coffee in the afternoon, & other musings…

Maybe its a coping mechanism, but when I am noticed that certain days I crave coffee in the late afternoon. Its not the need for caffeine, because the decaf will do… its the smell of the brewing process, the taste of the 1st sip, the reassuring heat emanating from the ceramic cup. Sigh.

Took a spill last night in our softball teams’ victory… lunging for a ball hit just beyond my reach, I landed on my left shoulder. Thought it came out of the socket… had brother PULL on the wrist to see if there was any give… nope. Just a jammed shoulder. Its ache-ey today. I will have to apply the Bio-Freeze.

I was taken off guard today by Baby Zoe. She was sitting in her little bouncy chair, as she usually is, but this time she had her eyes open. And she was looking at me. And when she noticed I was looking at me, she smiled & yelled for me, “Tay-tay, I want you to pick me up & play with me.” (That last part about the yelling I’m PRETTY sure happened. Though no one else seems to have heard her do it… I did.)

The more time that passes, the more I am convinced that 3 of the really great Sci-Fi shows of all time were:

  • Stargate SG-1
  • Farscape
  • Star Trek: TNG
  • Others, like BSG, Star Trek, & even the other Star Trek off-shoots are good. Still, I can put in a DVD of one of my personal big 3 & watch it over & over.

    That might say more about me & my longing for the old than it does about the new stuff. But I could be wrong.

    Off to soccer with theWeez. Lucky us. We have a 6:15 p.m. game tonight instead of the 7:45 game that ends at 9:15. Sweet.

    monday afternoon musings…

    Watched Pasty’s football team last Friday – he played a phenomenal game, & was all over the field on defense. His team lost, mostly due to experiencing some bad breaks with turnovers, a couple fluke bounces, & then… some of the players ‘quit’- just stopped trying hard. Looked like they just went into shock & stopped playing to the caliber that they are capable of. It was frustrating to watch, but even more for the Pasty who gives the proverbial 110% on every play & has never even thought the word “quit.”

    It made me wonder about other situations in life where people have gone through difficulty, adversity, hard stuff & have “quit.” Like the quitting or removing themselves from the ‘game’ was the answer. Made a mental note or 10 to persevere.

    Pasty turns 18 on Wednesday. Unbelievable. What a great lesson in how fast life goes.

    With school starting & students all around me, I am feeling the pull to grad school stronger than ever. Not now. Not now. Maybe later.

    Gym time is becoming harder & harder to carve out. Days are full & so are the evenings… my gym is ok (esp. treadmill #5,) but its 6 miles away, & its becoming more & more difficult to get to it. I’ve heard some rumblings about a gym on Disc & Vista…

    Just finished reading this book. Really enjoyed it, & think you might too…

    TheBean’s new work schedule is awesome. Tuesday & Wednesday doubles, Thursday day, some Saturdays. Off Monday, Friday, & Sunday. Which means a day off together. Lucky me.

    In case you didn’t notice, the NFL season has begun. And none too soon.

    I’m dreaming a lot more (or at least remembering them). Interesting stuff. And I don’t think its the pizza, cause I’m not eating any. Maybe I’ll write one up.

    Had another reminder that words mean things. And how certain words are ‘buzzwords’ that provoke a strong response. And that coming up with a common definition may be the most helpful thing in a marriage, let alone a relationship. Goodness.

    Double the fun – 2x the MNF tonight. Sa-weet!

    BTW: the Over/Under for total fantasy football teams for me was 10. I came in JUST under. Thanks for playing.

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    the 1st day of school, & other monday morning musings…

    Today is the first day of school for all 3 kids – Pasty is starting his senior year. IDoey is a freshman. TheWeez is off to 7th grade & Middle-School. Preparation for the day included everybody in bed, willingly & of their own accord, by 10 p.m. Lunches packed. Clothes washed, pressed & laid out. 3 mostly self-sufficient humans getting themselves together… nice.

