Friday, July 30, 2010

green, green fields of home...

tomorrow is the last day of july.  ordinarily, come this time of year, these parts are on the far side of sere;  ugly, parched and dusty brown.  this year is the extraordinary exception to that most usual scenario.  i've been in the area since the early 70's.  this is the first time i can recall it being a greener shade of green this far into the summer season.


i'm not complaining, please understand that.  it's just that it's so refreshing having a view to admire from the 6th floor windows of the hospital where i've worked these 30+ years.  the top pic was taken looking to the west across coulter street.  green as far as the eye can see this time of the year?  un-heard of, i say.

the picture below it is looking toward the east.  the glass structure is our new arboretum. beyond it is a hill, that in a typical year would be a study in dry to the extreme.

it has been a wetter than usual summer for us.  in the spring systems came up from mexico, training rainfall along the way.

with august coming on and with no rain locally in quite a bit, the green, green hills of home stand a better than even chance of reverting back to the same old,same old. 

such is life on the semi-arid plains.  the best we can do is enjoy the view while it lasts, as long as it lasts.

on the other hand, if the rains want to continue, they'll get no argument from this quarter. aio

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

good things come to those who wait...

the piano was not the first instrument of choice for our middle son. it is my great regret that we did not somehow coerce him into taking piano lessons.  i bought the wife a nice little baldwin spinet about the time he could have made use of it.  that is neither her nor there. his choice in the beginning was acoustic guitar.  he has since gone one to  conquer different instruments. i am forever astounded by his creativeness particularly in view of his lack of formal training. 

burned blue was the name of his first band.  of the 3 or more bands he has played with, bb was my favorite.  i guess, because they came closest to being "main stream".  there was a lot of talent there. as bands sometimes do, they drifted apart.  prettypretty and isaac the blind are both in limbo for the time being.  i can't see them getting back together.  band members are people first, and people move on.

their demise, if that is what it is, doesn't break my heart.  though i support c. 100%  in whatever his endeavour may be, i will not tell you i liked  the last two bands at all.  i've been to their concerts, i can appreciate all the work that goes into a show, but for the life of me, try as i might, i never developed a liking for their "music".

these last months has seen him move on to two new projects.  the town hall devils is said to be a rockabilly band.  that concept is intriguing to me.  they played a gig in dallas this past weekend.  sure would have like to have been there to hear them.  i'm hoping i can actually understand the lyrics they sing. that's been my main hangup with his previous bands. still,  i will make a flying trip down austin way to hear them the first time opportunity presents. 

he's also involved with a second new project-- a surf band.  though i haven't heard it from him, through my limited powers of deduction, i believe i have discovered that the band is to be called-- acid beach.  interesting thought, a surf band austinized = acid beach.  if i'm wrong about the name, you will read about it here first.

i hope i'm not setting myself up for a fall.  i'll be tickled pink if either,or both, of these new efforts ultimately become something i can not only support 100%, but actually enjoy hearing.

that's the $64,000 dollar question, now isn't it. will the town hall devils and/or acid beach be music to my ears.  i hope so. if not, i love him anyway. aio

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the shadow of a smile...

isn't it odd, the little twists and turns, the odd coincidence that life seems to take sometimes.  just this morning while working the daily crossword puzzles for instance.

but first, if you've been following the postings i've made regarding my truck, a nissan frontier, hereafter simply "the frontier" you will recall that all the drama started with the body shop switching radiator caps which caused the engine to overheat and a head gasket to blow leading to the frontier being in the truck hospital for some 53 days.  none of the happenings described in those posts made me smile.

but i did have to smile this morning when i realized the solution to 37 across-- car engine part, was--- wait for it-- radiator cap.

okay, maybe not that funny to you. but it is to me, how the happenstance of life, it's ebb and flow can bring a smile to me after all this time.  i hope you all have a stellar day and i hope something happens today to make you smile.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

on the frontier front...

ever since i got the frontier out of the shop back of april 10th, it has been leaking anti-freeze.  not a lot, but each time i drive it any distance, long enough to bring the engine temp up to "normal", there has been a drip from somewhere under the hood.  the dripping fluid smells like, looks like and tastes like anti-freeze.

