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Friday, June 30, 2006

Weekend Roundup 6-30/7-1 

It is the weekend and I'm on vacation! Well, I'm not on vacation for long. My first doctorate level class is next weekend. When I say weekend, I mean ALL weekend. I just got my reading assignment in email from the professor. Argh!

Since I didn’t do a roundup last week, I didn’t get a chance to link to this post. Annabel received and accepted a proposal of marriage. Stop by and wish her well!

Irina needed to take a deep breath. Caren needed for it to stop raining.

Barn Goddess writes about respecting the dead. Sally writes about someone finding the perfect dress.

Lime serves up some alphabet soup. Thomai serves up some advice about doctors.

Jules wondered if she was leading the freak parade. Teresa wondered how her date would go…and it went well!

Breazy has been a very busy girl. Carol has acquired a stash enhancement.

Jerry celebrates his blogiversary. Stop by and wish him well! Cootera was celebrating a perfect morning.

Mary Lou wanted to run away. Amerloc wanted to know why streets were named after bathrooms.

Snavlyn was seeing red. Colleen was ready to go on vacation!

Jack has noticed a difference between boys and girls. Keb has noticed that a wedding dress doesn’t always fit months later.

Leen shares some observations of a country girl. Kris shares an important hiring decision.

MamaKBear shares an update. Stacey shares a story about running into a neighbor….who was with another woman.

Andie has a new baby. Jennifer has an idea for scrapbooking companies.

Greek Shadow doesn’t complain when it rains. Margaret wasn’t complaining at the gymnastics meet.

SonSon writes about her first horse. Mel writes about (and shows) Sumo wrestling.

Erin shows us her underwear. Joan shows us the pallet that assaulted her.

Pearl wonders…is it you or is it me? T. Marie wonders if she is in lust or in love.

Susan had a party! Apple had a LOT of rain.

Michael recommends “Beyond The Sea”. Aka Monty recommends a perfect post.

Sudie Girl reviews the penis pump judge story. Vickie reviews the story of her first love.

Trusty Getto shares his camping pictures. Walker had two girls who wanted to share him as their boyfriend.

Lisa’s son got sick from drinking. New Wave Gurly got back from her Asian trip.

Phoenix shares two of her favorite recipes. John shares experiences from his early married life.

Ellen got her new skin care kit. Redneck Diva got her own stalker.

Janine has been dishonest with her hairdresser. Fly Girl has been very angry with her fertility clinic.

Karen lays Ashley to rest. I’m saddened by her loss.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends. To all you Canadians….Happy Canada Day! To all my fellow Americans...an early happy Independence Day!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

I write my first midweek post in my new house. Here goes!

My house still has a lot of unpacked boxes. I go through several of them every evening, trying to further winnow and sift out things that we don't need. I went through a huge box of pictures, Christmas cards, old love letters, and other assorted memoribilia. When is it time to throw stuff like that out? What do you keep?

One nice thing about my new house is that it is "bike friendly" for the kids. Our previous home was on top of a steep hill. When they rode their bikes down the hill, they didn't want to ride back up. Therefore, they didn't ride as much.

One of the things I found while unpacking was the July, 1992 edition of "16" magazine. Why would I keep something like that? Well....a former student of mine was in in the band "PC Quest" that achieved some success in the early 90's, cracking the top 40 with a couple of songs, the best known being "After The Summer's Gone". Drew, the lead guitarist, was a student of mine. In the magazine interview he said, "My favorite teacher would have to be Mr. S. He was my 9th grade Oklahoma History teacher. ........He was just cool." I showed the magazine to Aubree and informed her that this proved my coolness. How many adults get called "cool" in teenage magazines? She rolled her eyes and said, "that was a long time ago dad!"

We went to the grocery store a couple of days ago. As we were walking out the door, Aubree said, "Dad, that girl was sooooooooo checking you out?" What girl? "The cashier! She was like all over you with her eyes and she was watching you when you walked out." Yeah Aubree, I'm sure. "No dad...really!" I said, "well, I know what she was thinking". "What?" "I can't believe its the real slim shady!" We laughed all the way home.

Hmmm. What to do with power cords that don't seem to match up to any electronics that I have?

I was outside grilling in my backyard last night and talking to Aubree. We could hear voices coming from outside the house next door, but couldn't see the people talking. It was two young guys letting a lot of profanity and racial slurs out of their mouths quite loudly. I walked around the corner where they could see me and just stared. They quieted down. I liked that.

I did write a letter to the C.E.O. of the cable company. I feel much better now. I'll update if any progress is made.

Just to make room in Aubree's room we put twelve boxes/garbage bags of toys/clothes in the attic. I don't think we're done yet.

Patrick has been wearing his "Grim Reaper" robe all over the place. He loves that robe. Its quite funny to watch him riding his bike down the street wearing it.

Mystery Girl We did a LOT of laundry this past weekend. Its amazing how dirty clothes can pile up during the moving process.

So how is YOUR week going?

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cable Woes 

Several weeks ago, in planning for my move, I made an appointment with Cox Cable to transfer cable service to my new house. I knew that Cox took a long time to make appointments, and I wanted to make sure that my cable TV and internet were transferred smoothly with my move. The time frame for the appointment was from 3:00-5:00 Friday afternoon. I made sure that I was here during the appointed time.

The repairman called me at about 3:45 and told me that he had a flat tire and was in the process of getting it repaired. Fine. He pulled up to my house at about 4:40 in a beat-up blue pickup, introduced himself as "G", and proceeded to begin installing my cable. There were cable wires sticking up out of the floor of the house, but it was quickly apparent that they were not connected. "G" looked at his watch and mumbled something about not having much time. He then crawled under the house and crawled back out a minute or so later. He said, "there is water and mud under there. I'm not doing it." True enough, we have had some torrential downpours here in the last week. I guess I can understand someone not wanting to work in mud and water, even though the air conditioning installer had crawled all around under the house that same day. I wouldn't particularly want to do it myself.

I had four outlets that I needed to be installed. He looked at his watch again and said, "I can get you one outlet in but thats it." He ran a line straight from the box into my dining room and packed up his tools. I asked him if I was going to have to wait another 2-3 weeks to get another appointment. He shrugged and indicated that he had no idea. I expressed my displeasure at the notion of waiting weeks longer for someone to finish the installation. I didn't raise my voice, but I did let my displeasure at this idea be known.

As he was driving off I called the cable company and talked to a very nice young lady. At first she said they would send him right back to finish the job. Then she called back and said that water was a health hazard. Fine, I can understand that. So when do I get someone back out? She didn't know and said she would call back. She called back an hour later, apologized, and said she was still trying to work it out.

