Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Got a Hammer?

I really think I will be blogging more relatively soon. Life is REALLY getting in the way. There is one problem right after another that just consumes my concentration. It isn't the deep blows it used to be when I was closer to the divorce, but it is still mind-consuming - therefore keeping me busy.

I had in mind today to do one of my fun-type posts. I had one in mind, but yet another obstacle robbed me of that mood. I am not in a terrible mood, just a distracted one. It is like the blog gods just don't want me to move forward with this.

This blog reminds me of a house that one saved up for and moved into. It was new and exciting at first with plenty of ideas to do fun things with it. I was going to take out that one wall in the back and make a huge game room. I was going to add flooring in the attic and make that workout room.

However, like time, business and conflicts do to house dreams, they also did to this blog. I look at it and think: forget the game room, I just need to get the dripping faucet fixed. Workout room in the attic? Look at those gutters barely hanging on. I have to clean them out and re-attach them. Yep, this puppy has run down. No wonder the neighbors don't come by much anymore.

So, as I am standing out front and looking at this run-down blog, I know that I have to get busy on it. I think I will, just not at the pace I wanted to. One day, though . . . . one day, I will get that game room. You just wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

History, The Shack, and a Healthy, Loveless Life

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - I am thrilled at the results of this election. Even SOME people that I know that voted for McCain seem to understand the significance of this election - in a positive way. A majority of the citizens of the US put an African-American into the highest office in the country - perhaps the most powerful position on the planet. THE PEOPLE put him there! At last, there is hope that EVERYONE is invited to the table. When one sees the face of a minority on the television screen, it just may be the president of the United States, and not an example of one of the negative stereotypes that unfairly rose to the attention of the masses. That is huge. What touched me the most, is a story I heard on one of the news channels where it was heard that African-American man stated that he could finally look in his young son's eyes and proclaim, "Son, you can be ANYTHING you want to be in this country," and be able to surely mean it.

ENTERTAINMENT - I am VERY motivated now to read The Shack by William P. Young. A lot of people who have read it give it glowing reviews. However, that is not why I want to read it. It is those people who are attempting to expose it as heresy that is causing me to shell out bucks at Barnes and Nobles tomorrow and pick up the thing. Some critics give no allowances for literary license and their critiques sound very dogmatic. I am not a fan of legalistic dogma. I think people miss out too much on blessings by whining about anything that strays from a textbook approach to spirituality. It reminds me of the time when the movie, The Last Temptation of Christ came out and a high number of religious groups were up in arms over it. Most of them, by their own admission, had not even seen the movie. Of course, I had to see it. Guess what? It wasn't the most exciting movie I had ever seen. It certainly was not thoroughly consistent with the Scriptures, but it was far from heresy. It offered a literary approach to the humanity of Christ instead of the robot-like God-Jesus we were all used to seeing in previous movies. I see the criticism of The Shack perhaps being in that same light.

It reminds me of two different people seeing a happening on the street and comparing notes. One saw a vehicle going way over the posted speed limits and even crossing the center line from time to time and generally being a menace to every law-abiding driver on the roads. The other saw an ambulance rushing to save a life. I wonder how I will see The Shack.

WORK (or writing in this case) - My big project is starting slow. Life's distractions are the enemy of creativity and production. I always wanted to move to Montana by myself and set up a home office to be able to write without distraction. That probably will not happen, but I am determined to carry on nonetheless.

SPIRIT - My common theme for the spirit is and will remain "surrender":

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.


FAMILY - I am getting a little concerned about my mother. The other morning, I found her hours before she normally gets up. She was dressed and ready to go. She was concerned that none of her kids were there to be ready for the party. It took me a couple of hours to convince her that there was no party and that she had dreamed the whole thing. It takes her too long to differentiate between reality and dreams sometimes. She always comes out of it, but exclaims, "It was so real." I wonder if there will ever be a day that she just doesn't come out of it. God forbid.

LOVE - Frankly, I am just avoiding it. I am usually a humble kind of guy, but I am just not going to give love so freely - not that special someone kind of love. The more women I meet, the more I realize that most are not worthy of what I have to give. I am the type of guy that will treat my significant other like a queen. I will spend every day thinking of her first - trying to make her day better, every day. I try to give her a reason to smile on a daily basis. I want her to count on laughter when she's that I am on the phone - especially if she needs that lift. I never allow the prospect that she feels unimportant or unloved. She will never doubt my feelings and affection for her. That is just my nature - the way I think everyone should be. However, I am tired of casting my pearls before the swine. I am just not going to do it anymore.

ANGUISH - My tenant! Actually he moved out, had the power turned off, but didn't tell me any of it. He still has stuff in there - some of it valuable. However, he hasn't paid for October, let alone November. I am going to have to change the locks.

SPORTS - I am setting up an office/gym in my house. I also bought a Wii Fit. I am going to be healthy if it kills me. I finished well in the contest at work. Clothes that I couldn't have worn at this past summer are falling off of me now. Guess how I did it? That's right, I surrendered.

HOME - I think I kind of covered this already in other headings. Things are shaping up and will be great as soon as I get that TENANT OUT OF MY LIFE!TT

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Gale

His heart was racing as he ran down the road. Isaac felt it nearly beating a hole through his chest, not only because of the stress of the exercise, but also because of the fear that welled inside him. He often looked back over his shoulder, but there was never anyone there.

He saw a small town enter his vision at the bend of the road. He knew he had to get there, somewhere where no one knew him. Somewhere he could rest – at least for a while. He slowed to a walk as the town got bigger in his view.

There were many people on foot smiling and talking to each other. Some even greeted him with a smile and a nod. He could hear music playing somewhere. It seemed like a nice enough town. Perhaps he could blend in, get something to drink, rest and figure all this out.

As he entered a small store, the middle-aged clerk behind the counter greeted him with a smile. “What can I help you with today?”

“I . . . uh . . . I just need something to drink, some water or something.”

“Sure,” she responded,“ but I’m gonna have to charge you a nickel for the cup. Free refills, though,” she laughed.

As Isaac, felt for a coin in his pocket, he felt his tension easing up. The lady behind the counter had the right kind of mannerisms to give him a reprieve. He was appreciative for it, no matter how brief it might be. He plopped the nickel down on the counter, grabbed the cup and backed against the nearest wall for a little more rest.

“You sure look haggard, Darlin’,” the clerk sympathized. “Are you looking for someone? Is there something I can do to help you?”

“No . . . I am fine,” Isaac uttered, “I am just passing through.”

“Well, I wish you a safe journey. If you need anything else . . .” Her sentence was interrupted by a stirring in the air.

Isaac felt a cold wind in his face. His rattled nerves reacted as he pondered how this breeze could find him again and be so cold in the summer heat -and be inside this little store. He watched the clerk’s hair blow from right to left on her head and onto her face. Then it was gone.

“What are you doing here?” The clerk's demeanor was changed. She was now shouting at Isaac with piercing, accusatory eyes.

“I . . . uh . . . ,” Isaac had nothing to say. Fear was now shooting through him again. The woman was moving trance-like towards him. He dropped his now empty cup and stormed out the door. He was met out in the street with the glares of the once friendly eyes of the townspeople. They froze and started heading toward him in the same way as the clerk did just seconds before.