ergo if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be what?  a duck? yes. but in this case it's anti-freeze.

i've been procrastinating since i got the truck back april 10th, delaying taking the frontier in to see why it is crying anti-freeze. last week i got a notice that nissan had enrolled me in their one-to-one service plan. according to nissan the frontier is due for it's 33 month maintenance. (which btw consists of checking the fluid levels, changing the oil and rotating the tires. bfd!)

taking this as the sign i needed to get the frontier seen about, i called and made an appointment.

that was at 9:30 this morning.  i came away with news that the anti-freeze is leaking from the thermostat gasket.  of course, the part has to be ordered.  that will take 3-5 days. when it comes in mcgavock will call me to set an appointment to have it replaced.  the work should be done the same day i take it in for repair.

after my previous experience i'm a bit nervous and a whole lot skeptical, but we will see.  best of all, they dont' have to pull the engine to replace the gasket.  yahoo!  not as bad as i feared, but we will see how it shakes out.

and what have i learned from the past 3 months of dragging my feet?  procrastination gets you nowhere.  it doesn't solve the problem and it eats at your soul.

so don't be like me.  take the bull by the horns, jump on and ride him 'til the whistle blows. aio    

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the trigger for this morning's diatribe was my daughter's most recent post at "the monkey heart discourses." in the meat of the post she made comment about her "rear view."

something you may not know about me is-- i've been a study of motion since the late '70's. that is to say at some point around then i found my weight creeping unerringly toward the 200 mark. not a pretty picture then and even less so now.

the point is that it was then that i set out to do something to battle the battle of the bulge. i took up jogging. in time i connected with a group of friends who came to be known as red's raiders. it was great to be part of a group. we met early on sunday morning to do what was usually a 10 mile training run. on saturdays we would often travel together to a 10-k race somewhere in the panhandle area. over time i became a fair bottom of the top 1/3 finisher.

red would often make the point, when referencing my disappointment in finish place or time, "you should have chosen your parents more carefully." well, duh! why didn't i think of that.

so to my darling daughter, " you should have chosen your parents more carefully." you should have chosen a dad blessed by a preponderance of fast twitch fibers, one that was lean and mean, built for speed-- picture mercury .

as for the mom, one whose body was that of a goddess, lithe and tall with the heart of athena might have been the ideal choice.

if one aspires to be the world's fastest man, or the prima ballerina of all time, as simon and garfunkel sang "choose your parents well."

as that is not possible, then one's best chances lay in that we are more than the sum of the two parts. one can only hope the alchemy of conception includes the best of all who came before.

given that hope is impossible before that moment of truth, we all are left to play the hand dealt to us.

to my daughter, i love you just the way you are-- and even if the fates failed to deal you a goddess in the rear view. aio

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

flight of fancy...

on my usual noon run on wednesday i came upon a sight not seen in many a moon. it was at one of the "mandatory" stops at the triangle park off paramount. what caught my attention was, not one, but a flight of eight or so dragonflies. i don't recall having seen a dragonfly in a very long time. and here, out of the blue, a virtual dragonfly stampede. well, not exactly a stampede but a dash this way and then that way, often come to an abrupt halt to hover in mid-air as they are known to do. in my youth i thought of them as insect heicopters.

what is even more curious to me is that they were hanging out in the middle of a park, nothing but grass in sight. my best recollection is that i've alway seen them around water. be it pond or lake, the water's edge seemed to be the hangout of choice.

seeing them took me back to the times my dad would take me fishing with him at one or the other of the stock tanks on the t-bar ranch. fishing with my dad, catching fish or not, was a special time for me. i wonder if those times meant anything to him at all.

my dad was a man of few words. he operated something like the dad in a country song getting play these days. it sings about how this particular dad couldn't say "i love you" aloud but each time dad and son parted the dad would "check the air in my tires, all the belts and spark plug wires and ask when the hell's the last time you changed this oil?" like the son in the song "i didn't know it then, but i know it now." he was saying "i love you"--the only way he knew how.

