"Are you kidding me?" That is what I have been shouting all day. I feel like my new nickname ought to be "Oliver Douglas". Have you seen Green Acres? The whole town of Hooterville is very offbeat, and Oliver is the only one that makes any sense. However, because he is the ONLY one, he is the one out of place and everyone else shares the exact same process of insanity.

This is what happened to me last night. I was in the midst of a situation where educated and seemingly reasonable people were dwelling in a state of sheer madness. It was surreal. The look on my face would have been priceless if there was a pic. I was literally waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me that I have been punkt.

When I returned to the "real" world, my family and friends joined me in marveling at my experience. I was so grateful, because I thought I had lost my mind.

One of these days I will share all this cryptic stuff to my blog readers - if I have any by that time. If I were you, I would be sick of it by now.


Yesterday, I had an epiphany (with apologies to Stephanie, a.k.a. HollyGl). I was churning over the cryptic problem in my life and it was brutal. It reminded me of my boxing days in high school.
Boxing was great until you had to fight someone that outclassed you. This happened a lot when I first started out. You try to study your opponent - get a feel of the way he tends to attack and figure out the most energy-efficient way to protect yourself while looking for openings for your own attacks. However, when you get outclassed, you are always a step behind. Sometimes you know what is going to happen and you still can't stop it. That infuses hopelessness.

However, this particular scenario is about "thinking you have it figured out," but you really don't. Just when you think you got it, you get hit with something new. Adjust, and yet you get still another new and different attack again. Battling my cryptic problem yesterday, I got surprised by a new attack. It had every appearance of being the knockout punch, but by the Grace of God, it had no power. It was solid punch, yet IT HAD NO POWER. It reminded me of a similar supernatural experience that happened to me last year. After being struck, I just walked away. I was immediately reminded of the scripture of Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." (KJV)

It transported me back to a similar God-authored wave of peace that came over me in college. I dated a girl that I was sure I was going to marry. She was "the ONE", I was OH so sure. However, we had a rollercoaster of a relationship. I made mistakes. She made mistakes. We were young and didn't know how to deal with them. Some of us never learn, I guess, while others fight through them to happy marriages. It wasn't to be with Andrea and me.

We had broken things off and got back together a couple of times. I remember one time praying to God as I was working my third job (in addition to going to school full-time). It was a work-study job in the biology department changing and cleaning bowls in the school's axolotl colony. My conversation to God went something like this, "God, I am sorry that I didn't share my faith with her. If you see fit to bring her back to me, I will not let that happen again."

God DID see fit to bringing her back to me one last time. We dated again during that fateful summer between my junior and senior years at Indiana University. Andrea had gone to New Jersey to visit her father for a week. I went back to my hometown (I was originally suppose to go with her). We got back the same day. I found in my apartment a warrant out for my arrest. I called the police and they told me that I had better be at the station first thing in the morning or someone would come and get me. I went over to my full-time job and discovered I no longer had one. No explanation was given. I finally got in touch with Andrea on the phone. She wanted to meet with me.

She was at that time in Indianapolis, some 50 miles from Bloomington, where I was at IU. She wanted to meet me at a small town about half-way between us. I pleaded, "Please tell me that you aren't going to end it. I have a warrant out for my arrest and have lost my job. I can't lose you, too." She assured me that she wasn't breaking up. Once more I pleaded, "If you are going to end this, end it now on the phone. Don't make me go on a road trip just to have my heart handed to me." Again, I was assured that she wasn't ending it.

When I got to the parking lot where we met, I immediately saw the look on her face. It revealed that it was over. She confirmed it.

I lost it. I was yelling, waving my arms, asked her why. It surely must have scared her. She had never seen me like that before. I had never seen me like that before. I honestly believed that I wasn't going to make it back to Bloomington alive. I had no incentive. I had officially lost everything.

In all the raving, my mouth uttered, "And I didn't even talk to you about God like I told Him I would." At that very moment, a total peace came over me. It was like I stepped outside of my body, and the Spirit of God stepped into my place. I was a mere spectator as I heard my voice say, "So I am going to tell you about Him right now." The next few minutes, I shared my faith with Andrea, urged her to search for Him further, prayed with her and calmly drove back to Bloomington to face the rest of my problems, totally at peace.

