Another milestone

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It seems I have been quite loquacious.  I have surpassed 39,000 words with my last post. And I did it in 87 posts. my previous best was 38,700 words in 144 posts.  I have surpassed that with a third less posts! I was pretty thrilled about that.  I was quite surprised about the stat, my average in 2012 was 289 words per post and this year (as of today) I am hovering right around the 450 word per mark.

I am quite a stats geek, so I am constantly looking at the Stats page that is provided as part of the blog from WordPress.  Maybe it is because of my line of work that I am always looking at the stats, comparing and measuring them against previous years (by the way, I am KILLING it this year, but I expected nothing less, with the goal/commitment I made to myself).

I would also like to believe that I have gotten better at sharing my stories, creating better content.  I am not going to win any awards with my writing, but I think I hold my own quite well (trying to not sound pretentious here) and honestly enjoy doing it.  So I think that has a TON to do with it.   One of the unexpected bonuses to challenging myself to publish 104 posts is that I actually enjoy doing it and beat myself up when I get ‘lazy’ and neglect my commitment(to myself).

There is another blog I follow of a family in Northern Ireland that I have written about in the past (fracturedfaithblog.com).  The husband is a writer and posts about his progress on the second novel in his series, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles” (sorry Stephen, I have yet to order my copy of the first book, but you can find it on Amazon if you have any interest).  He recently noted that he has hit over 82K words. THATS IMPRESSIVE and my hat is off to you Stephen, I promise I will eventually get to reading the Kirkwood Scott Chronicles (you will probably be on volume twelve by the time I get started!).

I want to hear back from other bloggers, do you end up as focused on stats as I do?  What have you done to break yourself of that bad habit?  I would really like to be able to break the habit of stat watching!!!

The only thing worse than being sick

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To wrap up the Thanksgiving weekend I decided to get sick. REAL sick. Like not be far away from a bathroom sick (one of the worst kinds of sick!)! So instead of a nice relaxing four day weekend, I had a nice relaxing four day weekend plus one day of running back and forth to the potty!

While I was home Monday I was conversing with a fellow blogger on Instagram and asked “What’s worse than being sick?” She replied with the correct answer ‘nothing’, followed quickly with a very prophetic second answer ‘Having a sick kid?’.

Prophetic?

YUP…

The little guy is sick sick sick.  Last night at around 12:30 he started throwing up.  and throwing up and throwing up.   I didn’t get a ton of sleep and newmom got even less, as she went and took care of him to try to let me sleep.  I was able to get a little rest, but it was a long night for us all.

Any parent will tell you, there really is nothing worse than your kid being sick.  All you want to do is comfort them and make them feel better.  I know that having the stomach flu is nothing next to what some kids are going through and I can’t imagine nor would ever pretend to know what that is like for the parents or the kids.

I guess it doesn’t matter if it is a bumped knee or something more serious, all you want to do as a dad (or mom) is make it better.

I know our little guy will be back on his feet soon and back to running around, but today, all he is doing is resting and recovering.  And I learned that what’s worse than being sick (the answer used to be ‘nothing’).

Another Loss

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Yesterday my Great Aunt Barbara passed away.  She was a wonderful, caring wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She was a very caring woman of faith that loved everyone she met.

Her passing also marks a passing of a generation.  You see, my Dad’s side of the family (that I know of) was not overly large.  My Grandfather had a Brother and Sister.  The sister I never met, she passed away years ago.  The Brother was my great uncle John and Barbara was his wife.  John passed a few years ago and now with Barbara going, it means that generation has passed on.  Her children (my Dad’s generation) are now the oldest.

We were blessed to get to see her on occasion (she lived in Palm desert, and she would always tell us ‘don’t come out to visit right now, it’s far to hot!) but on the occasion that we did make it out, the visits were always wonderful.  Both she and her husband John were always very inviting and a pleasure to spend time with.  Her Daughter Diane and her husband Bob has been very gracious to us as well.