    And then this a.m., everyone up no later than 6. No real rushing – just the familiar sounds of Pasty downstairs with Mike & Mike, Weezer’s hair dryer, & IDoey’s humming. The inexplicable & matchingly liberal application of Axe Body Spray or Ralph...

    The funny part is that we all ended up at the counter in the kitchen… with theBean, (starting her week off with a Day Off of Work,) willingly making breakfast ala “short-order-made-to-order..” What a site to see.

    Then I realized that it was time for the kids to head out… & I flashed back across the 13 years of First Day of School that we’ve done.

    Pasty’s first day of pre-K at Seeliger with his little siblings jealous of his chance to get out of the house & go to PLAY.

    Our first day of school upon our move to Sparks – mid-year of all times… Pasty was a good sport through a tough situation.

    IDoey’s first day of Kindergarten with Mrs. Martin.

    The day that all 3 kids finally went to school together.

    Pasty’s move to Jr High, then High School. Then IDoey’s.

    And now Weez is out of elementary & into the world of 12 going on 25…

    I wanted to get them to pose for a picture, but I couldn’t find the words. They were stuck in my throat behind a big lump. My eyes were swimming & I found that all I could really do was sit & look at them in their morning routine.

    Coffee helped compose me, & I finally eeked the words out – & asked the 3 kids to pose by the stairs. Without a word of complaint, they did, & went into the familiar routine of goofy silliness that characterizes & lets steam off of such moments. Let me take several pictures even.

    And then off.


    musings on a Slow Saturday…

    I’m functioning on EST pretty well – getting to bed by 10 or 11, usually rolling out about 8. Last night, I hit the sack a little earlier & the next thing I knew, I awoke to the sounds of falling rain. No thunder that I could hear, just the regular rhythm of rain on the pavement outside… if I wasn’t on the ground floor (out of 3 levels) perhaps I’d be talking about rain on the roof, which is one of my favorite sounds… & it was 9:45 in the a.m.

    A part of my brain kicked in, knowing that 9:45 is LATE & there must be SOMETHING that needs to happen, something I need to do, a place to go… as the sleepy haze left, I once again realized that today is Slow Saturday – & day with Nothing on the agenda, the day of my week where I intentionally scheduled Nothing. I was roused from my thought by the beeping of the coffee pot finishing its brew cycle. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the coffee pot letting me know it is done… only thing cooler would be if it said, “Hey. Finished!”

    Reading a lot, with lots of interruptions for thinking. A conversation I had with Chuck yesterday has been circling my brain – perhaps not so much in what was said in the conversation, but in the WHERE the conversation led to in my thoughts…

    What keeps coming up is Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

    I’m thinking on friendship – the kind of true friendship Proverbs addresses – the kind of friend that will stick with you through thick & thin, in good & bad – who wants the best for you – who sticks up for you if others run you down when you’re not around – who can genuinely be happy for you when something good happens to you, & who grieves with you in your pain.

    And mostly, I’m thinking about how a friend, a good, true friend – will speak the truth in love – & be willing to say something that is hard to hear – to act as a ‘mirror’ – reflecting the truth of the matter, what they see & observe when so many others would cover over, ignore, &/or turn their head away.

    I think in principle we want that kind of friend, but in reality, its easier to respond poorly to them – to deny, discount, &/or reject what they’re saying – to go on the defensive & pour out the excuses why the things they are mentioning are Not My Fault… maybe more often, we go on the offensive, & take shots at them – getting on a High Horse & lobbing verbal grenades at the one who would Dare to say such things to us. Even if its just them reflecting what they see.

    I think that it takes a lot of humility to be able to receive correction – & trust, that the person speaking really does love me, & isn’t just pointing out faults to belittle me &/or to make themselves ‘bigger.’ That they want the best for me. That the ‘wounds’ they’ve given are more truthful & more important to me being able to grow & develop into the person I want to be than all the deceptive, pandering, & disingenuous ‘kisses’ of an enemy…

    On more than 1 occasion, I’ve been on the receiving end of rebuke, correction, & reflection – & every time, it was tough to hear – but in retrospect, I prefer going through each of those difficult talks, & having to really, really work through stuff, than I would have wanted them to say nothing, or worse, tell me that what they saw wasn’t So Bad, esp. compared to Some.