thanks dad, for letting me tag along to the fishing holes and for letting me hang around all those smoky camp fires listening to your old hounds singing out "aoooh, aooh" signaling they'd come up on the trail of some critter or other. i love you too. aio
in today's paper is a piece relating that the DA will present to a grand jury the case referenced in my post from monday. i think that's probably appropriate. if someone dies "at your hand" shouldn't' you be held accountable? in this case, a jury of peers will decide if there should be some consequence outside a lifetime of guilt.

the paper's piece also noted that texas law stipulates that cyclists should ride no more than two abreast. from the article, and from talking with my friend k., they were riding with another cyclist, e.g. three abreast.

so agn, because she was riding three abreast, she deserved the death penalty? if one of our texas dps officers, or a county sheriff had driven by them, would he have ticketed them for said infraction? maybe, but if he stopped at all, he also might have given a warning.

what will the grand jury's decision be, i wonder? i am not espousing his cause over hers. this tragedy will have changed lives on both sides of the aisle. what is to be gained by sending this young man to jail? doing so will not bring her back. it might serve to give her family and friends some sense of justice. perhaps that is their right.

this case only goes to show what can be the grave consequence of a moments inattention; how in a few seconds--the blink of an eye, the course of time can be altered. the grand jury will decide whether this a matter for the courts. common sense says either way, trial or no, the whole deal is a crying shame. aio

Monday, July 19, 2010

there, but for the grace of god...

it is with mixed emotions that i attempt to form this piece.

at the top of the news this past weekend was the story of a cyclist, a woman, a wife and a mother who while on a saturday morning ride with the local cycling club was struck from behind by the driver of a ford f-250 truck. she died at the scene. the facts of the case are sketchy at best. how the driver, a young man in his mid twenties, came to veer, swerve or drift into the path of the cyclist is not known for certain. what is certain is that through some tragic error she is gone. theories abound, only he knows the truth. whether or not he has related that truth to the authorities is not for me to know.

what is certain is that her death, years before one might expect it, is a tragedy. i am in shock and, although i did not know her, i mourn her untimely passing and offer her family and friends my deepest sympathy. what also is certain is that this young man will be haunted by this past saturday morning for the rest of his life. i feel bad for him as well.

on another level, i am relieved, and i feel a bit guilty for being thankful that it was not my good friend k.r. that was struck. last evening, i remarked to my wife, " i wonder if k. was part of the group riding with the cyclist that was killed.

today, i got the answer to my query. indeed k. was part of that group and in fact she was riding right beside the lady who was struck. not even an arms length away from her, they were riding literally elbow to elbow, one was hit and one was spared.

on yet another level i am wondering if we are living in some alternate or parallel universe. you see, k. is the third wife of my good friend m.r. m.'s first wife died after childbirth. his second wife was struck from behind and killed while on a sunday run with m. and friends. to have k. come so close to a smiliar fate is beyond eerie. it is simply mind blowing.

does it make me a bad person for being grateful it wasn't my friend k. probably not, but if it does, i think i can live with that. i'm just really glad k. is still with us and hope she will be for many years to come; god's speed, k. aio

"dog days" of summer

we are heading into the "dog days of summer" here on the high plains of texas. in other areas of the world too i suppose as the "dog days' are not exclusive to these parts.

the term "dog days" came from sirius, the "dog star." in late july sirius is in conjunction with the sun. the ancients are said to have believed that the heat from sirius added to the heat of the sun creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.

as i was growing up on that dry land cotton farm, my daddy and my grandpa always kept a bunch of hounds they used to "hunt" coyote, raccoon and bobcat. i don't remember being envious of those old dogs but during the heat of the day they would be laid up under the front porch or under the house in the shade. i on the other hand, would be in the fields either chopping cotton or driving the tractor. i remember many times, on a partly cloudy day, wishing that a cloud would cover the sun, even briefly, giving a moment of relief.

