Part 2 of the Good Stuff  

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Ok well here is another little snippet of pics from our "adventure... Keep your eye on the first picture...It's a kids meal ( I couldn't resist putting it in there)... These are a collection from both parks...Truly pretty places without so many people....some of these views are breathtaking...















A little bit of the Good Stuff  

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Well here is a little piece of what we got to enjoy at Disneyland. They have a great parade and at the California Adventure park they have revived the electric light parade, which was always a favorite for us....I also managed to throw a few of my kids in here as they learned how to become jedi knights and got cozy with Minnie...

I'm sure I will have a few more tomorrow but for now enjoy :)

Very cool eagle ...they had a whole section for the U.S.

The boys decided they would like a pic with minnie (guess they realized mom was gonna make em anyway)


Snow White made an appearance or two



I think everybody loves pooh bear


Pinocchio is just about everywhere in Disneyland even to this day.


Peter Pan was busy antagonizing Capt. Hook throughout the whole parade.


A very cool shot of the Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel at night..this is in California Adventure park.


My youngest was training to be a jedi knight by fighting with Darth Mal...


I can't believe they still have elliot the dragon roaming around..


These pictures really don't do justice to how very cool these floats really are.




Donald is my personal favorite


Paradise Pier looks so nice at night...California Adventure


More nighttime Calif Adventure




My kids get the biggest kick out of Beauty and the Beast (I think it's more because of the candle than the beast)

Christmas at Disneyland  

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Wow, what a week. This was going to be the first trip to Disneyland for my 2 younger boys, so my wife and I were pretty excited. We knew they would love it as we have in the past. I could almost taste the cotton candy as we were driving there.

I have never been to the "Magical Kingdom" on Christmas before, so I was a bit excited myself. After all, how many cool things can they do for every other holiday, just imagine what they would come up with for this. They have their own parade celebration even. We stayed at a decent hotel, not great and surely not the suite like the picture in the pamphlet showed (surprise surprse). We didn't really care though. We just wanted to get into the park and start having a good time.

So the first day we walked to the park from the hotel and it's only about 3/4 of a mile (long blocks, since the pamphlet also said 2 blocks from disneyland). We figured we were tough and the kids had a ton of energy, so who needs to wait for the shuttle to get to the park. So they check the bags at the entrance to the entrance of the park. Then we give our hopper passes to the less than enthusiastic ticket counter person. I guess they get tired of the magic after it becomes a job. I was then informed that when I left the park, if I was returning make sure I got my hand stamped so that I could get back in. No problem I thought. that's easy enough, besides they stand there with a stamp as you leave. So we get into the park, and it's basically a living wall of people. There had to be 10,000 people in the front waiting to get in, and that was a small piece of the crowd.

The kids are pulling us this way and that, because they are oblivous to everything except for the excitemenet of a new park, and the possibilities of what they might find. So we figure it'll calm down a bit, we were there at midday and it's usually pretty busy about that time. Day turns into night and guess what, it's busier still. Now we are being herded into these lines of traffic to keep the park "flowing", it felt like we were herded cattle. There were parades going on at the same time that they were doing special shows, and people were overwhelmed with choices of what to do so everybody seemed to be just running from here to there and hoping to catch a glimpse of one thing or the other, without really getting to catch all of anything.

The kids were sorta hungry so I figure we may as well get a little snack. I knew the food would be expensive but we planned for it, and were ready to give them an A+ experience. We find a little umbrella stand and get some burgers and fries (soda sold separately from the meal). 4 people cost $57.00 for a burger fries and a coke. One of those meals happened to be a kid's sized. So you can guess how much came with that.

So we tried to move around the park and get a few rides in, but every line was at least 60 minutes. eventually on day 1 I think we managed 2 rides, well three if you count the little fairyland boat ride. I was told that this was the quiet day and Christmas eve and Christmas would be much busier. Oh joy for me and mine, we were in for quite an adventure.

I have tons of pictures to share and I promise they will get posted in the next couple of days. For now I just wanted to share this little tidbit with all of you. If you are thinking of Disneyland for Christmas.....Don't...Bad idea, the park is gonna always be the same, but the amount of people they cram in there for the holidays is absolutely ridiculous. You are pushed around and stepped on, not to mention the "cast members" are for the most part rude and anti-social. Not the people in the shows or doing the survey, but most of the servers and a good portion of those handling the rides are just some really unhappy people.

Yeah, I'm sure I feel a good rant coming on about Disneyland. I have already started my letter to the place we got our package from to explain to them, what I thought of it ....

Well tomorrow is another day, and it will probably include at least a portion of all those wonderful pics we managed to take, because that is one great thing about DL. It's just pretty, no matter how you look at it, they originally did a great job on this place.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll let you guys know how wonderful legoland was too :)

Merry Christmas !!!  

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Well guys, my truck awaits me and the family. We are just a few short hours from leaving, and I'll be well out of laptop range on this trip (it's a rule that I'm forced to follow). I wanted to take a quick moment to say Merry Christmas to all of you out here in the blogosphere.

Especially to those of you that follow along so closely to what goes on in this little blog group that we have formed (Kristy has the name). It's a pretty comforting thought to know that there are other people out there that are irritated by the same stuff as me, and at the same time you guys can see the good stuff too.

I guess this has just made for some really good days for me. I know that I can come home and check out a few blogs and it will always offer up a chuckle or a hmmm moment for me. Sometimes that's all I need.

So since I most likely won't be online again until around the 27th, this is my chance to say thank you for keeping me at a level of sanity (a low level mind you). I hope that you all continue to blog and for those of you with goals set on being published, I hope that is your Christmas wish come true this year.

Be safe and have a great holiday. God Bless :)

Disneyland Calls!!  

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We are going to spend Christmas at Disneyland this year. Now this will be the first trip to the magical kingdom for my 2 younger children. They have pretty much jabbered on incessantly about this trip for the last 2 1/2 months. I'm ok with that, because I understand that they are really really anxious to experience this place.

I personally love Disneyland. I am transported to another world when I walk through the gates. I'm a kid again and everything is ok while we are there. I have never been to California adventure park though. So this will be a first time for me and the wife in that respect. My oldest has been there a ton of times, and he swears up and down that it's every bit as good as Disneyland itself. Time will tell.

My middle boy (Cameron) is celebrating his 12th birthday on the 27th so this is sort of a 2 for 1. He gets a cool B-day present (visiting the park) and cool presents while being at the park, since the whole family is going. Mom and Dad along with my Sister and her family and my little brother (not really little 6' and 36).

So I'm packing and planning and a little more excited than I should be for my age I guess :) Now if they could just import some snow to Anaheim I think it could be a truly perfect Christmas ..........

Farewell to KJ  

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I have been involved in many websites over the past 5 years. I am involved in gaming as I have said in the past. One of the sites I was involved in a while back was a gaming site called Jayofteror (yes it's misspelled on purpose). I became friends with many of the members in the course of a couple of years as I was an administrator on the site for a while. One of the other administrators on there named Dave had a beautiful dog named KJ and this dog was his best friend as you will see. He had to have KJ put down and he posted about it. I had thought about sharing this post some time back but kept putting it off. After reading Rae post about Jack, I felt that this was something I should do.
It's a bit sad (a lot) but well worth reading.


The Story of KJ RodentBoy



The nick name RodentBoy started towards the end of my old dog Keith’s life that passed away back in 94. The nick name quickly carried over to my buddy KJ (Keith Junior) and he had it ever since. The reason for the name was because Keith used to get so excited to see me when I would come home from work, running around like a rodent knocking things over with his heavy tail. KJ did the exact same thing and so the nick name carried on. Today we had to let my good friend KJ go. KJ was a beautiful dog with bright blue/whitish eyes. He was the best damn dog to ever take Keith’s place. We picked him up from the Humane Society the very day Keith passed away. It really did help us get through those tough days caring for a puppy. I thank him for that. We also had developed a bond together. He was my buddy. He was part of our family. He was loyal. He never complained about anything, even at the end.

About 2 years ago, KJ had difficulty walking on hardwood floors and going up and down the stairs. You might think this sounds crazy, but we even moved to accommodate for his condition, to a house that had one level. It gradually got worst over time to the point that he could no longer walk without assistance from my wife or I. It was a hard decision to make, but it was also hard to see him that way. A week ago he lost his vision for a few hours and it was a rough time and we knew at that moment it was time. I just hate to play the role of god. It shouldn't have to be this way, but sometimes they need a little help to get over the fence. To a place where they can be what they once were.


