Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cupfuls of Memories

I drink a lot of coffee.

My kids, particularly my younger one, constantly remind me of this fact. I brought home decaf last weekend and my younger son told me how proud he was of me.

As a coffee drinker, I’ve acquired a lot of coffee cups over the years. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m particular when I buy them. They have to evoke some sort of memory for me to purchase it. We took a family visit to my alma mater recently to watch some baseball games. While in town, I bought a cup with pictures of the university buildings. 

We took a family trip to Hoover Dam last year and I picked up one there. Two years ago, my older son brought me one home from a school trip, having traded arcade coupons for it. I have other cups, too. All from memories created with my kids.

However, one of my older cups (the one at the top of this post) broke last week. We pulled it out of the dishwasher and the handle came out. My wife said its 10,000 trip through the dishwasher was probably what did it in.

I bought the cup at the Luxor in Vegas back when my teenage son was only one. We’d driven from L.A. to Vegas with my in-laws. My wife went gambling with her parents. I took our son for a tour of the hotel. We found a camel puzzle in the gift shop, along with the coffee cup. Then, we spent a couple of hours in the McDonald’s inside the Luxor, eating French fries and doing the puzzle, until  the place closed down some time after midnight. Every time I drank coffee from that cup, I remembered that evening.

We went to Vegas last year. (The same time we visited Hoover Dam.) My older son was, as I mentioned, a teenager on this trip. It was his third time to Vegas. For my younger son, it was his first trip. 

My younger son had looked forward to the Vegas trip, getting upset only when he discovered that he was too young to gamble, that people smoke and drink in Vegas, and some women do disgusting things for money. However, Criss Angel and two all-you-can-eat buffets later, he thought Vegas was the great place he’d imagined before his arrival.

I plan to take care of the cups I acquired recently. I’ll use them sparingly and then put them away while they’re still whole.

I have so few years left with my kids.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Super Bowl Slapshot

On Super Bowl Sunday, we stopped by GameStop after church so my 11-year old son could use his birthday gift card to pick up a new game. He eventually selected NHL ’13, an eagerly pushed me to lean on the gas so that he might play it as soon as possible.

After a couple of hours of game playing, he seemed to be just getting warmed up. We asked him about his homework, making sure that he had done what he needed to do. He said everything was done. Not a surprise. He’d told us the previous day he didn’t have much and had taken care of it. We pulled him off the game for a while, made sure he spent some time reading, then allowed him to go enjoy his new game again.

Later that day, we headed for a friend’s Super Bowl party. Our 11-year old, the football player, was the most excited. However, when we arrived, we found him doing something we didn’t expect. We found him trying to finish his homework before we got there.

Sometime during the time we’d been getting ready, our son had been working furiously, trying to get his homework done. He’d snuck his materials into the backseat, needing that last few minutes to pen his answers.

My wife and I were disappointed in him, feeling that he’d lied to us. We told him he couldn’t play Xbox for a week. His mother also worked with him at the party, making sure his homework was completed satisfactorily. He missed kickoff.

By Thursday, he was trying to cajole us into letting him play, saying he understood he’d done wrong. However, we didn’t bend, making him wait until Sunday.

He awoke on Sunday at the crack of dawn and headed downstairs by himself, his usual fear of the bogeyman overridden by his desire to play Xbox again. We allowed him to play until we thought he’d done enough, then discussed with him the importance that homework comes first.

Hopefully, the lesson sinks in.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why I Write Christian-Themed Fiction Set in Medieval Japan

I’m guest blogging on Wednesday, February 6, at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, explaining how I began writing Christian fiction set in medieval Japan (late 16th century). Please drop by to learn about the cross tile above which can be seen still at Himeji Castle. One lucky commenter will win the origami kissing ball (below) crafted by my wife. 

Please click here to be taken to Petit Fours and Hot Tamales.