Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oil Spill--Ecological Suicide

The oil is still pouring into the Gulf--and yet the story has all but dropped out of the news.

In classic American style--we've grown bored of the story and so our interest has waned while the environmental damage continues to mount at rates we cannot comprehend.

There is a great website called Google Crisis Response - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill which I encourage you to check out.

It continues to document the extent of the oil spill and the efforts to contain it--which are largely or completely ineffective.

And we have done just as BP had hoped we'd do--totally begun to ignore the damage and the disaster.

We must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of accepting the activity because we are bored with hearing about it.

It is still happening.

Here is something I found just this morning about the disaster:

The article is at Is BP Burning Sea Turtles Alive? and is reported by Fox Tampa.

VENICE, La. - A boat captain working to rescue sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico says he has seen BP ships burning sea turtles and other wildlife alive.

Captain Mike Ellis said in an interview posted on You Tube that the boats are conducting controlled burns to get rid of the oil.

"They drag a boom between two shrimp boats and whatever gets caught between the two boats, they circle it up and catch it on fire. Once the turtles are in there, they can’t get out," Ellis said.

Get this--over 82 MILLION gallons of oil have been released into the Gulf so far and rising daily! Bet you didn't know that did ya? My swimming pool is 40 thousand gallons. This would be more than 2050 of my swimming pools full of oil!

Did you know the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil? We are already at a spill 8 times larger than the Exxon Valdez.

Congress need to get their heads up and get into the game. Total ecological destruction is being allowed to occur. AND--there is no assurance that BP's plan to plug the well with cement (which is supposed to occur in August) will work either.

What do we do?

1. Write Congress and let them know how concerned we are. Advise your senators and representatives in Congress that we expect action and not to trust BP, because so far--they have been wrong at every juncture.

2.Stop buying BP products--anything from BP just to make a point.

3. Don't let this story drop from the news. Keep reading and become informed. Keep pushing for answers.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

They're Back! The Return of P&T

The dynamic couple who honeymooned in one of my favorite places in the world have returned home.


I had the pleasure of retrieving them from the airport early Monday morning, so that I could be among the first to welcome them back to Maryland and life as a married couple.

I can report, their big cat, Gus, was enthusiastically happy to greet them.

And their dive gear bag was really heavy.

It was fun that as they shared private time together in Key West, they also regularly checked in with the family to let us know how they were doing. It was kinda fun to hear of their adventures, their room upgrade, and the fun they had driving the rented Mustang convertible.

Key West is such an awesome town and there is always something to see and do.

And it seems they did a lot and had a great time. Just like they were supposed to do.

What a great way to start out a marriage--with some great memories upon which to build more great memories.

I guess I'm a hopeless romantic in wishing that the grind of everyday life doesn't get them so bogged down that they can't remember what a great foundation they have as they set out on the journey that is marriage.

Welcome home guys--

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Musings - June 28, 2010

1. USA Soccer lost--but they had a great run. 32 teams showed up for the World Cup and 31 of them are going to go as losers.

2. The Orioles have a four game winning streak! The longest of the season.

3. Another hot weekend and Sunday family day was memorable again because everyone was there.

4. Isn't it funny how sometimes you look forward to going on vacation but then at some point you begin to look forward to coming home again?

5. Why are commitments a convenient excuse to not to do the things that we should be doing?

6. When does the honeymoon really end? And why does it need to ever end?

7. Next weekend is the Independence Day holiday weekend! Lights and fireworks! What could be better?

8. We need some new movies to be released at the theaters. I haven't been to a movie in a while and I don't think I'm missing anything.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hydrangea Morning

Another hot, summer day is starting.

The hydrangea are in full bloom in front of the house--standing tall against the summer sun and heat.

Filling our vision with a multitude of blooms.

The grass has slowed its growth as the heat and dryness of the summer have set in. I didn't need to even mow this past week.

Last evening, as night fell, the lightening bugs provided a spectacle of lights high in the canopy of trees that surround the back yard and pool.

Their lights rivaled that of the stars--but of course--their lights were only transient compared to the steady lights of those suns so far away.