Yesterday was like that for me. I think I even sang.

With No Apologies

It is strange that I would start a spiritual blog recently ( The Present Truth) and it turns out that this one takes a big turn towards the spiritual. I know that some people who read this blog aren't "into" spiritual stuff. However, right now it seems that survival dictates that all my thoughts enter this realm. There is going to be a spiritual edge to this blog more often for the time being I must say with no apologies.

It is little wonder that most of my thoughts lately are concentrated on pain and surrender. Lately, I have had to surrender a lot of things that I care deeply about in order to save some things that are and have to be a higher priority. Sometimes, when I see the disease spreading like wildfire to all parts of the being, it seems that this surrender was in vain. However, I can't let myself think that way. I must take these thoughts captive before they do harm.

Everything is so topsy-turvey that it seems that what is up, is really down. All resolutions are really open sores. Just when I think I get a handle on all the pain, I get slugged by a new weapon in a new, vulnerable spot that I thought was hidden.

Still, I stagger to work, even staggering with this blog. There is no way two weeks ago that I thought I would be blogging. This blog should be on hiatis, yet here it is - still active and still full of cryptic crap that if I was on the other end of it, would probably lose patience with the neurotic author.

I also can't stay caught up on the blogs I read. Sporadically, I will hit one at random and perhaps comment. I just hope there is an understanding there that knows that I am not trying to slight anyone. I am doing what I can and I still care.

Finally, I don't want anyone pitying me. Care about me, stand by me, but don't allow yourself to pity me. This painful time I am going through is, no doubt, a huge blessing that I just can't see yet. Therefore, pity is not necessary and congratulations are more in order - as upside down as that sounds. Despite the unlikliness of that from my tattered standpoint, I don't command my God to make sense, I just ask that He be there when I surrender. That is not so much to ask the Almighty who has already commited Himself to that very thing.

Cryptic, Don't Bother

Sometimes when life is happening, it is hard to put down in words what you are thinking. It is far easier for me to pace across the floor speaking into a recorder than to try to pound out on a keyboard something that has some sense to it. I don't record, though, because I am lazy and it would make me feel foolish.

I find myself now in a particular place. I am miserable and can't eat. I have talked about "it" with a couple of family members and one or two friends. Still, there is no use. I would feel better if I COULD blog about it, but I can't on many levels. Instead I MUST blog about it in code to God.

What a concept! I blog (not write a private prayer letter in Word) to God on the public net. It makes no sense, yet I feel compelled to do it. I don't know why.

One issue turns into another and another. Doors that have never been open before are now opened, but they are not meant to be used. Personally, I stay away from the doors, but everyone doesn't have that same conviction. Instead, I am at the mercy of another who threw the door open and from a particular perspective, believe that it can be seen, green grass.

What will it take? Pain. Pain that I can't ignore and shouldn't. To avoid the pain would deprive me of what I need to see - need to learn. Yet, just to let Edith Keeler die without trying to lift a finger to help takes great faith in fate.

What it all boils down to is faith and surrender. The ebbs of time are flowing no matter whether I try to swim against the current or inexasperation yield my body over to the stream, bashing my head on rocks along the way.

Somewhere in what only appears to be the vast wilderness is a path that will lead to where I am destined to go. When I get there, battered and bloody, I will eventually walk that path in dry clothes.

Amazing Grace

Have you ever listened to a song that you have heard a thousand times before, but it hits you suddenly like you have never heard it before? This has happened to me before and also today. I guess it is a matter of listening instead of hearing.

This is where some bloggers tend to list a whole song of lyrics for all to peruse. I am going to resist that urge and talk about a few things in the song instead - and yes, will probably include snippets of the lyrics. For some reason the whole song transcript thing just gets on my nerves.

The song in question is "I Need You to Love Me" by Barlow Girl. When I heard it today on the radio, I actually listened to every word. The tune and the sweetness of the harmony of the group's voices made it all the more bittersweet for me. It reminded me of my failures, but not in despair but in hope. It starts out this way:

"why, why are you still here with me
didn't you see what i've done?
in my shame i want to run and hide myself
but it's here i see the truth
i don't deserve you "

Facing God in a situation like that is heart wrenching - if you believe that He is there. There is no place to hide. Yet, if you feel the mercy and the Grace, you know the only place you want to run is to Him.

