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Looking for a silver lining

I wrote this to someone with whom I may be getting into a business relationship.

I have a beautiful six-year old who is having the best summer of her life with her work-at-home dad, and an extremely tolerant wife who indulges me in my hobbies and business projects.

I decided I needed to share this post with you guys because it pretty much sums up what I've done so far this June.

Gaia and Don Doodle.
Gaia and her little Dog are at home for the summer.

It hasn't been fun suddenly punted into the world of "funemployment." But it has been different. And I've had a great time watching Gaia figure out how to have the kind of summer I remember having as a kid.

I was, as many of you know, a teacher's son, so my brother and sister and I spent our summers hanging out at home, keeping ourselves busy, and just generally being subject to our father's whim.

He had some whims, too. Going to swim in the lake, running out for 25-cent McDonald's Softserve, picking up Friday night sliders at the American Legion Hamburger Stand in Lake Mills.

It was a good time. And I feel like Gaia is having one too. I would prefer that we were having a good time together in a less financially precarious situation, but I'll take my silver linings where I can get them, I guess.

Gaia and I at Sheboygan Indian Mound Park
Gaia and I stopped at the Sheboygan Indian Mound Park en route from a business meeting.

I'm working. She's working. And it's all good. Could be better... but it's good.

Another Yule with my baby

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Jiggity Jig

When I look back on days like this, I can't help but realize that she'll only be six this one time. 
And then seven. And then eight. And then eighteen. 

Here's to another year in the sun.

'Get it, Daddy! Get it!'

I'm not sure who to tell about this, so I'm telling everyone.
My daughter was hooting and cheering last night as Link and I figured out how to pilot his Loftwing.

And, it was she that took the sword fight tutorial to task, opting to play through it a second time in order to "make sure she got it."

I am filled with the joy of a purple rupee.

To wish for the end to all bad things and to be grateful for the day that such a wish might be made.

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Today, as Gaia and I drove to work and school, I had one of those moments. It is good to occasionally be reminded that this tiny person, who most of the time I'm pretty sure I'm screwing up forever, is ultimately going to be ok.


Gaia: "Daddy, you know what I would wish?"
Gabe: "What, honey?"
Gaia: "I would wish that bad things wouldn't happen."
Gabe: "Oh. ... Why do you ask? Are bad things happening to you?"
Gaia: "No. I just wish that flowers wouldn't have to die, and that it would always be sunny, and we'd always know where we were going."
Gabe: "Wow. That's a big wish."
Gaia: "Yeah, but I always forget to make it."
Gabe: "That's a pretty big wish for a little girl. I love you for it, but you can't stop all the bad things in the world, no matter how hard you try."
Gabe: "You can only try to be a really good person and be kind and respectful. Some things have to take care of themselves."
Gaia: "Yeah. But its sad."


Talkin' with mumma

I wonder if this wish is related to something that happened this summer.

This summer, we took the boat out to Little Star Lake. There is a sandy beach and a marked swim area where Gaia likes to splash around. And since it's attached to a park of some variety, there's a good chance of there being other kids for Gaia to play with. Its one of her favorite places. Anyway, against the advise of ladies who know better, we tried to head out to the beach there one day.

We pulled the boat over to a parking spot, and realized that we'd ended up in a cluster of people who were drinking beer, smoking cigars and blasting music.

So we left.

My heart sunk as we were left to explain to a sobbing child that some people do not seek to partake in the lake's beauty, but instead feel perfectly justified to conquer and consume their beauty. She wailed as we scooted away, "Why? Why would anyone be like that?"

"Because they are bad people," I said.

The waters of Manitowish Lake were nearly impassable that day, I can tell you. The chop was as vicious as I have ever seen it.


I am grateful that they have been calmer lately. I do believe we can make a difference in this world.

Just in case you face the inevitable

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Gaia pressed this little scrap into my hand as we went into school the other day.


"Here dad," she said. "I made this for you. Just in case you get sad today."


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My Treefrog holds a treefrog.Tomorrow, my baby starts kindergarten. It is the next of her inevitable steps in her Great Work.
She is ready.
And, through my tears, I am proud.

She's sad, but she's crafty.

The girl sobbed all the way to school.
I ignored her. Went for the behaviorist approach. I suck at that approach.

I would only turn and offer her a muffin after she hadn't cried for a few minutes. 20 miles later, she'd finally take the muffin. By the time we walked in to her school, she wasn't talking to me, but at least she was done crying. Then, when we got to the classroom, she walked in. While I was signing her into class, her teacher asked her what was wrong and she burst out sobbing: "My dad wouldn't let me bring my mittens to school today." Then she fell into the arms of her teacher.

I smiled at the teacher, even though my heart was breaking, and said, It's not mitten weather. And the teacher, bless her, echoed that, and I said by bye and left.
I saw her peeping under her teacher's arm back at me as I turned.

Final Fantasy Gaia Chronicles.

Gaia loves Final Fantasy Crystial Chronicles.
I was hesitant to purchase the game because, frankly, who wants to play a Nintendo DS game on your big screen, but once you're over the terrible, terrible graphics, the game's not too bad. Fun, even. I love the action-adventure take on the Final Fantasy game, and the new Chrystal Chronicles games seem to fit that bill. I wish that the DS had a little more graphical oomph, though. Managing two screens on one play space is hard on a 16:9 aspect ratio, I can't imagine playing on a square television. Also, the internet play has not been kind to me. In fact, unplayable.

But best of all, Gaia loves to play. She's old enough now that she can understand how the controller works, so she runs her party around the overworld, and jumps and shouts. Awesome. And she follows the story.

Animal Crossing Addict

A pair of dreams dies over The Spot

Almost bi-annually, I hunker down in a new hastily named village in Animal Crossing and spend two or so months slowly playing my way through paying off the first few renovations to my little house.

And then the novelty wears off and I put the game down.

Along comes Fall of 2008 and Animal Crossing: Lets You Can Has City for the Nintendo Wii.

Interestingly, this time, I’ve actually resumed playing the DS version (Wild World) at the same time, which, is fun, considering that there is only so many things you can do in Animal Crossing in a single play session.

The most awesome thing in the world about Animal Crossing for the WII is the ability to take a screenshot and save it as a JPG on the Wii’s SD Card; I bought a 2 GB SD card exclusively for this feature.

As for the game, it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old. The Online Component is hysterically frustrating, the fishing as overly simplistic, and there are only about six personality archetypes between all the villagers.

Gaia's drinkin' coffee now.

What makes it so much more fun this time around is that Gaia and I are playing together. She has a guy, I have a guy, and we run around our little village (embarrassingly named “The Spot”) and we go to the city and get our hair did.

Even though a combination of game-crashing wifi-bugs and the insanity of Nintendo’s “Friend Codes” system has made any kind of online meet ups impossible for me, It’s more fun when you play together. That’s thanks to Gaia.

Gaia's Dance Class

Gaia's Dance Class had an observation day on Saturday, so I made this little video. I try to keep my videos strictly flickr-able (under 90 seconds) but, I guess I was overzelous with the recorder. I did manage to cut 20 minutes of footage down to what I consider the essential 3 and a half minutes.