Fairy Tales  

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I confess, I believe in God. I am not a good christian boy as I suppose I should be, but nonetheless I still believe. Call it years of reading stories in the bible and hearing stories told by my grandparents as well as the occasional priest. Regardless of what denomination the basic principle is the same. There is an all powerful God who created the world in one manner or another and gave us a body and soul.

I had a conversation some time back with a college student and he told me that I should quit believing in fairy tales. The idea of an all powerful God was ridiculous. Science has the answers I was told. So I pressed a bit to find out what these answers were that I had not been made aware of until I found out that I had indeed been given these answers.....Big Bang Theory... Well Duh...The universe was a big sort of primordial soup and depending on what book you read it began a rapid expansion some 13 billion years ago. So I'm thinking this sounds pretty cool, and now I want to know more. I find out that with the expansion this big soup began to gather clusters of materials together and galaxies and all the other cool stuff was formed (those were not the exact words used, but I'm not smart enough to remember all that scientific talk). Suffice to say that the denser areas of matter attracted yet more matter and there ya go the beginning of the universe.

I told my college student friend that I still believed in God. Why couldn't God have done these things that he was talking about? After all nobody was around 13 billion years ago to see it happen, so we don't really know what started all of this. He told me NO! All things required for the universe were already in place just in a different state than we now recognize them as. The dark matter makes up the majority of matter in the universe. So I asked what dark matter was and he became sort of quiet. He told me that it was hard to explain and it was basically unseen matter. It couldn't be measured or detected except by seeing the reaction of other things in the universe and it was responsible for about 80% of the matter in the universe. I told him that didn't sound very scientific to use something that can't be seen or touched. Cant be measured or described and we want to use it to explain the other 80% of the matter in the universe. I was told that is how theories work. OK fair enough.

I told him that my theory involved one being that was responsible for 100% of the matter in the universe. This being couldn't be seen or touched, measured or described either. I could only measure and detect my unseen matter by it's effect on things around me also. Why is his theory good science and mine is a fairytale. Well he got a little ticked and called me something like "redneck" or "hillbilly" and stormed off. So I'm gonna wait for him to give me an answer. Stay tuned for part 2 if he gets back to me anytime soon.

We are just some superstitious folks. Clinging to our guns and our God. Oh well....

Every Rose Has it's Thorn  

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"What is the meaning of life?" is a line from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. For those of you that haven't seen the movie and have an extra 90 minutes or so of your life to burn I highly recommend it. It's mental vacation if ever a movie was. Bill and Ted get killed by evil robot versions of themselves sent back in time to kill them take over their lives and change the course of history. Well they die and defeat The Grim Reaper himself and earn a chance to come back to life and avenge their wrongful deaths. First they take a short visit to heaven and meet God but before they can enter the Pearly Gates they are asked the question, "What is the meaning of life?" The answer was obvious and they stole a line from a ballad by Poison. "Every rose has it's thorn, just like every night has it's dawn just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song." Funny how silly things can put so much perspective in your life.

I mentioned that I've attempted Nanowrimo again this year. For those that aren't aware of it that is the month of November when anybody and everybody who wants to writes a 50,000 word "story". I use the word story loosely because it's really an outline. After you are done and the month has ended then you should go back and make your corrections and all the other things you wanted to do. It's basically an outline in a 50,000 word format. So I jumped into it with a passion. Managed up to around 18,000 words and fell flat on my face.

I realize now that I did it to myself. I made excuses why I couldn't write this day or that. I had to take my kids to sports. I had too much work to finish that night, or I had to get up too early the next morning to stay up writing. I find that I do my most creative writing in the dead of night (not necessarily my best writing) and I prefer the early morning hours as in 2 or 3 a.m. to write. There have been a lot of things going on in my life and while I won't bore you with the details I will say that it has been more bad than good lately. So there I sat feeling sorry for myself. Boo hoo hoo poor pitiful me yet again. Then I watched Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

It's amazing how those simple words from that song made me think about music. Then that made me go to YouTube and while I didn't stay at Poison for more than the one song I found my self listening to all sorts of music that I had recently just shut off. Canon in D, to Train's Drops of Jupiter. Then I came to my little blog list and the first name I saw was Coach your Mind. Amazing what an inspirational story can do for you. Check them out he has some really amazing stories going on right now.

Every rose does have it's thorn. You want to write then shut up and write. Don't make excuses why you can't or shouldn't. Who cares if anybody else likes it or not. Writing should be for you first and everybody else second. I forgot that if I want the rose I had to deal with the damn thorn on the stem. So I'm going to finish that story now. I only have a week left to write 32,000 words and I don't even feel pressure about it. I KNOW that it's entirely attainable. The other part of that equation would be that all this negative crap I let myself lay under has been holding me back in a variety of ways. Not just writing so that's gotta go. Time for some positive approaches to a whole lot of things. 1% is the goal and if you don't know what that means I really really suggest you check out Coach your Mind.

Stupid movie? Maybe..... Sometimes you don't need a whole lot of nudging to get back on track. In my case it just took Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan and together they are Wyld Stallyns.

A Belated Happy Birthday!  

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November 10, 1775 is an exceptional day in history. Not everybody is aware that it is one of the most signicant days in American History. The ultimate fighting force in the world was formed on that day in Tun Tavern Pennsylvania. The United States Marine Corps.

Two meager battalions were made to form a naval infantry. Now the Marine Corps is the ultimate amphibious fighting force in the world. We are a small group but very proud of what we are and more importantly what we have done. If you ever served in the Marine Corps you were taught the rich history and sometimes unbelievable sacrifice many a marine has made on foreign as well as domestic soil.

From the Revolutionary War through Afghanistan. The Marine Corps has been there in any capacity required. "Adapt and overcome" is a cornerstone of the Corps and it is evident when you see a Marine in action that they take that philosophy very serious. First to fight, we never back down from a good scrap.

Many people don't agree with military action. Many people don't agree with U.S. involvement in a lot of places. That sometimes means that many people disagree with the military. Just remember a Marine does this most dangerous of jobs without a big paycheck or any noteriety. They do it, because they believe they are helping to make the world a safer place. They do it, because everybody needs somebody fighting in their corner sometime. If you haven't yet, go hug a Marine today and thank them for wanting to protect you. It's fitting that today is Veteran's Day and while I am thankful for all Veterans and what they did to preserve my way of life, I am most thankful for the United States Marine Corps. I have been out of the service since 1994, but anytime I see a Marine I see a brother or sister. I know that just like it was when I served they are still there willing to make the sacrifice to protect me and my family.

Happy Birthday USMC, and to all you Veterans out there. THANK YOU!!!!

In my day this was our creed as a Non-Commissioned officer...

"I am the backbone of the United States Marine Corps, I am a Marine Non-Commissioned Officer. I serve as part of the vital link between my commander (and all officers) and enlisted Marines. I will never forget who I am or what I represent. I will challenge myself to the limit and be ever attentive to duty. I am now, more than ever, committed to excellence in all that I do, so that I can set the proper example for other Marines. I will demand of myself all the energy, knowledge and skills I possess, so that I can instill confidence in those I teach. I will constantly strive to perfect my own skills and to become a good leader. Above all I will be truthful in all I say or do. My integrity shall be impeccable as my appearance. I will be honest with myself, with those under my charge and with my superiors. I pledge to do my best to incorporate all the leadership traits into my character. For such is the heritage I have received from that long, illustrious line of professionals who have worn the bloodstripe so proudly before me. I must give the very best I have for my Marines, my Corps and my Country for though today I instruct and supervise in peace, tomorrow, I may lead in war."

I for one was happy to serve and I know that my brothers and sisters in the service are happy to serve as well...

Semper Fidelis

Thank you come again  

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Do you remember as a kid going to a restaurant that didn't involve a number to order? You could get a steak or a pasta without saying "Give me the #2 large." The waitress was usually friendly and if you were a little guy like I was she would wink at you after you placed your order. The tables were clean and there were about 10 other families in the restaurant enjoying a meal and enjoying the comfortable, friendly atmosphere of the restaurant.

Then came our fast food joints. Now when Mcdonalds first came to our town I was a little boy. There weren't any value meals back then, but you could get a burger, fries and a drink in around 5 minutes. It was very cool and the only difference between the restaurant and Mcdonalds was the food was served faster. See at first you didn't stand at the counter to get your food. It used to be that you ordered and when your meal was ready a worker from behind the counter came and brought you your burger. She (not many he's back then) smiled at you just like the other waitress and sometimes she would wink at you too (if you were a little guy). Everything was please and thank you and the place was clean enough to eat off the floor.

Time moved on and things got faster and faster. Pretty soon it was a drive-thru. Great idea for a fast world. You can just pull up to the window outside the restaurant and order. It took about 3 minutes now to get a burger, fries and a coke. Pretty darn good if you were working two jobs and only had time to wolf down a quick meal between jobs. The gal at the window was still friendly and smiled at you. She even still said please and thank you with a come again thrown in there. Now she was winking because you weren't such a little guy anymore.

