Friday, December 31, 2004

For Auld Lang Syne 

Another year gone by? Can you believe it? This year has brought a great many changes to my life. I'm careening down a path I couldn't even have envisioned at this time last year. So many things are different, so many emotions, so many thoughts, and so many changes mark the beginning of 2005.

"Auld Lang Syne" roughly translates into "Times Long Gone". We celebrate the past year and look forward to the next. You might think that I don't have anything to celebrate, but of course I do. I'm still alive and ticking one year later. My health is good. My children are healthy. I have a wonderful job and work with fantastic people. I've given and received love. I've formed friendships that I think will endure. I've suffered setbacks but I'm still standing.

You know what my friends? I wouldn't trade any of my "Times Long Gone". Like everyone, I have regrets about things I should or shouldn't have done. When I think back on my years on this Earth so many of those things fade into the mist. I think of my boyhood days and a New Year's party at my church, playing ping pong all night long. I think of my parent's New Year's Eve party, when my practical-joke-loving grandfather showed up dressed as a bum and pretended to crash the party. I think of parties in the homes of my friends. I think of sitting home alone, quietly pondering my future. I think of special nights out with those I've loved.

I don't know what 2005 has in store for me, but I do know this. I will strive in every way to be a better person, a better man, and a better father. I will set goals and work my ass off to accomplish them. I'll read good books, enjoy good music, make good friends, and continue to write here.

Next year at this time I'll be back here discussing how it all went. For Auld Langy Syne my friends.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Dating Game 

Janet asked me in a recent comment:

It's weird to here about rejection from a male pov. Most of the time all we hear from and about is women who can't find a decent man. What's your take on this?

I thought her question was important enough to respond to in a post rather than in comments. Although I'm fairly new to this whole dating scene thing again, I do have some thoughts on this subject. Some are a result of observation and others are the results of conversations I've had with some very thoughtful, beautiful, and intelligent single women. What did these women have in common? They were single and had long struggled to find a decent man.

What the hell is going on out here? Several of the women I've met should've been snatched up long ago. They are everything a man could possibly want. They have beauty, brains, wit, charm, sexiness, and accomplishments. They are in their 30's/40's in the prime of their lives. So why are they out there trolling around the dating scene with newbie arrivals like me? There are several female bloggers out there that I read regularly. They are ready for a relationship. They want a relationship. They can't find a decent guy to save their lives. Why?

In a cold-hearted sense the dating scene is a marketplace....supply and demand. So where is the supply of decent men for these lovely women to choose from? Some are dating women much younger than themselves. Men take pride in dating the youngest, most beautiful woman he can possible get. You know how a woman's family takes pride in the fact that she's dating a lawyer or doctor? Guys my age take pride in the fact that they are dating the 22 year old gorgeous babe who works at Blockbuster.

There are also a lot of single guys my age who simply don't want to settle down with one woman. They've perhaps been married for a long time. They are enjoying this marketplace of beautiful females. They like the attention they are getting. They've been burned and are afraid of commitment. They like being in demand. So they play the field! There is nothing inherently wrong with this at all. I feel some of this myself. But for a woman looking to settle down, these guys are like ooze slipping through their fingertips.

Take the above categories and toss in the alcoholics, drug addicts, guys who don't want to work, the mentally unstable, and whats left out there? According to the women I talk to...not much. One of the unintended results of this is that it forces women to learn how to take care of themselves, grow emotionally, and become more independent. I've met some remarkably mature, stable, women who have forged happy lives without being involved in a relationship. Now they are looking for that one final piece (no pun intended!) to make their lives complete. They can live without it but why should they?

So Janet, my take right now is that for men it appears to be a buyer's market. There are a lot of available women out there who are looking for decent men. They can't seem to find one. They bounce around in unsatisfying relationships, go to singles groups, post ads online, sit in smoky bars, and hope for that right guy to come along. They are emotionally ready but can't find a man who meets their standards and is ready for a relationship. The months and years pass by. This must be so damn depressing.

One thing I'm discovering (you wouldn't think it would've taken me this long) is that men and women have very different views about dating, sex, and relationships. I'll write more about this later. But what we have in common is a yearning to be found desirable, to be wanted, and yes, to be loved.


I bad 

I have been a bad, bad angel. I promised Brian, I would occasionally make posts. As his secret Angel brightening his day from time to time. My year as well as his, has been filled with challenges, obstacles and tests, and I wish it were over already. A present for Brian a look into my recent dreams.

For the past several days I have been having the same dream. In different situations and with different people something truly odd has been happening. A sex doll, you know those blow up dolls you see in the adult erotica stores?! (Which look nothing, close to a human at all -I had too peak once) In my dreams the sex doll comes to life. The male doll can't actually move unless a female or male passes by. The male doll then attacks with hormonal vigar to the un-expecting passer by. In my dream it has been entertaining and erotic to see others seduced by a doll. It's a doll. Everyone knows it's a doll but it comes to life and can do some amazing things. One problem, one can only have so much sex in a day. In my dream, I had to avoid the doll position and say "enough already". Yes, it's rather funny once the doll has done all the doll can do it falls back to it's lifeless position waiting for its next sexual victim of pleasure. I could be a porn movie writer hmmm, a new career move. for the record I don't own a pleasure doll of any kind. I have seen them blown up to capacity but I don't own one.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I took Patrick this morning for his long anticipated medical appointment this morning at Children's Medical Center. I didn't really know what to expect. I had some hope but also a long history of disappointments. Patrick has been seen by doctors all over the place and the sum total of their previous diagnoses could be summed up in a shrug of the shoulders. "We just don't know" or "its just the way he is" were among the common phrases we've heard over the years.

That changed today. The doctor diagnosed Patrick with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and A.D.H.D., all of which work together to define and identify his behavior. The sum of the behaviors described fit Patrick to a tee. As he calmly and confidently described his findings I felt a wave of emotion wash over me. I felt the beginning of tears forming in my eyes. Finally, a long last, it felt like someone looked at him as a person and could describe what was going on in his head.

The doctor ordered a switch from Patrick's long term medication. For the past seven years he has taken 20 mg of Ritalin every school day. This medicine lasts about six hours. The new prescription is a daily 36 mg dose of Concerta. This medication is effective for twelve hours and is a slightly different formulation than Ritalin. He believes this med will be more effective in helping control Patrick's impulses and improving his concentration.

His blood tests also resulted in a diagnosis of hyperlipidemia which has to do with excessive amounts of fats in the bloodstream. This places him at high risk for diabetes and heart disease as a young adult. Changes in his diet and an increased emphasis on exercise are necessary to treat this for the long term.

This is just a point in this long journey, but it is an important one. I feel hope that Patrick can be helped to live a more meaningful life.


Rejecting Rejection 

One of my strongest fears is that of being rejected. At times it is almost a paralyzing fear. My entire history of relationships is one of caution, of avoiding anything that could put myself at risk. My pattern is to be a half-step behind the other person in the relationship, letting them gently tug me willingly along.

Yes, of course the ever-present male ego plays a huge part in this. I've sat in clubs and been in awe of other guys who could stride across the room and strike up a conversation with an attractive woman. My best friend when I was growing up was a master at it. If he was scared of rejection he never showed it. He would approach anyone, anywhere, at any time. I wanted to be able to do that and I just couldn't. I simply couldn't stand the idea of having to walk back across the room with the stench of rejection trailing behind me.

Recently however I have placed myself in a place where rejection is a strong possibility. I've put myself at risk. The very thought of it gives me sweaty palms and sends shivers down my spine. But I do it anyway; I plug ahead. I must know....I must try. I steel myself for its telling blow but I forge ahead anyway.

Maybe its this sense I have that I can't possibly be hurt any more than I already have been. I can't feel any more unloved or unwanted that what I've already experienced. It can't conceivably be any worse than this. I've taken it and I'm still standing here. I read the poem Invictus one or twice a month...I'm not letting Timothy McVeigh ruin it for me!

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I've loved, I've desired, and I've been rejected again and again. It may sting like nothing else but I've learned that I will survive (damnit, now I'm humming Gloria Gaynor's song!). So I will take more risks, take my shots while I still can.

I've probably surpassed my halfway point of life on this Earth. I have many accomplishments that I'm proud of. I know I've made a difference in the lives of many kids. How big a difference I'll never know for sure. I've been kind and decent to my friends and family. I've never knowingly hurt anyone. I'm ethical and honest. It may not be much to many people but I've already made a legacy that I can be proud of in so many ways. But I've failed in the area of relationships. I'm beginning to think that my tombstone will read, "I love you Brian but..... (fill in appropriate reason).