KJ,

I have friends to greet you on the other side of that fence my friend. I could see how tired you had become. I could tell you were ready to start running, jumping, and enjoying car rides again. I love you so much as I do with everyone who has touched my life. You were a part of our family and I won’t ever forget you. One thing is for sure, we will have our walks together again one day, I promise.


I’ll always remember our times together
Light on your feet, light as a feather

Light blue eyes fur white and gold
Many good stories to be written and told

You helped me get through the times I was sad
You were the best damn friend I could have ever had

It pains me so to see you this way
Especially remembering the good old days

Putting my sadness and selfishness aside
You’ll be with old friends and enjoying car rides

Friends from my past greeting you there
You’ll be able to run and jump everywhere

I couldn’t have asked for a better friend
Until we walk together again

Big big hug and pat my friend.
Big big hug…

A couple of days later he posted this....

I just wanted to share, that my dog had it great his last days with us. He had everything that he had enjoyed to eat with us the past 14 1/2 years.

Wednesday he had Mac & Cheese
Thursday he had a double cheese burger
Friday was pizza crust night as that was one of his favorites
Saturday he got a bath and had 2 nice steak bones with a lot of meat left on them.
Sunday morning (The vet freaked out on this one) Right before the vet was ready to give my buddy a sedative to relax him, I stopped her as I still had to give him his morning breakfast. He got 1 plate of a stack of pancakes and another plate with 2 eggs over easy and 6 strips of bacon along with 6 slices of cheese. He laid right down to eat it all and practically fell asleep on his own. It was so easy for the vet after that. I felt my buddy was content and knew it was time.

It was sad when it was all said and done, but I did everything I could think of to make him as comfortable and happy as could be. I owed it to him. He was clean and beautiful, his stomach was full, and all his family was by his side to the end. It was a peaceful end to a great life. The vet had a gurney to take his body away, but I refused and said that I would carry him out myself. I carried him home when he was a puppy and I carried him out in the end. I wouldn't have had it any other way.


That is a testament to true love right there. Dang story brings tears to my eyes everytime I read it....

The Quest for............  

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I just read a post from a site I'm following http://abstractevidence.blogspot.com He has just started posting and he is definitely in the abstract. Enjoyable read and I have read his writing in other venues (I know him) he is very talented and as he continues to write any of you that choose to follow him will see that. Back to my point (is ADD contagious?)

Invidus' quest is for a horror film. That started me wondering what mine is for. I enjoy a good movie even though I have to say that I haven't seen many horror films that rate "good" with me. I enjoy many genres of movies really, even if I choose to focus more on Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Romantic Comedy, Action, Comedy, Drama. I enjoy a well made movie with a good story line and I don't really care what it's about if it's done well.

My quest is not for a movie though. My quest is for some peace...I'm not getting all hippy on you and asking for peace on earth (although I do sorta enjoy the flower chains they're pretty). I'm talking about peace of mind. You know that level of contentment where you are OK with things as they are and will be.

I'm at an age where I start to guage things. I guage where I'm at compared to 20 years ago. I guage where my kids are compared to me 20 years ago. My job, health all those types of things. I have to say that I'm fairly content. BUT....I am not completely there. I still worry about the bills, and worry about health of myself and family.

How do we take that final step and get that peace that I think we all want? Maybe we don't. Maybe it's about the quest and not the destination (I heard that somewhere). What do you think? Am I fooling myself into thinking that it's possible? I hear people talking about being Zen like or that meditation is the key. I don't really do well with the whole meditation thing, and I"m not so sure that is MY path to peace.

Give me your take I'm curious what others are thinking about this. Are you on the same quest and is it taking you down the same paths? Or am I just one crazy 40 something dad and father who needs to live with it.

Where are the Fashion Police when you need em?  

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I will start this off by saying I'm not in good shape. I'm lazy about exercising and don't enjoy it all that much anymore. Stuff hurts when you exert a lot of energy and I don't liken the pain to success like my High School coach used to make me do.

That being said. I also don't wear skin tight clothing when I go out to eat (or at home for that matter). First of all I'm a little self-conscious about my weight, and I surely don't want to share the fact that I have extra baggage with the rest of the world. Yes there are plenty of guys that worry about their weight and overall appearance even if we don't seem to care all that much.

All of that jabbering was to get me to this point. I was at dinner last night. We went to a nicer restaurant not a tie and jacket kind of place, but not sweats and t-shirts either. We sat down and the first thing my little son tells me is "Dad, I'm not hungry." Well that's not all that uncommon. He has a tendency to say he's not hungry and then we get home and he is famished and why don't we feed him and blah blah blah...Typical little kid stuff. Then he pointed to the table almost directly in front of us and I realized why he wasn't hungry. I too had lost my appetitie, when I saw the rather robust couple at the table. It wasn't the fact that they were obese that got to me as I pointed out earlier I have no room to talk. What sorta sickened me was first of all the guy was wearing what my wife calls prego pants. You know those elastic stretchy pants that sorta look like sweats. These prego pants were navy blue and he was wearing a plaid button up shirt. He had on black socks stuffed into house slippers. Not even the slippers that are for walking outside. He wasn't huge, but the fact that his shirt was too small and untucked and half of his gut was hanging out the bottom was enough for me. If that didn't do enough for me, next to him was what I assumed was his wife. She was wearing a muumuu (moo moo) it was brightly colored and about 3 sizes too small for her. She had this bandana like thing on here head that didn't match her "dress" and was also wearing slippers.

The way they were dressed was bad enough and it was like a car wreck, I just couldn't turn away. The part that really made it bad was that they were eating. These people were sure to show the world what they were eating too. I guess nobody ever explained that you shouldn't talk while munching on shrimp. Food spraying everywhere as they chit chatted and continued to agitate my queasy stomach. I stopped a waitress and asked her if there was anywhere else we could sit. She explained that there were no other empty tables. She didn't seem to understand that these people were making me a little unsettled in the tummy. I wasn't the only one either. There were 3 other tables around these people and they too were all entranced by the disgust sitting in front of us all. More than one couple asked for different seating and the waitress who had to be a complete ditz asked if there was something wrong with this part of the restaurant because everybody except "that" couple had asked to be moved. Well my wife saw it too, and she was not about to sit there and watch while we tried to figure out what we were gonna eat. Up we got and left, and when the gentleman at the door asked us if there was a problem I explained to him what it was. He said there was nothing he could do about that, and I'm guessing he said it to at least 2 other couples that were leaving behind us.

Ended up at IHOP having breakfast for dinner and that is always enough to cheer me up.
I had to field questions from my little ones though asking why those people dressed that way and didn't they know better than to eat with their mouth open. I didn't say a lot about it, hoping that it would just pass, but it got me thinking that maybe I did over react and everybody has a right to be comfortable. But I just can't get past the fact that sometimes you have to be considerate of those around you. Anyway I still got to eat but now I'm sure I'm gonna have a nightmare or two about the man in prego pants chasing me with shrimp hanging out of his mouth. Just yuck!

Drinking and Driving  

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Well if you read the title you might think this is about a drunk driver. I have to say it's absolutely not. There is drinking and driving involved though. This is one of those type of moments that make me giggle like a school girl (sad isn't it?)

I'm on my way to work this morning and I'm not paying much attention to the other people on the road. I drive about an hour through the country raods to get to my work location for the day. Up ahead of me about 1/2 mile is a car pulled over by a CHP car. I noticed that it was an employee of our company so I pulled over to see if everything was ok.

Right away the officer starts coming back to my truck and I can see that our employee is looking a bit red in the cheek. The officer was a bit grumpy with me and sorta rudely asked what I wanted. I explained that I was the Safety Manager for the company that this guy worked for and was just making sure that everything was ok, or if maybe he was going to need a ride. I simply asked if this was alochol or drug related and he said it had nothing to do with that but drinking was indeed involved.

He tells me that he will be done in a minute and then I can talk to my employee. So I wait a few minutes and the ticket is given and the CHiP drives away in a hurry. I figured maybe the guy just didn't like Monday mornings so I didnt' put too much into his attitude. I walked up to the guys vehicle and he doesn't want to look at me. I asked him what happened and if it was serious. He explained that it was a ticket for littering.

