Friday, January 28, 2005

This Weekend...

It's not that often that I have an entire weekend off from work as I do this weekend, AND simultaneously having most of my friends out of town, so I'm going to take advantage of it.

My plan is to wake up VERY early in the morning and head to places east of here. My first stop will be Carthage, TX (population somewhere around 6,000-- small, yes, but large by Chandler standards) where my mom grew up and I spent many a summer day. There's a little coffe shop downtown where my granddad used to eat at and which I've never stepped foot in. It's the most nondescript little thing and from the outside it reminds me of the coffee shop in Hill Valley (1955 version.) I'm hoping to chat with some of the locals about my family. It may be a long shot and I might get funny looks, but it's worth a try.

Then I'll head north on 59 to hang out with Robert in Marshall for the day. He works in the evening which brings me to the eight hours I will have to.... drum roll.... begin writing what hopefully, with time, something that will at least slightly resemble a thing called a book. We'll see.

Sunday the plan is to head back west, stopping in Chandler to visit the church I grew up in, First Baptist Chandler.

I'm jonesin' for some inspiration.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Lacking and Full of Words at the Same Time...

Back in early 2002 I was in a UBC community group which met at JD's coffee house and as we were talking and getting to know each other a girl named Christy Crother's was talking in her usual rapid-fire manner, telling us about her life and such and in the midst of the million words she managed to get out in a minute she said the word "blog" and everyone's response was the same. "Blog? Huh?"

She told us about the blog and how we could do it and how therapeutic it's been for her and I decided to do it, not for the therapy benefits but because between the years of '89 and '93 (my high school years) there was no one in the world who was a bigger Doogie Howser M.D. fan than yours truly. I saw the blog as an opportunity for me to finally realize my dream of ending the day a la Dr. Howser and sharing my thoughts to my computer.

As I browse through my first few posts I see that the circumstantial daily anecdotes were what occupied my writing time. As the months went on I became a little more introspective and it appears that I was trying to write daily devotions for Guideposts magazine. But throughout it all I tried to put my best foot forward, whether that be the "intellectual" foot or the "political" foot or the "authentic cussing" foot or the "simple-minded small town" foot. Any bad feet I had remained in the back, unless I could get sympathy points for them and then I shot that foot out quicker than my step-offs in my marching band days.

Sometime early on I quoted Garrison Keillor..."The urge to be top dog is a bad urge. Inevitable tragedy. A sensible person seeks to be at peace, to read books, know the neighbors, take walks, enjoy his portion, live to be eighty, and wind up fat and happy, although a little wistful when the first coronary walks up and slugs him in the chest. Nobody is meant to be a star. Charisma is pure fiction, and so is brilliance. It's the dummies who sit on the stage, and it's the smart people who sit in the dark near the exits. That is the Lake Wobegon view of life."

Later on I spent a lot of time telling stories about my past and people and how they affected me. Like this story.

A couple of times I tried my hand at weird poetry.

Once I let you eavesdrop on a letter I wrote to my then 20 month old friend Jude.

Always the political posts, and yes, quite a few bullets.

But lately I just haven't felt it. Oh, I've posted stuff to be posting stuff but I feel I've said everything.

If you think you know where this is going and that I'm about to announce my retirement from blogging, you're wrong.

At the beginning I blogged for myself. Later I blogged with the hope that a lot of people would notice. Over the past few months I have blogged for the half-dozen or so people that I know frequent my site, well, frequently. The situation I'm in is this: I'm not that complicated of a person. I resonate (more than he knows) with some of a friend's feelings about himself that he really doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to offer. In the end, you all know me: Politically conservative with reservations concerning the Religious Right. Theologically all over the map, but becoming increasingly uninterested. Small town, simple things, value in the mundane. Blah.... Blah...Blah. That's really all I am.

But there's another thing. It's the love thing. It's the thing that I feel I'm trying to convey in most of my posts. It's the need I have to let a family with the most beautiful kids and loving parents and a couple of somewhat newlyweds and about a half-dozen or so good friends from ETBU to Duke Div. and parts in between and members of my church, know that my heart bursts wide open with love for them... so much so that if I tried to express it in public I would become the most awkward blubbering idiot you've ever seen. That's really what I'm trying to say. That's really why my nose and tear ducts are swollen right now.

I love hearing people at work on their cell phones in the break room. Cell phones have made contact with loved ones easier but they have also eliminated private conversations. If you want your phone in public, well, you get your conversation in public as well. I always get a kick out of the "I love you's" at the end of cell phone conversations. They are a little awkward in front of other people. Whether it's a parent to a kid or a kid to a parent or friends or lovers, I love hearing the "I love you's." No matter how cool or independent or intellectual or dumb or busy or tired or excited we are, we want to love and be loved. But the other funny thing about cell phone "I Love You's" is this: The givers of the "I Love You's" know the receivers know they are loved. Those that receive the "I Love You" went into the conversation with the full knowledge that the giver loved them. But it gets said anyway. We keep saying it because we have to. We struggle saying it because it's so personal. But, I guess I should add, if we are lucky, we keep having it said to us and we say it and we want it to be said and we say it and say it in our head and we practice it and sometimes we dread it but regardless of all of this it's there. "I love you." It's complicated and simple all at once.

