Sunday, November 21, 2010

home owner

So I guess the time has come to officially change the profile here on, time to take out the references to being a wandering fool and searching for the best burrito. It turns out that I have found my home and it is in New Mexico. And based on some facts that are observable in my life, it appears as though the nomad is no more.

Since starting my job at the Bosque School, I have found myself increasingly more and more happy. I found a school that I love where the kids are great, the community is small and interactive, and my superiors trust me to be a good teacher and don't check up on me in the slightest (it doesn't hurt that my classroom is on the outermost edge of school either). I am coaching volleyball and working with the girls makes me happy. The teachers with whom I work with are a good bunch and that makes me happy. The campus is beautiful and it makes me happy. What else to say, my career is work but it ... makes me happy!

My personal life has also made a change for the better. Married life is a challenge and while my wife does have her fair share of difficult moments, she is a part of my life that brings joy to me. She will be the mother of our children someday and while I do occasionally worry about what she will teach them (she has some unusual perspectives on things), I know she will be a great mother and do her best when it comes to raising our children. And before people get all caught up in that last sentence thinking that I won't be around to help out, y'all know better than that and know that I'll be around as much as possible as my child(ren) grow up. But kids are a future thing and we have to conceive one first and then I'll worry about how to raise them.

One item in my life that is recently changed is the fact that I am now, for the first time, a home owner. The getting married thing was grown-up but a lot of people still get married too young. Home ownership, that's something truly "responsible" and it signifies quite a bit for me. First off, no more wandering. Ya just can't walk away from a mortgage (unlike the last people who lived in this house) and travel the world. For the last 35 years or so of my life, I have been a nomad and seeing the parts of our globe that others may miss. I am extremely grateful for those experiences and wouldn't trade them for anything. But now I have the responsibility of a mortgage and after we have a child, all of the other bills are set on my shoulders. Nothing like putting the weight of reality on me but I think I'm finally at a point in my life where I'm ready for that challenge. Perhaps the wanderlust of the last 3 1/2 decades has led me to here and now my brain is ready to accept the responsibility that my peers have endured for quite some time. Ahh, always the late bloomer I guess.

Our home is awesome although moving in is going to take some time. The majority of our stuff is in the house, we just have to sort it all out now. The space for children is available and the process of starting a family has begun (just waitin' on some fertilized eggs to go!). The last year has been chock full o' changes but that's just fine with me. Here's to the next 40 years being as good as the first 40 were!

Monday, July 26, 2010

wonderfully dreary

One of the things that I love about living in New Mexico is the weather. Most days the sun is shining and the humidity is low, making most days just very tolerable. Sure there are some hot ones (close to 100 F), cold ones (below freezing), windy ones (gusts over 50 mph), but rarely do we get the kind of day that we had yesterday and again today. Overcast and rainy - and I'm appreciating every minute of it.

I am sitting here looking out at what I can see of the Sandia Mountains and the sky is painted a lovely shade of gray. The clouds are covering most of the mountains and the rain is soaking our desert ground with much needed precipitation. It is on days like this that I am reminded of my years of living in Ohio when the rain was a common occurrence and days like this were far too frequent for my liking - the years in Holland were even worse. But it is with a fondness in my head that I sit and watch the raindrops fall as they bring back some memories of the greenness of Ohio and the humidity I left behind.

During my years of college, I had many jobs that I had to pay my tuition, room & board, and pizza expenses. One of those jobs was working as a laborer putting up tents during the summers while living in Akron. For three years I put up and broke down tents of all sizes. From our small 10x10 to the massive 80x440, I worked out in the elements of NE Ohio summers. Some mornings were fabulous - cool and brisk, crystal blue sky overhead; staying beautiful all day. Others started off hot and muggy, the water hanging in the air and smothering you like a thick cloud of smoke and conditions usually got worse as the day went on. Some days sunblock was only a charade of an attempt to beat back the searing sun.

Then there were mornings like today - the sky covered with a low layer of gray linoleum clouds that shrouded the sun, rain falling from above in random patterns of intensity. A rain jacket worked for days with the intermittent drops, full suits for those of constant downpour. Respite from the rain only came during lunch or in the truck between installations.

