Flailing Away with Frustrated

My mind meanders mindlessly mercifully.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Frustrated, foolish FW flails fitfully, failing to find fruition from facetious fritterings.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm moving...

This is my last post on blogspot as I am being a good lemming and following everyone else to Wordpress for multiple reasons but the biggest is the wonderful editing and management options they provide which are much easier to use. All of the posts from this blog have been exported over to the new site. You can find me at the following link...



Friday, February 23, 2007

Oy Vey, What a Day

There are just some days, when you pause to think about them, make you shake your head and wonder. Was that a good day or was that a bad day? Case in point, yesterday.

Starts at 6 in the morning, getting final emails out to a possible funder and producing a document to be faxed.

7 a.m. - fax won't go through, emails are completed, and now you realize you will have to hand deliver the papers to be faxed.

7:30 a.m. - answer a telephone call from a lady who wants to come and work. Money isn't a problem, just wants to work with kids. I really think she should work on not slurring all of her words so early in the morning.

8 a.m. - have papers in an envelope, heading out of town to a meeting scheduled for 10.

8:30 - papers delivered and stop to fill tank of car. Things look like they will be going smooth. Talk on cell phone to dad, daughter, scheduler, funder, director of operations, school superintendent, and a friend.

9:45 a.m. - arrive in Sweetwater. Have accomplished the following - secured a place for my daughter's wedding, rehearsal dinner, and secured necessary items for decorations. Talked to the folks who can help fund her internship in Thailand. Talked to the funder, they will participate financially in 2007 (a wonderful thing), have a plan in place for transportation for our summer programs, and heard a great story from my friend. Things are looking good.

10-noon - have an excellent meeting, tour, and discussion about a possible new club in an extremely depressed area where a Club would be a wonderful answer to some of their concerns. Everyone seems to be excited and it looks to be a win/win for everyone. Stop to talk to local Chamber of Commerce about businesses/donors and then grab a hamburger and head back to Abilene.

1 p.m. - have enjoyed the trip back and was able to chat with my best friend for awhile as I head to finish up exemption papers for licensing. Starting to feel queasy and have a headache.

2:30 p.m. - papers completed and delivered. Get a call from a local foundation, yes, we have received a 50k grant for reading programs! Yeah! Head hurts worse, stomach is doing some strange things.

3 p.m. - into the office, sort through mail, check emails, and head over to do taxes for the community.

8 p.m. - head home. Feeling really strange, weak, and head is hurting terribly.

Rest of the night I am getting to enjoy my bathroom with multiple purges from the stomach, headaches galore, freezing, sweating, and fitful sleep. Feel like someone has run me over multiple times and there is a moment or two I think death might not be so bad.

This morning I am up and still feel like I should be shopping for coffins. Oh well, another day and if it gets worse from here, I'll call it a day and go back to bed.

So was it a good day or a bad day? Hmm... maybe it was a gad day... or egads! Welp, gotta run, the ol' gut is rebelling again, #$(&$%*!)$&#!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thursday 13 for 2/22/07

Thirteen Things That Frustrate Me Right Now

1. A best friend who has been harsh with one of my children.

2. An employee who can't stand on their own feet and face conflict.

3. Getting people to commit to a project.

4. The painfully slow process of getting help for a person you dearly love because the wheels of the government turn at a pace that would make a snail seem hyped up on meth.

5. Not having time to write like I want to.

6. Short sighted people who can't see the whole picture.

7. Selfish people who forget the mission of service to the kids.

8. Passive aggressive people. Cowards to the core.

9. A lack of time to do some fairly basic things.

10. Finances.

11. Unimaginative people.

12. My inability to express my feelings at important times.

13. This month is almost over and I feel like I've failed to accomplish 50% of my tasks to accomplish during February.

Thirteen Things That Make Me Smile

1. Watching kids play in the dirt.

2. Seeing bigger kids help little kids work in the Club gardens.

3. A really nice spread in a local magazine featuring our kids and their gardening projects.

4. The sound of a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

5. Watching Jman make others laugh.

6. Teasing Twyla about Country music.

7. Talking with my kids on the phone.

8. Seeing a project almost completed.

9. Listening to a child at the Club today talk about their love of History and English and how much they hate Math. I could totally relate and smiled even more when they spoke with such great passion about reading.

10. Having lunch with the Ho's. They always pick up my spirits and make me laugh.

11. Reading fortunes from fortune cookies with the addition of "in bed" at the end of them.

12. Sitting outside on the porch and having a fun conversation with Jman. He keeps me laughing anyways but tonight he was extremely witty.

13. Finding sinus medicine when I thought I was out and was going to have to suffer. Ah, sweet relief!

Happy TT everyone!


Step 1

Monday night at Al Anon was step 1 night, admitting we were powerless to control people, places, or circumstances. As I listened to the folks around the table talk I had to admit this is not an easy step to practice. I think we all admit we can't control other people and their actions, but that doesn't mean we like it or wouldn't like to try.

For me the tough part is accepting the thought of working on me and not worrying about them. I believe they call that the "fixer syndrome" and I know I suffer from it on a large scale.

Which brings me to the three sets of folks who I need to grasp this concept and incorporate it into my life:

1. Family

2. Employees

3. Friends

The consequences of not following this concept tends to be anger, frustration, and exhaustion. To many times I find I am a modern day Jonah, who in his inability to control the situation tells God, "Hey, just shoot me." Okay that is a paraphrase to the max as a) there were no firearms yet so it would've been kind of difficult unless an arrow was used and b) Jonah was much more dramatic than that. Still, the concept is the same as are the consequences when I can't seem to let go of the control.