A couple of hours passed and I called back again. I talked to "Kelly", who informed me that the earliest they could send someone back out would be July 5th. I told Kelly that this was completely unacceptable to me......to send me to the very back of the line. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was connected to "Mike". Mike was very pleasant and apologetic, told me they would waive the installation fees, and said he would try to get me an earlier service appointment. He said he would call me back. That was Friday evening.

This morning I had still not received a call back, so I dialed them again. I went quickly through another customer service rep and was connected to another supervisor, "Linda". Forcefully but calmly, I let Linda know that I was a dissatisfied customer. When someone says they will call back, I expect them to call back. She said, "do you always have water under your house?" I said, "I don't know. I just moved in. Do you always treat good customers this way?" I don't think she liked that very much. I said, "Linda, if I had missed my appointment I would expect to go to the back of the line. I was here. Your guy was here. He didn't want to finish the job. I can understand that. But I'm not asking for a new service appointment. I'm asking you to finish one you already started. If you can't do that, just tell me and I'll investigate my options." She said, "I'll call you back." I replied, "Linda, I've heard that from two employees of your company and they didn't follow through. When may I expect your call?" "This afternoon", she said. Ok. Once again, I didn't receive a call. I'm not calling back anymore.

Normally I am very laid back and take things like this in stride, but poor customer service and broken promises annoy me. I will investigate DSL/Satellite to see if it is feasible where I live. Failing that, I will wire the house myself. With my luck it will rain the next time the service guy comes out and we'll start all over again. I've got one live cable wire. I can do the rest myself.

If I have to do that I will write a letter to the C.E.O. and copy it to a few other corporate officers for good measure. Will it do any good? Probably not. But at least I'll get it off my chest and maybe shine a little unwanted light on the customer service operation here.

That sound you hear? Thats me going......."grrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Hard Times and Good Writing 

I've never struggled much for subject matter to write here. I just look at the world around me and topics seem to be everywhere. Sometimes I have had topics that sit in my mind's "back burner" for weeks before I eventually write about them.

Its a different kind of writing these days. Things are going really well in my life, the best they've been in a very long time. My career is on an upward trajectory. I appear to have won the respect of my colleagues and supervisors and new challenges lie just over the horizon. I'm beginning my doctoral program which has been a dream of mine for a long time. My children are happy and healthy. I'm involved in an incredibly satisfying relationship with someone who loves me for who I am. My financial health is on the upswing. I'm not rolling in the dough, but its not a daily struggle for survival anymore. I have many good friends who have been there for me through good times and bad. I smile when I wake up in the morning and I look forward to each day. If I was a stock I've gone from a bargain basement penny stock to one showing growth and a steady upward trend. Perhaps not blue chip yet, but definitely showing some progress.

When I look at what I've written here the past couple of years I sometimes wonder if my best writing lies back there behind me. Almost exactly two years ago I began writing about my impending divorce and move back to my home state. In the months that followed I poured raw emotion into the keyboard. For me at least, emotion, pain, and angst put power into what I wrote. Sometimes I could literally feel the anguish when I wrote. Sometimes I was so angry that I was practically attacking the keyboard. I think I write better when I'm angry, sad, or in some kind of conflict. How do you write when you're feeling good? Its harder. The reservoir I draw from doesn't seem as deep. I often took feelings and tried to make sense of them here. Its harder to do that when your wounds are now scars and your nerves are less exposed.

Its not that my life is perfect now. Ghosts from the past sometimes sneak up and bite me when I least expect it. I still make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. There is conflict and anxiety in my life just like anyone else's. I still have my share of struggles, but I have a general feeling of peace and contentment with my life.

I sometimes want to write more here about how good things are going, but I don't want to sound triumphalist. I'm also afraid I might just jinx it. History has shown me that it doesn't pay to be too satisfied or content with your life. Its all a carefully constructed stack of dominoes in many ways. It can all come crashing down again. I hope I've learned enough lessons to keep that from happening, but nothing in this life is certain. Perhaps it requires a different way of thinking about writing.

I think I'll take this end of the bargain though. As my friend Vickie often says...."life is good". If my writing has to suffer for that, so be it!

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Moved In 

I'm all moved now. All of my belongings have been moved from the old house to the new. I'm feeling like I should write a post about the experience, but where to begin?

I could write about the soreness in my feet, ankles, legs, and shoulders. My ankles are throbbing, my feet ache, and my legs and shoulders have a burning feeling. But I don't want to whine, so I won't write that post.

I could write about the desk. Oh, the desk. My dad gave me his desk some time ago, but I've never had a room that could accomodate it. Now I do. Its an old style executive desk from the 1970's. He was allowed to take it with him when he retired along with the matching credenza. It is solid wood all the way through and very heavy. I could write about the desk but my back hurts just thinking about pulling it up these stairs, so I won't write about that.

I could write about the boxes stacked everywhere in my new house. I didn't have anywhere near this much stuff when I moved two years ago. Where did it all come from? Everywhere I turn there is a box that needs to be gone through and emptied. I really need my cell phone charger and laptop power cord. Which box are they in? I could write about the boxes but it is depressing how much work lies ahead.

I could write about laundry. I don't even begin to want to go there. Lets just say my washing machine and dryer are letting out gasping sounds. I won't offend them any more by writing about laundry.

I could write about furniture placement. My new living room has five entrances. All three bedrooms connect to it along with the entry door and the dining room. Ever tried to place a couch, an entertainment center, two recliners and other living room furniture in a room without long interrupted walls? It boggles the creative mind. I think we've got a plan, but I don't want to jinx it by writing about it.

I could write about cords and cables. There sits my computer, Aubree's computer, television sets and other electronic appliances. In that box is a mass of power cords, coaxial cable, connectors, various cables, and other components. Putting it all back together is definitely a bit of a challenge. But I've been able to handle it so far, so I don't think I'll write about that.

I could write about Mystery Girl and my brothers who were of enormous help in making this move. We did it all in one afternoon and it was a challenge. I could write a post of thanks, but I've already thanked them in person so it would seem redundant.

Instead of writing about those things I'll just say that I'm not looking foward to my next move. I need a year or two to recover.

I hope y'all had a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Dark Side 


As I watched Star Wars Episode III, "Revenge of the Sith" for the millionth time earlier this week, I thought about this idea of a dark side. I remember having this conversation with my favorite Romanian friend some time ago. This idea that all of us have a dark side is all too true, but what does it mean?

In Star Wars it is simple really. There are the good guys...the Jedis. There are the bad guys...the Sith. One is good and one is evil. One is pure and the other corrupt. One is motivated by altruistically helping others while the other is in it only for the power. Anakin was one of the good guys until the moment he changed sides. Then he joined the dark side and became evil. Of course I know from the early movies that he discovers his good soul at the end. This is a popular theme in movies and stories. Take someone good who is seduced by evil. They come back and see the light at the end.