I was the 20' King, meaning I was in charge of putting up tents that were 20' on one side. The most common tent was a 20x30, some 20x20/40s thrown in for variety. Occasionally a 30x30 would sneak into the mix but mostly 20' stuff. I was the driver and I brought along another man to help with the installations. One person could put the tent up solo but driving stakes was much easier with two guys on "The Whacker"; a lawnmower engine welded to the top of a stake driver, it was an unwieldy device. The high center of gravity meant you and your partner needed to be on the same page but communication was difficult when you have an engine running next to your ear and the loud pinging of the metal driver as it crushed the rebar stake into the ground just below that. When it would rain, the water would flash to steam on the top of "The Whacker" as the engine heated up. Rainy days always seem to make the cacophony less obtrusive for whatever reason.

While I reflect on those days from college and the interesting summers I worked, I enjoy my summers much more now. It is amazing what a masters degree will do for a teacher's break from school.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

tied the knot

Now that the event is done and over with, I can take a moment to reflect on the day of the wedding and everything that transpired before it. While I truly enjoyed the day and all that happened, some tense moments were a part of the final stages; what wedding would be complete without them?

With two exceptions, one major and one minor, the wedding was perfect. Our friends and family showed up casual (as we asked) and ready to enjoy the occasion. Shorts and flip-flops, sundresses and golf shirts, khakis and sandals, our guests were definitely comfortable. Margaritas and beer in hand, our wedding and the subsequent party were just that - a party. Our glitches for the event were the screwing up of reservations (every person at the wedding got two double beds in their room, including us - but that was quickly fixed) and having an overpriced keg of pretty gross beer (Bud Light is bad to begin with but this tasted exceedingly bad). Aside from those two bumps in the road, our wedding was perfect in my eyes and I couldn't be anymore content than I am. I have a wonderful wife and the prospect of an amazing future with her. Life is good.

Our wedding itself isn't what I am truly happy about, it is the next 40+ years that has me really thinking. I've always been one to live in the present and enjoy all that life has to offer at the moment. Living overseas helped me to develop that outlook and I still do it everyday. I try my best to not focus on what could be but rather what I have and how amazing it is. But I can't helping thinking of the future and all the wonderful experiences there are to come. A home of our own (we rent currently) is something we are working towards and should be able to put a down-payment soon. We are off the pill and on our way to starting a family - something that I've wanted for years. Two examples of what we hope is to come and while today is a great day, tomorrow seems like it has so much more to hold. I often try to not look to far into the future but my optimism for it is overwhelming and as the Pointer Sisters say, "I'm so excited that I just can't hide it."

Monday, May 10, 2010

getting close

So a lot of things are coming to an end here shortly and while some of it is familiar, other aspects are a bit on the unknown side. It got me to thinking about what changes my life is about to undergo and how that will affect me. In the next 60 days, I'm set up for quite a bit of "newness" and I feel like I'm ready for it. Good thing I've been in the process of getting myself ready for change in the last few decades of my life!

First up, my first year here at school will come to an end in about 2 weeks. I've been fortunate enough to land a job at a super school and while I do love my summer vacations, I am not eager for the year to be over. There have been plenty of years where I have counted down the days with my students in anticipation of the summer break but this year is definitely not one of them. I love my job and find myself teaching in what appears to be the perfect school for me. My kids are amazing and the people whom I work with are also pretty darn good as well. I think I've struck it rich here and I'm not so anxious to end the year. That's what happens when you like your job, right?

Shortly after school gets out, I embark on a venture that has been a long time in the making - marriage. I spent the last 20+ years being single and after years and years of searching, I've found a woman who I want to share my life with. While those years of being a bachelor had some advantages, I am looking forward to the prospect of starting something new. The last few decades of being single have been nice but the time to end that part of my life is almost over. I know there will be ups and downs in this long-term arrangement but I am ready to start this chapter in my life.

The future wife and I have also been looking at houses here in ABQ. I've never owned a house before so the prospect of not renting sounds like a great one to me. I can knock out walls, plant a garden, paint whatever color I like - all without having to ask permission. It also doesn't escape me that we will be responsible for all the repair and upgrade costs that go into home ownership but I want to take it on. The days of making payments for a place I can't build up equity in are almost over! Soon after the wedding we hope to get our first house and while it is a bit scary, I'm ready for the challenges it will bring.