Perhaps some of the issue is embedded in a deep distrust in people in general to get the job done and perhaps even more of the issue is from having a cynical heart. However, I am working on this step and on days I totally fail at it (yesterday would be a good example) I end the day making amends and go to sleep determined to do better on the morrow.

Sigh, the steps ain't so easy.


Your New and Improved Social Security Office

I took a friend to the SS office yesterday and we were surprised to watch a lady walk into the building with a 40 oz. beer in her hand. Now I know the SS office is boasting a "friendlier and more accessible" atmosphere but oh my, they have really taken it to a whole new level. (We later decided she was actually throwing the bottle away, but for the purposes of this blog, I'll assume she was taking a swig or two from it as it was about 2/3 empty...)

It occurred to me there are multiple reasons they allow the beer in the office now:

1. It helps pass the time while you wait for an eternity to be served.

2. It makes that first rejection a little easier.

3. You can share some with the ultra-bored security officer who only passion in life is to play with all the locks in the office.

4. If someone happens to go ballistic, you know have a weapon in which to a) subdue them or b) throw at them as you run for the door.

5. Maybe it was being used for proof that the person is having to take beer for medicinal purposes.

6. It also might be SS's way of replacing Medicaid. "You do need some help so here is your 40 oz. for the day. Drink it quick and you'll forget all about your problems."

7. I would think the ultimate reason they would allow a 40 oz. into the SS office is for you to share a nip or two with the case officer who could probably use a drink about 2 in the afternoon...

Then I started to think of other government offices that should probably allow, no, supply 40 oz. bottles of beer to patrons.

1. The Post Office during the Christmas season. It would sure keep the grumbling down.

2. The DMV. Let's face it, you could consume two of those bad boys by the time they get to you and my, wouldn't your driver's license picture be much more fun to look at?

3. The Foodstamp office. It would be sort of cutting the middle man out for some folks, now wouldn't it?

4. The Health Clinic. Hey, I know I could use one before facing the needle. Sigh.

5. HUD. Would you really be all that upset with whatever house they gave you after #2 bottle had been consumed?

Maybe yesterday's woman was a trend setter, no, a pioneer of the times when it comes to dealing with the government. Perhaps we should put her face on the next dollar coin...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why do they do this to me?

Sitting in an executive meeting last week, one of the members asked another member if anyone had ever stumped him (he writes a newspaper article where people send in questions and he finds answers for them). He said "yes" and that he had one about "what is the name of Lincoln's chair that he sits on at the Lincoln Memorial?" and that he hadn't been able to find an answer.

Oh man, you know that doomed me to hours of Googling this weekend looking for the answer and so I have now come up with this quiz for you about the LM to see how much you know...

1. How many steps from the Mall floor to the top of the LM?

2. What is carved into the front of the seat of Lincoln?

3. What letters do his hands make (deaf alphabet)?

4. Who carved it?

5. What is written on the 36 pillars surrounding the monument?

Yeah, easy questions I'm sure but #2 I find the most interesting. The artist carved fasces, or Roman beating sticks tied into a bundle, for the front of the seat. I guess that is appropriate as Abe violated the Constitution more than any other president including forcing people to vote or holding Congress hostage until they passed a bill. So on a day to honor him I think we should all wear top hats, grow beards, and offer to buy a whole race of people and send them off to another country to ease tensions between the North and the South. (You know they actually offered this option to Jefferson Davis but it fell through because a) the South thought $800 per person was too cheap and b) Frederick Douglas opposed the proposal on the grounds they were Americans too. Fortunately the proposal fell through but unfortunately it would take another 100 years for full rights to be obtained.)

I hope you all had a fine Presidents' Day!

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Friday, February 16, 2007

A Free Weekend!

Wow! A free weekend without any obligations for work! Talk about a great time of just chillin' and resting. I really should've caught up on my blogging buddies and such but I have to tell you just doing a little laundry, fixin' supper, and watching a basketball game on TV was just pretty sweet!

Sunday I did have to attend a movie shown by our local Non-Profit Center but it was good and I went with some excellent friends which made it better. Afterwards we went bowling, followed by supper out at Chili's. I can't remember when such a weekend happened but I must say it was a thrill to chill.

Oh, one of my buddies even gave me two golf discs with Texas Longhorn logos on them, how cool is that?!?!?!?! Can't wait to go and try them out!

So the week is starting and it will be another hectic week but you know, I think I can knock this one in the head now that I have had a chance to recharge.

Happy Monday everyone!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thursday 13 for 2/15/07

Thirteen Thoughts Running Around in my Mind

1. Ever notice that Richard Harris looked like he was wearing blue eye shadow all through Camalot?

2. I wish they would bring in a brawling competition for the NBA All-Star weekend.

3. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend. I can tune-up the car!

4. Think I will take Jman to a movie this weekend. There are some good ones out there.

5. Ever notice how fast you can move across a cold brick floor when you are trying to get coffee started in the morning?

6. How is it possible for the neighbor's cat to have time to leave paw prints on every car on the block but it doesn't have time to catch any mice?

7. If Iran is giving weapons to insurgents in Iraq, and Russia is giving weapons to Iran, and NATO gives weapons to Russia, and America is giving weapons to NATO, then should we declare war on ourselves?

8. Who decided you could get nuggets from a chicken and exactly what part of the chicken constitutes a nugget?

9. Why doesn't the IRS give extra deductions for people with multiple personalities? After all, aren't they dependant upon the person who has them?

10. I bet the statues in the parks are glad ostriches can't fly over or sit on them.

11. Looking at the coin that has been revealed with Cleopatra's face upon it I am now understanding why she put an asp to her breast. It seems like it was probably more an act of patriotism (sparing her countrymen from having to look at her) than an act of passion.

12. I had a long talk with a dwarf yesterday about dwarfism. I didn't know there was so much to know about the subject.

13. I wonder if anyone has realized lovers celebrate a day whose initials are VD? Hmm...

Have a great Thursday everyone!