After taking you down the road of self-examination, we are led in the chorus to facing the moment, our needs, and our lifeline:

"but i need you to love me, and i
i won't keep my heart from you this time
and i'll stop this pretending that i can
somehow deserve what i already have
i need you to love me "

The last verse is what got me. It literally changed my state of being while driving to work:

"i just never saw how you could cherish me
'cause you're a god who has all things
and still you want me"

I understand that if you don't have this kind of vision of God, that this song really has no meaning for you. I don't want to sound superior, but I really pity those who do not know God or even recognize His existance. Without Him, all you have are others who have their own agendas and all of them do not include you. People, every single one, will ultimately let you down. All you have left is yourself and if you are as honest as I am at this moment, you know how wretched you really are.

Where is the hope? The hope lies with the One that includes you in every agenda. The One who does not grade you at every turn and will not turn from you when you betray Him. Because if you aren't in a state of betrayal to the God who sacrificed for you right now, you will be in the future. You can't help yourself. And when you are, He will still be there taking your best shots. He can't help Himself, either. It is His nature.

I am sure I will be there again as the first verse describes, wondering why God is still there after knowing what I have done. It is knowing that He will be is what gets me through today.

Bound To Come Some Trouble

As I alluded to in the comments of the previous post, I haven't been doing too well. Things are getting worse.

You see, I am not typical. Most people eat and journal when they are upset. I can do neither. It is difficult here just writing this little FYI. My words are jumbled in my head and it is hard to say clearly what I want to say. I have hit the backspace button so many times already in this "entry".

I have written about some problems in the past. However, when things are particularly serious, I don't feel comfortable blogging about it.

Anyway, if you don't see me on for a while, this is why. I don't know that I will be gone at all, but if I am, I just want you to know that it isn't forever.

Tagged - Facing the M-Word

Hollyphany from Remedial Rumination tagged me. I will get to that tag in a moment. First, I decided to face my biggest bloggordial fear, the MEME. As most of you know, I hate that word. No one asked me why I hated it, which was good because I didn't really have a good reason. It looked to me like it was just made up and inched its way into this blogger subculture that I found my self in. I hate subcultures, too, although I am constantly finding myself in them. I just think it takes too much nerve to make up a word like that (or like bloggordial, for that matter) just to coyly smile at fellow blog-subculture freaks. People were too easily sucked into it, too. To me, it was just an exercise, not anything worthy of a made-up word like "meme".

Well, like so many other idiots who just form opinions and blabber without investigation, I forged my hatred of the word. Today, something got into me. I actually looked into the word and found it legitimate. Imagine that - I thought I knew everything (maybe I do now). Meme (which is pronounced in a way that makes it rhyme with "theme", stupid me prounounced in my head like "them") was coined by biologist Richard Dawkins back in the '70's. It is attributed to a cultural piece of information that is easily spread to others.

Now that I have faced my fear and only found my own ignorance, I now proclaim that the word "meme" is legitimate and not to be shunned anymore. I hate it no longer, but I still kind of don't like it.

That being stated, the meme that I am addressing today is what "10 things make life grand for me". If it had three more, I could have used it yesterday for Thursday Thirteen which my busy-ness made me blow off this week. Here is today's exercise:

1. One thousand dollars (sorry).
2. Steak, egg and cheese bagels from McD's (a.k.a. "the world's greatest breakfast sandwich").
3. My work environment (I am my own boss and I don't share an office).
4. The unconditional love that I have only found from my dogs and God.
5. The love of a good woman (yeah I know it is #5, but my wife drives me nuts half the time).
6. My mom - as close to unconditional love as I get from a human being.
7. Diet Coke with Lime (when I can get it).
8. Getting lost in fantasy football.
9. Crab Rangoon from Evansville's Yen Ching. You haven't had it till you had it from there!
10. The peace I have with the security of my eternal destination. Not fearing death is invaluable.

I tried to leave off grand things like sunsets on the waterfront, or candlelight dinners. They are universal and cliche'. Of course I could have had a decent TT with those two and say a quiet layer of white on Christmas or something such as that.