Turns out that this guy was driving down the road munching on his McDonalds breakfast and enjoying his coffee. He got a phone call that turned into a rather lengthy discussion and he forgot about his coffee. It was cold now and as he was driving he decided to chuck the cold coffee out the window. I didn't figure that was a big deal since lots of people discard of their coffee that way. What made it a big deal was that at the exact time he tossed his coffee out the window a CHP car was driving by in the opposite direction and in case you can't guess where the coffee ended up it was all over the CHP car.

I couldn't help it, I just laughed in this poor guy's face. I told him that of all the dumb mistakes he could have made this was definitely a top 5 candidate. I promised not to tell anyone at work, and so I had to let you guys hear about this. I'm not technically telling anyone at work, but if they happen to read this well that's not my fault right?

This was definitely my Monday morning LOL.........

And on the 7th day???  

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Well Sunday is supposed to be a day of relaxation, but I was not going to get that chance today. My kids decided that they wanted to be up and at em at a brisk 6:30 am this morning. So while I didn't jump out of bed, I sure didn't sleep either. Ah well, maybe I'm just jealous cause I remember being that age and having all the time on the weekends to do what I wanted. It was a pretty great feeling to know that your biggest worry for the day was what time lunch was.

Jump ahead to early afternoon and my football team is getting a lesson taught to them as well...It's called losing 2 in a row. (Dallas Cowboys...you guys are killing me) that notwithstanding I figured I'd laze around on the puter and just read up on some blogs and play a few video games while the kids had their nerf gun wars. But not gonna happen. The inlaws are in town from out of state and that means that they have to come visit. They come over (in the middle of my disappointing Sunday football game) and want to take the boys christams shopping. Now that sounds like a great idea, let's kill two birds with one stone. I don't have to visit since I was feeling a bit anti-social anyway and I won't be shot by random nerf darts for a little while. Unfortunately this only lasted about an hour and back they came. Then they were ready to settle in and "visit".

Fast Forward to three hours later and they are leaving. I figure now I can relax in front of the puter and do nothing if I felt like it. I jump on my favorite video game and of course there are only a couple of other people playing. They were all online earlier when of course I couldn't be present to enjoy my Sunday visit with them. So I messed around a little bit and figured I could find something a bit more productive. Not likely, clothes get washed dinner gets served and that raps up my Sunday.....

Oh well I'm a pretty positive guy, so I figure it was only a matter of time until I actually looked forward to Monday. Here it is and I'm actually looking forward to getting back to the work week.

Hope all of you managed to enjoy your sunday a bit more than this. And Ian I hope your little one is feeling tons better.

Dear Me,  

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This time of year, I always get to thinking about past holiday's. I get to remember when I was a kid and my grandparents were still around and we were all one big happy family. There was nothing to worry about, cause well I didn't know any better I was a kid. This was the time of year for all sorts of great things. Good food, presents, and family time. I loved it then and now.

It also got me to thinking about my own life, both good and bad. I wondered out loud the other night if I would change anything if I could. With that in mind, I decided to write myself a letter at the ripe ol' age of 18.


Dear Me,

I have some things you need to know, so just keep an open mind and read carefully. I don't expect you to believe that this letter comes from your own hand, but I can prove it with some tidbits of information. You got completely blitzed when you were 14. You were at your friends house and he snuck out his moms brandy and cognac. You tried to make it home, but passed out in the neighbors yard. Good thing for you they were good friends of the family. They took you in the house, cleaned you up and put you to bed. The worst part was the next morning when your dad showed up to bring you home. He made you get in the pool cause he said you were still drunk. He didn't realize back then that all it did was make you wide awake and drunk. He also made you go to your baseball all star tryouts hung over. You definitely learned a lesson that night, unfortunately you had to learn that same lesson a few more times till it stuck.

Convinced? Good, well I just want to let you know that you are doing OK. You are gonna make a few mistakes along the way and I want to warn you now about them. First of all, don't bother chasing after Maureen. She is not for you and she will just lead you on for a few years before moving on to someone else anyway ( and it won't be another guy if you know what I mean). You are going to marry your high school sweetheart, but that isn't going to work out. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go through with it though. You will get a great son out of the deal, and it's more than worth the pain and suffering she will cause you.

I know you are thinking about the military, well quit thinking about it and just join. It's going to be the defining moment in your young life. It will change everything about you and make you the man you are today. I promise that you will suffer when you go for a good 2 years, but you will also find out that you are a tough young man and you are capable of so many things you never dreamed were within your grasp. Turns out that dad is right you can do what you set your mind to.

When you get out of the service, don't jump at the first job you find. Shop around a little bit. You have a number of skills, don't let these people take advantage of you just because you are young. Also, don't work 3 jobs at once. It's bad for your health and if you keep doing it you will get sick and be in the hospital, I PROMISE!!!

You will get re-married and you are going to be happy. The 2 boys from this marriage are going to make you realize that your life is good. Make sure you take the time to teach your kids the right things, I don't mean sports so get your mind off of ESPN. This is about something far more important. Teach them to be good adults, they are sponges and they think you are pretty super, so don't blow it. The same thing goes for your wife. Make sure you let her know that she is a defining moment in your life. Every bit as important as all the others.

You will work a lot, play a little, and start to get old. You are gonna feel the effects of some of your dumb choices in life. Football is fun at your age, but it hurts later on in life, so remember that the next time you hurt that knee. Take care of your shoulder, it's gonna hurt you later on too if you don't get it operated on like the doctor wants.

All in all you have done OK. Don't sweat some of the small stuff like you do. Worry about it if you can change it, otherwise leave it alone. Make sure you tell Nonni and Nonno how important they are, same thing with Gramma and Grandpa. They won't be around forever you know.

That's all I have for you for now. Good Luck, I know you will be fine.

PS....If you get the chance to go out with Lorey A. Take it she is a pretty great girl and it would be a nice memory for us to have :)

I'm not goin' in there!!  

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Well I had read a post by Ian about phobias and I mentioned that I would indeed have to make a post on them. So here goes

I'm deathly afraid of the ocean. Not of being in a boat in the ocean. Not of looking at or being near it, just of being IN it. I love the coast and enjoy going to Santa Cruz and walking the beach. I just cannot fathom going in the ocean even to my ankles. I know that it's unrealistic to fear something like that since there is no way that ankle deep water could pull me in (I'm a pretty big fellow and tend to stay rooted). I can't help it. I have the same issue when it comes to the lake. I don't like swimming if I can't see in the water. Maybe it's too many times seeing Jaws or The Abyss or one of those types of things, but whatebver the case I just can't bring myself to do it.

I don't mind going deep sea fishing and I was in the Marine Corps and even spent time on a carrier. Just don't make me go in the dang water ok....I love to swim in the pool. I can see the bottom and I'm quite sure where everything is and that makes it absolutely ok with me.

So how about it everybody. What exactly are you scared of? What is that brings out that uncontrollable fear in you and makes you freeze up like a deer in headlights?


Here's your chance to state it and get it off your chest.

In A Word  

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I have been a bit lax on my posting as of late, and for that I"m sorry. Things come up as we all know and we make room for them however we can.

So that said I figured that since I have gone sometimes a few days with no post and that's not really my nature, I would go ahead and throw a second one on today, just because somebody asked me an interesting question today and I want to share it. Let me say that it was interesting to me and all of you might not share that same interest.

Here goes...In a word describe what Christmas means to you. Not a paragraph or a sentence or a poem. He was absolutely specific when he asked me about this. And he wouldn't accept more than one word. He is doing this for a drawing that he is holding. Whomever gives his idea of the best one word answer will win a $100 gift certificate. I don't have any gift certificates to give out so I figured that I would change the rules a little teeny tiny bit.

I want a one word answer as well...The difference is I want an explanation for the answer, so if you have a few minutes ponder over it and tell me what you think...

I will share my answer somewhere in the comments :)

BTW guys thanks for reading some of this crapola that I post and thanks even more for responding to some of this crapola that I post. It makes me realize that a lot of us deal with the same well crapola and it's nice to see that I'm not alone in how I react to some of this.

Why You Shouldn't Attend Chrismas Parties  

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My wife always wants me to go to the Christmas party for her work. I usually don't want to go. I worked at the same place a while back and know a lot of the people. I in fact have a good relationship with most of them (there are always a few).

This year I was talked into it, or more directly "told" I was going. So I got casually dressed because if I have to go I'm gonna at least be comfortable. That turned out to be an ok thing, as my wife ended up being a little overdressed. There was a pretty good turn out considering the company employs about 100 people in this town. I think we saw about 60 people all together so it was not empty that's for sure. That also turned out to be part of the problem.

