Saturday, March 20, 2010

Number 200

This is the 200th post here at Sand and Tsunamis...and to celebrate, pictures of my children.

Charlie chose to lay down partially in a filthy puddle, so he is on his way to a bath once this gets posted.

He had fun, though he was bullying a girl bulldog a bit...probably just flirting. Bella had a good time too, and I let her out of the baby backpack to wander since there were a lot fewer dogs than normal. Last night's rain and the 45 degree temps kept them away. At one point, though, she tripped and fell, missing a pile of poo by mere inches...whew. Close one.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Charlie got back yesterday from boarding school, and now he is a much more well-mannered, refined young dog. Seriously, he's been much calmer, and a model citizen. I'm happy with the results, and we practice his learnings several times daily to make sure they stick. Sit, stay, down, shake, roll over, sit up, crawl, come...he's pretty consistent with all of them. Next, we work on "slippers" (bring, not eat...He's already got that down.).

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Seattle to See Mommy

Well, we just got back from a trip to Seattle to see Melody. We had originally intended to spend this week there, but when she got a late notice of a guaranteed 48 hour pass, we moved our trip up by a week.

We left last Thursday, and flew thru Denver to Seattle. The trip was pretty easy, and Isabella did great. She's really a very easy traveler. We stayed in a cabin on American Lake, just bordering Fort Lewis, where she's been training. We checked in, ran a few errands, and got a chance to see her on Thursday night for an hour or so. Initially, Bella was surprised to see Mommy, and was a little frightened. After not seeing her for a month, I'm not sure what she thought. But, she warmed up by the end of the evening.

After Melody was done with training on Friday, she was able to spend the whole weekend with us. Saturday was spent in Seattle, doing the tourist thing, and eating some great seafood and shwarma. We had fun wandering around. Sunday, after heading to Mass, we just lazed around the cabin and enjoyed being together as a family.

There were ducks and geese who lived at the lake, so we spent a fair amount of time feeding and visiting with them. Bella loved feeding them goldfish, and they in turn loved eating them. I am happy to report there were no goose attacks, although the goose in this video clearly is considering it.

Before we left, we got to talk to my cousin Paul, and had a chance to visit with one of my buddies from Japan, Mike, who has been battling lymphoma for about 5 years. He is hanging in there, but he realizes more than anyone I know that each day we get is a gift. It was great to catch up.

Melody will be on her way by the end of the week. We've been very fortunate so far that she's been still in the US, as it's made commo very easy (relatively). We've had a chance to test drive our Skype sessions, and get used to different time zones. Afghanistan will be a bit more challenging...however, we're just ready for this phase to start so we can just get it over with.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fun at Rodeo San Antonio

We spent the afternoon at the San Antonio Rodeo, the big thing going on in town right now. While we didn't hit the actual rodeo part, we had a fun time wandering the grounds and looking at all the animals.

Part of it was a petting zoo with pigs, goats, sheep, a burro, a llama, and even a wallaby...Isabella loved it of course. She squealed with delight, as she went from one critter to another. The last photo is blurry because I took it as I was scrambling to get Isabella out of the way of a minor stampede of miniature goats.

Later, we got to see Mommy om Skype video...All in all, a great day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

98 and Counting

Last weekend, Bella and I took a trip to Florida to see my Grandma and celebrate her 98th birthday. All of her 7 children were there, along with most of their spouses. My brother, Paul, and Isabella and I represented the 17 grandchildren and 21 (about to be 22) great-grandchildren. It was great getting a chance to catch up with our aunts and uncles, and a rare opportunity for them to see Isabella.

Isabella was a real trooper, flying from San Antonio to Orlando, with a 6 hour layover in Atlanta. We were some of the lucky ones, though, as we had an onward flight. Many around us were scrambling to try to get into points north before the approaching storms, or were stranded from the previous ones. Rough go...

The trip back home was equally uneventful for us. We got back to find that Charlie, who had been looked after by Tita Mickie and Tita Lyn (thanks, ladies) had left the house mostly unscathed. He was really glad to see us though, ebulliently bouncing around the house.

Life as a single Papa has been interesting. I'm gaining an incredible amount of respect for those who do this full time. It isn't easy. But, it's rewarding, and I couldn't ask for a better child. She has her moments, as do we all, but overall, I'm terrifically blessed.

Melody is doing fine out in Washington State. She's so far done Combatives (i.e., hand to hand combat), HMMWV rollover training, rifle and pistol qualifications, land navigation, and a lot of other things. She's enjoying the training, and I continually tell her to pay attention, as it will go far to getting her back to us. Still, it's awfully quiet around here without her. We miss her terribly, but are getting thru it. The routine mentioned in the previous post helps. Still, we can't wait for the time to go by.

Be sure to take a look at her blog,

A few more pictures from the weekend...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Single Papahood

As many of you may know, Melody is on her way to Afghanistan for about 6 months. She left about 3 weeks ago, headed for Portsmouth, VA to finish some Navy requirements before flying to Seattle, WA and Fort Lewis for Army Training (ala "Stripes").

Isabella and I are thus on our own. So far, so good. Not to say that I haven't had help. Melody's cousin Mickie, and childhood friend Marilyn both reside in town, along with my cousin Rich, and Uncle Ed and Aunt Barb, who all live closer to Austin, have all been available if needed. We see Mickie and Marilyn pretty often, especially since Mickie is on retainer as our defacto veterinarian. She was Oji's vet, and is Charlie's as well. We feed her regularly in exchange for her veterinary expertise.

Interestingly, there seems to be a presumed incompetence when you mention that you're wife has headed off to war and left you with the baby. Everyone asks, "Are you going to be ok? Who's looking after Isabella?" I'd like to think I'm doing pretty well so far. She gets fed, bathed, taken to school, cuddled, read to, prayed with, and lots of love. It helps that she's a pretty user friendly baby, too. She's very adaptable. We talk to Mommy every day, and have video Skyped a few times as well.

We've settled into a pretty strict weekly routine, for both of our sakes. The predictability helps Isabella, and I can drive forward on those days when I'm smoked on something like muscle memory. It's working well.

We did take a trip to Florida last weekend (see upcoming post for more details), and plan on heading out to Seattle to see Melody fly off to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks.

Melody is chronicling her adventures at a blog as well, Check it regularly and add it to your favorites.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And another use...

Another photo used (with permission) on the web...

Follow title link...

More Sand and Tsunamis Photos used on the Web

I guess I should be honored, as one of my photos, "love that unibrow" was chosen as part of a feature on the aforementioned subject of the unibrow.

Be sure to head on over to and check it out.

Link there from the blog post title...