It was my birthday this past weekend and the boys and Lovey suprised me with a dendrobium orchid and a $50 gift certificate to a local art supply store.

With my vandas, ascocendas and cymbidiums all blooming, the drobey was quite a surprise. All the other ones I have look sort of distressed and in dire need of repotting. However, getting the gift certificate really blew me away since I'd been thinking about getting back to painting a lot lately. In fact, I've found myself doodling sketches on scrap paper at work. This is really not a good thing.


Because all I paint are nudes and erotica.

Quick Bic sketches of a large-breasted woman receiving a furious tongue-lashing or a pencil rendering (complete with shading) of a naked man regarding his generous penis will get my ass yanked down to HR faster than you can say Robert Mapplethorpe. So I try to be discreet and aware of who's around me.

Supervixen wants me to get started again because I love it and maybe this will prevent me from being the asshole I've been for many weeks. She is my favorite model.

"Just don't show so much pubic hair," she said. "OK?"


I agree. I've been a dick lately. Even on my birthday I had a vague, aimless anger despite all the goodness. I don't know why this is.

It could be the fact that I have not had a good night's sleep in about four months. I either fall asleep on the couch for a two or three hours, wake up, and then can't get back to sleep, or I fall into bed with my mind spinning a zillion miles an hour, following nightmare scenarios to their shreiking end.

So I changed my lifting routine and added some running, thinking that a bit more exercise is what I need to remove my edge. Not only did my erratic slumber cause me to sleep through my workouts, but when I did do them, I couldn't make the lifts I did just a couple of weeks ago. My knees began to hurt. More anger.

I don't know what to do so I'll do nothing, perhaps the hardest thing for me to do. The boys are on spring break this week, and we're travelling so I'll try to relax, eat well and rest as often as I can. Maybe this bubble will burst on its own.

Or maybe not. Not after this.


" Goddamnit," she said. "God damn."

Then she went to lie down with SweetFaceBoy, who requested to sleep in our bed for the night. I think this was because he overheard wifey say from the kitchen (where we were watching the address while the boys enjoyed a "Rugrats" cartoon), "Great! We're going to war."

I fell asleep on the couch, woke up at 1:00 a.m., puttered around on the computer for a while, tried to sleep, couldn't, finally did, overslept, but still got to work on time. A call from 'Vixen this morning confirmed things.

He's eight years old, and he fell asleep asking her questions he shouldn't even have to think about yet. "Is the war going to be here?" " Why do people who don't even know each other want to kill each other?" "Are the soldiers going to find Osama bin Laden?" "Will we get to go see Grandma again?"

New rule: no TV news while the boys are awake.

I kissed him and smoothed his hair and covered him and his mother with a big SpongeBob blanket before I left for work. I don't know about other parents, but I consider one of my jobs to be keeping my boys innocent and safe as long as possible.


So we're going to war, and I'm scared about it, but I know we have to. The uncertain peace the world would otherwise endure is no guarantee of safety. President Bush does not want a repeat of Sept. 11 on his watch. It is the moral obligation of a leader to protect his people, and that is what he is doing.

Everyone would prefer not to go to war. However, the hand has been dealt. I only hope the " shock and awe" does what it is intended to do and the military strikes with a pure and terrifying force that will turn any resistance to ashes and end this thing in a matter of days.

I'm wearing an American flag pin, and I'm going to put up a flag outside my house when I get home. First, however, I'm giving my wife and sons each a huge hug and kiss and tell them I love them.