The food was good and the bar was open so all things considered it looked like it would be a passable evening. I found some of my former co-workers and we chit chatted about different things, had a few drinks and enjoyed a rather tasty dinner.
The music started and people were out on the dance floor having a good time. I guess the problems were happening in the bar while we were away.

Two guys that work together and don't have any problems with each other at work (from what I was told) had some words exchanged while they were in the bar. I guess both of them had too much to drink and I would have liked that bartender a whole lot more if she would have shut them both down a few drinks earlier. Unfortunately she didn't and they kept pouring them down. The liquid courage was working overtime, because the next thing I know I'm in the middle of a "scuffle". They punched at each other a few times and then somebody else was trying to break up the fight and I just knew that I had to help. I grabbed one of these guys and dragged him away telling him the whole time that somebody had called the cops. It all seemed to be under control and then...... Another "friend" decided that he didn't like how we were treating the two guys that were fighting and came in to defend his drunk friend. Now this is a pretty big guy and I guess he figured he was pretty tough to boot. After 8 years in the Marine Corps I don't look at big tough guys the way I used to. He had been drinking and I had about 2 drinks in me from all night. I wasn't even light headed and this guy was really trying to get me involved.

Fortunately (for him) people started coming in and dragging everybody apart. I got one drunk into a car that was waiting for him and some others dragged drunk #2 to a car that was waiting for him. I told big tough guy that I would drop by his work today when he was sober and see if he still wanted to have that discussion with me. I wonder if I should even bother going down there now. I have to admit that I do get to feeling like a 20 something again when I get around all those guys and I might not use the best judgement in the world all the time because of that. No offense to 20 somethings of the world. I know many that use great judgement, but I also know a lot of them that allow their emotions to control their actions too often which I tend to do when I'm around them ...

So I made a decision that from now on I'm gonna have to take a closer look at the guest list before deciding if I'll attend these grand parties being thrown. I've now officially rambled on long enough and I'll go back and finish my work. The more I think about it, the more I realize I am going down to that place today and see if drunk tough guy is so tough when he's not drinking...lol

How did he know?  

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I have sorta been slugging around the last couple days. Just haven't been the same since hearing about my friends loss. I have been keeping myself busy enough the last couple days to keep my mind off of it though.

Lots of work is always a great escape, and yeah I know it's an escape but I choose it sometimes because it does offer me time to sort of straighten out my head a little bit. That said I pushed hard at work to keep my mind clear of all of that and came home a bit flustered from work. Lol guess it was a trade off in this case. I gave shock and sorrow for frustration and irritation.

So I went to my computer when I got home and was plugging away through the pile of emails that seem to just sneak right up on me and threaten to overwhelm me. My youngest son walks in the office and just stands there staring at me. I have to admit I was pretty engrossed in what I was doing. I knew that he was there, but he didn't say anthing just stood there. I didn't say anything figuring if it was important he would comment. He didn't say anything for a few minutes then walked out, so I crawled back into my work and continued on.

About 5 or 10 minutes later my little one was back. He walked around the desk and held out his hand. Inside it was a small piece of chocolate from that Christmas calendar thing we have on the refrigerator. You know the one that counts down the days to Christmas and each day you open a spot to get a small candy until you reach Christmas. I asked him what that was for and he explained that I looked like I needed a present. I just looked at him for a second not understanding. He told me I had been not feeling good and he thought that I should get a present to cheer me up. I gratefully accepted the chocolate with a smile. He gave me a big hug and told me that he loved me and ran out of the office.

The 8 year old boy was able to cheer me up in about 10 seconds by showing me that he cared enough to pay attention. Here I was thinking I was being coy and hiding it, and the smallest of the group saw it for what it was. He's a great kid, and has a huge heart. I just couldn't believe that he saw through me so easily.

I decided that if he was willing to go through the effort of cheering me up that the least I could do was be cheered up. I see everybody busy going about their business and not many people have the time to slow down and look around at the everyday stuff. I'm sure glad my kid is at an age where everyday stuff is still the thing that interests him.

I looked at my note reminding me to let my family know that I love em. I am making sure I do that a lot more, but I called Ethan back in the room, to give him another hug and tell him thanks again. The smile on his face from something that small was amazing to me.

The mood is improving just thinking about that little act of kindness from my own son. I just wish I was in touch as this little guy is to what matters the most.

Ethan, you are a great kid and Daddy loves you!!!

I'm At A Loss  

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I don't think Thanksgiving will ever be quite the same for me. I found out that today my friend's son passed away in a car accident. He was going back to school from visiting family for Thanksgiving. I didn't know this young man personally, and I haven't spoken with his parents face to face in some time. We kept in touch on facebook to some degree, but you know how that goes.

It just really struck me that I don't know how I would handle this type of tragedy. God forbid this would happen to one of my children. These people are strong and I know they will make it. It just seems like such a waste of a young life. This boy was just getting started and everything was taken away from him and his family in the blink of an eye.

It got me to thinking how important it is to let my family know how important they are to me. I don't tell them often enough that they are the reason I maintain some measure of sanity (allbeit slim sometimes). I'm pinning a note to my desk to remind me to say it more often. To show it more often, and most importantly to enjoy the time I have now because I can never know how long it will last.

To Steve and Shelly, I'm truly sorry for your loss. I remember all of us at that age just preparing to go out into the world. We were excited about what was to come, and even if we wouldn't admit it we were a little scared of it as well. I am praying for you guys and a lot of other people are as well.

So to any of you that happen to read this. Keep my friends in your thoughts, and if you are so inclined say a little prayer for them, I have a feeling they are going to be needing as much support as they can get.

Tis the Season?  

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Well here we go into the "Holiday" season. It doesn't officially start until Thanksgiving although I think they should go ahead and give the nod to Halloween. After all around the beginning of October is when I see the first signs of Christmas anyway, so why not just usher in the Holiday season with the beginning of Fall.

I'm against putting up decorations for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I surely do love the Christmas music. It's on a station where I live 24 hours a day. I drive my coworkers and family nuts with it. It's just very uplifting for me to listen to Perry Como or Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs. :)

I've mentioned in the past that I work as a safety manager. Well I get these little tidbits of information from time to time from different "safety" sources. News clips or changes in regulations. Anyway, I saw one the other day that was talking about the proper training for employees to avoid injuries during big crowd events ie. Black Friday. This all came about because some poor soul was trampled to death last year at a Walmart during Black Friday. I'm just curious how they plan to train all these people in what to look for and how to avoid this kind of mess in less than a week (the regulation came out last friday). It took them over a year from the time this poor guy died to come up with a plan. Ah well if that isn't a good sign of our government at work, I don't know what is.

So I have been browsing the websites looking for the good deals that are supposed to be happening this weekend. I have to say I'm not all that impressed with it. We are supposedly recovering from this economic crisis. I would think they would do a bit more to get people into the store instead of offering the same stale, tired sales that they have been offering for the last month (with an extra 3-5% off).

BUT in the true spirit of the season, I have to share a little enounter I had with a "kid"(he was about 17). I was in line at the local Mcdonalds, well not local, but since I travel a good bit, I consider them pretty local. So I'm waiting in line and it's a pretty healthy line, I'd say there were at least 15 people in front of me and a good 10 behind. The line was moving along at a snails pace. Right behind me was this young man and behind him was this older woman (I'd guess late 70's). She was a little stooped and was chatting with everybody around here. Very outgoing and pleasant. She was talking to a bunch of younger kids behind her and they were all having a good laugh which sorta surprised me because usually kids don't have time for the elderly in my experience.

I came to find out that she had recently lost her husband and oldest son in a car accident (same accident). Well that just shot my mood to yucky in about one second. She told us not to be upset because she had faith that they were in a better place. She went on to tell us about her husband and son. By now the younger kids weren't listening anymore, but me and this guy behind me sure were. She told us how her son was a coach for little league and her husband used to go help him up until only a couple of years ago. I guess that her husband had some health issues that kept him from doing all the things he had enjoyed earlier in life. She wasn't specific and I didn't ask.