Days like this are what I wait for during those long, cold, bleak days of winter--which will all too soon return. So I will enjoy these days--riding in the convertible with the top down and my hair blowing in the wind.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soccer Saturday

Taking a break from the rest of the crises in the world--we will celebrate Soccer Saturday today.

USA Soccer is in the round of 16 for only the 3rd time since 1930.

There is a good chance they will move on for another game--but this is the elimination round and some of the powerhouses in the world are missing: Italy and France for instance.

Regardless of the outcome later today--this has been a great run. Winning the group over England and playing hard against every team.

For those of you who don't understand the extra motivation that Team USA has today for the game, I provide this excerpt from a New York Times article about what happened during the 2006 World Cup and last time these two teams met:

Only four years ago, these two teams met in what amounted to an elimination game at Germany ‘06, a final group-stage match both teams needed to win in order to be certain of advancement, especially the Americans, who had only 1 point going in. But they were beaten, 2-1, by a Ghana team that defied all the tired cliches about African naivete on the international stage.

The USA did not make the round of 16 as a result of that game.

So there is a measure of revenge--which hopefully will provide our team with that extra motivation to not let it happen again.

So win or lose--

U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A Soccer Rules!

Patrick and Tina Wedding Links

This is just a quick entry to help reference links to Patrick and Tina's wedding pictures:

My Picasa album:

Theresa Choi (the photographer) blog:

From the honeymoon:
The Vandenberg

Patrick's picture

Wedding Pictures


Collection of pictures

Friday, June 25, 2010

Playing on Foreign Soil: USA Soccer vs the US Military

The DoD and the US military need to take a page out of USA Soccer's handbook about playing away games.

Wednesday saw the two entities at completely opposite ends of the spectrum--USA Soccer celebrating a never-say-never victory over a really tough opponent in a do-or-die situation and the US military with disgrace on its face and a combat commander being fired for gross insubordination of the order of Douglas MacArthur.

USA Soccer never quit as they faced a gritty Algerian team. In fact, as I have been watching the other matches in the World Cup, I have been amazed how easily some of the players are hurt and removed form the games. The US team was playing at the end of the game with two players who required stitches after the game to close wounds sustained during the game. And in a testament to the "it ain't over until it's over" spirit which resides in all Americans--they won the match during stoppage time when hope seemed lost.

I celebrated wildly--maybe a too bit wildly, at work.

Conversely, the US military was portraying everything that is wrong with the current crop of combat leadership--unbridled contempt for our civilian leadership. The actions of GEN McChrystal and his staff are a blot on the heroism and honor of those of us who have served in the US military. He should be fired, as he was, and sent home in disgrace. And his staff--all of it, should be replaced because they are part of a culture of contempt that cannot be allowed to exist in the military.

I am reminded of a scene from my favorite movie "Patton" where the new commanding general , Patton, of the US II Corps in Africa arrives at his command post shortly after the disaster at Kasserine Pass. In the movie, one sees a command staff that is disorganized and without basic adherence to fundamental appearance and discipline. Patton goes on a tear and reestablishes discipline almost instantly. And that is what the US Forces in Afghanistan need--a thorough housecleaning and adherence to good conduct and discipline.

So, USA Soccer--winning in South Africa against the odds when the game seemed hopeless and after being denied a good goal or the US military in Afghanistan--disgraced by their senior leader and his staff and complaining they cannot win the war in Afghanistan which, by the way, officially became the longest running war in the history of the United States.

U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A Soccer Rules!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Racquetball Blues--Going Through Life with Cement Overshoes

I've been playing some really mediocre racquetball lately. That is different than just losing--because even when I win games, I know that I'm usually not playing solid racquetball and instead I am relying on my experience and craftiness to overcome large deficits.

Sometimes it works--but more often, it falls short.

I accept losing when I know I've played hard and good--in fact those are some of the best matches when both players have their A games.

Lately, all I'm bringing is my C minus game. And yeah--I lost a match the other night I wanted to win but definitely got outplayed in.

It is like I'm moving in slow motion through not only the game--but sometimes through life.

Perhaps it is loss of focus, but I just don't feel that emotional charge to control either the racquetball game or some of the events in life--I'm just reacting and then often slowly.

I know I'm just in one of those phases--and hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.

