Cleaning out the closet — and long overdue!

23 August 2011

Some random bits and pieces from the pages of my mind — none of them enough for a full blog post, but still worth passing on:

* Regular readers of this space know that I’m a big fan of Bill Simmons,’s “Sports Guy” since 2001.  Well, Bill has gone and done something new, starting his own website called Grantland.  Named after 1920s sportswriter Grantland Rice, it’s sort of a clearinghouse for feature and opinion pieces on sports, popular culture and the intersection of the two.  Besides Simmons, the featured writers include Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, Katie Baker, This Recording’s Molly Lambert and ESPN’s Jonah Keri, plus a half-dozen others that you may not have heard of but will become a fan of before long.  The level of authorship ranges from pretty good to excellent, they put up about a dozen pieces a day, and I probably spend more time reading it Monday-Friday than I can really afford.  But I never seem to regret it.

I just added a link to Grantland to my list o’ links on the right — or you can click here to check it out.  Try it, you might like it.

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Thinking inside the box(es): the blessing of a schedule

16 August 2011

I’m coming up on three years of being unemployed now.

Now, I will admit there are a couple of asterisks attached to that statement.  I did a three-week temp job riding public transportation for a consulting firm.  I’ve also done a little freelance wordsmithing (business letters and the like) for a couple of friends who needed such things done.  And from August 2009 until last month, I was spending several hours a day caring for a severely disabled child.  But still, I haven’t had semi-permanent, full-time employment since just after Lehman Brothers went splat.  (Probably not coincidental.)

All that time NOT spent on a 9-5 or similar schedule has been rough on me.  I’m someone that needs to be busy — even if I’m doing nothing much, it needs to be a “doing nothing much” that keeps me focused and occupied.  (Prayer isn’t a problem; that’s “doing something,” and I have to be focused so I don’t miss what God might say.  But no silent meditation for me, thanks.)  Which means that I end up finding things to fill the time, but without the requirements of a job, filling the time can end up meaning looking at funny captions on pictures of cats for two hours at a clip.  And that sort of thing was beginning to happen more and more.

Clearly, I needed to get myself on a schedule.

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The blog, the blog, the blog, the blog is back!

30 July 2011

(With apologies to Elton John, lol …)

I can’t believe it’s been four months (and change) since I last wrote!  Where did the time go?

Oh, yeah, I remember where it went …

  • My wife was working full-time, then not working at all, and is now working again (kinda sorta).
  • Our son Sean started school (yes, you read that right — he’s started school!).
  • Our daughter graduated from fifth grade and started sixth — with a reading level FIVE grades ahead of her grade level — and passed two swimming courses.
  • As for me, I’ve been through a barrage of medical tests and had two surgeries (almost three), done some more fiction writing (including my continuing Iron Man fanfic), and bought an exercise machine after discovering I was more overweight than even I’d suspected.

So yeah, things were a little busy.  When you throw in all the other doctor’s appointments (our family has more than most, it seems), all the other summer activities, and just the general stress of being around each other more than usual, it can get hectic.  Too hectic to write?  Wellllll … possibly.  But now I’m setting my distractions aside (or trying to, more accurately), exercising a little more discipline and getting back to the keyboard to commune with you, dear reader.  I might even make tea, if you’re up for it.

And while we sip our cuppa, what can we discuss?  Besides, all of the above, it’s been a wild four months:

  • May 21 passed without incident (and by “incident,” I mean “Harold Camping getting a beatdown from a justifiably angry mob”).
  • Stockton got a miniature heat wave, but nothing compared to the rest of the country.
  • The Democrats and the Republicans are engaging in a wonderful spirit of bipartisanship to bankrupt the country through their joint ineptitude.
  • The Giants got Carlos Beltran, the US men’s soccer team got Juergen Klinsmann (after five years of flirting), and the 49ers got to sit at home for months on end while the  lawyers fought over crap none of us really care about.
  • The American church rolled on … toward a cliff, far as can be told, but it’s rolling!
  • Et cetera.

