Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Warning: Second Wind

Spell check doesn't seem to be working tonight, so be forewarned, I've butchered the English language with no apologies. Tread lightly.

It's all or nothing here in blog land recently. Tonight, despite working a very full day, running errands afterwards, meeting with a carpet guy, cleaning, cooking and painting most of our bedroom, I'm ready to plow forward into the night (including going back to work once done here). I also have nowhere to sleep with wet paint on the walls and clutter piled everywhere to make room for our redecorating. If it wasn't so bloody cold outside tonight I'd be tempted to curl up on the hammock (bundle up kiddies, it's getting down into the 30s tonight!).

I mentioned in blog numero uno tonight that Emily had sewn a new valance this past weekend. Here it 'tis for your viewing pleasure. While in Hawaii with her parents a few years ago, we picked up some fabric, and this is some of it. Also in the works is a valance for the window in the dining room (of similar design), and eventually some slip over palm frond covers for our ceiling fan.

And that planter you see on the other side of the window, which I built about six months ago, will have to come apart to make room for the pergola we bought a few days ago. The good news is that I can transplant everything that's in there, and relocate the planter since it's basically four panels screwed together, but have no idea what to do with the dirt that's going to come pouring out of it.

Adjacent to the new valance are some pictures we've gotten up on the walls from our recent trips to the islands. We have room for a few more and will get around to that eventually. The waterfall in the middle there was just north of Honolulu, I hiked through the rain to it this past July 4th while over there on a business trip. Brenna's destruction is directly below.

Here's a sneak peak of the paint color in our bedroom. We're moving our curtains from the living room into here, replacing the asian ones. Again, ignore the crap, all of Emily's clothes are now in Brenna's play crib, since she no longer has a dresser (well, we consigned hers today and her replacement one is in the front room in a box).

Turn back now if you're squimish. Changes abound everywhere, including my face. In honor of the great bearded bass man, Mike Watt. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
Keep scrolling, you're only half way through today's blogging activities.

Sucker In A Three Piece

A week removed from the death of our favorite dog, and we're muddling along. Little things continue to come up where we notice him not being here, but it's getting easier as the days pass. One thing we're working on to move forward is replacing the two sections of carpet in the house that have permadog stains on them. We're hustling to repaint our bedroom in advance of that installation coming up this weekend. We've also consigned our huge Bruce Lee unit (curious, scroll back through the archives if you don't know what I'm referring to), and purchased Emily a smaller one to make way for the king size bed we're going to be cramming in that room as well. In the end, a complete and much needed over haul of our bedroom. I'll post some pictures as we near completion of this project.

Another renovation will be underway outside sometime this spring. We'll be tearing down our arbor off the back porch that I build about four years ago, and replacing it with a steel arbor that we bought at Target a few days ago. It should clamp right on top of the deck, which is still in good shape, so we're looking forward to that change.

Onto things Brenna-like. Our little girl is still teething like crazy, and is having some rough nights, but we're getting through it. Her vocabulary is astonishing, and she has now moved on to Dora The Explorer as her favorite TV program. We're almost to the point of being able to run through the house at will, which has us worried, but she seems to be steady on her meaty little thighs.

In order to appease the nasty beast when trimming her finger nails, Emily gives her a sucker. Below are a few shots of her enjoying her treat after the bludgeoning.

This shot rocks and is one of my favorites of hers. For whatever reason, this picture reminds me of a picture of Kojak that I remember from the cover of a TV Guide when I was a wee little lad. Shave Brenna's head and you've got Telly Savalas, I'm telling you (except he wouldn't be caught in a one piece pajama suit with bunnies on it... or WOULD he?).

This past weekend we borrowed Rachel to help watch Brenna while Emily put up a new Hawaiian valance in the living room (LOTS of projects we're tackling). Here the two are enjoying a rousing rendition of Row, Row Your Boat on the ivories.

And finally, a pleasing picture of the two taking a break from playing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Hardest Blog I've Ever Had To Write

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 3:30, we lost the T in TEBOT...

