Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A few quiet days, then WDW

Good evening.

I figured I'd post a short entry here, rather than respond to the many emails I've neglected over the past week.  It's been a great week and a half.

Well, for starters, I hit the big Three-OH MY GOSH on the 7th.  I think the big impact was more a psychological thing, rather than a physical thing.  I have to get used to answering the "How old are you?" question with a new decade of answers.  And as one might expect, we did have a nice party -- not a surprise party, just a gathering of family and friends.

Michael and Sandy came for their annual visit.  As a matter of fact, they left a few hours ago.  We did a lot, and we did a lot of relaxing.  When Michael and Devin get together, there is no telling what to expect.  Michael has always been a prankster, and Devin, well, what can I say.  If he can drop a water balloon from the tower in an attempt to drench me, he can do anything.  It was all good, and it was the 3 of us up here, just talking and enjoying each other until well after midnight (Pacific time!!!), and we started the process all over again in the morning.  The weather has been bizarre, to say the least.

Next week is our Disney 2012 trip, with the same 4.  We're leaving Saturday, arriving on Sunday.  We're all looking forward to it.

Well, it's 9:40, and I am beat.  My brother is in the shower, and I don't think I want to take a second one right now, so I might just beat him to bed, because I saw him looking at his comfy bed with a lonely lost puppy look.  I'll end this here.  I'll also respond to emails tomorrow and Friday.  I'm heading to bed.

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good evening. Well, I figured life would be much better if I simply sat here and typed it into Blogger directly, rather than tying to monkey around with Word or Notepad, only to have to manually put in the html. But wait, I think I still have to do that. Is it just me, or have the formats of just about everything we use online -- the online services -- completely changed. And I ask you, why? This has become more like Youtube, where I've got my account ID with a drop-down menu. And I ask you, why? And what's up with asking me for my cell phone number as a "security" measure? I won't give that out, and if it means no more Youtube and no more Blogger and anything else I use, so be it. And I ask you, is it just me? Of if I want to use propper grammar, is it just I? Well, I just previewed this. No spaces. Nothing. Later.

Oh no.  I hit the wrong button and lost it all.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two months and counting

Good evening.

I was just sitting here, and a thought popped into my head. Yes, I know. It happens every once in a while. I am now less than 2 months away from 30.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh no! Here he goes on another nostalgia story again!"

But no. Actually, I was thinking about a professor way back when I was a freshman in college. He put the question to all of us. "Where do you want to be when you're 30 years old."

30? No way! That's old. Here I was, an immortal, cocky, yet shy 18 year old fresh up from his screwed up summer tourist home town. I was eating at the roach coaches that attracted the Rutgers crowd of hungover beer guzzlers. If I think really hard, I can taste the fat and the potatoes and the positively lousy ranch dressing. But it's what we ate -- Brian, Gordon, Nick, Don, Luke and of course Jeff. We were immortal. We'd beat off the grim reaper (beat off as in scare away), and then chase the culinary suicide with cigarettes and ice cream in preparation for another night of beer drinking. What the hell was I thinking? What the hell were WE thinking?

It seemed that 30 was so far over the horizon back then. After all, it was almost half a lifetime away. I was 18; 30 was 12 years away. OK. 2/3 of a lifetime away.

The only consequences of what we did, that I could foresee, was a hangover, and maybe a good case of gas -- or diarrhea. We didn't stop to think about what we would actually be like at 30.

But going back to the original question. Where DID I want to be when I turned 30? Maybe I couldn't see beyond my next exam. Maybe I couldn't see beyond the next weekend beer bash. Maybe I couldn't see beyond the summer. Either way, the very concept of 30 was as distant and foreign to me as Depends, walkers, bifocals, stress incontinence and uncontrollable flatulence. OK, so 4 out of 5 ain't bad!

Frankly, or maybe strangely, I envision my 30th birthday to be a lot like my 21st. I don't think I'll be conned into believing the story of the ancient bottle of Grand Marnier again. But when I was 18 I thought I'd be writing for a newspaper, or maybe an on-air newscaster by the time I was 30. I never thought of teaching back when I was a freshman. The career of educator came to me, and I decided to grasp it with both hands.

