Friday, December 17, 2004

Santa pictures!

Well, it wasn't easy. But I managed to race to daycare after work, haul Christina off to the hair salon for a quick haircut, run home to take out the dogs, feed us, bathe Christina and dress her up, drive out to the mall through holiday traffic, park a mile away from where we needed to be, and stand in line for 45 minutes to get her picture taken with Santa. Pheeew! In the end I was happiest with these three pictures I took of her myself with my digital camera. I posted the $24 portrait they sold me on my photolog, accessible through the sidebar.

Merry Christmas, everybody!!!


I'm thinking Audrey Hepburn when she was five?


Asking Santa for...everything!!!


Gotta love this guy!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Photos

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Three years before I saw the outside of my mother's belly, my parents were busily taking dozens of pictures of my oldest sister. I've seen the albums and the stacks of loose photos that never got sorted out, browning away in old shoeboxes. A year later, my brother came around and they took several pictures of him too. Very photogenic kids they were. There's a ton of pictures to prove it.

Me, I was the third one. They were obviously burnt out on the whole photo thing by then, because I only recall seeing one baby picture of myself. Oh well. They had their hands full at that point, so who can blame them.

But then five years later, when all the kids were already out of their diapers and pretty much fending for themselves, my youngest sister was born. A beautiful little girl who's look was in itself a natural portrait pose. For her, my Dad went so far as to actually purchasing a photograph developing and printing machine. There were hundreds, nay, thousands of pictures of her! It's still hard to walk into my parents' home and find a wall without one of her pictures on it.

Anyway, all this to say that I've made it my mission in life to ensure that there is no lack of pictures of Christina. With the advent of digital cameras, one would be a fool to not take full advantage of it. Besides about 40 hours of live film, I think I have in excess of 1500 pictures of her (not all in print, mind you). There simply can't be too many!

I placed some new pictures of Christina in my photo log. You can see and access them on the sidebar. They're nothing special, but I think she looks cute as hell in all of them.

Proud Daddy! Yup!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What to do, what to do...

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I met my lawyer yesterday.

A lovely woman. Made me think, why couldn't I have married a lawyer, instead of a waitress? What was I thinking? Of course, the smartass answer comes shooting right back at me: because when you divorced her she'd beat the shit out of you in court!

Anyway, we spoke at length about my situation (over an hour), and she cleared up some things for me. Primarily, and this is the most disturbing part, she made it seem as though I'm doing it all wrong. I'm falling behind, letting Cindy get away with too many things, endangering my daughter's wellbeing, and risking losing it all. Scare tactics. Obviously, she wants to sell me her services. What better way to have me sign up than to make me believe I'm sinking in an ever deepening pit.

But it's not that simple. If I had the kind of money she's asking for just sitting around, I'd hand it over to her and proceed with the court filing. I don't have it though. And I can't get my hands on it that easily. I would need to have it financed.

Before I do anything else however, it's important that I clear my head and try to view things objectively. Priorities need to be established and the possible consequences to any actions I take need to be carefully analyzed.

For instance, the moment I take any legal action against my wife, we will become enemies. We're not exactly buddies right now mind you, but we're behaving in a civilized manner for the sake of Christina. As soon as I try to gain full custody and lock her out of my house she will turn into a vicious tigress. I'm not supposing this, I know it. I've been with this woman for a long time and I'm well aware of how she reacts to things. She does not fight fire with water and she never backs away from a fight. No matter how beat she is. Her defensive mechanism is to close her eyes and scratch away at anything in her path. This would not be a good thing.

Another matter to consider is whether I stand to gain more from trying to continue to work things out amicably or not. What's that old saying? You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I want my house. I bought it myself, I've done all the work on it, and I've paid for it. She's done nothing for it. Legally she's entitled to half its equity, I understand that. But I want to keep it.

I want my daughter. I have no intention of keeping her away from her mother, that would never occur to me. But I would like to be the one to make the ultimate decisions regarding her future.

I don't want to pay alimony. Some people may think she's entitled to it, particularly a court of law, but I don't think she deserves a penny. I'd rather not go into the exact reasons why I believe she doesn't deserve it, but I think I can make a pretty good case if I need to. Not only that, I can't afford it. Not if I want to keep a roof over my head.

So I'm weighing the issues. Trying to come up with some kind of clear plan in my head so I can take the next logical step. I'll admit I'm nervous, and a little scared. Kind of how you feel before going into a scrap, even though you're confident you can beat the other guy. There's always a chance you might lose. I'm in the unenviable position of not wanting to lose a thing.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Seasons

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Autumn colors, everywhere. They splatter the backgrounds, exploding in furious blasts of tone and hue, warming the coldest hearts.

I've felt their warmth before, when in the shoddy cradle of my lonesome youth I sought solace in such things as nature.

The thundering beauty of a fall sunset. Magnified by an ample horizon, clear and vast, and lousy with gentle clouds. Trying to block out a body so strong and powerful as the sun, in vain, hopelessly futile jabs at immensity. Only when the sun sinks down into the swamp land, becoming one with the Everglades, does she truly disappear.

The trees don't lose their leaves, not like they do in other places. Oh, many make their way to the ground and clutter our storm drains. But our trees remain remarkably full and alive. Disappointing at times. I crave the full cycle. The impacting change of season with its merciless swings in temperature. Cold, heat, the in betweens.

We bookmark our moods by the seasons, inadvertently. It's hard to feel like it's Christmas time when you're still walking around at night in shorts and sandals. "How does Santa come in the house?" my daughter asks me, in a momentary state of panic, painfully aware that our house, like most South Florida homes, has no chimney. "He'll probably come in through one of the attic fans," I tell her, uneasily. Her look of disbelief makes me add: "He can squeeze into just about anywhere, you know. He'll get in here, don't worry. Even if I have to stay up all night and open the front door for him. He'll get in here!" She smiles and says, "Yeah, because who's gonna eat the cookies and milk!!!???"

In the winter we'll turn the A/C off for a few nights. Crack open the windows and let some of that moldy atmosphere out of the house. Pull down a sweater from the top shelf and brush off the dust. A few times.

But we won't be making hot apple cider or roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. I'm sorry my daughter has to miss that. I'm sorry she has to miss the outdoor glare and beauty of a white Christmas, and the comforting feeling of a warm household when you're coming in from the cold, peeling off layers of clothing. The frost on the windows and the sight of your breath, the numbness in your toes and fingertips from putting a snowman together or making snow angels.

It's hard to have it all, isn't it?



Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A top ten list

Just so you know that I still retain a sense of humor.
I got these tips via email this morning and thought I'd pass them along. They might come in handy!


Ten Best Things to Say if you Get Caught Sleeping at Your Desk


10. "They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen."

9. "This is just a 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time management course you sent me too."

8. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Whiteout. You probably got here just in time."

7. "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new business strategy."

6. "I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance."

5. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Are you discriminatory toward people who practice Yoga?"

4. "Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out how to handle that big accounting problem."

3. "Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?"

2. "Who put decaf in the wrong pot?!?"

NUMBER ONE best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk........


Raise your head slowly and say, "...mumble mumble, Amen."