As I survey the world and those I know, I don't see too many Jedis or Siths. There are the ever-so-pious who would like you to think they were Jedis, but they have far too many Sith-like tendencies to pull it off. And it is hard for many of us to admit that someone we dislike or hate might have a few Jedi qualities mixed in there too. Its hard to hate someone when you have to admit there is something good in them.

We do this in our politics all the time. We live in a time when the president of the United States is compared to Adolf Hitler, one of the great mass murders in modern history. Actually, a lot of people like to throw that word "Nazi" around. Its a great all purpose way of dehumanizing someone and making it easy to hate them. The true Nazis in this country could probably fit in the back booth at Dennys, but it doesn't stop a lot of people from using the word. Nazis=Sith=Evil. It ties up so neatly, doesn't it? My side is good and righteous. Your side is evil. Its so simple when we can slogan it all out like that.

Most religions note this as well. There is the side of God...the good side and the side of Satan....the bad side. But most religious faiths are based on the idea that we are all sinners, will all commit sins, and will sometimes do the wrong thing. We aren't condemned straight to hell for a sin. This is a good thing because most of us would be in hell by this time tomorrow if it were that way. You have faith, you pray or meditate, you struggle, and you try to be the best person you can be.

We have "red states" and "blue states", just like the light sabers. You know those red states. They are full of ignorant hicks who are religious fanatics, NASCAR watching, beer drinking weirdos who want to stop gay spotted owls from marrying. You know those blue states too. Nothing but latte drinking, Volvo driving, out-of-touch elitist yuppies who want to let murderers out of jail so that they can get into college on affirmative action quotas. That this belies reality doesn't stop many from spinning our country just this way.

This is true in our personal lives as well. How many of us have bashed ex wifes, husbands, boyfriends, or girlfriends as if they were the root of all evil in the world? We need to hate them or at least we think we do. So we demonize and dehumanize them. I am saintly. They are evil. I am Jedi. He/she is Sith. My lightsaber shines a wonderful blue. Theirs is an evil red. Who among us hasn't been guilty of this?

The truth is that just as in Star Wars we need a narrative. We take the complex and simplify it. It makes it much easier to digest. Gore is a liar. Bush is an idiot. Kerry is elitist. My ex wife is a lying bitch. My ex boyfriend is a terrible person. My ex husband was a cheating asshole. Its not that there may not be truth is some of these statements. Its that it is usually(not always...but usually) more complicated than that, but we don't want to think about it. Jedis vs Sith is much easier to digest. I watched the movie and yet again cheered for Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi. It was good vs evil and I want to cheer for good. Most movies and books are this way and we like it that way. We like our lives this way too. We know we are Jedis and we are always on the lookout for those dastardly Siths.

Now I'll grant you that Charles Manson and Ted Bundy's Jedi sides were probably so small as to be microscopic. Maybe they were the exceptions....pure evil with no redeeming qualities. But most people in the world are a mix. Most of us have our good Jedi side mixed in with some Sith dark side. We struggle to do the best we can. Sometimes we surrender to our dark side when we know we shouldn't. Sometimes our inner Sith makes an appearance and leaves us feeling ashamed of ourselves. Sometimes we do something especially Jedi like and we are so proud of ourselves. We try to recognize that others have similiar struggles but sometimes we just toss that Sith label on them and walk away.

To deny that there is darkness in us all is to not be serious. Ever been selfish? I have. Ever told a lie? I have. Ever did something you knew was wrong? Yep. Ever been tempted? Oh yes. The dark side lies within us all and we struggle with it on a regular basis. It is this tension that makes us human and separates us from the beasts of the jungle. Most of our light sabers would glow purple.

May the force be with you.

(It is highly doubtful that I'll be able to publish the weekend roundup tomorrow night. We're in the midst of moving. So my friends.......have a great weekend!)

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

It is the first day of summer. Of course, it has felt like summer here for quite some time now!

I'm serving a two week stint as the principal of an elementary summer school program for non-native English speaking kids. All of my professional experience has been at the middle/high school level. Working at an elementary school is a definite change of pace. Its been awhile since I sang, "If You're Happy and You Know It". We sing it every morning. I clap my hands, stomp my feet, and say "good morning!"

I know what I'll be doing with my extra daylight today. MOVING! We plan to be fully moved into our new house by Saturday.

Its sometimes hard to resist the urge while packing the move. You know the urge I'm talking about. You go through a box or closet you haven't been through in some time. You come across something you'd thought was lost or was long forgotten. Where did that come from? You have to put it aside. You must...PACK!

The one thing I don't like forward to moving is my television. Its a Sony Trinitron and it is HEAVY. Its lopsidedly heavy which makes it very difficult to balance while carrying it. My hands and back ache just thinking about it.

A big local story here is the trial of a former district judge. This is a story that made national headlines a couple of years ago. The charge? Four counts of indecent exposure. On the bench. During trials. Using a "penis pump". Apparently when witnesses were seated to testify they got an eyeful from the judge. They apparently got an earful as well. There is testimony that they could hear the "penis pump". What does a "penis pump" sound like anyway?

To add to the drama of the trial, they separated a charge of misuse of state owned computer and set it aside for now. Apparently the judge had rather salacious pictures of himself and his "business partner" on his courthouse computer. The business partner didn't show up for the trial to testify. Police went to her house to force her to come to court. She fled out her back door and eluded police. She is nowhere to be found. I guess she really didn't want to talk about those pictures.

I'm working out of the principal's office during this summer school stint. Ever worked out of someone else's office? You don't want to mess things up too much. I organize things in a way that is comfortable for me, but try to remember how it was so I can move it all back.

Do you have a pair of underwear that you hardly ever wear? They sit in the bottom of your drawer. You pass them over every morning. I have a pair like that. In all this packing and moving I've found myself behind on laundry. So yesterday I groggily put them on in the morning. I get to work, go to the bathroom, and discover that I've put them on backwards. I'm thinking to myself, "I'd better not get in a car wreck. Not only am I wearing underwear I'd want no one else to see, I'm wearing them backwards!"

I could've worn my one and only pair of bikini underwear, but Lisa long ago shamed me out of ever wearing them. I can't bring myself to throw them away but I can't wear them either.

So how is YOUR week going? If you're happy and you know it .............

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Demystifying 

I've written about mystery girl obliquely in the past few months. I did this to protect her privacy and my own. I thought I would demystify our relationship a little bit. This is our story.

There was this guy. He was a sophomore in high school and he transferred to her school in mid year. He was 5'7" and weighed in at a whopping 115 pounds. He was a basketball player, possessed of a headful of curly hair, was painfully shy, a little goofy, and something of a bookworm.

He met this girl soon after arriving in his new school. She was in his band class, an 8th grade girl with a friendly spirit and an engaging smile. He remembers her smiling at him across the bandroom. He also noticed her in the bleachers at basketball practices and games. They became friends, smiling and talking to each other, enaging in typical high school small talk when they passed each other.