I know some beach time is coming in a couple of weeks and that always recharges my batteries.

I'd like to leave the cement overshoes at the beach--or better, leave them offshore to become part of an artificial reef.

Today--I'll slog it out in the trenches. Taking on each action or task as it comes counting the days until the scenery changes to sand and palm trees. That would be 21 days--but then who is counting.

I guess I am.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of Generals and Loose Lips

The current situation with Gen McCrystal and he and his staff's unprofessional remarks about the President, the Vice President and a host of others in the senior leadership of our government is reminiscent of the situation between President Truman and Gen McArthur.

The story this morning from CNN puts it this way:

Washington (CNN)
-- America's top military commander in Afghanistan is unlikely to survive the fallout from remarks he made about colleagues in a magazine profile to be published Friday, according to a Pentagon source who has ongoing contacts with the general.

That is putting it very mildly.

He should be forced to retire after losing a star form his shoulder. That's my opinion.

It is OK to have private thoughts about those you work with--but to allow yourself to make statements like this in public and also to allow, even encourage your staff to make such remarks is not only unprofessional, but is truly is conduct unbecoming an officer and also a violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ):

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
I have read the Rolling Stone article--and in my mind, Gen McChrystal definitely violated this article and should be court-martialed.

Oh, and by the way, there is also a violation of Article 134:

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

He should consider himself very lucky if he is allowed to resign and retire.

The difference between being a military officer--especially a commanding general, and a civilian is very great. Officers are held to a much higher standard and, yes, often the basic rights that Americans are used to are not entitled to a military person and especially an officer. Officers especially serve at the pleasure of the President--we do not ever want a situation where a military officer sees them self above or better than the President and our leadership--that is how coups happen in Third World countries.

During WWII they had a saying that "Loose Lips Sink Ships." I guess they sink generals, too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tina and Patrick Partying on Duval St

Well the honeymooning couple provided an update on how much fun they have been having.

Swimming with the fishes already.

BTW, this is from the USNS Vandenberg, six miles off Key West.

Tuesday Morning -- Work or not to Work

I've been home from work using vacation time since Thursday last week to complete the final preparations for the wedding.

It is funny, how used to not going to work I can get.

I would love to retire and spend all of my time--doing what?

I guess I need work to give me something worthwhile to do.

So the whole idea of going to work is just a disguise, because if I didn't go to work, I'd work around the house. OK--maybe I'd watch World Cup Soccer all morning.

Then I actually need work to get me moving and out of the house and give me something productive to do.

So going to work is actually good for me!

Chris get the summer off, starting Thursday. And then the summer stress begins as she is alone all day and busy finding projects to keep her busy and gainfully employed.

I suppose I would be in the same situation if I didn't have work to keep me busy.

So as the day begins and the slug in me desires not to go to work, I guess I really need to head out for my own good.

That is a positive way of looking at it. Because if I didn't have to go to work, I'd be headed for a sunny beach in Florida--yeah, like in about three weeks from now!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Musings - June 21, 2010

The Bride--Coordinating
 Weddings bring out the best in people as they remember a great day in their lives. This week, I devote Monday Musings to documenting the wedding and the fun we had.

What can I say--Simply Beautiful!

If Only it was as Easy at the real Ceremony

Gary and Kay--Thanks for Coming

P&T Enjoying a Toast

Jeremy and Nicole--

Now You See It

Happy Sisters

Pennie and Scott enjoying a timeout

On the dance floor

Partying on by playing Angry Birds

Looking for a Pirate ship during the reception

Sunday, June 20, 2010

From the Honeymoon

Patrick taking a picture presumably of Tina taking a picture of him.

This breaking news just in from Key West where the honeymooning couple
received an upgraded suite at the hotel.

Patrick and Tina Get Married

It should be the title for a movie--or at least a book.

The long awaited wedding finally happened and in a true-to-form manner--it was simply awesome.

There was drama, confusion, anxiety, changed plans, and perfect weather. There was something for everyone.

Most importantly, two people very much in love were married. After-all--isn't that what it is all about?

We each had our parts to play in the movie that is "Patrick and Tina Get Married" but the real stars were Patrick and Tina. Through it all, they each demonstrated a grand sense of humor and a knack for keeping their "eyes on the ball" rather than getting slogged down in the more mundane aspects of what was swirling around them.

