Signs along the beaten path...

All work published here, whether my own or someone else's is subject to copyright laws and will be rabidly protected through litigation!

Do not trespass against thy neighbors (you may however stroll on the grass to feel it between your toes)!

If you have questions....ask! {there are no stupid questions}

Friday, December 5, 2008

One of the latest commenters I've come across is a fine fellow with the wit for words, Mr. J. Cosmo Newbery. He and I traded blurbs about an eatery that is known around parts of Texas as Freebirds. It is a burrito shop that is just wonderful. They offer great food, great prices and a great environment. They have locations in Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth (and maybe more); but originated in College Station (home of Texas A&M University). He could not understand my deep devotion to their wares, as I stated that I would actually die for one (I wouldn't, but don't tell them that). So, for Mr. Newbery; I offer my own creation attesting to their grandeur. I hope it pleases.

Freebird!! Freebird!!
from College Station you did spring
expanding ever outward
'tis my palate you make sing.
first taste that doth tickle which
with what type of tortilla fare
flour, wheat, or spinach
(of the cayenne please beware)
loaded with the diner's choice
steak or chicken if you please
the white or dark meat oh so moist
or combination with loads of cheese
On to the fillers down the line
rice and beans, mighty fine
four different sauces could be mine
all for the price of 6.99
wait there's more lend an ear
four different sizes can be had
wash it down with choice of beer
the pair will leave you feeling glad
A half bird or a full is all
that i can handle personally
the double or the monster, gawl!!
those would force me to one knee.
And after my hunger I do sate,
entertain myself with poor man's art
shiny silver wrapping left on my plate
mash and twist it or tear it apart.
fold it and add to it another
piece of that foil to complete
a shiny sculpture like no other
my own creation, very neat.
Having migrated home back west
with your absence I want to cry
of all the burrito shops you are best
for yours alone I would die.

Free at last, free, free at last.....

My daughter and son have been grounded recently, and justifiably so. They each received horrendously bad grades on their last progress report. So they have been without computer privileges for a few weeks. Now they are free and what does she do?? She comes straight to my site and reads the wicked little ode I wrote about her mother for the new boy toy. She leaves a nice little sarcastic message in the comments and then drops her own submission for the last Caption Contest (incredibly late but quite good I may say). She even used the word contortionist, which is a mighty fine word. She continues to impress me at every turn. She is wonderful. Vana Lea, I am sorry for upsetting you with my written gift to your step-father. Should I mail it to him?? I think not. However, there are quite a few lady bloggers out there that are going through the similar situation I am. I have seen how they vent and get upset with their once significant others, as I do and am. So I am curious as to their take on this. I am taking suggestions and comments, no offense will be taken so spill your true feelings about any part of the whole spitsville mess. And with that in mind, I offer up another of my minds twisted little word-works. I hope you enjoy it or that it touches or helps anyone else in any way.

My father never taught me
My father taught me a lot of things
In his time before he passed.
About the way were supposed to live,
Until the time we breathe our last.
Things like love of nature,
And striving to be best,
Respecting those around you
and saving to invest.
Talking to God everyday,
Striving for something better
Solving problems your own way
and preparing for bad weather.
But of all the things of which I learned
From he whose loin I came,
Some of the lessons that I learned
are bound to bring him shame.
Fiery temper, and tongue of acid
And mean streak a mile wide,
Crassness and a wandering eye
Are traits I wish too hide.
How to be argumentative, and
Throw around your weight.
Intimidating everyone with
Careless words of hate.
Which brings me to the things
Of which he did not dare
Share any of the wisdom
That gave him no gray hair.
Like how to cope with loss
of wife or taming something so wild
as the anger in my heart at
loss of beloved child.
My father never taught me
How to handle so, these things that
Trouble my lonely heart
And tear me down so low.
And I pray that in my days
I spend with my children over time
That they learn from my mistakes
And don’t have to write or live this same rhyme.
Stu Pidasso February 8, 2004

Speaking of taming wild inner beasts, we travel to Dallas this weekend for one of our cup rugby matches. I fully intend to vent my inner anger on some poor unsuspecting fool from the DFW Metroplex. It is my anger management program, because I feel so much better (mentally not physically) after grinding some other person's head into the mud and having the same done to me. In reality, it is as close to being in a warrior's battle in this day and age as most men can get. It allows me to test my physicality and mental resolve against others in a semi-hostile environment. Because of my moments on the rugby field, I am fully confidant that I could chase down , catch, kill and bury any criminal that would make the mistake of targeting my family (and that is if I buried him instead of cooking him and serving him to the crack addicts downtown). Gone are most the reasons and opportunities for the young men today to be the hunters, warriors and protectors that God intended us to be. I relish my time on the pitch as I know my advancing age is bringing those days to a quick end. But until I can play no more, I will strive to be like the most awe-inspiring rugby warrior I know, Stirling Mortlock. Enjoy the picture ladies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looooooooong weekend

I spent the majority of my weekend on the road again. This time it was a trip to the revered halls of College Station. I got to see my kids in a swim meet for the first time. It was an all day affair, and the setting was spectacular. The student recreation center on the campus of Texas A&M is magnificant. The mass of kids representing all of the high schools there to compete was enormous. My kids, being a freshman and a sophmore, did well; but did not advance to any semi-final events. But they did get to see the campus and experience some of the local life during the day. We ate at one of the original Freebird's burrito shops (to die for). We got to see the original Dixie Chicken. They got to see the A&M alumni war memorial (apologies for not capitilizing that or spelling it wrong or even identifying it wrong as I am sure it has a very specific name). This place is in respect of all the alumni who have given their all for country. There is no walking on the grass and there is no wearing of hats inside the building, and the current corps members are more than eager to admonish anyone to stupid or careless to read and understand the signs. It was a good experience for my kids. If they are to chose T A&M for their higher education, I'll be glad to work my ass off to help them earn a degree from that fine establishment.

But the trip was long (7 hours one way trip) and tiresome. It was up at 6am and in bed at 11pm and go, go , go all the way. Then another two hours to Houston to drop them with the duck and schmuck, then nine hours back to home. All in all, I'd drive a million miles for my kids and I like to travel, but I do pay the price. Pictures and more news on that later.

Now, let's talk tomboys. As a rugger in this fine nation where girls and women have more opportunities than anywhere else in the world, I see a lot of womens' sports and especially rugby. Browsing some of the rucking womens' blog pages, I came across this post about being a tomboy. It seems that Nike has a new ad campaign out concerning the athletesism of women. It comes with a little poetic statement about one girl's knees and the effect it has on whether she will ever get married. It is posted below with my own response to any woman who may feel that way.

From a Flanker

My knees
are tomboys.
They get bruised and
cut everytime i play rugby.
I'm proud of them
and wear my dresses short.
My mother worries
I will never marry
with knees like that.
But i know
there's someone out there
who will say to me:
I love you
and I love your knees.
I want the four of us
to grow old together

Just do it.

If the choice were mine to make,
a tomboy o'er a princess I'd take.
Give me scrapes, cuts and a bruise,
A hard nosed woman I would chose.
Simply for the respect of it,
I'd know she wouldn't take any shit.
A short skirt and a shiner to
anything less just wouldn't do.
Tell your mother "Have no fear.
I've found a hooker to bring me beer.
No. No, mom; not that kind of hooker.
He's a rugger and a damn good looker!!
He's content to sit and watch,
as I make the other team my bi-otch!!
Baby, I beg "Don't quit, please!!"
Because I love you and I love your knees!!
So let's to the pitch no matter the weather,
just say you'll grow old with me, together.

