Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some Families

Some families don’t know better.
Some families think they are fine.

Some families just keep going

Despite the dysfunction,

Despite the abuse,

Despite the addictions

The lies,

The hopes,

The truths.

Some families just exist each day.

Some families hang on blood.

Some families find a way

With the abuse,

With the pain,

With the confusion

Of roles,

Of expectations,

Of reality.

Some families beg to be normal.

Some families die a little each day.

Some families don’t even see the blood

That words draw,

That fists contuse,

That broken hearts seep

From stabs,

From breaks,

From futility.

Some families should not be.

Some families should dissolve.

Some families should find peace

By finding individuality,

By growing apart,

By forming scabs

That stop the blood,

That give the distance,

That allow the future.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It’s Getting Cold in Here!

Recently I had one of the kinds of experiences that actually make a man go to the doctor. And so I went. I had done all my checking on Webmd and other sites – just so there would not be any surprises. I actually walked into the doctor and diagnosed myself.

He did not buy it.

He did not trust my research.

He wanted tests.

He wanted me to get an ultrasound.

All I could think was, "that is gonna be cold!"

And to be sure I did not get cold feet, before I could even get to the office to make the call for an appointment, the radiology clinic called to schedule my appointment later in the day. I really was not prepared for later in the day. I would have done some additional grooming before I left the house that morning. Nevertheless, I gave in and took one of the later appointments.

Might as well get it over with.

So after an uncomfortable day at work thinking only about what was to come, I made my way over to the clinic for the test. I had been given specific directions and followed them to the letter.

I knew the event was going to be cold, so in my mind I was praying the technician would be a straight man or a woman. I wanted to be careful of any impression I might make on any potential date – no matter how remote the chance would be.

Despite following the directions to the letter, as I sat and waited to be called back, my appointment time came and left. And left farther behind. Finally the manager came over to apologize and let me know they were still running far behind, but promised it would not be too much later before I was called back.

Fifty minutes after my scheduled appointment, I was jolted by someone calling my name. I had been there so long I almost drifted away from listening for my name. I turned around to see a sizable woman standing in the door smirking.

She directs me back a room much larger than I was expecting with an adjoining restroom. With her in the room is a VERY young girl.

Just my luck. I got the intern!

She lays out a gown, a paper sheet, and some plain hand-towels and gives me specific directions on how to prepare myself with exactly what was to be covered and what was to be exposed. They then stepped out of the room and allowed me to prepare and position myself. I just wanted to get it over, so it didn't take me long to prepare. Waiting for her to return, I found myself again drifting away mentally.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my happy place, the door opened and the larger woman returned. She asked permission for the intern to come in as well as she had never seen this particular procedure before.

What could I say? I'm laying on a bed with just the jewels exposed.

"Sure. Of course she can come in!"

The intern sheepishly returns to the room and I found myself wanting to say something to make her feel more comfortable, but what are the appropriate words to say to someone who can only stare at the two inches of bare skin exposed?

The larger woman turns off all the lights so only the monitor and a single yellow light in the ceiling brighten the room. She reaches over and shuffles through several large tubes and said, "This one's warm. It's gonna get wet down there."


And then comes the cold wand and it begins to slide around the area covered by the warm gel.

For some reason, the large woman thinks now is the time to start making gel jokes. I guess they are ones that make the rounds of the ultrasound world since the young girl was taking notes.

A few more splooshes and corny jokes about gel and how many towels she's gonna leave me to use to clean up and all is done. She and the young 'un step out while I wipe off and get dressed again.

By this time, I was even more ready to leave than I had been upon walking in.

Two days later, my doctor's nurse gives me a call to let me know I am going to be fine.

My doctor has a great sense of humor.

My diagnosis was right all along!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Post 201

From a modest false start in May of 2005, to today, I have finally passed post 200.

For those who post 200 times a week – I admire you, but I have a real job.

Actually, as I have said before, my job leads me to write and post. While I rarely give intimate details about work, the nature and stress of my work leads me to need a creative outlet and a place to vent. Sometimes I get to be creative there or actually spend so much time thinking there, I have little to write here. Sometimes I am so frustrated there I write daily when I get home.

Usually from the stress of work, I find myself seeking out the funny parts of life. Most often though, I get to present my warped view of the events that happen around me. And I am warped!

Expect me to grow increasingly warped. I realize that since I passed 40, I will say most anything I want.

Now with full-time work, graduate school (again), and health issues that occupy an increasing amount of my time, I am certain my sense of reality can only grow more perverse. Life has a way of doing just that. As the commercial proclaims, "Life comes at you fast." The faster it comes, the faster you learn to react. I firmly believe that a good honest reaction leads to the best decision. Sometimes it may seem foolish, but it has worked well so far.

Now on to the next 200 posts!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Something Stinks!

Something stinks in my back yard. Specifically something is dead somewhere in my garden. In all likelihood, it is a dead mouse my dogs managed to kill. I have searched for it for several days, but I have not been able to find it.

And my dogs – being dogs – are rolling in whatever is dead.

They are simply the most rank pets anyone can imagine having.