T - Tom
E - Emily
B - Brenna
O - Orson
T - Tazi

Our vet, based off her final observations, is guessing that Tazi was suffering from pancreatic cancer; he had lost almost half his weight since being diagnosed with diabetes nearly 15 months ago. Although we was strong until the end, Emily and I knew it was only a matter of time before he would be suffering, and since he would have been twelve years old in February, we thought it best to put him to rest.

First, the fond memories.

A rare candid shot of our somewhat camera shy dog, this was probably a few years ago, about the time he was weighing in around 125 pounds, and unbeknownst to us he was suffering from diabetes.

Going back in time, here we are hiking the Peralta Trail one month after I had moved out here in 2000, this was the hike that I asked Emily to marry me. Tazi was still quite the youngster here, and even though while Emily and I lived in an apartment in Mesa and he couldn't be with us, he waited ever so patiently for our house to be built, so that we could be together again. He was very willing to share Emily with me, which I appreciated so much.

Here is Emily and Tazi on the same hike at the exact spot where I asked her to marry me.
Moving forward, here is Tazi taking care of a pregnant Emily. He so loved his mama.

And finally, the last night he was with us, posing with Emily and Brenna, who loved him so much. Even though he wasn't thrilled to lose most of our attention with her arrival, he was ever so gracious, and found other ways to involve himself in our lives, primarily by sweet talking our daughter into throwing him food out of her exersaucer. Ah, the ever crafty fat dog.

And second, an open blog / letter to Tazi.
In your final few years with us, especially after Brenna was born, I failed to spend as much time with you as I should have. We could have taken so many more walks over to the park, spent so much more time on the floor playing, and I just didn't do it. I spent too much of my time cursing you and how much money it was costing to keep you alive, and thinking about all of the inconveniences you caused with having to test your pee twice a day, having to mix special food for you to eat, constantly vacuuming up after you, picking your hair out of my teeth every time I blew my nose into a hair covered hanky.... the list goes on and on. In retrospect as I'm sitting here working at home without you for the first time in nearly six years, all of that seems so trivial. At least a dozen times today I've walked past our bedroom and expected to see you laying there asleep, dozing until I eat lunch, when every day like clockwork, you'd come out to sit with me, waiting ever hopefully that I might throw you something to snack on. I never realized how much I relied on your company until today, and I miss you horribly.
I am grateful, however, for the time we spent together yesterday. While taking all of your personal belongings and putting them in the garage so Emily wouldn't see them when she got home (after your passing) was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, I feel good that I was able to apologize to you for being such a dick to you on many occasions these past few years, and that I was able to tell you that it was not your fault that you had been diagnosed with diabetes, and it was well worth having you around for the extra 15 months that you were here.
You seemed to know at three yesterday that you had someplace final to be, standing in the dining room waiting on me, which you never did any other time before. I am grateful that you went peacefully, and that the vet told me that you were ready to go and that you were not in any pain and had not been. I truly believe that Emily and I made the right decision to let you go when we did, and I hope you understand that. We both loved you so much and miss you more than you will ever know. I can only hope that God holds a special place in His heart for animals, and that you're waiting for us to join you someday. In God's infinite time, your wait for us will be short, and while we plod along for what seems like forever here on earth going about our daily lives, rest assured my dear friend that with a blink of your eye, we will be with you again.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Midnight Confessions Never Heal The Soul

Another weekend, another late night working for "the man". Seriously, though, despite the ungodly hour, I find that I get the most done when Emily and Brenna are in snoozy land. Not to say I don't thoroughly enjoy my time with them when they're awake, but some me time is good also, and I'm sure Emily would agree when the shoe is on the other foot.

But I digress.
Brenna has had a pretty nasty cold the majority of the week, highlighted by us driving over an hour in the car two nights in a row to get her to sleep. We found out she doesn't have an ear infection, so that's one positive, but the coughing and runny nose have been pretty rough. Both Emily and I have been fighting off catching whatever she has, which is difficult when she's in our faces looking for comfort (which we don't mind offering, of course). I think what's helped me from catching it is running on the treadmill (I've gotten my mile down to a whopping 12:32, working on ten minutes by the end of the month, God willing).