He dashed between buildings and headed across the barren countryside. He saw the road winding around in front of him and headed for that rendezvous point that will guide him away from yet another village that turned on him without explanation. The answer to this real-life nightmare, he understood, was blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tumbleweeds on Election Day

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________
NEWS - This is the election day, non-election post. The political campaigns have run their courses. Now it is time to support whoever wins the presidency. He will need all the help he can get because we are in quite a mess.

ENTERTAINMENT - I haven't been all that entertained, lately. I will miss all the SNL election skits, though.

WRITING - I have been excited about my new project, but I hadn't been able to get much going on it. My life has been really busy and hectic lately. I am still focused. I hope I don't lose it, though.

SPIRIT - I have been learning to surrender more. It is funny about the human condition. We just don't want to surrender. We will force our wills at every opportunity. This, indeed, is the hardest aspect of true spirituality.

FAMILY - One of the things that is keeping me busy, I am in the process of trying to get the tenant from hell out of my house and get my sister in it. That will solve problems for everyone. We will see how it goes.

LOVE - As I was going through the sections of this post, (News, Entertainment, etc.), I flied right through them. When I got to this section, all I could do is stare at the flashing cursor with really nothing to say. Already, I have typed three complete lines and I still haven't written anything relevant to the topic. Truthfully, I have met a few people. Each of them has been kind of flaky in their own way. I guess the reality of it is that I am now ruined for love. I can't play the games; I just can't waste the time and effort; I no longer have the energy and the appetite for that. I have a unique, I guess, view of what love should be and I am not prepared to go through the pain of getting anything less. The problem is that less is all there is. I just don't belong here anymore.

ANXIETY - I am really not stressed about anything. I have a somber peace.

SPORTS - When I decided to put "Sports" in this exercise, I was somewhat interested in it. It is funny how life tends to reset our priorities. Of course, I would feel differently about it, perhaps, if any of the teams I was interested were the slightest bit exciting.

HOME - I have been moving into "our" house and trying to furnish it - get it ready for my solo life. It has been a little trip down memory lane, a bitter sweet walk. I look forward to all the dust settling so I can see just what my life looks like. Hopefully, it will be with my sister in one house, my mother in another, and finally me with my little bachelor cottage creating new memories to replace the old ones that have helped to make me a little out of sorts today - as if you hadn't noticed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Psychosomatic Wit Makes Endorsement


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - As many of you know, in the primary elections, I endorsed Hilary Clinton. I still believe that Clinton would have made a good president, but that is not possible now. However, unlike the primary election where the positions of the main candidates were not that far apart, between the choices of John McCain and Barack Obama, there is a stark difference.

We can whittle down all the sound bytes all we want to, but the most GLOWING thing about this choice is change. Ronald Reagan swept into office in 1980 with basically one question that he asked the voters, "Are you better off today, than you were four years ago?" The question was a resounding "no" and Reagan handily defeated the incumbent Jimmy Carter. The people that have kept up with my blog know that I believe that George W. Bush could be the worst president that the US has ever had. He has failed in every major front that we have faced for the past eight years. To review, you can review that post here.

I realize and John McCain has tried to drive this point home more lately, that McCain is not Bush. However, by his own admission, he has voted for Bush policies 90% of the time. I can't live with that.

So, does this mean that I am endorsing Obama because he is the lesser of two evils? No. I was hard on Obama in the primaries. I primarily attacked his lack of experience. I still feel as though he doesn't have as much experience as I am usually comfortable with. However, I have witnessed him during this campaign season. He has been calm and even comforting in some very heated moments. He does not get frazzled. His campaign has been the most funded and best organized in history.

He is fresh and has clear vision. I agree with proposals about improving education and giving more people an opportunity to attend college through service. I believe that his view of giving breaks to those hurting makes much more sense than trickle down economics. Greed is prevalent in our society so a lot of powerful people that benefit from that philosophy just do not let it trickle down to the folks. His view of military action is much more appealing and realistic than the mongering we have witnessed over the past eight years (which is also vehemently championed by McCain). I am just not so sure that we can survive another term with this kind of leadership.

Psychosomatic Wit enthusiastically endorses Barack Obama for president. I know of no one that is better off today than they were four or eight years ago. If Obama handles the country in any way close to the way he handles a campaign, he will be one for the ages. If his inexperience causes him to make a few mistakes, we will still be ahead of the game considering the alternative.

The Rest of the NEWSFLASH will be added later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poof! Here I am!

I am interrupting this negligence for an important message: I am still alive and planning on posting soon. I have been moving and engaging in other time-consuming endeavors.

There is a lot of junk going on that needs to be settled, but other than that, I have never been better!

I am in the process of starting a project that will probably be the most important thing I have ever written. It isn't a blog piece, but something much bigger. Wish me luck and for God's sake, keep after me about it. It is pretty important.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Obama, The Mentalist, and Being Alone


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - I have been studying the polls for this presidential election. Things are shifting big time for Obama. As a matter of fact, watching a tracking mechanism on people watching the debate on one of the cable news outlets, I discovered something. Obama was scoring the highest on independents, this backs up most of the national polls now. So, if you consider yourself an independent, but are leaning towards McCain, maybe you should rethink your "independent" status.

ENTERTAINMENT - I have found a new television program to follow this season. I make no reservation in recommending The Mentalist on CBS. Simon Baker plays Patrick Jane, a consultant to the police department whe formally was a fake psychic. He made a name for himself posing as one of those people who insist that he can talk to the other side. He now insists that there are no such thing as psychic abilities and the skills of paying attention fool people into believing. He uses those skills to solve crime. Baker is smooth in his role, but what makes the show deep, is that his character has a lot of mental baggage (feeling guilt for the slaughter of his family by a serial killer). The Mentalist airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm ET/PT on CBS.

WORK - Work has calmed down a bit. I guess I need to focus on finding an intern for the year now. I am dreading that.

SPIRIT - Now that I am getting used to being alone, the dreaded lonliness has kind of set in. It isn't that I am a depressed lonly, more like a somber lonly. I mean, I don't feel hopeless, just alone. This gives me an opportunity to work on some things in my life and draw closer to God. I know that as I draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to me.

FAMILY - My (healthy) sister had a scare. She scheduled an appointment for a checkup and discovered that she apparently had a heart attack LAST YEAR. No one told her and she spent the past year thinking she was fine. There was a definite slip in communication - either between the hospital and the doctor, or the doctor and the patient. Miffed, she scheduled a stress test. However, four days before she was to go in for the test, she had chest pains. Normally, she might have just chalked it up to something else, but the news spooked her so she went to the emergency room. They did some tests and admitted her. They moved her stress test up for the following day. When all the dust settled from all the tests, she is completely fine with no sign of any heart attack at all. It is quite a mystery.

LOVE - This is a rough week for me. This is the big Fall Festival week in Evansville - a pretty big deal. It was something that my wife and I really enjoyed and shared with each other and this is the first one without her. Not only that, but this Saturday (the last night of the festival) is October 11 and that is our wedding anniversary. We picked that day to get married, because five years ago on Saturday the 11th, I officially asked her to be my girlfriend, under a tree there - on the last day of the Fall Festival. That isn't all, I went through my voice mail at work to delete a lot of it. I tend to not delete it much because of facts that I may need to use when working on a case. Anyway, as I deleted about 20 of them, I ran across this sweet voice that said, "Hey you. I am just calling to tell you that the dogs, our children, are VERY excited to be getting the new house. Here, I will let them tell you . . ." I cut it off right there. For those of you that do not remember, that was right before she went away for the weekend and changed our lives forever.