Yeah, a Love Poem for Valentines Day

I know this seems to contradicting my previous post but hey, who can pass up a chance to write a poem on a day that just oozes poetry? Not me...

I searched for a card that said
The feelings I have in my head
About how I want you to be mine
And how I think you are so fine.

But the cards didn't really say
What I felt on this lover's day
So I thought I would get candy
Since that is considered just dandy.

Alas, chocolate makes you break out
And your swelling looks like gout
So I thought "Why not a rose?"
"They're romantic, I suppose."

But who knew you once had fell
On a thorny rose covered knell
And the scratches became infected
Now pain with roses is connected.

I tried jewelry but who knew
What metals can do to you?
My wits end was quickly appearing
And romance seem to be disappearing.

Then Eros allowed me concession
Sating my romantic obsession
When you choked on dinner's entre'
And the Heimlich I did display

But I think the lovely sound
Of the water glass the particle found
Was perhaps my true love expression
Now demonstrated in a stomach compression.

Top that one Hallmark.


Excuse me. Do you have a card expressing desperation?

Today is the day folks will celebrate a Saint who defied the law and secretly married couples who desperately wanted to be together. He went to prison and was later executed for his roguery but lucky for him some entreprenuer named Hallmark immortalized him in the form of a candy giving, card swapping, let's get together for a fancy meal holiday.

Think about it. It is a day for the desperate. A day when people will take a risk to express their feelings for another human being while hanging onto the slim hope the other person has recipricol feelings. It is a day when hearts are more often broken than bolstered.

I learned this the hard way. In fourth grade I had a terrible crush on Kim Storlie, a cute lass with pouty lips who could melt your heart with a demur smile. As fourth graders go, I thought myself to be a real catch since a) I made the best grades in the class, b) the teacher thought I was a heaven sent child in the midst of a bunch of rogues (especially when she was sober), and c) I had already had more than my fair share of girl friends during my illustrious school career. So on this ill fated Valentines Day as we all walked around the room and dropping our boxed set wonders of love's expressions into each others construction papered mail boxes, I slipped my biggest one into Kim's mailbox. How thrilling it was to sort through the twenty or so cards to find a nice one from Kim that actually had additional writing on the back that said, "I think you coot. Kiss me." Wow! She couldn't spell worth a darn but my oh my, I bet she could kiss!

So I go up to her during punch and cookies and with her card in hand say, "I think you are cute too and would love to give kissing a try!" She looked at the card, took it out of my hand and said, "That isn't your card, that is _____________'s card. What are you doing with it? Like I would ever want to give you a kiss." Yuppers, crush my heart you minx, I hope you get tonsilitis when you kiss _________.

Toss in a Sherry who tells me in eighth grade she is ditching me on Valentines Day because the silver tongued, velvet throated crooner Richard has smiled at her while playing his guitar and singing sappy love songs and she is pretty sure he has feelings only for her. I tell her to go and chase yon Richard and may she find happiness among the C and G chords while inwardly I thought someone was crushing my heart with a meat tenderizer. Four years later she would ask me to run away with her and to get married... Hmm, I wonder what happened to the song of the siren Richard?

In marriage I didn't fare any better with Valentines Day being a rather painful day until it was turned into a day to celebrate the kids. When that happened it became a marvelous affair as they really were the ultimate expression of what true love is; the giving of yourself for another human, or in this case four precious humans.

So it isn't any wonder that I had developed a cynical eye for this day of desperation. You find yourself wiping the tears from rejected children's eyes, listening to the heart wrenching stories of friends who suffer from unrequited love, or even worse, abusive love. You wonder just what was that guy thinking when he created a day to celebrate love, no, desperate love?

And yet... somehow we cynics find within us a glimmer of hope. A longing for all of our past pains and disappointments to become pavers on which we walk towards a carefully manicured garden where true love grows. A place where for the first time in our lives we discover tenderness instead of analytical harshness, affirmation in place of criticism, and most of all, a place where desperation has been weeded out to allow the expression of hearts to flourish in the gentle rain of shared dreams, the sunshine of celebrated victories, and deeply rooted in the belief your kindred spirits can truly meld into one.

It is that hope that suppresses the cynic in all of us and keeps us coming back, willingly exposing our hearts despite the lessons learned from our tortured pasts.

May this be the year hope wins over experience.


Monday, February 12, 2007

I can't sleep so I'm doing another meme...sigh.

I stole this one from Rhodent's blog.

My dad always said I was named after one of my mom's ex-boyfriends while mom always responded, "Who said he was an ex?" Okay, she never did say that but it would've been funny if she had.
Generally a better listener although I do like to entertain... so maybe 50/50 on this one.
Cry? There's no crying in blogging.
7. KIDS?
4 - 3 girls, one boy
Isn't that kind of what a blog is?
Moi? Moi?
Nope, gave them up for Lent.
Only if Bungee was really short and could squat down really close to the floor.
Cinamon Life
Nope, untie them to put them on. Come on, if you happened to die during the night, that would have been a wasted effort to untie them. Only do what you have to do...
Well yeah, especially after working a couple of days in the hot sun without a shower
10 1/2
My hair disappearing
My brother
Only if they can't sleep or are bored at work
Well I am writing this early in the morning which means neither.
Oh like anyone is going to believe anything I say to this one because I am a guy and we are doomed to look only at one place because we apparantly can't raise our eyes above chest level so I will go with feet. Yeah, feet. See, you don't believe me, do you?
No one sent it to me but I do like Rhodent and I stole it from her blog.
Black Cherry Fresca
Sometimes when I know I won't be doing a lot of reading.
Mexican food
Flee As A Bird
Hmm, flesh tone
Yes, but not exceptionally well
Hershey kisses are definitely superior
The Man With One Red Shoe for a comedy, A Bridge Too Far for a drama
I've got three in the works...
University of Texas Longhorn at work, a Quest one at home
Family Guy
Reloading, hunting or fishing
Harbor Freight
May 4th in Stephenville, TX They still won't let me back in town.
5 brothers
Hmm, I don't wear either, despite all the ugly rumors
Unsweet, for sure
Yup, Bubba-ese


From the files of being an extra

Sitting around the room and waiting for three hours gives you a chance to notice several things about the fine art of making a show for television. Some are obvious, some become even more so as the night wears on.

