Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Midweek Meanderings 

It is midweek and life is returning to a normal ebb and flow.

I’m back at work and gearing up for April Madness, the round of state tests that are given next month. I don’t know if anyone can appreciate the logistics of giving many hundreds of tests to students while other students are not testing. Everything has to be exactly right, every test has to be accounted for, all students have to be tested in the proper areas. How do you have normal school for the kids who aren’t taking tests while securing a good test environment for those who are? We have a plan, but like all these plans I’ve ever seen it isn’t pretty. Lots of people are inconvenienced. Teachers are forced to administer tests, give up their rooms for testing, monitor tests, cover other teachers, etc. Basically, its just a couple of weeks from hell and we all just have to get through it.

The good news is that May follows April and that is the final month of school!

Terri has been working on getting her name changed on bank accounts, credit cards, email, etc. She has gotten a lot done in the last week.

Patrick is still enjoying his work at the aquarium and is excited that one of the scientists promised to give him some of the shark teeth that land at the bottom of the tank. He is already scheming some project he could do with those teeth.

I am currently reading “Mindfulness” in preparation for an upcoming class. The book details how much routine, rote actions, repetition, association, and categorization govern so much of our behavior. The solution is obviously to be more mindful, to expand our horizons, to consider all of the possibilities and choices available in our decision making. It is quite thought provoking and I will probably write more on this later.

One of the things that provoked some thought in my mind was how we categorize people and instantly dismiss things that come from people in certain categories: the senile older person, the frenetic co-worker, the small child, etc. How many ideas of value go unnoticed because of who says them?

Maybe after I’ve finished and reflected on the book I’ll become more mindful. I certainly don’t want to be mindless.

Local authorities finally recovered the body of Aubree’s friend who had been missing and presumed murdered for months. This was difficult for Aubree to deal with, the finality of the discovery even after she had accepted the idea that it had happened. The boyfriend of the girl’s older sister will soon stand trial for murder. It is such a tragedy.

Also locally, a thirteen year old girl was recently brutally stabbed to death by a former friend who was angry about her friendship with a boy that the girl liked. How can you possibly make sense out of such a senseless and barbaric crime? I am familiar with the family and they are certainly in my thoughts and prayers.

So how is YOUR week going?


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vegas Baby! 

Home sweet home! We are back from our most excellent Vegas adventure. I would love to share some of the details of our trip.

We flew out of Tulsa early Monday afternoon. On the way to the airport we stopped and purchased a few toiletries, including a large bottle of Listerine. We got in line at the United Airlines desk where we were instructed to check ourselves in using the automated system. I started clicking and a screen popped up that said, “Your flight has been delayed. Do you wish to continue?” I clicked yes the ticket agent said, “uh oh. I think you just knocked yourself off your flight. You may have to wait until tomorrow to fly out.” I said, “I don’t think so. We are flying out today.” He shrugged helplessly and turned to another agent. Without looking at the computer screen they debated how we could get to Vegas, tossing around flight numbers. Finally, Agent #2 says, “Let me see what I can do. What is your name again?” He fiddles around on the computer, casts a funny glance at Agent #1 and says, “folks, you are just fine. You are not bumped off your flight. Your flight is delayed and you’ll have to take a later connecting flight, but you will get to Las Vegas today.” Whew.

Then there was that bottle of Listerine. Somehow I missed that TSA rule which states you can’t carry on large containers of any liquid. The entire bottle, still unopened, got tossed in the trash as we entered the security area. Terri had also forgotten about her can of pepper spray, which was confiscated. I teased her about being on Homeland Security’s database. Now that the nation’s travelers were safe from Listerine and pepper spray, we flew out to Vegas.

We laid over in Denver for a couple of hours, dining at the Cantina Grill where I had a yummy bowl of green pork chile soup, the tastiest thing I ate on the entire trip. We flew out and arrived in Vegas in the early evening and headed to our hotel. The MGM Grand is a huge, beautiful hotel. We settled into our spa suite and went to get something to eat, choosing to dine at Emerils. Bam baby! Kick it up to notches unknown! It was a good meal, albeit probably not worth the price we paid.

Well, we were in Vegas and there were all those slot and video poker machines. I settled down at a machine and Terri wandered off to find a place to play as well. It always seems that any time I travel I see someone that I know. Three hundred million people in the country and I always run into someone. It happened this time too!