I am very happy that our little guy got to see her when he was old enough to remember her.  He has a stuffed dog from her that she gave him on a trip out there (and I bear when I think about it) that he adores to this day.  I am sure as time goes on, he will only have faint memories of visiting her, but he will have some memory of her.  She’s the only one of that generation who got to meet him, as my last grandparent passed away in 2005.

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I am admittingly being a bit reflective right now.  It always is hard when you lose a family member, even those you don’t see very often.  It is quite another when the passing of that individual marks the end of a generation.  Newmom has been going through something similar, as she has lost not one, but two great uncles this year.   She was mentioning tome last night it has been a year of loss for us.  She is not wrong.  We started the year mourning a loss (I wrote about it Here) and I guess throughout the year we have not stopped.

Barbara, thank you for being you, we didn’t get to see you as often as either of us would have liked, and it was always such a pleasure catching up on the phone.  We will miss you so very much.

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The rivalry

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Two words.

Go Buckeyes!!!

My pastor roots for the wrong team, but I love him anyways.

Tis the greatest rivalry in all of sports!!

Update: for the second half of the game, I joined my friends at Dave and Buster’s

The last one is the little guy with my friend Andrew. He’s been coming to watch the game for a number of years now and he’s a great guy and good sport.

(Worst) Thanksgiving ever??

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So yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States.  It was a very good day.  We watched loads of football, spent time with family and ate and ate and ate. I was even able to sneak out and grab a couple of doorbusters at the local Target (I am definitely not part of the solution!).  It was a really great day.

I have had a really great string of Thanksgivings actually. It is always a great time spent with NewMoms family.  Before we headed out to NewMoms parent’s house I was sent a picture from my own mom of a number of loaves of fresh baked bread.  She went to her sisters’ house in Florida (they are all located down there) and brought the bread.  That brought back some memories.  We always had fresh baked bread over the holidays. Very delish!  It made me reflect on past thanksgivings and I remembered one in particular that was just an absolute disaster!!

I lived in England for the better part of 1997. After I returned to the States it became a tradition that I would fly to Florida and we would do Thanksgiving with my Grandfather and his wife Dottie.  I would fly into Orlando and stay with my Aunt and Uncle.  My brother and parents would fly in and we would all stay with the Aunt and Uncle then drive down to have thanksgiving with Grandpa.  The first couple years were actually GREAT.  It was wonderful to see my brother and parents, and I adore my Aunt and Uncle as well and I got to see my cousins.  My grandfather lived in a retirement community made up of mobile homes, it was tight fit but it was family and we had a good time.   So what could possibly bring me to classify one of these trips as one of the worst thanksgivings ever? Let’s get into that.

So this particular year I was the first to arrive in Florida.  it turns out for whatever reason, my brother could not make it down.   My Aunt and Uncle have two daughters who I don’t remember seeing once that particular year, they both were in relationships and spent the holiday with their boyfriend (at the time) family.

So my parents arrive, we went down to Florida and my grandfathers’ wife decided that she was not cooking, but we would go to a hotel for a thanksgiving buffet.  The food was mediocre at best, I was bored out of my mind.  I honestly may have been the youngest person in the dining room.  During the dinner, my mom looked at me and said “you don’t need to come again after this year” realizing how bad a time it was for me.  So here’s a funny fact about that same hotel.  A couple years later it was being used as a hurricane shelter as a hurricane was barreling right for where my grandfather and Dottie lived, and it was evacuated at the last second because the storm increased in strength.  Good thing as well, because it was blown to the ground. Completely leveled!

So no one gets offended here, my bad time was not anything my Aunt or Uncle did, they were great, my Uncle is a lawyer and one of his biggest clients was Universal Studios so he took me to the islands of adventures theme park and I had a great time riding the rides over and over again (single rider lines, YES!).  It was not my parents fault either, they did their best as well.  It did not help that my brother couldn’t make it down, I honestly don’t remember why, I think he either couldn’t get the time off from work or had school that week.   It was honestly just the combination of everything, and the lovely hotel experience was just the icing on the cake.

So I hope your thanksgiving this year was as good as mine was, and not as bad as the one I had all those years ago.

Wolf Sighting

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones and great food!   We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with loads of good food and surrounded by family.  Towards the end of the evening we had a wolf siting. Yes, you read that correctly, a WOLF.