One of the assignments I was given back in elementary school was to write down how I envisioned the year 2000. Since 2000 was probably about 6 or 7 years away, it was fun to fantasize. But I didn't consider my life at 30 as fantasy. Damn! Where DID I want to be at 30.

I somehow felt as though I was driving on a dark road without headlights. I didn't know where I was going. I was gong to let the road take me there. I didn't have a game plan. I didn't have a plan for turning 30. Hell, I hadn't even turned 21 at that point. I had just turned 18!

But does anybody have a plan for turning 30? Sure, it's just a number. It's not a significant one like 65. You get Medicare at 65. You can get Social Security at 62. You can join AARP at...............wait................I might be getting offers already!

Perhaps the best response I could have given was that I wanted to enjoy where I was at 30, and maybe in looking back FROM 30, I could see that I made the right decisions, and that the road to retirement now looks a lot brighter than the road to 30 seemed back in college.

I looked forward to turning 18. I looked forward to turning 21. And now, I'll look forward to my 10th anniversary high school reunion with pride. Gee. I remember a blog entry from several years ago, where I mentioned some of the bullies who called me "retarded". But this wasn't going to be a walk down memory lane.

30 is fast approaching, and it seems to be coming faster each and every day.

Bring it on!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yes, Tom, this is a pain!

Good evening, or as the little man in the online bingo game says, "Heah we go!" Is "Bingo" supposed to be capitalized? OK. So Blogger made some changes. I hear Facebook now has a timeline format. I've seen my brother's Facebook. I can't even begin to try to navigate MySpace anymore. But MySpace is dead, I'm afraid. Something has to come along that gives us what we wanted in MySpace and Facebook, with security and ease of navigation. Oh yes, and the ability to keep the format we choose. Then I'll use that social network. But man! Everything talks to everything else, so you're standing on a stage with everything exposed to the world. Get naked! All I can say is that some guy is getting a real rush out of making the changes he makes simply because he can. And believe me, they aren't changes any of the users seem to want. Well, it's getting near summer. The weather has been warm, and we've gotten more rain than we got last year. My lawn is still weed haven, but weeds are green. I noticed some morning glories popping up with flowers in the rose garden. I didn't plan for any morning glories in the rose garden. I love morning glories. So I'll leave them to grow up the side of the garage. Did you spot the hidden "N" bomb? I'd like to type more, but it's 10:00. I have to be in early tomorrow. More is coming. I just wanted to test this thing. Have a great evening.

Oh. No formatting. Lovely! Sorry. I'll insert the HTML next entry.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's 90 degrees out, and I'm ready for summer.

I sit here and shake my fucking head! Sorry. No matter what I do, I can't make it skip a line between paragraphs. Doesn't work. Good evening. Yeah, that's how I begin my blog entries. I feel bad that I haven't written anything in this blog since December, although I think it's safe to say that Myspace, as a social network, has died. Everyone I know has either moved to or created a Facebook account. While I have FB, I have deactivated it for several reasons. Yes, I'm one of those "old people" who resists Facebook. I'll post this in my Blogger blog in its entirety. So, it's 90 degrees out. I broke down yesterday and turned on the A/C. It's on now. This computer room generally runs hot because of my old steam-powered putersaurus, plus the battery backup generates a bit of heat. The APC unit is as big as a desktop tower, but it has bailed us out more times than I can count during power outages. In the week following FCATs, it's time to get back to the normal routine. I think it's getting near the time I take in my guitar as part of the lesson. Yes, I already have, but there's always one day when a few classes gather together, and we make a campfire out of it. It only sets off the smoke alarms, but it's fun. With just over 5 weeks of school left, things are beginning to wind down. Progress reports are this week, and I've got lesson plans coming out of my pores. I'm really not too sure whether or not this still works, so I'll post it. Then I'll look over some emails I've sent, and I'll try for another entry in a day or 2. Just don't hold your breath too long. Have a great evening.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I've been sitting on this for several weeks, aNd I haVE A big bandaGe on my left pinky.