He thinks that she might have a crush on him but he's not sure. He's a bit smitten with a girl in his class, even though he doesn't have the nerve to act on it. He remembers her smile and her willingness to talk.

As the school bus motors down the highway he is sitting alone in a seat toward the front. She walks up the aisle of the bus and sits down beside him. After a little small talk she points to the back, motioning at a friend of hers. "R likes you. Can she come up here and sit with you?" He looks back to see "R" smiling shyly. He says ok and "R" moves up to sit next to him the rest of the trip. So much for that "crush" thing. She was trying to fix him up with her friend!

As they continue to go to school together he becomes more interested in her in a non-platonic way. But now they've been friends for quite some time. He's afraid to take that next step and never has been sure if that crush he sensed was real or in his imagination. So what is a guy to do?

He takes her on rides in his truck out to the lake. They go get soft drinks together. They hang out at her house. They sit on "the wall" at school, discussing their futures, who they like, and all the usual high school gossip. He finds her attractive but his fear of ruining the friendship coupled with a strong fear of rejection is paralyzing. He does enjoy spending time with her and does as much of it as he can.

He doesn't call her. He just shows up at her house from time to time. When he goes off to college he continues to go see her. He comes in from college on Friday night and drives to her house. They hang out in her living room or go for a drive. Being a silly angst driven teenager he doesn't quite know what to do about what he is feeling.

One night he suggests that they go to the drive-in movies. As they sit there on opposite sides of his truck, chatting amiably and actually watching much of the movie, he wonders if he should make a move. Reach out for her hand that is sitting on the seat just a few inches away? Ask her if she'd like to sit a little closer? This is the subplot running through his head as the movie flickers on the big drive-in screen. Maybe he'll do it in a little while, as soon as this scene is over. He'll go get popcorn and cokes and then he'll make a move. Sure he will. In the end he does nothing. They have a nice chat, enjoy the movie, and he drives her home, walking her to her front door and exiting after a quick hug. Hey...there is always next time, right? He'll be back next soon.

He drives to her house a week or two later. Pulling up out front he pays no attention to the extra car parked outside. He knocks on the door and she answers with that familiar smile, but something is different. There is a guy sitting on the couch. She introduces him as her boyfriend. Her boyfriend? Where did that come from? Well, he'd never shown her anything but platonic interest. What did he expect? He makes small talk with them for awhile and leaves. He knows he has blown it, and he knows he won't be making those Friday night trips anymore. He continues to see her where she works at a local drive-in restaurant. She always comes out and talks to him and they have a chat about what is going on in their lives.

He moves on as well. He begins to date someone and ends up marrying her. One day he takes his new wife to the drive-in restaurant and introduces her to his friend. He sees the surprise cross her face momentarily, but she recovers quickly and wishes us both well.

College and career takes him out of our hometown and he doesn't see her again for fifteen years. One day she walks unexpectedly into his middle school assistant principal office to discuss a matter regarding her son. She isn't feeling well that day and the "catch up" conversation is limited. She is still very attractive just like she was in high school. She sees the picture of his family on his desk. He doesn't tell her that he recently divorced. Why? The breakup is very recent and he just doesn't like talking about it. He thinks about calling her up later and asking her to dinner, but once again he doesn't follow through.

Ten more years pass by. He has left the state and been gone for almost eight years. He moves back to his hometown and is rebuilding his life. She finds him online and sends him a message. They chat a bit, catching up on old times and new. She agrees to meet him for dinner. Dinner turns into a date the next week. The rest as they say is history.

They get along fabulously now just like they did in high school. He teases her about the band bus incident. She teases him about not making a move at the drive in. There is an instant trust, based at least partially on the adolescent friendship which is rooted in deep soil. They know what kind of person the other is. They talk freely and openly about their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their lapses in judgement. Its all good. They don't judge each other. Old friends don't do that. They appreciate each other for what they are. He knows he has more warts than she does, but she doesn't seem to care. They've spent every weekend together for several months now. He finds it easygoing and relaxed. He enjoys her company immensely as they talk about music, politics, religion, their children, past loves, careers, and dreams. He's never met anyone quite like her and feels very lucky to have her in his life.

She's not a mystery to him.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day 

I'm happy to be a dad and will enjoy spending time with my kids on this special day. Being a dad is one of the truly wonderful experiences of my life. I thank my lucky stars for my kids and the honor it is to be their father.

Of course I think of my own dad. Last year I celebrated Father's Day with him. June was always a busy month with my birthday, his birthday, and Father's Day all falling very close to each other. It was our time of year.

While packing to go I came across an essay my dad wrote a few years ago. In honor of him this Father's Day I'd like to publish it here. It reeks of his essence and is a tribute to his life. I hope you enjoy.

Good People, by Dale G. Stone

The home of my childhood was one of three family farms with grandfather Stone and uncle Claude up the road. In the rural community around us most of the people were good people. True, it was said that one of my classmates did not fight fair. Some people believed that one prominent family played cards. Worse, it was rumored that a Republican lived near Council Hill, and even worse that he was my uncle Marion.

I spent a lot of my wintertime reading Zane Grey, Tales of King Arthur, and Tarzan. Therein, I learned that the bad guys wore black hats, were black knights, or were from England. Skipping the second and eighth grade put me in college at age sixteen, having never seen anyone drink or dance. This doesn't mean that everyone was "good" and no one did these things. I just didn't know about them. In our community however, you were not likely to be assaulted, mugged, burglarized, or left by the wayside. In college I discovered that bad people had no idea they were bad and the same person could be good and bad at different times. I was not so naive when my travels began years later.

My second career as a research geophysicist led to travel and lectures in a lot of places around the globe. My travels included England, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Madagascar, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, South America, Japan, and China. I soon found that America had no monopoly on friendly, considerate, honest, and helpful people. The stories I would like to tell are not about the many personal friends I made, but the faceless people in the streets and stores.

Hong Kong is famed for their aggressive merchants, known to physically drag customers into the store. Also, the city is known for some of the most skillful pickpockets. The taxis were said to sometimes take advantage of strangers who were unaware. It seems more likely one would find good salesmen rather than good people. Still, having spent several weeks in China, the lights of Hong Kong through the little airplane window were a welcome sight. Customs were fast and tolerant, and I was quickly looking for a taxi. A pleasant looking man approached me, saying he was a part time taxi and had good rates. We went to his van in a drenching rain and loaded my bags. The rain and traffic were terrible, but he was expert and calm, and we arrived at the hotel in less than twenty minutes. As we unloaded the bags I could not find my briefcase. I was very upset, as papers were not the only things in the case. Gift jewelry totalling about $600 purchased at bargain rates, souvenirs, and some money were in the case. The driver and I had thought the other one was loading the case so it must still be sitting in the airport garage and loading area. "Not to worry", he said, "I will go get it right now and bring it back." Then he left with wheels spinning on the wet pavement. The hotel staff was sympathetic and called the police at the airport. No case was found. "You will never see that driver again", the hotel staff said.

