Took a couple days off

1 September 2010

(… with apologies to Huey Lewis & the News …)

Yeah, I been blog-gone since last Friday — for what I think are very good reasons:

  1. I was tired.
  2. I needed to rest.

Both of which will not exactly be news to the regular readers of this space — or to anyone who knows me.  What with all the stressors of the last year-plus, “being tired/needing to rest/not really knowing how to rest” has become a regular theme of my life and writing.  That’s been compounded in the last couple of weeks, as my wife Nina has gone back to work as a Special Education assistant (more on that later this week), and I’ve had to pick up sole care during the days for Sean again.  So my energy level, not high in the first place, took another dive.

Thus, I’m taking another run at learning how to rest.  And, with God’s help, I’m trying a new tack.

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Rest as a weapon

9 August 2010

First of all, an apology.  On Friday, I said in this space that I had a “doozy” of a post that I would be putting up the next day.  I still plan to write it up (I’m shooting for tomorrow, August 10), but obviously, it didn’t happen Saturday, and I am sorry for not keeping my promise.  (This may seem a little melodramatic to some, but I take that whole “be a man of my word” business seriously.  Probably because my dad didn’t.  Enough of the Freud; back to the column.)

So what was I doing Saturday — and Sunday, for that matter — when I wasn’t writing a blog entry?  Well, mostly I was resting.  Or learning how to rest, anyway.

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Periodic Pingback: Humor a la Slate

6 August 2010

(Blogger’s note: every once in a while, I’ll find something on the InterWebTenterNet (thank you, McLeod Brothers) that I had no hand in creating, but is nonetheless such a case of awesome epicness (or epic awesomeness) that I cannot refrain from passing it on without violating my conscience.  And it helps if, like tonight, I’m too exhausted from dealing with medical providers and family issues to put up a column.  Thus, “Periodic Pingback” — a peripatetic palette of prime pieces per my PC.   Enjoy!  And I have a doozy of a post for tomorrow — watch out …)

It may say something about the state of comedy in the 21st century that one of the consistently best sources of humor in my life is an online news and opinion magazine.  Or maybe that says something about the state of mass media in the 21st century.  Either way, from Monday through Friday, if I want a chance to laugh out loud without having my intelligence insulted, my best bet is Slate Magazine.

Now, Slate does tend to run a bit to the liberal side for my tastes (they are, after all, a division of the Washington Post Media Group) and I don’t read everything they publish (a lot of it just doesn’t interest me).  And they do employ mean-spirited anti-religious knucklehead Christopher Hitchens as a regular columnist.  They ain’t perfect; nobody is except Jesus, and look what we did to Him.

But they are good for a well-thought-out laugh – whether it’s their weekly feature “Barack Obama’s Facebook Feed” (a parody, not the real thing … I think), a flow chart for the gravity of congressional scandals, the indecisiveness of Brett Favre plotted as an interactive mathematical graph, or documentation of the verbal pratfalls of vice-president/equal opportunity offender Joe Biden and ex-governor/free-form linguist Sarah Palin.  Almost every day, the site has something that makes me guffaw, something that makes me think … and often something that does both at the same time.

One could find worse news outlets.  (I’ll name no names …)


All socialized out

28 July 2010

Sorry I’ve been gone for a few days, but things have been sort of crazy here … and not the kind of crazy I’ve been going through for the last year, a different kind.

Me and John, a friend of mine from my college days, hadn’t seen each other face-to-face in a decade.  But we’ve been trying to get together on and off for a couple of years now.  It took a while because he lives in San Diego and I’m up here in Stockton, 400 miles (650 km) away.  Plus we each have two kids.  And then last summer Sean got sick.  So it wasn’t until this last weekend that we were able to hook up — he was on vacation with his kids, traveling all over the West, and made a swing through town for a couple of days.  We had fun, our kids had fun, the conversations were great and all was right with the world.

