Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chrissy, CHRISSY!!! Wrong door!!

I must confess I enjoy taking advantage of our kids living 1 hour away rather than 23! Last night Susie and I took them out to supper and just enjoyed their company for a few hours. I left work a bit early, she had the day off and it was Friday night – it had grandkids written all over it!!!

I enjoy our visits. They are fun to watch – the whole clan. I like to see the whole young family dynamic thing work. Chrissy was shot after a day as a sub with a particularly energetic group of kids. Jeremy had had a studio day, Addie was wired and Emily was just taking it all in. It’s enjoyable to see how they all seem to make it work – at least most of the time. They are truly a couple that is good to each other and have gotten the loving and patient parent thing down pretty good as well. (at least while grandma and grandpa are in the house J )

So, off to supper we went. There is a reasonably good restaurant just 10 minutes away and even though it was only around 4:40 PM, Chrissy was ready to go. “You remember how this works – right?” She says with a bit of a scowl to Jeremy as she “encourages” him and me to get moving before the inevitable meltdown of the kids if they are not fed on time. (Honestly, I remember the whole melt-down thing as well. Susie’s life and mind were even more insane during the 2s and 3s of Chrissy – but that’s a story for another time.) Bundle, bundle. Pack, strap, click, verooooooommmmmm – and off we go.

After supper it’s off for “desert” – to the McDonalds across the highway – with the PLAYLAND attached! Yeesssss – mmmmmmm – playland! So, while the “adults” have ice-cream (yes, I know it was only 7 but, damn it, I can pretend it’s 70, right??) we watch Miss Adaline crawl through tubes, up walls, through tunnels and down slides. A friend is also made – her cute little 3 year old rescuer who helps her through some of the tunnels until she “gets the hang of it”. Yeah, right. All ready she is honing her “damsel in distress” move – to good effect I might add! “Highly Advanced” is the family term for this. The little guy even tried to snag a quick peck on the cheek – her response was a little “slow” – wink, wink.

Anyway, a successful outing! Grandpa grabbed Addie’s hand once she was bundled – and lead her through the maize of kids and doors. As she yanks her hand out and runs to the wrong door I hear myself yell: “Chrissy! CHRISSY!!! Wrong door.”

Oops – it must have been the bouncy blonde hair sticking out of the Big Bird stocking hat knit by Great Grandma that fooled me!! And in the moment, Chrissy’s entire life zipped through my mind – the dancing, swimming, girl scouts, camping and hiking, high school, dance squad, dating, meeting “the guy”, college, wedding, having Addie and Emily – and I realized how much I was looking forward to watching a new version of that movie unfold.

Honestly kid, you picked the right door, the right door indeed!

Has it really been 31 years (after Tuesday – of course!!)

I love having the kids back home!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

How tall is $1 Trillion Dollars??

Trying to understand $1 Trillion Dollars.

Thickness of a bill 0.0043"
# Bills in 1 Foot 2790
#Bills in a football field (300 ft.) 873,000
# Bills in a city block (528 ft.) 1,473,120
# Bills in a mile (5280 ft.) 14,731,200
$1 Trillion  
Height Of stack of $1 bills 358,422,939 ft.
  67,883 miles
Circum. of Earth = 24,859 mi. 2.73 times AROUND the Earth
Height of stack of $100 Bills 3,584,229 ft.
  678 miles
  Davenport, IA to Rochester, NY
Height of stack of $1,000 Bills 358,422 ft.
  67 miles
  Davenport, IA to Cedar Rapids, IA
Average Age of an American 77 Years
  28,105 Days
  674,520 Hours
  40,471,200 Minutes
  2,428,272,000 Seconds
Spend rate of an single American to spend $1 Trillion  
Per Year $12,987,012,987
Per Day $35,580,857
Per Hour $1,482,535
Per Minute $27,708
Per Second $411


Hello??  America???  Are you watching your Government???

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The ten second rule.

I grew up without a father. Most of my aunts on my father’s side were divorced (some with good reason!) and those on my mother’s side all seemed to live quite a ways away. So, I spent plenty of time with older women growing up. Aunt Agnes – a factory rat, grocery store clerk, smoker, drinker – could cuss with the best of them. Aunt Emiline, factory rat, clerk in a pharmacy, also a smoker and drinker – didn’t cuss quite as much. Aunt Ida – married – my 3rd grade teacher, drinker, smoker – tough as nails. In fact, they all were. My mom, of course. Didn’t smoke, worked her ass off in the post office – another woman tough as nails.

I learned many lessons from these women. Feminists every one long before we were told what a feminist was. Self reliant, independent, opinionated, tough – I was truly blessed to know them. One of the lessons I learned quickly was to listen. Interrupting conversations was not permitted. Not that I wasn’t able to join in the conversations – in fact just the opposite – I was encouraged to do so. Just not to interrupt. Listen to what was being said, consider what you want to say, form your thoughts, wait for an appropriate point to share these thoughts. This takes time – but at least 10 seconds. The ten second rule.

They did not state it that way, they just didn’t tolerate stupid thoughts. Actually, they were fairly forgiving, but demanding none the less. Over the years, I have refined the whole ten second rule process. Today it means: say what you are going to day, TO YOUR SELF, IN YOUR HEAD, wait ten seconds, SAY IT AGAIN TO YOUR SELF, IN YOUR HEAD, if it doesn’t sound stupid, insulting, condescending (unless you mean to sound condescending), if it is really what you want to say then, AND ONLY THEN say it to the person or group you are talking to. Since I have my own business and work with prospects and customers all day, this has held me in good stead over the years. However, its true value is in my relationships with friends and family.

