Thursday, June 30, 2005

Playing the Waiting Game

You ever get tired of waiting?

I'm at a place in my life right now where I find myself waiting a lot, seemingly for everything. It’s very frustrating. Lori and I are currently waiting on something in probably three or four areas of our life.

Can’t we just forge ahead? Why does life, which is short enough already, have to be wasted with waiting for things to fall into place?

Do things really need to fall into place? Do we have to play it safe all the time?

I don't know. Those are some of the questions I ask in my prayers these days.

Or perhaps God’s just trying to teach me patience.

I asked Him about that too.

I’m still waiting for the answer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Living Up To Her Name

Thankfully, Melody seems to have a real love for music.

Of course, she’s only 14 months old. So how can I really know? Well, for one thing, whenever I pick up my acoustic bass and just start messing around, she dances and laughs. Also, whenever Lori’s playing piano and singing, Melody wants to join in (she can now reach the keys). We also take her with us when we do music ministry both at the Springs Rescue Mission as well as at church on Sundays and other special "performances." So she’s quite well exposed to performed music and not just an occasional CD in the car.

But wait! There's more.

This summer (since there’s not a lot on TV), Lori and I have been watching episodes of the 90s series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (which, at about twelve years old, arguably are not all that new). Every time the opening credits run, Melody stops what she’s doing and stares at the screen. Nothing will interupt her attention. While the sci-fi geek in me would like to think that she’s enamored with the concept of Superman, it's obvious that she just really digs the theme music. She will watch it until the music is over and then she'll go back to eating whatever living room candle or remote control she was already gnawing on.

To test this, I've even (at Lori's behest) rewound the opening credits and played them again. It's akin to hypnosis!

Please note that our daughter's name is not Dialogue or Dramatica (although she’s quite the drama princess) so it only makes sense that she's only interested, at least at this point, in the music. As soon as the credits drop out into commercials or even during the bulk of the show, Melody is much more content to pull off her socks and eat them.

On Sunday, Lori and I put in the recent version of "The Phantom of the Opera." Most of the film was largely ignored by Melody (she’s not really sophisticated enough to tap into the idiosyncrasies of musical banter nor does she care about love least not yet). However, at one point the music became quite bombastic and overtook the film.

And this got Melody’s attention.

Our daughter stood from where she was playing in the living room and proceeded with much haste to Lori’s piano where she apparently intended to pound out the score along with the film.

So we're going to keep an eye on how this love of music evolves into and effects Melody's talents as she grows. She already has several musical toys including a pink miniature grand piano that Lori's parents gave her as well as a new xylophone and a Leap Frog drum that was handed down to her from friends at church.

She plays with these musical toys more than she plays with dolls and stuffed animals.

The musician in me thinks this is just great. I mean, we named her Melody. I'm pleased as punch that she's got a musical bent. But the Disney geek in me doesn’t want her to miss out on her childhood. Surely there's a place in Melody’s heart for Winnie the Pooh too.

I guess it's time to break out the Disney "Sing-Along-Songs."

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Best Italian In Town

Colorado Springs isn't the restaurant mecca of the known world. I would argue that pretty much better Mexican, Indian and even hamburgers can be found where I grew up in Long Beach, California. It's safe to say that Lori would agree.

But I took Lori out to Carrabba's on Saturday night.

We both agree that it's probably the best Italian food we've ever had.

It's also got a great environment. We've eaten at two different locations, so this isn't only true of Saturday night's experience. The service is top notch and the waiter was even a good sport about Melody being the handful that she sometimes is.

Of course, being Saturday night, we had to wait about forty minutes. But it was well worth it. The hostess even offered us drinks in the waiting area and Melody played with this table of wires with little painted wood shapes that could travel along the wires. Who knows what the heck that thing is called, but they're commonly found in doctor's offices and Melody loved it.

When we were seated, we were provided with some very good bread along with some spices that were mixed on a plate with olive oil. The house salad is splendid as well.

Lori had Scampi Damian for her main course while I had my usual Chicken Parmesan. Instead of the Fettuccini Alfredo on the side though, I opted for garlic-mashed potatoes (which is a departure for me). Of course, it was all indeed the embodiment of perfection.

We were stuffed but we couldn't leave without dessert. We ordered the Sogno di Cioccolata "Chocolate Dream" to go and had it at home later that night.

Some might consider Carrabba's a little pricey but if you can afford it, I whole-heartedly recommend a night in their capable hands.

Friday, June 24, 2005

If You Don’t Like The Weather, Wait Ten Minutes

That’s how it has been lately here in Colorado.

When I first moved out here in 1998, in the spring and summer it would rain every day at 3:00 for about an hour. Over the past few years we’ve had a drought but this year we're back to the daily deluge.

Which is kinda cool. I mean, Colorado summers can be notoriously hot and dry. This way, the grass stays green and we get a cool breeze coming in from the mountains for at least a couple hours a day.

Of course, there are also the lightning strikes. A friend of mine just had to replace the Ethernet card in his computer due to a proximate lightening strike. And there's hail too. Last year there were at least two hailstorms that caused body damage to a lot of cars in southern Colorado.

But if it wasn’t lightning and hail it would be something else. There's hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in the plains states and earthquakes in California. If you want to hide from natural disatsers, there's basically only one place to go: six feet under in the graveyard.

I’m not ready to go there just yet.

So I’m enjoying the variety in the weather, often within the same day.

Sometimes the pleasure is in the surprise.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mornings: The Deceptively Dark Side Of The Day

You may love the morning. You may love getting up with the sunset and the sounds of little birdies chirping out your window. You may love the fact that you’ve already gone for a jog and snapped up a bagel before 7 am. You've still got the whole day ahead of you. You probably don’t even drink coffee, nor do you need to.