Now that I'm single again for hopefully the last time in my life I'm going to stack the chips high and let the dice fly. I won't restrict myself only to that population of women who will chase after me so that I don't have to risk the terrible sting of rejection. If I see what I want I will roll those dice, call out my bet loudly, and take my chances. If I'm rejected I will cry in privacy, dust myself off, and try yet again. I want someone who will see me wholely and yet love my without reservation. If I find that person....whether she's from my past, present, or future, I will take that risk. Life is simply too short to do anything less.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

Hey Mr. Rejection. Yeah you. I'm ready for you. I've taken your worst and I can take it again. Bring it on.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Aftermath 

Its over! All the buildup, all the shopping, all the anticipation, all the questions from the kids. Another Christmas has came and went. The good part is that I still have another week of vacation from work. The bad part is that my house is in a helluva mess!

One of the "hit" Christmas presents was the karaoke machine that I got Aubree for Christmas. I'm feeling a little bit like the boy who got his mom a baseball bat for her birthday. I think I've used it as much as she has! I sang duets with Aubree on Christmas Eve. I sang a few by myself (in a rather inebriated state) after she went to bed. We took it to my parent's house the next day and sang some more. My little niece cooed and ahhed in the microphone. I belted out Dan Fogelberg's "The Wedding Song"(There is Love) several times. My dad sang "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". My brother gave his rendition of "Greased Lightning". A good time was had by all. Today I couldn't resist polishing my version of "Beauty School Dropout". Just think of me as Frankie Avalon without the bouiffant hairdo!

I was in a bit of trouble Christmas morning. I bought Patrick a Gameboy and arranged with Yvonne (my ex sis-in-law) that she would buy one for Aubree. But Patrick had his first...we wouldn't be seeing Yvonne for several hours yet. Aubree fixed me with an icy look and said, "so dad, Patrick got a Gameboy and I didnt? This is just like when you took my baby bed away from me when I was little!" I shrugged and mumbled something about the day not being over yet. When she opened her gift from Yvonne she hopped on my lap and said, "You knew didn't you!" Both kids are wearing out the buttons on those things already.

What is it about batteries and remote control cars? They take a ton of batteries and run through them like water.

I've enjoyed the gifts I received. My Led Zeppelin DVD has seen two viewings already...one sober and one not-so-sober. Do you have any idea how cool Led Zeppelin looks and sounds when you're a bit toasted? I've watched "The Manchurian Candidate", a classic flick given to my on DVD by one of my brothers. I've worn my Eskimo Joes hooded sweatshirt. I can't wait till my next trip to Barnes and Noble so that I can spend my gift card.

Now, there is the MESS. All these gifts generate a serious amount of wrapping paper, cardboard, plastic, twisty ties, and little schnivvies. Aubree got a great many dolls, and each one is packaged like its being shipped across the solar system. Grrr. I've spent a good part of today picking up the house and I'm not done yet!

I hope everyone else has had a peaceful and restful Christmas. Thanks to all of you for your holiday wishes and kind words!


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Weekend Roundup - Christmas Edition 

Its Christmas out there in blogland. Many of my fellow bloggers are welcoming guests into their home or are preparing to fly or drive to see their families. Some are giddy with the holiday spirit. Some are sad or depressed. Many are celebrating the richness of their lives. Others are hoping that next Christmas will bring them new joy. All of them are worth reading.

Shelli had a guest blogger who paid tribute to her. Steph pays tribute to "Phantom of the Opera".

Kristine remembers snow angels, short sleeves, and her neer-do-well big brother. Anne has some poetic memories of her own.

Kater is tired of soulless dating. Heather was tired of dog hair until she got herself a Roomba!

Zandria is guest blogging for Sweetie and gives the skinny on Amsterdam. Nikki gives her roomates the skinny about her bisexuality.

Scorpy did a bad thing with good intentions. Would it be a bad thing for Jack to stuff his bra?

Didamo is back after a hiatus. Veda isn't on hiatus...she's wishing everyone a very bloggy Christmas!

John kept his male ego from getting bruised up. Mine is a little bruised...Kathy has a perverted post and its not even about me!

Miss Mita graduated from college. Woohoo! Mary Lou didn't graduate but she is DONE!

Sally reflects on what she learned from her teachers. Faith reflects on 100 days of sobriety.

Vegas Baby wants to buy the world a Coke. Tara might just like to buy one for Canada.

Looks like Brenda is going to have a White Christmas. Cetta is carrying on her Christmas Eve traditions.

Gladys wants to be the Christmas whore. Kim is a reality show whore!

Pissed Kitty wants to know what you REALLY want for Christmas. If she asked Rachel she would find that all she wants is a kiss. I know its not worth much but I'm sending one her way.

Janet shares her favorite Christmas songs. Melissa shares the serenity of her home in the days before Christmas..ahem!

Leslie is excited on Christmas Eve. One of Stephanie's patients got a little, errr...excited too!

For Vickie life is simply good. Ellen is pretty damned good at ice skating.

From the person who brought you Barbie sex comes porn bread! Thanks Jen! Mike is more traditional....he just makes oyster stew. On the other hand, you know what they say about oysters....

Stacey got to experience a mammogram. Speaking of breasts, Liz is weaning.

Jennifer is in a feisty good mood. Janine wasn't, but the bubble bath therapy probably helped.

Erin lists what she's read this year. Someone has been reading LoveDonnaz. He's been nominated for an award.

Edge has a temper. I don't know if Annabel does, but she has a cough and a lunch date.

Dawn remembers Christmases past. Carol is focusing on this Christmas.

Is Andie humming "Let It Snow"? She might as well! Nicole was humming "Show Me the Money" after she received a Christmas bonus!

beFrank has pictures of a sad candlelight vigil. Its also sad when tourists act like jerks. Just ask Jack.

Dwayne completed his last minute shopping. Sallie has a lovely Christmas Eve message for us all.

Xeno's wife has her mojo working. Vince will try and keep hers working while visiting small town America.

I hope you are all having yourselves a merry little Christmas!


Friday, December 24, 2004

The Stockings Were Hung 

Its the day I've been looking forward to and yet dreading. Christmas Eve is upon us. My family ate a nice meal at a Mexican restauraunt this afternoon and adjourned to my parent's house for gift exchanges. The kids were so excited they could barely stand it. Aubree is sitting on the floor in front of me with her Bratz "Sushi Lounge" playset. Patrick is playing a TV "Paintball" game. Aubree got a karaoke machine and she and I have been doing a mean duet of "Summer Nights" from the "Grease" soundtrack. Then we took turns for awhile...me singing "Sandy" and "The Wedding Song" and Aubree belting out tunes from Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera. Her voice is a lot better than mine but I have a better sense of rhythm!

The kids will go to bed in about an hour. I'll read them "The Night Before Christmas" and tuck them in. As soon as they are fast asleep I will be busy wrapping gifts and stuffing stockings. In the morning Aubree will see her new bicycle and Patrick will be thrilled with his big mega remote control truck. Both of them will be thrilled with their new Gameboys. We will make a trip to my ex wife's family's gathering to allow them to see the children and then onto lunch at my parent's house.

Remember I said dreading? Tonight is my 7th wedding anniversary, and very probably my last one. I've tried to put it aside all day but I feel it lurking in the background, waiting to pounce when I feel weak. I have some champagne and a nice bottle of rum. I don't normally drink alone, but tonight may be the exception to the rule. I want it deadened....I want it to go away. I received a Led Zeppelin DVD from one of my brothers this evening. I'm going to turn the lights low and watch/listen. In the morning I'll be swept up assembling things, unboxing things, traveling from place to place. I'll spend the day playing with the kids and watching them enjoy all their new playthings.

To all my friends and fellow bloggers out there. I'm thinking of you tonight. I'm wishing you and all those you love the very best.

God bless us every one.


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Unlikely Alliances 

My first wife's sister and I never got along very well. I don't really know why. It just seemed like we clashed. There were disputes large and small over the years. We really just didn't click. When I got divorced that didn't exactly help matters either. Yvonne and I just weren't simpatico.

I moved out of state and started a new life. Shortly after I moved I got a call from Yvonne. She wanted to talk to the kids. She sent cards and gifts for their birthdays and at Christmas. She checked up on them. She wanted to stay involved in their lives.

Through the past seven years I grew to respect her. She really loved these children. It would've been easy for her to write them off...most of my ex wife's family did just that. I visited her when I came back for a wedding and for a funeral. When I came back here to find a job she was one of the first people I went to see. She and her husband were friendly and supportive.

Since I've been here we've been fairly close, united by a love of Patrick and Aubree. She is the only one I know who ASKS to have the kids in her home overnight. I have several family members who will watch the children if asked. With Yvonne, I don't have to ask. She wants and needs time with them. We coordinated Christmas gift giving together, buying gifts that complemented each other. We've developed a partnership, working together to make sure the kids are well taken care of. I can't tell you how appreciative I am. It makes me feel like a horse's ass for some of the things I did and said to her when we were younger.

Thanks Yvonne. I don't know what I would've done without you these past few months.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Reunion 

A few of my blog readers have expressed a mild (ok, more than mild!) interest in how my meeting with Kathy came out. We met yesterday afternoon in the quaint (ok, depressed and ran down) town of Coffeyville, Kansas.

