Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day

For each soldier who goes down on the field I feel the pain it brings to their loved ones.
I've never lost a family member in combat. The devastation it must cause is only imaginary to me. But I've lost friends. Fellow soldiers I once served with. Their absence echoes in my heart daily.
We served together for freedom, with only the best intentions in mind. Yet it would be a lie to say that we were unselfishly putting our lives down on the line for our country. Every individual soldier has his own agenda; his own set of reasons for joining and his own set of reasons for staying. Rarely are they for something so blindly patriotic as just "wanting to serve my country." But I don't see why that would diminish each individual effort. The fact that we do risk or lose our lives in combat is enough to deserve the appreciation of every civilian out there.

I honor the life of every soldier who's been taken down while serving his country. You make me proud to be an american.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

A nice, clean mouth - that's what I need!

Some people have a pretty good idea of how to lead by example...
I have to admit I tend to swear more often than not. Not all the time mind you, I know my place. But around friends and male coworkers, I've got a pretty nasty mouth.
The problem with that is that you expose yourself to slipping up in the wrong surroundings. I do it with my daughter all the time (4 years old). Once at the beach with my wife and her, we were merrily sunbathing, eating our homemade sandwiches, and playing around in the sand. There were many seagulls around, waiting around for any discarded bites of food. But they were keeping their distance. Not a bother at all, really. Until my wife decided to throw them half her sandwich. Then they just crowded in around us. I couldn't believe it! In a flash of temper I yelled out to her: "Don't feed the fucking birds!" The instant I let it out I knew it was bad news. And sure enough, not ten seconds later, my daughter points at another nearby flock of seagulls and says: "Look Daddy! Look at all those fucking birds!" Naturally, both my wife and I nearly died laughing. But it showed me how easily and quickly they pick up on our bad language.
She hasn't said it again since (partly because we made it clear it wasn't a good word!) but I'm sure if I continue to use it in front of her she'll begin to think it's okay. The best policy is to try and stop using foul language altogether, so I'm going to work on that. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 27, 2004


This morning I had to put my dog Tasha to sleep. She had ovarian cancer, very advanced. There was no sense in trying to remove it. Since she'd never been spayed, the vet suggested that the cancer was most likely malignant. He didn't even charge me for the visit when he first diagnosed her. My wife and I decided to leave her alone until such a time when her appetite subsided and her suffering became apparent, then we would put her to sleep.
She was eleven years old and we've had her since my wife and I first got together. She was a tiny little furball then. Chow chows are very hairy, and she was no exception. The one constant thing she brought into our lives was dog hair flying everywhere.
A mixed breed, she seemed to take the best of what her chow chow features had to offer, and shed some of their less attractive ones. People would pull their cars over on the street to tell us how beautiful she was. With her golden mane she looked a bit like a lion. So much so that when only a baby, when seeing the opening credits of any MGM film that has the lion roaring before the beginning, my daughter would always yell out "Tasha!" while pointing at the screen. She was a gorgeous dog.
She got her temperamental behavior from her chow chow side. She was never one to associate with other dogs nor with people she wasn't familiar with. Very unsociable. We were a little nervous, wondering what her reaction would be when my daughter was born. She'd never taken to children at all. But from the start she took it upon herself to let her in as part of the family, sniffing and kissing her, and standing guard beside her crib. She would later play the parts of horse and dressing mate, as Christina chose her to be the victim of her imaginative games. I never heard so much as a light growl out of her.
Those who've never had dogs can't possibly understand the pain you go through when they pass away. Or perhaps the thought of it is enough to dissuade them from having one in the first place. But what people fail to comprehend is that all the costs and suffering that come with having a dog, and the burden of looking out for them at all times, are far outweighed by the sheer pleasure and delight that you derive from their friendship. Dogs teach you to love and show you how to be loved; they fill your life with warmth and affection. I don't regret not having whatever things I may have missed out on because I had a dog, not for a second. The tradeoff is much sweeter than most can imagine.
Thank you Tasha. I'll miss you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Restoring faith

I've asked myself before, if faith in a fallen idol may ever be restored. I don't know. I can't imagine how, though.
How can you ever believe in someone after they've proven themselves unworthy of your trust? And what makes us believe it can happen? Isn't it unfair to give told idol such a burden, particularly since they've already managed to strip down the myths and legends of their prowess and potential?
Many questions, few answers.
Once a person has been exposed as a fraud, that reputation follows them to the grave. It supersedes any future accomplishments that may lie ahead of them. It becomes their seal, their calling card. Because we all silently believe that leopards don't change their spots, tigers don't lose their stripes, once a cheat always a cheat, and all that stuff. Would a person steal if he wasn't in essence a thief? At what degree do we consider that little white lies told for the benefit of somebody's wellbeing, become full fledged perjurious testimonies told to alter the just course of events? Is it fair for anyone to try to upset the natural order of cause and consequence?


Christina in the dugout, waiting for her turn at bat Posted by Hello


My little angel is a star! She hung in there with all the boys, and played as well as any of them.
The only girl on a 12 boy team, it wasn't easy. She also happened to be the youngest and smallest one out there. But she didn't care. She pushed her way around out there!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

An old house

It's hard for me to relate too closely (or at all, really) to the home improvement programs you see on TV. You see couples who buy an old house, not because that's all they can afford, but because they find a huge rundown mansion on a large lot in a great area for a reasonable price. A price that is still beyond the means of most lower middle-class people. They also happen to have a fortune left over in the bank with which to invest handsomely in multiple repairs and improvements. This has not been my experience.
I bought a small old house in a far off land (as is and 30 miles away from work) because it's all I could afford. And believe me, by the time the deed was signed, there wasn't a dime left to my name.
Within the first week the clothes washer and dryer had gone out. The dishwasher followed...A water pipe on the rooftop burst (where the solar water heater is hooked up). Then went the central A/C, the electric water heater, the refrigerator...The oven still works, though only two of the small burners run. I called to have a new main water valve installed and they had to replace the forty foot pipe that stretches through my yard($$$). It's been one thing after another. Then, when you finally think nothing else can go wrong, the septic tank overflows and the guy says the drain field has to be rebuilt($$$$)! I hired a plumber to re-pack a seal in my shower so it would stop leaking hot water, and it appears now we have to tear down the tile and replace the internal pipes to stop the leak. There's no time to make the improvements you want to make. Emergencies take up all your extra cash and credit.
So I don't watch those damned shows much. They seem to apply to a different breed of people.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Getting it back in gear...

Amazing how easy it is to fall back out of writing. You try to make a scheduled practice of it, visit the blog as often as possible...but suddenly you just don't feel like writing anything. It's not so much writer's block. It's more like not having much to say and no particular need to do so.
Anyway, what are you gonna do? I'm going to try and get back into it.