We were up to the front of the line and I asked her if I could buy her lunch for her. She accepted, but before I could get her order the boy behind me asked if I would please allow him to. I was a little shocked, but said sure. He placed his order for her and him ahead of me, and then explained to both of us that her son was his little league coach. The boy didn't remember her husband but said that her son was a great coach and always thought of the kids first. This boy was getting ready to get out of high school he said, and wanted to be a teacher because he wanted to be able to help kids like "Coach" did. Well I was getting a little emotional as I placed my order. I got my stuff and was walking away. The old woman was hugging the boy and told him that he gave her the best Christmas present she could ask for.

It's funny how these things can happen. I got to thinking about it afterwards. It's defintely a small town and the chances of running into each other are pretty good. I'm just glad I got to witness it and be involved in the conversation. I coached for about 17 years and I loved every minute of it (well maybe not every minute of it). It's a reward to see the kids learn something new and watch their eyes light up when they realize they got it right. I can only hope that one day I'll have a kid come up to me and say I had that kind of impact in his life. We think about doing that with our own children, but just remember others are watching. We are role models whether we want to be or not. I'm sure glad that lady got her Christmas present early :)

Online Gaming FTW!!  

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For those of you not involved in any form of online gaming, FTW simply means for the win. I am a complete online game freak but only for really one game. I play a game called Guild Wars. It's an MMORPG (Massive Multi Online Role Playing Game). I have been a gaming fanatic as long as I can remember. I started out playing pong. Which is by the way the first true video game. My taste in video games has evolved with the culture. I choose this particular game that I play now because it has stunning graphics and a good storyline for people that care to follow it.

Add to the fact that I have made so many friends online. We network with people from everywhere. I play with people from Germany, France, England, even a couple from Italy. Not to mention about 7 states here in the U.S. I have lots of people tell me that I can get the same thing from MySpace or Facebook. Nope I can't. I am a card carrying member of both although I don't even bother with MySpace any longer. I still network with my friends through Facebook, and don't get me wrong I enjoy it just fine for what it is.

The difference for me, is that I am able to relax and be myself online. Be it gaming, or networking. Gaming just allows me to be a little more silly and a little more childlike (immature). I have to say it's pretty liberating to become a character in a game and just let loose and have a good time. No worries about the job, or what's for dinner, or if the electric bill got paid on time. I can let loose and be somebody or something else for a little while and still retain who I am. Sounds a little confusing to read it, but for those of you that play, I'm sure it's totally making sense right about now.

I would suggest that if you have kids, or heck if you don't and you want a chance to relax without having to rely on a movie or the couch. Invest in one of the tons of MMORPG games available. Many are free to download and free to play. The only thing you really have to invest is a little time and effort in understanding the game and the storyline.

Now this will never take the place of my beloved reading, but it's a nice filler when I'm a little burned out on the stuff I'm reading, or if I've had a particularly rough day at work. It's nice to log in and talk with people that can relate to me, and even if they don't always understand exactly what my problem is, they understand that the gaming world is a great place to leave it behind. We have made a point of always finding something fun to do and hopefully as a large group. We have albums full of SS (screen shots) of gaming adventures, that are every bit as fun to look through as my pictures of the last Rec league softball team I was on.

I know that I'm a nerd, but I don't really care. I like the fact that there are tons of other nerds just like me and they are enjoying the same nerdy stuff I'm enjoying. So if you have a couple hours on the weekend go ahead and download a game, and give it a shot. I won't promise that it's for you, but I promise that if you like it, a whole new world will open up for you.

It's All Good  

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I realized that lately I've been sort of focusing on the negatives. It became pretty clear to me when I got so irritated by that rude little kid. I got to thinking that maybe I shouldn't let that kind of stuff get me down. My grandfather always told me that I will see in people exactly what I want to see. If I'm focusing on the bad stuff then I'm gonna see the bad in people, and of course if I start looking for the good then it's going to be that much easier to find.

I decided this morning that I was going to focus on the good stuff. So this is the middle of the month and for me that means Safety Meeting. I have to talk to people about the most boring drivel there is and I have to do it in a way that will keep their interest for at least 25 minutes. Any good presenter will tell you that the key is to make sure you get your information out there in a fashion that appeals to your audience, and do it in a timely manner. The longer you drag on the less they tend to remember.

With this in mind, I decided to go with a more humorous approach. I like joking around with the people I work around, and they generally like to joke back. I have some funny videos that I show from time to time to sort of lighten the mood while still offering up the information that they need to have. I chose one of these for this morning. So I got to the facility about 20 minutes ahead of time but nobody was there yet. I don't have the keys to unlock this place so I sat there and waited until 5 minutes before meeting time. Sure enough the guy shows up in the nick of time so that I can rush around and get everything in order before the meeting starts. Now normally I would have been a little irritated that he chose to show up to unlock at a few minutes before, but this is the new me. I told myself he probably got held up in traffic, or just dropped into the Mcdonalds on the way for a cup of coffee. No big deal right?

So I get the dvd player set up and the TV too. This only took an extra 15 minutes, because this same guy didn't bother to have anything out and available to get started. I once again told myself that he had probably just overlooked it, and it wasn't really him being difficult or anything like that. So I asked this guy where the DVD was that I left last night in preparation for this meeting, and he tells me that he didn't see it. He goes on to explain to me that it's not his job to have all this stuff set up and if I can't keep track of the movie I should hold on to it instead of leaving it in an unattended room overnight. Ok so maybe he had a rough night and just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I'm still looking for some good here.

The meeting has to go on, so I get a different movie for these guys to suffer through. It is about 15 minutes of pure boredom. I haven't even seen this movie before, so I can't offer up any additional information when they start asking questions. So now I look like I don't know my job but I figure it's not a big deal. This is just one meeting and these guys just want to get done and get out of here. So we finish up in a pretty good time only took about an hour and I'm thinking something is finally going right. So everybody is leaving and this one guy is walking out but he stops to tell me that I shouldn't let it bother me too much.
I have no idea what he's talking about, so he explains to me that this wonderful guy that has done nothing but cause me grief this morning has been sort of telling stories about the safety manager (that's me). He was teling the guys that i'm not ever prepared and then he went on to blame me for the meeting starting late (I guess I have phantom keys to unlock the door). He even went as far as to tell the guys that I chose this movie over the other, cause I didn't figure they would understand the other one.

So I decided that maybe you can't always find something good in somebody. I set this poor guy straight. I explained to him how things had really worked and that I had absolutely nothing to do with the late start or the crappy movie they had to endure. I then proceeded to walk over to this "supervisors" office to give him a piece of my mind. I walked in the room and closed the door. He told me he'd be right with me. I told him that he would indeed be right with me. Then next 15 minutes would be a series of @$#! as that was pretty much all that was said with a couple of "if I ever hear any of this crap again" thrown in for good measure. I decided that it would have better impact on mr. personality if I just left quickly before I overdid it. So before he had a chance to respond I turned around and out the door I went.

The rest of the day wasn't nearly as bad, in fact my second meeting was very successful and I managed to give out some gift cards in a drawing (because we had the extra time). I was driving home and slipped through the little town where yesterday the young man with the bad attitude was crossing the street. I was sure that he was going to rear his rude little head and I was going to fall back into the "funk" I seem to have been in. Alas he wasn't anywhere to be found which turned out to be a good thing since I didn't have my son with me like I told the little prince I would.

I realize that I have not followed my own rule now. I have made this post long and boring, but at the very least I got this off my chest. One more week and it's Thanksgiving and I'll be a happy camper. Until then I think that my best bet is to avoid the mean and nasty's of the world and like the Beatles said "Let it Be".

Superior Scribbler Me??  

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I was honored with an award very recently... I have seen this one floating around here and there amongst the blogs that I read. I am most honored to receive this from Kristen at http://readingartandwriting.blogspot.com/

There are a couple of rules involved with this award
Superior Scribbler Rules :

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the Award to 5 most deserving Bloggy friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the Author & name of the blog from whom he/she received the Award.

*Each Superior Scribbler must display the Award on his/her blog and link to this post which explains the award.

*Each blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler award must visit Superior Scribbler Rules :

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the Award to 5 most deserving Bloggy friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the Author & name of the blog from whom he/she received the Award.

*Each Superior Scribbler must display the Award on his/her blog and link to this post which explains the award.

*Each blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler award must visit http://scholastic-scribe.blogspot.com/2008/10/200-this-blings-for-you.html.
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Now to pass on this great award...

1. http://hbmike2000.blogspot.com/

2. http://www.thecleanwhitepage.com/

3. http://writeitanyway.blogspot.com/

4. http://abookwithaview.blogspot.com/

5. http://plainolebob.blogspot.com/

Right of Way?!?  