Right in the kitchen!!!

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He was waiting for dessert to be served.  Thankfully he ate pie and cake, and not any of the family in attendance!!

 

A full thanksgiving post to come later this weekend as I continue to charge towards my 2019 goal!!

Rain rain, (don’t go away)

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So rain, not a big deal just about everywhere else but this is southern California, where a half an inch of rain can be made to feel like the end of the world.

So what magical gift are we being given for Thanksgiving? A two day storm. Yup. Two days of glorious rain.

Part of the problem is that there is nowhere for it to go, everything is so paved over an inch of rain can be disastrous. And the areas that had really bad fires during the dry season have a real risk of mudslides.

For years we have been in a drought situation so really any rain is a blessing. I do have to say there have been some pretty epic rain events in my time here in Cali, they don’t really hold up against some of the storms I experienced growing up in Ohio, nor the storms I have been through in Texas.

I have always been a fan of he rain. Sometimes it’s the perfect way to just unwind and be taken away, the sound of the drops as they soak everything.

Here are some random thoughts on the rain….

I always think of the doors song ‘riders on the storm’ during those steady rain storms.

Some other songs that I often think of when it rains:

I’m only happy when it rains by garbage.

Prayers for rain by The Cure

Rain by the Cult

Why does it always rain on me by Travis

Raindrops +Sunshowers by the smashing pumpkins.

That last song reminds me of scripture, Matthew 5:45 reads – so that you may be the children of your Father that is in heaven. For he makes his sun to arise on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the just and the unjust. (NMB).

So just like Billy Corgan sing in the song, rain falls on everyone, that same old rain. As much as I am thankful for the always needed rain, I just wish it waited until after Thanksgiving but I’m not in a rush to see it go.

Where does the rain take you? What do you think about? What memories does it bring up? Comment with your experiences with the rain.

Friends for life

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This past weekend I had a very pleasant night with a couple of old friends.  I have known these two guys almost as long as I have lived in California. We got the opportunity to sit down in a bar, have a couple of drinks and just catch up.  These are the kind of guys that it didn’t matter that we haven’t been at the same table together in probably two+ years, it could have been last Wednesday.

Like I just mentioned, I have known these guys almost as long as I have been in California.  The three of us worked together at Sprint PCS back in the dawn of the mobile device age. No I am not talking the bricks or suitcases people used to cart around, I mean when cellular service became more prevalent and available to anyone, not just doctors, lawyers and executives.  I think I started first and Ken joined then Greg.   We had many an adventure together in those days.  Eventually I left Sprint PCS and they stayed with the company until they finally shut down operations in Southern California.  Greg eventually moved to Las Vegas and happened to be in town for business.

Many a tale were reminisced over and new stories were shared over beers and a ‘double ugly’ (don’t ask, but if you have to know, comment below and I’ll share).  You honestly couldn’t slap the smiles off our faces.  These guys are like brothers to me.  I am reminded of Proverbs 18:24 that reads: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (NIV).  These are the guys this verse is written about.  These are the guys who I can call at 2am.  These are the guys who will drop everything to help.

So where am I going with all of this?  I’m glad you asked.  So what, you had drinks with a couple guys who mean a lot to you and you to them?  During our conversation, I stopped and looked at them and said I hope one day my little guy will be able to sit in a bar, with a couple of guys and have as good a time as I was having.  Guys that he will have ‘family lore’ with.  They may not be his blood family, but soul family.   I worry about where things are going.  As we become more ‘connected’ we have never been more alone.  I see the deterioration of communication, real communication occurring in blocks of 280 or less characters.  Young people are suffering severe anxiety while trying to have social interactions.  I personally hear stories of young people who honestly cannot even go through an interview for a job.  Or cannot have a face to face conversation without severe anxiety.

Now I understand this is not everyone, not every young person is a shut in, or afraid to have a face to face conversation with anyone outside their own home.  But they are out there.  So will my little guy have his own Greg and Ken?  Or will we continue to see this deterioration of social interactions continue?  I really hope he will have those strong connections, because if he did not have them, it would make me very sad for the lost opportunity.

