enjoying your long weekend?...
- The planet Mars is closer to Earth right now than it will ever be again in my lifetime. It won't be this close again until 2287.
- Turning the stove eye on high will set off the fire alarm in the downstairs hallway.
- Jennifer's friend Glenna just called us from Charlotte. US Airways was 30 minutes late causing her to miss her connecting flight. She's in a rental car right now making the three hour drive to Raleigh and will arrive around 2:00 AM.
- As I was about to upload the picture, my internet connection quit working.
- My "baby" brother called earlier tonight. Next spring, I will be an uncle.
15 weeks, 6 days...
I've admitted to you, dear reader, my love of speed before
and driving has been the prominent theme of more than a few posts. I've even given painful examples of why speeding is bad and how it led to the sad story of my first wreck
. But I can't help myself. I do well to stay near the posted speed limits. I am somewhat responsible in that regard. However, I make sure that I attain that rate of travel as quickly as possible, pushing every bit of power and acceleration I can from my poor vehicles.
The Passat's the most fun. It has that "it's an automatic but you can run the gears if you like" transmission, that's little more than a toy and destined to break and cost me much dinero to replace. But heaven help me it's fun! I like seeing the tach redline. I like feeling the car lurch into a higher gear as I reach the end of the torque curve and push the shifter forward. I love pushing it right and back and feeling the car jump into a lower gear, see the engine revolutions nearly double as I race around the car in front of me.
The computer takes over before I can do serious damage to the engine. It has two modes, economy and performance and will change depending on your driving style. We joke and call them "Shane Mode" and "Jennifer, the Grandma Mode." And it hasn't quite got the full effect of a standard, the synchronized movements of your foot on the clutch and your hand finding the right gear. But then, I can also leave it fully automatic and drive with a Sausage McGriddle in my hand, too.
Then there's the truck. 4-cylinders. Sluggish. Laggard. Dull. Geared for hauling, but without the muscle to haul much more than a passenger or two. But it takes me to work each day and brings me home again in the afternoons. There's too much traffic to enjoy quick starts or fast lane changes. I plod along with the crowd, following the flow, amicable and consistent.
Time, it seems, drives the same two autos. Everything in my past is racing away from me with all six cylinders pounding for all their worth. Every day speeds down the side streets of memory with ever increasing speed, only to disappear around the corner. But the future, the days I look forward to, the events I've been waiting a life time to experience? They plod along, slow and methodic.
16 weeks remain...
The daylight fades
Sending shadows chasing sunshine
Stretching across the floor
Time races from sun to earth
Days speed backwards from birth
Too slow to watch
Too fast to follow
Measured in our desire
To know one true thing
To see the edge of colors
To separate the grays
To discern Yes and No
Write from Wrong
Right from Strong
All the while knowing
Time is the enemy
Because we do not know
How much remains.
call it writer's block...
It's Saturday. Go play...
and now for a special announcement...
33 years. Years of love, laughter, pain, joy, anger, frustration, new towns, new faces, same old faces, slow starts, humble beginnings, dreams, goals, disappointments, misdirection and pleasant surprises.
Let's hope you got more out of it than just the two bone-headed twerps you reluctantly claim as progeny. We're sure glad you've stuck it out.
just a question...
Does life ever feel like this to you? Like you're stretched out across the expanse, clinging to the gossamer strands of half-truths, obfuscations, and flat out lies? Do you ever feel suspended and timeless, waiting for some hapless soul to wander into your web, to shake you awake in its struggle for freedom, only to realized you're the one who's truly entangled?
from the bottom desk drawer...
I guess I horde a lot of things. I've always thought it was the American thing to do. Sure, we call it "collecting"
, but only because it makes it sound like a hobby and not a sickness. I used to think it was just something in my own personality that made me
horde things. I figured my desire to keep things like Legos, comic books, old computer discs, guitar strings, old cassette tapes and the like was borne of some psychosis of my childhood. That somehow, changing homes/schools/states every few years
meant these possessions, no matter how small, were all that was permanent and fixed in life. Everything I was had to be carried along with me.
But now I think it's just endemic of our culture. I think we're taught to want things, then more things just like the last things, and so on. And truth is, there's a nice feeling in knowing you have the "complete set of"
. It says to the world "I'm serious about this. Consider me your guru of Pokemon cards,"
or whatever. And that's fine. Collecting's not inherently a bad thing. I just wish we could remember, when we begin, how much this stuff is gonna weigh a few years down the road.
everyone loves a vacation slide show...
