Saturday, February 26, 2005

Do you want to go Home??

I want to go home. You know, where I came from. I live now in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a LOT. I'm a Southern boy - born and raised in Virginia, went to High School in southern Texas.

When I go home to visit, I can smell the marshes, with their sulfurous odor of decaying seashores, exposed sea mud... and I know intrinsically that the very smell flows through my veins. The smell of the wind over the ocean hitting my face. The way the sun looks right at sunset. It's like the wavelength of the rays are different... Beckoning me home.

I can deny my heritage no more than I could deny being Caucasian or red headed. Well, it used to be red :)... My mouth yearns for the taste of pulled pork barbecue, brisket done Texas style, shrimp boiled fresh from the boat, knowing they were swimming happily in the ocean only hours before.

I remember the sounds .... the splash of mullet in the channels, the lap of water on the shoreline. The look of the moon as it rose over the water. In Virginia, the rustling of trees getting ready to drop their leaves, the crunch of the ice covered puddles as I go to the bus in October/November.

Sometimes I wonder if the strength of these yearnings are not the pull of home but the wish to return to simpler times. I don't know.

What do you think?

Until our next ........

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Life, love, and what was I thinking???

Some days are better than others.

You know, I am sure that is a maxim at some level. However, one of my greatest attributes has been stating the obvious.

Sorry Gentle Reader for the lack of posting. A good online friend went through some bad times, and I was a bit preoccupied with that and life that goes on around this damn computer, and not on it. My friend is home now and done with the hospital. I am glad all is well and back at home. Next time, DON'T WAIT SO LONG TO GO. 'Nuff said.

Bought a travel trailer over the weekend. It fits all of us, and is reasonably comfy. Maybe a bit cosy, but it works. Needed a LOT of help though. More than we expected. It'll sort itself out. I fixed all the appliances and the water leak last night, and my darling bride will grab the last piece of goodies we need to make it whole. But I can assure you that I was not pleased. I hate when people don't give you the straight skinny. It pisses me off. Oh well, so do a lot of other things!!! (GRIN)

We went on a tiny vacation this last weekend also. My wife and two children joined a good friend and his wife and child on a road trip to Klamath Falls, near Crater Lake. It was fun, but also testy. My daughter, although better than she was, still likes to lash out with pure, unadulterated, pre-teen venom on a regular basis.

That can be painful. For all involved. I was reminiscing for the time when she was more pleasant to be around all the time. I had to think back a while.

I commented on this with my wife. she shook her head, and smiled... and reminded me of a few not so dark times.

Here is the big one. On Easter Sunday about 9 years ago, we were at my in-laws for dinner. They lived at the time on a big bluff with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood. Of course, it was basically a heavily wooded cliff, with a dropoff of about 60 degrees. Ick. I HATE heights. A LOT.

All of the children out playing, including the older ones watching came back. Except my 2 year old daughter. That's a bad thing.

So we went running and yelling her name trying to find her. I heard her small voice come up from over the cliff, saying "Daddy".

I jumped.

Not your typical hop of the edge thing. I got a good running start and JUMPED. My sister in law, who is not my biggest fan, said I looked like superman. I never gave it a thought. Well, until later... ick. ICK. I still hate heights.

Got my daughter and clawed my way back up the cliff, hanging onto tree stumps and trunks, with my daughter on my back the whole way. It was about 75 yards down. She was safe. All was well.

Years later, when my wife and I were having problems, (I'm stubborn and stupid from time to time), she said something that made an Impact.

She said she didn't want to be married to someone that wouldn't jump off a cliff for his daughter.

I am glad to say, I will. Because I have.

Maybe some days ARE better than others.

And today isn't so bad after all.

Until our next......

Monday, February 14, 2005

I stlll hate the IRS - I hate FMS more though

It appears, that an old student loan of my wife's has reared it's ugly head. And took it ALL. Ok - so I can file for my half, and thats ok, but that moves it out about 8 weeks. And significantly shortens my temper. And screws up my plans. Damn. I'll live, but my darling wife can attest that I was NOT a happy camper. AT ALL.

God Bless
Until our next..........

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I hate the IRS

Boy. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to do your taxes, no matter what.

For the first time in some years, I am finally due a refund. So, I set it up with direct deposit. It was supposed to be there on Friday. Hmm. Nothing. Not a cent.

I had plans for that - looking at some car repairs, a trip coming up, put a bit away, and a new trailer to go camping in. Shoot.