So I guess if I run out of cool stuff to say I guess I'll just keep writing about those I love. Because one of the few special things that has been said to me by a close friend over the past few years that I actually believe is what Robert told me: I have a lot of love to give.

I'll keep stumbling through this path of life trying to give it. I can't keep it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


-- Jason made the comment tonight as he was politely humoring me by sitting through three complete episodes of "Ed" that when the show started four and a half years ago was when I started to become nostalgic about home and you know what? He's right. It really did shape my worldview. Generally we look back on things in our past that influenced the way we think with disdain. I guess time tends to tarnish the luster of those special things. But time has not tarnished the luster of a guy named "Ed" who came home, bought a bowling alley to impress the girl, and in the process rediscovered the simple joys of life.

-- I think my diet has too much sodium in it. I've been feeling quite puffy lately.

-- If you weren't in Waco today you should have been. The weather is beautiful. It encouraged me to run outside for the first time in over a month. Four miles and it felt good.

-- Get this: I had no clue today was inauguration (sp?) day until I went home for lunch. I actually thought it was this Saturday and when I turned on the television to see the news playing inaugural stuff I actually told myself (in my head) "Wow, they sure are starting all the pomp and circumstance a little early. Two days early, to be exact." And then they showed a clip of the swearing in ceremony and I considered calling the White House to let them know they are early... the inauguration is Saturday. Can you believe this? I set TIVO to record nights of both the party conventions but let the inauguration slip my mind.

-- Starting reading a book "Seven Types of Ambiguity" because I thought the title was awesome. I got seven chapters into it (short chapters) and enjoyed it but haven't read it again in two days. I need some uninterrupted time to read.

-- I need a vacation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I'm going to try to ease myself back into daily blogging by taking baby steps. So here I step.

Over the past couple of months I've ran into and received emails from several people who read my blog without my knowledge. I find this both cool and intimidating at the same time. I think I'm suffering from this sudden knowledge that more people than the half-dozen or so of you who comment are peering into my thoughts. I think it's caused a little fear on my behalf, not allowing me to put myself out there as much as I have in the past. I'll have to work through that.

Hopefully better days will come. Until now, baby steps...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Rhythym of a Line of Idle Days...

Deep within me for the past few days has been a desire to write and yet those weak parts of me who would have that desire fade away has won in head to head competition.

Until now.

But even now it probably has the upper hand.

At the end of the day you've got the good stuff and the bad stuff and the neutral stuff to put in your bank for the day. Today there's been a little of both for me, some of which with remain in the fault.

There's not many things that can erase the sheer frustration of having your car window smashed in by a rock or a b.b. or something like that and of the financial needs it will require.

Not many, but I guess there are some. The first would be cleaning out a few things from the freezer to make room for the first batch of soup you've ever made and finding a small travel size bottle of the great German miracle concoction named JaegerMeister that will be consumed shortly after the typing of the last period on this post.

Secondly and utmost would be the viewing of the second-ever episode of "Ed" and falling in love all over again with the town and ideals of Stuckeyville.

I could bitch, but I won't.

I've got stories to tell. I hope to tell.

Good night.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Old Rugged Cross...

I was just on campus (the Baylor campus, that is) to meet Kyle for lunch and saw with my two eyes what I've been hearing about for over a year now-- the guy carrying the cross. I'll tell you, I was NOT expecting that cross to be as big. It's HUGE!! The guy was crossing the street (ha, ha) with his cross and I think I almost had a wreck from staring at it in disbelief that I've finally seen it. I could give my commentary on it, but I'll save a judgemental post for another day when I've feeling, well, judgemental. Today is too pretty for that.

On my way back I heard that "Yeah!" Usher song and if you told me you hear that and don't want to get out of your car and start dancing I'll call you a liar, because that's what you are.

I'm off to work right now. Rarely do I dread going to work. Some days I'm indifferent but most days I look forward to being there. Today is the latter.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention. The other night I bought the latest Rascal Flatts CD. I'm not that impressed. But I wasn't initially impressed with the first two albums of theirs either, but both of them grew on me. I'm expecting this to do the same.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

No Title, Just Bullets...

--There's a bird who for a few weeks now has been trying to get into our house by ramming itself into the door. I've been home most of the day because it's my day off and have noticed that during the day he tries to get in through the window in the office. Who can blame him? Who wouldn't want to be where I am?:)

-- Nothing much has happened over the past few days, but I seem to have been extremely busy. I've spent the past couple of weeks either hanging out with Kyle, Jen and the kids or Jason or Jason and Christy. As I've gotten older I've become more comfortable with solitude. But being with friends can't be beat.

-- My reading has slacked off. No, it's stopped. I still need to finish "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time." I should work hard on getting that done this week. Next week I start my book club at UBC. It'll be good to revisit some things like "The Poisonwood Bible" and "Traveling Mercies."

