Monthly Archives: June 2010

The laughter of children

Mark Twain wrote, “he laughs best who laughs least.” Far be it from me to question such a notable American scribe, but my boy Logan is putting that to the test. He not only laughs like a maniacal super villain huffing helium, but when he gets going, he’ll do it for a really long time.

Weekend Adventure Fun Time

There are a lot of things you expect to find in Las Vegas; bright lights, playing cards, flashy whores. These are expected items, frequently included on many To Do lists of sun struck tourists. Among the things you rarely expect to find in Las Vegas is an orchard.

A sunny day in the orchard
I’m  not sure what I was expecting when I heard about the Gilcrease Orchard. Sandy dunes separated with sickly rows of brown twigs hung with crow picked rotters perhaps. What I didn’t expect to find was a proper orchard. Long rows of green fruit trees laden with plump offerings. This wasn’t simply near Las Vegas, or in the same county as Las Vegas, this was in Las Vegas. Bordered on several sides by residential neighborhoods.

Gilcrease Orchard
Frankly, I’m still a bit in shock.

Jason provides valuable advice.
We pulled in some nice zucchini, apricots, Yukon Gold potatoes and some ridiculously delicious apple cider.

Plucking the fruit
On Sunday, we tucked over to Grandma Cora’s to combine Logan’s 8 month birthday a week late, with Father’s Day, a week early. Like all proper secular holidays, age related celebrations and themed parades, we celebrated with barbecue ribs and Boston cream pie. Since the week had warmed from two days of cooling clouds and light rain, we opted for a bit of a swim. This was Logan’s first experience with a swimming pool. He didn’t appear to enjoy it much.

New recruit

Science Officer Lt. Commander Logan Hawkins reports for duty aboard the USS Pioneer.

Science Officer Lt. Commander Logan Hawkins

Sitting at the Science Station on the bridge, he is responsible for monitoring all sensor scans and identifying anomalies near the vessel’s course.

When did becoming a cranky old man become a career goal?

Sunday was my birthday. This is how I celebrate my birthday.

The petite cuts
I have an odd relationship with birthdays. I’m sure that as a child I enjoyed the attention and the gifts. For just about as long as I can remember though, I find most of the spectacle awkward and somewhat embarrassing.

Steak, so tasty

I get intensely uncomfortable when people sing Happy Birthday, or ask me what kind of gift I want. When my wife asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I replied that all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends. Nothing fancy. Nothing elaborate.

I’m aware that at some level, this seems to make everyone believe I’m petulant or ill humored.

Sorry about that. I don’t think it can be helped.

In league with my discomfort over the celebration, is the growing presence of my age. Thirty eight isn’t a significant milestone with regards to aging, and in many respects it’s not all that old. When I think about my age in comparison to the parts of my life that have already transpired, it starts to blow my mind a little bit.

Food identified as green bean. Status: Delicious! AQUIRE
It’s been ten years since I started dating my wife. It’s been twenty years since I graduated from high school and joined the Army. It’s been thirty years since I first shot a gun. It’s one thing to think of a childhood location and think, “I haven’t been to that place in twenty years or more.” It’s another thing to find myself in a rarely visited part of Vegas and think, “I haven’t been to this part of town in 15 years” and reflect that when last I visited, I was an adult.
Grandpa Ron and Logan
Now I have a son, and I keep thinking of my the years in my life in relationship to my father and his life. My father was younger than I am now when I was born, but he always seemed like an old man to me. I don’t feel old, except when I try to sit on the floor, but I realize now that I will always be old in the eyes of my son.

Road Trip to Sacramento

Every year, for the past three or four years, my wife and her mother travel to Sacramento to visit family over Memorial Day weekend. It’s a trip they enjoy, and one that I typically don’t join them for. We spent some time in the past week lamenting the fact that because Logan is only 8 months old, traveling by airplane wasn’t something we likely wanted to do with him if it could be avoided.

Cameron and Logan

My wife was lamenting the loss of the annual trip and the opportunity to share our son with her family. I was lamenting my now traditional Memorial Day weekend of Drunken Debauchery and Not Wearing Pants. It was a painful decision for both of us.

Nearly at the last minute, sometime on Wednesday, my wife IMs me and asks how I would feel about her driving to Sacramento with the baby and her mother.

Cameron, Logan and Grandma Cora

I had a chance. I had to play it cool. Come on too strong and she’d ask why I wanted her away (drunk, no pants, video games all day), come on too soft, and she might decide not to go. This was a situation that required delicacy and diplomacy, neither of which are skills frequently attributed to me.

Sacramento is a 9.5 hour drive from Vegas. It’s a trip that I wouldn’t personally want to make. After about 5 hours in a car, my crippled knees start to painfully cramp.

I played it cool.

“It’s a long drive. If you’re going to do it, I’d rather you take my car.”

“That makes sense,” was her reply. It did make sense. My Tdi Jetta Sport Wagon has far superior fuel efficiency to her Mazda 3s, as well as more storage room and more torque for climbing mountain passes. The conversation quickly and naturally turned to one of logistics, and I knew I was home free.

Cameorn, Logan, and a Flamingo

I loosened my belt in preparation for taking my pants off.

[Not Pictured]

Cameron left Friday morning, and after visiting every rest stop on the way, arrived in Sacramento that evening. They had picnics, went to the zoo, and Logan spent a good amount of time crawling around in an entirely different and new house. Which must be something like the experience I would have if I went to the moon for a weekend.


From what I understand, Logan was very good on the trip, his first long car ride, and spent most of the time alternating between sleeping and keeping up a runny commentary on what he could see out the back window of the car in a language that no one can understand.

Sleepy road trip nap

While they were gone, I started painting my Bronco. I wore pants for that.

Bronco step 4

Mea Culpa

Okay, you know what? I’m not a terrible father.

I am, however, pretty bad at math. I have a bachelors degree in Anthropology, largely because the math requirements were so low. And, to be perfectly frank, I failed one of those classes. Multiple times. It’s a personal failing I’ve learned to live with, largely with the assistance of things like calculators, computers, and my wife. I’m sure it won’t be too long before Logan is correcting my math as well.

Ball pit
Next weekend, Logan will be eight months old. Not, as it turns out, nine.

All items must be sorted by their flavor
I’m as disappointed in me as you are.

Here’s a video of Logan crawling.