As the summer winds down and school gets back into session, another landmark event will occur. The end of my 30's is not something I was truly looking forward to but hitting 40 doesn't seem like such a bad thing. I'm in decent physical shape, I'm active and mentally sound, and I've got a good medical system to support me. While many think that 40 was the beginning of the end and it is all downhill from that age, I disagree and think my 40's will be a great decade for me. I'll post in another 10 years and let you know how the reflection of that works out. ;-)

Last and certainly not least, I expect that my days of being without a child are just about over. The future wife and I have discussed the plans to start working on a family soon after our marriage and with a bit of luck, the birthday will come shortly before our announcement of starting a family (and hopefully the gap between the two will be very short!). I have known for years that I've wanted to be a father and now the prospect of being one has me excited. The stories of the first few years do have me a bit worried but if everyone else can survive it, I think I'll manage as well. Send me happy thoughts though, I'm sure I'll need it.

After all of that, I believe a cycle will begin again and the school year will start over. Volleyball will get into swing, the kids will grumble as they make their way back to school, and the temps will start to drop as summer wanes and fall wanders into New Mexico. But what a summer it should be!

Friday, March 19, 2010

if you plan it, they will provide funding

So I go off and say that I'm going to add more posts to the blog this year and then I disappear for almost 2 months. Way to follow through, right? Trust me, there has been enough for me to write about recently, I just haven't done it. My wedding is coming up in the next few months and I could be posting about that, but I haven't. The kids at school are amazing and I could be putting those interactions down, but I haven't. There have been plenty of times when I thought to myself about writing down what has been going on and then something distracts me from doing it. A friend of mine said that I might have a certain syndrome called ADOS - Attention Deficit 'Oh Shiny' - and I'm inclined to believe it. Technology does such a good job of distracting me...

Most recently I took a trip to Crystal River, FL with a group of 6 boys and 9 girls from my school. Like another school I've worked at, this school takes trips to various locations and approaches education from a different perspective. Some schools call it a Week without Walls, we just call it Winterim. The focus of our group was to travel to Florida and learn something about conservation of the environment while swimming with manatees. (It's a rough life, I gotta tell ya!)

The details of the trip are too vast to go into with just a single post but the entire experience made me feel very lucky for what I get to do with my life. I am a teacher and being around young adults can be enriching in so many ways. They bring so much to my life that it is hard to quantify just what it does for my soul. Teachers often say that the job pays more than just a salary and that definitely is the case. I am fortunate in that my profession brings me joy on almost a daily basis and my wrinkles from smiling have only increased since I started working at this school. Swimming with manatees was a very cool thing to do, something that I've not experienced before and it was amazing to be able to do so. But the jewel in the crown for me was not being able to scratch the back of a 800 lb. mammal but the interactions I had with the 15 students that I shared the experience with. Just a few of the moments that I have stuck in my mind include:

A group of 4 playful girls who ransacked the boys' bedroom and put chocolate syrup on the toilet seat in the boys' bathroom - all with teacher (mine) permission, of course.

Watching a small group of kids fish in the Crystal River. Kids who had never fished before and then seeing what they caught that day - two baby crabs and a horde of mosquito bites.

Helping various groups make meals for the days we were there. Some meals were fabulous while others were merely filling (none were bad, just some were better than others). Grilling steaks and burgers, baking chocolate chip cookies, frying up eggs and bacon, spraying whipped cream on to ice cream sundaes.

Finding them passed out from exhaustion in various positions throughout the house. A personal favorite is a 16 year-old boy who was curled up in the fetal position with a spoon of chocolate chip cookie dough in his hand. Priceless...

Jumping into a non-heated swimming pool and hearing the expletive as soon as his head rose above the water. I guess he didn't think of what 64 F (17 C) water would feel like on the skin.

Our last night before returning to ABQ, seeing the girls wrestle the boys and not backing down. Rug burns be damned, those kids had some fun. And I laughed the whole time it was happening.

I am reminded of the final scene from A Field of Dreams when James Earl Jones' character talks about why not to sell the property and keep the field. He says that people will visit and "the memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces." That's how I feel about dealing with students sometimes, they leave me with indelible memories that I will keep for a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

personalized america

In the time that I've been back in the States, I've noticed something that I didn't before I left - the desire to make everything a one-of-a-kind. No longer are Americans satisfied with having something, we've now found a way to take something and change it the moment it is out of the box.