For these reasons I haven't been taking any pictures, until tonight. Brenna is feeling much better now, despite still having a runny nose and a loose cough. Below are some pictures of her sitting with Emily, doing, well, stuff.

Emily found some neato picture cue cards at Ross this afternoon for two bucks. Brenna seems to enjoy them, after this picture was taken, she was licking the watermelon card and making yummy sounds. To my knowledge she's never had watermelon before, ah, the power of persuasion. Well, and she was also licking a picture that had ice skates on them (although not saying yummy to that one), so you can draw your own conclusion.

Here I believe Brenna was practicing her animal sounds with Emily. I think this was a bumble bee buzzing.

In this one she was singing or yelling along to something on TV, probably that annoying commercial selling the "Perfect Push Up". BTW, if the promise of having perfect abs in 60 days is too much to pass up, save your money and buy this thing at Wal Mart, they have it there for half the price they're asking on the commercial.

Looking at more cue cards here.

Here Brenna is watching TV and laying on Emily while she reads a book. Brenna is in the habit these days of wanting to lay across my throat while she's asleep in the bed with us, again, a comfort thing that has started since she's been sick. Flattering, yes, hard to breathe with 25 squirming pounds laying across your windpipe, yes.

I think this picture was actually of Brenna laying sideways on the bed being silly, but it's 2 in the morning and I'm too lazy to fix this. Use your imagination and chuckle to yourself just the same, please.

I wish I could claim that title in this blog as my own, but alas I've ripped it off from a Black Sabbath song from their fantastic Dehumanizer album (turn away now if you were here only for the Brenna pictures). I've never been a huge fan of Ozzy Osborne, despite many attempts to let him grow on me (that statement makes him sound like a tumor). This Sabbath album features his replacement Ronnie James Dio on vocals; for my money that little Keebler elf sings the pants off Ozzy and I'd dare anyone to say otherwise. I wish I had managed to find the time and money to catch them when they came through town last year, phooey.
This is about the most abrupt ending to a blog I could possible conceive.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

World Domination 101

1 - In the map room, discussing plans

2 - Looking over the plans

3 - Preparing to review the map

4 - Giving some final thought to the plans that have been laid out

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My First Mile

Today's blog is all about me. Not Brenna, not Emily, just me. For those of you not interested in me, I invite you to move along to something else more to your liking.

For those of you curious how a non-Brenna related post might go, please stick around, it might get interesting (or not, you be the judge).

As you may recall, a few months back we bought a treadmill that's been collecting dust in our garage. One of our New Years resolutions was to actually use it, and starting a few days back Emily and I did just that.

Today I took my treadmilling to the next level. In addition to walking my normal two miles, I got a wild hair and decided to crank the speed up to "slow trot" and proceeded at this level for an entire additional mile. I have to admit that the first quarter mile was painful, but after a while my legs stopped screaming in agony and I actually powered through the end of that mile with plenty of wind to spare.

What was my time for this earth shattering and momentous occasion? Fourteen minutes and thirty five seconds. Thank you very much. I'll be qualifying for the Olympics in the coming weeks. See you in China.

Now that wasn't too painful, was it?

Monday, January 07, 2008

No One Is Safe

Nothing says January like more Christmas pictures. I have stumbled upon yet more shots to upload from the holiday that refuses to die.
Well actually, this first picture is of the aftermath. Brenna is digging a singing stage thingy that Aunt Beth and Uncle John got her. The one we actually got from them wouldn't work for some reason, even with new batteries (I love those cheapo ones that come with things like this, like Rayco and Battcom brand, high quality stuff). After standing in line at Wal Mart for about 30 minutes, I got this one returned and we bought another one in a separate trip (what's up with 15 people in line returning crap on the 5th day of January?).
The next two pictures are of another Christmas get together, one that I gracefully bowed out of for reasons unknown (to anyone but myself, perhaps).
Brenna appears to be checking out a new toy she got while Grandma Becky assists.