Maybe this is God's way of teaching me patience. Or someone else's way of teaching me a lesson. But, eventually, it will be there. Monday would be nice.

Until our next.......

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Little Girl is not so little anymore.

First and most important... please follow this link. A good friend has seen fit to post her beautiful drawings on the internet. I intend to capitalize on that - please look at them all. It is not often I see the depth of color utilized in that manner. But, then I am no art critic by any means. I do know what I like. Please click on that link - and then come back.

The drawing is of a little girl. My little girl is no longer so little. As you have probably noticed of late, gentle reader, that I have been waxing nostalgic. I like the term "mental rerun". I suppose it is time I got off my ass and woke up and smelled the new millenia. But I don't want to.

I have found out that my darling little girl has now entered pubescence. I hope I spelled that right. She crossed the threshold between little girl and young woman. I was not ready. I guess I never would have been. It comes with being a Dad. I am certain that someday my darling daughter will grow up and beat the crap outa me for posting... but strangely enough this is not about her. It's about me.

I was not and am not really ready for the heartache to follow. The late nights, waiting for her to come home after a dance. Questioning each date as if I were my father. Wishing he were here to guide me more. The drawing apart of a daughter from her father, the rebellion of creepagerdom.

I think I am most sad because this is a point of no return. I could fool myself, and believe that she isn't growing. I could convince myself that age wasn't marking its time step by inexorable step. It seems as if it was only yesterday. Do you know I know exactly what program was on when she was born? My wife and I were lovers of the old show Key West with Fisher Stevens. You know, man wins lotto and then has to pay piper. Moves to Key West to become the writer Hemmingway was. It was a good, quirky show. Personally, I had it bad for Jennifer Tully. (I still do... don't tell my wife. GRIN)

Just about the time that she finally started "getting down to business" - it was on. It was an episode where Fisher Stevens almost dies, and meets another characters dead wife... Quirky - but good. I miss it. I remember the poignancy of the show that night - and it has stayed with me all these years.

And again - it strikes me. That long ago TV show, Fisher meeting Ciece telling "Gumbo" to get along with his life. I guess she's telling me to do the same. I am sad now, knowing my little girl is gone, and I need to start paying more attention to the young lady aspects of her life, hopefully giving her the information she needs to make wise choices that I won't be there to help with.

Mostly, I am lonely. And I feel very, very old.

God bless, and until our next..........

Oh Good Grief.

Michael the Archangel has a blog. He's a friend. I read a blog he wrote today. I laughed my ass off. Then I read the comments. And had to go change my pants. Good Lord. You have GOT to go read this...

MTA Post

Now - truth in "advertising" - as I said, he's a friend. I neither condone nor condemn ANYTHING written about in either the blog or the comments. Well, those that know me, KNOW me. Read my comment. It'll help. :) Jeez.... my side hurts. My face hurts. If I don't stop giggling I will have to go change again. OOPS, too late.

Until our next.......

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Watching Submarine Races.

Over the last few days, I have been suffering from some malaise. I first thought it was because I was sick, but there is more to it. I have been suffering from being homesick. Ok, so far I haven't explained the title. I will. You'll see.

Now before you pooh pooh the idea, you have to realize there is more to being homesick than just missing your "home". I think the nostalgic post from last Wednesday was symptomatic. I miss a herd of things. I suspect it is a lot like what Sharon wrote about today. Read it here. I think that a lot of it is what she says at the end... in order to pick up something new, you have to let something go. My problem is that I am not always ready to let go of the things I already have. Maybe it's because it took so long for me to get them in the first place.

You know the Dylan Thomas poem, Do not go gently into that good night ? I intend to go kicking and screaming the whole way. Fight tooth and nail. If I live to be a hundred, I suppose it won't be long enough. Until I am a little more comfortable with my own mortality.

Which is probably why I tend to wax so philosophical about my younger years. I want to always remember where I came from, so I will know where I am going. That, and I want to be half the man my father was. If I can manage to fill his shoes that much, I will have acomplished much. (You really have to bear with me here, Pop was a bit larger than life.)

I remember how my time was used up then. I spent a fair amount of time looking at submarine races with ..... a female classmate. Never did anything to be ashamed of, but did a LOT to be enjoyable :) I tried real hard to play guitar with three other guys in the bandshell at the beach near the house. I have discovered, that no matter how badly your playing sucks, it ALWAYS sounds better in a band shell.