in those days, central air conditioning was rare. even evaporative cooling was a luxury and one we didn't have. walking the rows in the cotton patch we dressed in a long sleeved shirt, gloves and a hat-- or a bonnet if you were female. the aim of this overdressing was to prevent being burnt to a crisp by the unforgiving sun. walking out and back again once equaled a "round." the day was not measured in hours but by the number of rounds made in a 10-12 hour day.

working the fields growing up was not what this kid wanted to do. it's just the way it was. i grew up poor and never knew anything different. at the end of the day i'd be dog tired and dry as a bone and always aware that come sunrise it would be time to do it all over again.

sitting here in air conditioned comfort i know the person i am today was forged in the fire of that south plains cotton patch. the hours and days spent chopping weeds or driving tractor were not wasted. there were lessons learned from that sweaty, back breaking work. like setting goals and meeting them. how many rounds can be made today. don't miss any weeds. don't chop up any cotton plants. side by side with my family, working, sweating to make a crop, looking forward to the day the crop was "laid by", the work done until harvest time.

always there was the hope that we might be finished a few days before school started up again. those halcyon days were much anticipated, a reward for a summer's labors toward the good of all. they raced unerringly toward the end of the "dog days," the beginning of another school year, and a nine month count down toward doing it all yet again. aio.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"lucky man"

with thanks to songwriters: turnbull, dave; cory, david lee and to montgomery gentry--

"but i know i'm a lucky man
god's given me a pretty fair hand
got a house and piece of land
a few dollar's in a coffee can

my old truck's still running good
my ticker's ticking like they say it should
i got supper in the oven, a good woman's loving
and one more day to be my little kid's dad
lord, knows i'm a lucky man"

how can a man know that, at the end, his life has done anything more than occupy space and time? for myself, i find it hard to know if my years on this earth have amounted to anything at all.

i would be forever in listing the things i've not accomplished in my life.

i haven't written a book for instance. there was a time when i read anything and everything louis lamour. having read most of his works, though perhaps formulaic, he made it look so easy. i thought i'd try my hand at writing an oater. i couldn't get past the first line.

i've not invented anything, although, i consider myself a fairly inspired southern engineer. there simply has not been any terrific ideas come to mind for some gadget or another that might make susie homemaker's life a bit easier.

i could go on and on, ad nauseum, about the things i've not done in my life. for the sake of time we'll not go there.

given those things not accomplished, how does one measure the measure of a life? my hunch is that is has to do with the little things. things that too often are taken for granted.

on the positive side, i've never been to jail. nothing is on record more serious than some few traffic infractions, but nada that would prevent my being trusted with the nation's secrets back in the day.

i've never had anything re-possessed for non-payment. there may have been a few late fees assessed but there can be a lesson learned even in that circumstance.

i suppose my life could be reduced to numbers. married-- 33+ years to the same wonderful woman; 3 kids, 0 grand-kids ( a real sore spot with me as all 3 have sworn they will never have children of their own. i'm praying for divine intervention on that front.) 35+ years working for the same hospital. an ???? number of patients that have come into, and survived my cares. i suppose i'll be there until i retire, if they don't run me off first.

the house we built together in '77 has $0.00 on the balance due sheet. the 2 of us kind of rattle around in it like bb's in an empty beer keg. without the 3 cats for company and entertainment our life these days stands a pretty fair chance of becoming exceptionally dull.

but, as i see it, there's a problem with reducing a life to numbers. if omitted from those 33+ years is the pain of loved ones lost. if nelgected are the tears of joy and remorse, the laughter and the pride taken in watching children grow and mature into responsible, productive adults. if left uncolored are the outlines of a life whose shared experiences together have made the years fly by. if only today is taken into account, if left un-recollected is the love that made days flow into weeks, weeks into yesteryear, then there is nothing. but there has been love. the love of a family that eased the way through the bad and celebrated the good. when colored in, the years together equal the sum of our collective memories and in the end sums up a beautiful life and worth it all. aio

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"it's all in the game"

have you ever given serious consideration to the genius that is the human brain? the brain is indeed a marvel, capable of infinitely more than we ask of it. for most of us, we nightly slip away into a dreamland of sights, sounds, smells-- which can be fabulous and extremely "real", at least until the moment we wake up in the reality abandoned as sleep carried us away.