First rule of being an extra: Don't try to mingle with the stars... they have worth, you my friend are just background (they actually refer to you as that with phrases such as "Background, you need to do this or you need to that...") They will eat before you do, eat separately from you and no, they won't have their picture taken with you so don't ask.

Second rule of being an extra: Listen to the little man who is crawling around on his knees and yelling at you. If he says to cross over in front of the camera, then get your butt across the gym floor in a hurry! Don't dawdle or the crew will look at you like you just ran over their dog and laughed while you did it.

Third rule of being an extra: Don't overact. If they ask you to make a small reaction to the "stars" walking into the gym, then your reaction should be small. If you drop your jaw, raise your eyebrows and gape, then you will bring the cursed "CUT! CUT! CUT!" down from heaven and the cute actresses will all use the "F" word in ways that will make you wonder if they have ever studied anatomy or have they even noticed you possibly couldn't bend that way.

Fourth rule of being an extra: Don't lose your voucher. No voucher, no pay and you sure wouldn't want to miss out on $5.50 an hour.

Fifth rule of being an extra: Don't tell the wardrobe lady the flower she just pinned onto your suit, that is big enough to hide a large Chihuahua, is tacky. She tends to stab you with the pins.

Sixth rule of being an extra: Try to avoid clumping up with other extras. It just makes the killer instinct of the directors come out as they start to see you as frightened sheep bunching together in terror as you wait for the wolves to descend...

Seventh rule of being an extra: Don't volunteer for the entry shots if you don't enjoy walking around for an hour in freezing temperatures. Pretend your shoes aren't made for walking up steep inclines. TGBO had this one figured out and luckily we didn't fall into that trap!

Well there are seven rules to follow. Still a fun experience and plenty of blogging material to be had, which makes me very happy! Have a great Monday everyone!


Sweet Vindication

"Women don't read the back of cards!" I grinned on that one because I had seen too many women do it but it was a fun argument full of jests, points and counterpoints, and finally an admission from me that perhaps this one on my last Thursday Thirteen was a small jab at the feminine segment of our species.

Then tonight as we ate at Red Lobster the following conversation was overheard at the table next to us.

"How long did you spend looking for this card?" There is a moment of nervous silence as the man considers an answer. I am fighting down the temptation to scream, "Don't do it man, it's a trap!" but before I can warn him he answers.

"Fifteen minutes." I know he is thinking to himself, "Fifteen minutes is ample time to find an appropriate card for Valentines Day but au contraire, mon ami, it's not.

"Were you looking in the Hallmark section or the Cheap section?" Now is there really a good answer to this question? Again, I struggle to speak with a mouthful of salad, "Man, redirect! Redirect! Choke on something, have a heart attack! Abort! Abort!" Alas, not only does he forge ahead towards a swift relationship execution, I think he is making the noose out of his napkin.

"I thought it was a Hallmark card." Oooh, bad move, my man, they read the back of the card and the back of the card does not lie...

"No, see this? This says American Greetings, not Hallmark. They make some nice cards but not like Hallmark."

"I thought the card was cool." He caught me drinking my water and before I could swallow I heard her say, "No, my card was cool. This is a card you might buy for Peanut."

Okay, I don't know who Peanut is but I'm guessing Peanut is either not human or one of this guys buddies. Either way, it is obvious purchasing a Valentines Day card for either would be a step down from buying a card for your "ahem... Valentine."

About this time I am trying hard not to laugh out loud as my date looks at me with a shocked expression and says, "If I wasn't here to hear this conversation, I would've thought you were making this all up. I want to go over there and tell her she is giving all women a bad name."

Yes my friends, sweet vindication for my Thursday Thirteen! Whoever the poor man was that sat behind us I can only offer this advice, "Take Peanut and RUN!"

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

EXTRA! EXTRA! Working as an Extra for Friday Night Lights

I don't have much time to post today as I am getting ready for a day long fundraiser at the Mall. I will post sometime this weekend on my being part of the "background" for the TV show, Friday Night Lights. TGBO had called me and asked me if I would work with her as an extra for the Father/Daughter dance sequence and I agreed.

A short timeline for the whole event:

Noon - Leave Abilene for Austin

3:00 - Hit Austin traffic on I-35

3:45 - Arrive at the Texas School for the Deaf Campus

4:30 - Check in, fill out I-9s and paperwork

7:00 - After waiting for three hours, we are briefed on our roles as Father/Daughter dancers

11:00 - Four hours of dancing later, we are released to go home. It takes thirty more minutes to return props to wardrobe and to turn in your vouchers.

Midnight - Heading out of Austin for home

3 a.m. - Arrive home. Collapse on bed. Set alarms to wake me up at 6:15 so I can start Saturday early enough to prepare for the Diamond Dig fundraiser for our organization. I plan to sleep well tonight (the fundraiser ends tonight at 9)!

Have a good Saturday everyone! Will post more about the fun things that happen when you are an extra!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thirteen Thoughts About Valentines

With the holiday of lovers coming up, I thought I would share 13 thoughts about Valentines for the younger guys out there...