We met in the parking lot of the hotel where we spent our only full night together a little over eight years ago. I arrived first and sat there patiently (ok, I wasn't all that patient) waiting for her to arrive. She called me from her cell phone and ......couldn't find the place! Apparently, Coffeyville has changed over the years and she was having some difficulty navigating to our location. But she arrived, we got out of our cars, and hugged. Her hair was different, cut in a short, sassy style. But she looked fantastic! I couldn't get over it....we were here again. I then swept her into my arms and took her into the hotel for an afternoon of wild, animalistic sex (ok, I didn't really)

We got into my van and decided to see what attractions Coffeyville had to offer. We drove out to the cemetery to see the graves of the "Dalton gang", who met their end in the streets of this city. After looking around this very old cemetery (some of the tombstones dated back to the 1850's), we located the graves, and well....they were graves! We then went to see the "Brown Mansion" which was closed. But a helpful old gentleman gave us all the information about the mansion we could handle. We strolled around the grounds trying to guess what all the old structures were.

It was time for lunch. Coffeyville is replete with fast food places. We wanted somewhere decent where we could go in and sit down. The "China Garden" sounded nice at first, but its general appearance and the lack of cars out front scared us off. We settled for the "Catctus Grill", and spent the next several hours there. Our waitress was very apologetic...it was her first day there!

We had our section of the restauraunt to ourselves most of the afternoon. We talked about our children, our lives, who we were seeing. We swapped stories about family and work. We talked about the relationship that she and I had.....what it meant, what it was, and why it ended like it did. There was a lot of eye contact, a lot of laughter, and some pretty deep moments.

Time flew by and it was time for us to go. I drove her back to her car in the hotel parking lot. I seduced her and led her into the hotel (ok, not really :)) We hugged for quite a long time. Kathy is tall and its been a long time since I've hugged a woman whose face was so close to mine. We kissed, not the kind of kiss I was desiring, but a nice kiss. We hugged again, got in our respective cars and drove away.

As to what it all meant and other deep questions I'll leave for another day. But I enjoyed my afternoon thoroughly. She was lovely, charming, funny, and thoughtful. There were moments of intensity, times when I could feel the electricity again. I had the sense that both of us were trying to figure out what to do with our lives. I could feel us drawing close, then withdrawing to safety.

I told Kathy about this blog. I was going to send her the address but she is a googling fiend and found it before I got home. Since I have two ex wives reading, why not make it even more inclusive, right? :) Since fair is fair, she let me see her blog as well.

Maybe we'll meet again sometime. After all, we haven't seen inside the Brown mansion yet.

Thanks Kathy, I needed that.


Monday, December 20, 2004

If The Fates Allow 

Tonight is the first night I've really allowed myself to listen to Christmas music. Yes, I've heard it strolling through my local mall. I've caught snatches of holiday tunes in other's homes. Traditionally I would start playing holiday songs in my house in the first week of December. By Christmas day everyone was usually tired of them! I'm not exactly sure why I've avoided them this year, but avoid them I have.

Tonight I cued up some of my Christmas songs on my jukebox, turned out the lights, and sat in my recliner letting the music wash over me. I've listened to Nat King Cole croon, "Oh Holy Night", "Silent Night", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and "The Christmas Song". I've heard The Vienna Boys Choir's version of "The Little Drummer Boy" and Garth Brooks' playful rendition of "Winter Wonderland". My favorite Christmas performer? It has to be The Carpenters. Karen Carpenter's voice does something to me and holiday songs seem especially suited to her. Booming out of my speakers tonight was their version of "Merry Christmas Darling", "The Christmas Song", "Carol of the Bells", and of course my favorite of all, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present is here today
Bringing joy that will last

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
From now on your troubles
Will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now

This Christmas may not be what I wanted or envisioned. But as of tonight I begin celebrating it. If this holiday means anything at all it means a time of hope. I wiped away a few stray tears, straightened my posture, and tucked my beautiful children in bed. I intend to have myself a merry little Christmas indeed!....no matter what the fates have allowed.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Defining Sexy 

Sexy is:

That wisp of hair that she brushes playfully from her face.

That conspiratorial wink she gives when no one else is looking.

Whole-hearted laughter.

A naughty side that no one suspects.

Fingertips lightly rubbing on my palm.

A shoeless foot brushing my leg in a fine restauraunt.


"Doe eyes"

Sitting on my lap.

A killer smile.

Never knowing what comes next.

Whispering in my ear.

Dancing while still seated in her chair.

Skin, skin, and skin.

Yawning in the morning.

Seeing right through me.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Weekend Roundup 12/17-12/18 

Jen wonders if love always has to follow the traditional pattern. Anne wonders why she never took up drinking.

Kim likes to eat gingerbread. Perhaps she needs to pay Faith a visit and try out some of hers!

Vickie celebrates everyday heroes. Ellen celebrates her friend, Martin.

Tara took on "The Blonde One" and kicked ass at poker too. Andie felt like kicking some ass after her crappy day.

Sallie reminds us to show those we love some appreciation in this holiday season. Stacey would appreciate it if people didn't call her Tracey!

Dwayne wraps up his "100 things" list. Diana wraps up this year by asking, "So this is Christmas, and what have you done"?

Sweet Ga Hunny B gets a Christmas card from an old friend. Maybe she would enjoy some of Kristine's edible ornaments.

Vince ponders revenge on a rude co-worker. At this this guy didn't swipe the coffee creamer like Sunshine's workmate did.

Its a wonderful life....just ask Vegas Baby. Maybe watching this movie would help Veda get into the Christmas spirit!

Janine wonders if she's getting hosed by the car repair people. Sally wonders why people treat her like a "china dish" because of her bipolar disorder.

Ginger remembers when she stopped believing in Santa Claus. The illustrious Mr. Claus is going to have problems at Cetta's house unless she can find those lost gifts!

Brian is dreaming of a White Christmas. T. Marie dreams of finding the Christmas spirit.

Jennifer is hitting the delete button. Kater is hitting another milestone...its her birthday!

Liz is home alone and enjoying it! Scorpy enjoyed going to a "blogmeet". I so wanna go to one of those!

Dawn has an MRI scheduled. Stephanie thinks that people who don't know how to dress need their heads examined!

Christine is a sex addict. Chuck is a novelist.

Erin is job hunting. Jeni is hunting for more time in the day.

Acidman's grandmother recalls the Great Depression. Jack recalls a school age crush.

Love Donnaz offers shopping advice. Rachel wishes her dad would offer less judgemental advice and more understanding.

Steph is taking a vacation. Edge takes on issues like the death penalty and abortion.

Lynn had sex with her eyes. Shadowbox might have sex if he wasn't so busy baking.

Nameless read her parent's will. John read his acceptance letter...look out Boston Marathon!

Hey folks...have a great weekend! OK?


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Movin On 

I face a decisions in the coming months about whether to stay in my current job and house next school year. The two go together. If I continue to work for the same school system I will stay here, in this house.

Like every job I've ever had, I've grown to love this one. I enjoy the work that I do and the relationships I've developed with my colleagues. The school is clean, well-run, has high standards, and offers me a challenge. I don't have the emotional connection that I had in my previous job but its a nice place to go to work each day. I've been supported by my principal, encouraged, and given high levels of resposibility and trust. Those are all very good things.

However, the pay isn't what I'd like it to be. I'm working for a teacher's salary based on my education/experience plus a few thousand dollars in stipends for my additional duties as the dean. A principal or assistant principal's job would pay considerably more. I enjoy what I'm doing working with kids and parents, but I'd also like to tackle some of the other areas of school administration that I don't currently play much of a role in....teacher evaluations, personnel, budgeting, curriculum reform, technology, etc. I think I'm ready for it.

One of the unfortunate side effects of falling in love with your jobs is that you don't feel the urge to move up, to look for something better. I get comfortable, I get settled, I get emotionally invested in the people I work with. I know that Lee was frustrated with me in this area. She was always encouraging me to apply for other jobs. I always found excuses not to. I had commitments I'd made, projects to finish, a particular group of kids I wanted to see things through with.

Now I'm feeling an emotion that I haven't felt for a number of years...ambition. I want to run my own school, to not have someone to pass the buck to. Twelve years ago I was an ambitious young school administrator. I was one of the youngest administrators in the state and had the reputation as a rising star. I had begun work on my superintendent's certification and a doctorate degree. I presented papers at state conferences. I gave inservice trainings in various places. I was considered an expert in scheduling, technology, and staff development. My district was grooming me for bigger things. I was receiving tentative recruiting feelers from other school districts. Could I be that guy again? Or has time just passed me by? I was a strong, confident man who knew where he was going.