Checking into my room, I was thinking of all the notes, pictures, little mementos, and other favorite things in the case. A knock came on the door. I opened it to find a dripping wet, but smiling taxi man holding my case proudly aloft. I was nearly speechless and my faith in people was renewed. Many thanks and some Hong Kong dollars voluntarily offered were the best I could do in the excitement. I wish I had taken his address. Every single thing was in the case. Here in Hong Kong was a man of honor and one you would be proud to know. Was he a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or just good people?

The baggage check-in line at the airport departure gate in Chengdu, China, was long and slow. The number and size of bags in the stack beside me was impressive, with my bags plus those of my wife and our friend Jane. Indeed, a travel magazine had photographed me in the Tokyo airport with my mounds of bags, and the picture appeared in a published story. I had explained to the women that there were no porters in China. It was an outlawed profession. My plea to take no more than we can carry ourselves was cheerfully ignored. As the line moved I would drage the eight of so large bags up one step. Suddenly, three or four men grabbed my bags and carried them to the head of the line, smiling at me. None spoke English and my total Chinese was Che-Che which I believed to mean "thank you". I hope my smile and handshake transmitted my gratitude for their unexpected kindness. Surely there are kind people a long way from home, and some of them are in the home of the Panda Bear.

I found helpful people closer to home. The Houston Astrodome was new and famed for people looking in circles for their car. I faithfully memorized the row and zone of my brown Dodge rental car to avoid being one of those lost souls. Exiting the dome I went straight to the area of my Dodge. There was one brown car but the tag number did not match that on my key chain... I begain a concentric search with no luck, and was soon exhausted in the heat. Appealing to the attendants resulted in being told, "you will just have to wait until everyone else leaves." I began to look in places the car could not really be until I could go no more.. Exhausted, sweating, and becoming a little dizzy, I sat on my briefcase. Suddenly a large white car pulled up and the tinted window came down. A beautiful lady leaned out and said, "Sir, are you in trouble?" I admitted that I was indeed in trouble. She then said for me to get in the car and we would go find my car. She said, "where do you think your car is?" I repled with the zone and area I remembered. Soon we found the area and with many cars now gone, the brown car stood out. I said, "that looks like my car, but the tag number is different from the one on my Hertz key." "You don't suppose that the number on your key is wrong?", she asked. "Hertz surely wouldn't do that", I said. "Well, why don't you give it a try and see?", she suggested. Sure enough, the key did fit. The lady gave a smile, a wave, and drove away. To myself I said, "do angels drive white Cadillacs?". My father never passed by anyone in distress on the road, as was expected in our community. The act of the lady helping me in Houston was not expected by me. Indeed, it was kind but risky. I could've been a bad guy. The Bible had long ago told about good Samaritans who were not indigenous to Hichita. There are good people in the big city too.

In my rural coummunity we were cowboys, Indians, and farmers who went to the Saturday matinee to watch Lash LaRue, Gene Autry, Wild Bill Elliott, Roy Rogers, and others stand up against the odds and win against the bad guys. Courage comes in different forms. Courtesy of my thriving company I was on the veranda of the best hotel in Cannes, Riviera Beach, looking at complimentary champagne, a Cuban cigar, and the Riviera beach below. What was a country boy from Hichita doing here? I decided to take a drive to see the town and countryside, even though the French seemed to view driving as a contest of courage. The drive for returning the car was a circle to the hotel, leading up to where an attendant took your keys and parked the car. There was some disturbance near the door ahead. Closer, I saw the bikini, poodle lady, and her Silver Ghost Rolls Royce. She was known to everyone in the hotel. Her trips through the lobby were spectacular events, with her in a bikini leading three poodles of various pastel hues and an entourage of followers. I recalled a loud argument around the hotel pool with her at the center of the disturbance. She was now shouting, "what, you expect me to park my Silver Ghost in the street?" The small attendant stood very straight and replied with a French shrug, "regrets, there is no room." After some screaming at him she stormed into the hotel and returned with half the staff - the charge d'affaires and a host of managers. They took turns berating the attendant. He faced them with shoulders back, face impassive, and continued to shrug and say, "sorry, there is no room." Defeated, they went into the hotel and a driver took her car to the street for parking. I approached with my humble rental key and said, "I suppose there is no point in asking about mine." He smiled and said, "no problem monsieur. She has been very rude to my friends and to me. I will take care of your car." Surely he prized his job at the best hotel, but stood up to a rich and influential patron who was imperious and rude to his friends. This took courage, whether or not it was really something he should have done. I wonder if he kept his job. He might have made a good cowboy and I had to admire his courage if not his judgement.

The good values I admired and attributed to our community were from far away in time and space. The Knights of the Round Table were 1500 years ago and across the ocean, the Good Samaritan was thousands of years ago and in a strange land, ad the cowboys of Zane Grey were historical. There were a lot of good people in my community and I found a lot of good people in my travels. A painting of cavemen depicted one doing art on the cave wall, another working on hides, several chipping stones, and others in family groups. Looking at the painting, I was inspired to dream. A few days ago the cavemen doing the painting were hurrying with a group back to the cave. Night was falling and the predators were beginning to hunt. One of the group stepped on a rock and fell down. He got up slowly. The others shouted encouragement but continued on their way. The artist gave him a shoulder to lean on until they were safely back. Today he had passed by the place of the worker of hides and noticed the fang of a sabertooth used for making holes. He had always thought it would make a fine thing to paint small objects with the sharpness of the point. No one was around, but it was not his and he passed on by. Earlier in the week he had seen others pushing on and deriding the small man in the back corner of the cave. He had gone to stand by him and they left. He felt good about that. He was "good people", being kind, helpful, and having the courage to do the right thing. At least, I like to think he might have been.

Happy Father's Day dad and to all you fathers out there who put your children at the center of your life.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Weekend Roundup 6-16/6-17 

This marks the end of a week of "vacation". Ha! I've done a lot of work this week. I am feeling ever so accomplished.

I did take some time to stroll the blogworld. Join me?

Lime discusses her sporting experiences. SonSon discusses feeling good.

Mary Lou hates waiting. Keb hates it when people are rude on the phone.

Irina shares pictures from her foreign travels. Joan shares pictures of the new addition to her family.

Sudie Girl doesn’t think much of Anne Coulter. Phoenix doesn’t think much of all the drama going on at her house.

Thomai finds some humor in a Viagra commercial. Leslie finds a new car in her driveway.

Vickie writes her parents a letter on her birthday. Rain writes a tribute to John Berryman.

ChickyBabe discusses the qualities she wants in a man. Sally discusses her spiffy looking wall!