I owe huge a thank-you to many people who worked really hard to make the day come together, and especially the rehearsal dinner, which we hosted at the house with the assistance of our best friends: Fran and Mary. I am always amazed how much work there is to do before hand to make something like a dinner come off and look so effortless.

I was reminded through the planning and execution of this wedding of how many people are involved--each with their part to play, to make the day a success.

I also want to thank the guests who traveled great distances to be part of the celebration. Each of them also played their part by attending and witnessing the event. Remember--not everyone got an invitation--so it certainly was an honor to receive one and then to follow through make the effort to actually attend was especially appreciated.

And then to the parents of the bride--thanks for raising such a special woman who can love and appreciate my son. They are perfect together. It always brings a smile to my face when I see or hear them coming through the door--together or separately.

So now, I'm already waiting for the sequel--as the marriage begins. Perhaps the first sequel will be titled something like "Hot Nights in Key West." I hope they are having fun in one of my favorite places in the world. It just occurred to me how much fun I have living vicariously though the experiences of my children and their families.

God bless you both--Tina and Patrick, today and always.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

After the Wedding

We are out on the town in Annapolis with Mike and Nicole and Scott and
Pennie. A great way to chill after the pace of the last couple of days.

Even today we were busy cleaning up and retrieving the arch from the

The memory of a great wedding and reception partying with family and
friends remains fresh and makes me smile.

There are so many people I need to thank for making the whole process
a success.

But my love and prayers go you out to Patrick and Tina.

Friday, June 18, 2010

From the Reception

And here it is as we sit here from Patrick and Tina's reception. The
party of the year is well underway after the long awaited wedding.

In a word. It was awesome.

Party on dudes.

Wedding Day 2010: Patrick and Tina

And today is the day.

The timing is set--the plans are made and mostly set.

The guests are arriving and most of us survived the Rehearsal dinner without incident.

The rehearsal went off well and everything seems ready.

Panic is setting in--and things are falling into place--but we will all be ready this evening.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family vs Work: And the Winner Is?

The situation:

A major presentation due at work or travel to attend a grandchild's wedding? What are you going to do?

For conflicts involving big family events: marriages, funerals, reunions, vacations, kid sporting events; the family should win out over work nearly every time!

I think it is important to understand that nearly everyone believes this to be true, so when people use the excuse that work won't allow you to attend--they all know that you don't want to attend and are too disingenuous just to say so! I mean, I have been in the rare situation where I've been called away to support some important operation--but those are generally pretty rare.

People know!

And it is important to have a healthy perspective of work requirements vs personal life situations.

To begin binning the demands on my life--I look at life and priorities as follows:

1, God (personal relationship, not duties associated with religious organizations)
2. Personal Health and Well Being
3. Family - spouse and kids (and grand kids)
4. Work (to include volunteer activities, like churches and fraternal organizations)
5. Extended Family and relatives
6. Friends
7. Home maintenance and repairs
8. Someone I just met
9. A stray animal

So by using the above order, I find I'm getting it right more than not!

So let me give you some examples.

Attending Ethan's Tee-ball games--priority 3
Mowing the lawn - Priority 7
Playing Racquetball - priority 2
Taking a nap - priority 2
Running out in the middle of dinner to view a house for Jeremy - priority 3
Enjoying Happy Hour with Friends on Friday night - priority 2
Helping Jeremy Move (OMG that is gonna be a priority 3, ugh!)
Helping a friend make a trip to the landfill - priority 6

So you kinda get it.

Now--to explain some of the weirdness in the priorities.

Mowing the lawn contributes to the upkeep of the home and is a priority 7 item--but if I don't get it done in a timely manner, it could become a priority 3 issue--where the spouse begins to need it accomplished for her well being.

Although taking a nap contributes to my personal well being, I don't have to take a nap to be happy so I generally do not take naps--but I dream about that afternoon siesta all the time!

So in answer to the question about attending the grandchild's wedding--the wedding wins! Hands down--even if the work conflict is church related and it's the senior pastor of the church. I've seen our pastor leave for these things. And see my blog on delegation to assist in resolving the problems associated with priority conflicts.