I was gifted a car about a year ago, a 2000 Subaru Forester (thanks sis!) and as I drive it around, I notice other cars of the same year, model, and color. I feel a sense of kinship with those drivers, we all have the same car. We are a part of a small group and I often will wave at the other driver to acknowledge our bond. Aside from the fact that there are a bunch of Subarus on the road around here, our group has managed to hold on to our cars for a decade and not do much, if anything, to them. But as I scan around traffic looking for my brethren, I notice that there is another group of people on the road who have cars that look nothing like mine - or anyone else's for that matter.

As I started to think about it, cars are not the only things that are customized in this country. Cell phones have covers in a myriad of different designs, laptops mirror them with colors and/or stickers to show the owner's personality. Sports jerseys are adorned with a person's name, not the player, on the back. Cars have decals on the back window to identify the chronological order of the family members or children's names and the sport they love the most. Heck, even key chains and water bottles are venues for a person to give a "shout-out" as to who they are. For every purchase that Americans make, we probably spend even more money on the aspect of making it personalized.

This idea makes me wonder - why do we all have to show just how unique we are? Is there some general feeling of inadequacy in our country that makes people want to prove just how special each one of us is? Do we need everyone to see just how great we are with our accessories? Is that the true meaning of it all? Is it a national Napoleonic complex? With the fact that America's global influence is waning, is this attributing to our people wanting to make their own identity? Being American not enough? Or is there something else?

Growing up in "Brand America", I was constantly barraged with images from Timberland, Nike, Jordache, Calvin Klein, Revlon, etc., about how their product would make me more beautiful, popular, and athletic. But in this day, the corporate logo is starting to take a different look. A person can order a specific type of shirt with a specific logo and tell the brand what s/he wants to wear. The fashion is coming to us from a certain company but we still have the say on what the final product will look like. Perhaps this isn't a Napoleonic complex but rather a realization by industry that customer service means giving the customer exactly what they want. Maybe manufacturers have deduced that a person will buy their product if they just let the customer say what they desire it to be. Have we reached the point where the substance of making a personal statement is bigger than the prestige of owning a name? Are the days of kids bugging their parents for status jeans gone and the days of personalized jeans here? Could the idea of buying a brand for the brand name numbered? One thing is for sure, we seem to be able to afford it. Oh wait, we can't. That would be a reason for last year's financial crisis...

Generation X grew up in "Brand America" and many of us are still label oriented. I know Pipes will buy purses from Coach on them just because they say that they are from Coach. There's nothing wrong with that (aside from the fact that I can't understand paying that much for a purse) but I see that my students do not operate on the same wavelength. Coach purses are valued to some but not most. Generation Me would rather make their statement in another way and the personalization of their gear seems to be more important than who makes it. Part of me applauds that idea - that substance is more sought after than prestige. But part of me is also concerned that this trend could mean a fractured community - if the things that bonded my generation together are not present for this generation, what will bring them together? Is this the beginnings of the fracturing of America? While I doubt it, I still wonder what our new customization fetish will yield in our future.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

not bad, not great

As readers to this blog will note, 2009 was a bad year for posts. Looking back, there are very few things that I wrote about and I believe that it came from a general lack of desire to write anything down. 2009 wasn't a great year (aside from a few points) and I think I didn't want to dwell on some of the uncertainties of the year, hence why there were very few posts. But now that 2010 is here and things are looking better, I've made a verbal commitment to myself to put some more posts up this year. My friends have told me that they like my writing style (I still don't see why) but I do enjoy writing things down and letting those who do venture here read some of the thoughts that go on inside my head.

2009 had some highlights and going in chronological order seems like the best thing to do. First off, my future wife and I met in 2008 so that doesn't count as a lack of good things in 2009. Although our relationship was relatively new (we started dating around Thanksgiving 2008) at the onset of 2009, it doesn't count as a 2009 item. Before I lose you, my beloved reader, I'll move on.

January - ran a half marathon in January in Austin, TX. I must admit, I'm glad I signed up for it and even happier that I completed the distance. It wasn't as difficult as you might think.

February - got a hand-me-down Subaru from my sister, now nicknamed the Lesbaru. Great car and I look forward to passing it on to my kids when the first one turns 16.

March - Pipes' birthday (she was out of town when it happened). I also decide to move in with Piper and make a serious go at our relationship.

April - First job interview for a teaching position here in ABQ. Nothing became of the interview but at least I got the ball rolling.

May - Two more interviews with local schools, one for a science position and one for a social studies position. What to say, I guess that AA degree I got in Social Sciences got me something!