THEN came the value meal. You didn't have to be bothered with asking for a burger, fries and a coke. Now it was a #1 with a coke. This took about the same amount of time, but you didn't have to actually talk to the person behind the counter anymore and they didn't have to talk to you all that much either. Now you might get a thank you, but the come again was thrown out the window. Well at least the restaurant was still clean.

Now we are at today. There are value meals at just about anyplace you eat. That includes the sit down restaurant where you aren't required to dress up. I don't think the fancy restaurant has degraded to a meal # status yet. You can get it supersized or not, and you don't have to tell them what you want to drink if you go in. They don't make your drink anymore, and if the person behind the counter even looks up at you once you are amazed. There is no please, no thank you and there is no come again. They know that you are going to choose one grease house or another and there is a good chance you will choose theirs again because you are in a hurry and the kids have to be to practice in a few minutes or your appointment ran long and there isn't time before your next class to make something to eat. The restaurant is no longer clean, the garbage cans are no longer dumped regularly. the floors get swept twice a day. In the morning before the days starts and the night before the crew goes home. Counter tops are cleaned upon request not when somebody leaves the table. After all if they had somebody in there just cleaning up they would have to pay 50 or 60 dollars a day for that. Can't cut into the bottom line like that.

Nothing is personal any longer. Everything is automated and rushed. We are all running around as fast as we can to get to the next goal for our day. We don't even bother to slow down and enjoy getting to our goal today. We don't bother to talk to the people around us anymore, because after all they don't really look like they want to talk to us. We allow the worker in the store or restaurant to be rude and unprofessional because we don't want to "waste" the time complaining to a boss that will probably do nothing about it anyway. We don't correct the worker when they make a mistake in our favor because we figure they have ripped us off plenty of times in the past.

Maybe if we slowed down just a little bit and actually smiled at the person next to us and said Hi. Maybe if we took the time to tell the manager of that store that this is the 4th time the cashier has been rude and unprofessional and if something isn't done we won't be shopping there any longer. Maybe if we gave that extra 45 cents back to the cashier next time they would return the favor when an error is made against us as well. Maybe I'm just getting older and starting to realize that things are far more crappy than they once were in my opinion. We have a ton more toys and gadgets but we traded those things for conversation and companionship. I think we just might have gotten the bad end of this deal.

Tennis is a Mental Sport!  

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My son is on the tennis team for middle school (Jr. High for those of us over 30). He was really excited about playing tennis because I played tennis in high school. He wasn't so excited about playing baseball after he got plastered by a pitch when he was 7 so we moved on to other sports and tennis is something I think he has some great potential in. He needs to be a little more driven but hey, he's 12 and girls and video games are still a priority in his mind.

I go out to the court with him and we do some exercises that I remember doing as a youngster to help develop diffrent aspects of his game. I have to admit his mental game is pretty strong, so I'm thinking the rest should be much easier. The problem is at this point he is pretty sucky. It's not his fault. I can only work with him a limited amount of time and I've come to find out that his "coach" is merely that in name. My son doesn't even know his coach's name because the guy never gave it to the kids. He is supposed to be a tennis player, but yesterday I went to my sons match to watch. Half of the kids didn't know how to score a match. They didn't know which side to serve from, they didn't understand when to switch sides, and they didn't understand how to play doubles. This is half of the kids. The other half understood but totally sucked at this game.

I was never a great player, but I was better than average. I didn't have the drive to be great. It was fun for me, but I didn't take the sport seriously enough to make it my focus all the time. It's not something I regret. I still enjoy the game and I'm sure that's because I never made it a job. I don't want my son to make it a job either, but I want him to see progress and this "coach" does the team a disservice. He seems to think that coaching is merely having the kids hit forehands all day at practice and standing outside the court clapping when they play (lose every single match).

Out of 9 matches yesterday, my son's team won 1 game. For those of you that don't play tennis a set consists of 6 games. At this level they only play a single set each. Sooooo we could break that down as 54-1.....I know winning isn't everything but come on seriously....how about being competitive....So we shall see how tomorrow's match goes...I'm hoping for 2 games won this time...

Don't know if I mentioned but my dad's biopsy came back clear...WOOHOO!! So we move on to see what the docs at Stanford have to say about it....Fingers and toes are still crossed, but it's looking better and better for the home team on that front.

I have been safe from the HIYAA!! Since my little one developed an infection on his toe. He informed me that his kicking would have to wait until said toe is "uninfected daddy". Then he has explained to me how he will make up for all lost kicks. So at least at tennis time I will be able to breathe without any bruising on the ribs to make it difficult or uncomfortable. Lord help me make through this week :)


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Have I ever mentioned that I'm a glutton for punishment? I'm sure at some point I brought it up. I have further proven to myself that I enjoy being given the beat down at least from time to time.

Case in point. My youngest son wanted to join karate. He begged, pleaded, promised and pouted until we relented (which was fairly quickly). So he is learning to be courteous first. I thought what a great idea. To teach the children manners and to respect others is a big deal for me. So I was rather proud of my little one when the instructor offered up praise for how courteous my little one is already. "We will not have to teach your child manners. He learned them and applies them. Nice job dad!"

Ok I admit it, I might have been beaming with pride just a little bit. So we get home and he holds the door open for me (which is not something he normally does). I have not even really sat down when he asks if we can practice just a little bit of what he learned. I figure sure no problem. They were working on please and thank you for most of the hour, so how hard can it be. He then explained to me that they learned a kick and a punch. I'm thinking this is looking up. Only one punch and one kick. He should only be able to do them about 10 or 15 times each before he is tired and then I can watch Warehouse 13 and relax for a few minutes.

So the kicks come and so do the punches. After each and every one is a gut wrenching HIYAAA!!! My ears hurt far more than my arms did after this exercise. I thought for sure I had survived day one of karate until my boy told me that he was thinking about it and figured out a way to use his wrestling with his karate. A demonstration was in order of course. First comes the single leg take down (which was done exceptionally well I might add). I fall to the ground like a good practice dummy, but before I can so much as cover up I'm punched in the middle of my chest. The pain was minimal and I was thinking that for a little guy it still hurt quite a bit. That was about the time his kick caught me right about square on the solar plexus. I exhaled for about 7 hours I think. I could not catch my breath and he didn't realize that he had kicked his old man's ass thoroughly. I managed a weak smile and told him (whispered is more accurate) what a great job he did.

The little one runs off to take a shower and get ready for bed. This is about the time I sit down and try to tell my lungs to accept some oxygen. I didn't get much opportunity because here comes middle son (Cameron). He asks if we can practice tennis after school tomorrow (which is now today). Now my boy knows that I played tennis in high school. I have my nice varsity letter to prove it and he is hungry to know more than his coach is teaching him. I of course promised that we would indeed go play. I keep forgetting that I'm not a teenager anymore and I haven't held my weight to 170 lbs since high school.

We went out to the court today with a bucket of balls a few rackets and about that many bottles of water. we warmed up and started to rally. I was thinking how much I suck now that I don't play regular but it wasn't long before the ball was at least thinking of doing what I was asking it to do. I put him through some fairly grueling exercises to get him balanced (and because I'm sadistic a little bit I think). He slowed down a little but managed to keep going. We played a few points and one more long rally before we called it a night. I couldn't help thinking as we walked to the truck that I was pretty satisfied with myself for not falling over dead from exhaustion. We got home and I relaxed for a few minutes before getting up to take that nice relaxing shower. THAT'S when my body explained to me that I'm not a teenager any longer. It also explained to me that even if I was a teenager I better lose some weight if I'm going to keep this kind of ignorant behavior up.

So a shower, some advil, an ice pack and 2 hours later I'm here sharing all of this wonderful stuff with all of you. I get to play karate man again tomorrow with Ethan and then tennis boy one more time tomorrow evening with Cameron. Life is looking up . I'm thinking that maybe Ethan is going to find out what I learned in the Corps tomorrow if he tries another HIYAA!!! kick to the chest on me.

Just a quick update on other stuff going on. I did decide to at least apply for that position out of state. I was a bit reserved but I have a feeling that even if I don't get the position I have put my name out there and they will be absolutely aware of what my abilities are now. I have to admit it took me about 10 minutes to hit the send button.

The other bit of news is that my father goes in tomorrow morning for a biopsy of his lung. If the spot they found turns out to be scar tissue (which is what the doctor has been telling him for years now) then there is a good chance he could be accepted for the donor program. So fingers and toes are crossed at this point.

Since tomorrow is my birthday I have decided that I really only want three things. To survive the HIYAA!!!, to survive the tennis lesson, and for my dad to have an easy time with the procedure. Everything else has taken care of itself so far.

So there you go Momma Fargo, I think break is over for now :) You know I enjoyed that iced tea and all but a Sam Adams sure does sound good right about now. Oh the joys of getting older and feeling those aches and pains soooo clearly.

That's Just Life  

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I almost forgot how to make a post on this damn thing. It's been so long it seems since I have managed to get a clear thought in my head.