ANGUISH: My tenant is going to make me hurt him. He is trying to buy the house from me for $10,000 less than we agree on - which would cause me to get a $10,000 loan to cover my loss. He told a neighbor that he has me over a barrel and thinks he is going to get it that cheap. What he doesn't know, is that I would rather let the bank repo it before I give it to him for that price - ESPECIALLY him. I haven't wanted to inflict bodily harm on someone since I was a kid. However, he is pushing me to the limit.

SPORTS - My teams suck and my fantasy football team is in last place. However, I am ready to make my move.

HOME - I am slowly putting things together for the house that used to be ours. I have no furniture, but I don't care much. I do have a bed and a recliner. Everything else will come in time. I am also getting closer and closer to getting into the shape I want. I am running daily again with my dogs and putting together the gym in my garage. I just may move it into the house. Apparently, there is room for it now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who Took De-Bait?

I just watched the vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. It was interestingly boring. Who won? Well, if one considers a progressive evaluation principle (compare to: tax, progressive), you might consider Palin the winner. If you scored it on a point by point, Biden won.

Sarah Palin looked good if you look at it progressively, that is, if you expected her to fall apart as she has in other media situations. She just didn't. Therefore, she looked better. It is as if you have kid on the baseball team that always strikes out. If the kid actually grounds out to the pitcher, it looks like he did well - when in fact, he just made another out.

What bothered me about her? It appeared as she just read a speech, complete with jibes and sound bites. It didn't matter what was asked, she just continued with her speech. As a matter of fact, she admitted early in the speech, uh . . . I mean debate, that she wasn't going to answer the questions the way Biden or the moderator wanted. That translated into she wasn't going to answer it at all unless it happened to be in her prepared speech. That and announcing that she wanted more power to the vice president made her appear to lack humility.

What else? If I hear her call herself and McCain "mavericks" one more time, I am going to scream. I wonder how many times that was in her speech. Actually, if I hear her voice one more time, I am going to scream. Not because of a personal dislike. it is just that her voice tends to melt the coins in my pocket and that hurts.

What about Biden? He tended to be boring. He also tended to answer the questions so that to me, gives him the debate. He correctly pointed out that George Bush ran the country in the ground, and McCain's main policies are the same. That is enough for me. When challenged about "looking back and not looking forward", he correctly reported what I care about which is, "The past is a prologue to the future."

He did bother me that he tended to smile, kind of patronizingly, at Palin when she went reached the attack part of "her speech". I don't know what he was supposed to do, but that bugged. He also liked to repeat what he considered main points - even going as far as begging, "Let me repeat, . . . ".

All in all, the debate was kind of boring to all but the political junkies (like me). It just reinforced what I had already come to believe about this election. We can't risk anything close to what we have now in the next administration.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What a Fool Believes

She greeted him with a smile. He looked at her. It wasn't just a normal glance, but he peered deep searching for any kind of justification for what he was feeling . . hoping.

"I saw this downtown and thought of you," he said as he presented her with a small stuffed animal. It was a dog with big sad eyes and droopy ears.

She tried to hide her discomfort, and graciously accepted the small token. "Thank you, it is very cute," she replied and mustered a smile.

Convinced that he was now in her graces, he decreased the distance between them. "Do you remember the time we went to the fair and I won that over sized wiener dog for you?"

"Oh sure," she responded as she glanced at her wall clock from the corner of her eyes, "you threw footballs through a tire or someting, didn't you? That was nice."

"Actually, I shot three basketballs through the hoop . I guess I was pretty lucky, though, because those rims there were shaped like footballs instead of hoops." He laughed what he considered a clever laugh as he recalled the details.

She was wondering how long she was going to have to play along. She knew he was good guy, but that was all she could say about him. He, on the other hand, was contemplating how he was going to extend this drop-by into an evening.

"Are you hungry?" he asked hopefully.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I just ate before you got here. It is just as well, though, because I have a million things to do. Maybe another time, though - REALLY!" She wished she had that last sentence back, but getting him out was her primary concern.

He, replayed the "REALLY" over and over in his mind. It gave him a smile that even his limited knowledge of all things suave, made him keep on the inside. "Hey, I understand. Give me a call sometime . . . or I will call you."

He slowly backed through the door that she was already poised to close. "Sure, sounds great."

That was it. He whistled to his car, already deep in thought about when and for what purpose he would call her. She tossed the stuffed dog in the hall closet as she made her way to the vanity where she would continue preparing for a fun night without him.



What a Fool Believes
Michael McDonald/Kenny Loggins

He came from somewhere back in her long ago
The sentimental fool don't see
Tryin' hard to recreate
What had yet to be created once in her life

She musters a smile
For his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say
Only to realize
It never really was

She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He's watching her go

But what a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
And nothing at all keeps sending him...

Somewhere back in her long ago
Where he can still believe there's a place in her life
Someday, somewhere, she will return

She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He's watching her go

But what a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
There's nothing at all
But what a fool believes he sees...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike, Big Brother, and Finality


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - I am sure glad that I don't live in Texas. No, it isn't because "W" is from there, although that is a good point. It is just that even here in my little pocket of southwestern Indiana, Hurricane Ike was brutal. He came through Sunday and there are still thousands of people without power. A good friend of mine still has no electricity and he is being quite testy - even with moi! I am just thinking about what they are recovering from in the Galveston-Houston area. My prayers go out to them.

ENTERTAINMENT - Big Brother 10 is now history. It was very satisfying to me because it was one of the rare seasons that my fave took the prize. Actually, the last two seasons were quite nice. I particularly liked this one, because the winner, Dan, had to go through a whole lot more challenges than others on there. Plus, he was just a fun guy to "be around'.

WORK - The big meeting with my evaluation is tonight. I am so concerned about it that instead of brushing up on any questions that may be asked, I am blogging here for you people. I think it will be fine. I am just glad that I won't have to think about it much more.

SPIRIT - I had a pretty good brush with the Holy Spirit yesterday - believe it or not. I had lunch with one of my commissioners (one who will evaluate me). We didn't talk about work, though. She is having a tough time understanding her husband and feeling a lot of pressure. It is more complicated than most because he has been recently diagnosed with cancer and it does not look promising.

Going into the lunch, I was pretty pre-occupied with my own marital situation as I will get to later. All of the sudden, the spirit filled my mouth and I started ministering to this commissioner explaining why her husband was acting the way he was acting along with an assorted other issues that she was troubled with. It was as if I was sitting next to myself watching and listening to me talk. I even tried to tell myself to shut up; this was a boss, for crying out loud, and I am hardly an expert in dealing with her situation. Yet, I continued anyway.

I really didn't know how she was going to take this flood of . . . whatever it was. However, after a good cry, she told me that she was so grateful for that lunch and that I will never know how much that meant to her.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

FAMILY - the family is one facet of my life that is looking good. Of course, wing night was last night and a good time was had by all. It is nice to know that my siblings will always be there when I need them. We have that with each other and that is a blessing that everyone doesn't have. I need to make sure I think about that more often.