Just do it!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tues....wait....Wednesday Caption Contest

It's Tuesday again!!! Because it is my favorite day, we will run another caption contest. This will be the ninth installment of the Tuesday Caption Contest.

A quick review of the rules.

1. Entries must be posted by Saturday evening, 11:59pm.
2. Entries must be no longer than one sentence if it is a regular caption contest. If it is a mutated caption contest, then I am looking for no more than a thousand words, and poems of any form will get extra consideration.
3. I am the sole judge of who wins each week, but may give special recognition/prizes to unusual entries.
4. One entry per contest per person.
So without any further delay, the new photo is up top. Have fun and good luck.

And the winner is........

I had some really good submitters for last weeks photo (which may have been the best photo so far). It was hard to chose once again, but I must say that it came down to two. Melissa, with her entry "All to protect my nuts"; and J. Cosmo Newbery (check this guys sites out) who wrote "This ain't so bad! You should see the other guy!" (being a rugby true, how true!). But I must go with J. Cosmo (sorry Melissa, but keep playing you got good ones too!!). So J. Cosmo, leave an address in the comments along with three picks for music and I'll get one in the mail to you ASAP. And I know you are in Australia (I think you are anyway). That's cool, I like your rugby teams. Now off to post the new photo.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ode to the Schmuck

I am not sure how Satan entered,
into my life, which lay here splintered.
All I know is she now must go,
She has wreaked her havoc and laid me low.

And now she's gone whence she came from,
back into what horrid monster's bum?
There she can rot and deteriorate,
until once again she may emanate.

Crawling, oozing, free at last,
she may repeat her sins of the past.
Taking another man's soul on her plate,
her fiendish appetite she must sate.

I watch in horror so completely utter,
as she sucks his marrow, I give a shudder.
Had I known it would mean his life,
I'd have kept the succubus as my own wife.

Sorry, but you deserve her, Tory.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Writers Workshop Assignment....Childhood games


She prompts me to write (and I love drawing on my life experiences to do so). Let's cut through the chase and get down to the meat of this thing!! I give you a fictionalized day in the life of Francis, Michael, Will, Andrew and Anthony.

The boys hated babysitting. It was bad enough they had to endure these brats they knew as little brothers, let alone take care of them. But what are a couple of teenage boys to do? They had explicit instructions from mom and dad to keep a close eye on their brothers, so no one would get hurt or into trouble. But as they sat around the house pondering the social scene at the youth hall, their active imaginations got the better of them.

"What if we were to isolate the brats so they can't get into trouble? asked Francis.

"I dunno, as long as they are safe and out of harms way, I guess that would be okay." replied Michael.

"Then we could go hook up with the guys, and as long as we are home before mom and dad, no one else will know." said Francis.

"I'm down with that, fo shizzle! What do you have in mind?" queried Michael.

"For starters we can put Will under the sink in the kitchen. Andrew can be locked in the footlocker, but we will have to make sure he can get air." suggested Francis.

"And we can put Anthony under the toy box, there is no way he can lift that thing." added Michael.

"Cool. You get your bicycle chain and padlock, I'll empty the toy box and footlocker." said Francis.

"How are we going to get the brats to get into these things without a fight?" asked Michael.

"The same way I get them to make me sandwiches when I am hungry, kick their asses." sneered Francis.

"Yeah, I guess. Works every time, huh? Well, let's get this ball rolling." suggested Michael.

They take a little time and effort to get their pieces in place, but all goes as expected for them. With the three younger brothers playing a really cool game of "Prisoners Of War", the older two siblings set out for their rendezvous with the other local kids at the nearby junior high school. After an unspecific amount of time has elapsed, they return home to find all the doors and windows to the house locked.

While they were away, the prisoners escape!! Anthony sits in total darkness under the wooden toy box. Will sits in the cupboard below the sink. He is peering out through the small amount of space which the doors will open under the slack of the chain and lock. He is watching Andrew, who is latched into the footlocker. Andrew is getting restless with this game and has started kicking and thrashing about.

"Hey!! You almost popped the latch on the footlocker. Kick it again and try to undo it!!" squeals Will.

Bam. Bam bam. Bam bam bam. the kicking finally works, and Andrew crawls from the footlocker. He surveys the scene in the kitchen. The older siblings have used toy wooden building blocks to wedge the toy box against the footlocker and wall. A quick kick to the blocks and Andrew is able to tilt the toy box off of Anthony, freeing him from his incarceration. The two of them turn their attention to Will.

"Oh. They have you chained and locked under there. Do you think we can pick the lock (I think it was a key lock??)? asked Andrew.

Anthony replied, "I dunno know." (he was young, very young)

"Get dad's hacksaw out of the utility room. We can cut this chain. It isn't real big." begged Will.

Andrew and Anthony head outside to get the saw. They return with the required tool, and make short work of the imprisoning item. Having freed all the prisoners, they turned toward securing the compound. They checked all the windows and locked all the doors. They even wedged the doors shut, which the others were sure to have keys for, using their ingenious little minds to get the task done. Then they ate and watched television. Will and Andrew even exacted some revenge by peeing on cherished items of their oppressors. But then, right around lunch time, the oppressors returned.

"Hey!! The door won't open." exclaimed Francis.

"That's strange. Let's try the back." added Michael.

"This one is locked, too!! Look the brats are loose. How did they get out?" cried Michael.

Time passed as the older boys tried any and every trick they could think of to get in the house. Eventually they used the lamest trick they could muster.

"Come on guys, I really need to use the bathroom. Let us in and we'll forget about this whole thing." begged Francis.

Against their better judgement, the three younger brothers relented and gave access to the older boys.

"Now you are in for it!! Who sawed my chain in half??? You are all going to get the treatment now. Get under that sink." growled Michael.

Abandoning their separate (but equal??) prison quarters, Francis and Michael relegated the three younger boys to one temporary jail cell. All three boys were placed under the kitchen sink, locked inside the cupboard, and treated to several minutes of hot water flowing through the drain pipes. After which, they were chastised for escaping in the first place, assured that they were being watched, threatened with even harsher punishment if they escaped again (or tattled to the parents) and left locked up again.

All was as the oppressors wanted it to be, until Dad came home early from work. Let the beatings commence.

This post was brought to you by the letters "F" and "U", and is dedicated to Francis and Michael (don't trust me to watch your kids!!).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday Caption Contest (on Wednesday, again)

I think I am starting to see a pattern develop here, Nevertehless, it's Tuesday again!!! Because it is my favorite day, we will run another caption contest. This will be the eighth installment of the Tuesday Caption Contest. Many are the numbers now that have been winners for the caption contests so far. As the last official winner, Quita was allowed her choice of minor prizes, and she will be getting the Walk The Line movie soundtrack CD (I love The Man In Black). She won with the entry, "STEWEY", as my new nickname (let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes!).

A quick review of the rules:

1. Entries must be posted by Saturday evening, 11:59pm.

2. Entries must be no longer than one sentence if it is a regular caption contest. If it is a mutated caption contest, then I am looking for no more than a thousand words, and poems of any form will get extra consideration.