Finally, don't let priority 1 and 4 get fuzzy.

Many people do!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil, Money and Frustration

It's the President's fault!

Which president?

Well, BP's of course?

Really, for the lack of effort on the clean up and the oil slick heading for the Florida coast?

Yeah--the President of the U.S. and BP and whomever else is involved.

Where is Congress???

Our representatives are asleep at the switch it seems. They are consumed by special interest items but are not mobilizing to put some sanity in the situation that has developed in the Gulf of Mexico.

And where are the movie stars who always seem to be campaigning for some crusade. Haven't heard a peep from them, either. Don't they care as much about the Gulf as they do polar bears in the Arctic?

And the thousands of barrels per day of oil keeps leaking and no one is doing anything except wringing their hands and watching the oil begin wash up on the beaches. We are looking at an environmental catastrophe greater than Chernobyl. And we laughed at the Russians when it happened.

Really? really!

From the Wall Street Journal here is a good explanation of the situation:

Mr. Obama's political challenges were evident in Alabama Monday, where leaders and residents said their state has been deprived of vital resources for fighting the spill. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has been vocal about his dismay with the federal effort to protect Perdido Pass, a waterway near the Florida border, and Perdido Bay, a scenic waterway central to the fishing and tourism industry in both Alabama and Northern Florida.

This is a political issue--and it should be an environmental issue.

And now for the rub, also from this article:

Mr. Obama said he has begun "constructive" talks with BP on the creation of an independently operated recovery fund to ensure "legitimate claims are dealt with fairly, justly, promptly." He said he and BP officials hoped to announce a deal on the issue Wednesday following a meeting at the White House.

As a sovereign country--there is no need for constructive talks. Give BP the bill for the clean up--and then maybe someone will get off their bloated bottoms and start fixing the damage and preventing more!

Nuff said!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Delegation--The Secret to Success

We all intuitively know that if we can keep our priorities straight and work from the most important to the least, that life will be good and we will be fulfilled, right? And if we don't have enough time or energy to get something done--well as long as it's a low priority then "no harm, no foul."

Hold it right there.

We all also know this is so totally, not true!

All of our priorities need to be completed from the most important to the least. At least that's how we feel.

If it didn't need to be done, then it wouldn't have a priority. No matter where in the schema it falls out.

That then is the problem. It all needs to be done and we all know there is never enough time to get it all done.

And then there are those conflicting appointments--and problems trying to resolve which one to attend.

The secret to success? Delegation.

This is where the priority system really works. When there are truly competing priorities--then delegate someone else to attend in your place. That way, effectively, you can be in multiple places simultaneously.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Musings - June 14, 2010

1. It is Flag Day. Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

2. 30 days from today, we begin our trek to Florida for a couple of weeks.

3. They changed managers, but the Orioles are still as bad. Maybe there is something deeper wrong with the team. At their current pace they will finish the season at 43-119, narrowly missing the modern era record for most losses set by the 1962 NY Mets at 120, but tying the 2003 Detroit Tigers for second! It should get better next year though, the 1963 Mets only had 111 losses!

4. Despite the calendar saying it is still officially springtime, summer is here with the heat and humidity. Bring it on--it is what we wait for from October to May--summer!

5. The USA soccer (football) team did OK on Saturday--but I really hate it when people say that a tie is a win. No. A tie is not a loss--but it certainly is not a win. There we go, setting low expectations again so we can salvage a small measure of national pride from something we are just not a good as the rest of the world at. Although, the team was ranked 14th in the world at the start of the tourney.

6. Ran across the following in a CNN article about an executioner in Utah: "The death penalty," the officer says, "is nothing more than sending a defective product back to the manufacturer. Let him fix it." Not too sure how I feel about that statement.

7. And so the week begins. As weeks go--this one is special. But then every week and every second of our time is special. It is amazing how we fail to respect the power of the second in our lives. In a second--everything can change, yet we waste so much time just trying to decide--or worse, just waiting for time to pass--aimlessly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Days to Go!

The wedding is days away. Five to be precise.

It seems that almost every available moment is consumed by wedding this or that.

And in too short a time, it will be over.

