Friday, May 25, 2007

May 25 Miscellaneous

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. Officially, we have no plans. We toyed with the idea of a run to the farm in Missouri, but none of us were thrilled with such a long trip crammed into such a short period of time. Then we never really revisited the idea of something to make the weekend a little more special. It’s a shame, too, because I will soon have few free weekends with which to do something. More about that later, though it’s no secret.

Today is the last day of school. In my continuing tradition of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, I helped Connor come up with a great prank. It was slightly complicated but we tested it last night and it worked like a charm. Then, sadly, in our discussions of the events about to transpire it became known that another youngster had become aware of our plans. Although the prank was harmless, the first rule of a successful operation like this is anonymity. Don’t get me wrong, there are successful pranksters out there who love the glory that may come with a successful procedure (though I love the added element of making everyone wonder who they should suspect), but if the word gets out early, as in this case, it can jeopardize the mission. Had it been one of Connor’s buddies we would have pressed on. However, this kid was a loose canon that gave us plenty of pause. We were forced to abort. Connor was extremely bummed and I was disappointed as well.

Pursuant to the notion that this is the last day of school, I just want to give major props to Kendra for making it through this year. This has easily been the worst year she has had in her 14 years of teaching. I would not have been able to endure what she has put up with this year, and that’s just at school. If you throw dealing with me into the mix she obviously takes on superhero status. Maybe I should get her a costume…

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chew on This

I try to present the image of a cynic whenever possible. It isn’t hard, really. If you were to watch the news very often or listen to the liberals screaming at the conservatives or the conservatives screaming at the liberals or observe the way the rich look down upon the poor or the way the poor plot against the rich you would join us in the Camp of the Cynics. Like I heard someone once say, we Cynics are not that organized, but we’re very committed.

Still, even though I may feel pretty confident in my identity as a cynic, days like today come along and I begin to wonder if the cynic and the closet emotional sap can coexist within the same person.

It was senior Sunday at church today; the day when we see baby pictures juxtaposed against the senior photos of the kids graduating high school, when we hear stories of what these kids have experienced together in their years at Highland, when huddle leaders pass out Bibles and blessings, when parents valiantly smile through misty eyes.

It was also the day that parents of younger kids, no matter how they tried to deny it, felt the clutch of fear gripping their hearts in anticipation of the day that their children, be they 17 or 11 or 9 or 7 or a newborn, would be telling the church what they remembered about their time together or what influenced them as they grew up, up, and away.

It seems that no matter how much Diet Dr. Pepper I drank today, I simply could not quite wash that lump down my throat.

Maybe I am not the committed cynic I thought I was. That same lump seems to rear its ugly head at other times, too. Singing “Blessed Be Your Name,” hearing Radar O’Reilly announce the death of Henry Blake on M*A*S*H (gets me every time), watching my kids bonding together, seeing or being in mountains, remembering…

Maybe there is a soft, chewy center to the hard candy shell after all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Click on this image to enlarge it and see if you can figure out what they are trying to do with this creative campaign.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Big Time at Little League

It was one of those rare moments in sports when the wind blowing in a cool front was also carrying aloft a slight whiff of magic. The young man at the plate bore a relatively calm expression which belied the obvious tension shown in the muscles tightening and releasing in his arms. There was a fresh pitcher in the game- enough to give any of the players pause. But this young batter had the added pressure of a section of bleachers full of family members in town for the funeral of his grandmother the day before. His evening at the plate had been a struggle thus far; sometimes it seems like stress can just pile on.

When the hard, high fast ball made contact, the sound was unmistakably solid and everyone there knew that gravity was about to get a run for its money. The skyward reach of the Green Monster wasn't even enough to impede the ball's travel.

As it disappeared from view, the stands (and even most of the players) for both teams erupted in wild cheers. Lumps and tears quickly found their respective places in throats and eyes. The emotion of the shock the young player's family had endured that week found a new outlet for some brief, welcome moments. In the closing moments of the game I saw the mothers of the pitcher and batter hugging each other and crying, I saw people rushing to call others and tell them what they had just seen, I saw kids wearing different jerseys who were genuinely happy for each other and I saw one more reason to like little league baseball.

Way to go Austin. I hope the feeling lasts a long time and I hope that Moppy peeled back the veil between her new world and ours to have the best seat in the house to a very special scene and cheered right along with the rest of us.

Is this Abilene?

I love all the rain we've been having even though it plays a little havoc with the baseball season. We've had so much rain that this is what it looked like when I had some guys mow our yard on Saturday.

Rough Weekend

I made it through the weekend.

I suppose that's not a big deal. If anyone is reading this, they did as well. Still, there were many times late last week and during the weekend when I had my doubts. I told one friend as much and she said dismissively, "Then why are you smiling? You're fine."

Honestly, I did not feel fine. It was a bit of a perfect storm with many elements converging overhead at one time-
-some factors of my life at the high-maintenance alert level RED.
-unexpected commitments requiring a great deal of resources to meet.
-a paper due 10 days before I thought it was.
-a house sale to close.
-a credit card company who chose to cancel our card despite a solid 13 year payment record, simply because some charges we made for the Little League ($19 total) looked suspicious for fraud. They said they were going to get around to calling us (they didn't) to see if the charges were legitimate (they were). The fraud prevention department at Chase is horrible and does not at all seem to care.
-rehearsals to plan and lead for Sunday worship.
-an unexpected party for a friend in town briefly.
-planning for a Saturday funeral that proved much more difficult than expected.
-just being a dad.

By Saturday evening, though, the storm was starting to subside. I turned in the paper early so I wouldn't be able to worry about it any more, the funeral was a nice service, the worship rehearsal went okay, one of the POAs for the closing got done before the people signing winged their way to China, I decided to never again use the Chase credit card except for redeeming the 75,000 miles or so I built up, and a nice game of bocci on the front lawn seemed to settle things to the point where I could actually worship on Sunday morning rather than go through the motions while my mind was consumed by other things.

So, "I made it through the rain." (Crystal Gayle)
I managed to "break on through to the other side." (The Doors)
I got "one more last chance." (Vince Gill)
"I will survive." (Gloria Gaynor)

Now awaiting the dropping of the other shoe.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

This campaign is a little disgusting, though noticeable. These were posted on those things that shoot out a fine mist of water to help keep people cool at busy outdoor venues like public parks, amusement parks, arenas and the like. The tag line says "Flu is in the air."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I love ads that are clever and effective at simply showing their product or catching your attention without going overboard with making one feel their value is somehow tied into its use or ownership.