Then my marriage fell apart and I found myself in single dad land. I struggled with juggling my job and childcare. It was all I could do just to do the basics of my job and take care of two very young kids. I still loved my job but I felt empty. The job couldn't love me back. I met and fell in love with Lee, resigned my job, took another job out of the education field for half the pay, and moved to Louisiana. My career track ran off the rails but I was happy. I got back into teaching and enjoyed using the perspective gained from my administrative position to help me in the classroom. I no longer cared about "moving up". I was settled and content.

I do have some options. My school system is a large one. There will certainly be job openings in various schools next spring and summer. I could stay in the system and try to work my way up. Or I could take my resume and see whats out there. There are over 600 school districts in this state and there will be opportunities out there. To accept one of them I might find it necessary to move away from here. To do so would mean giving up some of this family support and help with the kids.

I'm not even sure if I want to stay here in my hometown. Sometimes I enjoy its familiar and comfortable feel. Other times I'm not so sure. I have a stifled feeling...like I'm not living the life I choose, I'm just putting my head down and making it through the day. Would a change of scenery solve that? I think part of it is that just by the fact that I'm living here again when I never thought I would, that I smell the daily reek of failure.

I've got some time to consider all these things, and I think about it almost every day.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Hump Day Happenings 

I can't believe its Wednesday already! Only two more days until Christmas break! One of the real perks of my profession is getting those two precious weeks off around the Christmas holidays. I'm really looking forward to it.

Today was a record-setting day and not in a good way. Eight kids suspended for fighting....more than were suspended for the entire first quarter of the year! It sure as hell blew my nice looking discipline statistics out of the water! All boys, and all but one of them was a sixth grader. Eight sets of parents to discuss the matter with. One of the things you see in middle school fights is a "pack mentality". If two kids "square up" on each other (defined as dropping your backpack, puffing your chest out, and spreading your hands wide), they are immediately surrounded by encouraging fight watchers. Once encircled, they are verbally and sometimes physically encouraged to fight. "Hit him"! "Punch him"! "Kick his ass"! Sometimes those in the circle even shove them into each other. At that point, walking away is more than the male ego can usually take. So they fight even when they don't really want to. Its also common for these fights to build up over the course of a day or days. It then becomes a staged event that the kids anticipate all day long. One thing that just maddens me is that when one of the kids ends up on the ground other kids in the "circle" will kick him. One of today's suspensions was a kid uninvolved in the fight who felt the compunction to kick another kid in the head while he's down on the ground. Where the hell does that come from? A big part of my day was spent doing suspensions, talking to parents, and counseling young men about alternatives to violence as a way of solving issues.

Last night we had a "winter concert" at school. I had to go back to help supervise the event and took Aubree along with me. She got to see my school for the first time and meet many of my coworkers and students. She was very excited, spending a lot of time in the mirror fixing her hair and selecting a dress and shoes to wear. My principal and I taught her how to "supervise"...stand at a strategic point, arms across chest, and watching everyone. It was quite the sight...Aubree standing there with the two of us, arms crossed, and watching. The concert was enjoyable with lots of Christmas music. One of the teachers told me today, "your daughter is so beautiful and so smart"!

One of the things about Aubree is a perfectionistic streak that seems to intensify with age. She made straight "A's" on her last report card. Each Tuesday she brings home all of her classwork that has been graded. Anything that isn't an "A" she will separate out and correct...on her own. She uses my parent's copy machine to make extra copies of her math homework for "practice". She told me last night, "I wish Christmas vacation was just for one day. I'm going to miss my friends and the work in class". Ok kid, lets not get carried away here!

I'm in the process of having Patrick evaluated by a team of developmental specialists. In spite of all his issues he has never had a "diagnosis". He's been examined by a slew of doctors...pediatricians, neurologists, developmental specialists, etc. Over the years the answer has been a shrug and a lot of "we don't knows". I'm hopeful that things will be different this time. Everyone thinks autism but no doctor has ever formally made that diagnosis. A lack of diagnosis makes it difficult for him to be eligible for services, which will become increasingly important as he grows older. Maybe this time....at long last.

Remember my "affair post"? Well, my friend Kathy and I are to meet for coffee next week. It has been almost exactly eight years. I'm curious, a little excited, and just nervous as hell. But it feels like something I need to do. I don't have any expectations other than coffee, some reminiscing, and a lot of laughter.

One of the things I dislike about my situation is having to explain myself to my mom. If I need babysitting I must explain where I'm going and what I'm doing. It makes me feel like a teenager again. Argghh! So for my meeting next week I simply told her, "I need that day". She opened her mouth as if to question...and then didn't. Thanks Mom!

Number of Christmas cards received? Eight. Number from blogfriends? Seven. Thanks to all who sent me a card. Something about "snail mail" just can't be beat.

I have received two lovely gifts from fellow bloggers that I want to publicly acknowledge. My friend Sally sent me a book. Not just any book. A book written by her....with a lovely handwritten note from the author inside. I've read about half of it so far and its beautifully written, inspiring, and a pleasure to read. Thanks Sally! I received a bottle of my favorite cologne today from Dawn, one of the sweetest people in blogland. Thank you Dawn!

My friend Vickie nominated me for "Best Daddy Blog" in the Best of Blog Awards. I'm humbled, gratified, and undeserving! I made a couple of nominations of my own and I'm not through yet. I nominated Ellen's blog for "Most Inspirational" and Faith's for "Best Mommy Blog". I have a couple of other nominations in mind and will work on that this evening. Head over there and make your nominations!

And how is YOUR week going?


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Doing The Right Thing 

Remember this post? I had suspended a young man for battery. The kid he whacked on had been harrassing him, unreported, since the beginning of school. I had felt very badly about it.

I'm not the most popular person in Stan's house this evening, as you can imagine. They see injustice. These kids who harassed Stan are in school. Stan, who is a good kid and a good student, is suspended. It doesn't seem fair at all to them. I understand how they feel.

Now let me tell you the rest of the story. Stan returned from his suspension, and as required by our rules had to be checked back into school by his guardian. I had been girding up for what promised to be a not-so-pleasant encounter.

To my surprise, Stan's grandmother started by apologizing to me for saying all those harsh words to me. Not only did she apologize verbally, she wrote me a letter saying the same thing. She acknowledged that she should have reported the earlier harassment incidents so that I could've done something about it before it got to this point. We discussed how we would handle any future incidents. I assured Stan and his family that I would personally deal very aggressively with any future incidents of harassment. He had to agree not to use violence to settle these problems. It was a very pleasant, cooperative, and productive meeting.

She said, "I've had a lot of time to think about this. I know now that you were just doing your job. You weren't picking on my grandson. You were gracious, patient, and very professional. Even when I was angry you didn't respond back the same way"

Then she went next door and talked to my principal. She repeated the same things to her. My principal called me to her office and said, "I just got the most wonderful compliments on you from one of our parents". Who would've ever thought it?

Stan has become one of my little projects. I check with him every day and make sure he is doing ok. I keep an eye on him at lunch time. I've asked his teachers to do the same. I'm determined that the rest of this school year for him is going to be much better than the first part has been.

Now about that angry mom that I dealt with today........ Nah, I don't think it'll happen in that case!


Monday, December 13, 2004

The Holiday Spirit 

I've written before that I love the holiday season. I love the music, the shopping, the family time, gift-giving, and all the other things that go along with Christmas. This year is putting those good sentiments to the test. There has never been a Christmas that I have approached with such mixed feelings. I'm excited to be buying gifts for the people I care about. I'm enjoying the parades, the decorations, the jingles I hear when I walk through the stores. I'm doing my damndest to keep myself from falling into a depression as time grows close. I want Christmas to be here...but I don't. Christmas Eve is also my wedding anniversary. It was always a special night for us.

I'm lucky that I have the kids to keep me in the spirit. They are so very excited! We've watched some Christmas movies together. We've done some shopping together. They enjoy looking at the Christmas cards we've received. They love trying to guess what their presents will be. I look at their little faces and I want them to have the same warm memories of Christmas that I do. They deserve that from me and I'm damn well going to make sure they have it.

I'm looking at my little Christmas tree as it lights up my modest living room. Cards from many of my blogfriends are displayed around the room. No gifts are wrapped yet. I have them stored at my parent's house for safekeeping. I think about Christmas Eve and I am deeply saddened. I think about Christmas morning, and I can't wait to see the excited looks on their faces. I think about sitting in this room alone after they have gone to bed, pondering the meaning of this year and wondering what next year's holiday will be like.

I know that this holiday season brings mixed emotions for many people out there. I am not unique and I am not alone. My best friend's mother died in a fire in the early hours of Christmas morning in 1978. He woke me that morning with the news. I can only imagine how the holiday has been for him since that year. I know that many people were not blessed with the wonderful holiday memories that I had growing up. I know that many people are lonely and sad and its only exacerbated during this time of year. Many have problems that make mine seem trivial in comparison.

I will do what I can do to maintain my good spirits...both for myself and my children. I will spread as much good cheer as I possibly can. I will do everything in my power to make this time a good one for my kids and for those I love.