    It seems to me that the alternative of self-justification, self-righteousness, & pride aren’t worth it.

    I want to have real friends, & also to BE a real friend. Especially when its tough.

    Finished my LOTR Extended Version marathon. Still cry at when Sam & Frodo are alone on the rock, surrounded by liquid hot Mag-Ma. Maybe it’s the Frodo/Sam friendship that has been a part of provoking these musings as well. Hmm.

    Tuesday morning thoughts…

    Yesterday was a travel day – making my way to CSR, Virginia, & the East… the flight I had to get on to start the day was at 6 in the morning… which of course means that one needs to arrive at the airport & through security by 4:50 a.m… this is really hard to do if one awakes at 5:00 a.m. Oops. It was funny to run around crazy, (a very calm, controlled crazy, don’t you know?) & be out of the house by 5:07. Silly me. TheBean was great & even got extra snacks together for me on the way out of the house.

    Got to the airport at 5:25 (I’m actually married to the Transporter, so as long as I pay attention to her rules, she will get me where I need to be, no questions… :)

    Inside, the United desk had closed the registration for my opening flight, & were explaining to a couple of people (increasingly loud & frustrated people) that if they had just been there ON TIME to register & check their bags, this wouldn’t be happening. (Which, I must point out, is pretty obvious – but also not on the approved list of saying for “Grumpy People Handling 101..” I made my way up to the counter, shot up a quick prayer for favor – & the attendant checked my info & my bag. I told her I was late, & that I thought I’d still be able to make it to the flight. She smiled. I also told her “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” & “My bag will be hand placed onto the plane by the Miles Davis of bag handlers…” I got to my gate & my boarding group hadn’t been called…

    Went through Denver, on to Chicago, & then to Roanoke, VA on a leeetttle jet that you’d fly on the SF to Reno flight…

    Waited at the baggage claim for my bag… & there it was. Thank you Jesus – here’s to prayer & Jedi mind tricks, my very own woman driver, self-control, & keeping a good attitude in the middle of chaos.

    Now it’s Tuesday & I’m slowly navigating onto E.S.T.

    Brought coffee from home – & watched it brew at 0 Dark:30… the coffee maker has a “Stronger Brew” button. I don’t know if it does anything, but I pressed it 11 times. It’s like having an amp that goes to “11,” because making “10” louder just isn’t enough. “11” provides the extra “umph.”

    Comfy bed, nice office space, & quiet. It is green outside, which is nice to look at from INSIDE. Weather forecast says thunder showers. Hoping it can hold off a bit, as I’ve got tickets to the Salem Red Sox game this evening…

    Meeting with Chuck today for lunch & talks, then nothing on the agenda save a trip to Walmart & maybe to the Starbucks on the edge of the VaTech for reading, good java, & people watching. The students are coming back for the fall in droves, which means this place is hopping with Hokies.


    Thursday evening blogging while I’m waiting for my next cab-fare…

    I’ve been counting down for the last 12 weeks… & I’m down to double digits. Monday, I’m off to the Center for Spiritual Renewal in Christiansburg, VA – where theBean & I went last year. This year, I’m flying solo for a 7 day rest, renewal, counseling, & solitude trip. Can’t wait. I’m planning on reading, going to a couple of baseball games (Salem Red Sox), & hanging out on the fringes of the Virginia Tech (VT) campus – there are tons of good eateries & loitering spots that I plan to occupy. Hmmm. Can’t wait.

    Stop & go driving in the heat is most likely my least favorite thing these days… seems like with the schedules that we’re keeping, I am trying to enjoy it & make the most of my transit time. To Golden Eagle. Church. To Reed High. Home. Repeat.

    So I try to make it so that I’ve always got a Speech on mp3 to listen to – I’ve taken to loading my phone to make my solo time in the car “listening time.” It’s good… but I’ll take highway driving hands down.