June - Got a second and third interview with an independent school here in ABQ, later that would turn into a full-time science position (Physics and Chemistry) at a wonderful place called the Bosque School. I also worked summer school for little kids at Sandia Prep as well as continuing at REI. Part-time employment is good but I was so happy to get the full-time position at Bosque and return to the classroom.

July - Even though my hours waned significantly at REI, I am not worried. I know that I can survive until the first paycheck at Bosque. Most of July I'm just passing time and looking forward to being back in the classroom to do what I am best at - teaching.

August - I quit REI and start work at Bosque. Along with regular classroom duties, I start working with the volleyball program as an assistant JV coach (volunteer). I had coached before but I knew that it was going to be different in the US. Months later, I truly understood that idea. No regrets though, I love coaching and I love being out there with my girls.

September - Piper begins to wonder where her boyfriend is as I spend a LOT of time on the road with my girls. She understands though and is happy that I am happy. It takes a lot of work but I never complain as doing something you love never seems like work. My life is hectic but the school is turning out to be my Panacea, I love my job.

October - While life is good and I'm am extremely content with my job, I decide to take my personal life to heart and make some changes. Piper is out as my girlfriend and in as my fiancee. I ask her to marry me one Friday night after ABQ's International Balloon Fiesta and she says yes. I am excited to be engaged to this woman and excited to move on to the next part of our relationship. Our wedding date is decided and while she doesn't have a ring that night, I would take care of that small detail at a later time. I feel like a logo on a t-shirt, life is good.

November - The volleyball season comes to a disappointing end but I am proud of our program and what we accomplished. The Varsity girls (whom I helped as an assistant as well) go farther than they ever have before in the playoffs, making it to the top 8. While they are crushed with their loss to Rehoboth, I am happy for their success. The conclusion of the season means Piper gets to see me again and I am glad for the downtime. As much as I love coaching, it does take its toll and I'm grateful the season is past. Of course, I can't wait until next season starts but I'm good with anticipation.

December - My hockey team reaches the championship game and you can read the previous post if you want more details on that. I travel to Tulsa to be introduced to my future in-laws and all goes well. The year is concluded with a New Year's Eve pajama party at our house and we end 2009 in subdued but fun fashion.

With 2010 now here, I'm fulfilling my verbal commitment to myself and posting something to begin the year. My goal is to post at least once a week, so feel free to check back when you can to take a gander at my latest thoughts. Next up, what I plan to do in 2010.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

championship game

One of the things that I've been up to since moving to ABQ has been playing hockey. Friends will recognize that this sport has been something I've enjoyed for over a decade (not including living in places where there is no ice - such as Peru) and it brings me a lot of joy to be out on the ice. I am a goaltender and everyone says that goalies are a little strange for putting on the pads and standing in front of slapshots but there is nothing like it, at least in my mind. The challenge of stopping the opposition is what fires me up and the desire to do my best is what keeps me coming back season after season.

Since coming to ABQ, I've been playing in a rec league called NM Hockey. Its a bunch of guys and gals who get together to play some hockey and drink a beer afterwards. I was fortunate enough to play this previous season with some strong players and we made it to the championship game. Although the stakes are relatively low (it is a beer league in Albuquerque), I still got rather keyed up for the game, its not every day that you get to play for a championship and I wanted to lead my team to hoisting the cup in victory.

Before the game, I was a bit jumbled up. My stomach was queezy and I made several trips to the bathroom before I left the house. Once at the rink, I did my best to calm my nerves, making jokes and playful banter in the locker room with my teammates. It took until we were all dressed for us to admit that each and everyone of us felt the same, each with our own set of symptoms and each eager to do our best in the game. As we walked out of the locker room and filed on to the ice, each of us noted something a bit different about the arena - the fans in the stands. Eleven players on each team and each person probably brought 5 people to cheer them on. With over a hundred people watching, it was the biggest crowd I'd ever experience (aside from performing with the 110) and I was excited to give them a good show.

The game started out a bit less than spectacular. It seems as though the nerves affected our team in different ways and quickly we fell behind. Three minutes in, a goal on us; a few minutes later, the second. We got our heads about us but still managed to fall behind 3-0 in just the first period. I didn't want to lose like we did previously to this team (11-0, it was a nightmare) and I knew my team was better than this. Being as positive as I could be, I skated over to the bench during the intermission and calmly reminded my team that we had overcome deficits like this before and we could do that again. Put some traffic in front of the other goaltender and just keep playing hard.