To Greg and Ken, it doesn’t matter how long it will be until we are able to share a drink together, thanks for a great evening catching up and creating new family lore we can talk about next time.

 

They weren’t biting (and that was not a good thing!)

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We have made a number of friends through the various activities our little guy has participated in.  One of the dads we have become friends with through scouts sent me a text asking if our little guy and I were interested in going fishing on ne of the local piers out here on an early Saturday morning.   I told newmom about the offer and I gladly accepted.

Now we did not tell the little guy what we were up to, only that he and I were going to do something Saturday morning together.  He was tormented, needing to know what it was, so he kept asking for hints and clues so he could try to guess.  So we gave him the following clues:

1) it was something he wanted to do

2) You needed special equipment to do it

3) you needed water to do it.

Needless to say, he was not overly thrilled with the quality of the clues we gave him. When we told him who we were going with he groaned ‘are we going on another hike?’ (see This post for the last adventure we went on with these same friends).  We assured him we were not going on another hike and finished getting ready to go.

We met our friends along with another Scout friend and his dad (it was a dads and sons morning) at the elementary school, packed up their minivan and were on our way. We made a short stop at McDonalds for breakfast (the kids LOVE McDonalds, whether for Breakfast, lunch or dinner!), made potty breaks and were off to Newport pier!!

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When we arrived we unpacked the van, our friend had all the gear we needed for all six of us.  We made our way out and got a good spot on the pier, overlooking the waters, a little further out that the surfers who were waiting for the waves to come it. we were blessed with good weather, we were afraid it might have been a bit chilly but it was quite comfortable.   Our very gracious host helped get the rods all set, and we were off and running.   It did not take long for our first bite of the day, and it happened like the first or second time the rod was cast out.  So we had our first bites like in less than 10 minutes. There were two fish on the line (we were using a sabiki rig that had 6 small hooks on it) and we were all excited that it was going to be a good day, we hadn’t even finished getting the rest of the rods set up!

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That unfortunately was not the case.

 

There were a total of THREE fish caught the entire day. The same little guy that caught those first two fish ended up having the only other bite.   We tried both sides of the pier, no luck at all. it didn’t take long for the two boys who were not regularly fishing to start to get B-O-R-E-D.  My little guy asked a couple times if we were almost done.  I told him we just have to be patient.  Sad to report that patience was not virtuous.  We did not have any luck.  Towards the end my little guy wanted to just go off the pier and build a sand castle.  If it would have been just the two of us, I would have said yes and taken him to the sand, but we were there to fish and I REALLY wanted to catch at least one fish!  So I made him a promise to have a beach day with him in the near future (I hope we get a few warm days so I can follow through on that promise before too much time passes).

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After packing up and corralling the boys back to the minivan we were headed back.  Our host said he was very surprised at our lack of bites, we had 5 poles in the water for over 2 hours with no luck.  The other dad and I said it was quite alright, the boys got out, did something new and we had a great time.

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This is something I would definitely do again.  I had a great time with the little guy outdoors, neither of us were staring at a screen, rather we were staring at the sea (yes, that is a blatant Cure Reference!).  I think that I can get the little guy excited about giving it another shot, he says he doesn’t want to do it again, but I think he thinks fishing is more catching, and there will be a fish at the end of the line every time we cast out.  So I suppose this is a good lesson, that you don’t always win, you don’t always get a fish. DAD TIP – Always look for teachable moments, don’t let them slip away, good or bad.

A HUGE THANK YOU to our very, very, gracious host and his son for including us on a great way to spend a Saturday morning, fishing with our friends (and sons!). This is our second adventure with Sam, and I am looking forward to what’s next!

A quick thank you

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I am still working on a couple more posts, but before I continue on them, I would like to thank the people who have taken note that I have been writing again.  I noted recently that I was having some second thoughts on continuing this or hanging it up.

The very positive feedback I have received over the past week from multiple people has reinforced my resolve to not only continue but to reach my goal of 104 posts in 2019.

This is post number 79. Twenty-five to go!