I've heard the saying "When it rains, it pours." Truly I have felt the weight of that statement before, but I guess I got a case of the poor pitiful me going on. With all the stuff with my dad, I admit I was a bit down in the dumps. Then out of nowhere my dog Paprika passed away suddenly. To make matters worse, my son found her on the patio and he was a bit shaken up to say the least. I buried her at my parents house next to Scooby our other wonderful dog because we bury all of our pets at mom and dads (yeah we are weird). Then the very next day my best buddy Lucky who was Paprika's son died suddenly. We thought for sure it was poisoning and even had a necropsy done. It came back that he had a chronic liver problem that exacerbated. I say they are full of shit. There is no way that a healthy happy active dog goes from jumping around and running one day to dehydrated, anemic and ultimately dead the next. To say that we were shook up is an understatement. We had Lucky cremated and he is on our mantle. I loved those dogs, but Lucky was something special, he was my pal. He could make me smile any time I was near him. At 140 lbs. he was a big lump of fun. Licking and jumping and just happy to be near you and be petted.

I decided that I was just feeling sorry for myself and have tried to do normal stuff again. It's amazing how much of an impact a pet can have on your life, but they were part of the family and will be missed always. I have the two little dogs still and they can sense something is different. They still act the same as they always have and for that I'm thankful. There is no sign of poison in the yard anywhere and I'm going to have to just accept the fact that Lucky and Paprika are gone without a reason being given.

So as I was feeling down and out, I get an email from a manager within our company telling me that there is a job opening out of state for a position that is higher up than mine. Now I'm a little flattered that he would think of me. I have only been back with this company for a little over a year, and for him to consider me a viable candidate means he thinks I know what I'm doing. I wasn't really excited by the prospect of moving 1,000 miles away though, so at this point it's not going to be something I pursue. Then today I get a second email by another manager telling me that I would be a good candidate for this job and I should consider it. Now I'm having second thoughts. It's a good opportunity, but I'm just unsure, so I'm taking a wait and see approach (not the best idea I know). The wife and kids are behind me and tell me to do what I think is right and they will support me. So I guess a little time to digest this won't kill me.

Other than that life goes on. My dad has been getting all of his preliminary testing done and so far everything is looking really good. We are hopeful that the surgical team will consider him a good candidate. Another month or so and we will know for sure. I'm holding out hope, but not expecting too much yet.

It is always a good thing to hop on here and just vent sometimes. Therapy was never cheaper than starting a blog. Pretty soon we will have football and then I'll have plenty to be upset about, but for now I'm gonna stick with real life.

Linkin' Up the Monday Minute  

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Well it's been some time since I have been involved in the Monday Minute and I figured this is as good a week as any to get back into the swing of things....

So you know that the originals are found at Ian's blog, but I know there are still one or two people in the blogosphere that haven't read Ian's blog yet...So if you haven't you can find it HERE

Describe your life in one word

Is there something you wish you had learned how to do as a child?
I wish I would have learned good study habits as a chld. It's funny how something small like that can make such a huge difference on the rest of your life. I had lazy study habits and it showed as I got older and entered more difficult aspects of learning.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My father has shown me how to be a man and a good father, but my mother has more directly influenced me in my life.

What is your greatest dream/hope/aspiration?
for my children to be happy and successful....

and finally...

Do you believe you have reached your potential? Why/why not?
Not even close. I am still learning about myself, I can't possibly have reached my potential if I still don't know what I'm capable of....I figure I'll know the answer for sure on my death bed....

Not Feelin' It............  

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I guess I have been caught up in my own little world lately. I'm on the computer mostly for work, and the occasional FB thingy....(can't get away from that for some reason.) Work has unfortunately become just that.....work. I used to enjoy my days, but lately it's just a job and I'm pretty sure it's because of all the rest of the stuff that goes on.

For those that didn't know. My father is not well. He has along with emphezyma, Bronchiectasis. So my parents spent a week in Stanford while they ran tests on him to decide if he would make a good candidate for a lung transplant. It turns out that he very well may make the cut for a double lung transplant. I never thought I would say that I'm happy to hear that my dad could receive something like this.

I've watched him go from being out of breath on occasion, to taking breathing treatments once a day, to now taking breathing treatments 4 times a day while being hooked up to oxygen all the time. To say that it's disturbing is to minimize it. I know that he is feeling sorry for himself, and I try to keep him out of that funk. It's not easy to tell somebody in that shape to quit acting like a baby but I find that as long as we continue to treat him like we always have things seem to be a bit easier. He doesn't like the loss of freedom and I don't blame him one bit. I help where I can without seeming to be too intrusive.

It turns out that they aren't really sure what gave him this. They thought at first it was his smoking. He hasn't smoked in almost 30 years and they thought it was residual damage from that, then they found out that he worked for a chemical company making pesticides back in the 70's. They have concluded that it is more likely this was the cause of this disease.

So now we wait for news from these doctors. It's an odd feeling to wait while you realize that total strangers are getting together to discuss whether your father deserves a chance to live or not. The staff at Stanford has been nothing short of wonderful to my father as well as the rest of my family and for that I'm eternally grateful. They don't treat him like just another patient, they treat him like a friend and I couldn't ask for more.

So here I sit wondering what to do with myself. I decided that maybe this would be a good time to just give a little update and say "I'm still here." Forgive me for the absence, I will continue to try and get here as much as I can. In the meantime I will tell you to make sure that you let your loved ones know what they mean to you. I am lucky because no matter what my father knows that I love him. He knows that because I have the chance to still tell him. I get to still be with him and no matter how much time he has, be it a year or 20, he will always know that.

My hero isn't quite the physical figure he once was, but I find that no matter, he still has the right stuff on the inside. I could only hope to hold up as well as he has so far. All I can say is be strong pop, and don't quit fighting. We are gonna beat this...........

Out of Circulation..Giving the Update......  

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It's been an "interesting" month. I thought that things would settle in when I got back from this training last month, but instead they have gone absolutely crazy. I feel like when I try to explain things to the guys at work lately it is more like I'm scolding my children for not cleaning their room. Why do grown men and women play dumb about the most simple task like throwing something in the garbage as compared to dropping it where they stand?

So work is busy, and family is busy. I guess that's a good thing. We are doing "stuff". Not sure if it's all good stuff, but at least we are moving forward. My kids are planning to drive my wife completely crazy I think. They know that they only have 3 months to do it before school starts and things become a bit more normal. I give the boys credit because they are troopers and have come up with some truly inventive ways to make my wife pull her hair out. I try to run interference, but I'm learning that makes me a target so I think that I'll stay out of that one... :)

The biggest thing really going on right now is with my pop. He has bad lungs. He's had this condition for a long time, but recently it's become worse, and they have decided to send him to Stanford and San Francisco to look into the possibility of a lung transplant. To say that he's nervous would be an understatement. I do know that this would be a great thing if they accepted him into the transplant program. Quality of life is something that many of us don't stop and think on. Without it we are just using oxygen (some of us not as much as others). He's not happy, and I think this could be the difference for him. After everything he has sacrificed I think he deserves this (ok, I'm a bit biased on this one). So we are crossing fingers, toes and every other appendage that will cross. If you are into the whole praying thing, PLEASE add my pop to the list.

So I am trying to balance, everything, and obviously my blogging has suffered (that also depends on if you consider my blog worth reading). I think I have it worked out and am trying to get here regular now.

So enjoy the summer ( unless you are on the east coast..yuck heatwave). I hit the beach today and it was a cool 63 degrees with a nice breeze blowing. I could get used to that, unfortunately the beach is a few hours away so we will have to wait for another trip to the water.

California Does Have It's Good Points!  

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Well I spent an "interesting" week in Nashville. I learned all sorts of things that I'm pretty sure I won't have many opportunities to use, but it's nice to have the information available to me.

So the plane flight was for the most part uneventful. I do think that the pilot in 3 of the 4 flights had to be a complete novice. They must have been practicing take off and landing on our flights, because it was pretty rough going up and coming down except for the first flight. Now that guy was a true pro and I didn't feel much beyond the surge from the jet taking off (yeah we all liked him the most).

I say I was in Nashville, but I only slept there. I spent my days in a lovely little town called LaVergne (or maybe Smyrna). They seem to run into each other, and I couldn't tell. But it sure was green everywhere.

Downside for us California bred people would be that humidity is our true enemy. That idea was reinforced all week for me. I can't really get used to the idea of getting out of the shower, getting dressed and going outside to feel like I'm just getting out of the shower again. It was horrible to say the least from that side of it. So I think that I will stay in California unless I'm forced to go again. Or at the very least I will pick a dry climate state to visit next time.

Now if I can just find a way to get those prices to migrate to California, I'm set. $2.45/gal for gas is a dream come true. I'm hoping if I do go back that Opryland will be dry and repaired , cause I didn't find a single country star (dang it).

So Lisa Marie I give you much credit for enduring the humidity and not to mention the thunderstorms.