After all, it is Christmas, and I still believe.


Sunday, December 12, 2004

Online Romance 

Since I've become "single" again my email inbox is flooded with offers from various online dating services. How do they know? The come-ons are enticing. "Sign up free!"" Find your match!" "Thousands of women are out there looking for someone like you!" "Our advance search features will help you find the one for you!" "Someone special is waiting for you!"

I remember looking at online dating services the last time I was single. Back then, most of them were free. Now its a big business. Sure, you can sign up for free. But if you actually want to contact someone, ante up your monthly auto-renewed fee! But the window shopping is free...so generous! Dig out the ole credit card. Then of course, the person that you are interested in can't respond because they have a "window shopping" account. (I haven't actually put any money up...I just read the fine print!)

Then you must write....an ad! Come up with a witty, erudite paragraph that makes a woman want to double click on your profile. After all, there are a lot of fish out there in the sea. How to make them notice this little guppie swimming around? You try to flatter yourself without being untruthful. You try to be charming without without going "over the top". You try and state clearly what you're looking for without scaring away someone who doesn't meet every single "qualification" you have in mind. Ever see the movie, "Bulworth"? In that movie, a political candidate all of sudden can't stop telling the truth. What if people were like that in their dating service ads? I'm not even sure what the truth would be for me. What would my ad look like?

Tall, not-that-dark, average-at-best looking, 43 year old single dad with two young children is searching for that one-in-a-million girl. He's a veteran at failed romances, doesn't understand women all that well, and craves love, attention, adventure, trust, and respect. His exes will all tell you he's a great guy but they couldn't make it work with him. He's a sloppy housekeeper, an incredibly picky eater, isn't the best money manager, and reads a lot in the bathroom. He's an accomplished professional who can't seem to translate success in the workplace to the rest of his life. He's separated, still somewhat hung up on his wife, and trying to find answers to his failure. Positives, you ask? He is warm, understanding, curious, intelligent, adventuresome, and loyal to those he loves.

As for you, my potential love interest? I'm not looking for much really. I seek an attractive (by my own unique standard), vivacious, witty, intelligent, passionate woman with a zest for life, love, and adventure. I want a sexually adventurous tigress in the bedroom and a fun-loving activity partner out of it. She must be a reader of my various moods, curious about the world around her, an accomplished ego stroker, and someone who can challenge and stimulate me. She needs to love and accept my children, including my very challenging autistic son who can mess up a house in no time flat, and my daughter whose heart aches from the losses of the moms in her life.

Can't ya see them getting excited and clicking on that one? :)

Of course, there are other ways to meet someone online....chat rooms, bulletin boards, Yahoo groups, even blogging! I have a pretty strong feeling that any potential mate of mine I will probably meet online. I don't socialize much at all. I'm not the kind of guy who can go into a bar or club, strike up a conversation with an attractive woman, and ask for her phone number. I have very little time away from the kids, and the time I do have I tend to use for things like going to the bookstore without being yanked on each arm and asked, "aren't you done YET dad"? Or I go do grocery shopping and enjoy the experience of being able to peruse the aisles of food without the inevitable, "we must get some of THIS dad"! The rest of my time? I'm at work, I'm out somewhere with the kids, or I'm at home. Online dating offers obvious attractions for someone like me. I don't have to get a babysitter to meet someone. I can make a connection while I'm in my sweatpants, have dinner cooking on the stove, and performing the ever-frustrating sock matching. I can zip off a witty email while I'm bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. I can turn on my best charm while the kids argue about whose turn it is to take the first shower. For people like me, with kids, the internet seems to be the way to go.

I have met in person several wonderful people whose acquaintance I made in the online world. All have been good experiences. I'm not afraid to meet someone this way. Quite the opposite...I prefer it! Online relationships force you to use your mind and your words to attract and keep someone's interest. I'm attracted to women who know the value of language and can express themselves intelligently. I can easily discover which ones are obvious non-matches for me. There is also something about online relationships that lend themselves to intimacy you just don't find out there in the "real world". I've revealed things about myself to various people in email that my best friend doesn't know. I've had people I barely know share their innermost secrets with me. The readers of this blog know more about me than almost anyone I know out here in "real world land".

This kind of turns things on its head doesn't it? "Real world" relationships start off something like this: Notice---->Find attractive---->Introduce---->Casual banter---->Ask on date--->Gradually become more intimate. Online relationships often progress to intimate conversation very rapidly. After all, you can't touch, you can't make eye contact, you can't hold hands...you've got nothing but your ideas, your stories, your words. By the time you actually meet the person you feel like you already know them. They've already told you about their failed romances, their children, their fears, and what they want from life. Whats left is that "physical attraction" thing that is a little difficult to discern in front of a computer screen.

So here I am out here in the world of floating electronic signals. Ms Right are you out there? Have we already met? Are you from my past? Or are you sitting there in front of a glowing computer monitor ready to make my acquaintance? Am I even ready to meet you?

Do you even exist?


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Weekend Roundup 12/10-12/11 

Another week has gone by and the holiday season is in full swing. So whats going on out there?

Sally remembers a Christmas past. Angel knows what she wants for this Christmas.

Vince just isn't mainstream. I don't know if Vickie is mainstream but she writes wonderful poetry.

Ellen loves to sing Christmas tunes. VegasBaby shares one of her favorite Christmas songs.

Cetta remembers "Poppa". Its a powerful tribute...please read it. Anne pays a tribute to her own resilience. I love the line, "is that all you've got"?

Didamo is telling a story...and a good one too! There were probably a few stories going around P.F. Changs after Jen gave them a show.

Faith had a really bad day but things are looking up now. Dawn's day improved when she got a new television set!

Those 100 things lists were going around. Veda did one. So did Terry and Dwayne. Check'em out!

Janine found herself wishing for January. Stacey wished she didn't have to go to the eye doctor.

Zandria got to explain what an eggplant is. Kater doesn't have any explanation for her weird dreams.

Jack wonders if winning really is everything. Tara doesn't have to wonder what she believes. She knows.

Edge discovered that crowded airplane travel is not always a bad thing. Erin has discovered that love isn't a bad thing, even with all it entails.

Christine and her husband have a big decision to make. Maybe they should move to Canada. Miss Mita is impressed.

Holiday shows make Nicole cry. Gladys probably didn't cry but she certainly was....well, white!

T. Marie talks about choosing your path. Shelli is on the mending path. Yay!

Liz is feeling a little Scroogish. Brenda was feeling pretty plastered.

Scorpy is going to New Orleans on St. Patrick's Day weekend and would like some blog company. Sounds like fun!

Janet needed someone to turn on the lights. Kristine needed a cashier who could explain why a Spongebob character had a purple rod stuck up his ass.

Jen is both naughty and nice. Lisa seems mostly naughty to me, but I'm sure she can be nice.

Kim loves Christmas but doesn't like these Christmas tunes. Maybe she'd like "Do They Know Its Christmas". Butterfly sure does. I guess something being "the cats ass" is a good thing, right?

John remembers the Sears Wish Book catalog. Ahh, the memories. I wish I was good enough to get awards like Andie does.

Ginger has great advice for when you stay home sick. Chuck has some advice for car dealerships...don't treat your customers like this.

Stephanie tells a story that just sickens me. I felt better after reading this Christmas post from Becky.

Chardy May shares one of Starbuck's secrets. Charkey shares a few secrets of her own as she finishes her "100 list".

Have a great weekend! Get in that Christmas spirit! Spread a little love out there. Love y'all.



Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Final 20 

81. When I was a young high school teacher I had an 18 year old senior girl ask me out. Something like, "Mr. S, if you aren't busy on Saturday night you could meet me at ___ and we could go drive around". I politely declined. Monday morning she gave me a dirty look and didn't talk to me for a couple of weeks. I never told anyone.

82. That same year I was one of the prom sponsors. The prom was being held in the ballroom of a state lodge and many of the kids had hotel rooms. A group of the kids kept begging me to come up to one of the rooms after the prom was over. "C'mon Mr. S, come party with us". Once again, I politely declined!

83. John Lennon was the only public figure whose death made me cry. I was living in a college dormitory and heard the news when I walked into the lobby. I joined an impromptu candelight vigil. The moment is still seared in my mind. Hundreds of us all singing, "Imagine".

84. My shoes always wear out in the exact same place. The rest of the sole looks like new but the area just behind my toes will be bare after a few months of wearing most shoes.

85. I very rarely argue with people directly. Brian-speak for disagreeing is "I understand" or "I see". Brian-speak for when I agree with you? "Aahhhh" or "Yeeaaaah". I'm the master of "I understand but......"

86. Sometimes I use laughter and humor when I'm really sad and feel like crying.

87. I want to travel a lot more than I ever have. One of my dreams? Visit Moscow and ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad across the continent. Give me a few good books and some good Russian vodka. Mix in the scenery, the rumble of the railroad, and a nice private cabin. Toss in a fun travelling companion. I'm there.