    Both boys are in ‘double-days’ for football right now – meaning – they have 2 practices a day for the next 10 days – helmets & shorts until Monday, then lots of hitting in full pads to get ready for Week 1 of the 2009 season. Go Pasty. Go IDoey…

    Just got a new paperback copy of Lord of the Rings for my trip – I hope it smells good. I love the smell of a good book. Isn’t that viert?

    I love the coolness of the evenings lately – very nice. Now THIS is the Nevada I know.

    TheBean has had a turn or 3 with “positional vertigo.” Thanks to Christine the Gifted Ear Doctor & the Mighty Hand & Outstretched Arm of the LORD, she is up & about, walking in straight lines again.

    I thought Ellie was small, then I saw Ellie’s cousin, my nephew Trevor… He is small. Then I saw Baby Zoe – now SHE is really small. And she makes the same ‘Weezy” noises that gave my Weezer her nickname. I wonder if there’s something in the girly DNA in the fam…

    New shoes. Nike Sparq (with an Q!) Which of course makes them eXXXXXXtra cool. And boy can I run fast & jump higher than ever.

    Sometimes all a man needs is a tortilla filled with cheese. After its been heated in a pan, of course.

    Its funny to me that incredibly terrible movies keep coming out every week, & people keep lining up to go see them, as though somehow its required to do so. Goodness. Not even free popcorn with butter all ov-ah could get me to the theatre… Oh, for a Hitchock classic. Like “Notorious.”

    School starts up again for us in just a couple of weeks – & all 3 of the kiddos will be out of the house, M-F, by 7 a.m. That’s not late, no, no, it’s earl-ay, earl-ay…

    And on that note, what ever happened to the Spin Doctors?

    I’m interested to see how the whole “Michael Vick is back in the NFL” will be playing out in Blacksburg & the VT campus…

    More & more I find myself singing little songs that I have made up, somewhere, sometime, for some reason. And I find myself… amused. And the best part is that the iPhone now has a Voice Recorder just in case I generate a gem that I can send to Jack’s Big Music Show or to the Wiggles (if the Wiggles are still around. Must check into that…)

    Over/under for the number of fantasy football teams I will have this fall = 10. Currently, I’m taking the “under.”

    sunday afternoon musings…

    it was only 17:45 when I started this post, so it does technically qualify as “afternoon” still. As I type, the rain is falling lightly, while rays of sun still manage to find their way through the scattered gray clouds. Truly wonderful. I could get lost in the sky… & I say to myself, “What a wonderful world…”

    I wish I would have appreciated Johnny Cash’s music more before he died. Seems like whatever mood I happen to be in, I find myself choosing his library more & more often… esp. “Walk The Line.”

    Really enjoying the virtual perusing of art galleries – learning the difference between the impressionists & expressionists, & all kinds of other things. I think that I’m going to try to prioritize more in-person viewing. Even if its not the Louvre.

    On that note, I could look at Starry Night for a year.

    And one of the reasons I love Marc Chagall’s paintings so much is that they remind me of my friend theMoses. Esp. this one. I love Moe’s work.

    I hit a wall this morning. Not a literal wall; I reached my social interaction overload & recognized a desperate, crying need to get recharged… And just how does an introvert recharge? Sitting on the couch with the Pasty. Hanging incognito with IDoey & Pasty at the Nike Factory Outlet at Legends. Good times. Now I’m sitting on the porch watching the rain fall, & I’m the only one home. Enjoying A Fine Frenzy. (which you should give a listen to when you get a chance. Man. I’m switching back & forth between that & Regina Spektor’s new one.

    Shouldn’ta waited so long to recharge. Good reminder.

    Sometimes it feels like the expectations of others are a weight… even when you’re not trying to meet those expectations… if they’re not a weight, they’re at least a large object in the room that has to at least be acknowledged.

    Kona Coffee IS all its been cracked up to be. Thanks for the bag Debi. You looked absolutely beautiful in your dress yesterday, by the way. I’m so proud of you, Squirrel.