1. Chocolate is always a good choice. In fact chocolate covers a multitude of sins.

2. Look at the back of the card. Pay the extra bucks. They do look...

3. Roses are nice, but the florist use this event to financially rape you. I think roses away from Valentines, unexpected roses, are much more meaningful.

4. I opt for originality on Valentines Day. Creative thinking wins the day. Do something out of the ordinary.

5. Poetry is always good provided you can write it well. As for me, sigh, mine suffers a bit so lines such as "Your eyes are like glazed donuts in a bakery store window..." probably doesn't do my thoughts justice so if you are like me, go with the pros...

6. I find waiting in line for hours to get a table not so romantic. Make a reservation.

7. Jewelry is supposed to be the perfect gift but my past experiences haven't been so bueno, so perhaps we should avoid such gifts and stick with something meaningful.

8. I am pretty sure we should avoid lines such as "Hey, let's pick up some cheap wine and get wasted" since most women wouldn't consider that romantic.

9. Serenading your sweetheart is a nice touch provided a) you can sing and b) small amphibians won't come out in droves thinking mating season has started when they hear your heartfelt ballad.

10. Avoid making comments about sports on this one day. Yeah, I know, that seems a bit cruel but it is about showing attention to them, after all.

11. Try to look interested when they are telling you something. It even helps if you can pick up a phrase of two to repeat back at an opportune moment.

12. Don't take them to a sports bar for Valentines. Believe me, the temptations are too great and you run the risk of having a really good game on the screen when you should be paying attention to your date.

13. The best advice I can give you younger guys about Valentines Day is to make a list of all the reasons you want this person to be your Valentine. Look at the list often. Memorize it. There will be a test later and they don't grade on a curve.

Okay, there is my Thursday 13 for what it is worth. I probably should do a list for the ladies on what guys want for Valentines but it is a rather short list and I doubt I could find 13 ways to expound on the mentality of men so I will pass on that one. Happy TT everyone!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tax Tango

Filling out tax forms for folks you get some interesting scenarios and I have found you actually get to do a little dance with each one of them. You are both a bit shy at first, not quite sure who is going to lead but soon the music of numbers and W-2s takes over and you find both are pretty adept at this ritual.

"Do you know about the telephone tax credit?" they ask coyly.

"Yes, the program defaults automatically gives you the credit and we would have to manually remove it if you answered that you did not have any long distance services since 2003." They nod appreciately at the agileness of my move but quickly pull me back with,

"My mother lives with us and we provide food, shelter, and most of her medicine. Can we claim her?" There is a big smile as they believe they have started to twirl me around but I dodge the move with,

"Sure, if your mom hasn't already filed, doesn't claim herself, and hasn't already filed otherwise." The smile leaves their face as they race out the room to call mom to stop her from filing. I take a moment to hurriedly fill in the spaces before they return. As they file back in and sit down in front of the table, they are a bit more wary.

"We qualified for EITC last year and got lots of money back. We want to do that again this year." I nod enthusiastically because this is the primary reason the free tax service is offered, to increase the number of people who can take advantage of this benefit and to keep them from being gouged by instant refund services.

"No problem, let me get all of your information in and we will see what we can do."

The dance continues with questions and answers, sly sliding movements to avoid direct confrontation that might lead to their unhappiness but ultimately you find yourself heading to the grand finale where you will either dip them with a flourish or drop them on the floor with the thud of "I'm sorry, your refund is much less this year because a) you didn't work enough b) little Johnny has grown up and doesn't live with you any more and is now married and raising his own kids, or c) you can't claim your dogs, no matter what the tax preparer's in Wally World tell you."

Luckily, most of the time you are able to tell them they are getting a nice refund and the dance ends with everyone clapping and sweating appreciatively. Those dances are fun... it's the thud ending ones that break your heart.

I hope your dance with the IRS is a good one this year and that you have the chance to step on their toes as much as possible.


Televison Metamorphesis

I can remember when I started my current position how nervous I would be whenever I had to get in front of a camera. The thought of the unanticipated question catching you off guard or even worse, having them take a sound bit and then slicing it where your statements are taken out of context was enough to have your stomach in knots. Those moments before live interviews would find me pacing anxiously and having to mentally calm myself down.

Now... hmm, I arrive at the station, chat with everyone, share jokes and swap stories with the studio people and feel totally at ease. Let them ask the unanticipated question, in fact, please ask it because it makes the interaction spontaneous and fun. Several I would even consider friends instead of acquaintances and can rely on them to step in and help out the Clubs for any events.

I guess time heals more than wounds, it heals fears too. That which used to twist me up now is considered fun.


Lyrics to the Daughter Song

Slvr tells me she can't access the website so here are the lyrics to the Daughter Song by Tom Wilson.

She’s got long blonde hair running down her back
Pretty blue eyes and that’s a fact
Her nose is just perfect and her smile just gleams
She looks like a model in a magazine!
She’s got her itty bitty body in a teeny tiny skirt
You can see her belly button ‘neath her purple skimpy shirt
She’s a California beauty who can stop the show
But there’s one thing fellas you got to know,

She’s my daughter. That’s right, she’s my daughter
If you touch her, or hurt her or make her sad
I’m gonna hurt you twice as bad.

I’m the kind of guy that likes to have some fun
Drinkin’ lots of liquor and polishing my gun
You wanna mess around with my pussycat
I might just kill you with a baseball bat
I own a crowbar, steak knives, I got a hatchet man
But come one let’s face it, I could kill you with my bare hands
I catch you making moves on her I know just what to do
I’ll shove my foot so far up you I could wear you as a shoe

Yeah, yeah she’s my daughter
Oooo, ooooo, ooooo she's my daughter

I’ll sneak into your room where your mommy makes your bed
I’ll grab that stupid surfer necklace and beat your little head in
Come on over for dinner and meet us friendly folks
Just remember little fella, this song is not a joke
Steam roller baby, gonna roll all over you.