88. I have not gone a month without a paycheck since I was 16 years old...thats 27 straight years of working.

89. A common word used to describe me is "naive". At work I'm the open-eyed skeptic. In my personal life I tend to always believe the best about people even when the evidence before my eyes says something different.

90. I'm envious of better looking men. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to walk in someplace and have women "ooohing and aaahing". I don't think I'd really want to be anyone different but it would be fun to have it for a night. You know?

91. In college I was a soap opera addict. I watched "All My Children" and "General Hospital". I arranged my class schedule around those shows. Remember AMCs "Jenny and Greg" storyline? the conniving Palmer Courtland? Erica Kane and all her guys? Luke and Laura? After I graduated and went to work I had withdrawls and taped the shows to watch in the evening.

92. I once had a pretty nice collection of political campaign buttons. Grover Cleveland. William McKinley. Teddy Roosevelt. Woodrow Wilson. FDR. I don't know what the hell ever happened to them.

93. I have a dark, moody, brooding side that I take great care to hide from everyone. I don't like this about myself but don't know how to change it.

94. It wasn't the biggest name or venue, but I think my all time favorite live concert was seeing Leon Russell at the House of Blues in New Orleans. Great music, intimate setting, atmosphere galore. Leon singing "A Song For You" and "Sweet Home Chicago" 30 feet away. Priceless.

95. I found Halle Berry seriously sexy in "The Flintstones". It was one kids movie that I didn't mind watching with them over and over again.

96. Remember "Hee Haw"? Remember the song that went "Despair and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery.....OOOOOOOOOH". We performed that in sixth grade. I pretended to play the guitar and did the agonized "OOOOOOOOOOOH".

97. I watched "Green Acres" growing up, and always imagined that I would have a blonde wife that called me, "daaaahhling".

98. I hotwired a truck once. My friend and I were staying in a travel trailer on a piece of land my grandfather owned several miles out of town. It started pouring down rain and we prepared to leave. We opened the trunk of my Pontiac Bonneville, began loading our stuff in there, shut the trunks, and.....locked the keys in. Five miles from anywhere, pouring rain, what to do? My grandfather had an old work truck parked there that he used to haul rocks. It was 30 years old and probably hadn't been tagged in ten years. There was no key. I'd seen people "hotwire" vehicles on cop shows. I took a knife, stripped the wires, and kept touching them together until it started. We drove the old, broken windowed, tagless, and insuranceless truck to my grandfather's house. He opened the door, saw the truck, and said, "oh shit boys".

99. My grandmother's relative was once running for county clerk. My grandfather tasked my friend and I with putting up campaign signs along the roadways. While we were at it we removed all of her opponent's signs! We even snagged a few out of people's yards. We left with a pickup load of signs and returned with a bigger load! Once again we drove into my grandfather's driveway. He came out and we proudly showed him all the signs we'd "liberated". He glanced nervously around, went and got a tarp, covered them up, and instructed us to follow him to his rural land. We burned them until there was nothing left. He said, "Briny, for such a good boy you are so damned onery!"

100. This has been quite a bit of fun to do. The process of thinking about your life and trying to come up with things about you that people might find interesting is quite instructive! So my final item is....I've done a "100 things I'll bet you didn't know" list!

We return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

And Yet More 

Part Four of my "100 things".

61. I saw my college roomate's Muslim girlfriend without her veil when I came back to the room unexpectedly. She was so shamed she refused to ever see me again. She was a lot better looking than what I'd imagined.

62. My very first sexual experience took place at Baptist church camp at age 16. The details are pretty boring but the location was definitely different! If my friends are to be believed I wasn't the only one. I never saw her again after that week.

63. Another church camp experience comes to mind. When I was around twelve I went off to camp with $20 in my pocket for spending money. The first night there I was lured into a poker game with some of the high school guys. Within 30 minutes, all my money was gone. No cokes, no treats, no souvenirs for me. I sat on my bed and tried not to cry. Awhile later a guy named Mark, an 18 year old senior, walked over to me and handed me $20.00. I don't know if he gave it to me out of his own money or persuaded the other guys to give it back. Fast forward 25 years...a parent needed to see me about difficulties his daughter was having in school and to request a schedule change because of issues with a specific teacher. Yes, the parent was Mark...he probably didn't even remember the incident. Yes, I did everything I could to help him, including the very-rarely-done middle of the year schedule change. It pays to be nice to people doesn't it? You just never know.

64. When I was in college I made good friends with a clerk at the convenience store near my apartment complex. We were always joking around and kidding each other. One night I stopped by after work, waited in line for my purchases, and noticed that the girl in front of me who bought beer looked a little young..and he didn't ID her. I didn't say anything but went home and hatched a plan. I persuaded my brother in law to call the store and imitate the police. He told him, "you just sold beer to one of our undercover operatives about 20 minutes ago. An officer will be buy shortly to arrest you. Please secure your store before the officer arrives". I then walked back up to the store to find him frantically pacing and saying, "oh shit". I let him tell me as much of the story as he could before I burst into laughter. He didn't see the humor at that particular moment!...but he did later. Sorry Dave!

65. I did my student teaching with the lady who was my 8th grade Civics teacher. She told me, "you were so shy and quiet. I can't believe you became a teacher. I thought you'd be a scientist or a scholar, working quietly in an office somewhere". Later in the semester she told me, "you're still that shy boy. But something happens to you when you step in front of the kids. Its like another personality takes over".

66. I had size 13 feet and could palm a basketball in both hands in sixth grade. I had the build of a monkey. One of my friends always called me, "the human L".

67. Most of my nicknames were plays on my last name. Some of the top ones? "Stoner", "Stonewall Jackson", "Rolling Stone", and "Rocky". More recently? "Stone Cold Mr. Stone". Thats better than what was written on the bathroom walls anyway.

68. I once walked into the woman's bathroom at a mall without thinking. I did my thing, washed my hands, and just as I was walking out, a woman was walking in. She stopped, backed up a few steps, looked at the sign, looked back at a very sheepish me, and laughed. At least she didn't call security or something.

69. Ok, this number inspires something..nah, won't go there. See Ellen, I do hold some things back!

70. I've eaten "Rocky Mountain Oysters". I can't say I like the texture but the taste wasn't too bad.

71. When I was in the 8th grade, my mom invited her 7th grade girls Sunday School class to the house for a slumber party. I invited my friend over to spend the night as well. We spent the evening peeking at the girls and walking through trying to look cool. At one point we walked through and some of the girls were arm wrestling. We snickered and giggled, and a girl named Kelli said, "you guys wanna join in"? Sure! I beat a few of the girls and then got matched up with Kelli. She beat me! I was an 8th grade boy out-armwrestled by a 7th grade girl! My friend laughed. She beat him too! The next week at school I got quite a few questions about it.

72. The first new car I ever bought was a 1986 Chevy Sprint. It was a tiny little 3 cylinder car and got 50 mpg. I got a 5 year/unlimited mileage warranty and that warranty came in handy. That car went through four clutches in four years.

73. Beginning in 6th grade I used to write prominent political figures and ask for their autographs. Some would actually respond. Somewhere I think I still have autographed photos of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, George Wallace, and Ted Kennedy. Nixon and Agnew had to resign their offices, Wallace got shot, and Kennedy lost his run for the White House. I knew how to pick'em!

74. The first music video I ever saw was Phi Collins' "In The Air".

75. I once had a bee fly in the car, go up my shorts and sting me on the balls when I was going 60 mph down the highway. To this day, I don't know how I kept from wrecking that car.

76. I've grown to love every job I've ever had. Guess that makes me lucky eh? I've been sad to leave every single one. I can list every supervisor I've ever had as references without hesitation.

77. I love to give and receive massages. I've given a whole lot more than I've ever received. I like to use lotion but hate the oily feeling on my hands. As soon as I finish I must wipe my hands on a towel and wash the lotion off.

78. My first grade teacher was listing examples of vegetables. When she mentioned the tomato, I raised my hand and politely informed her that the tomato was a fruit. She told me I was wrong and moved onto a different topic. That night I found a reference book that listed the tomato as a fruit! I took the book to school and proudly showed it to her. She corrected herself in front of the whole class and congratulated me for my initiative!

79. I never crave sweets. But I do crave salty things...chips, pretzels, peanuts. Sometimes the urge is overwhelming.

80. I have downloaded very few pornographic pictures. But I have read tons of erotica online. The words tend to be more stimulating to me than just pictures.

Whew...only 20 to go!


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

3rd Installment 

Here we go again.....

41. I loved essay tests in college. I could almost always bullshit my way through those. I had a class called "The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe". I loved the subject, had read extensively on my own about it. The class met at 7:30 a.m. Attendance was not taken. I probably only attended 1/4 classes and still made an "A".

