of the stadium. We could have had a lovely time. Together. But we didn't.

I was a self-centered ass.

And not for the last time.

Weird Connections

Have you ever heard a song that made you remember something? When this happens for me it's because I think back to what I was doing when I first heard the song.

I can't listen to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" and not think about listening to my little transistor radio late at night when I was in the sixth grade. I hear the song and I'm back in my bedroom in my parent's old house. Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl" does the same thing.

Every time I hear "My Sharona" from the Knack I remember skating at Skate Junction in West Covina after school. Good times. I still can't skate backwards.

The first Depeche Mode song I heard was "Everything Counts." My Friend Tony played it for me when we were in Junior High. He also played Yaz's "Situation" for me. I was imprinted with Euro-trash electronic music at a pretty early age. I still feel like an awkward junior higher when I hear those bands.

Whenever I hear the Smiths I remember driving around in my old 1967 Chevy pickup. I was trying to date Barbara and I was depressed all the time. I was also in my first year of the Navy and listening to the Smiths all of the time. No wonder I was depressed.

Michael Penn's "No Myth" makes me think of China. I've never been to China but I was reading a book about it when I was listening to Michael Penn. I hear it's a nice place.

Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana bring back memories of college. I wasn't depressed in college. I was angry. I'm not sure why.

Handel's "Messiah" makes me think about writing papers for Bible classes in college. What better music to get those sacred creative juices flowing.

I listen to a lot of new music these days but I don't connect songs to memories as much anymore. I'm not as depressed, angry, or lonely as I used to be. I have a life. I don't live through music anymore.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Upcoming Changes

I only have to drive 8 miles farther each way to my new job. That's if I take the toll roads. That's good news. I was worried I would have to drive a lot further.

Oh, new job?


On Sunday April 27, I start an intensive 20 week training period for my new job in the beautiful city of Mission Viejo (also known as "America's Safest City"). I anticipate a sharp drop off in the number of blog posts.

Unfortunately, my training will also see a sharp increase in the number of cool stories I won't be able to tell. Oh well.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some Time Alone

Tabitha and I celebrated her spring break by taking a short trip to Ojai. We left the kids with our babysitter Liz and enjoyed 28 hours together. It was awesome.

Tabitha and I have a history of staying short periods of time at resorts we can't afford. Add the Ojai Valley Resort and Spa to the list. Wow! I think I have a new favorite hotel. It's nice.

It's almost too nice for us working stiffs. The hotel is a Spanish style resort spread across oak studded hills. They seem to be going for golfing husbands and spa-ing wives. We didn't golf and we didn't go to the spa but we still had a good time.

We drove the Mini into Ojai that night and came across a wine shop. We were dumbfounded by the extensive collection of beers and ciders. I have never seen so many Belgian ales in one place. It was very hard to narrow our choices down.

After breakfast the next morning, we rented bicycles from the pro-shop for a ride into town. We pedaled through the resort to an oak lined bike trail. Once in town we stopped at the Arcade to browse through the shops.

Most of the shops were boutiques featuring clothing for wealthy old ladies. Not really our thing. We did find a toy store and a shop offering products from merry old England. That's more our speed.

We returned to our bikes and found that our bike lock had jammed. After struggling with the lock for 15 minutes, we gave up and walked back to the hotel. The pro-shop was apologetic when I told them we had to abandon their bicycles in town. The bikes were still chained to the bike rack 2 hours later when we left town. They might still be there.

It's funny how you look forward to some time away from the kids, but then talk about them almost the whole time. In spite of the unnatural connection we have with our children, it sure is nice to spend some time away from them. Maybe next year, schedule permitting, Tabitha and I can spend a little time alone again. We'll go for 29 hours.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Things That I Love

This is for my Mom who wanted to know why I hadn't written about the things I love. Well, it's kind of embarrassing. Here they are in no particular order:

Baby birds,
Precious Moments figurines,
Soft kisses,
Walks on the beach,
Thomas Kinkade paintings (they're so light-like),
Soft music,
Frilly shirts,
"Love is..." cartoons,
"Ziggy" cartoons,
Hello Kitty,
Strawberry Shortcake (not the dessert),
Bunny slippers,
A warm bath,


People who try to rob a store using a toy gun only to find out the clerk has a real gun and the robber gets shot in the face.