I suppose I could put on some rubber gloves and pet them, but I fear if I touch them without the gloves, I will reek at the level they presently do. I am going to give them a bath sometime after the smell goes away or I find whatever it is that died, but until then, a bath would be an exercise in futility.

Speaking of things stinking, the party conventions are starting, and for the next two months, we are going to be treated to two more months of half-truths, smears, and outright lies. At least the source of the smell in my backyard will be gone in a few days.

I am going to try to keep my dogs away from the television until after the election!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cheer ‘em On!

Cheerleaders are not often known for being the smartest team on the field, but last week cheerleaders attending camp at The University of Texas proved to be about as smart as frat boys. They decided to see how many cheerleaders could fit in an elevator. They made it to 26 before the doors closed.

So there are twenty-six 14 to 17 year old girls on an elevator.

They are holding each other tighter than on a basket-catch.

Then the doors don't open.

There are still twenty-six 14 to 17 year old girls on an elevator. Let me rephrase that. There are twenty-six 14 to 17 year old cheerleaders on an elevator.

Panic ensues.

I have resisted commenting, but after watching the squads of cheerleaders parading across campus each morning for a week I have to say I am really disappointed in the cheerleaders. With their skills at building pyramids and their tiny bodies (well, some of them were not even close to being tiny – must have been the base), I expected them to get far more into the elevator before giving up at 26. Granted, they are high school cheerleaders, but this was near the end of a national camp, so they should have reached a certain level of skill. Surely they could have stuffed at least thirty 14 to 17 year old cheerleaders in an elevator!

I still want to see the security tape from the elevator when they realized the door was not going to open – just before the cell phones came out.

Even better than that moment – twenty-six girls cheerleaders attempting to talk on their cell phones at the same time while trapped in an elevator. Some called for help. Some called parents. All while squeezed in an elevator! I'm amazed they were rescued – how could help have ever understood a word they said?

By the time officials, police, and an elevator technician gets them freed, one has passed out and is taken to the hospital, two require treatment at the scene. University officials are steamed. And a new generation of cheerleader jokes is set to entertain us for years.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Thought Out

There are two more days until the first summer term of my second Masters degree is complete. All I can say right now is that I am tired. I wrote earlier in the summer about the task of re-learning to think and regain my academic stamina. Two months later and I am almost up to marathon pace.

The combination of work and school has kept me mentally engaged at least twelve hours a day. I have actually appreciated the challenge or work and school combined. Even though I did it before while earning my current (first) Masters degree, this round has nothing in common with the first time. I have never taken so many hours (12) in such a short time (two calendar months from start to finish) while working. That I came out relatively unscathed has been pretty amazing.

I did learn, though, that I am not as young as I was back then.

I am exhausted now and it is time for the school year to start, so there will be no rest soon, but I swear this Friday morning, I'm picking up a Harlequin romance novel rather than anything harder to read!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Too Darn Hot

According to the Kinsey report
ev'ry average man you know
much prefers to play his favorite sport
when the temperature is low

but when the thermometer goes way up
and the weather is sizzling hot
Mister Adam for his madam is not
cause it's too too
it's too darn hot, it's too darn hot
It's too too too too darn hot

Cole Porter certainly knew what he was talking about when writing the lyrics for his song from Kiss Me Kate! This summer we have passed 40 days with over 100 degree temperatures. It may not set a record this summer because I think the record number of 100+ day was 89 for a year, but we are going to make a run at it. August until early September is generally the hottest part of our year and nothing in the weather pattern seems likely to break to give us relief anytime soon.

Yesterday I went to the river with some friends to go tubing. For those dear readers not from the south, tubing involves taking a big inner tube (from a truck or tractor tire), putting it in a river, climbing on, and floating for a few hours. At the end of the few hours, hopefully a good friend with a truck, or someone (tubing company) you paid, will be there to pick you up and take you back to your car. One usually brings along an extra tube – for the beer, which is the most important part of the trip.

The cypress and pecan lined sections of the Guadalupe we floated were nearly idyllic as the stream flowed gently and the temperature felt quite comfortable. The gentle flow under the baking sun was completely different. The cool water flowing below did little to keep any parts out of the water from quickly baking. Even with SPF 50, the sun won and left me with some bright spots on my face and a nearly perfect farmer's tan on my arms. Fortunately, the SPF 50 put up a good fight and I did not badly burn anywhere on my exposed body.

The purpose of such a trip is just for pure relaxation because one cannot do much work while navigating the river. The river gives us a few good lessons too. The gentle float down our nearby river sometimes gets broken up by a brief stint of rapids, but then shortly returns to its placid pace through cypress-lined banks or under the baking sun. The river has carved its path for centuries so that most of it is gentle, slow, and steady. The pace picks up and the rapids race, but briefly, from time to time. If we could get our lives to work like the river, we may find ourselves happier and more fulfilled in what we do. After all, the river has been doing the same thing for centuries.

I have not been tubing in a while and maybe I need to make it a regular habit. It is kind of like the lake in that I get away from work, but I can still read or do some writing at the lake. I have not found the book with plastic pages that will let me read it at the river – nor do I want to. The rapids can come unexpectedly, so it pays to be on guard at all times, but not so much that a few rocks along the bottom don't bump you in the butt.