And I may hate you.

Okay. Hate is a harsh word.

Let’s get something straight though. I am not a morning person. I never will be a morning person. And, to be quite honest, I don’t want to be a morning person.

Left to my own devices, I would get up sometime between 10 am and noon and I would stay up until about 3 am. That’s when I’m most awake. That’s when I’m most productive. It’s when all of my creative thrusters are firing. And I’m fine with it. After all, everyone is different and it takes years to discover how to tap into one’s creativity. I’ve finally figured it out, but to what end?

It’s not that I envy morning people.

The problem I have with morning people is that they have somehow set the standard for the way I’m supposed to live and work. Basically, because a handful of analytical eager beaver insomniacs feel the need to seize the day with both hands, I’ve got to drag my groggy self outta bed at the God-forsaken hour of eight o’clock in the morning and into the office to keep them company.

The paradox is that I was hired for my creativity. But instead of tapping into the natural flow of my creativity, I’m expected to pretend for the first half of the day because someone somewhere decided to start the day at an unreasonable hour.

What's wrong with these people?

The really sad thing is that, over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

So, if nobody’s disappointed with my work and I’m still getting paid, I guess there isn’t really a problem. I guess I'm just venting.

Except I sure would like to sleep in once in awhile.

I guess that’s what vacation days are for.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Once Upon A Time In Anaheim

When I lived in California, it didn’t take much of an excuse to get me out of the house and out to The Happiest Place on Earth.

For seven years I enjoyed my Disneyland annual pass (I took my last pass with me to Colorado in 1998). Since then, nearly every year, I’ve visited friends and family in California at Thanksgiving, usually taking a day to visit the park. For most of this time I was single and I could just sorta drift through the various lands and take in everything from the landscaping to the architecture... the music to the costumes... the shows and signage. I was my own grandpa and, although there was a certain freedom to such aimless wandering, something was missing.

After all, Walt Disney designed Disneyland as a place where parents and their children can come to enjoy shared experiences.

Now I have a wife and a daughter. I always expected we would enjoy Disneyland together but we live a thousand miles away and things are different than I had envisioned.

Last week, I had the opportunity to preview the upcoming Disneyland 50th Anniversary DVD at the Broadmoor Hotel here in Colorado Springs. Forest Rose Productions, a company co-owned by Jan C.J. Jones (a colleague of mine from Pikes Peak Writers), produced it. This Julie Andrews hosted film, directed by Jan's business partner Bob Garner, was a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to pick up the DVD when it comes out in July. But with all of the hoopla surrounding Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, I find myself again longing to share the park with Lori and Melody.

Sure, we can go at Thanksgiving but rushing through the park during the holidays isn’t the same as really savoring the details.

Lori really wants to go home.

Perhaps I do too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Customer Service Still Rules

Okay. On Friday, I inadvertently ran the Mustang up the driveway curb at work, just where the driveway curb starts to slope upward. Apparently, this caused my rear passenger-side tire to pinch inward. Pop and squeal! I was out of air before I could put the car in the parking space.

Other than feeling stupid, I wasn’t all that mad about it. Besides, since this "accident," at least two people have told me they’ve don’t the same thing. So now I don't fell that stupid.

Plus, all four tires were only a few months old. Surely they’re under warranty. Right?

So lunch was spent putting on the spare. Side note: How many artists does it take to put a spare tire on a Mustang? Apparently two. Kris (my art department colleague) helped and after that, I dug into my lunch, including a small bowl of ice cream and some extra drinks that Lori dropped off to lift my spirits.

At the end of the day, I drove the Mustang, donut tire and all, to Discount Tire Center. If you’re familiar with Colorado Springs, this particular location can be found on Academy just south of the Citadel Mall.

I rolled the wheel into the lobby. The guy took one look at it, got my name and punched me into the computer.

How much to replace the tire? $15.

Not bad for a $98 tire.

How long did it take? About a half hour. I was able to start my weekend with not much of a detour at all.

I don’t see any reason to get my tires anywhere else.

And you probably thought I was going to rant and rave. Shame on you!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Melody’s First Tooth

Melody’s been walking now for about three weeks and running for perhaps one week.

But on Saturday, while we were heading back to the car from Spring Spree (a downtown Colorado Springs street fair), Lori gave Melody an ice cube. Lo and behold, there was a little tiny tooth poking out.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, the era of the pacifier (or binky) has come to an end. Lori wants to make sure Melody’s teeth are as straight as can be and that means no more sucking.

It also means that Melody is taking a lot longer to fall asleep (she fights it to no end as it is) and when she wakes up in the middle of the night, there’s no quick solution to get her back to sleep.

For now, Lori has bravely taken on the task of getting Melody to sleep and/or back to sleep but she can’t do it forever so I’m going to have to spell her at some point.

I'm hoping that Melody will get over this quickly and start sleeping like her daddy (through everything).

Maybe then we'll all get some rest.

The Carhart Blog

Well, I've done it. I've gone ahead and started a Carhart blog.

What can be found here? Posts from one Carhart or another, most likely. Probably mostly from me (Paul) because I'm the writer in the family but Lori may post from time to time as well.

I'm sure I'll sound off on things that interest me from Sci-Fi to Disney, graphics to writing and publishing, music to Christianity, books to movies.

What Lori will have to say... well, let me just say that I've learned not to speak for Lori.

We'll probably also share family news and observations about Melody too.

So let's see where this goes...