Friday, November 23, 2007

Post not-exactly-turkey-day musings

No turkey for us yesterday. You see, due to illness we did not visit the in-laws, where the big bird was defrosted and ready for roasting. That freed us at the Geohouse to call an audible. So, we wound up at Monti's La Casa Vieja, where Geogal had fetuccine, I had prime rib, and little Geoana had a burger. Who said you have to stick to the traditional stuff on Thanksgiving?

We ate there two Thanksgivings ago. Maybe we need to start a new family tradition.

Decided to turn on the old idiot box to see what the crowds were like at various shopping centers. I haven't watched local news in some time (I get virtually all of it these days from radio, newspaper, and Internet). It turns out I haven't missed much. Since it was after 7 in the morning, the Big Three network affiliates had already gone to the national shows. Therefore I was left with KTVK and Fox 10. Oh, the humanity!! Anchors stammering through scripts that obviously never saw a proofreader, video for a hard news story consisting of a static camera shot of a computer screen showing the Fox site, and a spastic weather-reader-comedian humiliating a 13-year-old girl who buried her face in her mother's chest (having the good sense to not show her face on television).

I continually read how the Internet is killing print news. If television news continues to take the lowest road possible, the Net might just deal the death blow to the TV variety as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fast thoughts

Yet another reason why I am not a gambling man.

Yesterday I thought to myself: "Oregon will show up to play. There's no way Arizona will beat them two years in a row. Final score--Oregon 28, Arizona 3."

Imagine my shock when I picked up my newspaper in the driveway this morning. What a whiff!

The Dolphins obviously think things cannot get any worse for them.

Dumbest quote of the day, even more outlandish than anything that came from Barry Bonds' attorneys, is courtesy of Miami linebacker Zach Thomas:

"He won't be a cancer in the locker room. He has always had a good work ethic."

Say what?? Hey Thomas, do you not recall what took place in July of 2004, when Williams suddenly announced he was retiring from the game? That his timing could not have been worse for the team? Bailing out just before the beginning of training camp? Leaving at a time when all the talented free agent running backs were already signed by other teams?

What kind of work ethic is that?

I still have a hard time believing next week is Thanksgiving. Where did this year go?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reflecting in a fast-food joint

About a week ago I had occasion to be in Apache Junction, which some Valley residents might refer to as "dogpatch" or "the town that smells of manure and cigarette smoke." Epithets aside, AJ has its own brand of uniqueness that sets it apart from the other East Valley cities.

But enough about the town. If I'm there around the lunching hour I will stop at the Whataburger at the corner of Apache Trail and Meridian. Years ago, my job used to take me to AJ frequently so I am well familiar with the eating options. So, I decided to again nosh at this Whataburger, even though I haven't eaten there in a good four years. (Plus, Whataburger appeals to my Native Texan blood.)

The burger is just as good as I remember. What I didn't anticipate is that being in this establishment would bring back a flood of memories. I remember distinctly heading in there to eat in the summer of 2002. Geogal and I were preparing to move away from Casa Grande and set up residence in the Valley. The house sale was going well, no snags with the contract. Yet I was very stressed. We still didn't have a mover. Time was getting short. While having my lunch (a Whataburger, probably with bacon), I managed to make a call to a guy with a Valley-based mover, who was agreeable to the job. So, leave Whataburger with a little less stress.

Back to present-day. I have new stressors, big ones. Yet the moving issue has long since been resolved. Maybe there is a lesson here for me. I will always have items (internal and external) that will affect my stress level. However, these things often come and go. Very few stay for the long-term. And chances are high that I will be around to fight another day. Stress can have a positive effect. But I have to remember not to let my stress get the better of me.

And I'm wondering about eating in that same Whataburger a few years down the road. What will today's stressors be then?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The most wonderful time of the week

No, don't start humming the Christmas song with a title similar to today's blog heading. Since Halloween is gone, we'll all soon be bombarded with holiday tunes as it is.

Saturday mornings, especially in the fall, are just grand. I'm always the first one up in the Geohouse. Cool temps, hot coffee, overall quiet. Plus Friday night-Saturday morning sleep is some of the most restful I get all week.

The above tend to congeal into a mental condition that in turn causes me to think reflectively at the very start of the weekend. Today's thoughts? Meaning. Drive. Happiness. All of these were subjects of my musing during the past week.

What drives me? I wonder. I am not a Type A person. (Sometimes I believe I'm Type B minus.) Achievement has its place, but it is not my ultimate goal. I'm more oriented to my interests and hobbies than my livelihood. And I don't think that's wrong. Please do not misunderstand me, I work hard at my profession. I am constantly reading and attending workshops in order to learn new and different ways in which to ply my trade. I do network. And I am enjoying some of the freedoms that come with being self-employed, even if I am engaging in a little moonlighting for the time being. The outside work is OK and I am always reminding myself that doing the extra work is not a long-term plan.

Happiness? I know enough to know it doesn't come from money. Money can certainly buy fun, for the short-term, but it cannot buy sustained, chronic joy. Vacations and journeys have their place but often I am OK just tending to my own home. My favorite sports teams? Politics? Entertainment? Nope, goose egg on all three. Happiness does not come from outside circumstances. (OK, not my idea. Stephen Covey communicates this in "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," and Rick Warren relates this concept from a Christian perspective in "The Purpose Driven Life," both good reads.) I think my father had it correct when, in a recent phone conversation, he reminded me to take time and do some outdoor grilling and take my truck out to explore Arizona. (This, in a response to how stressed I felt at that time.)

So this morning I am feeling upbeat, optimistic. Now, can I take this attitude and sustain it throughout the weekend, perhaps even (yikes!) the week to come?

Now, moving away from the reflection, here's a short Geofamily reference to a current event. The photo today (from 2005) shows Geoana at the Anchorage zoo, in the background is (or was) their resident elephant. Who was moved to warmer climes this week.