Beautiful place to visit, but I couldn't ever live there.....

Work Beckons  

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I was told that I'm going to receive some training this next week. The problem for me lies in the fact that it's in Tennessee. I don't have anything against Tennessee, except for the fact that it's so far from California. I'm not big on flying, and driving is obviously out of the question. So I am STUCK flying.

So I will be gone for a week, and my children are not all that happy about this development. They have told me in the past that I should just find a new job when I started having to work too many hours. So I'm hopeful that this job doesn't turn into another of those types where my kids are feeling like they compete for my time.

I'm a little excited because I get to learn some new things, and I'm definitely a student at heart. Never much of a student in the traditional classroom, but I've always enjoyed learning things in a less than orthodox setting. This week I'll learn how to save people using machinery, and some good ol' fashioned common sense too. I know the chances of me having to use this stuff will be slight, but it's a good feeling to know that it is something I'll be able to use if the need arises. Plus while I'm there, I can play tourist and look for all sorts of country stars :)

So everybody have a good week, and I'll holler when I get back, and maybe I'll even have a story or two about my little trip to Nashville. Take care and remember to be safe :)

The Class of 2010!  

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Last night I had the honor of witnessing my nephew graduate from High School. I consider it an honor because in this new world we live in, sometimes family isn't thought of first when it comes to these activities. My nephew saw fit to make sure that my wife and I as well as my 3 sons had tickets to attend.

We listened to the speakers come and go, offering up their take on this graduating class. We were reminded of how much they have grown over their 4 years at high school. The names were called, the diplomas given, and all the friends and family rushed onto the stadium grass (actually astro-turf) to find their son/daughter, sister/brother, friend, relative, and sometimes neighborhood kid who didn't have any family attend. It was quite remarkable to watch the looks on these young adults faces. They didn't show worry over the current state of things, they showed hope, excitement, and determination. It gave me a good feeling to recognize those ambitious qualities in the next graduating class.

I realize that this is merely their first true hurdle. The way things have changed now, you can't get by very often with just a high school education. Some higher learning is required to compete in the business arena in today's world. My nephew is planning on college and for that I'm extremely happy. He realized early on that a college education is necessary.

It all leads me to wonder about my children as they move through school. I have one graduating next year. He wants to be a chef. I am more than happy about that (I love my pasta). I also understand that culinary school is not some fly by night course that you can complete in a week. It's expensive, and it's involved. I have tried to impress that upon his young mind, and I think that most of the time, he understands. It's been his dream since he was about 6 years old, and I'm going to do what I can to see it come true for him.

My younger ones don't speak too much about after high school yet. My middle son is going into 7th grade and he is excited if a bit nervous. My youngest is still in grammar school and has a good deal of time to figure it out (they don't make you give career choices in 4th grade....yet). Regardless of what they decide, I believe that they will make more good choices than bad. They will learn to live with those choices and be stronger because of them.

I watched that in my nephew. He has made his fair share of bad decisions, and he has paid the price for some of them, but he never tried to put them off on anyone else. He owned those mistakes and wore them like a badge of honor. He is truly growing up because he has taken the good and the bad and saw only what needed to be done, not what could have been done, or should have been done. He is finally able to understand that it's not what you could have done that matters, but what you are doing. The plan is laid out in his head and he is following it. No excuses, no complaining, just determined.

I see these young people starting out their lives and I have a renewed feeling.....

It feels like hope...

Congratulations Ryan.....You are a great young man, and I know you are going to do great things with your life. It's men like you that inspire hope in men like me.....

Summertime Blues  

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I like the country song by the name. I don't think it really has much to do with the phenomenon of the summertime blues though. The original song (Eddie Cochran)is about teenage trials and tribulations. Funny that part of it deals with the inability of teens to vote. Back in the day here in the U.S. the voting age was 21, but thanks to the 26th ammendment it was dropped to 18.

Ok now that we have our American History lesson out of the way on to the point. Summertime blues are real I'm convinced. I don't think that they belong only to teenagers either. It's a feeling of "blah". Granted kids are more likely to feel the full effect, since they will be constantly telling their parents how there is nothing to do all summer long and they are so bored. Then school will come and they will tell their parents how summer flew by and they were just starting to have a good time. That's the normal cycle of things. How about the adults feeling it? I think that it's a reversal of how kids feel. Many parents feel overwhelmed at summer. The kids are out of school, and many parents are making a mad dash to find a way to watch their kids while still making a living.

So mom or dad have to adjust their schedules as much as possible. They have to call in favors to watch the kids, or if they are lucky enough to have the funds, get a babysitter or daycare. No longer is it acceptable for parents to leave their children home alone. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm just saying that johnny law (the popo) frowns upon it. My 12 year old is I'm sure quite capable of handling any situations that might come his way, but in today's world of home invasions I wouldn't even consider it an option. I like many other parents will call in favors and adjust my schedule, my wife will adjust hers and we will fumble and fall through summer.

In today's economy, two incomes are in most cases necessary. That means we do what we have to do. Some of us will take lesser jobs so that we are still getting a check and still able to watch our kids. Some will work out a deal with their employers and get "laid off" for the summer and draw unemployment. Not many options are available and most parents are resourceful enough to find everything available anywhere near them.

It makes me remember back to my childhood a little bit. As a young boy we had a day camp at our local school. High School kids looking for extra money would be "counselors" at the elementary schools. They would have games and activities, like arts and crafts, or if we were really lucky a movie reel on really hot days to watch a movie. There were usually about 10 High School students and there were roughly 75 or 80 of us at day camp. It was a good time, and even the counselors had fun much of the time. The school district doesn't budget for things like that anymore. I can't blame teen kids for not volunteering for it either. They are trying to figure out how they are going to pay for college, or gas, or any other multitude of things that mom and dad can't pay for them anymore.

So let Summer begin, and next week, let the full on effect of the Summertime Blues be here. I'm feeling it sneaking up on me, but I know that come mid August things will fall back into some sort of normal. Just like the song says....

"Sometimes I wonder what I'm gonna do cause there ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues."

50 years later it's still true................

Welcome to My World!  

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One day while Ian and I were trading remarks back and forth via email, I made the comment "Welcome to My World!" He immediately replied and told me that would be a great title for a post. He even gave me some really solid ideas on what to post about. So I think that today is fitting for a glimpse into My World!

My world basically revolves around my family....My boys are constantly doing or saying something that keeps me thinking, or blushing, or pulling my hair out. I understand that it's their job to put dad into an early grave, and I have to say that normally they do a pretty good job. Now usually it's my two younger boys that come up with the questions that make you go Hmmm? (remember Arsenio?) Not today though. Today it was my 17 year old.

He and I had a discussion about this new federal law that will allow same sex couples to have the same benefits as hetero couples. It's all a crock though. It is really the federal government saying that if you are unmarried and together you can have the benefits of a married couple because they extended those same benefits to unmarried straight couples too. That's not the point of the story though.

I asked my son what he thought about it. He explained to me that he doesn't see why anybody would need to get married anymore. I felt that this was a prime opportunity for me to impart some fatherly advice on my oldest. So I asked if he thought marriage was just to get benefits. "Of course not" he said. "It's also for tax purposes." Jaw dropped. I asked him if it had anything to do with love or God? "I guess so for some people, but most people just want the perks dad." My first reaction was to tell him how wrong he was. My second reaction was to think about it before telling him how wrong he was. It forced me to take a good hard look at my own marriage. I have always believed I am in love with my wife. Not for a second did I get married to get a tax break, or better benefits. I had to be fair though and look at my relationship objectively. So I asked oldest son if he thought that was why I got married? "Don't be dumb." (aren't kids great when they are being honest?) He proceeded to tell me that he didn't know why I ever married his mom, but he was sure that's not why I married his step mom. So after controlling my laughter I pressed on.

We went through the list. My parents, his aunts, his other grandparents, even my in-laws. He told me no at every turn. That was about the time the lights clicked on for him I think. He hadn't made the remark personal enough when he made it, but after he looked at his family he realized that maybe there are some people that get married for the "right" reasons. I was pretty proud of myself and gave a mental pat on the back for my ability to guide this young mind in the right direction.

As he was getting ready to leave, I asked him if he would ever consider marrying for anything but love. As he walked out the door he told me "No way." Then about ten steps later as he was rounding the flowerbed to head to the street he turned around and said, "Well maybe if she's rich." I took the mental pat back and just shook my head. Welcome to my world........

Awards are Awesome!  

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I love getting an award. I'm usually immediate in my response to them as well. In case you haven't noticed lately my blogging has been a bit erratic at best. So I'm terribly sorry to Momma Fargo and Ms. Anthropy for my lazy (that's right I am lazy) attitude about this. I have not taken the time to accept and thank these wonderful women for acknowledging little ol' me :)

The rule is to answer these questions. Strangely enough I am indeed going to answer them.

1. Why do you blog?

For a few reasons. It has been a way to get things off my chest, but it's also been a way for me to continue writing even if I'm just writing my thoughts down. I find that once I get started writing blogs, I can more easily write a story or part of a story down. The ol' creative juices flowing thing comes into play.