The second period went a bit better. We got a goal back, making it 3-1 and flushing our nerves out. Second intermission, same pep talk. If nothing else, I was satisfied that it wasn't a shutout for the other goalie, now we just needed to step up and make the comeback. I knew we could, execution just needed to happen.

We come out strong in the 3rd and put a goal up on the board quickly, its now 3-2. I'm feeling confident and making saves, just hoping that my teammates will find a way to put in the equalizer and take the lead. I know I can post a shutout for the rest of the period, I can just feel it; its up to the offense now.

Our captain takes a time out with three minutes left in the game and we come up with a strategy. Shoot like crazy and I'll come off the ice with 90 seconds to go, giving us an extra attacker. Two minutes to go and we go on the man-advantage, a penalty against the other team. A few moments later, a mini-breakaway over the other goalie's shoulder ties it up. Now just to see who gets the game/championship winner...

Overtime works like this - five minutes of 4 vs. 4 and if it is still tied after that, a shootout. After scoring the tying goal and going to overtime, I'm confident that I can carry the team to victory and stop everything that comes my way. As we start playing, both teams are skating hard and trying to put it away as quickly as possible. We've all played enough to know that quirky goals can happen and no one wants to lose that way. The time ticks on and on, it looks like we are going to a shootout. Less than a minute to go and we are deep in their end, the puck squirts loose and the other team brings it down the ice. My defender goes into the corner with her man with less than 15 seconds to go. She ties him up despite giving up a foot of height and probably close to 60 pounds of weight. She pushes hard and he pushes hard back. The clock ticks closer and closer to the end of the overtime period. The other players know she has him and that a shootout is mere moments away. And then it happens - his longer reach allows him to push the puck past her and into open space. My other defender is thinking the game will go to a shootout and misses the pass to the other player. The opposition gets the puck with less than a second to go in OT and flicks a quick backhand towards the net. I drop to a butterfly position, like I have thousands of times, to stop the puck and send it to the next part of the game. Only problem is my timing. As my pads are dropping, the puck trickles underneath them and into the goal. I hear the horn sound and know that we've not made it to the shootout, the game winner is behind me. The season ends with me missing my last save opportunity, a championship lost.

The team is disappointed more with themselves than with me. Some players comment that they should have been down low to help out. Others that they were already thinking of the shootout and lolly-gagging around. No blame is placed on me - we won as a team all season and we lost as a team on the final shot. I'm sad to have missed it but know that I did everything I could to win it for us. My reactions just weren't fast enough this time - age must be getting to me. ;-)

click on picture for larger version

And as you can see, a photographer in the stands was able to catch the moment of defeat. The puck is going between my legs (hence why the footnote of going 5-hole by the photographer) and on its way to the back of the goal. While I'd like to have my pad in the right spot, I still think this is an amazing picture and give kudos to the photographer for having his finger on the shutter at the right moment. What can I say, I'd love to have taken this shot myself - the moment of victory.

Despite being a bit saddened by the loss, I am still grateful for the opportunity to play and being in the position that we were. I cherish the times I had with that team and the thrill of being in the moment. But the season is over and our team will be lumped in with the other teams as we are divided into new teams starting in January, the process beginning again. I look forward to making another drive towards another championship game, perhaps June will have me writing about the victory and not the defeat.

Friday, July 17, 2009

tired of the bashing

So I'm going to do my best and try to be as active as I can here on the blog. The last year hasn't been so good with staying up on my entries and I've even noticed that my main link to the page wasn't working (sorry folks!). If only I had logged on more frequently, I would have noticed that. Hopefully no one has issues with getting here. And just a note, this blog will be moving to here shortly.

My return to blogging has been predicated by the recent events that Republicans have been bitching about. I'm not mad at them but I'm a little pissed at the lack of patience they are having at this point in time. My parents are off at "tea-parties" and friends of mine are posting crap on Facebook about how this time will be known as the "Obama Misery". Frankly, I'm just a bit annoyed with all of it for a couple of reasons.

First - give the guy a frackin' chance to do his job. Nobody went after either one of the Bush boys when they had only been in office for six months, they understood that it was a time to grow and learn about how to be the President. Heck, Bush Jr didn't do crap until he was forced into action post 9/11. Obama has been in office for half of a year and Republicans are jumping down his throat saying that he is going to destroy the economy and wreak the health care program of the country. My take on those thoughts - give the guy a chance to do the job that he was elected for!

