Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm not a comedian, but....

Actually, I do enjoy good stand-up. Case in point: When Geogal and I drove to Palm Springs a couple of Saturdays ago, the entire four-hour journey consisted of us listening to Blue Collar Comedy, Channel 103 on Sirius Satellite Radio.

We laughed out loud numerous times.

Anyway, why does the National Weather Service feel the need to issue a "heat advisory" for the Arizona desert in late August?

Just wondering.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Return to sanity, return to the keyboard

The computer keyboard, that is.

Today marks the end of vacation time for us. Geogal and I enjoyed sunny Palm Springs while little Geoana had a great visit with her grandparents in the Lone Star State.

Speaking of which, yesterday was one of the longest days the little one and I have spent, due to having an early flight out of Austin. After factoring in the drive time to the airport, we determined we would have to arise out of slumber at 4 a.m.

4 a.m. Texas time. 2 a.m. God's time.

An uneventful flight, no problems with getting the luggage, and driving home in a rainstorm found us back at the Geohouse, where Geogal informed us she had not slept well overnight due to the thunder and lightning.

Needless to say, none of us needed to be rocked to sleep last night.

And we all reposed well. The moods are better today, not a minute too soon. Geoana is performing in a church musical this evening. (I am shooting video of it for posterity. I will provide all of the family members with a DVD copy once it's edited to my liking.)

How was the vacation, you may ask?

Very relaxing. We didn't do anything. (Isn't that the purpose of these times away?)

Now, back to the old grind...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Flying light and eating heavy

And yesterday went off with nary a hitch as well!

Did I forget to mention that this week is an unusual one for me?

It is. Yesterday morning, little Geoana and I boarded a plane for Austin, Texas. We then met my mom and dad, and the little one is now in the throes of enjoying a stay at the grandparent's house.

What about me? I boarded a return flight a few hours after arriving in The Lone Star State and was back in Phoenix before suppertime.

And today, considering the weather concerns from Tropical Storm Erin, I'm glad yesterday was the cheap airfare day. Going today would have been horrid for all involved.

The only thing that went awry yesterday was being unable to visit with my folks over the noon meal. We intended to patronize one of the restaurants at the Austin airport. However, it turned out just about all of the eateries were inside the terminal (that is, beyond the security check). So, we finally decided to have Grandma and Grandpa take the little one, visit a fast food place, then head home, while I would have a little time to myself before again taking flight. My only hope was to find some true “Texas” food.

I didn't have to look far.

Strolling among the eateries, I noticed one called “The Salt Lick.” Eureka! BBQ!!!

You see, I was secretly hoping to enjoy the slow-smoked meat for which Texas is known worldwide. And The Salt Lick did not disappoint. In fact, the platter I purchased was so loaded with vittles I wondered if I would even finish it.

I did. (But I sure didn't have to eat again for many hours.)

After eating, I walked around the terminal for a while. Then I saw it.

Harlon's Barbecue.

Not one, but two BBQ joints in the airport. And Harlon's actually had two eateries in the terminal. I had to laugh out loud. Here I was, hoping to find one place with BBQ, and this airport has two.

Only in Texas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An antidote for worry

The people who follow the 12 Steps have a saying. The axiom is so old and so popular that even many people who never darkened the doorstep of an AA meeting know it: "One day at a time."

Meaning: Don't dwell on the future, on what may happen days, weeks, or years down the road. Just take care of today's stuff today.

Some folks have even taken the slogan one step further. Such as "one hour at a time," or "one minute at a time." Whatever it takes.

I think I said the "one minute at a time" to myself numerous times yesterday. It was a packed day and filled with tasks that were outside my normal routine. Take the car to the body shop, secure a rental car, take little Geoana to grandma's house, participate in a professional function, retrieve Geoana, work out at the gym much later than usual (meaning more crowded), then prepare the evening meal.

