Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving part II: You can buy turkey with the bones sucked out of it and pumpkin pie in a box. I couldn't even recognize the pieces of turkey on the platter. It was just chunks of meat. Some white meat, some dark meat and some both!?!? The mother-in-law set the table with paper plates. Welcome to the new age. I know I sound like an old-timer, but dammit, I like Thanksgiving.

We were at our son's house last night and they started setting up a Christmas tree. It was fun to watch the grand babies juggling the ornaments and "helping" their mother string lights. It was cool to see the amazement in Jordan's eyes. I could see the wonder of Christmas on his face. He wondered how fast he could crush the box full of shiny ornaments. When asked what Santa says he answered, "HO, HO, HO Merwy Trismas!" That's right Jordan, unless of course your Santa has gone to Santa school, where they decided they could no longer say the word "HO". Thanks Imus.

Our world just keeps spinning faster and faster. I feel sorry for my grand babies, they are missing out on so much. I guess they'll never know what they are missing. Hopefully I can give them a little taste of life before we started celebrating Christmas in October.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think I like it so much because it doesn't involve gift-giving. It's a reason to be with friends and family without the false pretentions of being obligated to give someone a gift they don't need. However, I noticed some things this year that have changed. The family randomly gathered around my mother-in-law's table to fill a plate of the usual fare, but it just wasn't the same. Some of us sat in the living room, some in the basement and of course some at the small dining table. In the past, the whole family gathered at the table and someone said grace. That was left out this year.

I'm in a very different state of mind lately, so I feel awkward even sitting at the table with my wife's family. So I was not in position to say grace. Maybe I should have. Someone should have. It's sad that things change, people change and traditions change. Traditions should not change, or else they aren't traditions. We all used to get to the in-laws house early, sit and visit until dinner and then play games or just share some laughs together. That doesn't happen anymore. Now, everyone shows up just in time to fill their plate, spew some meaningless conversation, hang around long enough to stuff some dessert down and out we all go. What could cause a family to get to this point? Maybe it's just me, but I've thought this for a while now.

I did have a pretty good weekend though. We spent some time with friends. Drank some bourbon, watched some football and did nothing. It wasn't the same as Thanksgivings in the past. Nothing is the same anymore. Things may never be the same again. I guess that's life.

Thank you Lord for all that you have blessed us with.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've been trying to write a blog all week, but I keep deleting them. There are some things I can't put out there for everyone to see. Writing helps me sort things out but I think I'll keep deleting for now. I guess we all have things that we don't put out there for everyone to see. Whether it's in a blog, or just on our faces, we all have some stuff that we keep inside. Nobody wants to be totally exposed for who they really are. I have things that I have kept secret since my childhood. Things that only a small group of people know and I want to keep it that way. Does everyone have dark secrets? I have always thought they did since I do, but I might be wrong.

I know that most people are not exposed for everything they are. Think about it. We all know someone that we met in our adult years. We never knew them as young children. We don't know their parents, their siblings. We didn't see the house they grew up in. We didn't see them cry to their mother when they didn't get picked to play ball. We didn't see them wet the bed when they were 12 years old. We didn't see them stealing Playboy magazine from the drug store or break a window in the neighbors car. Everyone becomes someone different from their childhood through their adult years. I know that I did.

What would things be like if we could go to the "library of life" and look at a video or read a book that details a person's life? It would be bad. I don't think people would have as many close friends as we do now. It would take years before people fell in love. So much for love at first sight. Getting a job would be next to impossible. Imagine walking into a room knowing that everyone knows everything about you. Weird huh?

We could actually find out what we were like from the day we were born. I think there is a reason this is not possible. Humans are self-conscious enough. I don't think we need to know how we handled potty training. I can only remember select things from my childhood. The first real memory I have must have been when I was 4 or 5 years old. I've been told that the older you get, more memories come back to you. I struggle enough with yesterday, I don't need to deal with some babysitter wiping my butt.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I can legally drive! After over 6 weeks of having my ass hauled around, I finally jumped through all of the hoops required to get an "employment driving permit". Since I work a day job and a night job, I have virtually unlimited driving privileges. It's great to have my freedom back. Being a passenger was good for me. It gave me a different perspective on things. It made me realize that I have been taking certain things for granted.

I attended a Victim Impact Panel this week as part of my DUI penalties. It was interesting. The session was held in a small meeting room in the basement of a dive motel. Considering the $50 cash fee to attend the class, you'd think they could find a nicer motel. The large group of offenders was a true slice of Sioux Town population. Native Americans, Mexicans, and average white folks like me. Two locals spoke about their personal losses due to alcohol and driving. Both of them had sad experiences. However the video they showed to close out the meeting was the real tear-jerker.

The video showed a father giving the eulogy for his teenage son who had been killed by a drunk driver. The drunk lost control of his car and smashed into the rear of the stopped car the teenager was driving. It was very sad, hearing him talk about the things he and his son had done together and the things they would not be able to do. The video also included an interview with the 23-year-old who killed the teenage boy. I found this to be the most sad part of the evening. This young man was sentenced to 17 years to life without parole. He had drank 6 40 ounce Mickey's, snorted 4 lines of meth, smoked 2 joints and finished the night with 2 light beers. He should not have been behind the wheel of a car!