I used a fair amount of time fishing. Notice it is NOT called catching. We used to fish for redfish, sea trout, and sometimes sheepshead. Usually, we were rewarded with a lot of lost bait, and wonderful memories. Besides, sheepshead are ugly fish. The damn things have real teeth. I kid you not. But they are good eating I am told.

I always felt safe. In my younger years, that was not always the case, but after I moved in with Dad, I felt safe. Not really pressured... Dad just wanted me to do the best I could. He made sure I knew that my best was all he wanted. And that's what he got. Always. I always felt that's what I got from him too. Now, hopefully my children will say that of me in 25 years.

So, please bear with me on the philosophical stuff, and the nostalgia. I promise I'll be back in a bit, but the re-runs are nice :)

God Bless, and
Until our next..........

Doing the right thing

There comes a time when everyone has to stand and deliver. For some, it is tantamount to the Gettysburg Address. For others, it is right there with delivering a pizza. But everyone has a moment or two where they gotta do what they gotta do. Besides, I have a penchance for tilting at windmills, remember?

So here we are, two great ladies with 'tudes, a poor, disheveled Cubmaster, and me. At that time of the morning, I am doing my best to just not look like a heap. So we're a sight. At any rate, the fireworks start when the aforementioned Cubmaster chews on his foot when he calls the ladies over to chat. Sigh. Tact can be lost sometimes. When I arrive, one lady is standing in the door ready to bug out and honked off, the other is blissfully ignoring the first one, I guess because it's easier I guess. The cubmaster looks like he is about to blow up. Ok all, time out.

I manage, 2 hours later, to turn it from a nightmare to one of the most productive meetings we've had. Oodles of stuff got done, and more got predone for the next month because it needed to happen. We managed to become organized. My life is bordering on complete. Well, maybe more up to date at least.

A long time ago, someone told my dad he was good. Dad said he was pretty good, but VERY lucky. He then confided in me that he would much rather be lucky than good. I agreed with him. I still do. I have been, for the most part. Lucky, and loved. Put the two together, and that makes you VERY lucky. Today, again, I was blessed with lucky. Amen and hallelujah.

Here is the part that still bugs me though. We had all of this great stuff going on today, and for the life of me I couldn't explain why it hadn't happened before. Why hadn't the prior folks in leadership - or hell, rank and file, stepped up to the plate and done the right thing? It wasn't hard to see what needed to happen, it just needed to happen. Sheesh.

until later ... (I need more coffee)...

And so the battle rages.....

Amongst the many hats I get to wear from time to time, I have a few Cub Scout hats too. Pack trainer, pack recruitment officer and assistant cubmaster come to mind. Oh and pack committee member.

Well, tomorrow I get to deal with three ladies that get to it like three Marines. The cubmaster and I are getting ready to have kittens. Time to set everyone down and 'splains to everyone that they need to do their jobs, and not worry about who is NOT doing theirs.

The old drill sergeant in me will win out. It usually does. I have long been noted for my amazing ability to kick ass and take names later. It comes from my Dad. Kill em all, let God sort em out. It's a Marine thing. Must work. Kept him alive through 4 wars.

My miserable puke of a brother is in Costa Rica with his fiancee. Skin diving. Or, well, something like that I am sure. I don't spend too much time on beaches... people try to harpoon me or roll me back into the surf. But Hawaii would be nice.

It's way too late. Gnite all - I'll talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pondering bellybutton lint??

Ok, my only excuse for the title is that I am still heavily drugged, but feeling MUCH BETTER :) At least it got your attention! I couldn't figure out how to title this one.

I miss things. Mostly, I miss being able to give my daughter and son things I got. Meaning, unfortunately, times change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But change is one of those constants in the universe. So, from time to time, I miss things.

I miss being able to sit on a hassock between my grandfathers legs, eating peanuts and watching Hee Haw. I had no clue what the show was about. I just enjoyed his company.

I miss me and my friends riding our Sears bikes (mine was purple with a big banana seat and sissy bar) up the railroad tracks on days off from school. We'd ride for miles, and hours. As long as we were home by dinner, life was good. Margaret, my babysitter and housekeeper, taught me how to REALLY enjoy a peanut butter, banana and mayonaise sandwich. I still eat them. I know - sounds gross, but damn they are tasty.

I miss the exploring we did. My friends and I found an old foundation of a house, with pottery and plates and stuff all over. While we were poking around, we noticed 4 headstones in a little family graveyard. At the time, the most recent date on them was 1790-something. I'll bet they aren't even there now, either moved or under some damn apartment house. I hope it's haunted.