They headed out Monday morning … and on Monday evening, some college buddies of the Supermodel came through.  They’re both Northern California natives but currently live in Savannah, Georgia (the husband is stationed at Fort Stewart) and were taking their four kids and their motor home to visit friends and family.  Again, we had fun, our kids had fun, the conversations were great and life was good.

So needless to say, it was a wonderful several days … and this morning I could barely peel myself out of bed.

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Is this why I’m here?

9 July 2010

Shared pain is diminished, shared joy is increased. — Spider Robinson

I had a blog post all ready for Tuesday — still do, in rough draft form — but found that I didn’t have enough energy to flesh it out that evening.  (Incidentally, if 36 hours go by here without a new post, and I haven’t said I’m going to be absent, assume I’m just exhausted.  And, ideally, pray for me.)  It’s happened a lot that way: wanting to write, but not having the get-up-and-go to get the words out.  Part of it is physical — as you know if you read my stuff, I have a lot going on.  Part of it is mild drepression, which I’ve had to deal with my whole life but which gets tougher with … well, all that I have going on.

And part of it is wondering if anyone’s reading.  Seriously.  WordPress tracks how many looks my blog gets every day, and lately the numbers have been low — single digits, usually.  I know how important it is to be faithful even when you see no results, to trust God and let him bring the increase, et cetera.  Heck, my hero from the Bible (after Jesus) is the prophet Jeremiah, who preached for forty years and only saw one convert result from it.  But I’m human, I want to be liked.  And it’s hard to spend an hour or two on this — on anything — every day when you’re not getting much feedback, when it can be empirically proven that few people are noticing it.  And I’d been wondering if I should continue, though I hadn’t actually gotten to the stage of asking God if it was “time’s up” for this project.

And then, on Wednesday night, I got an e-mail …

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Back on the chain gang … with a smile

21 June 2010

What with all that’s been going on in my and my family’s lives, especially our son Sean’s illness, I haven’t really been tired in quite some time.

No, seriously.  I stopped being tired last December and moved on to exhausted.  By March, I had transcended exhaustion to whatever lies beyond.  And that’s how it’s been, pretty much every day until last week.  Don’t ask me how I kept going; other than sheer stubbornness and lack of other options, I have no idea.

Well, the week before last, my supermodel wife Nina finished the year at what’s left of the charter school where she was teaching, and would be home all day for a while.  (Until the next position opens up. Which probably won’t be long, as one of the local school districts where she used to sub is apparently salivating at the prospect of having her back.  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.)  The upshot is that last week, after much planning and my wife’s tacit approval, I took a vacation.

Sort of.

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A journey from stress into Love

6 August 2009

So I’ve been pretty stressed lately.  There was already a foundation for being stressed — being unemployed, trying to find a publisher for my novel, figuring out what to do with my time, overweight, on the outside of the institutional church.  When I had a little three-week temp job for the local bus utility, they had one of those posters in the office that listed different stressful events and how many “Life Change Units” they contained; if you had 300 LCUs in the previous twelve months, you qualified as “highly stressed.”  Back then, I was at 293, just shy of the top level.

Since then (and you can read all of this in my previous entries, if you really want all the details), I’ve added some minor health troubles: bad ankles getting worse, intestinal troubles, bifocals that I’m still getting used to.  Then I began finding more about my mom’s health problems, which barring a drastic change look like they’ll be fatal in the fairly short term.  At the same time, what little relationship I have with my dad got even worse, which I would previously have said was impossible.  And it’s summer, so the Supermodel and I are both home most of the time, getting in each other’s hair and on each other’s nerves — not trying too, it’s just too much personality in too little space for too many hours.

I don’t know how many Life Change Units I’ve piled up at this point — something in the thousands, I guess.  I’m holding it together, not acting out or screaming at people … much.  I’m doing the best I can, but I desperately need a success at this stage.  So what do you figure happens next?

Try having a child falling seriously ill.  AND car trouble, too.

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