Who to tag? I know. I will tag two people I never hear from anymore. Ari, the one who tagged me last time, Laura, from Adventures in Juggling, and Charles from Am I Thinking That? Now, Charles I do hear from some; I just want to know in particular what he thinks. :)

Highway Robbery

It is time for a friendly rant. Here is what is bugging me today:
Gas Prices - Are you kidding me? Someone needs to step up here. I am not naming names but his name rhymes (appropriately enough) with TUSH. As I mentioned in my last post, we didn't have this problem under the previous administration. Is it a coincidence that Bush and Cheney have a lot of oil interests and oil buddies? Is it also a coincidence that the names of the members of the energy advisory group to the administration were kept secret?
Let's see, during the history of the "W" administration, the reason for the high gas prices were blamed first on the attacks on 9/11. After a few years of milking that, they decided that there had to be a new reason to blame the pump thuggery. Thank God for Hurrican Katrina! After sucking all the oil connections with Katrina, they reason that something new has to have the blame. I heard it this morning on the Today show. Ready? It is a combination of having to change over to summer fuel formulas combined with the . . . wait for it . . . THE SOUND ECONOMY!
Let's see. If I remember correctly, the Clinton administration ventured into the summer months too, with the summer mixture of gas intact (as per law). It seems to me that the economy during the Clinton admistration was, let me think, THE BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN! Next.
There is also talk about how there aren't enough refineries and that keeps the prices high because the limited amount that can be refined. Then you have Republican pundits screaming that the Democrats held up the tapping of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and that kept the price high because we are too dependent on foreign oil. Let's see. Where are we going to refine this new oil from the ANWR? They should at least get the story straight.
Enter the corn-ethanol discussion. Getting fuel from corn sounds reasonable. The US can put out the corn, by golly. Here is the rub, though. The skeptics say that once you pay for the process (which isn't cheap), and factor in all the fossil fuels needed to make the ethanol (powering the process, trucking the supplies, etc.), we wouldn't be any better off.
I am not hearing a rebuttal for this argument so let me offer my own. SO WHAT? Everything at first is expensive. I remember when the calculator I can by at the Dollar Tree for a buck, cost about $20. Once the process is set up, improvements are made and the costs go down. It has to start somewhere. And, once the process becomes faster, cheaper, and more efficient, more things can be powered by it (like factories and trucks). I don't necessarily think corn ethanol is ultimately the answer, but I do believe that anything that can transition us away from the finite supply of fossil fuel (not to mention the ecological problems with it), HAS to be a step in the right direction.
I claim to be an independent voter, but I have been accused of being a staunch Democrat. However, you show me an Independent during the Bush administration, and I will show you a staunch Democrat. Don't get me started on the so-called "War on Terror"!

Thursday Thirteen #15 - Hammer's 500 M-Word

Groovy Lady tagged me and this little exercise has thirteen components so I told her that I would devote this week's TT to it. It was created by Hammer (When Your Only Tool is a Hammer) on his 500th post. I hadn't read him before, but his blog looks pretty interesting and funny. I may have to include him in my blog reading routine.

Thirteen Random Questions About Me

1. What is the stupidest mistake you have ever made with money? I guess it was buying the house that I am trying to sell now. I never moved into it; my life changed about the time I bought it. Instead of NOT buying it, I bought it as a saving mechanism. Now, I will feel lucky if I can sell it without owing money, since the housing market has changed.

2. Do you think taxes are unfair or do you think it is your civic duty? Both. Depending on who is in office, taxes are collected and used unfairly. One party wants to throw money (yours and mine) at problems and the other wants to cut taxes and "protect" the higher income people. I remember when Bush was running in his first term. The solution to EVERY problem was cutting taxes. Press Corp: "Governor Bush, how can we ease the tension between Israel and Palestine?" Bush: "We need to cut taxes." We need taxes to function as a government, but we need more accountability.

3. Do you take risks and possibly turn your life upside down for new opportunity? It isn't in my nature, but I do. I bought that stupid house in #1 and I got married. Those things have turned my life upside down. I haven't quit any jobs to work on a crab boat in Alaska or anything like that, though.

