Monday, December 29, 2008

The last Monday musings for 2008.

Scatter-brained thoughts this morning. Thinking about a lot of things lately. Grateful for old friends and the ties that time bind tightly though the distance may be far. I am very thankful for the opportunity to get to know Julie better and I'm very happy to see that THEY are very happy. She's awesome in so many ways and made me feel like an old friend of HERS, too, just because I visiting them this weekend. I would have liked to left the Sommet Center with a Wings victory, but what can you do. Brian and I did our part to be obnoxious Wings fans. Long drive there and back but really didn't seem all that bad. I prefer the mountains of NC and TN to those of WV and VA.... not as long or something. Less steep, maybe? Currently listening to The Prayer Chain's "Sky High" and musing that one man's praise music may not be another man's praise music. Church-led praise music set to a slideshow often does nothing for me, but this song and several of Stavesacre's will cut to the bone and pierce my heart each time I listen to them. "You've seen the water drop from behind my fisted eyes, now hear the cries of the Salton spies, sing about rolling sky highs." Poetry. How many times has the Lord nailed me to the core and reduced me to pure emotion, making me emotionally wobbly yet cleaned pure (if only for a moment). Often, I AM that guy with the water dropping from behind fisted eyes and I need to embrace the power that that humility can bring forth. God has brought a lot of change in my heart this past year and I look forward to see where it's headed when the calendar page flicks off the final time this week....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Warm Place

Been listening to this song a lot today. Over and over. Man, it still drives a nail of emotion straight into my heart, almost a decade and a half after I had first heard it. Never seen this "official" video before; the only visual representation that I was previously familiar with was the amazing video montage (Trent worked "A Warm Place" and "Hurt" into one amazing song) when I saw NIN back in December of 1994. I can still remember images from off the gigantic screen, this far removed.

It blows me away how music remains (for me at least) an amazing rendition of the fabled "time machine." I can listen to this song and be taken back to my shabby first apartment in college, putting this song on repeat and wondering what the heck I was doing with my life and why my hopes and dreams of what my college experience were inexplicably different for how they turned out. I've often wondered if the music that is being made these days that teens and folks in their early twenties will affect them the way "my music" does to me. I'm not always convinced that being taken back is a good thing... but I suppose anything that makes you feel emotion is good in it's own right...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Now that I've totally enraged you, can I sell you some religion?"

I just don't get it.

You ring the doorbell once and I don't get it... you should be able to hear my two hysterical dogs going crazy at the door. AFTER you hear me scream from the back of the house "NOT INTERESTED!!!" (mainly because I'm in the middle of changing out of my work clothes and just don't feel like answering the door), you have the audacity to ring my bell a SECOND TIME. (Insert dogs going even more hysterical here)

Then, to blow my mind, you ring it a THIRD time. By now, I'm practically foaming at the mouth... begging for your sake that you're a long-lost northernly friend who's popped south of the Mason-Dixie for a visit or a Federal Agent from the FCC about the flurry of telemarketing calls that I can NOT STOP NO MATTER WHAT I DO!!! But you're not.

SO, to completely blow me out of the water as I try to manage two rabidly barking and curious dogs while opening a heavy front door AND doing all this in a wheelchair (not usually one to throw the gimp factor into anything, but I think this one actually applies) you have the audacity to greet me with a condescending smirk and valueless "HELLO!!!!" (think Jerry Seinfeld) and DARE to try to sell me some crackpot religious gimmick? (Sorry man, your manner of dress and that bright and cheery pamphlet gave it away by a mile and I am most definitely resolute in my Faith enough... if not in my church attendance... to go toe to toe with you in a debate of all things spiritual; trust me, my Dad's a minister).

Yeah. I'm a jerk. I know. Been told that my whole life. But yes... I still will dramatically bellow "WE'RE NOT IN-TER-ESTED" if you come back tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"It was 20 years ago tonight..."

Sheepishly, I have to admit that I wasn't very aware of this landmark trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to LA. I think in those days I was probably more preoccupied with GI Joe and playing "war" in the field behind our yard. I remember my Dad telling we a few years later (when my interest in hockey began to flourish and my brain was like a sponge) how this trade was sometimes likened to how "Yoko broke up the Beatles." I guess Janet was Yoko and Messier was, um, Paul?

However, the more that I read about it the more that I understand the magnitude of such a trade. The way in which Gretzky is revered around the world as the greatest hockey player that ever lived (I'm skeptical... but that's because I hold a candle for Gordie Howe as the greatest, naturally) and then for THIS to happen... wow, I just can't imagine. I gotta give Wayne credit. The passion that he had for his team and for the city is amazing... something I like personally about Darren McCarty (one of my favorite Red Wings). Kind of makes Chris Pronger's running to the orange fields of Anaheim at his wife's behest seem even more shameful that what I previously thought.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Did you really wanna talk about the weather, or were you just making conversation?"