a computer has the capacity to store tons of information; sitting there on the hard drive, ready to be retrieved. the average human brain has all that capacity and more. however,unlike a computer, the human brain often retrieves unbidden, factoids from the reaches of matter and time.

for instance, as i was leaving work tonight, lyrics from 1958-- Tommy Edwards "it's all in the game" popped into my head. "many a tear has to fall, but it's all in the game... all in the wonderful game, that we know as love..." i've not heard the song, not thought of the song since ??? oh, somewhere around 1959 perhaps. still, those lyrics have been sitting somewhere in the old memory bank since the last time they were called forward, somehow biding time until called to report in at the front desk of my consciousness. i promise, i didn't purposely try to remember them but of an instant they were there. 1959-- it's been a minute. i guess they got tired of waiting. aio

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daughters' Day/Week

i received an e-mail reminding me, (??that would be assuming i was aware) that this week is daughters week. the quote included tugged at the old heart strings just a bit. so to do my part toward honoring all the daughters out there i give you this.

"a daughter will hold your hand only for a little while, but will hold your heart for a lifetime."

our only daughter, kelly susan, had my heart from the get go; that is from the moment she made her way into this cold, cruel world and after taking that first ragged breath announced with a cry-- look out world, here i come. she was born with congenital heart defects. before her third birthday she had been through two surgeries to mend the asd and vsd. it is regrettable that she had to endure such trials while so young but i choose to believe, at least in part, it was that which made her so fiercely independent at such an early age. i've written before as to how she refers to herself as having a "monkey heart". no thanks to her brother who first hung that tag on her but that too may have strengthened her resolve.

I'm going to take some the credit for her strength of character in that had it been up to her mom she may have grown into a very different person. from early on, i insisted we were not to treat kelly any different than the boys. i would be damned if we would "wrap her in cotton"; a shroud of protection for a fragile, wounded bird. indeed she was a delicate thing for a time but with each passing day and year her inner strength and determination grew.

today she is confident, accomplished and edging her way into her thirties. she and her husband kevin live in new orleans. post katrina, things there can be a struggle and it was so even before the bp mess added to the mix. she is working but, having her masters degree, is still searching for the right fit you might say, a position that will allow her to use her hard earned degree more completely.

so on this day/week to honor daughters everywhere i wish them only the best and to my lovely daughter, this-- kelly i'm proud of you. you make my heart sing. i love you so much. aio

Sunday, July 11, 2010

if you know me at all, you know that i love musical theater. call me _____, (go ahead-- you fill in the blank) but you might say i'm a sucker for a good chorus. and i was moved on saturday night, as i took in the 8th annual summer youth musical production of les miserables. les mis was featured as the first annual summer musical production, which i also attended. the first time i saw les mis was a touring production down in lubbock at the municipal auditorium. i remember having had doubts as to whether a bunch of high school and younger kids could do justice to such a momentous piece. eight years ago i wondered how this youth musical production would measure up against the touring production and on saturday i wondered how this latest edition of the youth musical would compare to the youth production from eight years ago.

i'm here to tell you that the first youth musical version held up quite well against the touring production and the eighth summer youth musical version was as good as or, in some ways, better than the first.

the comparison is blurred somewhat by the intervening years but it seems to me the leads for javert and valjean may have been stronger in the first and some of the minor characters-- marius, thenardier and gavroche come to mind-- were stronger in the latest version. i was moved to tears as i watched gavroche at the barricade taking a shot to his shoulder. continuing to sing, he turned to the audience and was shot again, in the back. bravely singing on, in fits and starts, he is carried to "safety". it was as good a piece of acting as i've ever witnessed, hearing, feeling and seeing his small life slip away as signalled by his suddenly limp arm falling at his side. i'm tearing up now with the remembering of it.