Good evening!

Gee! Been sitting on this one for about 2 weeks. I figured I'd post it. It's not complete. It ws written there, here, everywhere. Sorry for the confusion, but I don't hve time to fix it, and I am missing my left pinky aT THE MOMENT.

Yeah, it's been a while. Life seems to move on at a feverish pace, while I do my best to keep up with the lesson plans and progress reports that seem to creep up behind me and bite me in the ass. School keeps me busy, and I find myself running around in circles with issues and politics that the BOE throws upon us, the people on the front lines of the battle for education. I spend a lot of money on school supplies, which in New Jersey, were supplied to the schools. Most teachers charge for things like pencils, dry-erase markers (low odor, of course), plus the other things that kids seem to use to practice their magic disappearing acts. And why must we use the low odor markers? That was always the best part of the markers!

Thanksgiving was very enjoyable. We went to the church, where we ate way too much. We all had a great time, and I helped with the clean-up. Somewhere, someone told me that life is a series of checks and balances, and I'm trying to get ahead in the score. Either that, or it's how my parents brought us up. I should say "OUR" parents brought us up.

The Christmas season is fast approaching. If it weren't for the fact that my brother is living with me, there would probably be no Christmas decorating here at home. But leave it to Devin. The Christmas tree is already out, ready to be assembled (we have a tree with lights on it), the ornaments and decorations are ready to collect another season of dust. Oh sure, we'll do some entertaining, so there will be people here to enjoy the dusty old decorations with us.

Mom and Dad are preparing their annual Christmas letter. You know -- that dreaded 2-pager from people you hardly know, who talk about their medical problems, brag about their kids and whine about the state of our country. Mom usually writes the updates on the family, while Dad throws in his sarcastic humor at our expense. You know what I'm talking about. One of Dad's classics was "And of course, Devin moved in with Jeff. And all hopes for grandchildren are being flushed down the toilet!" Double entendre intended.

I must say, though, that people always enjoy receiving our Christmas letter. I've laughed pretty hard at some of the ways my dad can twist what Mom puts in there. So what the hell!

I know what they'll be saying about us. They're proud of us, how we've followed our dreams. I'm a teacher; Devin is a financial planner. I get by on Walmart clothes and Dollar General; Devin buys wide-screen HDTVs, riding mowers, appliances, and of course, top shelf liquor at only the finest establishments. It makes me glad he's my brother.

I'm still driving a Malibu, while Devin has broken through the traditional family bubble, branching out on a limb to buy a Ford Fusion. I must say, it's nice!

But we are getting into the Christmas spirit. We've already made our plans for heading back home for Christmas. Yes, again, I referred to that house where I grew up as "home". Going from a Euro plush king to a slightly used twin doesn't bother me one bit. When I get home at Christmastime, I still wake up and look out the window. The thought is still there. Maybe it snowed, and maybe school's closed. It doesn't even matter if it IS Christmas vacation. I still check. There's something about snow, especially on Christmas Eve, that puts the cherry on top of the sundae.

In the past few years, some of the family traditions have carried on. Mom and Dad wait for me (now Devin and me) to get home before we put up the tree. There's a story in so many of the decorations that adorn the tree. And of course, the last thing to go on the tree is Kimmy's angel. I've probably told about how Kim would get on Dad's shoulders, and she'd put that same angel on top of the tree. It doesn't matter whether it's been 15 years or 50 years, our Christmas tree isn't a Christmas tree until Kimmy's angel is put on top of the tree. That has become Devin's job.

Maybe it's a little crazy to some, but when we hang the stockings, we still hang 5 of them. But in all honesty, there are some years, more hectic years, when the stockings weren't put up. Grandma made them for all of us.

So now let's get into the Christmas spirit.