    Perseverance at a good thing is very enjoyable… especially when the ‘return’ starts to show. Love it.

    SECRET DREAM: I want to be the old guy in the church, the guy in his 60s, 70s, & 80s that people call “Grampa” – I want to be faithful & growing in my life & in my relationship with Jesus & with others up to the last breath I have on earth. I want to be a living, breathing example of God’s goodness, faithfulness, & mercy – a tangible reminder that trusting God & following Him with one’s decisions & actions has great & long-lasting results. And I will trim my ear & nose hair regularly. And will probably still be wearing my hoops.

    And I want to be “Opa” in Deutschland too.

    It will happen.

    My birthday is “National Talk Like a Pirate Day.” Who’d a thunk it? Aargh.

    Temperature is supposed to “drop” into the low 90s this week. Sah-WEEET. Here’s to cooler days!

    The smell of rain in the air is a happy smell to me. Right up there with fresh coffee. And Shorties Blueberry Cobbler Candles. She’s local – & makes the BEST candles ever. Mmmm.

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    the demise of #5…

    This is a note about the demise of #5, the treadmill pictured at left that is having issues with her speed system. I took this picture in the hopes that she’ll rebound soon. This is the story of how I came to love #5.

    I’ve never been much of a “runner” – meaning that working out for me has always meant weights, some cardio (jump-rope, ellipticals, etc.) & whatever sport I happened to be playing at that time. There have been a couple of exceptions – when I was going into 7th grade, i reaaaaallly wanted to drop weight so that I could play in a lower football division (back in the days of Pop Warner weight class based leagues,) so I ate lots of salad & ran around the block several times a day. It worked. I also picked up the habit of eating my salads without any dressing on them; further, I had a hard time with the whole “eating lettuce with a fork,” so I would just pick it up & eat it. Still do.

    I also like to run to clear my head – so when things would get noisy in there, I’d go for a run through the streets around my house – often at night. At some point, I found that I really liked the solitude of running, the night air, & being able to wear one of those cool Neon Yellow Vests so that I wouldn’t be invisible to vehicles… still, running was really only done sporadically.

    Then something changed – a few years ago, a group of friends started training for a marathon – using the Galloway method, I found that I could run a lot longer & farther than I’d ever been able to before. I was able to go 10K no problem… only to find that my surgically repaired right knee (& the 2 pins in it) didn’t like the distance running… & would let me know about it. Being heavier than I wanted to be also put stress on my hips, knees, & ankles, from the pounding on the streets & sidewalks.

    I didn’t end up running the marathon (made it to a 1/2 marathon,) but I kept running – & as long as I kept my distance at about 3-5 miles a couple of times a week, my body seemed to recover well.

    I lost some weight (about 3.5 stones) & got used to running the streets about 5 times a week… this last March, the combination of running & playing softball 2x/week left me feeling it in my hips, knees, & ankles again. I missed running & didn’t want to stop, so I started running on the treadmill at my gym… & after the learning curve (the process of learning to walk then run on the treadmill without holding onto the rails,) I came across #5. I’d tried several other treadmills & they all had issues – they were poorly placed in respect to the TV that was tuned to ESPN (see photo at right) – others wre always dirty, or made too much noise for my tastes; a couple would wildly fluctuate their speed & buck like a bronco (I was only thrown twice…)

    #5 didn’t have any of those issues – just kept on going, doing her thing. Always clean, always under the TV tuned to ESPN, never bucking. Soft cushion met every step, allowing me to run as often as I wanted. Not outside, but in the cool of the gym, running in place, thinking on everything & nothing. It became a date – if I went to the gym to run, it was always on #5…

    And then there was Wednesday – I was at the end of a 5K. Literally as I took the last couple of strides before my cool down, #5 abruptly seized up & ground to a stop. There was a subtle humming noise… a message appeared: “CHECK SPEED SYSTEM.” I tried to do a reset. No response. NO! #5, come back.