Second - over half the country voted for Obama (66M to 58M votes) and McCain/Palin lost, get over it. Protests were starting to be formed by Republican pundits almost as soon as he took office. Does the phrase "sore losers" come to mind? My parents listen to Rush Limbaugh and he was on his pulpit from the day after the election about how bad Obama was going to be. Some people are never going to be happy and that fat man is one who would only be happy if we ran the country as a fascist regime.

Third - during the campaigning, both parties claimed to be for change and now is the time that the change is going into effect. Obama is moving towards invigorating the economy by trying to inject some stimulus, just like Bush Jr did. Would McCain have just sat on his thumbs and done nothing? I doubt it; he was a proponent of change as well. If he just let things go and the economy didn't rebound, would they be the first to rally against him? Republicans are complaining about how Social Security & Medicare/aid costs are rising and Obama is going to drive the country into bankruptcy with his ideas. Excuse me but haven't analysts been telling us since the 2nd Reagan Administration that the program was going to go broke because of all the baby-boomers retiring? That was 20 years ago folks and no one, Republican or Democrat, has come up with a solution for it (aside from making the buggers work until they die). Obama won the election and is now trying to deal with the fiscal problem of paying for a program that was known to be a bust since the 80's. What would McCain do? He's currently in the Senate and no new legislation is in place to be voted upon to correct the problem - why hasn't he done that? If he was such an advocate for change, where is the help for the solution? Nowhere, people just want someone to blame.

I'm not a Democrat (although my Republican friends think so) and I'm not a Republican (although my Democratic friends think so), I'm actually right in the middle of the two sides. I agree with certain issues on both sides and what that means is that I'm willing to see both sides of the political spectrum and not shut out the other. I do occasionally watch Fox News and occasionally watch CNN to see how both sides of the media portray events. I understand that to be polarized towards one side or the other means you are closing off your mind to someone else's opinion and being disrespectful. When people are too centered on themselves, they fail to understand the greater picture and what we as a country can and must do. We are a union of two countries at the moment, fiercely divided on political lines. Right now the minority is pissed as hell that they lost the election and is doing everything they can to tell the world just how mad they are (and honestly, the rest of the world doesn't care, they're just glad to have Bush out of office). They're not even giving Obama a chance to do anything without putting up a huge fight, a sign of a poor loser. What I think they should do is this - show just how good they are without the bitterness. And here's how.

Republicans have long said that the goal of government is to govern as little as possible and let the people work it out - a good point to follow. In fact, hasn't Obama adopted this policy in some way by telling Americans not to wait for Washington to make their lives better but to do it on their own? How many times has the Commander-in-Chief come out and say 'don't wait for the government to solve your problems, make it happen yourself'? This message wasn't intended just for Democrats and their Green Agenda, it was put out there for the whole country to go out and be the instrument of change. Stop waiting for the government to tell you what to do, just go do it and be the example. Ride your bike to work because you know its good for reducing our dependence on foreign oil - don't wait for a stimulus package to be put into place for bicycle commuters, take that responsibility. Become more physically active so you are in better health because you know its good for lowering long-term health care costs - don't wait for a bill to go to Congress that will pay for your obese ass to get treatment, take that responsibility. Take an active role in your children's education because you know that parents are supposed to be integral in teaching the next generation how to act - don't hope that a law called "No Child Left Behind" will solve the educational issues our country has, take that responsibility. In other words, be a Republican and get big government out of your life and take a personal responsibility for your life and your actions - just like the Democratic leader told you to.

Stop the bashing of Democratic and Republican ideas and do the right thing - be a responsible citizen first and see what problems disappear. You might be surprised what the sides have common instead of what they differ on. I learned something a LONG time ago that serves me well to this day and maybe others should try it as well. 3 things to help you in life - 1. Ask questions 2. Keep an open mind 3. Trust your fellow man. I'd like to add a fourth, take responsibility for your life. Maybe if we all tried to be a little more open to ideas we'd not be as divided as we are. So give it a shot, try to not play the 'blame game' and see what good you can do on an individual basis. I think you'll be surprised. :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

dance train revolution

I know its been forever since I posted and while I have the greatest intentions to put something up, there just isn't the time today (or most days for that matter). So with the promise that I'll get something up soon (aside from this video), here's something I found on Yahoo! that was filmed in the Antwerp train station in Belgium. Funny, this never happened when I was there...