3. I am the sole judge of who wins each week, but may give special recognition/prizes to unusual entries.

4. One entry per contest per person.

So without any further delay, the new photo is up top. Have fun and good luck.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Caption Contest Winner news and rugby zulus

The last Caption Contest went pretty well. I had a lot of responses concerning the four interesting photos I threw up for you all to use to give me a new nickname. There was a lot of speculation as to which person I was in two of the photos, and that would make a huge difference as to the nickname with which you adorned me. Having identified myself in each of the four photos, after the deadline for entry submissions, I love the responses to each of the photos. Some of the suggestions were Cuppy, Pidasstrian, Stu-Pid-Ass (twice) and Stewey.

My choice of awarding this weeks prize goes to Drama Mama for her submission of Stewey. I will therefore add Stewey to the long list of other names people have and still do call me. Drama Mama joins, Angie, Wendy, myself and Melissa in the past winners circle. I do want to give an honorable mention to Jennifer P., who coined the name Cupsy for me. Any of you that saw the third photo of me in that post can understand. As unpleasant as it may sound considering, it too would be one that I would wear with pride. I will take into account any input the past winners want to give for future selections of the top honor for any of the future Caption Contests, I know who you are so just leave any suggestions in the comments. I want to thank all who have stopped by to play or even just to give some comment love. Keep coming back and, please, spread the word; the more playing the better. And as a parting gift I give to you a picture of the rugby tradition called "zuluing"! But if Becky's Top Ten List came with a picture of all her top ten choices zuluing, you girls would probably never leave her site!! And I laugh that some of the guys are still wearing their cleats. Drama Mama please leave a list of three CDs and an address to mail one of them. You can leave it in the comments or email it to me, your choice. Look tonight for today's new Caption Contest photo!! God Bless!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Train ride tankas....

So Ce, I must bounce!
As much as I like to be
in your loving arms,
Houston calls unto me now.
I yield to my daughter's charms.

Howl through the wind swept oak tree!!
Air with direction,
carry my voice of frustration,
to Miles, my wonderful son!!

White is the color,
Like sincerity and peace.
Such is my surname.
My anger I must release.
Thank you father for my shame.

A month with my brood,
lonely Sunday when they go.
Now I'm in no mood,
I seek solace with my bro.
He can fix my attitude.

Some say God loves us.
He wants us to be happy,
and so it is thus,
rugby is my therapy.
Sevens on sand in Corpus.

Nubian princess,
known only as Divina.
An angel no less,
glides like a ballerina.
Not for me, I'm such a mess.

Young Miss Yurika,
beautiful Japanese girl
sitting next to me,
but could I speak your language
or kiss your lips so softly.

All of these were written riding on the train (duh??), but the dates vary from March of 2005 to July of 2006. They are in the tanka poetry style. Don't know what that is?? Try this site for more poetry forms. Thanks Angie for setting my spelling in the write direction!!

Dreamin' of Eden

Sitting in this train's lounge car
blurs of green and purple streaking by
sun setting slow but bright
puts a squinting in my eye
all this gorgeous Texas scenery
filled with trees and brush and green
long stretches of flat pasture land
with wild brushline in between
a head of cow here and there
a game feeder or a blind
barbed wire fences and old windmills
along dirt roads that cease to wind
through the peaceful countryside
where nature grows unkempt and randomly
where God still walks in his own garden
unspoiled by sons of Adam and Eve
there are no toll booths or HOV lanes
no IHOP, Starbucks or Wal-mart
no ATMs or gasoline stations
to help tear this Eden apart
gone are all the SUVs
the roaring of the traffic
the smog and all those damn cell phones
the ugly city scenes so graphic
all that is out here to do
are the things God meant to be
the most relaxing and invigorating
no charge, untaxed and free
like long walks down misty country lanes
or climbing old gnarly trees
or taking naps on shaded swing
cooled by a gentle breeze
snuggling up next to a friend
after supper on a summer night
listening to the forest serenade
watching dusk morph to twilight
or catching sight while stargazing
of the occasional shooting star
wishing for true love to come
and find you where you are
so pack my things and sell my house
and move me out of that city
'cause if I waste another precious year here
it would be a crime not just a pity

I wrote this on the Amtrak, between Fort Worth and Austin back in 2005. I had been taking the train back and forth trying to secure an apartment in Austin so I could live. The four hour trip was nice, especially for eighteen dollars each way. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting some travel.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Opening up.....Part 2

So, I talked a little bit about my nicknames, my inner fear of exposing my information (not myself, apparently), and my lovely sister. Now let's talk about the rest of my family in relation to those four photos I posted.

In the first photo, it was obvious which one I was, in between my sister and my mother.

In the second photo, again, it is easy to tell which one I am. The others are my son (in my lap), my daughter (beside me) and a girlfriend with her two boys. She has her own story which I may get to some day, but for now suffice it to say that her chapter is written, done, over with, finis, kaput, through. She will always have a place in my heart, but that is all she will have.

The third photo was taken after a rugby game, before I was married (I think, I'll have to confirm that later though). As incredibly embarrassing as that photo is for me to show to other people, it is dead on as to how my personality can be ultra-uninhibited. While all others are looking at the camera, I am intent can see for yourself. It is one of those things that remind me to be true to myself. I am no pervert, but I am fun loving, open-minded, adventurous, and a carefree spirit.

The last photo is the one that I want to identify for all of you. It was our family Xmas photo from 197...something, I am not sure. Just look at my mom's hair-do and that will give you an idea of how old it really is. I am one of eight sons and nine children all together (not including the few extras who moved in with us over the years). We are Irish Catholic. My siblings, by initials, in order (and location) are: HGW-IV (left back row), MEW (right back row), PFW (middle back row), DRW (right kneeling), KMW (left kneeling), KMW (middle kneeling), WHW (seated left), GEW (me, seated middle) and KAW (seated right). There is a 15 year spread amongst us. I turned forty this year and my only younger brother is thirty-seven, which would make my oldest brother fifty-two this year. We have blessed my parents with ten grandchildren. One, who I will post about later, is kind of estranged from us by our lovely court system here in America. She turns eighteen this year and is a senior in high school, so the laws which prevent my brother from contacting her are about to lapse. We will be mass communicating with her at that point. We all so miss her and want her to know she has a whole mess of aunts, uncles and cousins that are just crazy to meet her.

So now you know who I am a little bit more, and I hope you can forgive me for being overly cautious on my hording of personal info, but I will come out of my shell and share all of my dirty little secrets (well maybe not all of them). So until then, adieu.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Opening up......Part 1

I wonder how many bloggers out there use their real identities and how many don't??

As I get more and more experience at posting my thoughts, writings and photos; the original reluctance to put too much personal data on my pages has started to ebb a bit. Much in the same way a writer introduces readers to the characters in the story and develops those characters over time, I am slowly giving more and more glimpses into my family's and my life's inner workings and events. Is this something that all bloggers go through?? Are most web authors hesitant to divulge their personal information? I am interested in how many bloggers use psuedonyms. How many of them are concealing their true identities and locations to avoid having webtrolls invade their private lives? Not that we have any control over the countless trolls that are lurking out there in web-la-la-land, but I've seen some of the havoc these trolls can create. I personnally, am not bothered by the kind of people that are doing this, as I have grown up with seven older brothers and am quite thick-skinned.