LOVE - This is the reason I was pre-occupied with myself when lunching with my troubled commissioner. Yesterday, my wife went to file a paper at the courthouse to waive the final hearing of our divorce which was supposed to be late next week. However, she came back my ex-wife. They processed the paperwork while she was there and now it is over. It freaked her out. It freaked me out. Now things are . . . different.

ANGUISH - See above

SPORTS - I feel as though I am mathematically eliminated from my fantasy football title chase. It is only in its second week. How sad! On top of that, my beloved Bengals are worse than my fantasy team. In most seasons, if this type of thing was going on in my sports life, I would be furious. This time, for some reason . . . I just don't care.

HOME - My renter has come as close as I have been in YEARS to causing me to enflict physical harm on another human being. He is just too much for me to deal with right now. So, I will skip that little story, lest I get all worked up about it again, and share this one instead:

I am taking over the house that I shared with my wife. She is leaving town for good this weekend, and I am financing it in my name. For a while, there was no chance that I would be willing to do this. Now, however, it is the only thing that makes sense. I am happy about it. It is just a plain little two bedroom house, but that is all a batchelor (sigh) like me needs right now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Real Dope

I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an update about how I am. My divorce will be final in a couple of weeks. My soon to be ex-wife, is moving away next week. We are getting along and things are as nice as they can be. She even talks of a friendship.

As for me, the pain of it all is not as excruciating as it was. When the good book states that He will not give us more than we can bear, this is an example of the truth of that. Of course, He makes no bones about taking us right to the threshold. However, with the debilitating pain gone, I still have my job, home, and the support of family and friends. Even though I can function, there is still a cloud of somberness that I live in. I am sure that it will pass, too. The worst is over.

I went back and republished all the posts that I removed back when life and criticism was too much to bear. It is a record and it documents who I really am, not the person I wish I could be.

One thing that I did get putting those posts back on this blog was that it afforded me the opportunity to get back in touch with my writing. I had kind of lost that. I have a spark of motivation now to continue to write - not only for this blog, but for my own literary pursuits. I will take the blessings wherever I find them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Women's Intelligence are Pal-in Comparison


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - If I was a white woman, I would be so irritated at how my demographic is made up to look like it is comprised of bubble-headed fools right now with this election. Before the Sarah Palin pick for McCain's VP, Obama held an 8-point lead among white women voters, 50 percent to 42 percent, according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll. After the Republican convention, McCain was ahead by 12 points among the same demographic, 53 to 41 percent. That is a 20 point turn around - for what?? An unknown woman who gave a pretty good speech is now a candidate for an important job and somehow that changes the opinion on how McCain is going to do as president for a party that ran us in the ground for the past eight years. Pitiful.

ENTERTAINMENT - I have discovered a new TV show that has captivated me. When I was married, it wasn't conducive to watch, but now I am catching up on Friday Night Lights. My nephew has lent me his "Season One" on DVD and I can't wait to be able to find time to watch whatever episode is next as I go through them in order. It is a good drama that just happens to be set in a Texas high school football town. There has some very touching moments and most of the storylines do not have much to do with the game, itself. This show gets Psychosomatic Wit's big recommendation.

WORK - My evaluation is coming up next week. I am not too happy with my own job performance. I have been distracted the past couple of months. However, I am sure it will be fine.

SPIRIT - This is pretty complicated thing right now to share in a small blurb. The Reader's Digest version is just that God sees things that I can't see and the more I accept that, the more peace I experience.

FAMILY - I have started a weekly family night at a local eating establishment on Tuesday nights. My siblings and I get together for wing night. It is something that is needed by all of us and the wings are on sale for $ 0.35 a piece on Tuesday nights. My sister finally got her disability and her life has changed around. Praise God!

LOVE - What does my love life and a Hoover have in common? Think about it.

ANXIETY - The lingering pain that is associated with above category.

SPORTS - Fantasy Football has started again. It is a welcome distraction. I am second to last after one week. This is the first year in it that I really don't care about that little fact.

HOME - I may buy my (ex)wife's house as soon as my tenant buys mine. It is complicated, but I think it would be best for everyone.

I don't know how many people still check this. I have my doubts that very many people have hung in there with me after a long wait. If most are permanently gone now, I probably deserve it. For those of you who may happen by, welcome or welcome back.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Worth Repeating

This is probably the most searched post I have written. The searches: depression, wife's depression, selfishness and depression. There are a lot of people struggling out there with depression or their spouse is. Either way it is a horrible ordeal to go through. No matter what I came up with originally when I published this post, I consider myself more of an expert about it now, because now I see depression from both sides - as a helpless spouse of a depressed person and someone who is/has been so depressed myself that I wonder if I can handle even another breath.

I am reposting this with some additions and perhaps some editing. My new perspective on it mandates this.

Who can figure out how a normal person, for no apparent reason, can transform into someone who is one breath away from dramatically changing the lives of everyone around them? Like putting on a costume in the play of life, the character is transformed into a hopeless shell of a human being. It is enough to make Stanislavsky proud.

Depression is a form of selfishness. Am I saying that it isn't a medical problem (i.e. chemical imbalance)? No. For some, it very well may be. It is still selfishness, because by definition, a person dwelling in a state of depression is consumed with the self, although it is not a conscious choice of selfishness. Depression is so debilitating that it leaves one with the notion that he has little choice but to be immersed in the self for survival's sake. Whether it is chemical, spiritual, or situational depression, life seems so hopeless. That is why merely surviving is center-most in the thoughts of those struggling with this.

The problem with depression is that it is a disease of the soul. The soul is the intellect + will + emotions of an individual. Depression attacks the soul and causes the person to dwell on the self. There is an old saying, “Misery loves company.” Depression flies in the face of that bromide. Rather, depression is a suspicious spouse, or a jealous best friend. There is no room for anyone else to suffer with it or any other problem, for that matter. No, one with depression can only consider his/her own hopeless state. No one else has the right to have it, lest some focus may be taken off the self. It really can be brutal in the mind of the depressed, "I don't want to hear about your problems; I am dying over here!"

I never grappled with real depression until after I met my wife. That is not to say that, previous to this divorce, my wife caused my bouts of it or that my marriage was depressing me. However, this divorce has shattered my world and has lit up the world of depression like no other time in my life. Despite my blog rants, I learned to be somewhat contented with my marriage. I didn’t really blog about the good times so much. The troubled spots are easier to analyze and that is what I do, but I digress. Before the past couple of years, I never actually had to deal with depression. Sure, I had sad times. I was sad when appropriate, maybe even downright despondent, but there were always reasons. It was part of the natural cycle of being human in a fallen world. However, depression is another matter. Depression is its own entity. Now, I have stared it down and my spirit screams in horror with the sight.

Perhaps my small (and they were relatively small) stints of depression were a form of sympathy pain for my wife. She has struggled intensely with this unnatural despair. Maybe God would have me get some doses of it so I could understand and reach out to her instead of doing what my flesh craved at times which was announcing, “I can’t deal with this; maybe you aren’t ready to have this kind of relationship.”