2. What was your favorite age to be and why?

Overall my favorite age was probably 25. I was in the best shape of my life physically and was as active as I could be. For everything though Physically and emotionally I think it was 34. I had all my kids, and I was comfortable with who I am.

3. What's your favorite sport to play?

My favorite sport to play is, was, and always will be Baseball. I love it...I've been playing ball since I was old enough to put a glove on. I am old and broken down now, but I still love it. I can't throw nearly as hard as I once could, nor can I run nearly as fast, but baseball is in my blood...

4. What's your favorite sport to watch, and who's your favorite team?

Football.... Dallas Cowboys. I've been a fan since 1974 and I don't see anything changing that in the near future :)

5. If you could pick your perfect career (and money doesn't matter / the kids are out of the house) what would it be?
Coaching...I would love to be a baseball coach for a high school somewhere. I like the idea of giving kids something they can take with them for the rest of their lives. Love of the game.....

6. Do you ever feel guilty for blogging?

Not so much anymore. I had a few moments of guilt...But I got past that pretty quickly. I have just changed the rest of my schedule around so that blogging doesn't take any more time than my other activities did.

7. What is your favorite holiday?

Used to be my birthday....I really like Thanksgiving though...All the family together and FOOD!!!! what more can an Italian ask for :)

8. What's your favorite kind of music?

Country.... I enjoy classic rock as well...If by classic rock we mean AC/DC, Peter Frampton, Kiss, with a little Scorpions thrown in there...

9. Do you consider yourself a good driver or bad driver?

HA..I should have been the PoPo...I'm a good ol' boy. I spent have my teen years running from the popo so maybe that's where I got my driving talents from. All I know is that you don't require 4 wheel drive to go off road.

10. What's the farthest away place you have visited?

Spent time in the military I've been a few places. Probably Okinawa is furthest. I'm not sure though as far as mileage goes...

Thank you again Momma Fargo...I truly appreciate it..Now go check her out...In case you don't already...You want some great stories THIS is the place to go....

The second awesome award comes from Ms. Anthropy. She calls herself Sarcastic Granny...I would never guess this gal is a granny. She surely doesn't post like any granny I know (well except maybe Rae)...

rules of said award are as follows....

1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER! Yahooooo!!!
2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:
(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
(c) Write a “Soundtrack of your childhood” post.
(d) Make your next blog a ‘vlog’/video blog. Basically, you’re talking to the camera about whatever.
(e) Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, makeup, etc) and post it.

Well I'm thinking of my most embarrassing moment....

At least this is the most embarrassing in my memory...

When I was a young man of 17 I was interested in a certain girl whom I went to school with. I'm a persistent type of guy and made sure that we were at the same place as often as possible. I would always strike up a conversation about something. I'm not too shy around members of the opposite sex so I was at an advantage over many of my classmates.

This one particular Friday night we were at the local pizza place (Straw Hat). I spotted my "friend" sitting with her girlfriends at a booth. I walked over and started chatting with her. She got up and walked back to the register area with me, so that I could order my pizza. About this time one of my good friends walked into the pizza place (did I mention it was Straw Hat?) He knew good and well that I was actively pursuing this young lady. He also knew that embarrassing me was next to impossible.

Now for a little bit of a setup to the scenario. This was a Friday night after a football game. I was a football player. The place was packed to the gills with football players, cheerleaders and a good chunk of our classmates. I'm sure there were at least 400 people in the place. Now back in the day the style of clothing most often worn was a pair of 501 button fly jeans, and a t-shirt. Since I was a football player after the game I would put on my other jersey like the rest of the football players and we would show off our team and school spirit. It was a matter of pride with us. Now my good friend was a football player also. He was one year younger than me though, so he was on the junior varsity team.

So here I am chatting with this girl in the middle of a crowded pizza joint (Straw Hat). As I'm getting ready to find out if she would agree to go out with me, my friend reached around the front of my waist without me realizing what he was doing he unbuttoned my 501 jeans and gave a good tug. Well in the midst of about 400 teenagers I now stood with my pants somewhere in the vicinity of my knees. To say I was horrified is an understatement. BUT, I have to give myself a little credit here. I said "excuse me", and turned around to pull up my pants. I buttoned them up and continued on with my conversation as if nothing happened. Much to my delight I was given that date I had been looking for. Needless to say later on me and my "friend" had a chat. I would have punched him right then and there, but he could barely breathe because he was laughing so hard. Not to mention the rest of the football team as they all enjoyed my moment of "glory". I finally lived that moment down around my 20 year class reunion. Although my friend still reminds me of it every time we get to talking about the good ol' days.

There is the most embarrassing moment in a young man's life....

Thank you again to Ms. Anthropy. You are indeed a great writer and I love your posts. Check out all of her stuff right HERE!

I will reserved giving these out for another day...Thanks again for thinking of little ol' me...I'm flattered :)

Memorial Day  

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I didn't post this when I was supposed to because I being the puter dupe that I am didn't have it set for the right day. BUT I have to say a few things about Memorial Day.

I spent 8 years in the USMC. I was in communications and while it wasn't the most exciting job on the planet, it was a learning experience I wouldn't trade for the world. I developed friendships that are more like gaining siblings. I hardly ever talk to my former military bretheren but I know that I need only call or write and they are there. They know this holds true with me as well. I would gladly drop what I'm doing to help whenever or wherever. That's the way it is with a Marine, and I'm going to guess that's the way it is with most military.

Memorial Day is the time we can reflect and thank all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. These people are the true super heroes of the world. They give all they have for something they believe in. When I wore the uniform I was humbled by the history of the Corps, and the people who set the standard that we all need to live up to. The fact that they often times knowingly put themselves in harms way and sacrificed themselves for my freedoms is a sobering thought indeed.

If you know anybody who has served in any branch of the service (ESPECIALLY MARINES), thank them as often as you can. Let them know that you are on their side. Tell them you support that they are serving to protect US. I have lost a couple of friends over the years in different military ventures around the world. They weren't always a war, but they were in service of our country. I know that they felt they were just doing their job. They told me often enough how they were born to serve, and I can't help but believe them when I witnessed their dogged determination in some of the most mundane situations, and some of the scariest too.

I know this post is sort of all over the place, but I think it's important that we never forget that we have the greatest fighting force ever assembled, and while it's their job to protect, it's our job to support. We are all responsible for our military men and women.

So to all my Marine brothers everywhere. A big OOOHRAH!!! Semper Fi to all you devil dogs out there. To those who have given all they had for me I say thank you. Thank you from me and my family, you are always in our hearts and I will always keep you in my prayers.

Music Soothes the Soul  

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My 12 year old son is in choir. He had a "concert" this evening for the last time in 6th grade. He has a wonderful voice, but has decided that he doesn't like to sing around the family. He only sings at choir practice and for performances. I'm not sure what brought about the change, but he has been that way for a couple of years now.

He was 5 years old when we realized he had a really good musical ear. He has great pitch and actually hits the notes he is trying to hit unlike his father who couldn't sing his way out of a paper sack. Cameron used to sing country songs for us and dance while he was singing them. He was quite the entertainer. At 6 years old he had memorized a dozen Toby Keith Songs and could sing them at the drop of a hat. He would try to get everybody to gather around in the family room and then he would bring out his cd player or the karaoke machine and blast out "Wanna Talk about Me", or "Beer for my Horses". He knew other music as well and developed a taste for listening to classical music. He told me that he wanted to play sax or guitar. As of now he has a guitar but hasn't learned it. He lost interest in learning to play music but has kept his interest in learning songs from his music teacher.

So tonight was his teacher's final concert. After 42 years of teaching music the guy is retiring. He deserves a break and although he will be sorely missed, we are happy for him. So the choir sang their songs one of them being "Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. They did a commendable job. It's very relaxing for me to hear a group of people sing in tune. Of course it's also nice if you can actually hear the kids singing.

I have raised 3 boys and understand that when children are young they can be cranky, messy, noisy, whiney, smelly, gassy, and every other "y" you can name. BUT that doesn't mean that everybody else should have to share those things with my child. When my kids got to being noisy or irritating they would be outside with me until they could calm down and not disturb the other people that came to watch their children perform. I call that common courtesy. Just because I wanted kids, doesn't mean that the person sitting next to me wanted my kids too.

Tonight there were a lot of people that decided everybody should get to enjoy their child's noisy nature. This was of course at the expense of missing a good portion of the program. I couldn't believe that people are that unconcerned with anyone else but themselves that they couldn't take the few minutes it would have taken to walk their child outside to calm them down. I guess things are different.

So my kid finished his program and he was happy and excited that he got to do it. I look forward to the years ahead as he has already told me he wants to continue with choir and has even considered drama. I didn't take drama in school because I thought I was too cool. I have held that regret for years. I tell my kids not to worry about what other people MIGHT think. They should try it if they think it might be interesting. So here's hoping for many more years of choir and maybe band and hopefully high school drama class!!