This reminds me of one Christmas when I was about 10 years old. Dad was putting up the lights on the house. He got smart a few years earlier, and put those little hooks all around, so the lights would go up more easily. Well, it seems that somebody did some painting outside, and some of the hooks were upside down, filled with paint, or just plain missing. What a Christmas scene! You've probably seen similar movies of people putting up the lights. It's usually snowing, there are a few inches on the ground, and the world is a big ho ho ho place, with strangers greeting each other with a cheery "Merry Christmas." Well, it was more like a sunny day in the 50's with no sign of snow. We 3 kids were in the house, blowing the dust off the ornaments, and we heard the jolly verbal excrement that has made my dad the legendary Mr. Christmas. "Merry fucking Christmas!" I heard him exclaim as he swore out of sight. Kim covered her ears while Devin (about 7 at the time) and I tried to stifle the laughter. "Ho ho ho, bastard!" Oh, it went on. Mom finally went out to see what the hell was wrong after Dad's final bevy of scatterling: "I'll stick THIS up Rudolph's ass!" "THIS" was in reference to the Santa hat that Mom insisted that Dad wear, just because it's Christmas, now flopping in his sweaty face, caused by the sun reflecting off the bay window. And retelling this story had Devin laughing so hard, he pissed his pants. Yes. He was 17 years old at the time.

The robins are here. I looked out this afternoon and there were literally dozens on the lawn. Some were singing in the trees. They ignore their cousins, the bluebirds, which are all used to us.

More coming when I caN type.

Have AA good evening!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Noisy pews, Devin's muse, Dad's news, Liberal views, and don't pull my Schweddy Balls!

Good afternoon.

Well, life goes on with a song in my heart. Yep. That's how it is. I've spent the past few weeks working on several church hymns in an effort to cover for a church organist who has been on vacation. She returns next Sunday. Let me hear you say "HALLELUJAH!" Someone told me I played too loud, and the pews were vibrating. Amen.

Devin is in Los Angeles visiting Michael. Michael, as you may know, has been one busy person. He's going to school and working 2 jobs. I know he's taken off some time while my brother is there, because I've heard about so many things they have down while he's there. In fact, the only thing I've heard from him is how they went to Disneyland and Universal Studios and the wax museum and other places, so I guess Michael is allowing for some fun time for the 2 of them. I did get a whimsical post card from him. Ha Ha Ha very funny. I can't tell you what it said. He returns on Friday.

My dad had a prostate biopsy a couple of weeks ago. His PSA was above the high normal. Well, the results weren't as good as we had hoped. He has a small, non-aggressive cancer. It only involved one specimin, but it will require treatment. He has done a lot of research, and he's not in any mortal danger, but it will have to be addressed at some point before it becomes a bigger problem than it is now. And guys, it's "prostate", not "prostrate".

I got a kick out of Berkeley's "Increase Diversity" Bake Sale, where whites pay full price, blacks (a.k.a. African Americans) pay 75 cents, Hispanics pay $1.50, etc. It's called "racist". On yeah, and the complaints, according to the media, are coming from Republicans. Why does this confuse me? Isn't this how our society works? I'll leave it at this. And why isn't Al Sharpton "outraged" that whites pay the most? Hmmm Can we say 'DOUBLE STANDARD'? What I say is simple: SHUT UP!

I tried one of Ben and Jerry's ice creams. Can you guess? Schweddy Balls! It wasn't bad, but the malt balls and rum didn't get along very well. I have a pint (1 serving for me) in the freezer right now. I bought it because I feared that those who were so offended by the name of it might win out and have the product either pulled or renamed. Imagine pulling my Schweddy Balls! Can they do that? Oh, I'm so offended. They have a little fun with something made famous on Saturday Night Live, and some crusty old nuns have to bitch that it's offensive. Maybe it was the liberal soccer mom with her prissy ten-year-old daughter. Give me a bloody break! Maybe what I say should be this: STFU! I dropped that puppy right on the counter for all to see.

Well, all I'll say is that I'm not too happy with where our society is headed. Does anybody notice? Must not. We're doing nothing. Enjoy!

Have a good week.