How prophetic that last paragraph was when I originally wrote it! I have had a couple of conversations recently with my wife and she marveled at how I understand her now. I think that was the crux of her unhappiness with the marriage. Now, it is just ironic. I have come to find out that irony is just another word for cruel, VERY CRUEL joke.

Whatever the reason, these dates with melancholia are a reality for me now. However, no matter how it feels, complete hopelessness will never take hold. I have found the secret, and I thank God for that revelation. The spiritual aspect of depression did find out that secret, and as some of you have read before it was removed, I have struggled with the God aspect of this divorce. Still, God has been educating me and I have moved from that position (of being mad at God) quite a bit.

This whole situation has also educated me about my wife's spirituality. That makes it all the more depressing. I KNOW that God will and is delivering me from this - that I will someday be alright and whole again. The pain is just normal and necessary. Walking in the fires of depression will polish and proof me. However, my wife doesn't have or is unable to see it that way. For her, it is completely black and hopeless. For me, right now, it is merely a temporary darkness - no matter what it feels like. There may be only one set of footprints in the sand, but I DO know exactly who made them.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I Knew the Risk when I Bought the Ticket

I received an email from a person that reads my blog. It was apologetic in nature, although I am not sure this person has anything for which to apologize. Still, I appreciated the sentiments in the email. The reader then vowed to not send anymore feedback unless I asked for advice. This stimulated my thinking trying to realize what I felt in regard to the whole blogging relationship and what goes on with bloggers and readers. I think there is an understood dynamic there that states that the blogger blogs and the readers comment. The vow of "silence" seems a bit out of place, although I appreciate the gesture. I do think that people should follow their own preference.

At any rate, here is the edited version of my response. I am including it as addendum to this comment I left two posts ago:

"I know some of you mean well with your tough love approach. However, to be quite honest with you, there is an appropriate time for that kind of help and it is usually after an appropriate grieving period takes place.

I promised myself that I wouldn't take it personally. That is why I removed those posts. However, as I am still working through it, I am sure I am going to post more of what is exactly on my mind. That will also include any feedback to your feedback. If it offends, do like me and don't take it personally. Depending on how life is for you now, you should be able to handle that better than I can.

In addition, the man up and get over it thing is filed away. I understand the point of view. Try this: wouldn't it be nice to think that you might be married to someone who takes his/her marriage as seriously as I do? Just a thought."


_________________________________________________________________

The following is just a follow up that was inspired by the email I mentioned at the top of the post:

First of all, I know that I am not the only one with problems. I am sorry for all the hardships that everyone has gone through. I know that I am not the only one that faces serious challenges. I hope that I didn't come off that way.

What I want to say now is not meant to be accusatory in nature. It is a general statement about how I feel about some comments that I have read not anyone's particular comments, per se. I am really not interested in who said what and I am not really sure about it now, anyway. This may not even apply to you at all.

I don't mind comments. I don't even mind advice. The only thing that hurts is advice that sounds cold and unhelpful. There is an old bit by comedian Steve Martin. He states, "I can teach you to have a million dollars and not have to pay taxes on it. First, get a million dollars."

Some "advice," in particularly the "man up" - tough love advice, is just like that. Sometimes, directions to a destination must start out with "you can't get there from here." This is one of those times. The "man up" advice just perpetuates to someone who is struggling and already feels like a failure to feel EVEN MORE like one. It tends to make one remove everything from the whole conversation because even more feelings of failure just can't be endured at the moment.

However, there are other comments that are encouraging and supportive. Even though no solution is offered, the "being there" feeling is sometimes enough to get someone through another minute in the day. Sometimes, that is all one can hope for.

That is really all there is to it. It is not for me to say how anyone should comment and that isn't my intention. I have no rules for my blog. Actually, I have been fortunate that I seldom get an overtly hateful comment. I know others of you have. Comment any way you want and I will deal with it the only way I can. Thank you for being patient with me.
________________________________________________________________

I also want to thank Jaquandor (who was not the emailer in question listed above) for reminding me of the value of REAL blogging (my term, not his). He even gave me an award for it. Thank you, Jaquandor.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Define "Better"

*** PLEASE READ MY RECENT COMMENTS IN THE FEEDBACK SECTION OF THE PREVIOUS POST. ***
__________________________________________________________________


It was a sight that no person should ever have to see, much less a child. But there she was, cowering in the corner and crying. She stared through her tears at the image of her mother's lifeless body with a needle still stuck in her arm.

A lady officer grabbed the girl by the hand and led her into the hallway of the apartment building. "I'm so sorry, Sweetheart. I am officer Kelly. Some nice people will be here in a minute to take care of you. In the meantime, you can stay out here with me."

The girl said nothing. Her tears continued to pour out of her eyes, but there was no audible sobbing.

A police sergeant approached Kelly from behind and ushered her away from the girl a few feet. "What have we got here?"

"Suicide by stupidity; it looks like an accidental overdose," reported the officer.

"What's the story with the girl?"

"The woman's six-year-old daughter. DFC will be here in a minute to take her. As bad as foster care can be, she will be better off. The mother was a known prostitute and drug addict. That girl didn't have a chance with a mother like that. At least now she may have a chance."

As Kelly turned to gesture toward the little girl, she only saw an empty hallway. "Where did she go?" She turned and ran down the hall searching for the child.

Six-year-old Sarah couldn't stay there any longer. She set out on her new quest. It wasn't long until her ordeal took a toll on her. Because of her physical and emotional exhaustion, she stopped to rest behind a dumpster in an alley a few blocks away from what was her home. Intending to only rest a minute, she succumbed to sleep.

It wasn't long until the whole neighborhood knew what happened to Sarah's mother. Sadly, scarcely no one gave Sarah a thought.

The sunlight reflecting off a window on a building that lined the alley woke up Sarah the next morning. She continued her search. Not far away, she saw a woman walking down the street disheveled and smelled of stale wine. "Have you seen my mother?" Sarah asked her.
"I heard about your mother. You need to go and be with your daddy," answered the prostitute. "Your momma is gone."

Sarah never knew her father. The term "daddy" was a foreign concept to her. "I don't have a daddy. Can you bring my mother back to me?"

"No I can't bring her back. I gotta get me some sleep. Run along. Go be someone else's problem."

With tears welling up in her eyes again, Sarah continued her quest. She went inside a small hole-in-the-wall store where her mother often bought cigarettes and talked to some of her "special men friends" as she would call them. She looked up at the man behind the counter. "My mother is gone. Can you bring her back?"

The man responded sharply, "No! No one can bring her back. Where are you supposed to be? You need to go find where you need to be!"

Sarah ran out of the store and down the street towards the park. There, she saw an elderly woman sitting on a bench feeding the birds. Sarah had seen her several times there before when she accompanied her mother there where she had "business."

"Do you know my mother?" she asked the woman.

"I knew OF her," answered the woman softly. "Who's taking care of you?"

"My mother is, but I have to find her. I need someone to bring her back to me. I don't think she knows the way anymore."

"Oh baby, your mother is gone. You come back to the house with me and I will call a friend that will help you," the woman said comfortingly.

As they walked, Sarah asked, "Will your friend be able to bring my mother back?"

"No Sweetie, but you will be able to go someplace better."