However, I have seen how it affects some of the ladies who post such great stuff. Reading some of the comments posted on other sites (and watching a vblog of one young lady's courageous response to some of them) by trolls, I just rue the day when some unsavory browser posts his filth to or about one of my loved ones. My family is the only thing in my life that can be used to provoke me to unsavory behavior these days. It (my family) is the only thing I cherish more than my life itself. But, in all my fear of having someone else disrespect my family or use any information I post on my blogs against my family, I owe it to my family and myself to write from my heart and share with the blogging community the boundless euphoria that I call home and all the wonderful players in the drama unfolding in that home.

So with no further ado, I introduce one of the star attractions for my soul's relaxation, my sister. She is the one on the right, I am in the middle and my mother is on the left. She is wonderful. She is artistic and funny. She can cook, create, inspire and leap tall buildings in a single bound. She does custom furniture, makes dolls, and decorates interiors. She goes out of her way to reach out to everyone in our family at different times in a methodical rotating time schedule. She never misses a birthday or anniversary. She writes letters, too! Her imagination knows no bounds. Besides the picture frame with the portraits of myself and kids, she made me my favorite coffee cup. It came complete with portraits of both my kids, my favorite beer, my local rugby team logo, my favorite sport (soccer), my "name" (I've gone by Jerry for as long as I can remember), one of my nicknames and she signed and dated it. A master piece if ever I saw one. I will keep it forever (in case she becomes famous!!). Hand decorated with TLC, she had it glazed and fired in a local kiln for Xmas two years ago. I thought it had gotten stolen three weeks ago in Austin, Texas; but finally found it this past Monday. It was like finding gold in a riverbed. WOO HOO!!! She is not just my only sister, but my favorite sibling. She doesn't even know I have a blog site here (although my daughter just found me!!) on which I am singing her praises. So to answer some of the questions from some of my interested readers and fellow bloggers, my name is NOT Stu Pidasso. It is NOT Stewart Pidasso. It is NOT Jerry, but I have been called Jerry for most of my life. My name (in reverse to throw off the search engines) is etihW werdnA navE dlareG. I hope I have not offended anyone, I am just concerned about internet bad guys.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Writers Workshop - Glass

I am soooo depressed. I have no idea why, but some days you just get in a funk. Maybe, it is because I feel dirty and used. Maybe because I feel half empty. Maybe it is because people treat me like I am transparent. I dunno. I mean, last night everything was going fine. There were a ton of people here, we were all having a good time. There were drinks everywhere. Wine glasses with merlot, shortballs with scotch straight up, shot glasses with the tequila flowing. Some idiot even pulled a "Flick Nynn" (tequila shot, snort the salt, squeeze lime in eye; WHOOOOOOOOOAA!! BABY!! THOSE BURN!!) The poor fool was hacking salt out of his nasal cavity for an hour and squinting like Popeye for almost as long. The party went on and on into the night. Eventually people started wandering out into the night to head home and Shaggy and Batgirl were doing some late night straightening. Tables got wiped down hastily, food got wrapped and stowed, drinks were poured into the sink and dishes put in the washer. Finally they cleared out up stairs to the Batbed.....and left me all alone down here in the dark. ALONE. FORGOTTEN. A.B.A.N.D.O.N.E.D. it was like they didn't even see me over here in the corner under the lamp that hasn't worked in ...I long?! sometimes it is enough to make you, no can't think of that!! Well, I am reaaaaaallly close to the edge here. Screw it, I 'm jumping.

C R A S H!!

ooooooooohhhhhhhh. Sheesh that didn't feel good. Damn carpet!! Well at least they'll have to clean up the mess in the morning.....crap here comes that poodle.

Thanks, Mama Kat, puuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrr! I really like these workshops and some are pretty challenging..

Saturday, I will post about the pictures on the TUESDAY CAPTION CONTEST. Everyone has until Saturday to submit entries. Angie, I still haven't seen where to send this CD. Ask Melissa and Wendy if they like theirs (for references). I did buy two of the new Jack Johnson CD. I listened to mine already and it is on par with his other releases. If I can find one more song of his like "BUBBLE TOES", it will have me dancing on my hardwood floors for long hours into the night. And "MUDFOOTBALL", is still my pick-me-up before rugby games..

Gotta go for now. Have a good day all and God Bless.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday Caption Contest

As I said in yesterdays post, Shroom is only one of my many nicknames. That is just from one rugby team with which I played for a few years. After spending my time with that group of guys, playing and bleeding, winning and losing, being carried home drunk and carrying other drunks home, how can I shed the moniker which they were kind enough to give me. They are my "brothers", and I will remember each and every one of them for the men and characters they are as I hope they will remember me when we are all old and worn out and sitting around our campfires at the edges of the world spinning our tales about younger days and conquests and such. As much as I might wish for a more attractive or manly nickname, it is not to be; for I AM SHROOM!! Shroomzilla, Shroomeister, Shroom-a-loom, Shroomie, Shroomella de Ville, Shroom the hooker of doom, and the list goes on and on into infinity. Into an infinity for that one clique of friends.

So why and how do we get nicknames?? Are they a label of affection?? Are they tied to some trait that exemplifies us?? Are they the product of a certain isolated memory to help us grasp that one moment for the rest of our lives?? Who can give us a nickname and do we have to wear it like a scarlet letter or is it a badge of courage to be worn like an eagle feather given to a brave Indian warrior??

Let's look at me (as a case study, not an attention whore- which is totally different from an attention craving poodle as poodles are cute and cuddly - not that attention whores can't be cute and cuddly- darn!! I digress). Over my life time (in as best a time line as I can put together) I have been called by the nicknames: Jerry, Jerry Jerry Brown Berry, Cooter, Johnny Meg, Pooky (that is reserved for "She who must not be named"), Captain Controversy, Uncle Stupid, Buddha, Shroom, The Hulk, Tio Stu and Stewart "Stu" Pidasso. Most of these I know the origins for, a few escape my memory at this time (convenient, huh??), but I accept all of them. There are a couple in there which with I have no idea how I got tagged. Again, I digress. The point is are there or should there be rules governing nicknames (what goes into a nickname and who and when do you get them)??

So, this weeks Tuesday Caption Contest involves me and nicknames. For this weeks contest, you get to post your best zinger and/or new nickname for me from ANY of the above pictures or all of them as a collage. I am easy to identify in the top two photos, and the third one shouldn't be too hard; but I will give extra consideration for all who correctly identify me in the bottom photo. I am also allowing ALOT of creative leeway here, so use your best judgement to make me (and everyone else) LMAO!! Good Luck!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stuuuuu Pidassooooooo, come on downnnnnnnnn!!

Boy, Monday sure rolled around here quick. I am sitting at my mom's (helping her out for the day), trying to catch up on soooo many chores (the bills, the filing, the account balancing, basic cleaning, etc..). This much needed break is being put to blogging use, and on this front I am behind in my list of "to do's" also. So let's get these things done in a neat and tidy manner.

First, let us announce the winner of last weeks Caption Contest. We had our best participation yet, and I am glad to announce that all who threw a caption up did a good job. It was hard to choose, but that's my responsibility. The entrants included:

Drama Mama and Rachael, who didn't submit a try but did show up and that gets a thumbs up from me!! Maybe they will give it a go tomorrow.

Melissa who submitted "Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight!" Which, when I see the mental picture, just makes me grin. You suppose this guy has a Viagra tattoo somewhere we can't see it??

Jori-o wrote in "Getting jiggy with it!" Same thing, I can see this guy dancing in my head or even funnier, on Ellen!!