Because you asked for it , here
are some pics from our trip to Cornerstone NC.
out of touch with reality...
Internet trouble at home last night. Wrote a post in my head as I drove in this morning. Got slammed with work the moment I hit the office and promptly lost my mental post-it notes from the drive down Capital Blvd.Time waster o' the day.
the art of being gracious...
Despite my love and deep penetrating need for affirmation, I'm not the world's best at taking a compliment. I like them. I enjoy them. On some level, I even need them. My intentions are to accept them with humility, but in the moment a compliment is made, I often respond in one of several ways, all less than appropriate.
Often I will mask the compliment by pointing out flaws the person may have missed. "Oh, thanks, but I really screwed up on that last bit" or "I'm really not this nice in real life." Pointing out my own failures to someone, who probably overlooked those failures intentionally, only serves to make myself look the fool.
More than likely, I'll disqualify the person making the compliment from the ability to make an informed opinion. How can someone think I'm good at something if they themselves really know nothing of the subject.
Sometimes, I try to ignore the comment completely and move on to another topic.
In any of the above cases, what I've done is effectively steal the joy right out of the compliment, both for myself, and for the person offering their praise. If I've done this to you, I'm sorry. It's not your fault I felt so awkward, unsure, and craved the taste of my own foot so much.
a song for the church...
Love Song for the Remnant (Zephaniah 3)
by Shane Blake
The LORD your God, He is righteous;
He does no wrong.
Every morning He brings justice to light;
and each new day the LORD, He does not fail
“Wait for me,” declares the LORD,
“for one day I'll stand and testify.
I'll purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the my name.”
The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He’ll rejoice over you with singing.
“On that day you will not be put to shame
for the wrongs you have done to Me.
I will take away from this city
all who rejoice in their pride.
Then the remnant of Israel
They will do no wrong; They will speak no lies,
They will eat and lie down
and no one will make them tremble.”
Sing, O Daughter of Zion;
Shout aloud, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O Daughter of Jerusalem!
“I leave with you the meek and humble,
those who trust in the name of the LORD.”
theology and the art of electric guitar maintenance...
I had to change the strings on the PRS and practice a few songs for tomorrow night. I realized, while polishing off the fingerprints, that even this menial task is an act of worship.
while driving too fast on 401...
I followed her for a few miles, not by choice, but by consequence of a similar direction. I noticed her at the light, her deep set eyes peering back at me in the rearview mirror. She was attractive, in a simple, modest kind of way. You could still make out her youth in the tone of her skin. She wore a question on her lips, eyeing me, trying to figure out what I wanted from her, why I would follow her down this road. "Just looking where I'm going, miss, honest." Maybe she's heard that line before.
Her eyes divulged more than she wanted. They spoke encyclopedic volumes of her biography. These were the sad eyes of a Waffle House waitress. But they didn't match her face. They were older than they should be. They carried more weight than they should have. She must be the new girl behind the counter. The one still learning the proper way to call an order. The one who keeps trying to put cheese on my hash browns. Already, she's seen her share of late night shifts that bleed into early mornings, only to double back again. The eyes don't lie.
Her van slows as she pulls off Ligon Mill onto a dirt road. She must be going home, maybe to a young husband or child. Before her tires kick up road dust, I've dropped down a gear and sped on past. I've got errands to run. I'm hungry and tired. I was just wondering if I would feel my son kick at my hand tonight when I talk to him through his mother's skin. Now, I'm wondering what she might have imagined about the man in her rearview mirror.
mind, body, and soul...
I need to sleep. I want to sleep, desperately, but I can't. I spent plenty of time awake today and I'm fully aware of the limitations of this sin scarred flesh. It must have rest. But the mind won't let the body stop. The inner child didn't get enough play time and is throwing a tantrum, banging out an off tempo circadian rhythm in my head.
We had a long practice tonight for a service
on Friday. We started early, worked hard, and stayed late. Now, the permanent blisters on my fingers ache from playing, the groves from the strings cut ever so slightly deeper, and sore muscles are pulling my hands into a knot. Yet they yearn to keep playing, strumming, praising. The heart's not had enough. He wants more. He has a song to sing and isn't letting up until he gets his way.
immobilized by desire...
I want to redesign my blog. I want to scan a bunch of photos and update Autochrome. I want to write a new song. I want to record an old song. I want to send a recorded song in and win the John Lennon Songwriting Contest
. I want to write something commical, or inspiring, or at least memorable, but it's 11:57 and I'm tired, so none of it's gonna get done tonight. Sorry...