"Better? Better than my mom?"

With sympathy in her voice, the woman responded, "I saw how your mother treated you, baby. I have seen your bruises and they all didn't come from falling in the park. I saw her lead you around by your hair."

The little girl broke away from the hand that was holding hers. "But she is MY mother!" Sarah was now crying full force. "I don't want better; I want my mother! And if no one will bring her back, I am going where she is!"

Sarah ran away without looking back. She ignored or perhaps refused to hear the calls from the park lady. She only had one thing on her mind and that was to go be with her mother. The only way she knew how to do that was to follow her mother's footsteps. So, that is what she set out to do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Speaking of yodeling. . .

I guess the airing of the marriage/divorce thing wasn't such a good idea. That is why they are gone now. Things take time to get over and I already knew that at some point I was going to have to "man up" about it. I guess hearing it from someone else was something I wasn't ready to deal with. It doesn't make the comments wrong, it is just a timing thing, I guess. I need time to work through things. However, that's okay and it is on me. If I don't' want specific feedback about something I write, I should not post it or at least disable the comment component of the post. So, I just decided to remove it. This shouldn't be interpreted as a hostile act or that I have hard feelings for anyone that has commented. That just isn't the case. I take full responsibility and all are welcome to read and comment on whatever I write about.

That being stated, it is a little difficult to write about much else right now. In life, we have ups and downs. The more sensitive types like me have a hard time thinking about other things when the power of the situation is still too new, or unresolved. So, I think about it. I write about it. Just not here, not now. Those of you that have been around here for a while may remember that I used to take time off from blogging when I was going through rough spots. That was an instinct I probably should have listened to this time.

How 'bout those presidential campaigns, eh?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Open Letter to God

Dear God,

As I am going through the trials of the ending of my marriage, I find it necessary to talk to you. I have told everyone that I am not mad at You. I have an understanding that You see the big picture. You know what is best and I must trust You.

However, I figured it out the other day that I AM angry with You. Sure, I know better, but there are just too many things I can't reconcile.

God, I dedicated my marriage to You. I gave 110% to that cause - all in Your name. I put my wife ahead of myself at every turn. I was never unfaithful. I never laid a hand on her. I don't even recall raising my voice to her. I made her concerns my concerns and my concerns unimportant. I did this for her, for the institution of marriage, and for YOU, God.

I know life has its disappointments and tragedies. I know that You promise that You will never leave nor forsake me through it all. But, why did this have to happen?

I know that my wife has free will and that is a big issue for You. I also know that we are in a fallen world. However, I trusted you. It isn't even MY will that is affected, Lord, it is YOURS. You hate divorce! You speak of forever and death do us part. Well, I did my part! You let some little girl ruin YOUR will and my faithfulness. Why? You are God, for cryin' out loud!

Jonah had free will. You wanted him to go to Ninevah and preach to the people there. Jonah ran in the other direction with his own free will. However, you sent a great fish to fetch him and deliver him to Ninevah. You can't influence one little girl? You can't send down an angel for counsel? Is my wife's will too tough for God? I just can't see it.

Yeah, I know. You know what suffering is all about. You sent your Son to die so people like me can be with you everlasting. He had You; He WAS You. All human and all God. He had the vision. He knew the plan - the necessity of it all and He felt the touch and love of the divine.

Now it is my turn to suffer. I am not You. I don't feel that love and comfort - not in the same magnitude. I can't see the plan. And I can't understand how You can tell me how much You hate divorce but watch me get taken down that path even as I am faithful.

No, God, I don't get it. I don't get it at all. Yet, I will continue to trust You. I will continue to obey the best I can. What choice do I have?

With painful devotion,

Jeff

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Worse than Death

The other night one of my sisters, Donna, took me out to dinner. She wanted to check on me and show her support which was nice. I am sure that this support stuff is easier on women than men. It is easy for a man to feel pathetic. No man wants anyone to ever think about him, "He better man up!" Men, generally, aren't allowed to hurt. But, I digress. Donna and I had a nice talk.

Donna hasn't had the easiest life. One marriage she had ended in her spouse cheating on her and subsequent divorce. When she finally found someone that treated her like she deserved, that husband died of cancer after only a few years of marriage. She has found another "good one" now. Amazingly, she has always been able to be joyous throughout all her ordeals. Oh sure she cried, but it never beat her. I have always admired that about her.

My sister is one of the few people in my life that knows how I feel. I was compelled to ask her, "What hurt the worse: the infidelity and divorce or the death of your husband?"

She didn't hesitate, "The divorce was MUCH worse. When a marriage ends in death, one has the comfort of knowing that the love and marriage was alive till the end. There is no control there. No one CHOSE to leave, it was just death. When someone goes through a divorce such as this, there is failure and someone CHOSE to betray and leave. It is MUCH tougher and makes the victim feel worthless."

Her words gave me comfort - even if for just a short while. SHE KNOWS! It is strange. When a spouse dies, everyone comes and comforts and is "there" for you. However, in a divorce one suffers and grieves alone - a hurt WORSE than losing the spouse to death. It just doesn't make sense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beyond the Point of No Return

She still looked beautiful there in bed. If it weren't for the straps holding her limbs, I would say things looked almost normal. That isn't the case, though. The straps are glaring along with sunkeness of her eyes and of course the wound on her neck. I dropped the object in my hand on the floor next to her bed and just stared at her - trying to find some kind meaning to it all. Looking to find a solution other than the one an emotionless mind would have determined some time ago.

It was just a short few days ago when I held her and tried to will her demons to stay away. "It is going to be alright," I would console. "I will not let it take you. I will not let it change us."

How empty those words feel today, yet I meant them with everything I had. I watched daily how her sweet way melted into something horrifying.

It was gradual at first. She would tell me she loved me and have me hold her. Then she would sink into her illness. The fever, and the red pupils would come and go. I tried to time the rhythm of it in order to maximize the time I had left with the "wife" that was slowly being strangled by the pure evil that is surely engulfing her.

It wasn't long till there was only glimpses of the angel that she used to be. Her voice would sink octaves and utter the most horrifying things. Still, she was my wife and I loved her. Should I stay, go, vanquish her, end my own misery or just set her free and let her take me. What is left to live for, anyway?

The struggle continued until there was nothing left of my wife there. The only sign that she ever lived there is when her exhausted body gave up consciousness. I can still see the shell that she lived in, but she is long gone.

I know now that those straps will not be able to contain her much longer. I needed to deal with this fact before all of it is completely out of my hands.

As I walked slowly toward her, her eyes opened and she gently mustered, "Free my arms so I can hold you one last time." I reached with my left hand across her body towards the strap restraining her left hand. With my right hand, I gripped the wooden shaft that I dropped on the floor beside her bed a little earlier. A week ago, it was a support in the garden. Today, it set two souls free.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can't Get Too Far Away

It's been a few days since I posted. My mind has been entirely occupied with things that I don't want it to be occupied with. As I sit here today, looking at this blank blog page, I have decided to list a few things that pop into my mind.

* I don't know what to do with the blog for now. I don't want to blog about what I am consumed with. I hate a pity party. I loathe self-pity. Still, there it is.

* Feeling betrayed is the worst thing I have ever felt.