Another great line from "Groundhog Day." I've become really sort of mixed on this whole blog thing as it seems that a lot of folks offer up (often trivial... myself included) facts about their lives as reading material. I think another thing that almost bothers me more is that people indicate that they want to discuss some of their deep thoughts and instead they just sort of step on a soapbox and don't wish to interact afterward. With that being said, I really hope you'll consider reading the latest entries to Lindsay's blog and:

I probably completely messed that up so it's not a hotlink, but I'm hoping you'd take a look. Lindsay and I were discussing something that sort of has irked me for years... the relevancy of "Christian" bookstores and quite often, "Christian" music (though Lindsay isn't as cynical as I am about that). I spent my adolescent years being into Christian rock (or metal, or had rock or whatever) and being a lamb to the slaughter, often buying junk simply because of the label stamped on the cd booklet. Likewise, I often wonder if certain artists really DO need to release an umpteenth collection of jazzed up renditions of old praise and worship songs. But I digress...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Midsummer? Yes. Puck? Yes. Oberon? Yes. Shakespeare? No.

I came across this picture from the following link yesterday while trying to get my fill of offseason hockey information. Supposedly this may be a third jersey that the Carolina Hurricanes will wear beginning this season. I'm pretty pumped; I love black jerseys (my Team Canada Kris Draper jeresy in black is one of my favorites). Personally I would have liked to see some tie-ups in the front to give it more of a classic look, but what are you going to do?

Supposedly the NHL is going to announce that the Red Wings and the Blackhawks will be playing a Winter Classic (like the one on New Years last year between Buffalo and the Penguins) in Wrigley Field the first day of the new year. How cool is THAT? It had been rumored early that they were going to play in Yankee Stadium but I think choosing Wrigley is a much better idea. I'm not a Yankee's fan by any means (far from i; I pretty much despise them more than any other sports team, even the Predators), but I think it's much more honorable to have the last game played there be a baseball game and not a hockey game...

Monday, July 14, 2008

"If my face violently contorts and my head snaps to the side, don't worry... it's just my stomach medicine."

Had an appt with my gastro doc, who's a pretty impressive dude. He's helped nail down and guide me through a variety of gastro-ills that I've dealt with the greater part of my adult life. Today was essentially a follow-up. An issue that I've been dealing with that bothers me from time-to-time is nighttime regurgitation, especially after being a moron and eating late at night. Lindsay and I have done about all we can... well, let me put it a different way... LINDSAY has done about all SHE can to help remedy the situation (raising the head of the bed up, suggesting that I eat less at night; you know, all good wife stuff). I, being a moron, like to snack late. And I often pay for it. Of course having your esophageal valve essentially eroded away from years of torrid reflux due to a shortened torso from spinal fusion surgery (Thanks, Doc!! You're a GEM!!) can complicate matters, too.

Anyway, I tried a couple of things and they seem to be working (eating my bigger meal at lunch, eating smaller meals) but it's still not exactly cured yet. One thing we're discussing is a nissan fundoplication in which a "new" valve is essentially created by wrapping the stomach around the esophagus or wrapping the esophagus around the stomach (or is it something wrapped around them both?). It could be a very simple procedure, even done laparoscopically... or it might require more intensive surgery. I'm going to do a preliminary barium swallow this Friday, and hopefully see a surgeon for consult before I head back to work in August. I don't imagine that I'd do the surgery until next year, anyway.

But here's the kicker... and where the title of this entry fits in. My doctor begins telling me about this older medication that essentially helps to empty the stomach at a much more rapid pace. Sounds awesome, right? A quick fix for a lazy guy like me!! Then he tells me about some of the complications that might arise from the medicine. The usual stuff (upset stomach, nausea, blah blah blah). Then he starts rattling off some of the more "rare" side effects. Facial tics. Hand and lip tremors. Eye twitching. Huh... doesn't sound so fun now. Then he starts getting into the more "serious but more rare" side effects. Involuntary facial contortions... some of which may become a permanent problem (I'm guessing he meant the occurrence of having the contortions, although a permanent facial contortion might be fun at weddings and birthday parties for small children). He went on about a few more that I'm guessing my mind blanked out for my own well being, but the best one was something along the lines of having your head snap, from time to time, completely to the side in an involuntary gesture. Wow... how cool would THAT be at a family gathering? If nothing else, that'd be one way of getting door-to-door peddlers off my property. When he told me this, I immediately thought of Beetlejuice where his head comes off, spins around, and then he mutters "don't you hate it when that happens?"

Sadly,I figured that I have enough neurological issues as it is and passed on trying this medication. And they're worried about kids taking Oxycontin for a ride...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Running to Stand Still (Part One)

I've been a U2 fan for years and have always enjoyed the song that inspired the title of this posting. On recently has the full impact of what the song means (at least to me) been driven in my skull and my heart.