T. Marie wanted to play hooky from work. Andie wanted to stop dealing with people who annoy her.

Caren dreams about an old flame. Dawn may be dreaming about burned boobs.

Sporked Tongue wonders about migraines and sex. Jules wonders when she will feel better.

Simply Satisfied finds truth in “Oriah Mountain Dreamer”. Amanda finds some high school classmates on MySpace.

Stacey had company coming. Greek Shadow had a round of golf.

Barn Goddess shares about her sweetie. Jerry shares about painting a barn.

Trick’s baby is leaving for a week. Jennifer’s parents are celebrating their 38th anniversary.

Amerloc can’t believe its already Friday again. Steel Cowboy can’t believe how much this week is dragging.

Kris discusses a rather dramatic patient. Breazy discusses a rather dramatic time at a ballgame.

Susan enjoyed some time with a friend. Ellen is going to enjoy her time fishing.

Lip Schtick is trying to get back in the groove. Cootera is upset with a couple of sexist contractors.

Kelly shares some things about herself. Summer Fae shares some thoughts on hurricanes.

Lil Bit wants you to take her quiz. Jack wants you to know what irritates him.

New Wave Gurly lost her cat. My deepest condolences.

Redneck Diva tells the tale of a Branson vacation. Karen tells the tale in three words.

Walker breaks out the sex dictionary. Aka Monty breaks out the photos to complete her list.

John describes how he met his wife. Rachel describes what she’ll miss.

Melanie shares some beauty. Teresa shares some thoughts on “Big Ben”.

Lisa was having a ball. Fly Girl had a close call.

I have a meeting on my doctoral program, a lot of packing and moving, and other activities to look forward to this weekend!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend my friends.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Birthday Boy 

Thanks to the lovely Steph for a surprise birthday post and thanks to all of you who stopped by to offer your birthday wishes. If a guy has to turn 45 years old, let it be with family and friends like I have. I am one lucky man. Hugs, kisses, high-fives, or handshakes all around depending on your preference. I'd also like to congratulate Vickie on her 50th birthday. Stop by and give her some birthday cheer.

Just one question though. Why didn't anyone think to get me one of these for my birthday? Talk about the gift for the guy who has everything.

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Thanks once again one and all!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN!

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Midweek Meanderings 

I think its Wednesday anyway. This week has been a flurry of remodeling activity. The end is near!

Tomorrow is my birthday. Forty five years old. I'll be celebrating by painting a ceiling with texture paint. I know, I know. I'm such a wild and crazy guy.

Mystery Girl has however promised me a dinner at Don Abuelo's, a Mexican restaurant. I do love me some Mexican food, so I'm looking forward to that.

Aubree has really gotten into professional wrestling since my brothers took her to the live match. She has her favorites that she cheers on, the most prominent being "Rey Mysterio" or something like that. A couple of nights ago she was watching as her hero went down to defeat. She was outraged, saying that the other guy "cheated". She said, "Dad, I want to cut off his nuts, stomp on them and set them on fire." I gave her one of those "dad looks" and said, "You've got to be kidding. Aren't you being a little extreme?" She sighed and said, "ok, maybe I wouldn't set them on fire."

I watched a little wrestling as a kid and today's version is slicker but still just as phony and contrived. Try telling that to my daughter though. One thing that did surprise me was to actually see someone I remembered from my younger days. Ric Flair? Good grief. How old is he anyway?

While I was busy working on the house, I noticed that Patrick was being very quiet in the other room. I found out why soon enough. He had taken a roll of masking tape and some paper and created a spear. It could've been worse.

I go back to work next week as principal of a summer program at an elementary school. Their principal needed to be off for two weeks, so I'm filling in. This is a school geared toward kids who are the children of immigrants and have limited English skills. It should be interesting.

After that I'll be off for a few weeks and then go back to work for good. I don't expect any sympathy for "only" having four weeks off this summer, but it does seem odd not to have my typical summer break.


As I pack up to move, I'm amazed at the things I find that I thought were long gone or that I'd forgotten about. Its funny how that works. There are boxes here that have remained unopened since I moved back from Washington two years ago. I wonder what is in THEM?

I came across this picture while packing up. It is Patrick and Aubree when they were little and so cute.

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So how is YOUR week going?

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Mr. Fix-It 

The end is near. Most of the work on our new house is done and we will be moving within two weeks. I always seem to get involved in these remodeling projects. I always run into things I don't know how to do. I inevitably get banged up a little in the process. My feet, ankles, and back ache from all the days and nights of hard work. But it does look very nice and I think we will enjoy living there.

So what did I learn this time?

You'll have to forgive me. I have a hot date with some mud and tape.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekend Roundup 6/9-6/10 

Its that time. It has been quite a week. If you ever were curious, being bald and spending your day in the hot sun does lead to a sunburned head. Now you know.

Apple has a countdown going. Thomai has her definition of being an asshole laid out.

Keb lays out the “M’s” of her life. Ellen lays out her thoughts on shoes.

Jennifer shares some zoo pictures. Cootera shares some pictures of her dog and new fence.

Joan doesn’t think much of those who talk on cell phones while driving. Teresa doesn’t think much of Walgreens.

T. Marie is going through a lot of changes in her life. Summer Fae is tired of politics.

Babs wonders if friendships are easier for men than for women. Lime wonders about wasted chocolate.

Irina writes about her trip to Israel. The Fool writes about a man who has touched many lives.

Chicky Babe has a blog crush. Margaret had an all-day visitor.

Sally wonders about guys who look at other women while out. I have to wonder about someone would leave cruel comments on Stephanie’s blog.

John writes about his childhood desire to be normal. Jules writes about a lot of wasted weed.

Leslie is back at last. Andie is getting rid of her brace.

Simply Satisfied is taking a break. Steel Cowboy is trying to get rid of some rather large flies.

Greek Shadow gives us a book review. Jack gives us the lowdown on toilet seats.

Rain has a card for her son. Trick has some wishes.

Susan’s son is graduating! Sleeping Mommy’s dog and cat are best friends.

Amerloc has some thoughts on the number of the beast. Vickie has some thoughts on being a Gemini.

Red Headed Gal has been sober for 90 days! Stacey has a message for you.

Caren wants to save N.P.R. Jerry wants to get rid of the dust.

Kyleen reports on a tragic accident. Funky Cowboy reports on vodka-enhanced karaoke.

Colleen is headed off on vacation. Tara is off on a blog hiatus.

Shirazi writes about Pakistan and the World Cup. Michael writes a blog from a parking lot.

Cheri needs some motivation. New Wave Gurly needs not to walk on broken glass.

Lil Bit is a little frayed. Trusty Getto is sharing pictures of a Cotillion Ball.

Restless Angel wonders whether “road rage” is a disease. Phoenix was wondering so she found the rules for “rock, paper, scissors.”

