Category Archives: Family

Vacationing in Anaheim, CA

Homewood Suites Hotels Brand LogoIf you find yourself vacationing or attending an event in Garden Grove, California, be sure to stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton on Harbor Blvd. The staff is excellent and they have a complimentary breakfast and dinner Monday – Thursday. If you find yourself researching Homewood Suites on Trip Advisor or another site you will discover what I’ve already known for over five years: Guest Services Supervisor Luis Vazquez is totally awesome. You want directions to the beach? Luis can make it happen. An extra pillow or four? Luis is your man. Need a coupon for a restaurant? Yep, Luis. Luis is one of the reasons we only stay at Homewood Suites. We tried the Grand Californian a few years ago. Nope, not as good as Homewood Suites and Luis.

I learned something interesting about Luis on this trip: He’s a very talented artist. He showed me some of his work on canvas and I want to use one of his pieces for the cover of an upcoming story in 2016.

So, in summary, Homewood Suites is an awesome place to stay; Luis Vazquez is the man and Ilook forward to showing you all some of his artwork.

Daily Ends


I work the early shift at the radio station on Sundays, so I had to get the play-by-play via text and photos. We’re going on vacation next month and have been keeping it secret from the kids. The Easter Bunny hides plastic eggs through out the house and the kids do a hunt. The eggs are color-coded and there seems to always be a fixed amount. They traditionally find all the eggs before opening them to get their haul. The Easter Bunny decided to let the kids know about our upcoming vacation by hiding letters in random eggs this morning. The kids discovered five letters each and had to work together to discover what the Easter Bunny was trying to tell them:


The first attempt was less than stellar:


My wife texted me the photo only moments before going on the air and I had to suppress my laughter while giving the weather forecast. It was very difficult. After they regrouped and made another attempt, the cryptic message was revealed:

Continue reading


My wife has a vigorous exercise routine. She complains I’m getting fat. Not really, but she does mention fitness. When I was on active duty, almost twenty years ago, I was in shape. I challenged her to an exercise competition. Not only did she win that competition, I still hurt today. I guess I need to start an exercise regimen. I would like to be a little less soggy around the midsection.
I’m not doing so hot in class right now. I cut my hours down on one of my three (yes, three) jobs, so I’m only working seven shifts a week. I had to because I’m failing one of my classes. It’s part of my major, so I need to get it up to at least a ‘C’ otherwise I’ll need to retake the class. Finals are the next two weeks, so don’t expect a lot of posts until the winter break.


The American holiday of Thanksgiving has arrived. In my family, we have our big Thanksgiving dinner the first week of November. My wife’s family visits from all around. She cooks turkey and we gather to play games and watch movies just as so many Americans do today. My wife’s, her mother’s and my birthdays are all celebrated at the same time. It’s a lot of fun. Our Thanksgiving day tradition is to head somewhere for a meal. The last few years we’ve gone to Cracker Barrel. No preparation or cleanup for us.
It’s common for Americans to declare what we’re thankful for on this day, so here I go:
After almost a year of varying employment, it looks as if I’m finally on solid ground. My schedule is packed with both jobs and school, but I’m still thankful I have those jobs. The economy is crap no matter what anyone says on the news or during a campaign speech. I’m thankful for the readers of my blog and my stories. I’m thankful my family is healthy and happy. Like many people, I could go on and on about the things I’m thankful for, but that really wouldn’t be an interesting read so I’ll just say “Happy Thanksgiving!” and hit the ‘publish’ button.

All Hallow’s Eve

So it’s 6PM and I’m sitting outside with a plastic pumpkin full of cheap candy. The street lights are on, but it isn’t dark yet. I’d rather spend this time working towards 100% completion on Skylanders: Swap Force, but it is All Hallow’s Eve. I rather enjoy giving candy to the younger children. Their costumes usually make me smile. Who I do have issues with are the young adults who seem to take it too far. You know who I’m talking about: no costume or trick-or-treating from their cars. These people are perfectly capable of going to the store and simply purchasing a bag of candy. I usually give these people a single piece of candy. The little ones get a handful. What are your thoughts on the trick-or-treaters in your area?


My daughter and I decided to camp in the back yard. It included roasting hot dogs (which she didn’t eat) and smores (which she did eat)  We did some star gazing before we hit the tent and played Skylanders: Lost Islands until we fell asleep. She kept rolling in her sleeping bag that belonged to my wife when she was her age and ended up waking me up every couple hours. We woke at 4:22 and stayed out there until at 5:00 the camp out officially ended. Incidentally, 5 am was the best time to star gaze.
On the Paradox front, the story is essentially done. I’m just waiting for cover art from Greg Banks. I can’t imaging why it wouldn’t be out in October as planned. Forlorn Hope needs another round of beta reading and editing. Resources have been shifted from it to Paradox to meet the October publication. It will definitely be after the SFWG announces their 2013 winner. I finally met with the artist doing the cover for Escape. We finally hammered out what the cover should be and I am looking forward to preliminary art in the next few weeks.
Class is taking up a lot of time. I am fortunate one of my instructors is lax on assignment submissions – the other class is a nightmare of writing and reading. Fall break is gonna be fun. I keep telling myself “Only three semesters to go” over and over again.
Skylanders: Swap Force comes out in less than a month. I’m looking forward to a new adventure and new characters. Right now I’m making sure all my series one and two characters are fully leveled up and all their challenges completed.

Temple of the Dog

My wife unilaterally declared we were getting another dog. She picked up “Bella” from the local Humane Society where she volunteers. Bella is a Pit-Terrier mix. She and Stubby are getting along just fine – they just have to figure out boundaries for toys and eating arrangements. They do this weird play-thing my daughter describes as a dance. It looks as if I’ll need to update my “About Me” section. Classes start today, so we shall see how much time I have for writing.

Monday Magic

One day last week I took my oldest to see After Earth. The movie was okay, but I think my money would have been better spent to see the Superman movie. Anyway, today I took my youngest for some Daddy-Daughter time. We were gonna see the summer movie fun showing of The Rise Of The Guardians, followed by a local arcade/soft play thing, lunch at her favorite place and finally play some cards at the local card shop.
Well, the movie went off just fine, but as we were walking to Wendy’s, I got a call from wifey requesting a baconator. The card shop is closed on Mondays. After much convincing, we have rescheduled the rest of our date until tomorrow.
Another chapter done today. Looks like three left. The vomit draft should be done by the weekend. I’m gonna have to put some kind of warning on it because of the violence, but an acquaintance of mine referred to the violence as PG-13.

Seriously, Don’t Buy Intex

Why don’t I heed my own advice? After our Intex pool decided it was 3000 gallons overweight and joined one of those extreme weight loss shows, I filled it back up and the folks at Kmart swapped out the pump for a new one. Filled the thing up with another 3000 gallons and installed the replacement pump. After only four days of use, the replacement pump died. So I am now draining it again to just return the whole thing to Kmart. I will have to shop around for other brands. I don’t look forward to the water bill with an extra 6000 gallons of water.

Don’t Buy Intex

Last summer, our Intex pump died about a week before we had planned on emptying it. Intex made it difficult to replace it. This summer, we decided the $125 for another Intex pool was still cheaper than gas and usage fees to our community pool. After six days of pooling (only five of those were actual use) the pump died. Kmart was nice and replaced the pump. This morning I woke to find this: