Father’s Day 2006

This Father’s Day was a little messed up for me.  I worked Saturday night, and got probably less than an hour or two of sleep before our cookout.  So I was a little drained, to say the least.  It was a great get-together though, despite the bad weather.  We spent the day at Rosemary’s, swam, cooked out, and played some Left, Right, Center for nickels.  It rained a lot of the time, so we moved the picnic table into the garage and ate there.  Later on the weather cleared up and we were able to finish the party outside where everyone wanted to be.

I missed a good chunk of the party myself though. Bear and I swam for a while before we ate, and that, combined with my lack of sleep, really knocked me out.  I went in the house and rested on Rosemary’s couch for awhile and I passed out.  When I woke up, Sandy had already taken my dad back to the nursing home and they were having some great desserts–including a great ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  Sandy said my dad had a great time though, so that’s good.

I expected Kevin to join us in the pool, but he chickened out this time.  I think he remembered how cold the water was the last time we went swimming at Rosemary’s, and it wasn’t much warmer today.  So he was happy just to stay out, retrieve our balls when we threw them too far, and yell at us when we got him wet.

Everyone had a great time, the food was great, and we all went home stuffed, so it was a huge success.  Click here for a few photo highlights.

Coming Home

Bozzo is being discharged from the nursing home next week.  They said they’ve reached a plateau in his therapy and haven’t seen any improvement in awhile, so they’ve gone as far as they can, and they said they have no reason to keep him there any longer.  They stressed that he needs 24/7 supervision though, and should not be left alone at all.  Penny and Clayton have told them that they feel they can provide the coverage he needs, so they’re sending him home.  He still isn’t able to walk on his own, which is the main problem.  His memory and cognition skills have also gotten a little worseas well, so we have to keep an eye on that as well.

But for the time being he’ll be back where he wants to be–at home.  He hasn’t liked the nursing home, and says the food is pretty bad, so he’s anxious to get back home again.  Hopefully he understands that he’s expected to get motivated every day, out of bed, dressed, and move around a bit.  Since the nursing home has required this all during his stay, maybe he’ll stick with it and not fall back to his old lazy ways.  He knows he’ll end up back in that nursing home if we can’t handle him, so maybe that’ll keep him motivated.  We’ve scheduled an aide to come in 3 days a week for a couple hours a day to help with him, and we might do more days if it works out and he can afford it.  It’ll give Penny and/or Clayton a few hours off on these days.  So we’ll see how it goes.

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Shocking discovery

We discovered something “shocking” today!  Kevin likes to wear those “blinking” shoes–you know, the kind that flash different colors whenever you step or stomp your feet.  I had originally thought they used some sort of mercury switch that made contact whenever you took a step, but now I’m not so sure.  Kevin was playing with his energy ball and I noticed that whenever he touched it, his shoes would start blinking frantically!  I guess just enough energy is released through Kevin and into his feet and shoes to set off the light switches.  I find this fascinating, but now I’m wondering just what’s happening and how these shoes really work.  Anybody else know?  I’m going to have to start doing a little research on this before it drives me nuts now.

Daddy’s new toy

I recently purchased a new “toy”.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a new toy, and certain circumstances arose that pointed me in the direction of this particular device, so I took the plunge and bought it.  It’s a PSP.  For those not familiar with the term, it’s a Sony PlayStation Portable.  Like the Playstation and Playstation 2, this is a game system that plays some awesome games.  It’s also portable (handheld) so you can play it anywhere.  But it also does much MORE than play games, which was a big factor in my decision to purchase it, rather than something like the Nintendo DS, which actually has two screens instead of one.

The DS plays some great games as well, but lacks the ability to do all of the other things I like to do, like play MP3’s, videos, and display photos.  The PSP does all of this, and also includes a web browser and several other features.  I’ve been using it only a few days now, but I’m very impressed so far.  I picked up a 2GB Memory Stick for it as well, so I have a lot of space on it to work with.  Right now I have 23 of my favorite albums on it, a bunch of my favorite digital photos from 2006 (about 130 of them), and a couple of silly videos I like to show off.  I still have over 600MB of space available on the memory card, even with all of this on it, as well as a few saved games from a couple Classic Arcade Game collections I bought with the system.

They even sell full movies for the PSP now, but from what I’ve read they’re not as popular as Sony would have hoped.  It’s easy to understand why though.  How much fun can it be to watch a whole movie on a screen that tiny?  Sure, it’s widescreen format, but it’s just plain small for movies.  It’s big for a handheld game system (the screen is bigger and much brighter than either of the two screens on the Nintendo DS), but it’s still just too small for watching movies on.  Video clips are fine, but for extended movie watching you need something bigger to focus on.

But for all other uses, the PSP does a great job.  And I recently heard that Sony is planning to soon open up their collection of original Playstation (PSOne) games and make them available as playable downloads from their website, so that sounds great too.  As for add-ons and accessories, I made sure there were plenty of options available before I bought it as well, and waiting a year since it’s initial release has made a huge difference.  The built-in system software itself has been updated many times since it’s release, so I immediately checked for updates and sure enough, I was already two releases behind.  But since I have a wireless network at home, I was able to quickly configure the built-in wifi settings and get it updated in a few minutes.

I also bought Sony’s Media Manager software to make managing my files on the PSP much easier, and that’s working out great.  It will automatically re-encode your music, photos, and videos (if you configure it to) on-the-fly to save you more space on the PSP memory stick.  This is very handy, and I use it for my music, but for digital photos I like being able to zoom in on details and scroll around, and if you have it resize your photos down to the PSP’s screen size, you’ll lose too much detail and zooming it looks horrible.  Fortunately, they give you four or five scale sizes though, so you can choose how much to scale your photos or not to even scale them at all and keep their original sizes intact.  This is a one-way process, fortunately, so files are only re-encoded and scaled down when transferring to the PSP.  Your original, full-detail files remain intact on your computer.

Lastly, battery life seems satisfactory, but it all depends on what feature you’re using the most.  For example, the worst battery killer is the wifi function.  If you use the wifi, or accidentally leave the wifi switch on, your battery will last a few hours less than it would with the wifi turned off.  The rest of the functions are much less stressful on the battery, but as you might expect, playing games from the proprietary UMD disc drive (the discs look like very tiny DVDs) are a bit more draining than just playing MP3s from the memory card.  But if you’re doing the latter, you can also extend your battery’s time a great deal by turning the screen itself off when listening to MP3s.  As a backup battery solution I found a nice battery pack that opens up and you can insert 3 AAA batteries into it and continue using the PSP after your rechargeable battery dies.

So for now, as you can see, I’m really enjoying this thing.  Hopefully it’ll bring me years of entertainment in all of its many forms.

Blast from the past

Penny and Bob found this family photo at my dad’s house recently.  This photo was taken in November of 1962.  In it are, from left to right: Clifford, Clayton, Harold, Donna, Penny, Loretta, and Karen.  Beth and I hadn’t been born yet.  But what fascinates me is the fact that, based on the month and year written on the back of this photo, my mom was one or two months pregnant with ME at the time!  I just stare at her face in the photo and wonder if she even knew I was in there cookin’ yet.  Beth was still about 5 years from being born, but there’s gotta be just a teeny weeny trace of me showing somewhere in this photo.

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