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I completely understand that the pedestrian has the right of way. I was taught that from a very young age. I remember as a young boy walking across a couple of busy intersections. In school they used to teach us to look both ways before crossing. Now maybe it's just me, but doesn't a little common sense have to come into play here? After you check both ways, shouldn't you also ensure that the way is clear before crossing? I don't undestand a bunch of school kids who look, and seeing a barrage of cars......cross anyway. Do they not realize that some cars are paying as little attention as they themselves are? Is it really gonna matter who has the right of way, if somebody gets splattered all over the road? On the headstone it will read "Here lies little Jimmy...... He had the right of way".

The reason for this little tantrum, is because of this afternoon on the way home.
I had sorta finished early and decided to come on home. I pass through a couple of small towns before I get to my small town, and decided to stop in one of them for a quick lunch. I hit a bad time since school was recently out. All the school kids were walking down the sidewalk. I noticed that they were crossing the street up ahead of me in little groups. Now instead of walking an extra half a block and crossing at the light, the kids were crossing at a crosswalk with no light. First of all what kind of backward town has crosswalks in the middle of the busiest street in the whole dang town? I am if nothing else a good ol' boy, but even I see how senseless it is too have a crosswalk in the middle of the street and then at the traffic light. This goes on through the whole street, which by the way is about 2 1/2 to 3 miles long. So anyways, I'm noticing these kids crossing in little groups, and they are for the most part waiting for traffic to calm before attempting the cross. Enter my group of kids. I say my group because these are the adorable little children who chose to cross as I was appoaching the middle of the street. About 4 of them were joking and laughing and they just started walking. Now I knew that I would pass well before they got to me, but the cars on the others side of the road slammed on their brakes. These kids didn't even look at the cars that nearly had an accident avoiding them. I stopped right in the middle of the cross walk. They almost ran into my truck because they couldn't even look far enough in front of themselves to see that a truck was parked in their way. Finally one of them looked up and then looked at me. He just stood there, didn't try to go around me or back up. Just staring at me with who knows what on his mind. I rolled down the window and proceeded to expalin to him that he was asking for a large helping of hurt if he didn't pay a little more attention to what he was doing (maybe not as G rated as that). He flipped me off. Yeah this 14 or 15 year old kid flipped me off. then he started to walk around my truck. I was sort of stunned that this kid thought it was acceptable to nearly cause an accident and then flip off the guy that warned him of what he did. So I pulled forward a little bit as he was going around me (he wasn't smart enough to go behind the vehicle). At that point he got the idea that maybe I wasn't the best person to flip off. He sort of trotted across the street with his friends quickly following him. I rolled down the other window and explained to him that I would be back tomorrow to see if he wanted to offer up that finger to me again. Only this time I was bringing my under 18 son with me. Now I know that I got down to his level on this one, but I can't understand the throught process here. Can someone please tell me, who is teaching our kids that it's ok to show a complete and utter lack of respect to everyone and everything around them? Now I'm starting to sound like the old farmer that used to cuss me all the time when I was a kid. Of course when I was getting yelled at I stood there and took it then I apologized for doing whatever dumb thing I was doing when I got caught....

Ok I feel a little better now. But I'm still going to go back there tomorrow with my boy and see if this kid is really brave or really dumb. Either way, he and I are going to have us another chat....

Fianl Approach  

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So I might have mentioned that I really like to read debut novels. I have said it before and I'll say it again. Debut novels are like Christmas presents, you just never really know for sure what you are gonna get. So I was pretty excited to get to read a debut novel from an author whose blog I happen to peruse on a regular basis. Rachel Brady wrote Final Approach. You can check out her blog at this URL http://writeitanyway.blogspot.com/ I will warn you now that this month she is a little preoccupied with NaNoWriMo, but you can check her archives for tons of good stuff. So anyway on to the story.

Final Approach is a bit of a chilling mystery to me. It's about a woman named Emily who is trying to locate a kidnapped child. Now Emily has some baggage related to child abduction, and she has lost her Husband and daughter to a tragic accident. She agrees to help the man she believes is responsible at least in part for a previous kidnapper getting off scott free. She is a skydiver and agrees to go undercover for this private investigator and see what she can dig up. I know absolutely nothing about skydiving, so this was also a mini lesson in skydiving terminology. Not to mention that I could visualize so much of the surroundings, and could imagine some of the sensation from a dive. Before I wasn't sure if I would ever want to skydive, now I'm sure I don't.

I will warn you now, if you have children this book will pull at your heart strings. I can hardly imagine what must go through the mind of a parent who has lost their child, be it to abduction or a tragic accident. This is an emotional roller coaster of a book, with twists and turns everywhere. I am not the biggest of mystery fans, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anybody who even thinks they might like mystery. Well written and I loved the ending. I hope the Emily Locke series becomes just that.

Keep your eyes on this author she will be putting out some more good stuff. I just hope it's soon enough to suit this reader :)

Getting Noticed is so Cool!!  

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I am a middle child. If anybody doesn't know about middle children we get blamed for just about everything. We may have done it, or maybe not but that doesn't matter we still get the blame. As such middle children look for praise and acceptance more than the oldest or youngest (I read that somewhere). I wholeheartedly agree with that.

So Imagine my excitement to find that I was noticed by Sarah @ http://sarah-writerinmaking.blogspot.com/
As with most awards there are a couple of rules that must be followed. While I'm not great at following rules I do believe these are most appropriate.

1. Thank the person who gave the award to you.

2. Copy award.

3. Post it in your blog.

4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don't know.

5. Link 7 new bloggers as recipients.

6. Notify winners of award with comment on their blog .

7. Keep being awesome!

Well with that said obviously THANK YOU so much Sarah.

Now for 7 things...hmmmm
1. I once ate 2 1/2 lbs of spaghetti on a bet in a sitting (it was a long sitting).
2. I was kicked out of typing class in high school for typing faster than my teacher and rubbing it in.
3. I love to read an author's debut novel.
4. I have 4 dogs 2 cats and a turtle.
5. I was a total jock in school, but none of my sons have shown an interest in traditional sports
6. I am told (by my kids) that I make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.
7. I scored in the top 5% on my ASVAB(military induction test), but could barely manage B's through high school.

Now, to pass this on...

1. http://wwwbobbypinsboardwalk.blogspot.com/ bobbypins boardwalk is just a really fun site to go browsing through. Jan is totally awesome and has more ideas than you can shake a stick at.

2. http://www.thecleanwhitepage.com/ I recently found the clean white page, and let me tell you, Tina has some unbelievable stories. Just tons of talent there check it out!

3. http://coachyourmind.blogspot.com/ I don't remember how I happened onto this blog, but I'm sure glad I did. Dayne is the type of person that makes you think about some of the tough things in life (like self improvement). He has a unique way of getting to the meat of the problem. He has saved me a ton of money on therapy..lol.

4. There are 2 blogs that I love, that also received this award from Sarah. Ian at http://thedailydoseofreality.blogspot.com/ I read his blog every day, and I promise that if you check it out you won't be disappointed. Ian will get you thinking about all sorts of stuff...


5. Kristy at http://kristy-hutchison.blogspot.com/ This was the 2nd blog I followed. I love her way of writing things that allows someone dopey like me the ability to understand. She is an aspiring author and I'm sure that she will do it. Really great writing style.

check both of these guys out you won't be disappointed.

6. Desertson at http://writersoup.blogspot.com/ He is also a writer, and if you check down his blog a bit you will find a teaser from his writing. Very talented guy, and I wish he would hurry up and put that story out. Did I mention that his daughter sings like an angel (no kidding). check out the links on his site she is a truly amazing singer in my opinion.

7. Russ at http://ramblingrussspeaksout.blogspot.com/ This is a new blog for me. I have to say that I really enjoy the posts he has put up so far. He is just getting started here, but I'm sure that if what he has is any indication of what we will be seeing. This is gonna be a great blog.

So those are my 7 and I am sure that if the rules said list 25 I could have done that too. I really have been lucky finding so many great blogs out there since I started following along.

For those that have followed along recently a little side note. My son Ethan is OK. They said he just has a good ol' fashioned cold. Imagine that nowadays there is still just a regular cold out there :)

Home Remedy  

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My little boy has begun to get sick. Not anything serious yet, but the cough is there, and the eyes are a bit glassy (no fever thankfully). He just seems sorta miserable. He doesn't say it, but when he doesn't want to play, and just wants to lay down and watch tv then you know as a parent that kiddo isn't feeling up to specs.