-- Speaking of "Traveling Mercies," Anne Lammott's new book "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" comes out in March. Just before that, David Crowder's "Praise Habit" comes out on February 28. Can't wait for those.

-- I'm 30 years old, but sometimes I'm still just a junior high kid. Seriously.

-- I can't remember if I've already mentioned this, but I finally watched "Everybody Loves Raymond." I've had people telling me for years that I would love that show, but I never gave it a chance. Watched it last week and I'm hooked.

-- Next Monday, 11:00 a.m., Ed on TBS. I'm thinking of having a get together sometime later in the week to watch the first two or three episodes. I'm hoping to get people hooked on it from the beginning so they can see that I'm not as mentally ill as they think I am. Well, maybe I am, but at least they will understand better where I'm coming from.

-- The bird has landed on the window sill and is just staring at me. Tough luck bird, you're not meant for in here.

-- Watched "In America" for the umpteenth time today. Cried again for the umpteenth time.

-- Well, that's all I've got. Catch you on the flip side.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Present

I shared this with Jason and Daniel tonight and now I will share it with you.

I received the greatest Christmas present I have ever been given by my parents in terms of usefulness and enjoyment since the Winnie the Pooh record player from Christmas '77.

It's a blanket. Or perhaps you call it a "throw." I'm not quite sure. It's red with blue stitching around the corners and extremely soft and extremely large, so much so that I can wrap myself in it. I've had soft blankets before and I've had large blankets before but I have never quite experienced the convergence of large AND soft. This is a special feeling.

Usually my parents buy me crap. I've received a flashlight for Christmas for the past few years and if you're telling yourself that a flashlight is VERY useful I would agree except for the fact that I have received so many of them over the years that after the first flashlight the rest lose their usefulness because you can only really use one flashlight at a time unless you share your other flashlights with others.

But this blanket, wow. I watched Garden State tonight with my new red blanket wrapped around me. I have made it through the past few nights of moderately cold temperatures with the warmth of my new red blanket enveloping me.

I haven't felt this much comfort from a piece of material since (and I hope Luke is reading this because he is the only one who might possibly remember) the blue-hooded sweatshirt I gave to my dad for Christmas and borrowed in the summer of '96 to take to Estonia with me. I LOVED that blue-hooded sweatshirt. I got it at Montgomery Wards, which I don't think exists anymore, for a small price but it was soft and lined on the inside with the same material that they make thermal underwear with. The hood was large and bulky and I looked so cool, almost like a rock star, with that blue hooded sweatshirt.

Somewhere along the way, however, Old Blue went missing. I'll tell you the truth, I have held out hope that one day Blue would show up again. Every time I run across an old box of clothes I open it with a quiet anticipation that Blue Hooded Sweatshirt has been hiding out for all these years.

But it probably won't happen. But in the meantime, I have New Red Blanket to keep me warm. New Red Blanket is perfect for this time of the year. I love cold weather but I hate being cold and perhaps this is why New Red Blanket means so much to me right now because I can be warm in the midst of the cold.

If you're looking for a spiritual or political or sociological application, sorry. I just wanted to share with you my feelings for Old Blue and New Red.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Moving it Down...

I figured y'all were probably tired of checking my blog and seeing the January 17 schedule of the Turner Broadcasting Station. Does anyone else remember when it was WTBS? I do. They had wrestling. The good wrestling. Not that this is what I've planned on writing about. So I move on.

My work schedule this week has been the best ever. I generally work one of three shifts: 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., or 2:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. 7-4 is my favorite. This week I was off on Sunday, worked 7-4 on Monday, had yesterday and today off, and work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 7-4. (The Sunday off was to make up for working on New Years.

I've done not much of anything for the past couple of days, and yet a lot of things, most occuring in my mind. I've tried to finish reading "The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time," but haven't been successful. It's a fun book to read, but it doesn't demand my attention and time like "The Kite Runner" did. Other than that I've spent a lot of time over at the Lake's, watching "Shrek 2," "Homeward Bound" and a half-dozen episodes of "Sesame Street." I put together a Cinderella and a My Little Pony puzzle, with Avery's help, of course. With the boys its hard to describe a day taking care of two year olds. I guess it would suffice to say that a lot of tickling and wrestling went on.

Blake's been writing a post about all his groomsmen on his blog lately and you'd be lying if you said you didn't get up every morning to see if he has done you yet. Well, mine came today and it made me feel extremely good. I talked to Robert the other night and he made the comment that he wanted to print his off and walk around and show it to people like a little kid. I felt the same.

It's a generally quiet week here in my world. UBC students aren't back in town just yet, but the holidays are practially over. So the world seems to be standing still. It was cold today and if the world is going to be in a standing still mode I would rather it be cold than hot. I think and contemplate better in the cold. Not sure why.

I think Rich Mullins was probably the most influential singer in my life and I've been thinking about his song "Growing Young" today. Times like these make me feel extremely young, and I like it.

These thoughts have been quite random. I just wanted to write words and hope they made a little sense.

May you feel peace tonight.