The guests will be gone and live will again begin to take on a sense of normalcy.

But until then--we must find time to enjoy our friends and family as they dutifully assemble. We must not get so caught up in the busy-ness that we fail to appreciate all of those who have traveled to celebrate this marriage with us.

So today, we washed cars (4) and shopped and watched the O's get obliterated by the Mets on TV and Germany annihilate Australia in World Cup play.

And we had some great quality time with Lucas and Jeremy and Nicole as well as the bride and groom.

In the pool--on a floatie, in the sun. Did I say hot sun? Bring it on.

Summer is really here!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good Fences and Questionable Neighbors

Robert Frost wrote a poem titled Mending Wall which ends with the line "Good fences make good neighbors."

I never really believed his assertion--but as I stay in the same house as many years as we have recently, I am beginning to become a fan.

But even with a good fence--sometimes the neighbors can be a problem when the fence is on the wrong side.

Take for instance the scene pictured here. Garbage strewn on the ground--where it has been since before garbage day on Tuesday (and I took the image Thursday evening)--and hasn't moved. The garbage cans were taken to the street, where as I write this, they remained until Friday morning. A raccoon feasted on the trash--but here the remnants waiting for next big rainstorm to wash it into my yard. The fence behind the mess would be fine for containment, if only the trash was on the inside instead of the outside.

I have the honor of collecting a lot of their refuse from my yard after storms. Discarded water bottles that fall from the neighbors vehicles as they get out and which just lie there waiting for a storm to cleanse their drive and deposit them in my yard where I will then clean them up.

I would just pick up their trash, like I collect their paper from the street every day, or like Chris picks up the remnants of their annuals planting--the discarded pots which remained next to the newly planted flowers; but we are not making any progress with them. The mess in the yards and the lack of pride in the exterior of their home is getting worse and worse.

I remember that I hated it when they installed the fence separating their yard from ours, it made it seem as if we were surrounded by fortresses of solitude. Now I wish that they could contain themselves within the walls. It is bad enough that I can look inside the fenced yard from my bedroom window--but to have to walk and drive past the mess daily is even more difficult.

The wildlife loves the mess. We have many critters which come to visit and I worry about rabies. Our pets are all vaccinated--but what if there is rabid saliva on the garbage I'm picking up? or is that an irrational fear?

Should I just clean up the mess since it is I who cannot tolerate the sight of it? Would I be insulting them by helping them?

We live in an area without a homeowners association--I am not a fan of associations, but in this instance I'm beginning to see the benefits of having someone around to at least attempt to enforce basic standards of cleanliness.

I'm conflicted.

I want to say something to them--but what do I say?

I've considered asking if there was any way I could help them keep up with the mess. I don't think that would go over very well.

I'll probably continue to suffer in silence--paralyzed by the fear of turning peaceful neighbors who are messy into antagonistic ones. And they did give me four tickets to see the Orioles defeat the Red Sox last Sunday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Busy, busy, busier

Life really has sped up during the past couple of weeks.

And I mean in both my personal and professional life.

It is almost like someone is trying to get everything done before I leave (in 36 days) for my Florida vacation get away.

It seems there is something to do every minute of every day--and the projects only get more and more important.

But . . .

I can smell the humid, salty air blowing off the ocean in my mind, and as I check into my happy place--the stress of the last hour melts away. And I reconnect with what really matters.

Another day--another mini-crisis, another opportunity to excel.

I think I see light at the end of the tunnel and I'm pretty sure it's not the headlamp of the on-coming train.

It's Friday party time. Yeah. And I know it's five o'clock somewhere.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Week to Go!

The wedding is getting closer and the plans are becoming more and more specific as we move from concept to implementation.

The panic is gearing up to a high level.

It will all work out, I am sure--but the planning to make it all come together is extensive.

One of my areas of concern is logistics--the movement of people and material from multiple points to the ceremony and then back again.

And so the count down is under way.

Of course, I can take a timeout for a baseball game tonight (I hope the O's win!)

Take a deep breath--and keep my eyes open.

Let's have fun!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jax--Another Update

Miracles do happen.

I have called Jax our miracle baby since he survived heart surgery at 6 days old.

And Jax continues to demonstrate that miracles happen--and we believe they happen as a direct result of prayer.