I love that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Aaah. Isn't that Cute?

Abigail says, "Oh, mayonnaise" when she is frustrated.

Aidan today said, "oh, mayonnaise" just like his big sister.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Questions Our Parents Never Asked

Is my daughter too young for her first mobile phone?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

Things I Hate

Bell peppers,
Slow drivers in the fast lane,
People who think "Two and a Half Men" is funny,
People who don't like "30 Rock",
Hair metal,
The cocky guy from high school,
Dried out ball-point pens,
Head lice,
Brightly colored clothing,
Ear hair,
Ear wax,
Nose hair,
Back pain,
People who are rude to service workers,
Long waits at McDonald's (why should I wait a long time for crappy food?),
The arrogant rich,
The idle poor,
The smug middle class,
Michael Jackson's post-"Thriller" work,
Classical music snobs,
Art snobs,
Cheese snobs,
Beer snobs,
Wine snobs,
Book snobs,
Libertarians (how's that enlightened self interest going?),
Rap stars,
Rock stars,
Porn stars,
Muck-raking journalists,
Self-serving public servants,
People who write asinine letters to the editor,
Rattlesnakes (fear breeds contempt),
Mid-1970s American automobiles (a 90 horsepower V8?!?!??),
Preachy vegans,
Immigrant scapegoaters,
Manchester City Football Club,
The St. Louis Rams,
The Oakland Raiders,
The N.Y. Yankees (I remember the 1977 World Series),
Reggie Jackson (see above),
Too-tight shoes,
Ingrown toenails,


People who write lists of things they hate.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

That's a Fat Baby

The changing tables have been reinforced due to the obesity epidemic.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tim's Locally Semi-Famous Chili

Back when I was a wee lad, my Dad challenged me to make a pot of chili using my own recipe. I did and it was good. It also scorched your mouth, nose, throat, esophagus, and stomach. Since those early days, my chili has grown more mild. You no longer break into a sweat when you taste the first bite. It still has a little kick (it's chili after all) but it is mild enough for children and Englishmen to enjoy.

Most of the measurements are approximate. Stick to the recipe and you won't go wrong. However, feel free to change it up. Make it your own. If you want it hotter, use more chiles. Too spicy? Use fewer. Chicken? Rattlesnake? Sure, why not. Vegetarian? What are you, a communist?

By the way, devote at least 4 hours to the construction of the chili. You don't have to stand over it the whole time but you do want to simmer it for a while. You can even make it the day before and re-heat it when you need to. It's even better that way. Time lets the flavors chilify.

This recipe makes a very large pot. It should feed about 20 schoolgirls or 5 lumberjacks.

Tim's Semi-Famous Chili

3 lbs ground beef or stew meat
2 lbs sausage
4-15oz cans tomato sauce
1-15 oz can petite diced tomato
1 cup boiling water with 1 beef bouillon cube
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (can you really have too much garlic?)
Approximately 2 tablespoons ground cumin
Approximately 2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 10 serrano chiles
5-15oz cans of pinto beans
1-15oz can of white beans
2-15oz cans black beans
1-15oz can kidney beans
Additional water as needed

1. Put tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in a large pot over medium/low heat.
2. Brown the meat in your cast iron skillet about 1 pound at a time. Drain most of the fat. Put the meat in the pot.

3. Dissolve the bouillon cube in 1 cup boiling water and add to pot.
4. Stir.
5. Add the spices, including the cocoa, to the pot.
6. Stir.
7. Chop the onion, cilantro and garlic and add to the pot.

8. Blacken the skins of the serrano chiles in a skillet.

9. Remove and discard the stems from the chiles.

10. Chop the chiles very fine. For heavens sake, do not touch your eyes. Add the chiles to the pot.

11. Allow the chili to simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you are using stew meat, allow more time to cook.

12. Watch a soccer game on TV.
13. About 1 hour before dinner time, drain and rinse the beans in a colander. Add the beans to the pot (I hope it's big enough).

14. Serve when the chili is nice and hot. Garnish the chili however you like - shredded cheese, onions, or sour cream. I eat it straight up. Corn bread goes very nicely with your chili.