After we tired of gaming, we settled into some nice chairs at The Rouge lounge. It had a nice atmosphere, darkened, and surprisingly quiet for being so close to the action. There is a vicious rumor going around about me and a number of Zen Mojitos, but I would like to say that I was definitely feeling my Zen, most definitely in touch with my inner self and the universe. However, I don’t know how much Terri enjoyed hearing me sing Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now”. I think she did however enjoy the hot tub afterward.

We called the wedding chapel the next morning and were told that the line at the courthouse to get marriage licenses was often long in the afternoon. We could wait until then and endure the line or go on down there in the morning and take care of it with no wait. We decided to go in the morning, got a cab, and went to the courthouse where no one was in line. The whole process of getting a license took about five minutes and we strolled out of the courthouse to be accosted by sidewalk salesmen offering wedding services at a dirt cheap price. We passed. Then we looked around and there were no cabs in sight. How to get back to the hotel? Terri looked down the street and said, “we could just walk to the Stratosphere. Its just right down there and we can catch a cab from there.” Great idea. After thirty minutes of walking, the Stratosphere was still….just down there. I think that the Stratosphere looks “just down there” from anywhere in Vegas. We definitely got our exercise for the day before we finally arrived there. We messed around inside the Stratosphere for awhile and caught a cab back to our hotel. We spent the rest of the morning/afternoon shopping, eating, and playing around. I enjoyed the lions in their hotel habitat and the lions seemed to be happy too!

We went back to our room and spruced ourselves up for the big moment. The wedding chapel called, said they were running a little behind, but that our limo would be there shortly. Our limo driver would put a New York cabbie to shame, cutting in and out of traffic. Lets just say he was an aggressive driver, leaving me to ponder the irony of getting killed on the way to getting married. The chapel was just what you would expect in Vegas, cheesy and glitzy, efficient and quick moving. I think we were in the building for about twenty minutes. Our minister, who was positively ancient, performed a traditional wedding service. Just like that we were now married.

We went back to the hotel, changed back into more comfortable clothes and headed over to the Sahara, where we had show tickets. After a trip through the Sahara buffet we headed over to the theater too see Fab Four Mania, a Beatles tribute show. We had a blast, singing along with most of the songs, laughing at the Ed Sullivan imitator, and enjoying the very authentic sounding music. The guy that played George Harrison was spot on in looks, mannerisms, and voice. The rest of them weren’t bad either, especially the John Lennon guy who did a stirring solo of “Imagine”. If you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing the real thing.

We rode the monorail back to our hotel, spent some more time at The Rouge (ahem), and hit the machines again. We played until the wee hours of the morning. I got hit on by a prostitute….at least I think she was. I played a lot of video blackjack. I was up. I was down. I ended even and then lost some when I switched to the slots…bad move! Terri headed back to the room before I did and I joined her awhile later for a few hours sleep before we had to get up and catch our flight out. It was a very enjoyable wedding night!

The security line at the Vegas airport was humongous, but it moved fairly quickly and we made our flight with no problem. At least this time there was no Listerine or pepper spray to dispose of. We flew home without incident. Its always fun to travel and it is also always good to get home. We got the kids, gave them their souvenirs, told our stories, and showed them pictures. The kids were very excited that we had finally gotten married, Aubree casting me a look and saying, “the last time….right Dad?” Yes honey…that’s right!

After a whirlwind few days we are settled back in at home. Now it is back to the more mundane things of everyday life. But hey….I kinda like this life! We are both very happy and looking forward to the future. She is doing the name change stuff. There are some advantages to being a guy!

Thank you all for your kind wishes!


Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Really Do 

Yes, I’m going to do it again. Terri and I plan to get married during our trip to Las Vegas next week.

I really wasn’t sure I would ever get to this point again. There were many times in the past few years where I told myself I was done with the marriage thing. Marriage hasn’t been very good to me and I probably haven’t been all that good to it either. When you’ve been married twice only to see those marriages end in failure, a little cynicism can go a long way. The fantasy of marriage being some magical state where true love carries you and your partner through life’s adventures has long faded in my consciousness. I have a pretty good idea of what marriage is and isn’t, this realization being one advantage of my experiences.

I recently read a book called “The Audacity of Hope”, a story of one person’s journeys. The title fits in very well here. It takes some audacity to really hope again, given what I have been through in my previous two marriages. I must be feeling pretty audacious because that hope burns inside me again. Audacity requires many things including a belief that you can do it right this time, that you are not a prisoner of your past, not a captive of your weaknesses, not a slave to your failings. Terri and I have talked of this extensively, examining the pain that we felt and being honest enough to discuss the mistakes we made and how we were not the perfect partners either.