I tried the home remedies that have been passed down to me. Unfortunately for coughs they are pretty light. I did the hot tea with honey, and boiled the hot water over the stove. Then I just figured that if hot water boiling was good the whole dang bathroom full of steam would be better. So he has been stuck in the shower, force fed tea and made to inhale large quantities of steam from a pot. I will fix him or kill him at this rate.

So I started wondering if maybe anybody out there had their own home remedies for a cough or cold. I would be willing to try anything to make him feel better (he might not be too excited about it). So if you have something drop me a line and I promise I won't tell Ethan where the info came from....

Anybody Remember the Milkman?  

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I admit I was fairly young, but I still remember the milkman dropping off the little carrying case of milk on the front porch. It wasn't a plastic carton, it was glass. We usually had 4 of them in that little contraption made of cheap wire. My mom would tell me to make sure that I put the basket back on the porch every Sunday or we would get charged for a second basket (that was a no no). I didn't talk often to the milkman, he usually would say a simple "Good Morning" and be on his way. Is it just me or did that milk taste better than the $4/gallon stuff we drink now?

That made me think about a lot of the services we used to get that were a little more personal back then. The garbageman, that's right he was called a garbageman and he was proud to be called that. He came by our neighborhood twice a week and emptied those shiny metal cans that were multipurpose. In the summer those cans were filled with ice for all the sodas and other drinks at the barbecue. The lids made perfect shields for BB gun fights. Every now and then the garbageman would dent up the can. There was almost always a note on our door, apologizing for the dent to the can.

Of course there was the mailman too. The mailman from my childhood knew my name, and he knew the name of every kid on the street. He also knew the families and could shout greetings by name up and down the street. He didn't drive a little mail jeep, he walked. He wore those funky post office shorts, and we used to laugh a little when he left, but it wasn't uncommon to have him ask how the little league game went last night, or if we were keeping up our grades at school. Heck our mailman even liked our dog and that dumb dog seemed to like him.

Now I couldn't tell you my Postal Delivery Service driver's name if my life depended on it. Mostly because it's not the same person on a daily basis. The solid waste disposal technician shows up at about 4:30 in the morning (usually) and if I have a lid left on my receptacle I'm happy. Thankfully heavy duty plastic doesn't exactly dent. The milkman is dead. He was replaced by the mini-mart and the discount grocery stores of the world.

Nothing is personal anymore. I'm sorry that my kids won't get to experience that side of this town I grew up in. I'm not saying everything was rosy back then. We had our fair share of problems. Bullies were still running around like they do today (but back then they hit you with a fist). Drunks, pushers, and just plain inconsiderate people were still around then too, but people tended to frown on that type of behavior a bit more. Now if you are one of those categories nobody wants to say anything cause somebody might get offended. Political correctness is more important today I suppose.

Well there isn't much I can do about the milkman, but sometimes I wish he was back, along with my mailman and the garbageman...........

DEVICES and DESIRES  

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Well I haven't really made any mention of some of the books I have been entertaining lately (cause most of them have not been entertaining me). I am defintely a fan of Fantasy/Adventure as well as a slew of other genres, but I find myself returning to Fantasy a good deal.

Well some time back I made a trip to Barnes & Noble to check for anything that might sucker me into yet another purchase for the bookshelf. Not to get away from the subject but there is this amazing library on bobbypinsboardwalk you can find that project here http://wwwbobbypinsboardwalk.blogspot.com/2009/10/living-turned-library.html . Anyway I found what appeared to be a pretty interesting read. I had never read anything from K.J. Parker before so I was doubly excited. I love reading new authors, it's almost like Christmas. You just never know what you are gonna get, and just like Christmas sometimes it's really really cool, and sometimes it's that tired old sweater that you already have a dresser full of.

The story revolves around an engineer from The Republic. He breaks the guild law by making something not to specifications. Sounds a little blah, but the whole premise of the book is based around this society that is built around order. Everything has a place and everybody has a job. They are the only culture with technical knowledge so advanced. They basically make everything that the outlying cities and towns purchase. If somebody goes "rogue" it is imperative to recover them or remove them.
Nobody else has the technical knowledge to build the war machines that keep this republic so strong. Nor does anybody have the skills or abilities to make these knick knacks and every other creature comfort available in the same way or with the same precision as the republic.

This engineer is sentenced to die, because he broke the rules and made something he wasn't supposed to. He escapes and offers his services to the Duchy of Eremia. The very city that just suffered a devasting battle to the Republic. The Duchy is a bit unsure and assume that he is a spy or some such agent, sent to ensure the total destruction of their city.

The whole story revolves around the engineer and the leaders of two other cities. It's basically a story about a man starting a war to be able to reunite with his own family. There is a lot of "technical" jargon in this book. So if you are into that type of thing this will be great for you. My biggest problem with this story was I found myself not really agreeing with the "hero". I like my heroes to have a similar take on the world that I do. Silly I know, but that's just me. The other thing that gives me pause is this is book one of the trilogy. By the way the trilogy is The Engineer Trilogy. Not exactly the most catchy of titles I admit.

If you can look past some of that, this is a really intriguing story. It gives you a little vision into what someone MIGHT do to be with their family. It's about more than just one man, it's about a mindset, and that's the part of the story I can relate to. I'll reserve judgement until I have read through all three books, for now the jury is out, but all in all it was able to keep me coming back to see what would happen next. If you are a patient reader it's not bad, this book runs about 600 pages and if you have no understanding of measurements it could be a bit confusing. Other than that it reads fairly easily.

I will start book 2 this weekend so we'll see how that goes. Hopefuly #2 leads me down the road I want it to :)

NaNoWriMo  

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Well I might have mentioned that I enjoy writing. I just don't write for other people. The stories were always confined to my kids or myself. The boys enjoyed stories about these neighborhood boys who were normal everyday school kids by day, and time traveling superheroes on their free time. ACES was born and it's been fun even if I have written far fewer now then I used to.

So when I started hearing about NaNoWriMo I figured I would give it a shot. After all how hard can it be to write 50,000 words in a whole month right? I have thrown away stories nearly that long and they didn't take more than 10-15 days until I decided they weren't worth the paper they were written on. NaNoWriMo doesn't care if I think it's good or bad, all that matters is the quantity. So I figured this would be a shoe-in for me to manage. I was wrong.

First of all it has to be original. I have a tendency to use common characters in most of my stories (pure laziness I think). So I resolved that issue fairly quickly. Not too difficult to bring another few people to life in my mind. Just putting a face to those voices in my head (I'm kidding there aren't usually voices in my head). Then of course just start writing. something usually comes to me as I start putting a character into situations. Their immediate reactions to common situations is usally good for at least 10-12k. Not this time. My characters don't wanna do anything. They want to be difficult. They haven't decided if they want to get along with each other, or if they want to take this trip I have planned for them.

I thought being a parent had it's rough spots, but sometimes I feel like getting ideas out of my head and onto paper is far more difficult than talking my 8 year old into eating veggies. I don't seem nearly as strange to my kids when I argue with them about their eating habits, compared to arguing with myself about a storyline.

I've decided that maybe all I really need to do is have a couple of tasty beverages (code word for Jim Beam and soda) and maybe everything will start to sort of line out and become a bit more cohesive. If nothing else I figure I'll be a much happier failing writer.

Anybody else out there offering up their souls to the NaNoWriMo Gods? More importantly anybody else out there having similar difficulties? I'm sure that I'm not the only one. I looked on the site and saw there were tons of people in my area attempting this. Altough I have to admit looking at their word counts made me realize how far behind the curve I am at this point.

Well I guess I have procrastinated long enough, and I'm gonna head to the kitchen for one of those tasty beverages and hopefully some inspiration....

So much for Mr. Nice Guy  

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Well I guess I'm a little fed up. I figure I must be a little irritated cause I haven't even posted here in like 5 days. So anyway, here is my situation.

For those that don't know, I was married previously. I divorced almost 15 years ago. From my first marriage I have a son, Andrew. Now Andrew is a good kid in a bad situation. From a religious standpoint (formerly Catholic), I'm a bad bad dude. It's just not something you are supposed to do. Of course if I give the church money, they would indeed annul my marriage. There are of course a ton of ramifications that come with that, so I didn't choose that road.