I miss knowing everyone on my block. Mrs. Cheatham next door, Mrs. Brown down at the end. Mrs. Coombs at the other end. Mrs. Sedbury across the street. Mrs. Leavy down the road aways. I can tell you with great alacrity that they had no compuncton with paddling my arse if I did something out of line. And then, they would tell Margaret. Who would whoop my butt. Who would then tell Mom. You get the idea. The end result is, for the most part, I didn't do anything that would get me in trouble. It was just better that way.

I miss going to the pond with my old Zebco and some 10-cent tackle and a loaf of bread on Saturdays and just sit and fish. We'd take the white bread, squish it down until it made a little triangle about a quarter of an inch on each side, and then stick that on our penny Eagle Claw hook. With that, I got perch, bluegill, crappie, bass, and the occasional wandering catfish. I'd let 'em go though. I never developed a taste for fish... so I never kept anything that I couldn't eat. Figured I'd leave it there for the next fellah to catch, and then HE could eat. No one ever even asked why I was by the pond. They'd just wave. I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer.

I miss coming home from school. Sounds a bit funny, but there's a bit to that. Margaret (from above) was a HUGE black lady. Every day I would come home from school, and she was usually ironing or something. She'd yell out "HEY THERE CHILD!" and open up those huge, loving arms. I'd run as fast as I could, jump up on a hassock with the running start, and almost always get high enough to get a GREAT hug. Sometimes, I'd bounce off. I am sure, nowadays, you couldn't do that.... but back then it was the only thing keeping me from being a latchkey kid. I was in Heaven. By now I am sure Margaret is up there, shaking her head at me and telling me I'll do just fine. Just like she always did.

I miss my Dad. I never really got a chance to know my Dad until I was in High School. I moved in with him in Jan of 1978, in the middle of my Freshman year. After a bumpy start (my fault, not his) we got along pretty good. Then as adults, although we were often apart, we'd write. He passed away right after his birthday in 1990. I still talk to him, but I hate not getting answers back. His answers I could always take to the bank.

I miss camping in the Shenandoah National Park. Trust me. If you haven't ever been there, go in the fall. First part of October is the best. Fresh pressed apple cider in Front Royal, black bears near Big Meadows Camping area. COLD and crisp mornings, beautiful warm days. The combination of the autumn sunlight and the colors of the trees in autumn make it look like the whole valley is in fire with color.

Every time I think of that, I feel young. I don't know why, maybe it has something to do with the rebirth of the valley every spring, and this is the portent of it. Maybe it is just because true beauty always makes you feel young. My wife has that quality. Some of my friends do. But most are old, cranky, Walter Matthau souls. Ick.

Parts of my life have been a blessing. My wife (of almost 14 years now) is one. My children. Some friends acquired along the way. Some new friends. I always have room for more friends. But, parts of my life have been a curse. Looking back, it was often me that created the curse to begin with. Once or twice it wasn't under my control, but everything since I was 18 has been. OOPS. But I am getting better. Besides, my daughter tells me not to curse. So there. I guess I've been told.

I wish I could give my children the feeling of relative safety that made it ok to go and explore. To go and play. It isn't that things were better then, just different. There were still pervs out there, but anyone on the block would be more than happy to snap their necks if they came near any of the children. It didn't matter if it was your kid or th next block down. You came too close, and mothers for houses would swoop down like a bluejay when you get too close to a nest. (Trust me... that's a bad thing.)

I am afraid. Sometimes, I am afraid that I have become too jaded and cynical. Sometimes, I am afraid that I am not cynical enough. And, sometimes I am just afraid that when I leave this world, I will no longer exist. The sum total of all that is me will vanish... never to be seen or heard from again.

This all usually passes, since I do believe in God. My particular God (with the big G) is the father of the Christ. However, I can't help but sometimes wonder if, every now and then, God isn't just a bit like the one in the movie Oh God. You know, where he's answering all the questions written in aramaic. I won't go into details, (This is NOT a religious-themed blog, just my personal musings), but sometimes I just wonder.

I tend to get long winded, and frankly, I shouldn't blog when taking cold meds. I sound a bit sophomoric when I do. My Dad made me look up sophomoric in the dictionary. Note definition 2. Gave me a whole new outlook on where I was. Click on the word, and it'll tell you what I found.

Until our next..........