42. Another college story. I walked into a class called "Introduction To Education" (the first class for prospective teachers). The class met for 2 1/2 hours once a week. To my horror I saw my classmates sitting there with neatly typed papers. The paper was due today! No extensions! Damnit! I rushed out of the room before the professor got there and sprinted back to my dorm room. On my old typewriter I typed a paper called "The Effect of Physical Education Programs On Student Learning". I made every single word of it up...footnotes, sources, everything. I ran back to the class a couple of hours later, waited outside the door until I saw people stand up and begin to turn their papers in. I mixed in with the crowd and turned in my freshly minted paper. I got a "B" on it.

43. Last spring I stopped at a convenience store late at night. An attractive but rather strung-out looking woman was the only one in the parking lot other than me. She was wearing socks but no shoes. She was crying and had just had some type of altercation with the store clerk. She approached me as I got to my car and said, "Can you give me a ride please? Someone stole me shoes. I live about five miles from here". Sure, I said. She gets in the car, says, "head that way" and she munches on the potato chips I had just purchased. She had a few bites...leaned over and passed out! I was driving the fan and she was leaned over passed out in my lap. I woke her up and asked her to help me find where she lived. She did...and passed out again. This repeated itself for over an hour. Pass out, head on lap, wake up, point that direction...repeat. I finally got her home and then she couldn't find her key. She scaled the back fence and got in that way. She slurred, "call me sometime. My name is Sally". I thought to myself....she's lucky I'm a good guy.

44. I'm scared of heights but have a lifelong dream of skydiving. Something about the thrill and overcoming the fear.

45. When I lived in the country I would amuse myself on boring, hot summer days by sitting next to the pond and shooting water moccasins with my 22 pistol. I could multi task...shooting snakes, fishing, and reading.

46. I ran over my favorite dog with my car, completely crushing him. You could see bones protruding in several places and blood coming out of his mouth. I was in rural Oklahoma and it was a Saturday night. I went inside, got my pistol, sat down next to him petting his head and talking to him...apologizing. Then I shot him in the head and buried him, crying the entire time. I had nightmares about it for weeks.

47. One of the rites of passage of teenage life in my town was to steal the big frosty mugs that A&W served their root beer in. They would bring the mugs out and people would just drive off with them. I did it once and felt guilty for a long time.

48. My childhood best friend had countless (and I do mean countless) affairs while he was married to his first wife. While they were living in an apartment complex had had a thing going with two other women in those apartments alone. He would tell his wife that he was going fishing at night and drive around the corner, park, and spend the night with one of the "other women". For many years we wondered if she knew. Everyone else in our circle of friends did. After their divorce she told me that she always knew and just didn't want to confront it. I understood.

49. The above-mentioned couple, my first wife and I, and several other couples rented a large house in the woods near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After a night of heavy drinking, all ten of us decided to play hide-and-seek in the pitch black dark house. Trying to find a place to hide I crawled into a bedroom closet downstairs. I heard muffled moans and a , "who is it"? When I idenitfied myself he said, "find somewhere else to hide...please!" I was later to find out that he was making out with one of the other wives in the closet. The scandal that would've caused that weekend!

50. I broke up a fight early in my teaching career. I made the mistake of trying to pull a student off without identifying myself. He whirled, threw a punch, and somehow managed to stop it about 1/4" from my nose. It just hung there in there and our eyes met. He gulped and said, "oh shit".

51. Since there were no female teachers in that wing of the building in our school, the girls had free reign to smoke in the bathroom. Every passing period brought billows of smoke out of the bathroom. Once I identified myself loudly, stood by the door, and said, "I'm coming inside in 10 seconds." I heard the psssss of cigarettes being put out in the sinks and toilets. I walked into the smoky bathroom to find 10-15 very innocent looking girls. I stood there for a few moments and said, "sorry to disturb your smoke break" and walked out. The next year a female teacher was assigned to that wing. Even that didn't work. They would post a lookout by the door who would dash in if Mrs V started down the hall.

52. I like books but rarely check them out from the library. I like to own them. This drove both of my wives crazy.

53. I once let a 17 year old student move into my house (with my first wife's agreement). She had a three month old baby and had been booted out of the house by her grandparents. Neither of her parents were involved in her life. After a few months she acquired a 21 year old boyfriend. He would come over and visit and would take her for "drives around the lake". One night the boyfriend's father called the house, said it was an emergency, and he really needed to talk to his son. I drove out to the lake, drove around awhile, and finally spotted his car. They weren't in it. I called out and saw a flash of white off to the side. They were both naked and going at it in a clump of trees with clothes strewn about. I informed them of my purpose there and drove off. They showed up about 10 minutes later at the house looking decidedly sheepish. She moved in with the guy a few weeks later.

54. I was once eating a pickle and my girlfriend suggested sexily that she wanted to share a bite too. With the pickle still in my mouth she approached me, leaned in, and bit down....right into my tongue. PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! She didn't know...her eyes were still playful and suggestive. I was frozen on the spot in sheer white pain. So.....I brought my hand up and slapped her! She withdrew in shock and then saw my bleeding tongue. It was swollen for over a week.

55. I took a semester off from college...burnout and the idea that I wanted to make some money. My best friend's dad got a state contract and hired his son and I to help him install a water sprinkler system on a state park golf course. What we didn't realize is that we wouldn't get paid for five weeks! Within two weeks we were almost broke. We lived in the maintenace shed and slept on top of sprinkler head boxes. I could've asked my parents for money but was too proud. For a couple of weeks we survived on beans, fried potatoes, and candy bars that the sympathetic golf pro passed out to us.

56. On the above-mentioned jobs we travelled all over the place on golf carts. One afternoon I was zipping back to the shed after a hard day's work. The shed lay at the bottom of a steep hill. I came flying across the parking lot, hit the hill, and then suddenly realized with horror that this was the cart without proper working brakes. I slammed into the large metal door of the shed at full speed. OUCH. Now the door had a huge dent in it. We tried to fix it by using the tractor to push the dent back in. It still didn't look the same. The golf pro got red faced and called me a, "dumb sonofabitch". That was a few weeks before he was fired for cussing out a customer.

57. I don't normally do confrontations but I got really angry a few years ago at a fair in Washington. All of the kids came running up and told me that a man had called Patrick a "retard" after bumping into him. They pointed to a nicely dressed guy standing next to a very yuppyish attractive woman. I flamed red hot. I strode over and said, "You called my son a retard. You want to try that with a grown man or do you just make fun of small children"? He just sputtered and mumbled about not knowing what I was talking about. I turned to his wife and said, "Ma'am, your husband is a pussy" and walked off.

58. I have a bit of a competitive streak. In my first teaching job we had a Christmas canned-food drive with competition between homeroom classes. The winning class got a pizza party. I wanted to win. Several of my students kept an eye out for how the other classes were doing. The morning when cans were to be collected and counted, my student agents reported to me and I sent two of them to the grocery store with $30 to buy cans, ensuring my victory. Cheesy, I know.

59. I had a student once who lived in the country in a house with no indoor plumbing. She was taking showers in the morning in the bathroom of a state park..when she could. I got all worked up about it and organized a way to get plumbing into the house. I persuaded the hardware store to donate the materials. My principal, a former plumber, agreed to supervise. I got five other guys to agree to help. I invited the girl's mom to school and presented her with my plan. She agreed, but without the enthusiasm I kind of expected. She called me back the next day to say that her husband would not allow plumbing in his house. I asked to talk to him, got a few sentences out, and he hung up on me. *Sigh*

60. A teacher I once supervised as assistant principal described me as a , "hardass with a smile".


Monday, December 06, 2004

Another 20 

Since I've probably forever tarnished my image with the first 20 things....well, I plunge forward.

21. I think I cry more than the average guy. I do a lot of this when I'm by myself. I wish I didn't.

22. I won the citywide free throw shooting contest as a 6th grader. I couldn't do a lot of other things with a basketball then but I could shoot free throws. Practicing free throws is something you can do on your own. I would get a piece of plywood and some cement blocks and set up a ramp under the basket. As long as the ball went in it would roll right back to me. If I missed I had to chase it. When it got dark I would turn on the headlights of my dad's Chevy Caprice and keep shooting. I could probably still hit 9/10 today.

23. My friend Johnny and I stole a pack of my mom's cigarettes and tried to blame it on my brother and his friend. She didn't believe us.

24. Johnny and I also ran away once. This was in 4th grade. He was angry at his mother for making him eat cereal that he hated. I didn't have a good reason but I went with him anyway. We talked about jumping on the train but we got scared. We bought some candy bars and went to his grandmother's house. She wasn't there and we hung out in her shed eating our candy bars and plotting our escape. Then we got hungry. Grandma had chickens. We decided we could catch a chicken, start a fire, and eat it! We opened the door to the chicken coop and all the chickens escaped and ran off. It was now 8-9:00 at night, we were cold, it was rainy, and we were hungry. We gave up the ghost and walked into my backyard. We could see all four of our parents sitting around my dining room table. We walked in to their relief....then anger. Both of us got grounded. I think Johnny was a bad influence on me!