But I have to go with Angie, who had "Made for shades." Which, I have to say, shades could take this picture over the top (think gawdy Elton John glasses)!! So Angie, comment me a list of three CDs you would like to have, an address to send one of them to and I'll get one of them in the mail to you as soon as possible. Great job all!!

Second, I just got called out by one of my peers. Seems I am doing something right on this lil' ol' site o' mine. Because, Melissa loves my blog. Now the directions say to thank the awarder (Melissa, I am glad you love my blog and hope you keep enjoying it, thank you so much for not only loving mine but writing yours which is in itself entertaining and inspiring). Next, I must nominate 7 blogs I love. I try to keep up with so many that I am actually hurting myself (the lack of sleep makes me delirious and then I find myself "coming to" in the middle of a rugby practice), and they are all pretty good which is why this is hard. But I would have to say that week in and week out I absolutely check out these seven blogs.

Sounding Forth
Matt, Liz and Madeline

Third, I've been blog rolled!!! Can you believe it?! I can't!! And I am not real sure how it happened. I mean, out of no where this stranger comes up to me in my comments section and actually has the nerve to tell me she is blog-rolling me!! I checked my pockets, looked around for my wallet and made sure my watch was still there. Is society really getting sooooooo seedy that the criminal element can assault you right there on the electronic web?? I signed in on all my financial accounts to make sure that no one else but the banking execs had gotten my funds (sure enough they had been back by the looks of my 401k). Wait a minute!!! Nothing is missing. HA!! Not much of a thief are you sweetie!? What in heaven's name are you blog-rolling someone for if you aren't getting any chedder?? Excuse me for a minute....(what? Blog-rolling is an on-line subscription?? oh, crap!!)....uh....sorry about that interruption folks, but my production assistant has just informed me that this blog-rolling is a good thing. Whew, that is such a relief!! I thought she was going to hit me in the head with a frozen trout!! Well, thanks for blog-rolling me Janie, and any one out there that likes good writing with some down home country flair should go over to SOUNDING FORTH and check out Janie and her wonderdogs, Zach and Zanna, for some great reading!! Now if you don't mind, I am going to go hold up my liquor cabinet and get some smokes.

And finally, last week, we (the entire blogging community, because Mama Kat doesn't discriminate) had another good set of prompts for the weekly Writers' Workshop. I chose to weave my responses to the four prompts all together in one omni-blog (I didn't really get the scrabble game prompt covered, but at least I worked it in there a little). It basically had to do with how I earned ONE of my many nicknames. WOW!! I had my best responses yet and received a plethora of comment love from many new on-line acquaintances. So tune in tomorrow for the Tuesday Caption Contest, which will deal with nicknames and more specifically the chance to win free music at my expense AND at my expense!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The name is Zilla....Shroomzilla

The words, they swirl, they flow,
nimble fingers dosey-doh,
typing frantic by alarm clock glow,
until my work is done, you know.
now time to greet my soft pillow,
and off to work again I go,
to try to earn my weekly dough,
eagerly waiting the whistle blow,
like every other working Joe.
but such is life, ain't it bro?
can I get a big "FO' SHO' "?

This may come as a surprise, but I'd walk a mile for a new nickname.

While living in Fort Worth, I was feeding my secret rugby addiction in the evenings after work. I would go to the northwest side of downtown Fort Worth (the seedy side, where all the rugby players loiter between Scrabble games and Ellen airings) and engage in lots of anonymous, unprotected touch rugby. I was becoming a regular there and all the other addicts were getting used to me being around. After one particular evening of some really hot, wet touch rugby, I was taking the post-practice recovery pretty hard. We played at a park that was kind of ignored by the parks department, because they were scared of the types of people who frequented the area (ruggers' reputations precede them many places, being the vicious scrabble players and dancers that they are), consequently the grass was unkempt and quite long. After my customary "blowing chunks" display, I laid down (collapsed?) beneath the massive oak tree on the side of the field and tried to catch my breath (while picturing myself dancing with Ellen and Mama Kat on their award winning episode, "Blogging ideas for keeping lunatics entertained). All the rest of the "recovering" rugby addicts, were discussing which bar we were going to grace with our support group meeting. They wanted to, finally, invite me along for the meeting. It was a huge break through for me, as I was at last being accepted by my peers. So, there they were looking for me, as I lay under the oak tree in the long grass; and I could hear one of the guys (Fuen-dog) ask, "Where is that new guy?". To which another answered, "Maybe he is behind the trunk of that tree over there by that giant mushroom"?! That giant mushroom was all you could see of me and my belly over the top of the tall grass.

And that's how I got the nickname "Shroom".

This writer's workshop production has been brought to you by the letter "O", and the numbers four, two and zero!

For more fun, check out this weeks Caption Contest below, Mama Kat's for the Writers' Workshop, and Seven Clown Circus for Wordful Wednesdays.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Caption Contest

Today, Tuesday is even more of my favorite than most.
I hear your plea.
Because nobody, AND I MEAN NOBODY, entered last Tuesdays Caption Contest.
I am at a loss. Really, I never thought that I would find so many people out there on the internet that didn't want to at least TRY to get free music. All you have to do is post a comment, funny or not, to have a chance at winning some great audible swag. So far I have run five, count them, FIVE contests and have only had two winners.
But I will not be discouraged!!
I am adamant in my pursuit of giving away some of the newest releases from YOUR favorite music groups!! I will not rest until I have personnally given each and every one of you a brand new CD!! Think of me as the al-Qaida of Santa Clauses!! I don't care if I have to hide in your bushes and slip it through the mail slot on your front door!! If I have to break your car window at the mall and hide them under your car seats, then I will deliver those new CDs to you!! If I have to surprise you in the park during your daily run and force you to take these CDs at gun point, so be it!! Please, please don't make me get violent in my quest to give away good tunes!!
So how does this make today my more favorite Tuesday than most Tuesdays??
Because I won and am treating myself to........drumroll please.........Gift of Screws by Lindsey Buckingham!!
Now, it is not that I don't like the latest and gretest of all the music being produced these days, but I want to give it away. I know, I know; he is crazy. Yeah, maybe so; but at least I am having fun doing it.
So help me out if you will. Email five friends, any five; hell they can even be your enemies if you would like. Just email them and tell them there is free music here.

Now for todays contest. You know the drill (or maybe you don't), post your best zinger for the photo above in the comments section, think of three CDs you would love to get for FREE, and then hope or pray that I pick your zinger as the winner. Or better yet, don't; because I am really enjoying Mr. Buckingham's latest release right now!!

See you over at Mama Kat's!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My "ordinary joe" hero....Matt

Ode to Angels Two
Gerald E. White

Have I ever seen an honest true angel before?
Might they each have two wings or maybe more?
Do they have a glowing halo around their head?
Do they really rush in where fools fear to tread?
Do they walk with us on this earthly Eden?
Are they here as I type, silently reading?
Do they hear our prayers and cries in the dark of night?
Do they carry our burdens with all their God granted might?
Do they still look as we remember them then?
Will they seem as strangers or long lost friend?
When we finally get called to Our Fathers home,
will we get to see them in heaven as we roam?
Can they still feel our hearts' fond undying love?
Are they known to dwell both here and above?
Who knows whether these answers are yes and or no.
Until I reach the Pearly Gates I surely will not know.
But until the day when I find my coffin I am in,
I say there are two angels here, and one is Madeline!
And the other, hovering just out of reach, is
Matt and Maddy's missing love, and her name is Liz.