Regardless, I pay child support. I have been doing so for 15 years now. With the exception of a short time when I first got divorced and was struggling, I am on time, I see my son and we have a good relationship. I have 2 younger sons with my wife now, and they have a good relationship with their brother also (if that is possible between young brothers).

The whole problem started when I had my son come and live with me for a year. He was having a ton of problems with his mom and stepfather, and wanted to come live with me and see if that would clear up some of the problems. I was more than happy to accommodate, since I have wanted my boy here with me for some time. I always felt that I made a big mistake in not getting 50% physical custody back when he was little. Since I can't change the past, I was hoping that we could do a little something with the current.

I am a family focused person. My family is the world to me. My wife, kids, parents, and siblings are very important to me, and I have hopefully influenced my children in that respect. So anyway, my boy came and lived with me for a year, and while his schoolwork faltered (I'm not good at forcing school issues), his social skills flourished. He developed friendships outside of school, that he had never managed before, and was actually doing things on the weekends besides sitting in front of the TV or video games. A little background on my son, he is ADHD and bipolar. I have a tough time finding the bipolar aspects in him. After being with him day and night for a year I don't see it, but the doctor seems to think so.

So for a year I had Andrew, but they continued to take child support from me. His mother said that she would just give me the support payments as they came to her. Well this didn't happen of course, and I'm not that cold hearted (usually). I figured that times were pretty hard for her, and she would get it back to me. So I switched jobs, and the child support stopped coming out of my check. I figured that was OK, since I have my son. Guess what it's not OK. They started sending letters, and I told them that he lives with me. I was told to get a note stating that, well his mother said that she wouldn't give me a note and then she had him move back home.

So I guess it was about the money all along. So now they zapped my account to $0. I can't buy a dang hamburger if I wanted to at this point. No movie for the little ones this weekend, and no response from the ex. I find it really hard at times like this to believe in the system. Since I'm the non-custodial parent, I'm automatically the bad guy. I must be to blame. They don't want to hear what the situation is they just want you to shut up and pay them. I shudder at the thought of the government getting further into my pockets than they are now. If this is how they handle a simple misunderstanding with child support, I can only imagine how they will handle health care.

So I have made phone calls, and sent emails, and who knows maybe one person who cares a little bit will bother to look over the information and fix the problem before they turn off my phone, pg&e, cable and everything else I send a check to pay for...

They system truly sucks, but from now on I'm gonna have to just realize that the other guy or gal (still use the word gal sorry) isn't looking out for anyone but themselves, and unfortunately I will have to become that way too if I want to survive in this system....

Thanksgiving or Christmas??  

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I was asked recently which I prefer Thanksgiving or Christmas. My immediate thought was CHRISTMAS!!!! You get gifts and a couple days off, everybody gets together from out of town. I get to see relatives I haven't seen in a year and it's just a big sense of family. Well at least with our family that is how Christmas is.

Then I stopped and thought about it a little bit closer. Thanksgiving is a freebie Holiday. There are no expectations. You don't have to find a ultra cool gift for that 8 year old you only see once a year. You don't have to deplete your bank account for the gift that mom and dad only put out if they think you will see it.(They already have just about anything they want.) Around here we get Thursday and Friday off, so that makes for a great 4 day weekend. Top it off with FOOTBALL!!!!

The only drain on me for Thanksgiving is possibly my house is a little messy and I over eat (like that doesn't happen on every thursday). I get to go play football in the front yard with my cousins and the neighborhood kids, and we get to relive a little slice of our youth. Yeah you know back when knees worked and backs didn't hurt and don't forget that nagging pain in the shoulder. Of course the downside to all of that is Friday, but hey it's a day off so I can recover on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday if need be.

On Christmas I have to spend more money in one month than I make in 5. I am generally wrong on at least half of the presents I buy for family and friends (guess I'm not a good judge of what other people like). I still have to clean up the house after it's all over. The difference being on Chrstmas I have to clean up gift wrap as well as dishes.

So I changed my answer and told my friend that I prefer Thanksgiving over Christmas. I then proceeded to explain the pros and cons as I saw them. It took my buddy about 5 minutes to think through everything I said before his response.

He told me that I had it all wrong. Christmas isn't about presents. He explained to me what Christmas is truly about (like I didn't grow up in a Catholic house). I let him ramble on for about 20 minutes before I stopped him and asked how much money he spent on Christmas even though it's not about the presents. He has 3 children ranging in age from 4-10. Well he wouldn't tell me, but told me that it was over $1000. WOW!!!! Little kid presents shouldn't cost that much first of all.

So we argued the merits of his statements about Christmas compared to mine. The argument got a bit heated and I guess we raised our voices a little bit more than we realized. A gal (sorry I still use the word gal) who works at the office popped her head in the door and told us we were foolish. We were told that regardless of all of that Memorial Day was the best holiday. She then explained the whole 3 day weekend thing, how everything is on sale. You have good weather (here it's good weather in may) to go and do something as a family or with that special someone. Pretty soon, there was another head popped in the door, offering another Holiday. The argument faded into a laughing debate about Holidays and Birthdays and if your birthday should be considered a Holiday. We finally got the withering stare from the boss which was a signal to get our keesters back to the daily grind of well whatever we were doing at the time.

So now I'm faced with a dilema. Which is the best Holiday? So offer up your choice and give me a reason why you think it ranks as the best. I need some heavy ammunition for Monday when I get back that way and can finish this debate.

There Should Be A Law!!!!  

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I have to do a fair amount of traveling for work. In any given day I drive an average of 150 miles. I am thankful that it is almost always away from the freeway. As I work for an agricultural firm (yeah we are killing the planet) I am usually held to the country roads, and one minor highway that leads the back way to Southern California. I'm in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, and for those of you that aren't familiar with the area, it used to be flourishing with farming.

There was cotton, grapes, almonds, pistachios, lettuce, onions, garlic...Well you get the picture. Pretty much everything grows here. The soil is a miracle of nature in the Central Valley. It reminds me of those Sea Monkies from when I was a kid. Just Add Water..... That's pretty much the equation around here, just add water. Unfortunately the powers that be, aren't letting us have the water we need, so that is causing thousands of acres of fallow land. Bankrupt farming operations, unemployed communities. Well you get the picture. That is not what my biggest problem is right now though.

As I stated, I drive a fair amount daily, and I thought to myself that it wouldn't be that bad, cause after all this is in the country. There won't be all those annoying freeway commuters, in a hurry one minute and eating a donut and talking on the phone the next. This will be a calm relaxing drive to and from work, and back and forth to different locations during the day should be just as enjoyable right???

Well.....No wrong. It's a nightmare of stupidity out here on the country roads of California. People don't pay attention to where they are going, they don't pay attention to how fast they are going. Worst of all they don't pay attention to their surroundings. They are usually too busy talking on their flippin cell phones. Even better is when I see them still using those God awful CB radios. Come on people get into the 21st century. these are not a reliable means of communication.

I don't generally use the phone at all in my pickup. I will pull over if I talk. I take the whole thing about not driving and talking on the phone semi-seriously (I don't really like blue-tooth technology). I will finish my conversation and then I can just jump back on the road and get about business. You would think that is simple enough for most people to handle. After all it's not like they are flying down the road. Most of the time, these "farm workers" are either going 10 or 15 mph below the speed limit. I say farm workers because I don't know most of the time if they are the owners of the farm or just a hired hand, so I prefer to lump them all into one big category. That category is basically the annoyances. These are people that drive too slow and swerve on the road cause they don't pay attention to what they are doing while driving.

The other side of the spectrum is the Andretti's of the world. These are the people that drive 15-20 mph OVER the speed limit. These are people that don't generally drive out here in the sticks. They are driving in their BMW/Mercedes SUV or some biofuel crackerbox (no prius out here). They zoom up and down my roads (that's right they are mine Mon-Fri). Don't exclude our state's finest CHP officers. They love to exceed the speed limit, and then have the nerve to pull me over for not making a complete stop at a stop sign in a town of 70 people. BRILLIANT!!!

I have decided to take my bosses advice and do more work from home here on my faithful computer. I can avoid all the hustle and bustle of the country driving (never thought I'd say hustle and bustle with country). The only problem I can find with this scenario is no more donuts for breakfast, no more Mcdonalds for breakfast, and most of all no more BJ's Country Kitchen for breakfast (they have the best biscuits and gravy on the planet). If I can find a way to survive without these oh so necessary evils, I think that I"m gonna be a homebody a lot more often.