4. Are you the Alpha in your household? I don't know. In some ways, yeah, but other ways no. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the energy to maintain the alpha position. I am the alpha over the three dogs, though, but the wife . . . Sometimes I would rather just give in than deal with the fallout over confrontation. I pick my battles. In the old days, it was simple. You established your dominance by slugging your wife with a leg of lamb. Today, you have to use other tools rather than physical ones. Let's face it; women are much better in that area than men (yes! I made that point without mentioning the word "nagging"!).

5. Do you compromise with your significant other or does someone always get their way? We compromise. Sometimes the person who is willing to give the most, does so to protect the peace. That be me.

6. What curse word do you use the most often? I don't really curse that much. The D-word or the H-word may creep in from time to time, but that is about as far as it goes. I think that words are too important. You can't take them back and people judge you for every word that comes out of your mouth. I respect myself too much to throw around words like that, but more importantly, I respect those around me more.

7. Do you easily change your mind or are you dead set on most issues? Both. I have a deep desire to know the truth. If I have a belief, I listen intently to opposing views in case I missed something. One needs to be compelling to change my mind (because I have given things WAY too much thought), but it is possible. We are never through learning. If you are stuck with one position on ANYTHING, chances are you are going to be wrong eventually.

8. What famous person would you like to trade places with for one week? When I read the question the first time last week, I had no idea. When I got to it as I was filling out this little questionaire, it hit me that I would trade places with GW Bush. In one week, I could sit down with party leaders in Congress, work out a compromise that would result in putting an end to the war. I would also resend the "tax breaks" and work to put more regulation on the oil industry to protect the consumer from all this price abuse that miraculously didn't happen in the previous administration. Besides, how many people can claim they shared a bed with Laura Bush? ;)

9. If you could go back in time and tell one person off, who would it be and what would you say? Truthfully, I can't think of anyone. I have been mad at people before and didn't tell them off, but I can't see going back and doing it would be constructive. I just let things go so they won't consume me. I guess I could go back and tell Hitler off, but he wouldn't care and my German is sehr schlecht.

10. Were you a good student or did you just do enough to get by? This is a recording, but BOTH. In elementary school, I was a good student and it came easy for me. In high school I did just enough to get by but was still in the top 10% of my class. In college, I got a wake up call and struggled to do both. However, in grad school I was a good student and made the Dean's list.

11. If you could give advice to someone just starting out on their own, what would it be? Buy low and sell high; most people are wrong so don't be taken in. The most important thing I would say is to let God find you. There really is no meaning to life without the divine. If there is no meaning, than it really doesn't matter what you do, does it?

12. Are most people good and honest or are most people opportunistic and predatory? People are not born good, they have to learn to be good. It would be wise to assume that people are greedy and out for themselves and then be pleasantly surprised when you find a good one. You don't have to teach a child to be selfish, but you certainly have to drill the concept of sharing in his head. Thomas Hobbes held that the only reason we have any kind of society and order is that people had to be willing to give up their actions that cater to their selfish nature in order to not be victimized by other people that have the same evil attributes. For Hobbes, man in the state of nature is brutal and greedy. I believe he is right and the Bible pretty much confirms that philosophy.

13. Is there someone you wish you could go back and apologize to? Yes, tons of people (I always made fun of the obese - just joking here - get it, "tons"). Seriously, I feel I owe a lot of people apologies. I didn't represent myself or God well on occasion. I hurt my first couple of girlfriends pretty badly because I didn't know any better and was immature about such things. Sometimes I wasn't as good of a friend as I should have been. It is sad, really, but I learned from these experiences. It is a shame they had to come on the backs of others.

That is it. I am not going to officially tag anyone about it, but feel free to consider yourself tagged if you have any interest. I would suggest that you do it if you don't have anything better to write about. It will help you learn about yourself - at least it did for me. Let me know.

What is the point without vision?

Don't read this post until you read yesterday's I PROMISE you that this will not make sense if you read this one first. However, you may just get a blessing if you read yesterday's first.