I was just over here, and again I was just left amazed at how a "normal joe" can endure the loss he has while still managing the stress and chores he has on his plate. Whenever I am feeling a little overwhelmed, I go back to his site and see how Matt is doing, say a prayer for them and write to my kids in my journal. If I could go back to the day I was married, I would strive to be more like the kind of man, father and husband Matt is. Fuck and double fuck (you gotta read his posts to understand, sorry if I offend, but sometimes it is the only word that sums it all up)!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The weirdest thing happened....

It's Sunday evening, just before midnight. I find myself chilling at my mom's. Dishes are done. Food is stored. Everyone else is gone home or down for the night. I go to the front room where mom sleeps, just to check in on her. The television is a little loud and is lighting up the room. I sit for a minute in the rocking chair. The movie is not bad and I stay for a moment (don't get many of those, do you ladies??). My mother starts in her sleep. It is such a big twitch, that it almost gets me on my feet. She is still asleep, but her jerks are quite frequent now that I am watching for them. It is like watching my dog chase rabbits in his sleep. I have no idea what she is dreaming about, but it has her moving pretty good. After a few minutes of watching her sleep, I finally notice that her feet are bare. I move to the bed and cover them, tucking them in with a little air but tight.


That was sureal.

I can remember driving back and forth from the metro home to sit with my dad while he was withering away, but this is my mom. There is some family history there that I will get into later; but if I can do that for my dad, then I can sure as hell do it for my mom. My dad and I hashed out a lot of differences between us while he was bedridden, and I must admit that he was an asshole. However, he loved my mother and all of us kids. He did the best he could (as well as we all can on the run under pressure all the time with kids in tow through the snow uphill both ways). He did better than good, he did damn good. He was still an asshole, though!! But my mother was a saint. She put up with his machismo military way of life. She endured his stupid attempts to gain approval in his father's eyes at the expense of his own bride, the choice of his own as a partner and mate. She bore him sons; many sons and one beautiful, gifted daughter. she helped deliver unto to him ten gorgeous grandchildren. She ignored the crude insensitive behavior which he ignorantly manifested into the young men and woman in his charge. She rose up and overcame the many hours of absence that he had in his work providing for the care and nourishment of the nine children (and then some). She is not just a saint, but a trooper. She would be Saint Michael himself, if she were an angel. But she is my mother. And as surprisingly delightful as I found it to tuck in my children when they were young, I melted this evening when I tucked in my mother. How is it we come not only full circle child parenting child; but child taking care of parent as parent took care of child?? I never saw this coming, but then again I never saw my father's passing coming either (and I watched him wither right in front of me). Was it naive wishful denial? Was it just plain stupidity? Was it being caught up in all the bullshit details of the daily life we all lead??

Wishful naive denial. I really think that's what it was with me. They were my lifeline, my comfort zone, home base, safety. I'm not sure, but when she is gone, I imagine there will be a huge void in my life that I just won't ever be able to fill up. Don't get me wrong. They will always be there, but just beyond touch or communication. I already have sooo many questions for the father that is no longer here, losing my mother (as is inevitible) will require me to find a whole new inner strength on which to base my resolve to help my family on my own terms and in my own manner. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and I can already feel the weight.

But for tonight, I am just gonna watch my mom sleep and hope she is dreaming of something wonderful. I love you mom.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My assignment from Mama Kat

I might be labeled a big KopyKat, but the truth is the truth; I like creating memories, too. I love pictures and I love telling stories.

I get visitation with my kids every first, third and fifth weekend of each month per the standard divorce decree. Unfortunately, my kids are 500 miles away. Consequently, my travel time is immense; but that works into my favor. My kids are trapped in the car with me for long stretches of time. Our favorite time killers we use during these trips are story telling and music appreciation. Whichever child gets "shotgun", usually commandeers the radio as soon as we enter the vehicle. I have been introduced to so many new bands that I would never normally listen to that I am finding my own taste in music morphing into some new sense of being. Bands like Paramour, Weezer, Fall Out Boys, Panic at the Disco, Jurrasic 5, Black Eyed Peas, and many more are finding their way into my Sansa player and onto my flash drive that I use at work with more and more frequency. As much as I am helping to pass my families memories onto my children, they are helping me make new ones.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of my kids company. I left Thursday evening, drove to Austin and spent the night. Friday I picked them up and we returned to Austin where I had their birthday gifts waiting in the hotel room. They each got the normal cards stuffed with cash; a calender for each with all the family birthdays, anniversaries and addresses, two Cd's (Fall Out Boy and Sheryl Crow for the girl, Offspring and Rolling Stones for the boy). Saturday we went to brunch at Trudy's, hit Toy Joy for some trinkets, went shopping for clothes (Austin fashion style rocks!!!), hopped over to the rugby field for a couple of games and then headed to Llano for a wedding reception. The reception was very nice. My kids got to see people they haven't seen for a few years and viceverse. Sunday morning was for us. We spent a few hours swimming in the Llano River, jumped off the dam a few dozen times, had some lunch and then started the journey home to Houston. All in all , a very nice weekend. Both the kids want to bring friends and visit the river again and that is fine with me. I just hope that when they have kids of their own they will remember that family times are to be cherished, friends with weddings and other milestones are dates to look forward to, and that no matter the distance you visit with the ones you love (and then let everyone else know what they missed). The hardest part of the whole weekend, as usual, was dropping my children off at another man's house. Men, please, love and cherish your wives and families; or end up like me, wishing you had.
Thanks for visiting and check out the Tuesday Caption Contest below for a chance to win music!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday Caption Contest

Welcome to another late edition of the Tuesday Caption Contest. Sorry, I have been so busy that I am getting behind on my "to do" list. So first, we will announce the winner of last weeks contest - drum roll please - Wendy of YourScrumhalfConnection was the only entrant (but probably would have won anyway with her quip). If you are looking for something a little more athletic, go check out her blog on rugby, life and the Austin scenes. Wendy gets a new cd and I'll make sure I get it in the mail to her soon (along with all the match pictures from the Austin Valkyries games I have been lucky enough to watch. Melissa at Life with 3 Boys and a Little Lady is still a no show on claiming her cd from the contest a few weeks ago. Melissa, I have a brand new Beck cd waiting for you here. All I need is somewhere to send it. So, having taken care of the house cleaning on that end, I now move on to the new caption. Leave your best zinger in the comments for the picture above (and think of a few wish list notes for some new music in case you win) and I'll judge all entries by next Monday and announce a winner on next Tuesday. Mama Kat is running her weekly writing assignment at Mama's Losing It, so stop by there and have fun with her prompts. I know I will.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordful Wednesdays???

I was blogging recently about my incredibly gifted sister. I was trying to describe a gift she gave me last year for Xmas. It was a frame with three photos (see above). My son on top, I in the middle and my daughter on the bottom. She took all three photos in such a similar looking pose and quite sneakily I might add. When put together as they have been, the genetics just jump right off the page at you. It has been my favorite gift in recent memory. It and she and her family mean the world to me. I miss you sis!! Hugs and kisses to you and your men (husband and two sons)!! I am currently doing a similar set up, but with my mother, sister, daughter and an old photo of my mom's mom (the pose is sooooo close to being the same). I'll post it to show how it went later. And sorry about the flash glare, best I could do during lunch and with little time.