Jax has been undergoing a new round of health problems which proved to be extremely elusive. You can read the saga on Nicole's Blog--but most recently, he was hospitalized as many of you know, for some really deep and often uncomfortable (downright painful) tests.

Here is an excerpt from Nicole's Blog regarding some of the most recent testing:
Update 5-26-10: Jax had what I am calling the last round of blood work done last Friday, the test results should be in on the 28th. It was to test to see if his body responded to the new Prevnar vaccine. I am not holding my breath, but you never know. We did go 5 days (a new record) with no fevers, but sadly he was running one last night.

And now for the rest of the story, and the miracle.

After months of testing and looking at an under performing immune system--everything is normal. His body created the required antibodies for the Prevnar vaccine, and his levels are normal.
Every other test that has been run is negative. AND I can tell you, they were looking for some really scary things--we became experts at trying to decipher medical-speak while reading some very in depth Internet articles.

So we are claiming a victory and a miracle of the triumph of prayer!


Jax continues to be a witness to all of us of the power of prayer and how when believers pray together that prayer changes things!

We continue to ask for prayer for Jax to overcome the fevers--but the miraculous change in his immune system is something we need to celebrate and thank God for.
And so for all of you who read my blog--either in its native form at A Bob's Life, or on Facebook where I have it automatically linked; and took action by praying, Thank you!
Your prayers have been answered, as have ours.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Speak, I'm Listening

I am a terrible listener.

People who know me know that this is true. When I am in a conversation, I want to guide where we are headed and even when others speak, I am trying to complete their thoughts. Sometimes, I don't complete their thoughts correctly and I hear something they didn't intend.

It's hard. In my job I spend a lot of time filling in the blanks and figuring out how to bridge the holes in information, and so when people speak to me, I do much the same thing--my mind is racing so fast to understand that I miss nuances in the conversations. Sometimes, I miss whole conversations.

This whole idea is a carry over from church this past Sunday. One of the readings was from 1 Samuel. I know, 1 Samuel is not one of those books a lot of us spend much time studying--but i actually remembered this passage and as it was being discussed, I tuned out and had my own bit of reflection on the verse:

3:10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” - NET Bible

The cool part about this is that the Lord had called Samuel three previous times and Samuel had run to his mentor, Eli, responding that he was here because he did not recognize that it was the Lord, God who was calling to him and thought it was Eli. After the third time, Eli figured out what was occurring and told Samuel to say simply, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."

Here is the take away that I got. Even God waits for us to acknowledge Him and to tell him that we are ready to listen. It was not until Samuel was ready to listen that God proceeded to tell Samuel what he had on His mind.

When I give, even silently in my mind, the go ahead for someone to speak because I am listening then I am a better listener because I am ready to receive and process what the speaker is saying--without having my mind racing ahead and filling in holes that don't yet exist.

So to become a better listener when engaging in conversation, I need to take a breath and mentally prepare for the conversation by saying to myself: speak, I'm listening.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Musings - June 7, 2010

1. Yesterday was the 66th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy Landings of WWII.

2. I went to the Orioles-Red Sox game yesterday. A 4h20m 11-inning game in which the O's broke their 10-game losing streak by winning. Yay. Sadly, the O's are on track to tie or beat the 1961 Mets as the losing-est baseball team in MLB history. Not too sure I really want that record!

3. The hot weather has many people in the sweltering. But as a crazy that vacations in Florida in the summer, I say, bring it on!

4. I ran across this quote:
In every age 'the good old days' were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.
Brooks Atkinson, Once Around the Sun (1951)
(1894 - 1984)
5. Some days seem better than others, but I am convinced that those days are better because of the effort we put into them.

6. Did you ever wonder where you left your keys, only to find them where you thought you left them? Think about it.

7. Things are always in the last place we look for them--because we stop looking after we find them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Ringbearer

The wedding is closing in and in a scoop here is a shot of the

Yeah. He is a cutie and if he looks like this, what must the groom

and the bride look like?

Less than two weeks away. But who is counting?

I guess everyone is.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sleep--Why is it Elusive Sometimes?