So I think we can find things to talk about.  I do apologize for the long silence, and I’ll understand if you’ve been seeing other blogs in my absence.  It can get lonely out there, I know.  But now, we can be together again, and “all the pleasures prove,” as the poet said.  (Which poet was that?  Let me Google it … ah, Christopher Marlowe.  Also Charles Emerson Winchester III.  Gotta love Google.)  And I will try my darnedest, by the grace of God, to not leave any more mullti-month gaps in the record.  Tune in Tuesday for a thorough update on the Seanster Monster (that wasn’t a typo, folks — school!).  Until then … it’s good to be back.  Action!

Projecting 2011: One month in

2 February 2011

Back on January 4, I wrote about the projects I believed God was guiding me to work on for 2011.  What struck me about them at the time was how mundane they were — no grand public gestures or insurmountable obstacles, just stuff-around-the-house kinds of things.  I was a little put out, until I realized that a) part of the purpose was to focus me by getting me to concentrate on fewer activities than usual, and b) the underlying subtext was that I was right where God wanted me for now.

So that’s all right, then.  But how am I doin’ with what God has me doin’?  Four and a half weeks into the new year, that seems like a good question to ask.  So why don’t I take a look, and see how well I’ve been keeping up …

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Projecting 2011

4 January 2011

So here we are, four days into the new year.  I’m sure that you or someone you know has made some “New Year’s resolutions,” statements on how you’re going to do things differently in 2011.  Maybe you’ve even broken one or more of them already.  Me, I don’t really do those anymore, for two reasons:

  1. My tendency is to constantly make resolutions for myself year-round, so setting aside one time of year for them would just be excessive.
  2. It doesn’t work all that well.

I look back at my resolutions for 2009 and just laugh — what with my son Sean’s Leigh’s disease, my mom’s death and my lack of willpower, none of them lasted to Labor Day.  It’s just like the bit in James 4:13-15 — you can make all the plans you want, but if God has other plans for you, your to-do list is dust in the wind.  So, no N.Y.R.s for this little black duck!

However, I’m not the type who can simply burrow through the days with no measurable long-term goal.  I used to get those from my job(s), but with being Sean’s full-time caregiver/physical therapist/doctor wrangler, that’s simply not in the picture at present.  And you can’t really set personal goals for someone else’s medical recovery, especially when said recovery is as off the charts as Sean’s is (and hopefully will continue to be).  So I realized as 2010 wound down that I needed some projects, some things that could provide goals (however unimportant) to keep the goal-shooting-for part of my personality occupied and out of trouble.

And given the events of the last couple of years, I figured picking them myself was probably the wrong move.  So I needed to talk to God and find out what He wanted me doing.  Only I wasn’t quite prepared for what He had to say …

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The other side of the election

3 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: chapter 6 of my Iron Man fanfic, “Hearts and Souls,” is now online; you can check it out here.  Between that and the end of the World Series, I’ll be free to spend a little more time on blogging for the next couple of weeks.  Please hold your applause …)

Just in case you hadn’t heard, there were some elections in the United States yesterday.

Some folks won, others lost, there were a few mild surprises.  And I could talk about the various races and stuff.  I’m a bit of a political nerd; minored poli. sci. in college and everything.  Plus, I’m an opinionated son-of-a-gun.  So it’s tempting for me to address the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives, or the various showings of “Tea Party” candidates, or how California elected Harvey Fierstein lieutenant governor, or even how former Portland Trailblazer Chris Dudley may become the first ex-NBA Big White Stiff to win a U.S. governorship.  It’s very tempting.

But I decided to look at yesterday’s election from a different point of view — namely, that of my wife.

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Well, I said I was tired …

10 October 2010

… yeah, I did.  But I had no idea how tired I was until I finally had a chance to really rest!

After this last year-plus, I’ve needed nothing more than a good long vacation.  Even though things have stabilized greatly (I haven’t had any more moms die lately), there was still this residual backlog of fatigue, so to speak.  I was trying to chop it down to size as best I could, and more recently applying the “no competitions – no challenges – no cereals” credo I mentioned a few weeks ago.  (Not perfectly, of course — I’ve fallen back into more than a few games of Risk at Pogo, albeit playing against the computer, which is a lot easier.  And pizza is still my kryptonite when it comes to keeping the carbs down.)  Slowly, my energy tank was getting filled back up again.

And then along came an unexpected blessing: the local school district’s screwball sked.

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