Caption Contest

It's Tuesday again!!! Because it is my favorite day, we will run another caption contest. This will be the fourth installment of the Tuesday Caption Contest. I have had very limited success running this so far, mainly because there is limited traffic on my blog to this point. But, by getting out and browsing others' blog sites, I have had a bit more traffic and (say it isn't so) ONE winner for the caption contests so far. Melissa had a delayed entry to the second installment to the contest. As the official winner, she will be receiving her choice of minor prizes, the new Beck cd, Modern Guilt. She won with her entry, "New rules for leap frog." Nice job Melissa, your caption was actually funnier than the picture (and that was hard to do!!).

A quick review of the rules.

1. Entries must be posted by Saturday morning, 12:01am.

2. Entries must be no longer than one sentence if it is a regular caption contest. If it is a mutated caption contest, then I am looking for no more than a thousand words, and poems of any form will get extra consideration.

3. I am the sole judge of who wins each week, but may give special recognition/prizes to unusual entries.

4. One entry per contest per person.

So without any further delay, the new photo is up top. Have fun and good luck. And Melissa, I still need an address to send you the cd. If you have a Hastings or Barnes and Nobles, I could send a gift card. Your choice.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ten Things I think are worth saving

The Writing of Ten Things Worth Saving

I've been by Mama Kat's again.
I like the prompts, so to the den.
I've chosen one and done my thinking.
Keys are clicking, cursor blinking.

Type it in and proof read,
another pass it will need,
not quite right, darn, take two.
That sounds odd, it just won't do.

Shuffle lines, replace that word
Another pass? That's the third!!
So, with no further ado,
I, humbly, submit to you,

the top ten list of those things I think
are worth saving. (Lord, I need a drink)

10. Your personal work. Face it, we all have our own calling. We do what we felt driven to do. After pouring yourself into your work for a lifetime, do you really want to see it disappear with you?

9. Love letters. Love thy neighbor as thy self. A good rule to live by, but if we are lucky, even for a while, we find love. True love. The kind of love that makes you googly eyed and dizzy. The kind of love that keeps you up at night, not only while you are under it's spell, but even when it is gone, burned out and moved on. The kind of love that has you writing silly poems and leaving them where she is sure to find them. The kind of love that keeps you walking that line, huh Johnny Cash?? The kind of love that makes you keep trying to be a better person, so maybe, someday, they might come home.

8. Your family history. This, despite the previous item on the list, is the one about which I want to write. All of the items on this list are significant and most are tied together, but this one sticks out for more reasons than I care to name, so I will hit a couple of the more significant ones. First, I like family photos. I collect them, I take them, I distribute them, I collage them, I power point them, I doctor them, I have even scrap booked them (don't tell the guys on the rugby team, I'll never live that one down). Second, I like genealogy. I like to hear stories of what our family has done, places we have been, people we have known. History is learning, and how do you know where you are going, if you don't know where you have been? Case in point, I submit to you the above photo. That is my mother at age two. Absolutely beautiful, eh?? It was taken somewhere around 1936, while she and her family still lived in Wisconsin. As she was the first of six sisters, I am not sure if any of her sisters had seen the light of day or not by then. But, I digress. If I had known of or seen that particular photo, I would have had one of my daughter made in a very similar pose. I now encourage all of my brothers to do the same with their children. My only sister beat me to the punch though. She gave me for Christmas, last year, a picture frame with three photos. I was in the middle, my daughter was on top and my son was beneath me. She had taken pictures of each of us in the same location, same pose, same light; and cropped everything but the face (and I mean she cropped it close). The likeness between the three of us was up-lifting. It really helps you realize that you are a part of them and they of you. I am trying to take it even further, though. I have found a picture of My mom's mom that matches one I have of my mother. I scanned the photo of my grandmother at the highest resolution I could get and went to work on it and my mothers photo. I have to get my only sister and my daughter to sit and I will have FOUR generations of the women from my family in the same picture theme. Should be awesome. I will post the results of my project and a close up of my sister's work in the near future. Much the same way as Becky was playing with her photos on her blog, I recommend this to all. You will be impressed with the outcome. Third, as you can see, I like to write. I try to record as many of the stories as I can from our family history. All kinds of stories, the good and the bad, touching or sad. I record them (secretly if I have to) and save them in my journals and writings, both blogged and hidden away. I even have all of my father's written stuff. Someday I will get his book published. Finally, I think family history is important for sentiment. And I find it hard to believe that some just don't get it. When my ex-wife left with the kids and all the boxes packed with stuff from our house, she did a pretty torough job. I'll keep it short, because I don't want to start sounding bitchy . As she was on her way out with the new tvs and the silverware and all the nice trappings that we had acquired over the span of our marriage, she failed to realize what she was leaving behind. She left her family bibles, childhood yearbooks, years of family portraits and timeless photos of many of her parents relatives. As I find these things in my house now, after living away for the last eight years, I am left wondering what to do with them as well as how she could possibly forget these things. I mean, when your house is on fire and you have time to run inside and grab a few things, what are you grabbing?? Are you grabbing the material items worth a few hundred or thousand dollars or are you grabbing those priceless memories that no pile of money can buy. At this time, I will keep them. I will even make sure they stay in her family in the future (she has one sister), but I am not sure if she will ever see them again in her life time. They say time heals all wounds, but I still have some time left apparently. And this is where I struggle with my love for self vs. love for her vs. love for her family.

7. Memories. When we think of our loved ones, whether they are gone on a trip or gone from this earth, they can never be taken from us.

6. Your family ties and friendships. Families are meant to be strong, as strong as we can make them. Blood runs thicker than mud, right? And then we all have friends who are so close they seem like family. Those are the kinds of relationships that make life memorable; solid and long.

5. Your marriage. After God and self, what could possibly matter more?.

4. The children. To me, love is willingly making sacrifices for somebody else's personal well being or benefit. "How cruelly these tiny fingers grip my heart." HGWIII

3. The environment. The Lord made this wonderful place, who are we to destroy it?

2. Your honor/dignity. A lot can happen to us in this crazy world, losing pride is one thing, but honor is the gift you give yourself.

1. Your soul. God gives each of us free will, so the task is up to each of us ultimately.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mutated Caption Contest

That's right kids; Tuesday IS my favorite day. That means Caption Contest time (and the crowd goes wild). This week I am going to try something different. The photo for the contest is from my personal collection. I took this during a road trip in the northern extremity of Texas. My son and I took my mother to the north. We were going to see my sister, but she and my favorite brother-in-law had high-tailed it to Mexico for the week. We found her teenagers hanging out at the house SOLO!! No big dealio though, they are smart good kids who seem to keep their noses clean. The Son had a blast with the cousins, I got some writing done and some photos taken, while Mom got to relax and spend time with the grandkids. Those two cousins were a good influence on The Son, he learned the inner workings of a potato cannon and a hover craft. He is now in full blown engineer mode, downloading stuff to build exciting new toys.

