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.