Ironically, after writing yesterday's post, God gave me this little gem from my daily devotions. It is from Oswald Chambers and based on Proverbs 29:18. Some wonder how you know if there is a God or why doesn't He talk to us. He does - all the time, we just don't listen much. Sometimes, He even uses the Internet. That is what He did for me today:

There is a difference between an ideal and a vision. An ideal has no moral inspiration; a vision has. The people who give themselves over to ideals rarely do anything. A man's conception of Deity may be used to justify his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah argued that because God was a God of justice and of mercy, therefore everything would be all right. I may have a right conception of God, and that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty. But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of rectitude because the vision imparts moral incentive.
Ideals may lull to ruin. Take stock of yourself spiritually and see whether you have ideals only or if you have vision.

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,Or what's a heaven for?"

"Where there is no vision. . . ."

When once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless, we cast off certain restraints, we cast off praying, we cast off the vision of God in little things, and begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating what we have out of our own hand, doing things on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on the downward path, we have lost the vision. Is our attitude to-day an attitude that springs from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done? Is there a freshness and vigour in our spiritual out look?

Today is Wednesday May 9, 2007 and I am no closer to my life's goals as I was yesterday or last year. However, now I have a clearer vision.

What's the Point?

What are we doing - really? We fill up our lives with the most mundane things and act like they are important. You know what I did over the weekend? Yard work and maintenance. I cleaned the gutters, got up on the roof and removed branches from our dying, scary tree that fell on our outdated roof, cut grass, and cut up wood.

That is just an example from ONE day in my life. How many of those things are really important?

We only have a limited number of days in our lifetime. The chief part of our minds are devoted toward dreams (important and not-so-important), finding love, and stressing out over societal expectations. It is all so useless.

Here are just some of the dreams that I have:

1. I want to start a ministry that actually helps people in this world and helps them prepare for their spiritual destination.

2. I want to be published and be able to finally cross over the line of being a blog owner who routinely is read by a couple dozen people to someone who many would recognize as having something useful to say - something that is relavent to #1 above or at least a distraction from the stressors of life.

3. I want to routinely hear the voice of God and be where and what He would have me be so I could have some meaningful use in life.

I am not close enough to ANY of these dreams. I'm not, because for some reason, the grass can't wait another day, or I can't cough up the energy or resources to do them. The ministry? A few years ago, I thought I was getting there. A couple of setbacks and the obligatory excuses and now I seldom even think about it.

What about being published. I can't. My job is too time consuming or my family is too demanding or maybe, just maybe, I can't maintain the confidence to push things aside enough to follow through with it - not yet, anyway.

The voice of God eludes me, too. However, if I am not careful, He will get a few words in. He has before. No, I REALLY don't want to hear Him, do I? Why have the responsibility? Not when there are holes to fill in the back yard or a garage that needs cleaning - you know, the list of things you think about on your death bed with a smile knowing that it was life well-lived.

So I run and worry. I worry that I won't sell my house or about my family's health. I stress over the fact that I have four automibles but none of them have my confidence to take a two-hour road trip or I fret over the fact that I have to report to jury duty at the end of the week, or about my meetings at work next week.

Today is Monday May 7, 2007 and I am no closer to my life's goals as I was yesterday or last year. How was your Monday?

The A, B, C's of Me

I got tagged by Ari, of all people. I say "of all people" because I didn't even know that she still read my blog. Come to think of it, I STILL don't know if she does. ;) At any rate, she tagged me with this li'l piece, and seein's how much I respect her, I must respond. You know the drill!

A-Available or Single? No, and no (psst! My wife may find this blog someday and I am already in enough trouble based on what I have written so far).

B-Best Friend? I think I would have to say Emily from "Two Right Hands" (Oops! I mean my wife, My Wife! MY WIFE!!!)

C-Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Pie? If I had to pick one, it would be the pie. Neither fit my "common sense" diet, however.

D-Dress Up or Casual (your typical attire)? Casual. Comfort is everything. Oh the vanity of some of you people!

E-Essential Item? My wedding ring! (See Honey, I'm on board!)

F-Favorite Color? It depends on the mood and the object. I like blue typically, but if I am thinking sports it is red.

G-Gummie Bears or Gummie Worms? I dont' really care for either but would pick bears if I must because I am a traditionalist.

H-Hobbies? Writing, Studying, and Fantasy Football

I-Indulgences? Sugar Free Pecan Flipovers, Satellite TV, and crustless pizza.

J-January or February? The real question is why is this a question? What's the difference? I guess it would be January because February is too short and I have left time to get my monthly reports together.