Monday, February 05, 2007

I've Done 124 out of 158 random things.

I was tagged by Slvr on this one...

Level 1
(x) Smoked A Cigarette
(x) Smoked A Cigar
() Smoked Weed
(x) Kissed A Member Of The Same Sex (Used to kiss my son on the cheek all the time when he was little
(x) Drank Alcohol


Level 2
(x) Are / Have Been In Love
(x) Been Dumped
(x) Shoplifted (There is quite a story behind this one involving getting back at a crooked shop keeper who took money from little kids who couldn't count... will have to post about it someday)
(x) Been Fired (It probably was more of a mutual agreement. We agreed I should leave before he died of fright from all of the cigarette loads I kept putting into his cigarettes...sheesh)
(x) Been In A Fist Fight


Level 3
(x) Snuck Out Of A Parent's House
(x) Had Feelings For Someone Who Didn't Have Them Back
() Been Arrested
(x) Made Out With A Stranger (Okay, another interesting story but one that shouldn't be repeated)
(x) Gone Out On A Blind Date

SO FAR: 13

Level 4
(x) Had A Crush On An Older Person
(x) Skipped School
() Slept With A Fellow Student
(x) Seen Someone / Something Die
(x) Said a bad word

SO FAR: 17

Level 5
() Had / Have A Crush On One Of Your Facebook Friends
() Been To Paris
() Been To Spain
(x) Been On A Plane
() Thrown Up From Drinking

SO FAR: 18

Level 6
(x) Eaten Sushi
() Been Snowboarding
() Met Someone BECAUSE Of Facebook
() Been in a Mosh Pit
(x) Been on a road trip

SO FAR: 20

Level 7
(x) Been In An Abusive Relationship
(x) Taken Pain Killers (Who hasnt haha)
(x) Love/Like Loved/Liked Someone Who You Cant Have
(x) Laid On Your Back And Watched Cloud Shapes Go By
(x) Made A Snow Angel

SO FAR: 25

Level 8
(x) Had A Tea Party
(x) Flown A Kite
(x) Built A Sand Castle
(x) Gone Mudding/Offroading
(x) Played Dress Up (with my children... sheesh)
SO FAR: 30

Level 9
(x) Jumped Into A Pile Of Leaves
(x) Gone Sledding
(x) Cheated While Playing A Game
(x) Been Lonely
(x) Fallen Asleep At Work / School

SO FAR: 35

Level 10
(x) Watched The Sun Set
() Felt An Earthquake
(x) Killed A Snake
(x) Been in a fire
() Been in a hurricane

SO FAR: 38

Level 11
(x) Been Tickled
(x) Been Robbed / Vandalized
(x) Stole something (The candy in the desk next to me in the first grade)
(x) Been Misunderstood
(x) Been in a Tornado

SO FAR: 43

Level 12
(x) Won A Contest
() Been Suspended From School
() Had Detention
(x) Been In A Car / Motorcycle Accident
(x) Watched fireworks on the water

SO FAR: 46

Level 13
(x) Had / Have Braces
(x) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(x) Danced in the moonlight
(x) Ran in the rain
(x) Screamed at the top of your lungs

SO FAR: 51

Level 14
(x) Hated The Way You Looked
(x) Witnessed A Crime
() Pole Danced (I don't think I've ever danced with someone from Poland)
(x) Questioned Your Heart
(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes (If people would quit taking them off of my desk I probably wouldn't be so obsessed)

SO FAR: 55

Level 15
(x) Squished Barefoot Through The Mud
(x) Been Lost
() Been To The Opposite Side Of The World (I have been to Arkansas and that is pretty close...)
(x) Swam In The Ocean
(x) Felt Like You Were Dying

SO FAR: 60

Level 16
() Cried Yourself To Sleep
(x) Played Cops And Robbers
(x) Recently Colored With Crayons / Colored Pencils / Markers
(x) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid For A Meal With Only Coins

SO FAR: 64

Level 17
(x) Done Something You Told Yourself You Wouldn't
(x) Made Prank Phone Calls
(x) Laughed Until Some Kind Of Beverage Came Out Of Your Nose
(x) Kissed In The Rain
(x) Played Ping-pong

SO FAR: 69

Level 18
(x) Written A Letter To Santa Claus
(x) Been Kissed Under A Mistletoe
(x) Watched The Sun Set/ sun rise With Someone You Care / Cared About
(x) Blown Bubbles
(x) Made A Bonfire On The Beach or Anywhere

SO FAR: 74

Level 19
(x) Crashed A Party
(x) Have Traveled More Than 5 Days With A Car Full Of People
(x) Gone Rollerskating / Blading
(x) Had A Wish Come True
() Been Humped By A Monkey (Now who would ever admit to such a thing?)

SO FAR: 79

Level 20
() Worn Pearls
(x) Jumped Off A Bridge
() Swam With Dolphins
() Rode a Camel (I've smoked a Camel...)

SO FAR: 80

Level 22
(x) Got Your Tongue Stuck To A Pole/Freezer/Ice Cube
(x) Kissed A Fish (That bass was almost 9 pounds... who wouldn't have kissed it?)
(x) Worn The Opposite Sex's Clothes
(x) Sat On A Roof Top
() Kissed A Worm (Swallowed one on a dare one time, does that count?)

SO FAR: 84

Level 23
(x) Done / Attempted A One-Handed Cartwheel (I believe that call this "falling")
(x) Talked On The Phone For More Than 6 Hours
(x) Recently Pulled An All-Nighter
(x) Ridden a Ferriswheel

SO FAR: 88

Level 24
(x) Picked And Ate An Apple Right Off The Tree
(x) Climbed A Tree
(x) Had / Been In A Tree House
(x) Been scared To Watch Scary Movies Alone
(x) Peed your pants (I would think everyone has done this one as you once were in diapers...)