Think of the hell he lives in. He won't see his 2-year-old son grow up. He'll be forty, or older when he is released. His son will be out of high school. But, the real hell would be laying in prison night after night, alone, knowing that he killed a 17-year-old boy, much like himself. Alone. He can't hug his wife. He can't ask his mother to hold him like only a mother can. Alone. The pain he has to live with was all over this young man's face. I know what he did was wrong. It was a terrible accident. I couldn't help but cry for this young man.

The silence in the room full of young and old drunks, was deafening. The video ended and the instructor announced that we were free to leave. As the room cleared I noticed a young Hispanic guy sitting in his folding chair with head in his hands. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I've been trying to clear my head for two weeks, but I can't seem to send my thoughts into cyberspace. I generally write about the things foremost in my head, but I'm really struggling this time. I have had some unlikely conversations lately with my children. Our children are 26 and 24 years old. My daughter still lives at home part of the time. Through the course of these talks, I've been exposed for the real me. It's hard to have your kids look you in the eye and realize who you really are. For the first time in their lives, they see you for someone other than the guy who helps them put their world back together with his trusty pocketknife. I think some people make it through their entire life without their children ever knowing them for anything other than their parent. That's probably best. I feel like the Wizard of Oz, and my kids just pulled back the curtain to see that I'm no Wizard at all.

I never knew my father as a "one of the guys". Oh, I found out about some of his dealings as I got older, but never knew him like his friends did. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was 25 years old, so everything else I learned about him has been from other people. I don't think children need to know what their parents are really like. Call me crazy, but I think most kids wouldn't like their parents as well if they knew everything about them. Think about it.

It changes the relationship between parent and child. It changes how they look at each other. It makes it difficult to offer your child advice. I've always considered my kids as two of my best friends. Now, they are even more like best friends. They know things about me that only my best friends know. In a sad, very sad way, this is cool. Cool, but very sad.

My advice to those of you with children, don't let them see behind the curtain.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I have been trying to post a blog all week, but I twisted my head into a knot this weekend, so I haven't been able to drag the stuff from my head to my fingertips. Here is a little light blogging that I can handle for now.

We put free tickets to use and went to an Ozzy concert Sunday at the Tyson Events Center. It's a small town arena...nice but small. For a people-watcher like me, I hit the mother lode. The circus going on in the crowd was great. From the punked teeny boppers to the stoned AARP members, the majority of the crowd was into every ball of flame and screaming guitar solo. I was sitting through the opening act, Rob Zombie, thinking what the hell am I doing here? I looked around, and people all over the arena were singing along...I couldn't decipher a single word that he spit into the mic. Then Ozzy came on and spewed the F-word like a sailor on leave for over 80 minutes. I have to admit, I could sing along with a few of his songs.

I've seen many concerts in my 49 years. Most of the arena shows that I saw were in the 70's and early 80's. Things were so much different then. They didn't search people coming in the gates. You could smoke anywhere in the arena. Marijuana smoke filled the air from the first note to the last. Generally the entire floor of these venues were for standing room only, no chairs. The floor was the place to be if you were a 20-something guy looking for the 2 things most important in life...a good buzz and a friendly girl. The cool thing was that most of the girls on the floor at these concerts was exactly what you were looking for.

A concert in 2007 certainly isn't the same as it was 30 years ago, but I did notice that some things haven't changed. You could still pick up a slight hint of Marijuana smoke in the air and, the floor littered with chairs, was full of girls making their predecessors proud. Thank God for the girls who party on the concert floor.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I've been reading quite a bit about "midlife crisis" lately. I prefer to think of it as a midlife reality check. A midlife opportunity. Crisis has such negative connotations. It makes sense that everyone is most likely to go through this transition at some point in their life. Generally between the age of 40 and 60 people are cursed by this emotional event. It happens to both sexes, but due to social expectations, men seem to be hardest hit. You know, men are supposed to bring home the bacon, rule the roost, keep a stiff upper lip and all that other crap. Men, we can thank society for that albatross to bear.

We all spend our early years creating who we want to be. As we approach our middle years, we begin to assess how those formative years worked out for us. Some people come closer than others to molding the person they want, but I doubt that anyone feels totally satisfied with the results at the turn. It's hard to accept the fact that you fell short of your own expectations, and more importantly the expectations of others. And, we realize that we more than likely won't meet them this far down the road. "Oh my God, my life is more than half over."

Midlife is a time to re-adjust your sights, and aim at different targets. Ideally targets that you can hit. I believe it's a "real" thing, that we are all going to have to deal with at some point in our lives. It's an opportunity to make use of the past and move positively into the future.

If you're in the early stages of your life, try forward thinking...if that's possible. If you find yourself in the middle years, take your time and think...alot. If you're in the later years of your life and you still smile every day when you roll out of bed...thank God, you figured it out!