K-Kids? Probably. You can't guarantee what will happen. I hear they are good with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

L-Life is incomplete without . . .? Meaning.

M-Money or Love (unlimited choose only one)? Money!!! I already have love.

N-Night Owl or Morning Person? I guess of the two, I am a morning person (used to be a night owl). Truthfully, though, I hate both.

O-Oranges or Apples? Oranges. Just like dry turkey, I can't stand dry fruit. Give me juicy oranges, grapes, and peaches any day. But the best things ares pears by "Harry and David".

P-Phobias/Fears? I have clausterphobia and I am afraid to get trapped on the phone with my friend Randy. It sucks the life right out of me.

Q-Quote personally from you? "Most people are wrong." This is what I told (and he rembers well) my nephew when we went for a walk in the snow when he was ten years old. I still believe it is true and so does he. BTW - He just got married ten days ago.

R-Rock Star or Actor (which would you be)? Actor. It is in my blood.

S-Share something you learned recently. I learned that Al Gore's got some splainin' to do about his house.

T-Tag Three People. I hate to do this one, but Emily, Ann, and Stephanie.

U-Unknown or Little Known Fact About You? I carry a badge.

Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Nice phrasing. That is as fair a question as "Do you still beat your wife?" At any rate, I am a carnivore. I challenge anyone to be a vegetarian after one day on the "Cabbage Soup Diet"!

W-Worst Habit or Habits? I'm a packrat. I have a hard time throwing anything away.

X-XXX's or OOO's? First of all, for the record, this is the worst excuse for an "X" question. That being stated, I guess I would say O. I can hug anyone but, kisses are a little too intimate to be handing them out wily nily.

Z-Zodiac Sign? Cancer. That is why I never started smoking.

After this, I might have to pass on this week's Thursday Thirteen. Who knows, though? I might get some great TT idea that can't wait. I do know that I have to submit to my other blog. My one reader is probably getting impatient. :)

Diet (a different color)

My wife had the great idea of starting a new diet WITH me this week. This is interesting because my wife is thin and trim (is this a redundancy?). Evidently, something didn't fit her like it used to and she began to start worrying about getting chunky. She looks the same to me and considering she is gearing up for her hormonal changes this cycle, I am thinking she is making a big deal over probably nothing.

She further has urged me to abandon my low-carb diet for something she can deal with. She isn't much of a meat eater, and that is practically all I eat on this diet. She discovered the "Cabbage Soup Diet" (a seven-day diet) and offered to do it with me if I would do it. Since I can do any diet for a week, I agreed. I liked the idea of being able to do a diet together so I signed up and we went shopping for the diet Sunday night.

When we got home, we proceeded to make a huge pot of this soup. It smelled pretty good - like any other kind of vegetable soup and so the diet began.

Day 1 - yesterday. I skipped coffee at work (although I think I am allowed it) and went home for lunch where I ate two bowls of soup. It was okay for a meatless vegetable soup. Later I cut grass and the heat and the soup got to me. I felt awful all night. I only ate a few small pieces of cantaloupe and a couple strawberries for dinner (I couldn't stand the thought of eating any more of that soup).

As bad as it was for me, my wife had it worse. She always said that she didn't have the will power to diet so I wonder how much of that attitude played into her experience, but she was in bad shape. She fretted about the diet all day (while I, on the other hand, didn't give it much thought until lunch time). She ate her soup, got a headache, and made repeated trips to the bathroom. When she got home, she couldn't eat anything for supper and spent the late night throwing up everything she ate. We both had terrible headaches (mine followed me into today).I know the soup is okay, because we made it ourselves with clean, fresh vegetables.

Needless to say, my wife is no longer on the diet. I, on the other hand, am still on the fence. As lunch time approaches, I can't stand the thought of eating more of that soup (although I still might). My wife wants me to go off of it (to ease her guilt), but I don't know. I don't like to give up on things too easily. Like I said, I can do anything for a week.

I did get some coffee this morning. That helped a little, I think.

All I know, is that I am not a fan of the diet so far and the "good soup smell" of Sunday night has turned into a rank smell the last two days. That doesn't help me to look forward to that blamed soup, either. Stay tuned.