SO FAR: 93

Level 25
(x) Believed In Ghosts
() Have had More Then 30 Pairs Of Shoes
(x) Gone Streaking
(x) Visited Jail
(x) Scared of the dark (I think it was the sound of a hacked off rattlesnake that had me scared, but I'll give the dark the credit since I couldn't see it...)

SO FAR: 97

Level 26
(x) Played Chicken
(x) Been Pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
(x) Been Told You're Hot By A Complete Stranger
(x) Broken A Bone (finger during the Wheezer vs. Geezer game...)
(x) Been Easily Amused

SO FAR: 102

Level 27
(x) Caught A Fish Then Ate It Later
() Made A Porn Video/Got Asked To Make One
(x) Caught A Butterfly
(x) Laughed So Hard You Cried
() Cried So Hard You Laughed

SO FAR: 105

Level 28
(x) Mooned / Flashed Someone
(x) Had Someone Moon / Flash You
(x) Forgotten Someone's Name
(x) French Braided Someones Hair (Sigh, the bane of having three daughters... it wasn't pretty braiding either. I believe they learned quickly to braid each other's hair)
(x) Been Kicked Out Of Your House (Does leaving voluntarily count?)

SO FAR: 109

Level 29
(x) Rode A Roller Coaster
() Went Scuba-Diving / Snorkeling
(x) Had A Cavity
(x) Black-Mailed Someone (I like to think of it more as "managing brothers")
(x) Been Black Mailed

SO FAR: 114

Level 31
(x) Been Used
(x) Fell Going Up The Stairs
() Licked A Cat
(x) Bitten Someone
(x) Licked Someone

SO FAR : 119

Level 32
(x) Been Shot At/Held At Gunpoint (luckily he was using a shotgun and we all had a good fifty yard head start)
(x) Had Sex In The Rain (like this is anyone's business)
(x) Flattened Someone's Tires (It did help them get out of the mud)
(x) Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on (Every week...)
(x) Got five dollars or less worth of gas (duh, most folks only buy a gallon at a time for the lawnmower...)

Finished with 124

I won't tag anyone but have to admit I would find most of your lists interesting... and some of you will be wondering why this is called a "random" list since they all seem so natural to you...lol.


The Daughter Song

Here is a song that most fathers would love to sing to those boys who come up to take their daughters out. Click the link and scroll down to click on the video... Tom Wilson from Back to the Future does a great job with this song!

Sorry, couldn't get blogger to link so copy and paste this into your address bar:



Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thursday 13 for 2/1/07

Thirteen Random Thoughts

1. My staff member called yesterday about his brother. They are waiting one more doctor to take a look and then they will remove the life support. He is 21.

2. My mom is in the hospital having tests run. I am reminded again that life is unpredictable at best.

3. If a red light is burned out in a traffic light, does that mean you can go anytime you wish?

4. Why is it when you honk at a bumper sticker that says "Honk if you love Jesus" you totally upset the owner of the car?

5. So we voted at my service club yesterday on whether we should raise the dues slightly, move to a better location, and avoid having meals served to us that are often presented with additional garnish that is still moving and wiggling on your plate. The move was voted down. I am wondering if they allowed the cockroaches to vote...

6. My neighbor's have a dog that is supposed to be guarding their drive. Every time I take out the trash I sneak up on him, place my trash in the bin, and get back beyond my fence before he even notices I've been within ten feet of him. I'm thinking they may want to get a more enthusiastic dog.

7. My friend is in the hospital for some tests. We went to visit him last night and what a thrill it was to see his smile, his happiness at having three visitors, and most of all, watching him at his social butterfly best. Some of the best moments in life are found in the most interesting places.

8. Took two of my favorite people out to Zuchinni's last night. What a treat to spend time with them!

9. I had a great chat with one of the club members about math. I personally hated math in school but always made good grades in it but this child loves math and went on and on about how she handled the more difficult math problems that third grade tosses her way. I think such enthusiasm gives me hope for the next generation.

10. I was watching the shadows of limbs being blown in the wind as they danced across my bedroom ceiling. They looked frazzled, harried, and panicked... if shadows can truly look frazzled, harried, and panicked.

11. Molly Ivins kicked the bucket yesterday. Huh.

12. Sometimes in the morning hours, when sleep in elusive, I wish I could find myself a nice soft patch of grass somewhere in the country where I could lay down and just stare up at the stars.

13. I thought about an old friend who has long since passed from this earth. Lincoln Lohn could always make me laugh, taught me some of the finer points of shooting (which was pretty important to a young boy), but most of all, taught me the tools of the trade in telling a good story. He died alone in a nursing home down in San Marcos. I always wished I could've been there with him, swapping stories and jokes with him until his final breath. He deserved nothing less.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Steven Wright Sort of a Day

Whenever I just want a smile I like to read Steven Wright quotes... here are a few of my favorites.

My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.

So, do you live around here often?

Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths.

When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, "Well, what do you need?"

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, "Did you sleep good?" I said "No, I made a few mistakes."

Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song? The guy who wrote that song wrote everything.

So who makes you grin?


Tradition One - Unity

So last night was tradition night, a discussion of the twelve traditions that go along with the twelve steps. I really wasn't thrilled about having traditions when it is enough work just to do the steps but I am now realizing why they are there.

Unity is tradition one - the fact the AlAnon group is unified in an effort against a common foe, an uncontrolled life of living with someone who is an alcoholic, whether they be family or friend. I think that includes standing together against a common enemy of trying to control the world around you, something everyone in the group suffers from.