The alarm woke me this morning. That doesn't usually happen. Most often I'm already awake waiting for the alarm to signal the start of the day.

But this morning--the alarm had to do its duty and wake me from a restful slumber.

I usually sleep pretty well--only occasional bouts with mid-night insomnia. Sometimes the animals--cat or dog, wake me for some need or as they shift around in the bed. And then there is Chris--yes she snores, and when she has a bad night I often wake up.

But last night--the stars aligned and once my eyes closed, they did not open again until the alarm informed me that my allotted time in bed had ended.

And when I woke up--I realized that something really special had happened. I slept all night.


Did I feel great? No, actually I was a bit groggy and would have stayed in bed had it been a weekend.

So I'm grumbling that I had a great night's sleep and had to get up?

Isn't that just like a guy--unhappy that something good happened.

I don't know why a full night's sleep is elusive, but I know I should appreciate a good one when I experience it.

And so, I will and I do.

Maybe a repeat performance tonight when I can sleep until 9 AM rather than 5:10 AM?? (Yes, my alarm goes off at 5:10 AM on mornings I do not play racquetball)

Do you think there is a chance?

There I go again--grumbling about something special that happened today.

OK--thanks for a great night sleep. May you all have one, too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Party

Mid-week, pick-up parties have become a way of life around the house lately. And I must say they can be a lot of fun.

Tegan and her friends have brought a new sense of relaxation to the place and on almost any night there may be people around the pool with the heater going discussing the happenings of the day or the deep political crises of our nation.

Equipped with the new rope lights around the pool area, the whole place really becomes like a Key West bar after dark--ant that is exactly what we a trying to achieve.

The pool is open, the lights are on, the alcohol may be flowing--or not. But the laughter and talking and discussions which happen often go on right until bedtime. And since most of us have to get up early--the place shuts down almost exactly at 9:30 pm.

Memories--that's what we are making. Something to reach back for during a future time and recall friends, family, deep thoughts, and cool nights around the pool.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You Believe Them Why?

So the continuing saga of the Gulf oil spill and BP and the Federal government has become like a bad movie.

In this movie there are two bank robbers and they are constantly bickering about what they are going to do and how best to rob the bank.

But they continually bungle the job and escape only barely to try to rob another bank.

I was reminded of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with the exception that they actually successfully made a living off of robbing banks.

And how can you tell that they are lying? Their lips are moving.

And why do we keep hearing about the next plan to stem that flow of oil which will likely fail? Because if they keep talking we can't really take the time to understand how bad it is.

And it is pretty bad. And getting worse.

And there isn't a viable plan except to drill another well to intersect the one that's there--and that won't happen until August.

They will keep talking and planning until August--because they know they just can't sit there and wait--but nothing seems like it is going to work.

And so we must wait and more oil will pollute the Gulf of Mexico and the beaches and kill the creatures of the sea and the birds of the air--

and our government will wring its hands and point its finger at BP.

And BP will point its finger at the government,

and nothing will get done, but we will feel better because of all the finger pointing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dawn of the New Day

I let Makayla out this morning for her usual walk around the yard to relieve herself and I noticed something in the sky. The colors of the morning were pushing away the darkness and bringing dawn to the slumbering world.

And so I looked it up in the official tables for sunrise and sunset and found that 5:11 am was the predicted time for dawn and that is almost exactly when I let Makayla out the door for her morning activity. Sunrise was slated for 5:42 am. We are should see 15 hours and 48 minutes (dawn to dusk) of daylight today--over 5 hours more than the 10 hours 37 minutes we will experience on December 1st.

And as I looked into the brightening sky, I thought about the promise of this Tuesday--the first day of June 2010 and all of my plans and activities.

Life is so busy--especially coming out of a three-day (or in my case four-day) weekend.

I am looking forward to Florida in July! A mere 47 days away.

But I don't want to get there so fast that I miss the joy in between which will include a wedding and the Independence Day celebration, the end of the school year for Chris, and so many other events and happenings.

It is similar to when I get behind in a racquetball game (which seems to be happening more than less lately). The key to success is not scoring all the points needed to win on one serve--it can't be done; but in racquetball, much like life, the key to happiness and success is to play one point, or one day, at a time and to give the best possible effort in every situation.
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