My wife, Lindsay, and I (along with our two awesome dogs, Aslan and Cheli) recently drove to Michigan to spend two full weeks visiting family and friends. It was a nice change of scenery for me and it was a chance for Lindsay to relax before she plunges full-on into the internship portion of her Fellowship. A trip home is (usually) a healthy thing... though I prefer to do it when the weather is more to my liking (warm with no white precipitation of any form). It has its moments, of course: taking up residence in your parents' den (a den that is essentially foreign to me... as I never actually "lived" in this house as a child) for two weeks will do that to you. God bless my folks and I love them dearly, but the older I get, the older I they get... and I see the changes in their demeanor, accordingly.

Anyway, It was a good time and a great chance to catch up with folks. Sadly we didn't get to make it to South Haven to see a sunset (something I used to love doing back in high school... my buddy Dave and I used to "chase the sunset" and I don't think that we were ever the loser in that contest). However, I'm sure that my stepbrother  and stepfather have more than made up the difference by using their artistic and amazing photographic skills to document that which I have missed. Rob does great stuff. Dad does too. The fact that I mention a trip to South Haven (or lack thereof) is because of what they used to mean to me and my friend. Or at least to me. I'm not sure how Dave reflects on them, if he does at all. Some deep pondering, questioning, philosophizing, and commiserating would often take place. Obviously, we were high school kids so much of our talk would center around girls, college, and whatever else 15-19-year-old guys talk about (Dave was a year older than me, so he had dibs on a license before me).

The way all this ties into the title that I have chosen is because for the first time I've really realized that I have spent so much of my life "running to stand still." There has ALWAYS been a "next" in my life that was on the horizon. I hesitate to say "goal" because I don't know if that term qualifies each of the situations in question, but it works for now. High school? Getting a girlfriend. Graduating from high school. Going to college. Graduating from college (whoops...). Getting a job. Getting married. Having kids. Buying a home... and blah blah blah. The funny thing is, that I really feel that in many ways that seeking "the next" often leaves you feeling sort of stagnant and unappreciative of "the now." And that's sort of how I feel about things in my life at the moment. While I haven't exactly obtained each of those goals (and no kids are on THIS horizon... I'll keep dogs, thank you very much), I most definitely feel sort of in a weird limbo. A void of sorts where I've ratcheted off a succession of chains in my life in the last year ("okay, make it to Spring Break, make it through my evaluation, make it THROUGH the end of the school year, enjoy a trip home, etc., etc) and I just feel sort of in a weird limbo...

And with that said, I'll take a break and LEAVE this in limbo until next time..

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A new year.

While this may serve to sound bizarre considering that it is now in February of 2008, I've been thinking a lot about resolutions and changes that I'd like to see made within myself. I'm not exactly why there is a delay in me getting around to it...but I did. Maybe it has to do with careening right smack-dab into January at the tail end of a Holiday Season. On a side note, maybe we here in the US should consider adopting the Chinese Zodiac's New Year...after all, it would allow us the chance to enjoy yet another holiday (and we ALL know how we like holiday$ here in the U$). Additionally, don't most US businesses run on fiscal calendars, instead? But maybe there's something risky by living life away from the actuary tables like Ned "Bing" Ryerson (if you don't know who that is, run out and rent "Groundhog Day." Now.). Anyway, I digress.

So. I must say that I don't really make resolutions. In my opinion, resolutions will be broken and quite often you'll end up feeling guilty for doing so (if you're hyper-analytical like me). I think I tried once or twice to quite smoking as a resolution and probably ended up lighting up in celebration of making that resolution. Yes, I live in a warm ball of hypocrisy. Truth be told, I'd like to see myself a lot thinner and a lot more healthy. The other truth is that I really don't want to put out the effort to do so. Gym memberships are ridiculously expensive...and when you're disabled you'll have an even rougher time of trying to find a gym that is accessible. I sit here firm, proud, confident, and without flinching that I sincerely believe that the Gold's Gym here in High Point, NC (and from discussions with other folks, across the COUNTRY for that matter) was built in complete violation of the ADA. So there's a newsflash for you lawyer-types...wanna make some money, look into what I'm saying here. Anyway, back to what I'm saying. Basically I'm not at a point now where I can make myself motivated to do something with my health. And, as I learned from several meek attempts at quitting smoking in the past, I got want it to make it happen. "You gotta want it, Rita!!" Again, see Groundhog Day...especially since it was 'Hog Day yesterday.

One thing that I really am trying to work is this year in better interaction with the people around me and the people that matter to me. I'm not really sure why this is ever-present in mind these days but I speculate that a full life of people being nasty, mean, rude, or disappointing to me has throttled my mindset right on through the "bitter, bitter, DAMN, I'm bitter" way that I had been festering in my mind most of 2007. It's sort of funny that the older that I get, the less angry that I become but the more let down I become with people. Maybe I'm becoming schmaltzy or maybe I've been broken spiritually. Maybe it's just God's next plan for my life. Either way, I can't help but think it's a good thing.

This is sort of funny to post this because I wonder if I'm setting myself up for failure. Probably. But what the heck....if I can inspire a few folks to help a person or two out in the small way, maybe we can do something to right the wrongs of this world's mentality. If I can inspire myself to see the world as a better place in MY view by helping others, I figure I win as much as those whom I am helping.