Honestly, women reading this, especially those married women, will look at their husbands and acknowledge that all husbands say the most bone-headed things sometimes. The ten second rule is one of the first survival skills a male must learn – beginning at an early age and continuing through death! Do I really want to say this to my wife, girlfriend, fiancĂ©? If I say these words, what will be the outcome? Will I survive? Does she know how to load the 1911? Are the clips next to the bed loaded?

I have been trying to teach this to my son. He’s pushing 20 now. The task seems to be going slowly. But I am hopeful that before the right girl shows up, he will have mastered this survival skill. Or, pray that his beloved is a poor shot!

I have also shared this with my son-in-law. Having lived with his wife for longer that he has, I know the value of this skill to him! She has been asking me to take her to the weapons range for some more shooting lessons. Hummmmm . . . . .

The ten second rule – learn it, love it, use it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed

It’s my sweetie’s birthday today. We have had a lot of them together. She was 15 and I was 16 when we started dating. That’s where the “sweet sixteen and never been kissed” phrase came into my life. I was already for the smooching stage when we started dating that summer. Sophomores in high school, enjoying the first emotions of a new relationship – dry mouth, fluttery heart, expectations of seeing her – she was my first (and turns out only) girl friend. But, it was important to her to wait for the kiss, wait for the 16th birthday. Today I am sure this sounds terribly foolish and old fashioned – hell in 1966 during the sexual revolution I am sure it sounded foolish. But here was a girl I loved, at least as much as any 16 year old male understands love, so I waited.

Charm bracelets were one of the in-thing gifts of the time. She still has hers filled with charms of our early years together. My charm for her that year seemed appropriate – a car. She could drive after her 16th birthday without parent or adult. I am sure there were other gifts, I don’t remember them, but I remember the car.

We went out that night, honestly I don’t remember that either. My attention was focused on “the kiss”. We had had a huge blizzard that week – massive really. So we didn’t go far, I’m sure. Pulling into her driveway I was very nervous and expectant – then she got out of the car – no kiss! I got out, she took my hand and led me to the side door of their garage and into the garage. Suddenly Puny the cat was in her arms – this was not going my way at all! Slowly, she snuggled into my chest, cat still in her arms, tipped her head up and we kissed for the first time. I have not grown tired of that moment – or the tens of thousands that have followed. Could today really be the 42nd anniversary of our first kiss – really???

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Still Winter!!

More snow last night - 8 inches or so.  Heavy sigh!

1-14-09 snow 1 (Small)

Tonight and tomorrow it's supposed to be "bitterly cold"!  What the hell does that mean!!  It's only 10 now!  Ah, they say -19F with wind chills below -40!!!!!!  So, now I get it.  Frozen death!!  THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS!!!  FROZEN DEATH!!

Sorry, let me wipe the spittle from the corner of my mouth - the foam got outta hand!

So, it snowed last night.  Ah well, winter in Iowa!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Halloween Test Video

I am playing with Pinnacal Studio 12, seems to be working really well.

Global Warmng!! Really?????

I will let the photos and video comment for me.

IMAG0006 (Small)

IMAG0007 (Small)

IMAG0009 (Small)

IMAG0012 (Small)

So there ya have it - all this blistering heat is really getting to me.  Thank goodness "the One" will soon have this catastrophe of global warming cured!! 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Twelve Blessings of Christmas


Susie and I went to Mass last night. Honestly, we probably would not have went were it not for her being one of the lectors for the Mass. But, once there, it was apparent I needed a tap on the shoulder which was given during the homily.

The essence of the homily for me boiled down to using the twelve days of Christmas to look for the twelve blessings in my life. I am easily caught up in day to day business dealings, concern for the future, being frustrated when things go differently than I want – I am sure most have experienced this type of frustration. Especially during the Christmas season. I easily over look the blessing I have received – and continue to receive – throughout the year. So here are my twelve blessings for 2008:

1: My wife – loving, honest and direct and willing to put up with me, truly my greatest blessing.

2: My children. Both are kind, loving, hard working kids (surly a 31 year old and a 19 year old are still kids, right??). Add in a great son-in-law that treats my daughter with love and respect and is willing to sit and chat, what more could a parent truly ask for.

3: My two beautiful, happy and healthy grand daughters. They melt my heart with a smile and a giggle.

4: My close friends. This is a changing bunch that listen, laugh, grumble with me and seem to understand just who is at home in my head.

5: The folks I work with. They make everything our company does possible and easy. They have been a blessing for over 25 years and I am thankful to have them around every day!

6: Good health. Susie and I have been in good health this year with our cancers 25 and 5 years respectively behind us. God continues to bless us in this way and we are both grateful.

7: A healthy business. In this time of financial challenge for many, I am fortunate that my company is growing with its best year of the past 25 just ahead.

8: A curious mind. An odd blessing perhaps, but I find that I continue to want to learn and grow. Politics, science, electronics, computers, photography, video, astronomy, camping, canoeing – and eclectic list I know, but all of these areas drive a significant amount of my free time and I am the wiser for it.

9: A great church. Our parish is healthy and growing and willing to do its part to make the community and world better. I have been privileged to participate in a mission effort in Haiti supported by our parish which has been, and continues to be one of the most spiritually enriching things I have ever done.

10: Faith. Perhaps this is self evident, but I find it a blessing that I have faith in a loving God that has our best interests at heart and continues to love us regardless of our failings. A gift I will spend a life time trying to understand.

11: Time. I have been given the blessing of time. I have been able to structure my life so I could spend the important times – school events, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays with my family and friends. I realize how rare this blessing is and I am grateful for it.

12: Fun and humor. When I get out of my own way, relax and stop taking myself and life so seriously, I just have fun with family and friends and life.

So there you have it. Blessings in abundance! I am truly grateful for these many gifts and pray that I will find a way to keep them in my heart and remember what is truly important in life.