Sporked Tongue reports on MySpace horror stories. Splendid reports on a funny moment.

Show'em some love. They deserve it.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Shot Through The Heart 


Dear Eros,

You are a sneaky little guy, aren't you? Where did you come from this time? I never even saw you. I turn my back for one second and there you go with those little arrows again.

I can tell you that I was not expecting to see you around for awhile. Falling for someone was not exactly what I was looking for in my immediate future. I was just coming out of a relationship. I had a busy summer planned, a challenging new job, the usual challenges of single parenthood, a new doctoral program to start, a house remodeling project, and an upcoming move. Who has time for romance in the midst of all that?

That didn't seem to bother you any. You pulled one of those little arrows out of your quiver and fired it when I least expected it. Your aim was accurate and the arrow flew true.

I know what you're thinking, you onery little dude. You're thinking, "I've flung several of these things at you before. I've had to restock my quiver more than once because of you big guy. Sometimes you blow it. Sometimes the girl does. How many of these things am I going to have to shoot before you get it right? I'm beginning to think you're a waste of my little arrows."

Well, my little chubby cheeked friend, you slipped this one right past me. Mystery Girl was an old friend. We hadn't seen each other in many years. A total of one ten minute visit in the past twenty five years. Going out for dinner seemed harmless enough, a couple of old friends just catching up on the past quarter century. Yeah sure, there had been a little bit of crushing going on back then, but that was high school. We're all grown up now. She really knew me as a gangly, moppy haired teenager. I knew her as a cute bright girl from school. We were friends, ran around together, but nothing ever happened back then. How were we to know that having dinner together all these years later could turn into something that neither of us were looking for or expecting? Love after all these years? You ARE sly, aren't you?

Normally I don't much like arrows being shot at me, but in this case I'll let you off the hook. You did good this time, even for a little pipsqueak cherub.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Midweek Meanderings 

Its funny how midweek doesn't have the same meaning when you're on vacation.

My break is fairly short-lived. After next week I'll do a two week stint as principal of an elementary summer school. The school is made up almost entirely of children who speak Spanish. It is an English immersion program for non-native speakers. It should be an interesting experience. Then I'm off again for a few weeks and in late July will return to my own school to run our "Jump Start" program for incoming students. My summer class begins in early July and will take up two weekends of that month. Then its time for two weeks of staff development and getting the school ready. Students return in August and we're off and running again. Whew.

I'm spending a lot of time on getting the house ready. We hope to move in a couple of weeks and there are still so many small things to do. I wired in a new light fixture in the bathroom yesterday. I installed a medicine cabinet. I'm hooking the water up to the sink tomorrow. Sanding and painting Patrick's new room Sanding and preparing to polish the hardwood floors. Then it will be time to moooovvve. Have I mentioned that I don't enjoy moving?

I was installing a medicine cabinet in the new bathroom tonight. Aubree said, "Dad, whats that thing you're using?" I replied, "it is a studfinder, but it just has one problem. It keeps homing in on me!" Without missing a beat and with a roll of the eye she said, "take it back dad. There must be something wrong with it!"

I bought a gas grill. I haven't had a grill for a couple of years now. So I spent part of a day researching recipes. Saturday night I grilled pork chops marinated in a red chile sauce. Grilled corn on the cob with garlic butter. Grilled flatbread. It was all very yummy indeed. Sunday night we grilled boneless chicken breasts. I actually enjoy cooking when I have the time to prepare. I see a lot of grilling ahead of us this summer.

Mystery Girl and I drank a pitcher of mojitos Saturday night. They were sooooooooo good. How good? The best I've ever had, and that includes those I've had in restaurants. So smooth, minty, and limey. They take some time to prepare but are well worth the effort. This is the recipe I used.

Patrick is quite excited about going to summer camp next month. He will go to a church camp geared for children with special needs. He went last year and had a blast. He can't wait to go again.

So how is YOUR week going?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad 


Hey dad,

Seventy five years old? You wouldn't have wanted a fuss made over that. Still, 3/4 of a century is quite a long time. I hope you don't mind if I take a moment to celebrate a bit anyway.

I look at pictures from your childhood and I think about the world you grew up in. When you were born, Herbert Hoover was president. Adolf Hitler was just another German politician. The Great Depression was in full swing in the rural Oklahoma where you grew up. No one had ever heard of television or personal computers. Space flight was just science fiction. Electricity was something that hadn't spread to your part of the world yet. A washing machine was two hands and a scrub board.

You lived through it all. The Depression. World War II. Korea. Sputnik. McCarthy. JFK. The Civil Rights movement. Vietnam. The Apollo landing. Watergate. D.N.A. Personal computers. The world changed before your eyes. In the midst of a sea of change you studied and went to school, started a career, married, and raised a family. You travelled the world. You saw your children grow into adulthood.

You once talked to me about all this when you were sick and in the hospital years ago. You told me about being a young boy who had such a curiousity about the world. You read those science fiction books and wondered if it would happen in your lifetime. You read stories about faraway places and wondered if you'd ever visit them. You were able to take those boyhood dreams and live a life that you couldn't imagine sitting in the woods, your back to a log, reading those books. You told me that you thought you were the luckiest man alive.

We're doing ok dad. Mom is doing well. You know how she is. She has thrown her energy into several different projects. She doesn't know how to sit still and relax. I think this makes it easier on her. She doesn't spend a lot of time sitting around contemplating how things are with you gone. She has rental houses to work on, lawns to mow, and a teenager to raise.

Speaking of Kristen, I've started working out with her several days a week. We're making progress on that pull-up jump shot that you wanted her to learn. When she shoots a basketball I can see your coaching in spades. Her form and style are right out of your textbook. She has a smooth stroke dad. You taught her well.

The other guys are doing well. Scott is working on one of those endless bathroom remodeling projects. You know how those are. Kyra is growing, talking more, and is even spunkier than she was a few months ago. Kerry gave Kristen his old Saturn to be her first teenage car. He has a new Avalanche that I think you'd like. Matt's son Daniel has a headful of dark hair and is doing well. Matt and I are working a lot together on the remodeling project. We ended up doing it like you thought we should. I can just see your knowing smile now.

I'm doing well too dad. I start work on my doctorate this summer. I'm principal of two different summer school programs. The kids are keeping me busy as usual. I have a girlfriend that I'm crazy about. Patrick and Aubree have a summer full of fun ahead. I just bought a grill and I'm trying to remember that recipe you always used to grill burgers with. Life is good for me, dad.

Aubree knows that tomorrow is your birthday. She and Patrick want me to take them to visit your grave. Aubree has some flowers that she'd like to put there. She thinks you'd appreciate them. I think she's right.