BTW...I have not had the time to get my pictures from 6th grade camp downloaded yet. I will do that this weekend and give you guys some pretty pics of some great landscape (hopefully).

Worldwide MISSION MONKEY Day  


I've just returned home from a week of 6th grade camp. I saw the post from Ian at the Daily Dose and I also saw that he wanted it reposted Friday ....So with 3 minutes to spare I'm cheating and linking directly to his post. He will try and BS you into thinking he doesn't write well, but anybody who can write from the heart like he can does just fine in my book...

Hello blog-world! I am participating in what's known around the world as Mission Monkey day! What is Mission Monkey you ask? Well, there's this blogger friend of ours known as Pixie Momma, aka Michelle. Michelle has a little girl, or Monkey as she's known by who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. To learn more about it, click here. Monkey is a sweet little 16 month old girl. She doesn't deserve this. Nobody deserves this.

But the good news is that Monkey only has Stage 1 (low risk). The bad news is the medical bills are mounting and the Physical Therapy (starts today) isn't covered by insurance. Michelle is using the donated money to offset medical bills. She will donate and unused portion to another family dealing with the same issue.

This is why the blogging universe is banning together like never before to rally around Michelle and Monkey to provide support. In addition to further entice you to lend your hand, and donate to the cause, we have over 50 items that have been donated. Many bloggers are hosting these fabulous giveaways and all you need to win one of these items is just one raffle ticket.

Donation pages:
Princess of Sarcasm - http://bit.ly/9nUmBp
The One and Only Oka - http://bit.ly/9KZSOG
SupahMommy - http://bit.ly/bSMrGw
Jenn B Says #1 - http://bit.ly/bYzHAH
Jenn B Says #2 - http://bit.ly/bej01D
Amber - http://bit.ly/cTGq29
Two Little Monkeys - http://bit.ly/cZKjzK
Mommy's Nest - http://bit.ly/9tLjoy
Chief's Hiding From the Kids - http://bit.ly/cfKIiO
Jenny - http://bit.ly/dftIS2
Jana - http://bit.ly/aUKVjM

You may donate any amount of money via PayPal as it's linked directly to Michelle's bank account. However, in order to be a part of the raffle, this is how that's going to go. If you donate the following, you get the subsequent number of entries:

$10 - 2 entries
$20 - 5 entries
$30 - 10 entries
$40 - 15 entries
$50 - 20 entries
$75 - 35 entries
$100 - 50 entries
$200 - 125 entries
The raffles for each item will start on or around July 1st.

Jump on over to Ian at Daily Dose of Reality for all the worthwhile news on this great thing he is doing...Do yourself a favor and grab up an entry or two...

Monkey Minute Linkin' it Up!  

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Well this is that time of the week again. We get to ask and answer five random questions. These are all dedicated to Michelle's Little Monkey. I hope you guys are all keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.

Just a heads up to my faithful few...I am headed off to 6th grade came for a week, so this will be my last post until Friday night or maybe Saturday. (yeah I know...how will you make it).

So without further ado here are the questions....

1, Have you ever peed in the shower/bath/pool?
At some point in my life yes to all of the above. Any guy who says they haven't well I'm thinking you might be lying....

2. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Tough one, since I have a few. I think my biggest one is when somebody says they will call back and don't....I hate it when somebody breaks their word to me.

3. What's the story behind your blog title?
Story indeed....I play video games and in this one particular game I play, I was required to make a character name. BUT...It had to have two names like a first and last....Well I was a little ticked off, because I've never had to have two names on a game before..So the in game name became bendigo's rage...It was meant to show my irritation at their dumb developer's way of making more names available in a game...It manifested itself into a story and a blog title, because I was finding myself writing about things that irritated or annoyed me. There is more to it, but dang, I don't want to think that much right now :)

4. What is your definition of success?
Wake up suck in air, see my wife and kids and be able to head off to work and get home. Have dinner with the family and play with the kids...That's success to me...And the longer I get to do it, the more successful I feel I am.

5. If you were famous, what would you want to be famous for?
Being a positive impact on a large group of young people. I want to be able to make a difference for as many people in a positive way as possible.

So there you have it, but you need to go check out Ian's answers here.

don't forget to check out his other posts about the raffle...Remember at the least one thought or prayer a day guys....

See ya in a week :)

Puppy Dogs and Rainbows and One Monkey  

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I was asked by a certain follower (ABAO) to make a post about Puppy Dogs and Rainbows. Well I figured that I might be able to fit that in and still talk about some stuff I want to talk about.

Momma's Pixie Dream...... If you don't follow you should. Michelle's little monkey is going through some bad stuff and she could use all the support you can muster. This poor little child has a terrible thing called Neuroblastoma. Suffice it to say that it's cancer and no child should have to endure it. IT'S NOT FAIR!! I have children and can only imagine the horror and helplessness this poor woman feels at a terrible moment like this.

So we are going to give her a lot of support and we are going to try and cheer the little monkey up. Lots of prayers and great thoughts need to go their way and we are the people that need to send them.

So let's talk about puppy dogs and rainbows shall we. I have 2 puppy dogs...Well I actually have 4 but they aren't all really puppy dogs. Two of them are full grown. They are my extended family and I love them dearly. So I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of my little pups...

Now the top puppy is Amber, and the bottom one is Jade. They are cute as buttons and destructive as locust...But we love them all the same. I would put pics of the other two, but they are not what I would call "puppy dogs". Also notice the rainbow...So now we have covered all the puppy dogs and rainbows I hope this cheers you up a little bit.

Now what you need to do is head over to Daily Dose of Reality. Ian has a raffle going to raise money to help Monkey. It's a great cause and if you can afford to do it, please do. My family means everything to me, and I'm sure Michelle feels the same about her wonderful family. Let's do everything we can to help. Let's show everybody that in our corner of the blogosphere WE CARE!!!

So there you have it Puppy dogs and Rainbows and One Monkey...Do what you can for this special little one...I'm asking you at the very least say one special prayer for her every day!

Linkin' Up the Monkey Minute  

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I'm a bad boy, and I've done the link up so late in the day. For that I'm truly sorry...We all know that this is a special Monkey Minute. It's all about the Monkey. Michelle's Little Monkey to be more specific. Her little one is fighting an ugly thing, and she needs everybody to offer up some prayer and good wishes. So don't dawdle around, if you have the inside track with the big guy upstairs. Do your part and let her know you are thinking of her little monkey...

Here are this weeks questions...

1 - How old do you act?
Welllllll...I act about 12 at home and about 70 at work..

2 - As far back as you can remember, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher...Pffft....I didn't realize I would need to go to so much school to work in the school though.

3 - If you were to write a book based on your life, what would the title be?
The Comeback Kid!

4 - What's something that you do that's considered "childish" by most?
Childish and gross...My brother and I and my sister for that matter "blow" burps at each other...lol

5 - The last question isn't a question. Write a story of a time of when you or someone you know overcame great adversity.
I unfortunately have many of these..I'm gonna pick my mom's story though...My mom was ill for many years and they couldn't quite figure out what was wrong with her. She had terrible itching all the time, and couldn't wear any clothing but pure cotton. She was told to try not eating wheat, no salt, and every other possible thing that adds flavor to your food. Finally after about 3 years of doctor's visits and a number of possible solutions, she got a doctor who told her that she had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. By this time my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia. Her lungs were filling up with fluid and they had to drain them. She was scared that first time they drained them. She learned to dread that procedure the other three times they did it. She was finally healthy enough to leave the hospital, and after a short stint at home for complete recovery, she began her chemotherapy. For 1 year my mom went down to the outpatient center and received chemo three times a week then 4 times a week, then a week off and start again. She lost a good deal of her hair, and although she was scared out of her mind, she always managed to ask us how WE were doing. After a year of treatment it was decided that she was in remission. She has been going back regularly for check-ups since and to date she hasn't had a problem again. Her hair grew back and mom is healthy once again. I talk about hope a lot and this is one of the reasons for that. Mom is a firm believer that good things happen if you beleive they can. Hope starts there.

So to Michelle I say, Keep the faith and keep hoping. We are all praying for your little monkey. Good things are coming her way....Now drop by her site and give her some support...

And even though I'm so darned late getting this out...Go check out IAN and check out his answers he doesn't ever fail to deliver....

Mommy, Mother, Mom  

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A great many of my posts have dealt with my father. I was fortunate enough to have a dad who was dedicated to my growing up. I have made mention of Mom, but not in any detail. I figured that Mother's Day is a fitting time to say thank you to a truly great woman.

My mom is an only child. She was raised in a VERY Italian culture. She didn't even speak English until she was ready to enter Kindergarten. My grandparents decided that this was the country they would live in, and this would be the language they should speak. Mom learned English at the age of 5 and in time to go to school.

She grew up unlike many only children. She was not especially spoiled, and her parents didn't have a lot of time for her. My grandparents both worked (not real common back in the day). My grandmother worked at an Olive factory and my grandfather was a baker. So mom spent a good deal of time with Aunts and Uncles.