Welp, the group told stories, discussed battles won and lost, and explored heartaches and triumphs from their lives. It is a most interesting experience since I know I am witnessing a form of emotional nudity. No one is clothed in pretense, all come baring their souls, sharing their anger, hurt, hope, dispair, or whatever prevelant emotion is hammering them on this day. No one interrupts. No one judges. No one puts them down. They listen. They tell their own story. They stand unified.

Last night I witnessed this on a whole new level. A person coming off the street, thinking we were a church group so that he could ask for ten dollars for a fix. When he realized we were an AlAnon group, he sat down and worked the program, being honest about his intentions and stating what he really needed was a fix... a fix of coming together with a community who understood his addiction, would not feed it, but instead would help him not give into it. No one judged him, they instead embraced him. No, he didn't get the ten bucks, but he left smiling and for a moment he left sober.

So this morning I am wondering why it is our other "communities" are not so supportive. The community we work in every day, the churches we worship in, or even our community of family. Aren't they all full of adversity and challenge? Doesn't everyone deserve the security and hope of having people surround them to support them instead of judging them?

I'm thinking it is a tradition this whole world needs.


Time is the coin of your life.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Carl Sandburg

Go Carl! You hit this one on the head and these days it seems I am laying that coin down everywhere. Tonight we start doing taxes for people. Yesterday I received word I lost one of my two volunteers which means I am now going to cover one night a week by myself.

Next week we start a mentoring program for kids who want to go to college and help them fill out FAFSAs, hunt for scholarships, and apply for colleges.

I am pretty sure I now officially have no Saturdays free in February.

United Way proposals kick in during March which gives you weeks of late night and weekend sessions of assessing information, building cases for funding, and wrapping it up in a nice presentation for review.

Toss in three major fundraising events between now and the 4th of July...

I think I need a larger denomination of coin.

Hopefully there will be help soon.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Harsh Reminder

Friday a young man is in my office discussing his future, his dreams, hashing out his options. He has such great potential and talents the only obstacle in his way is himself. The future looks extremely bright for him.

Saturday he is calling me to tell me his brother was in an accident, not expected to make it. Suddenly the future is forgotten and the here and now has his full attention.

In a blink of an eye our perspective is transformed, our priorities changed.

If you are of the praying mindset, I know he and his family would appreciate your prayers.


An Excellent Song

I've been listening to a lot of Nickel Creek lately and this is one of my favorites.

Tomorrow Is a Long Time

performed by Nickel Creek
written by Bob Dylan

If today was not an endless highway,
If tonight was not a crooked trail,
If tomorrow wasn't such a long time,
Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all.
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin',
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin',
Only if she was lyin' by me,
Then I'd lie in my bed once again.

I can't see my reflection in the waters,
I can't speak the sounds that show no pain,
I can't hear the echo of my footsteps,
Or can't remember the sound of my own name.
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin',
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin',
Only if she was lyin' by me,
Then I'd lie in my bed once again.

There's beauty in the silver, singin' river,
There's beauty in the sunrise in the sky,
But none of these and nothing else can touch the beauty
That I remember in my true love's eyes.
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin',
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin',
Only if she was lyin' by me,
Then I'd lie in my bed once again.


Two Good Flicks and a Song

Saw We Are Marshall and The Freedom Writers last night and I must say both were good movies. Since they are true stories it tends to make them even better and more uplifting.

Freedom Writers really hit home. The kids we serve aren't in as desperate of a situation as the one in the movie as the gang violence isn't anything like that of the major cities in California, but we do get our share of negativism and a sense of there is no way out for so many of the youngsters. To see someone beleive in them and help them rise above the expected failure to become literate and to develop dreams beyond "I want to live until I'm 18" gives a person hope. Like I said, it caught my attention and was just the message I needed.

Last week we had a young girl killed in her bed during a drive by shooting. 3 young men are in custody and are looking at living out lives that are now officially ruined, if they get to live them. They committed this heinous act in a culture of vengence, where no one talks to the police because it would remove their opportunity to strike back. These may not be the streets of L.A. or Long Beach, but they are still dangerous nonetheless creating a sense of angst within the communities.

Last week I suffered another cynical attack when I spent some time before a meeting working puzzles with a bright six year old. She was quick, she picked up on the word recognition almost immediately and was a true joy to listen to and to instruct. Other kids at the table were soon doing puzzles and showing me how good they were at putting them together and pronouncing the words on them. With my whole heart I want everyone of them to beat the street and become viable and contributing citizens in their community but the cynicism strikes and you start to doubt that most will graduate or even secure good jobs.

I realize such doubt and cynicism is the greatest enemy of the kids in the street. It leads to writing them off and looking to put bandaids on gaping wounds. The movie last night was a great reminder that such thoughts have no place in our world and are only good for killing the spirit and the hope of those who need us most.

Do yourself a favor and go see the movie. You won't regret it.

I wish I knew how to do the whole song bit where you can hear them while you read the post, but I don't so I will just post these appropriate lyrics.

When In Rome
performed by Nickel Creek

Where can a sick man go
When he can't choke down the medicine the old doc knows
A specialist came to town, but he stays at home
Sayin', "No one knows, so I don't"
Honey, when in Rome

Where can a teacher go
Wherever she thinks people need the things she knows
Hey those books you gave us look good on the shelves at home
And they'll burn warm in the fireplace
Teacher, when in Rome

Grab a blanket, sister
We'll make smoke signals
Bring some new blood
It feels like we're alone

Grab a blanket, brother
So we don't catch cold
From one another
I wonder if we're stuck in Rome

Where can a dead man go
The question with an answer only dead men know
But I'm gonna bet they never really feel at home
If they spent a lifetime learning
How to live in Rome

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