10 points of office etiquette...
- Do not schedule a meeting at the end of the day on a Friday, or anytime before 9:30... ever.
- However pleasing to the olfactories it may or may not be, any food that can be virtually tasted more than two cubes away should never leave the break room.
- If it's not your mug, don't you dare use it. You are the reason there are 8 oz styrofoam cups under the sink. And if you do steal
mysomeone's mug, don't you dare leave it sitting in the sink half filled with stale coffee, powdered creamer, and tepid backwash.
- Never leave food on table in the break room unless you intend to share. If you don't want your coworkers to eat your birthday cake, keep it in your desk drawer.
- Never, ever load your computer with sound effects and quotes from your favorite TV show. No, not even from the Simpsons. No one wants to hear Homer's "D'oh!" every time you hit the wrong button.
- If you dare put your greasy fingerprints on my monitor screen, I will break every digit in your hand.
- If you know where someone is and need to talk with them, do not page them. Sure, you enjoy stroking your own tiny ego by making them call you, but do you really want everyone to know how tiny your ego really is?
- Turning the coffee pot off because you don't want to take the time out of your busy day to brew a fresh pot makes you the moral equivalent of Osama Bin Laden's fecal matter. Even lawyers are higher on the social order than you.
- Never assume that the coworker who sits beside the coworker you're looking for knows where on this grand blue marble called Earth the other shlep is currently located. Check the last place they went to hide from you. You wanna leave a message? Find a post-it and pen or go back and call their freakin' voice mail.
- You work in a cube farm... Step away from the speaker phone...
I hope Coleman gets my eyes because they're both green and
orange at the same time
so to answer syd's question...
How did that make you feel? What was your first thought? Did it give you chills or make you feel like crying or dancing around? Was it that powerful? Just asking, I don't have kids, but I can imagine. Congrats!
My first thought? Oh, that's easy. "Hey... my hand just moved. Hey... it moved again..."
As much as I'd love for everyone here to think I had some great epiphany the first time Coleman kick my hand through his mamma's belly, I'd be making it up. It was rather mater of fact. Don't get me wrong. It was
cool. And yes, I did tell every single person within reach of my voice today.
I'm sure it was exciting for Cole, too. After all, these few months is the only time he'll be allowed to kick mamma in the gut without a tan hide resulting. I'm sure she'll feed him some nasty strained pea baby "food" that he'll hate, so he'd better get his retaliatory licks in now, his little preemptive strikes here and there, while daddy still can't a belt to his butt.
Where there chills, or crying, or dancing around though? No. Just two thumps, one after the other. Then me sitting there, with my hand just under her navel, waiting for a third. But it's morning, the alarm, it's the third hit on the snooze, work day, showers, go, go, go.
There have been tears though. Man tears. The kind that build just behind your eye, about to burst like Old Faithful. Like any good, southern male, they're choked back and suppressed. Picture the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam. And they never come when anyone else can see. Never at the moment something like this happens.
In the quite times when I'm alone, just me and God and I realize what it all means, what he means, my responsibility as father, how fragile life truly is and how good God can be and how much we don't deserve a sweet, precious little boy... That's what gives me chills. That's makes me wanna cry and dance and laugh and write a new song...
Still, goading him on to kick mom in the bladder is
two little thumps...
Just in case you even remotely cared, I felt Coleman kick for the first time this morning...
Hey Mr. Kodachrome
Paint me with light
My life's an emulsion wash
So catch me with your eye
Frame me for another day
I want to remember this smile
no, no, no...
No story. No poem. No profundity. No rhythm and certainly no rhyme. No song. No chords. No prayer for wisdom. No daydream. No confession. No hope for future happiness. No jokes. No catharsis. No half-veiled attempts to make you understand me, show you my true soul, or make you care.
No. Not tonight. Tonight all you get is a lousy picture from the Yankee Candle outlet store.
a beautiful failure...
A Beautiful Failure
I wanted a photo of a sunset
the pale color stretched thin.
Out back of our home
the sun sets over the little barn
It, faded red and weary,
shelters to two young horses
both red themselves.
I wanted them in my photo
standing at the fencepost just so.
I wanted the old sycamore
there in the pasture
tall, thin and haggard
as a silhouette scratching the sky.
I wanted them all in my frame
old barn and red horses;
fence and tree;
color and contrast.
I wanted a perfect picture.
I wanted too much.
ok kids, time's up...
Here are my 26 Things