    I reported the message to The Powers That Be in hopes that #5 will be up & running again soon. And until then, I’m giving #8 & #15 a try.


    wednesday, squirrels, & other things…

    Had a gray squirrel sighting this a.m. while on my way for the Preliminary Cup of Java. Don’t see too many squirrels in my neighborhood. Wonder if it has to do with the proliferation of coyotes… I’ve seen a bunch of coyotes running up Disc Dr., though they look a lot more gaunt than the one in the picture…

    Just listened to a really thought provoking message on the Book of Job & addressing ‘suffering’ – John Goldingay, Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary… great accent too.

    TheBean & I are getting ready to go on a double date with Matty & Nikki C… headed to the Tide for wings & a frosty beverage to combat the blistering sun & to quench a king’s thirst… as soon as she gets home… I’m not a fan of waiting-age.

    Is it time for football season yet?

    It cracks me up when theBean moves stuff from one room to another. And back again. And forth. Once upon a long time ago, I may have even tried to understand it, but mere mortals like myself can’t hope to comprehend the greatness & genius of such masters of design & arrangement.

    I think its a shame that home field advantage for the World Series is decided by the outcome of the All-Star game. If THEY are going to insist on continuing this (& according to Bud Selig, they are,) then a couple rules about the All-Star game should be done away with, like:

  • The mandatory “every team gets represented” rule – meaning that at least 1 player from every team has to make the All-Star team. Instead, let the players & managers pick the team & the reserves – so that deserving players don’t stay home just to make sure every team is represented.
  • Fans don’t vote in starters – I’m all for removing the fan vote 100% – & again, let the managers, coaches, & players vote/select the players that make the team.
  • Treat it like a real baseball game – let the bestest players play, & the bestest pitchers pitch. Instead, the game looks like Simpson’s episode – with most player appearances amounting to no more than a cameo…
  • There’s more, but that would be a start. Now, if baseball would just adopt the same rules for both leagues, that would be fantastic…

    Self-cooling socks would be a great invention.

    We are officially running late for our double date…

    I am content. Ahhh.

    learning stuff & other thoughts…

    This past Friday & Saturday evenings, I participated in the Hillside Learning Community DVD ‘conference’ on Healthy Living by Joyce Meyer. It was the brainchild of theBean – get together with friends, eat, & watch/listen/learn. I’m glad I went – here are a few of my ‘take-aways:’

  • Sometimes, I can do something that I know is wrong (or at least not helpful) & I expect that God is going to step in & bail me out of the consequences of my choices. And I get mad because of it.
  • Its easier to blame God, the devil, & other people for bad stuff happening in my life than it is to look at my own choices, action/inaction, thoughts & behaviors as potential causes for what I’m going through.
  • When theBean claps her hands, it really hurts my right ear… its REALLY sensitive. She was an active clapper & participant in the conference, so on Day 2 she moved to another table so she could clap all she wanted to. And she did.
  • Sin is a terrible teacher.
  • I don’t think she talked about it, but it was reinforced that pride is a killer – & that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
  • On that note, humility, & humbling oneself is preferable to being humbled.
  • The thing that rises up in me to try to talk me out of an area of obedience to God is my flesh. No matter how it gets dressed up, explained away, or given a nice label. It’s just flesh. And I’m supposed to crucify it.
  • I love learning. Makes me miss school. Just a little.

  • Ellie says “Bommo” when I point to my Joshua Tree picture in my office. Makes an uncle so proud. She really liked “Mysterious Ways” today too.

    Two words: Gordon Biersch

    I’m on a tortilla craving kick… Hmmm. Yesterday it was chili n cheese in the tortilla. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    Ever heard the saying, “You find what you look for.”? Makes me wonder about the uncanny ability of some to find issues, problems, difficulties, etc. And the willingness (need?) to articulate the negativity anytime, anywhere.

    Makes me wonder just what I’m looking for… I’m thinking that I’m going to choose to look for where I see good… & God at work in & around me.

    Its a start.