We all miss you dad. You know, I've only called you "dad" all these years. Never daddy, pops, papa, father, or anything else. Just dad. Three little letters that say so much. Things come up and I want to talk to you about them. I can picture you nodding your head, taking it all in. Then you'd always come up with just the right answer, just the right thing to say. I can see you patting me on the shoulder and saying, "it'll be fine Briny." So I find myself thinking about what you'd say. After all, I should know by now, shouldn't I? I'm not ashamed to say that I still need my dad sometimes. What I realize now is that I'll always have him. You really did give us all the tools to be good men, didn't you dad?

Even though you wouldn't like a fuss, I'm taking advantage of my little space here to commemorate your birthday. Its not a big extravaganza dad. Just some family and a lot of friends that can raise our glasses in a toast and say....

Happy birthday. We love you. You are missed. You'll never be forgotten. Your legacy grows new seeds with each passing day. From those high school kids you coached fifty years ago to the tiny new addition to our family, your presence is still felt.

*Clink*

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

If It Makes You Happy.... 

I think about happiness sometimes. Like most of us I've been deliriously happy and stone-cold sad. Its easy to be happy when you find love, get a big promotion, win the lottery, or receive recognition for something you've done. Its easy to be sad when you go through a divorce, get fired from your job, get spurned by a romantic interest, or get dumped on at work.

But over the long haul how happy are you? Is it a high line of general happiness with the occasional spike of delirious glee and the occasional dip of situational depression? Or do you generally stay sad with the occasional jerk of the needle when something good happens?

This article by the Pew Research Center examines happiness. Pew has been measuring happiness for over 30 years. Who is happy out there? Who isn't? Do people who are happy have things in common with each other? The results are interesting.

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About 1/3 of us consider ourselves very happy. That means that 2/3 of us consider ourselves less than very happy. So who are all these happy people?

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It turns out that there is a strong correlation between happiness and income. Many people, myself among them, will say that money can't buy happiness? If so, why does happiness rise with income? The survey also finds a correlation between happiness and health, educational level, and job satisfaction. It stands to reason that those with higher income have greater access to health care and are more likely to be in jobs they find meaningful and satisfying. So all we have to do is make more money? Well, not quite.

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The survey finds a consistent higher degree of happiness for Republicans over Democrats. Even accounting for household income and ideology shows this consistent result over decades. Why are Democrats less happy than Republicans? The same result shows even when Democrats are in power. Are Republicans easier to please? Less likely to worry about things? I don't know.

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Then there is church attendance. There is a significant difference between those who attend church regularly and those who don't. Go to church every week? You are much more likely to be happy. Never go? Much less likely. Is it that church-goers are less likely to focus on earthly travails and more on after-life rewards?

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Then there is marriage. For all the talk of unhappy marriages out there, married people are more likely to be happy than unmarried ones. This can tie in to the income factor since two incomes are better than one. Having a partner to help shoulder life's burdens can certainly lead to a higher level of happiness. When marriage is good it IS bliss. When its not it can be hell.

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Young people may seem to be having more fun, but they are less likely to be happy than middle aged or older people. They are younger and healthier but more likely to have lower incomes and be unsure about their future. Were you happier when you were 18 than you are now? Its hard to relate for me.

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People with children are more likely to be happy if they are married. The unhappiest group is single parents with minor children. Yet again, a strong correlation with marital status. Married people with kids are about as happy as those without kids. Having kids won't make you happy if you don't have a partner according to the research.

So you wanna be happy you say? If you follow the research you should get married, go to church each week, become a Republican, make at least 100k, and stay healthy.

The recipe for misery? Stay single, have kids, never go to church, vote Democratic, make less than 30k, and have your health deteriorate.

Of course, statistics and research lie in generalities. There are cetainly single people who are very happy. I'm sure there are people who never have set foot in church who are very satisfied with their life. Some Democrats always have the good times rolling. A lot of people who don't make much money can still lead lives that are very satisfying. I also know many people with significant health problems who are probably happier than some Olympic athletes.

We each have our own recipe for happiness don't we? Some have found life outside marriage to be very fulfilling. Others may not attend church but pour their energy into local or national charities and good works. I feel very fortunate to have two lovely children. Would it be possible to be happy without ever having had that experience? Many health problems can't be helped. Many find happiness without having to run a marathon.

Some of us beat the odds. Others roll right along with them.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Weekend Roundup 6/2-6/3 

It IS the weekend, isn't it? We've rounded the corner and headed straight for summertime.
I proudly bring you this week's version of the weekend roundup. Its better than ever.


Sudie Girl discusses teenage abstinence pledges. Ellen discusses some of her favorite “thangs”.

New Wave Gurly is getting a haircut. Julie was showing her butt.

Amerloc finds that some things never change. I find some interesting responses in Lime’s questions.

T. Marie has a sound for this summer. Janine has been thinking too much.

Simply Satisfied is sometimes many things but she is always compelling. Joan is many things as well, but one of them is being very ready for summer!

Sleeping Mommy’s husband lost his job. Mary Lou hasn’t lost an arm in spite of doing a lot of painting.

Tara found “The DaVinci Code” to be too predictable. Phoenix found a perfect post.

Colleen discusses her relationship with her mother. Caren discusses her enjoyment of the latest Dixie Chicks CD.

Sally has been doing some genealogical research. Restless Angel has been thinking about deleting her blog. Noooooo!

Meg wants you to take a little quiz. Stacey wants you to look at the little apples of her eye.

Margaret’s school had a SWAT drill. Aka Monty had some hidden treasures.

Teresa is getting a mommy vacation. Veronica is enjoying her visitors.

Jack couldn’t help messing with a telemarketer. Hillbilly Mom couldn’t help being an unhappy camper.

The Fool highlights the price of freedom. Thomai highlights her top 100 songs of the rock era.

Carol isn’t optimistic about the Pistons’ chances. Cheri is optimistic that a guy she met could provide some summer fun.

Raggedy reminisces about visits to South Carolina. Snav reminisces about her daughter and celebrates her 8th birthday!

Jennifer is on vacation in San Diego. Andie is feeling the heat.

Rain shares a portrait of Helen Keller. Susan shares some photos of “flyball”.

Breazy had a wonderful holiday weekend. Bored Housewife had a beautiful day.

Chosha shares whats been on her mind. Erin shares some photos from her brother’s wedding.

Deni lets God fill in the blanks. Karen lets us see a beautiful sunset.

Laine has changed a lot. Sporked Tongue thinks someone looks like ME.

Lip Schtick is back from Europe. Melanie is tired of email chain letters.

Vickie talks about voices. Shannon talks about being a Zen mom.

Walker shares an unbelievable story about his niece and unhelpful people. Lil Bit shares a question. What do your eyes behold?

Give'em some love. You know you want to.

Hmmm. I think I see a mojito with my name on it. Can you hear the tinkle of the ice? Can you smell the fresh mint? Taste the lime on your tongue? Feel the fizz in your throat and the warm burn as it goes down? I can.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends.


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