I have heard all the tales of her growing up so many times that they come to my mind without hesitation. I can see the family outings in the mountains that she spoke of so often, in my mind as clearly as if I was there. I was fortunate enough to get to enjoy many of those same things with Mom and Dad as we grew up.

Mom worked as a teacher's aide for an elementary school. The kids were drawn to her, because she has a ready smile for everybody. She would patiently guide them through the school work and I later met many kids from her classes that told me often that she was far better than their teacher. My mom is somebody who wants to help everybody. She was an aide for a number of years before she moved up to the Administrative offices. She became an assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. My mom was so proud of her accomplishment. She never had a college education, but she managed to handle the job as if she was born to it.

Now along with working at the school, mom also took other jobs to make ends meet. She worked on the assembly line of a chip factory at night for a while as well. I can still remember her coming home with the scent of tortilla chips on her clothes. She loved that job even though it was just working a line. She told me often that it reminded her that she can always find something to feed her family if she has to. Mom was never too proud to do what needed to be done. I learned that lesson, just not as quickly as she did.

I can say that throughout my entire childhood I can't remember a time we didn't have dinner as a family. If mom wasn't there the dinner was already made and my dad would heat it up. We would eat as a family of 5 or a family of 4, but we would eat as a family. That was because Mom INSISTED that we sit together and talk about our day. We would get the chance to tell our parents how school was going, and what we did well or not so well that day. Dinner was a great time in my house as a kid.

Mom has seen me through illness, happiness, injury, marriage, divorce, children, financial ruin, personal ruin, and personal triumph. The most important thing Mom has done is see me through life. She has always been there, usually quietly in the background offering support or advice. Never forcing her opinion on me, but always ready to offer it if I asked (sometimes when I didn't). She has loved me unconditionally, defended me faithfully, and I could not ask for a better Grandmother for my children.

So this is just a small way for me to say...Mom I Love you...Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for this not so perfect son of yours.

Happy Mother's Day.....

So Long Sadie  

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I have made a few posts regarding pets. I'm definitely an animal lover, but I surely do hate when they get to their later years and become deathly ill, or have to be put down. This is the case with my parents dog Sadie.

My mom rescued Sadie when she was a pup running wild in a field. My mom worked across the street from the field and would bring food over there every day for the 3 little pups that were running around. Finally after many nights of feeding and building shelters for them, they caught all three. My mom was able to give away two of them, but the third one was left out. She was just too darned big and nobody wanted this huge pup. Sadie became a member of my moms family.

She wouldn't come anywhere near the door of the house. She stayed in the backyard and a huge doghouse was built for her. Sadie weighed in at around 140 lbs. and there was no fat on this huge girl. She was friendly but ever alert for some trouble. She was a wild pup learning to be in the presence of not so wild surroundings. It was three years before she would even stand at the french doors leading into mom's house. Finally she popped her head in one day. She then started hanging around my dad's feet at the kitchen table while he read the paper. Before long she was sleeping in the hallway and eventually she slept at the foot of mom and dad's bed. Sadie had finally adopted the family who adopted her.

She was very fortunate for most of her life as far as illness went. She wasn't often sick and just had some problems with her teeth. She is about 14 (maybe 15 we aren't exactly sure). The doctor told us that she was in twilight years for a dog of her size. She never showed any signs of slowing down except that her legs are now stiff when she gets up and she lumbers instead of having that spring to her step. We just accepted that as part of growing older and she did too.

Over the past year Sadie has had many bouts with her gums and nose. She has bled on and off from her nose and mouth for the past year and they didn't really know why. They gave her medicine to help heal any infections, and she was even on steroids for some time. Yesterday the bleeding became regular and not just slight. She is having trouble breathing and has blood in her stomach. The big girl is suffering and we can't stand to see this happen to such a sweet dog.

I'm going back over to mom and dad's in a little bit and we are going to put her in the truck for her last ride. She will be in no pain or discomfort very soon. My mom is beside herself with grief over this tough decision and my dad, while not showing it as much is devastated. I have seen them go through this many times, as they have had animals all my childhood. It doesn't get easier and they go in knowing this is the likely result. I am going to try and talk my dad into letting me take the big girl down on her final ride and I hope he will see it's the best way.

Sadie....We are gonna miss you big girl. We love you, and only want you to be free of pain and suffering. You are going to get to run after the birds in the backyard real soon and you will get to see Hector and Bridgette as well... God Speed you were always a good girl .......

Most Precious Treasure  

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Since I'm a father I think the most precious thing I can be entrusted with is the care of my children. They are depending on my to protect them, feed them, give them advice, and most of all to love them. They don't necessarily understand why they expect these things of me any more than I could understand why I know they are expected. It's the job of every parent to protect their child PERIOD.

I was shocked and disgusted when I read about the woman that drowned her baby in a bathtub in a hotel room a few weeks ago. There were two other children left untouched in the room, tucked in bed. This woman, I'm told was suffering from postpartum depression or something similar since they aren't yet sure. I didn't think it got worse than doing that. I had heard of other cases of a mother killing their child, but that is one of the worst ways I could think of. I am pretty sure because that is my great fear, to drown (of course that is in the deep dark water somewhere not a tub). I figured that after reading that I was pretty desensitized to any other horrid, unspeakable acts by the human race upon their children, but I was wrong.

A few days ago a 911 operator received a call from a man who said that a child was stabbed and thrown down some steps. The officers responded and found a boy of 3 who had been stabbed somewhere in the vicinity of 15 times and then thrown down his concrete steps to the floor below. The witness who happened to be a neighbor said that he saw the boy with multiple stab wounds at the bottom of the stairs and all he could hear was the boy calling out "mommy". It turns out that his mother was the person who stabbed him and then tried to fight with the officers, telling them not to help the child. She had a 2 month old baby in her home.

I'm not a person who sheds a tear about many things. I figured that not many things could affect my heart in a way to bring tears anymore. I was wrong. The thought of this little boy who only knows that mom is there to protect and watch over him, was still calling for the monster who was the reason for all of his pain. He is in critical condition in the hospital as I type this, and they don't know if he will recover or not. His mother was obviously arrested and the little baby girl was taken by child protective services.

People have been making excuses for this woman on the news, on the radio, in the newspapers and around our office even. I hear that she had so many mental problems and that she suffered from postpartum psychosis. There were other people coming on a talk show and telling their stories of near misses due to the same illness.

As I listened to the stories one thing kept crawling back into my mind. ALMOST, they almost hurt their children. They saw they had a problem and got help. They saw something was wrong and took a chance for some self reflection. They saw a problem and they did something about it. They didn't just go half cocked and harm their child. They didn't kill their most precious treasure. They realized soon enough that they could and should do something, that it was their responsibility to take care and protect their child.

I don't feel pity for this woman, and I surely don't feel compassion for her. I feel only sorrow for the poor little boy and little girl. People are too quick to blame everything on a mental disparity. They are quick to have an excuse for something going wrong. The mother had some history of drugs, so could that have maybe been a contributing factor? Was the family aware of what was going on? To some degree they were the sister or sister-in-law thought that drugs were playing a role.

I read about parents struggling to save their children every day. We are watching someone we read here in our own little blog world deal with tragic circumstances with their little monkey. These are people that are striving to do all they can to protect those who rely on us for so much, and then I see the evil, disgusting head of this woman rear itself as she tries to snuff out one of the only things that could have given her any hope of being a productive human being. Her simple task was to raise and love her children and she failed. She failed her poor little boy and that now motherless little girl. Maybe she was afraid to ask for help, and maybe she didn't see a problem. Maybe she thought everybody would look down on her if she admitted she couldn't do it.

I look around me nowadays and I see grief, and fear. I see people full of hopelessness and I see people who have given up. Maybe this woman is just a sign of where we are heading. Maybe she is a front runner to what the parents of the future will be like. This could be the precursor to a truly hellish future. I like to think it's not. I like to think that we are just in an emotional funk as a society. I am hopeful that we are going to figure this out, and we are going to teach our children to be loving, compassionate, caring parents. That is the most important lesson we can give our kids. We can teach them that it's ok to ask for help if we are feeling helpless. It's ok to accept a helping hand when we know we are at the end of our rope. It's also ok to admit we failed at something. We learn far more from our failures than our success. It's not about falling down, it's about getting back up. It's about doing right no matter how badly we are tempted to do wrong.

That is the legacy I'm leaving my kids. Never give up, never lose hope, never stop caring. Randy Travis said it pretty good..."It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it's what you leave behind you when you go.

Truck Door = Head Rest?  

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If you happened to read my answers to the Monday Minute you will see that I answered the worst fight I had been in with a comment about a car door and my head meeting. Let me correct and say that it was a truck door, and it was in fact MY truck door.

