Sunday, October 31, 2010

The meaning of life is to live...

and our lives take us on journey's that we never imagined were possible.  Great things happen, not so great things happen, and often some pretty terrible things happen.  

In 1989 my mom re-married to a man named Gary, a great thing.  Gary is a truly incredible and amazing person.  I have been very fortunate to have Gary in my life. 

Gary also had two adult children, a son and a daughter.  I don't remember the first time that I met Gary's son Steve, but I remember the second very well.

In 1998, my son had just turned 1 year old.  We drove down to see my mom for a surprise visit.  I let Gary know we were coming, but we didn't tell my mom.  As far as surprises go, it was the best ever.  That week, we spent a lot of time with Steve and his wife Wanda, and I left with memories that will last a lifetime.  It was truly an incredibly happy moment in my life.  After that visit I made a collage picture of what we did and it has been hung up everywhere I have gone.  There is a photo of Steve, Wanda, my son Brandon, his mom, and myself that I put in the center of that collage.  Steve was a very smart business person, a dedicated husband, a loving father, and a genuinely great human being.

October 29, 2010, a Friday night, Steve was driving by himself and was killed in a head on collision.  I still cannot accept that he is gone and that there is nothing anyone can do about it.  Steve was taken from this world far too early, he will be missed, and he will be very fondly remembered.  He was married to Wanda for just over 13 years, and they have a beautiful 10 year old daughter together.






Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

An exercise you should do....

Into recycling and renewable energy?  Into conservation?

Try this for a day....then pass it on.

Go without your internal plumbing and running water for one day.

Get some bottled water as your only water source and see how often you wash your hands and how much water you use doing it, how often you use water for the most mundane tasks.  How often you need water to flush a toilet.  How about taking a shower?  Washing dishes?  Preparing meals.

As an alteration on this exercise, you can opt to get water by the bucketful from your furthest outside faucet for drinking, washing, bathing, etc to simulate getting water from a river or some other source.

There are many people on this planet that do not have the luxury of clean and reliable water.  In many countries, farming and industry are polluting the few sources of water these people have.

You can also do the same with food, electricity, cars, etc.  Take a day to remind you and your children how well you have things and how much others on this planet lack.  Could you even walk to a local store to pick up food to eat for a day in your area?

There are some shoes you just can't really know what it is like to wear until you put them on and do it yourself.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The day to day stuff....

Finally, the weather is changing!!!!  Temperature feels like the low 60s for something like the first time since April.  No more 100/90/high 80's days!!!!!!!  I'm on the back porch, sitting on the futon with the mac book pro my work gave me (more on that later), watching the earth spin and take the sun from below the horizon through it's daily trek through the sky.  The instant the light hit my face it started warming it up.

So, no honeymoon until December.  We decided to wait until the kids were with their respective other parents and then go some where like Utah or Colorado to go snowboarding/skiing, snow shoeing, etc.

So what have we been doing in the mean time?  Not a lot.  Taking a break from all the wedding preparations!

We have been focused on the day to day routine.  SGG and I both work, but we work semi-staggered schedules.  I go into work earlier in the morning and come home earlier, she goes in a little later, and comes home a little later.  My son Brandon goes to an out of district school and so we must provide transportation for him.  SGG takes him in the morning, and I pick him up in the afternoon.  It makes for a much longer commute now for SGG, but she gets about 20 minutes alone with him every day.  We had definitely talked about this a lot even before I moved in July.  Her sons Michael and John both ride the buses to their schools.  In the afternoons, I get home with Brandon about the same time that Michael gets home.  They are required to get chores and homework done before they can go out or play on computer/xbox.  Our chores are setup so that they just have a couple of small tasks that should take them 5-10 minutes each.  We haven't been too strict on them yet, so that they could get used to it, but we are clamping down on that.  Outside of that, they are free to do pretty much what they want to do.  The boys organize different things to do together, or go off with different friends, or go off to different structured activities.  It gives them time both together and apart.

SGG and I coordinate dinner.  A few times a week I'll cook stuff and a few times a week she does.   We both go to the store to get things we need.  I have a few things that I do, such as piano lessons and sports, that take some coordinating too.  Softball was supposed to end this week, but we had two rain out nights and so we will have two makeup games.  Volleyball started last week, but I couldn't go to the first game (more on that in a second).  The boys have scouts, and two will be starting a lacrosse clinic on Sundays this weekend.

So mostly mundane routine.  SGG and I try to make sure we have time to talk in both the early morning and in the evening (being rather strict on bed time routine on the boys).  We pick a show that looks interesting, get it on itunes or netflix, and watch that together.  We'll often lay in bed and watch them on the Mac Book Pro.  Currently we are watching Dexter, in season 4, and I'm not sure if we are life imitating art or art imitating life.  I am also trying to sync up the two different camera feeds from the wedding and that is proving a little difficult.  :-)

SGG and I had planned a whitewater rafting trip for the week after the wedding, but she started reading about the Gauley River and decided she would be better off relaxing at home.  After doing my own reading and finding out after the trip that an Ocoee River Guide drowned there the weekend of our wedding, I think she was the smarter of the two of us.  However, I wasn't backing out of the group since almost everyone else did.  So, there were four of us that went.  It is a 6 -7 hour drive from here to Fayetteville, WV.  Those of us that went have known each other for a couple of years so it was a good ride up.  We were going to raft the Lower Gauley River.  Good choice.  It is a good combination of challenging and relaxing without being too life threatening.  I got thrown out once on a huge hit/bounce that I expected to go a different way, and was in the water again, but held on with my legs and awesome abs as the raft seemed to go sideways and almost flipped.  Other than that, I was on the front of the raft the whole time, soaked by rapid after rapid the whole day, and thoroughly loved the experience.  Wildwater Expeditions, and our guide Karen, were fantastic.  The bus ride to and from the river was every bit as exciting as the rapids.  :-)  I left Friday afternoon and came back Sunday evening.

That same weekend, my son spent the weekend with the boy scouts and participated in their Scout Olympics.  He had a fantastic time too.  He shared a tent with a boy from Germany (his parents are here with NATO).

SGG's boys were with their dad for the weekend.

SGG spent some time with some of her girlfriends, and got a massage on Sunday morning (which on Sunday morning I was quite jealous of).

Brandon and I had an interesting excursion this week.  We decided that we both wanted to see Inception.    When I picked him up from school, we checked the Droid X to see where it was playing.  I then called SGG to see what she thought (she has seen it already) and to see if she had other plans for us or not.  She thought it was a brilliant idea.   She took Michael to see Despicable Me after she got home.  Brandon and I got to the theater about 10 minutes late.  Since there was no one watching it, they hadn't started the movie or the previews.  It was like Brandon and I had our own theater and they played the movie specifically for us.  What a great movie too!  So much to think about, so many layers.

Remnants of tropical storm Nicole rolled through here Thursday, shutdown work due to flooding for part of the day, and rained out my softball game.

Friday night I played my first game of indoor sixes coed volleyball.  We had a great time and got creamed every game.  We have a lot of inexperienced players (myself included) and are usually just happy to get a couple of points.  We are getting better though.  My legs really hurt this morning....getting old.  SGG and I are looking to do some local hikes today.  We also have a DATE NIGHT tonight!  Brandon is with his Grandparents this weekend going to the mountains and apple orchards.  Michael is spending the day with a friend of his, and John will be with us most of the day.

:-)