25. I used to drink pickle juice right out of the jar...or use it as a dip for potato chips. I like to eat pickles and jalapeno peppers together.

26. I once had sex in a van (with tinted windows) one block off Bourbon Street in New Orleans. At one point a guy stopped and use the tinted van window just a foot or two away from us as a mirror to comb his hair.

27. Once on Halloween a lady was rude to my friend and I when we tried to trick-or-treat. We went back later and egged her house. It wasn't the only house we ever egged.

28. I tested at college level in spelling as a 6th grader.

29. I have a bad habit of having to have the last word in an argument. I still have it. I can't stand to lose an argument. Once, my mother hit me in the back of the head with a meatball after I mumbled something as I was leaving the kitchen. To add insult to injury....she made me clean up the meatball mess.

30. My brothers and I used to knock holes in the plaster walls upstairs playing indoor football. We would cover up the holes with strategically placed posters. One day my dad took down one of the posters. Then he took them all down. We were busted.

31. I wear shoes in my house all the time. I can't take them off until I'm getting into bed. I just can't.

32. On impulse I once bought several packages of colored boxer briefs. I went home and threw away every pair of white Hanes underwear that I owned. I haven't worn a pair of the "Tidy Whities" since.

33. Even though I'm bald I still use shampoo on my head. You know how people who have lost limbs say they can still feel them? Sometimes I think I feel hair up there.

34. I've smoked pot but have never done any other kind of illegal drug. I first smoked it at 18 under the bad influence of my first college roomate/drug dealer. After that year I didn't do it again for another 10 years...then another 8 years after that. I think I'm due to smoke it again in my 50's.

35. The first woman I ever chatted with online, I met three days after unboxing my new computer in an IRC chat room called "Truth or Dare". She sent me my first ever private message. She was flirty and I was fumbly. She sent me a picture of herself using IRCs file transfer. I didn't know how to find it once it downloaded. I was too embarassed to ask her. She asked me what I thought of her pic and I typed back, "its a very nice picture. Thank you". She signed off shortly after that. A couple of days later I found the picture. It was of her nude and tied up.

36. I once had a really bad case of gas when I was driving a school bus in my first teaching job. I let it go as the bus rolled down the road. It stunk up the whole bus...it was really bad. The kids were all blaming each other. No one thought of blaming me.

37. Every woman I've ever said, "I love you" to has said it to me first. ( I think about seven total). Did I ever mention that I have a very strong fear of rejection?

38. Almost all the women in my life have made the first move and pursued me. There are many I failed to pursue because....well...fear of rejection again. At my high school reunion one girl told me, "I did everything but jump in your lap and you never showed any interest". She was interested?? Damn.

39. My friends and I used to put on heavy coats and double layers of pants and have BB gun fights. It was kinda cool to feel the BB hit your coat and bounce off. All was well until I shot and hit my friend in the ear. Blood everywhere! He got his BB gun confiscated and that was the end of those fights.

40. I remember that same friend telling me I got here because, "your parents fucked". I argued with him vehemently. I didn't know exactly how babies came to be, but I knew my parents would never do something that sounded so disgusting.


Sunday, December 05, 2004


Since Jen and seemingly everyone else is doing this 100 things list, I thought I would take it on too. My challenge? To come up with 100 things that readers of this blog have never seen before. We'll start with 20.

1. When I transferred schools in 4th grade, my teacher wrote me a goodbye letter. She said, "Brian, if you can ever get your head out of the clouds you could make something of yourself". I was the kid she had to STOP from reading. I read during recess. I read during lunch. I read walking to and from school. Mrs. Howard, I'm still in the clouds now and then.

2. I know I briefly alluded to it in another post, but one of my first sexual experiences occurred when I was 16 with my friend's 25 year old sister. His mom worked nights, and another friend and I used to hang out there all the time and watch movies. We thought she was cool because she could buy us booze. One night she served up glass after glass of margaritas. The other two guys passed out on the floor. I was on the couch. She sat down next to me on the couch, started rubbing my chest, and the rest was history. This carried on for a few months until she got a boyfriend. I think he was about 40 years old. From the scrawny 16 year old to the 40 year old?

3. I was cut from my high school basketball team as a 5'5" 115 lb. sophomore. I sobbed in the coach's office. He offered me the position of team manager. I didn't want it. I transferred to a school a few miles away. Two years later as a 6'3" 165 lb. senior I ripped his team for 28 points in a summer league game while he watched. My last basket was the only "in-game" dunk of my basketball career. It was sweet. I walked by, grinned, and said, "Hi coach. Good game".

4. My first wife and I underwent fertility testing when she was unable to conceive. Part of this process involved obtaining a sperm sample from me. The blonde nurse gave me a glass, pointed toward the bathroom, and said, "just give it to the receptionist when you're done". I was nervous as hell. Try as I could...nothing was happening. I asked if I could do this at home. She said, "the sample needs to be fresh..no more than 30 minutes old". Crap. My wife and I drove to a park, performed a few acts in a wooded area, obtained the sample, and rushed it back. It still made me feel funny to walk up and hand it to the very sweet looking receptionist.

5. Another part of that process involved inserting a swab deep into my urethra. OOOUCHH! The technician said, "this might hurt a bit". Gee man....you think! I felt white hot pain and sweat poured instantly from all my pores. After all this discomfort the problem wasn't me. I had good stuff!

6. I cheated on a test in college once. My dorm buddy was the Teaching Assistant in "Physical Geography". He gave me a copy of the test a few days ahead of time. I memorized it and got a perfect score.

7. My dad was my mom's high school basketball coach. They married when she was 17 and he was 29. I was born when she was 18 years old.

8. My first glass of wine came when I was about 17 and at dinner with my dad and an important Chinese business visitor. The Chinese guy bought 50 yd. line tickets for all of us to a professional soccer game and we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant. He asked to see the chef and spoke to him in Chinese. The waiters scurried around and served us like we were royalty. My dad frowned but the Chinese guy insisted that I had to try some of the wine. I thought it sucked!

9. My parents sent me to a child psychologist when I was in 4th grade. They were concerned about my withdrawl tendencies and my general shyness. The shrink's name was Gene and he used to take me for walks be the creek near the clinic. I told him that I really didn't want the chemistry set my parents were buying me for Christmas. I was really angry when I heard him telling my mom that in the reception area. I felt betrayed. He gave me an IQ test and I remember him telling me that a score of 140 was really good. I had no idea what that meant.

10. Our house had a walk-in attic and you could walk the length of the house in the eaves. I liked it back there. I could listen in on conversations and hide things there I didn't want anyone to find...like those Playboys I fished out of the neighbor's trash can.

11. I didn't just read sports magazines. I memorized them. I filled notebooks with information and notes. At one time I could tell you the starting lineup of every N.F.L. team, every N.B.A. team, and a lot of college teams. My classmates used to bring magazines to school and quiz me on it. I rarely failed.

12. I've been with two women at the same time....more than once.

13. During my sophomore year of college I skipped out almost every Thursday to go back home and be with my girlfriend in her apartment. This worked fine until my mom was told by the bank teller that my savings account had a negative balance. She got a printout of activity and saw withdrawls at a time when I should've been at school. I drained about $500 out of that account over a several month period. So busted.

14. I saw President Richard Nixon in 6th grade in 1972. He was to speak at an airplane hangar in Tulsa. My mom took me and a friend of hers took her daughter. We got inside the crowded hangar and the Secret Service closed the doors. The president's plane was almost two hours late. It was unbearably hot and there were no bathrooms to be found. When Nixon came in he spoke no more than ten feet from where I stood. I don't remember a thing he said but I do remember having to pee really bad.

15. I worked as a teenager at the Sirloin Stockade steakhouse as a busboy/cook. We kept our supplies in an attic. We discovered that you could go into the attic and have a perfect view of the women's restroom through the vent in the ceiling. The cook was the lookout. When a hot woman/girl headed toward the restroom he would alert us. Several teenage boys would sprint up the stairs, tiptoe across the attic, and get the best view we could. The best one? An attractive middle aged woman checking out her breasts standing in front of the mirror.

16. I don't like beer. I don' t like wine very much. I do like champagne. I love rum and tequila. I've only thrown up once. That was less than a year ago!

17. I drink Dr. Pepper almost every day. I'm a Pepperholic.

18. I think Alyssa Milano is a total, absolute babe. I've seen most of her movies. She's not the greatest actress, but she has a permanent spot in my fantasies.

19. The first porno movie I saw was a 16mm film at my best friend's neighbor's house. The guy invited us to come watch it with him. I remember a blow job....and lots of whipped cream.

20. I fantasize about some of my fellow bloggers. No, I'm not going to say which ones!


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