I had a few scraps as a youngster. I didn't fight out of anger (usually). It was a matter of pride in some cases but more often than not I think we were bored. I can't remember getting really mad about anything and running into a fight. I was always of the belief that there is a time when talking won't resolve the issue. Sometimes you are gonna get your ears boxed in and the best thing you can do is be prepared for it in case it happens.

Well that situation presented itself one lovely day after school. I was approached by three guys and told that one of them had a girlfriend whom I was seeing. So many schoolyard fights are typical, they are the same setup lines and are usually just one guy (or many) wanting to pick on somebody. Now I knew this guy and I knew his ex-girlfriend, because I had gone out with her. She didn't want anything more to do with him, and I made sure I told him that in front of his two little friends. They warned me that if I was with her again, they would do "bad" things to me. I laughed and told them to do what they had to do. They didn't understand why I wasn't scared, but what they couldn't see was that I was scared. I just didn't figure to let them know how much.

Now my father always told me to know when trouble was coming. He explained to me at an early age that if somebody grabs me, I should defend myself. He also told me that if I had to fight, I should always strike first and strike hard. Needless to say I took that advice to heart. I watched the first guy come up in front of me and he started telling me that he was gonna kick my ass and blah blah blah. I told him once to back off, and it was his turn to laugh. That was when he pushed me. He didn't push me hard, he was just trying for some intimidation. My foot went back and then I was set and I punched him right in the lip. Before he could take a step back I kicked him in the knee and then I backed up waiting to see what the other two were going to do.

The tough guy was holding his lip because I got him good and he was bleeding a little bit. He was sorta hopping around on his good leg while his two friends were trying to calm him down a little bit. I decided I needed to make my bluff a little better because if the other two decided to rush me I was in for a good deal of pain. So I jumped forward and started yelling at em, "Come on!! I'll kick your ass too!!!!" They were startled and I like to think a little scared they grabbed up their buddy and left. I was pretty proud of myself that afternoon. I figured that I managed to avoid a lot of trouble with a small amount of force. The mental patting of the back happened and I went home.

As with most things as a teenager, I didn't think much about that incident, I had other things to consider. You know stuff like well....girls, sports, a big gulp from 7-11. You know important teen decisions, so that little scrap was soon forgotten well at least by me it was. That turned out to be a bad thing.

A week to the day after my run in with the 3 stooges, I was at my truck throwing all my junk in the back to go home. As I came to my door, one of those three was standing there and he told me he just wanted to talk for a second. I figured since he was alone, it would be just fine. So he tells me that his friend really likes this girl and he just wants me to back off for a little bit to give them a chance to work out their problems, and he is going on and on. I should have known I was being set up. I told him that I would ask her what she wanted to do, and if she told me to go then I would, but if not that was his friends problem. He told me something like "fair enough" and as I started to turn stooge #2 came from outside my line of sight. He basically grabbed my hair and belt loop on the run and led me straight into the door of my 1971 Ford truck. Now this is no modern fiberglass door, this is real good ol' fashioned metal. My head left a decent imprint in my door.

I've seen lots of guys get slammed into doors in movies, and usually they brush it off in a few seconds......NOT ACCURATE. I found out later I was slammed into my door 3 times but I only remember feeling the first one and it hurt! As I was falling to my knees the guy who slammed my head kicked me a couple of times then spit on me. I could have lived with the kicking and would have probably gotten over the head in the door thing, but he spit on me and that I couldn't get past.

I had a surprisingly small cut on my head from the impact, but I did have a rapidly swelling goose egg developing on my forehead. So, the guy that held my attention ran off when his buddy started slamming my head in the door. I guess he didn't want to be caught around a fight. Although in all fairness at that moment it wasn't a fight, it was a beating. I didn't do anything but take a slamming to my head and then take some kicking to boot. I guess that he figured I was all done in and said something that I couldn't really understand since my ears were ringing pretty good, and my vision was sort of hazy. I was on my knee wondering if I was going to the hospital, or if my parents were gonna be mad at me for wrecking the truck. It's funny what you think about in those moments. I couldn't remember what street I was on, but I could remember that I had dented my truck.

I tried to stand up, but my legs were still sort of jelly, so I went back to a knee to get my bearings. A girl that saw the whole thing came over and asked if I was ok. I told her I was fine, and she ran to a water fountain and wet her new headband and gave it to me. She was a volleyball player and I guess she had just gotten new sweatbands. I remember that so vividly because she made a point of telling me, "Don't worry they are brand new." I guess she figured that in my shape I would care if there was sweat mingled with cold water. I thanked her, and sort of wiped the little bit of blood off my head and left the band there to cool off my goose egg forehead. That was when that girl, bless her heart told me, "They are all standing over behind the economics building." I do appreciate a thoughtful girl. I guess she wanted to see me get my head busted in some more.

The second time I tried to stand up was much better, except for when I put my hands down, the asphalt was all crumbly and I almost fell because the piece my hand was on was separated from the road. I made it up though and that's when I looked down and saw the equalizer. That piece of blacktop that was loose from the road was sitting there looking up at me. I could tell it wanted me to take it "just in case". I grabbed up my new friend and started walking (fairly straight) towards the economics building which was only about 1/2 block away. My head was pounding something terrible and my vision was ok, but a bit hazy. If you have ever spent too much time in a swimming pool, and everything is a little big foggy that is what my vision was like.

There they were standing together talking like nothing happened. I found my attacker talking to his other two friend/accomplices. It turns out that the guy who put my head into the door was the same guy I punched. They hadn't seen me yet, so I kept walking up until I was only about 20 feet away. That was when the counter-attack began. I ran (walked fast, and unsteady) at him. He wasn't paying attention and his friends weren't looking my way. When I got to a couple of feet away one of his friends saw me and started to yell something, but that just made my guy, turn his back completely to me as he turned to look. I landed on his back with my arm across his chest and that piece of blacktop came right over the top of his head and landed with a satisfying crunch upon the bridge of his nose. Looking back it wasn't my finest hour. But I have to admit that it felt pretty good at the time.

That boy went down like a sack of potatoes. His friends stood there staring at me, as I guess I had started to bleed again. I yelled something that I don't even remember, but I'm sure it was a challenge to them, if they wanted to fight let's do it. Or some silly testosterone induced comment. Their response was to stand and stare at me. I don't think they could believe I got back up from the slam to the door. My head was still throbbing and I needed to get out of there. So I told them anytime they wanted to pick this up we could do it.

Well the damage to my door was $75.00. My damage was a mild concussion and a slight cut over my left eyebrow. The other fellow didn't fair as well as me. His damage was 4 stitches to the bridge of his nose. He was questioned by a teacher and then the vice principle when he showed up with stitches and told them that he had an accident on his motorcycle. The girl who offered up her headband to me, told somebody in authority what had happened, but she didn't say who did it. I told them the same thing, that I didn't know who did it. I was asked if I was ok and sent home. The guy that wanted me to leave his girlfriend alone was never involved in either of the incidents. He stayed conveniently in the background throughout it all.

Years later, I served in the military with one of those guys, and we had a good laugh about it. He apologized for setting me up for his buddy. I told him not to worry about it and it was water under the bridge. He sure did enjoy telling that story at the enlisted club. "You should have seen this guy he was nuts, blood running down his face, big ol' knot sticking out of his forehead and here he comes with a chunk of asphalt in his hand! He took Tommy down with one swipe and we were scared shit less. He's crazy, but I'm glad he's on my side." All in all it was ok, because it gave me a little status as that crazy redneck.

So the next time you see a guy get slammed into the car door in a movie and he pops back up to beat the bad guys, just remember that's just not gonna happen. I've had a few scraps and that is one of the worst I encountered. There are others, and one day I might even share another of them.

Linkin' up The Monday Minute  


Monday Minute

It's that time again...What time you ask? Monday Minute time....

As I told you I've been sort of a slug as of late with posting, but real life is almost back in order and then blogging will be as well :)

For now here is the Monday Minute as it's offered up by none other than Ian over at Daily Dose...

1 - How much would you have to be paid to eat a human cadaver's finger?
Not a dime if I was stuck in the mountains like those poor bastards in that plane crash...I'd dine like it was a 5 star restaurant.. :)

2 - Describe the worst physical fight you've ever been in.
Well I don't like to think about it much because I was a bit wild in my younger days...I was once slammed into a car door and knocked pretty much out of my senses...I'll post that experience some other time, but I promise that didn't end the fight ...

3 - Name one song that if you never heard it ever again, you'd be thrilled.
Kung fu Fighting

4 - Describe the "drunkest" situation you've ever been.
There are too many to list... BUT one pretty drunk situation I remember (there are few that I totally remember) involved me awaking in a grape vineyard. I evidently passed out on the way home from a party and ended up in between two rows of grapes. I drove out of there and got home. I'm lucky I'm alive judging by some of my poor choices as a young adult.

5 - What's your biggest regret?
I have a few that are close ties. I think my biggest regret is that I got divorced and even though it ended up better for me. I always wonder how much of a negative impact it had on my son. I wasn't there to defend him like I should have been.

So now you have my lame-o answers, but you need to get over to Ian and check his out...