Showing posts from February, 2013

Yesterday in 2000...

So this Sunday Ben has chosen to be baptized with some of his peers from the middle school ministry, as well as a few high schoolers. Our church practice has it that when a person has made the choice to publicly proclaim their faith, they baptize them. It is pretty different than the practice I grew up with in the Catholic faith, but I understand the reasoning completely. I just think it's such a cool experience to watch and am so glad he's taking the step. My daughter was baptized in 8th grade as well, and it was pretty neat. The fact that he's in 8th grade, and even more so, that we have TWO teenagers living at home is kind of weird. It seems like just last week he was the kid who stopped to look at himself in the stove window as he walked by it. Or the kid who used to stop dead in his tracks at the zoo to look down every sewer grate and catch basin he could. He was the kid who had the best "cheesy smile" for every photo-op of his young life. Much like my br

Poetic Justification

Personally, this past few months has been incredible for me from a writing standpoint. Since early December, I have had two articles published and two poems accepted for publication. Furthermore, the two articles, published in MidWest Outdoors  magazine, paid $30 each. Not retirement money, or really even gas money, but a nice perk nonetheless. Most serious writers might scoff at such paltry publishing accomplishments, but for me it is all a bit surreal.  You see, when I started to take my writing seriously a few years ago, I never dreamed I would be published multiple times, let alone in two different genres. To say I have already surpassed what I'd hoped to accomplish when I started would not be far from the truth. I'm humbled by the many publications that have said "yes" to my work and in the process, have validated my skills as a writer. Like most in the trade, I am quick to shoot myself down, criticize my own work, and second guess all that I am trying to do

El Vacación Fantástico

There were many other eventful happenings on our Mexican vacation/wedding. As with any foreign vacation, the language barrier can come into play at anytime. Throw a thick Spanish accent together with my early-onset, concert-induced hearing loss and there are many chances for a miscommunication during almost every exchange. For instance at one point I was in line for tacos and the server asked me a if I wanted shredded or ground beef. I think he asked in English, but can't be sure because I couldn't hear it. Anyhow I said, that I'd take one of each. Well, I got two ground beef. Rather than argue, it was just easier to eat what I was given. Another incident happened when our toilet backed up in our hotel room. When I called the front desk, the man who picked up gave an extended greeting is Spanish, none of which I understood. I said that I had a problem with our toilet and gave him our room number, 2417. He replied that he would send a man right up. Forty minutes lat

El Matrimonio Paradiso Es Cozumel

I am slightly more than 25 hours back from Cozumel, Mexico. I was there to celebrate my nephew (and godson) Nick's wedding. There were a number of amazing and awesome moments with my family, both immediate and extended. I'll summarize our experience along with some editorial comments about my first Mexican cultural experience. Our flight down was good. After our initial disrobing and full body scan, pat-down and humiliation, it came off without a hitch. We did end up sprinting through the Houston airport to make our connection and were literally 4 of the last 6 to get on the plane. If we had missed it, we would have missed a whole day of the trip. The customs experience in Cozumel was not too bad, although a bit chaotic and slow. The airline had run out of forms for entry, so in customs, virtually everyone on the whole flight was looking for a pen. The cab ride to the hotel was an education in aggressive driving, near misses, and lawless driving. That is really the onl

In Microsoft's Good Graces

My daughter got a new laptop about a month ago. Hers was "too slow" and she was griping about it continuously until I'd had enough and told her I would go with her to get a new one. She got a fine machine, an HP Envy m6-1105dx . It has 6GB of memory and a discrete graphics card. Being the geek that I am, I like all the technical stuff that goes along with these purchases. As part of the deal, I told her that we would buy her old laptop a Toshiba Satellite L505D-S5985  with 3GB of ram and a 320 GB Hard Drive. My plan was to replace the desktop upstairs, an aging Dell Dimension 2400 running Windows XP . Right now, we are a family with too many computers, and I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Rather than try and figure out how to make her laptop run better by uninstalling, defragging, and cleaning up  the registry (bear with my geekiness here), I thought I'd just do a factory restore. I had all the "restore DVD's" that I'd carefully cr

Running From It

It's been an interesting end of the week for me. Just when I think I've got my emotions in check and under control, all hell breaks loose and I'm all over the map. There's something about this post 50 experience that is difficult to get my arms around. It's like I'm seeing things through the lens of someone else and while it's a weird, wonderful thing, I'm not sure what to make of it. It's like I need to go hit the heavy bag or shoot a deer or jump out of a plane or something to remind me that I'm a man, not a mush bag. Thursday night it snowed about 4 inches. Now, normally  I look at this kind of thing as a nuisance, one that is to be endured and moved beyond. Blow the snow, dig out the vehicles, and count the days until spring. Then I go walking to work or driving around and I am positively awestruck by the beauty of the snow-covered trees. Every time I turn a corner, my breath gets taken away. Suddenly, for a short time, I don't mind

Walk It Down, Walk It Back

In the winter months I usually walk to work. Bikes and snow do not mix, so I usually dress warm, pick the right footware, and walk the 1.7 miles, each way, to and from work. I do it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because it gives me a decent workout every day. One of the bigger reasons I do it is that it allows me time to process the coming day, in the case of the morning trip, or the day I had, in the case of the evening. I usually listen to my iPod and walk at a pretty brisk pace, but it allows me to wind down or crank up as need be. I've decided that walking also serves to ground me; it keeps me humble; one of the people. If there's one thing the world could use it's more walkers, more humility. Cars tend to distance people from their environment and the world around them. When you're walking, you're right in it. You are feeling what's to be felt, hearing what's to be heard and seeing it all up close. It gets my heart going and