Instead of a caption, per se, I want all entries to be your own written thoughts on this particular photo. I will post mine next Monday and I will award a prize to the author I deem to have the best submission. They say a picture is worth a lot of words, so let's see what some of those words are. Good Luck and enjoy your time composing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Letter to Heaven

So, as well as doing a bit of blogging myself, I like to browse others blogsites to see what is going on out there in the world. One of the local blogs which I like to read pointed me to a second blog that was featuring a writing exercise. The young lady at has posted a poem from her teen years (written to her dad) on the anniversary of his death. A really good poem written from the heart to a most worthy recipient. All a wrtiter needs (an audience, a message and a motivation) is apparent there. This type of exercise falls right (write??) into the theme of my blog, so here it goes.
Dear Dad,
it has been six years since you have passed. Sure miss you alot. I have moved back home to the house I left and am spending a lot of time with mom. She has now been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease too and I can already see the trembling in her hands more than I care to. I sure have a lot of questions for you. I could use some of that fatherly advice that I didn't have the smarts to heed while you were around. I know that we never really saw eye to eye when I was a much younger man, but I am coming around to see a lot of why you felt the way you did.
The kids are fine and we get to do a lot of camping when I have them on the weekends. Miles has really taken an interest in hunting. We haven't got him to bag any big game yet and to be honest, I don't care if he ever gets anything large. It is the love of nature and the wonders of this beatiful garden that I hop he comes to love. We have done some dove hunting and he can breast a bird as well as anyone. He doesn't shy away from any of the hunting chore work at all. We have a trip to the scout ranch planned for later this holiday season. It will be his first time to see where his uncles and I spent many of our summers and my first time back in twenty years. I never could get him to get involved in scouting. That is a real shame, because I think it gives a young man alot of positive life experiences. Of all my regrets, I would finish my eagle scout if I could go back and do it all over. I know that this disappointed you and although you have forgiven me, the guilt of it just won't go away.
Savannah (as well as MIles) is on the swim team this year. She also is in her third year of Spanish. We try to converse as much as we can in spanish just to help her out (Miles was shocked that I know quite a bit of French also). Last year she got to do a film school in Austin. She loved it and in one week, she and her four group partners made a twenty minute film complete with panning film shots and all. It was really good, especially because of the message (positive self-esteem).
Both kids really enjoy Austin. We spend a lot of our weekends together there. We like to take your old photos and writings and visit the places you liked to frequent during college. I don't think that your love of education missed them. They are both in honors classes and are doing quite well.
Next year we are taking the train to Missouri to visit where your dad and his family grew up. We are going for a whole two weeks and I already have a bunch of the gravesites and homesteads located for visitation. I had no idea that the old family hunting lodge was still there and in operation. We will be staying there for a few days. Mom wants to go and I want her along, but her health makes it hard for her to travel.
You missed your two latest grand children. Kurt and Lisa had Emma first, then Ian a few years later. He looks just like Kurt when he was young, and Emma is such a spoiled princess. You would love them as much as any, they are wonderful.
Tell all we love them up there, and we will be coming home in due time.
Love your son,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday Caption Contest

Okay. Last week didn't go so well. I had only one reply and it just said "Hello". Bachelor Paul, by all accounts, won the contest, so I will notify him and send him a prize. This week I submit the picture below.....I know, isn't it awesome........for the caption contest. Give me your best one sentence caption, and I'll announce the winner nexr Monday. And remember kids, Tuesday is my favorite day.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Old Rockers and Old Books

Bruce Springsteen rocks!!

He has amassed 15 studio albums, 12 other released live albums and compilations, 18 Grammy Awards, 1 Academy Award, 2 Emmys, and ranks #14 of all times in units sold (63.5 Million units), but most of all, he plays, writes, sings and lives from the heart. Living Proof that he means something to a whole lot of people.

I am cleaning my house for the first time in eight years (I've been gone, not lazy). Some of the things I am finding are out of this world. Case in point, a 1967 copyright edition of The Beauty of Motherhood, a Hallmark poetry collection. It is a nice book of collected works about, you guessed it, the beauty of motherhood. In addition to works by such well known people as Edgar Allen Poe, Victor Hugo, Lord Tennyson, Longfellow, Teddy Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams, Emily Taylor, Walt Whitman, Milly Walton and someone I've never heard of before, Ano N. Ymous; there are some nice illustrations by Frieda D. Senn. On the very first page front, facing the inside of the front cover, is an enscription. It reads:

To Barbara,
to be read in the quiet hours or at times when you especially need inspiration.

It is signed by Thelma Cullins.

Anyway, it is very important to me that this book, which was a gift to my mother, Barbara, makes it to the hands of my daughter for the birth of her first child. I am a huge believer in the family bond, it means everything. I want my children, nieces and nephews to know their grandparents. I want those kids to know their uncles and aunts. I want those kids to know each other and all the family stories that should be passed down from generation to generation. This sense of understanding of who we are as a family and where we came from and how we got to where we are today is important to me to pass along so they will know who they are. This book, eight inches by four and a half inches by a mere one quarter inch thick, with just 68 pages in total must be given to my little girl at the moment she stops being MY little girl, because the date under that enscription. That date, in that book, which I found in my house after being gone eight long years is just three days after I was born into this world. This book was a gift to my mother at the event of my birth. How it made it's way to my house I have no idea. I do not recall ever seeing this book before, but like Bruce Springsteen, it sure means a lot to me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some days....

are better than others. After spending long hours in the dead of night by my father's bedside, watching his body slowly erode from under his cognizant mind. I have gotten quite used to the spectrum of quality in an aging person's life. Some days he loved the world and his life because he was still here. Other days....well, not so much so.

My father was afflicted with Parkinson's Disease. Some of you may not know what exactly Parkinson's Disease is, so I will give a brief explanation. You lose nerve impulse control between your brain and your muscles. He was diagnosed back in 1998, and lived with it until his passing in November of 2002. My dad was an intellect. He graduated high school over in lil' ol' Abilene. He then enrolled at Hardin Simmons in Abilene before tranferring to The University of Texas. He got his degree and enlisted in the military. Officer candidate school was just a stepping stone for him to start his long military career. He retired from the reserves a "full bird" and while completing his twenty, he managed a masters in education from Sul Ross. After all this and a second long career in the oil bidness, he still managed to obtain TWENTY-ONE more associate degrees from the local junior college. He was still enrolled and taking classes up to the point when his disease literally kept him from going to class. My father was also a very good athlete. Besides being a golden gloves boxing champ out of Abilene, he also excelled in basketball, handball, volleyball and more.

So when his body started shutting down, the doctors offered him two different types of medication to help with the complications of the disease. The first drug helped with the body's motor skills (walking, getting up and down, using the hands, etc.), while the second drug helped with the speech control. He had to choose between mobility and communication. He chose communication, which meant he had to sacrifice his independence in mobility. Not an easy choice. Now you might understand how I could watch his body erode, while keeping him company so that his razor sharp mind could still get some exercise. It was by his bedside in the dead of night, watching football games and old movies, that we hashed out a lot of our hard feelings over a few rum drinks. Many were our conversations and many were the regrets we each had, but we could both see clearly now that we loved each other very much. There is much I would like to redo in my life, as there was for him.

Fast forward to yesterday. It has been almost six years since my dad has passed. Now, my mother has been diagnosed with.....Parkinson's Disease. For the love of me, I can't remember the names of the drugs my dad took. I do see my mother's physical abilities withering away. Her mind is not quite all there sometimes, too. So, as I do some of the neccesary chores around mom's house, I got really depressed when I saw her with her head in her hands, just slowly scratching at her scalp. I asked what she was doing and she couldn't remember. It was like she was in La-La land. It just crushed me. Such is life, today may well be a better day. I hope for her that it is.