* I am trying to make sense of being punished for merely being on the receiving end of the betrayal. My wife is cold to me and shows no sign of regret.

* I found in the trash can a book of poems I made for my wife. It was a time consuming process where I hand bound it. It contained all original poems that I had written - many were just for her. I remember the look on her face when I gave it to her. She couldn't put it down. She had no trouble putting it down into the trash, though.

* This post isn't working out so great. Yep, I still feel sorry for myself and it is quite apparent to anyone who is reading this. That isn't what I want. Maybe I will try again in a few days.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday Blues

Guess who's birthday it is today? Think I feel much like celebrating? My life feels like it is a bad serial in the comic book pages. You know, the ones where you have to read little tidbits everyday to find out what drama happens in the lives of two-dimensional, black-and-white characters. That is how I feel today especially - flat, colorless, and quickly yesterday's news. Yes, I hate feeling sorry for myself and if I had one more ounce of strength, I would have realized this more fully and not have written anything at all. But I don't and apathy has set in as far as what anyone thinks of me today - well almost.

Summer, particularly around my birthday, hasn't had the best track record for me. For one thing, my father died on my birthday when I was 18. I had just graduated high school and was preparing to go away to college when he succumbed to cancer. He died at 12:06 a.m. on July 19. My birthday is the 18th.

My family said that somehow he knew and was holding on and did not want to die on my
birthday so he held out as long as he could. I guess he made it. After the calendar struck 19, he slipped away. I remember getting the call. I wasn't at the hospital, I had just left for the evening. I didn't have to hear the news, all I needed to hear was the sobbing from my sister. I knew. I expected it, yet I didn't. I hadn't gone to bed, hadn't slept, so it still felt like it was my birthday. However, there is some comfort in believing that he held out for me - whether it is actually true or not. God surely had His hand in it, though.

Another birthday disaster was one of my best friends told me that she wanted no more to do with me. That has been too many years to mention, but it still haunts me. There really wasn't much of reason for it, it was just something that someone told her to do. It was on my birthday and I had a few people in the office where I worked in there at the time I read her note. My co-workers were there with cake and punch while my heart was breaking. I had to work 13 hours that birthday. Yet, I kept on a smile through the whole thing - secretly wanting them to leave me alone.

Still another bad birthday was when I was having a bad time generally, like this year. I felt insignificant and turned to my girlfriend at the time for comfort. Her family had just left the area because her dad got a new job in another state. Well, to deal with my neurosis, she told me how significant I was to her. She said that I was the only reason she was still there. Otherwise, she would have left with her family. That kind of snapped me out of it.

Why is that a bad memory you ask? It was only a short time later that she left me for some guy she met on the internet. Now the memory of her life-infusing speech on my birthday just mocks me as I try to get past yet another one.

Some of you were here when I wrote about the birthday I spent standing in a hospital room wondering if my mother was going to make it. You can read about that one here.

However, of all the bad birthdays, this one takes the (birthday) cake. It starts out with my wife going out of town, spending the weekend with another man, and ends with me contemplating the unrealized goals that make my birthday even harder to bear as I get
farther away from my actual date of birth and longer in the teeth.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Endings . . .

Rest In Peace: John Davis and Caroline Faye

Today I said goodbye to my son and daughter.

John Davis, our first born, was named after my wife's father. To avoid the confusion, we called him "Jack". Secretly, we just liked how it sounded. Th
e connection with her father was just another sign that we picked the right name. Jack was a little mischievous, but he was precocious and very inquisitive. He loved animals, sports, and his daddy. You would always find a baseball cap on his head, but it was never on straight.

In the evening, after I returned home from work Jack and I liked to sit outside and watch the birds eating from our smorgasbord of feeders. "That's a cardinal, Daddy," he would say. The little guy was great at memorizing bird n
ames, although he did have trouble distinguishing the difference between a sparrow and a wren - but who doesn't?

Jack's big brown eyes signaled to the world that he was his daddy's son. His little hands always gripped a ball or a book. We always found him occupied with something. He was good kid. I hate the years starting now that are robbing me of his ascent into manhood. I miss you, Jack.


Caroline had her mother's curls. She loved ribbons and her big brother. She liked to help her mother cook, but loved to hear her daddy tell her a story - usually about a little girl named "Caroline". She was very sentimental and had a beautiful heart to match her face. When a spider would show up in the house uninvited, she would insist on me catching it and setting it free outside as opposed to me just killing it. I asked her if she liked spiders, but she said, "No! They are yucky! But they don't deserve to die just because I don't like them."

Caroline had beautiful blue eyes that melted everyone when she looked their way. She never realized what those eyes could do to me, but I knew what they would do to the boys that would line up for a date years down the road. Too bad I never had the opportunity to keep them away.

One of her favorite places to be was buried into my side on the recliner as I read stories to her and her brother. When I would move my arm to turn a page or take a drink, she pouted in her little way until she could move my arm back around her.

My baby girl couldn't go to sleep until I tucked her in and sang the chorus of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" to her. She would close her eyes pretending to fall asleep quickly, but her smile gave her away. I would play along and tip-toe towards the door, but she always whispered softly, "I love you, Daddy," as if she was saying it in her sleep.

My kids are gone now. They never had a chance. We never had a chance to welcome them into our family. Their mother left for the weekend and came back someone else. She officially left the marriage today. She took with her both of our children although the first one was probably still a year or so away. Still, as you can see, they were very real to me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's Reggie Time!

In honor of the Fourth of July Weekend, I yield my blog today to Reg Henry. He is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Disapatch. He has an interesting take on 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms) and fireworks for Independence Day. He is a humorous guy that I have featured on my blog before. Enjoy!

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Why Fireworks are a Constitutional Right

By Reg Henry

With patriotism at high ebb around the Fourth of July, and the Second Amendment with perfect timing having been confirmed as an individual right to own guns, I believe it is the hour when we the people must assert our ancient right to keep and bear fireworks.

It makes no sense to me that Americans can have all sorts of guns, which they can use to shoot unsuspecting deer and suspecting burglars, yet many of them cannot let off an honest Roman candle or eardrum-assaulting firecracker as a sign of their American exuberance.

As if connected to their history by a long burning fuse, the American people have always loved to blow things up (just ask anyone in Iraq). The history of this continent can be considered as a series of detonations.

What is the first tune a child hears? Yes, "The Star-Spangled Banner," with the words that thrill the American soul: "The rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air."

Some may quibble that this refers to artillery but that misses the point. Clearly, Francis Scott Key was much impressed with the pyrotechnic aspects of the spectacle and would have surely asked his British captors to play the 1812 Overture as an accompaniment if only Tchaikovsky had been born. As it was, some historians believe he called for a folding chair and a few beers.

Yet what have we come to in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Thanks to a web of restrictive state and municipal laws, some of us can only salute our freedom with a sparkler in our hand. Did Patrick Henry (no relation) say: "Give me liberty or give me a sparkler"? He did not, which is why I believe now is the time to shoot a rocket up the rear quarters of the frowning establishment who would protect us from our own considerable folly.

Oh, yes, firecrackers are dangerous all right. Any idiot can blow his fingers off -- and many idiots do. But many idiots also shoot themselves or others, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not, because they are idiots. Thanks to the Supreme Court, their idiocy is of a superior nature now because it is rooted in the exercising of an individual constitutional right. If only fireworks lovers could reach the constitutional skies with their bottle rockets!