And guess what? It all went off without a hitch. I need to take yesterday and file it in the "make sure you remember this" part of my mind for use in the future. To be sure, you the reader might not think that what I just listed entailed any type of stressful day, but remember you were not in my shoes! Plus, I have a strong sense God is using my experiences to break me of my worry habit.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moving along and improving

Just a quick look over the posts of the past week or so could lead one to assume I am in need of antidepressants.

Not so. While I do have occasional bouts of melancholia (probably due to my Irish heritage), I am usually not dysphoric. I must thank my older sister and mother-in-law for their kind words of sympathy in regard to my friend's death (see previous post).

Plus, the past couple of days seem to have been just what the doctor ordered. First, Friday evening I enjoyed fellowship with other guys from my church. We spent a few hours eating salty and overall unhealthy food and watching Looney Tunes DVD's. That evening, one of my friends there, Jim W., asked if I wanted to go with him on Saturday to Northern Arizona. Evidently he needed to reconnoiter an area where he secured a deer hunting permit. He presented this to me in the context of: "You have that truck. Have you even taken it on a serious off-road excursion?"

How could I say no?

We had a great four-wheel-drive trip yesterday. I took some photos, and I will post those with some narrative detail in a future blog entry.

Needless to say, my mood is better. And not a minute too soon. This week will be unusual and therefore stressful. Yet it could also be enjoyable as well.

For those who think I do a little too much whining and self-pity in this blog, remember what a blog is. In its most simple definition, it is an online journal. And many times I find the written word to be helpful in processing my own internal junk.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A new phase of life (and not one I want)

I'm hurting.

A week ago a colleague and good friend died. Yesterday afternoon I attended her memorial service. No doubt she was loved by a great many people.

If you're wondering about the particulars, her name was Sherry. She had two children and five grandchildren. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in early July. In my conversations with her since that time, Sherry was determined she would beat the illness despite the grim prognosis by the medical professionals.

And within the span of two days last week I received word that she was back in the hospital, not doing well. The next news was of her death.

“How old?” you wonder. Only 60.

To me, that's just not very old.

And during the last few days I also have come to the realization that I am entering a new phase of my life. One that I didn't expect.

I am now reaching an age and a point in my life where people close to me will die. With regularity.

Before now, I always equated death of contemporaries and friends to be the realm of my parents. And 20 to 25 years ago, the latest news of family friends who passed away was delivered by grandparents.

But this situation is different. Sherry and I worked in the same department. We fought the same professional battles. And while there was a difference in our ages (I will turn 42 this fall), at work we were equals in many ways.

Sigh. And so it begins.

As noted above, I wasn't expecting this to hit me so hard, particularly right now. But as I get older, I have to face the inevitable. I will be saying many more goodbyes in the coming years. And a lot of them are going to hurt, just as this one does.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Random stuff

Sometimes there are just things that pop into my head, things that I know I should note on this blog. Not big things, just paltry and humorous tidbits.

So, nobody asked me, but....

There is again a lot of excitement surrounding the Cardinals this upcoming season. Yet I predict another 5-11 or 6-10 season. Still, things could be worse. At least the local team is not the Browns. With each passing day I am laughing more and more over the Brady Quinn holdout...

Yes, there are a lot of foreclosures occurring around the Valley right now. And you know what? In almost every case, the foreclosure was an example of a person or persons who could not afford a house and had no business purchasing one. And shame on the lenders who worked up all of those sub-prime deals. Just another symbol of today's "Buy it now (why wait?) and buy it on credit" philosophy...

I am willing to trade some bright sunny days when the temps are hovering around 110 degrees for a number of days where the thermometer may not even get over 100 but the humidity will remind me of Houston. Increased cloud cover doesn't hurt, either. Course, a steady month or six weeks of sticky, gray days may well have me longing for the scorching sunny days...

Remember the saying on that famous "Murphy's Law" poster of yesteryear? "Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought." The same holds true for starting a business...

Last but not least: I hope the "Doctor Who" scripts begin to improve.