In this shot, realizing that she was being photographed, Grandma Becky donned her sunglasses. I'm thinking perhaps she's in the Witness Protection Program, although by me divulging her true identity here, that may have ruined that altogether. The hairy melon in the foreground I'm guessing might be nephew Tyler, but I'm not an expert at reading the backs of hairy melons (although I considered minoring in it in college for a brief time before I took up archery and basket weaving).

Ah, I just love candid pictures. Sometimes the people in the background are more interesting than the actual subject. I don't know who was more excited about Brenna getting this cool gift, her or Grandpa Ron.

We took Brenna around the neighborhood in this little push mobile on Saturday while the weather was nice, and had to drag her kicking and screaming out of it. I think we've found a way finally to get some exercise while keeping her occupied at the same time. We learned, however, that you have to be careful to run over some rocks and other obstacles along the way to keep it interesting for her. Our daredevil daughter yawns in the face of a smooth ride. The baby pictured here was in tow the entire ride.

Here's a nice picture of Brenna opening one of her many, many, many presents. Her hair continues to get longer by the day/minute. She's sporting her Monkey's hairdo here.

And finally, another daddy looks goofy shot for everyone to enjoy.

And finally, those that are following our new blog, I've uploaded a few more Brenna drawings.
I just love working these late nights, I have four projects going live this Monday morning, one I took care of at midnight, two more roll in at 2am Central Time, and the other is pending sometime later on in the morning.
I'm one cappuccino in, and expect to empty two more of those 9 oz bottles of yummy goodness before the sun comes up. I'm powered at the moment by Exodus' live masterpiece "Another Lesson In Violence", fronted by Russian powerhouse vocalist Paul Baloff, how passed away a few years ago, ironically collapsing riding his bike, trying to get into better shape.
Some of my favorite Baloffisms from this gem of an album:
"Why do you have to be so heavy?" - A phrase I jokingly use waaay too often when picking Brenna up. This might be the least bit funny to Emily if I could convince her to listen to this, but she's not a fan of the thrash metal. Ah, the pity. But I don't read much, so I guess we're even.
"Talk minus action equals nothing" - A fairly philosophical statement coming from a guy that looked like Sideshow Bob. One of my favorite lines from a metal song (my second being "Life can only be understood in reverse", from Dave Mustaine).
"Make some noise, I want my dead grandmother to roll over in her grave and say 'My God Paul, you did nothing with your life'"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Final Look

I promise this is the last Christmas related post. It's time to lay that holiday to rest and move on, I suppose.

Below is a shot of the three of us at the Choo Choo in Chattanooga. There aren't many pictures of the three of us, so I enjoy everyone that we can get made.

Here I am with Brenna inside the lobby of the hotel, heading to the bar for a smoke and a drink.

Here is Grandpa Ron waving from one of the sleeper coaches outside the hotel. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to get much of a view inside the room.

Grandma Becky indicated that all of the picture I had posted of her so far were not flattering, perhaps this one is a little better in her eyes. Here she is at the Aquarium in the shark and stingray exhibit area.

Here I am with biological mom Sheila, and half-brothers Ryan and Brett, in Conyers during our visit with our extended family.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


**NOTE (1/2/08): A new blog link for Brenna's art work is now available to the right, next to Addicted To Hoes....

Continuing to live in 2007, below are some more pictures from our trip to the southeast during the holidays. We got back to Nashville early enough on the day we left for home to beat around town a little.

I should have known if I looked hard enough, I'd eventually find a retarded picture of myself, so lets get that one out of the way first. Brenna is being tricksy, so it's worth posting this one for her. Grandpa Ron is thinking about crossing the road, but hasn't decided yet.

Here, Grandma Becky, Emily and Brenna pose in front of the Ryman. This statue is the guy whom the auditorium is named after. He apparently liked boats with big steering wheels, or so the plaque read.

Here's a cool shot that Emily took of her dad walking ahead of us into the music district in downtown. It was a fine day for a brief stroll.

Finally, Grandma Becky, Emily and Brena pose in front of a gigantic painted guitar, sporting head shots of all your favorite country music legends. How many can YOU name?