It has been quite a journey from there to now. I’ve never made any bones about the fact that my last divorce was a crushing event, one that changed me forever. I’ve also made it clear that my own shortcomings made a contribution to the downfall of that marriage. In the almost four years hence I feel like I have grown in many ways and that many people helped me along the way in that growth process. I have made mistakes along the way during these years and it hasn’t always been pretty. To anyone that I may have hurt along the way I offer my sincere apologies.

There wasn’t any “aha!” moment, no blinding flashes of light from the sky, no single moment that I can point to that made me feel like I was ready to choose this path yet again. I really did want to be sure, and after over two years of being together I am sure, as sure as a person can ever really be. I wouldn’t be any more sure six months from now, a year from now, five years from now.

In many ways it would be much easier to avoid the marriage commitment from now on. If you don’t try it there is no chance of yet another failure. Saying those vows again requires a willingness to accept the risk again. I truly believe that this will last for the remainder of my life, but history’s harsh lessons teach that nothing is written in stone when it comes to relationships. There is always risk when you take chances in matters of the heart. I feel audacious enough to take that risk, confident that we are making the right decision for ourselves and our children.

I know that I love her very much and that she feels the same way. I know that there is a very high level of trust between us. I know that we are very compatible in a myriad of ways. I know we share many of the same values. I know that we have the ingredients necessary to make this work. I also know it is now up to us to do so.

We will tie the knot Tuesday afternoon in Vegas and spend the rest of the day celebrating. I hope you will join us in whatever way that you can. Yes Joan, that includes you! I know you warned me, but you’ve gotta trust me on this one. If something happens I will let you post the snarkiest “I told you so” post in the history of blogland on my blog.

Just don’t hold your breath.

Viva Las Vegas baby! With any luck I’ll have some pictures to share when we return.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Midweek Meanderings 

It is midweek and ….Spring Break is only two short days away!

In the meantime there are still two more days of work. High school right before spring break….you gotta love it!

I note the resignation of New York’s governor, the latest in many men to give up their career for a little fun on the side. For $1000 an hour it had better be fun. I suppose he thought he could get by with it, and evidently he had for a long time.

On one level I think….how is this any of our business? Shouldn’t this just be a matter for him and his wife to sort out? Men have been patronizing the “world’s oldest profession” for eons and it is not a surprise that a wealthy, powerful man would avail himself of this service. It is wrong for him to betray his wife and family in this way, but where is the public interest in this?

On the other hand, the guy is the top official in the state of New York, charged with enforcing the laws of the state. Whether he agrees with it or not, prostitution is illegal in his state and the law applies to him too. He threw away a promising career for a few romps in the hay.

Much has been made of his wife’s public show of support. I must confess that I don’t completely understand the “stand by your man” mentality of the wives of powerful men who do things like this. I tried to imagine myself in the same situation, my wife confessing adultery to the world, while I stood behind her looking supportive, holding her hand, showing the world that we are still together. Has that ever happened with a powerful woman and her husband in the supportive role?

I also note the….errr…..comments of one of my state’s legislators, at one point stating that the “gay agenda” is a greater threat to the nation than terrorism. *Sigh* Equating gay people with those who purposefully murder innocent people is just ignorant. *Big sigh* At least she doesn’t represent my district.

The weather this week has been beautiful! Clear blue skies, gentle breezes, warm temperatures, it is hard to be stuck in an office all day. It must mean that its time for….

Spring Break!

So how is YOUR week going?


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Midweek Meanderings - Thursday Edition 

It isn’t really midweek and I can live with that.

That just means tomorrow is Friday and I am ready for a weekend! It also means that as of tomorrow there is only one week until spring break! Terri and I leave for Vegas a week from Monday!

These days spring break means a week off before……testing! Much of the month of April will be spent giving state mandated tests. If all goes well the tests take about two weeks. Add in the time spent unpacking, organizing, and distributing the tests and the time spent doing makeups, re-packing, checking that everything is there a million times, and sending it all in. Yes, there goes April. The prom is just around the corner.

Then May is spent winding the school year down, getting ready for graduation, and making plans for next year.

Our boy’s basketball team is in the state tournament this week. Go guys!

The weather has turned cold again with a chance of light snow. One day it is beautiful, 70is with clear skies. The next day it is freezing cold with howling winds. It is perfectly ok with me if spring really arrives.

So how is YOUR week going?


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