Those who would keep and bear fireworks are being discriminated against. It is dreadfully unfair that young people should have to put a whiff of eau de gunpowder behind their ears to make themselves attractive in the hopes of marrying into the famous Zambelli fireworks family just so they can have the thrill of singeing their eyebrows.

It is absurd that laws in some places restrict fireworks sales for in-state residents but not visitors. People in Pennsylvania, for example, should not have to pretend to be from Ohio -- donning Cleveland Browns jerseys and assuming the familiar hang-dog look -- just to buy something combustible.

But this being America, a remedy is at hand. We can sue. Hurrah for us! Other benighted peoples do not have access to so many attorneys.

Better still, the Supreme Court stands ready to find a new individual right with some nifty reasoning that explains away any pesky words to the contrary, such as "well-regulated" and "militia," as it did in the historic Second Amendment case from Washington, D.C., last month.

Those particular words don't mean a darn thing now, because Justice Antonin Scalia said so in his majority opinion -- and never mind what the people of the District of Columbia wanted. (Kiddies, can you say: "Activist judge"?)

Why, James Madison, the amendment's author, would have been better off deleting them in the first place. He should have written something about fireworks while the ink was still on his quill.

Not to worry. If Justice Scalia and his fun-loving colleagues on the bench can discard as irrelevant some words in an amendment, they can certainly find new meanings in words already at hand elsewhere in the Bill of Rights.

I refer your attention to the Ninth Amendment, henceforth to be known as the Firecracker Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Given the rolling thunderclaps of firecrackers since colonial times, this right of the people to blow up themselves and various mailboxes cannot be denied.

A firework in a tube is not so functionally different than what the founders called a musket. If the court recognizes this, I believe we can add another verse to our national anthem: "Boom, boom, out goes the light (of common sense)."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Jesters, Hell's Kitchen, and the Bush Economy

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Writing (thoughts on the blog(s) or other writing projects)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality TV, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
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NEWS - So much I could talk about . . . The Supreme Court is 0-2 this week in common sense rulings. First, the Court decides that the death penalty cannot be used in sentencing for people who rape children. Personally, I am not in favor of the death penalty at all, playing a vengeful God in the age of Grace is not something that I think is a good idea. However, if the death penalty is going to exist, I see no reason that the states cannot decide to use it for such a heinous crime such as this. The Supreme Court decided that capital punishment, in this instance, is cruel and unusual. Uhm . . . okay. So what did the Court do for an encore? It decided that a thirty-plus year law that banned handguns in Washington D.C. is unconstitutional. Back in March, I told Psycho Land (my pet name for those of you who read this mess) that we could look for the Supreme Court to rule on the gun control issue. For a refresher course, please read my post: Second (2nd) Amendment Right or Myth - particularly the comment section. In that post, I predicted the Supreme Court would take the view they did. I asked then and would like to ask the five justices that decided to strike down this law (it was a narrow 5-4 decision), "Why does the Second Amendment include the precursor, 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State'" As I prepare this post, I am hearing Bill O'Reilly on his show on Fox News make fun of the dissenters because, and I quote him, "There are no militias!" My point exactly, Bill, you pin head!"

ENTERTAINMENT - Somehow, I got into this whole Hell's Kitchen show. If someone described the show to me, I would say that I would never watch it. It is a group of people competing to be head chef for a "Bobby Knight-type" chef celebrity. Somehow, it fascinates me. I guess wherever there are nice people competing against hateful people for something special, I will end up watching it. The finale is next week and it is comprised of two good people. Who says nice guys finish last? So far the most recent Big Brother and now Hell's Kitchen, the good guys are finally winning. By the way, Big Brother 10 will premier July 13, on CBS. Try watching it this time!

WRITING - This section was once the "WORK" section. Ironically, my work is stopping me from writing. Notice how late this post is. There is a lot of discriminating going on out there today. I guess I will always have job security.

SPIRIT - I have been getting a lot of "signs" lately. I am not a big believer in signs, really though. I think any real evil forces can be in disguise while authoring these good and uncanny things we interpret as signs. This could push one in a particularly harmful direction as easily as God show them blessings. Not many of us can discern the difference. Dangerous.

FAMILY - Things are getting straightened out with my family. My sister is just a few short weeks of having an income for the first time in years with her Social Security Disability getting ready to kick in. My other sister (with MS) is getting out of the nursing home and getting back into her own apartment. She will probably be getting into an assisted living facility in the near future, but it is a nice place and a huge step above the nursing home she has been in for the past number of weeks. My wife told someone in my presence how blown away she is about the family she married into. Everyone helps everyone else and was so welcoming to her the first minute she met them. She admitted that it would not have been the case in her family. She gets these brief "insights" to my family, but she hasn't internalized them yet. I am not sure she is ready to "give" in that manner yet, although she has graciously received.

LOVE - Things are pretty level. I have been apologizing a lot to her lately and she has been receptive. It makes me realize a few things about our relationship. One thing that I have gleaned, and I am risking the appearance of arrogance here, is that I have been on the right side of issues for the most part in our troubles. I didn't know for sure, because it is hard to analyze self pride. We always want to be right, don't we? Being wrong points out personal flaws and self examination, which is too painful for most folks. With that in mind, I always entertained the idea that I may be mostly at fault with our past problems. However, I have had no problem analyzing my own actions lately and realizing that I will admit when I fall short. I guess it really doesn't matter what has happened in the past - with assigning blame and such. We are building the future.

ANXIETY - The economy is the thing that is stressing me out the most. Gas prices are through the roof and it is causing everything else to inflate because it is all tied to transportation. In addition, Bush's War has bankrupted us to the point we are weaker country in every way imaginable because of it.

What magnifies my concerns even more is that my wife and I are trying to buy a home. It is going to be tight no matter what the state the economy is in, but I am afraid it is going to be too much to handle if it gets worse - and I think that it Will get worse. Unemployment, one of the Bush administrations most recent "bragging points" - and I use the term loosely, has been on the rise. Consumer confidence is down also. Even though I think the next administration will be more capable than the eight years of hell we have just endured, I still think the economy may be too bad to be saved - especially in the short term. Really, all that can be done is to raise interest rates or continue to lower them short of a total overhaul. If they raise interest rates, it would slow the economy down, cause less demand for production and further increase unemployment. It would also hurt those in debt - which is nearly all of us. If they lower interest rates further, than the dollar loses even more value and prices continue to climb. It is a lose - lose situation. What a great time to be in the oil business or have oil interests, eh Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney?

SPORTS - Who really cares at this point, no? Sports interests are in a drought now that basketball is over and football is yet to start. Baseball season lasts so long that anything that happens at any given time is not very significant.

HOME - As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to buy a home. I have already been approved for the mortgage, but that doesn't mean I should accept it. Of course, my wife has a hard time letting the financial drawbacks influence her desire to have this house we have found. It is quite a nice house, I must say. Had my wife not quit her full-time job, it would be much easier to swing it. BUT SHE DID. I have two other houses that must be sold, too, which will not be easy in this economy. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn't, being single may not be all that bad.