the magic of a les miserables production is embodied in the music and the lyrics. the story is there to loosely carry you along. still the talent level has to be there if music, lyrics and story are to be brought to believable life. the 8th annual summer youth musical version had the talent needed to bring the monstrous production into being and to a lengthy, much deserved standing o. bravo summer youth musical cast, crew and orchestra. . aio


this in response to a recent post the gist of which was, "moments in life that take your breath away." there is another country song, "moments" by emerson drive, that enforces the message of that previous post quite nicely. part of the song goes, "lookin' at me now you might not know it-- but i've had my moments."
our oldest is in the midst of a whirlwind tour of japan. reading his posts about the things he's seeing, feeling and the general experience, i'm hoping that he's doing his best to record, pictorially at least, these "moments" for posterity. it's so much easier to do so in this digital age we live in. and i can't wait to sit down with him to see and hear about his experience. sitting here, considering all that he may be taking in, reminds me that there has been times in my life when i've had "moments" of my own.
i was drafted into the army during the viet nam war era. basic training was at ft. bliss in el paso. all inductees are trained as riflemen first, then it was off to ft. leonard wood in missouri for ait (advanced individual training). eight weeks of training aimed at making me a combat engineer. the combat engineer's task is aimed at easing the way for the combat soldier; building bridges across streams and rivers, placing explosive charges to clear trees to allow helicopters to land for resupply, for whisking the wounded and the dead back to the rear. not a combat assignment exactly, but combat engineers operate in a combat zone and most definitely are armed, prepared to defend themselves if need be and to take the war to the enemy should the opportunity present itself.
there was a "moment" toward the end of that eight weeks of training at ft. leonard wood, with orders already in hand sending me on to ft. benning in georgia for jungle training, that quite literally granted me the life i live today. among others, i was pulled from formation one afternoon and escorted to headquarters where they took our fingerprints. the army owes you no explanation for anything they do. you can imagine the anxiety rolling around in my head. "what the f*** have i done to warrant this, i'm thinking." long story short, they ran a security check which resulted in the orders to ft. benning being rescinded and orders being cut for me to go to ft. belvoir in virginia for training as an "atomic demolition munitions specialist." i went to ft. belvoir as a buck private and came out the other end, two weeks later, as a specialist 4th class with orders for a base in italy where i spent the remainder of my two year, active duty, obligation.

it was that "moment" at ft. leonard wood that allowed me a bit of travel around the splendorous country of italy. courtesy of uncle sam, i've laid eyes on the trash floating in the canals of venice. traveling by way of a eurail train pass, i've climbed the leaning tower of pisa, gazed on the beauty of michaelangelos's "david," in florence, and in milan i entered the quiet sanctity of the "duomo" cathedral. in rome, i've climbed the "spanish steps", made a wish in the fountain of trevi" and imagined the gladiators battling in the coliseum. i've walked st. peter's square and toured the basilica and the catacombs. then it was on down to naples and the ruins of pompeii left behind when mt. vesuvius erupted in 79 a.d.. i even took a ferry across to the isle of capris but, like a dummy, i didn't take in the blue grotto. instead i froze my butt off laying on a "beach" made up of melon sized rocks, wishing the time for the ferry back across to naples would hurry on.

images of all those sights are captured somewhat hazily in the reaches of my memory. i took pictures but where are they now? my kingdom for a digital camera. if only it had been invented then.

so my advice to our oldest, who most assuredly does have a digital camera would be, "don't spare the bytes." who knows when you might get back to see those sights again. record all you can. forty years from now, unlike the pictures in my mind, those "moments", courtesy of the digital images you're taking now, should still be crystal clear even then. aio

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thank you, Sir Alex

okay, i don't believe it's time to start building a new ark and gathering the animals two by two, but then again i don't live out in highland park. in the past 24 hours that area has received 10.50 inches of rain. just fyi, we're talking the panhandle of texas here. that's more than half the average yearly rainfall in one single day.

one fella was quoted as saying "the water was running like a river through the building (highland park high)." the basement at rick husband international flooded with "water up to the ceiling". That's exactly what you get when you live in the flatlands. with torrential rains like we saw last night there is just nowhere for the rain to go-- except to the low laying areas-- like a basement. we got nowhere near that much rain in my part of town, my rain gauge had about three inches in it this morning, but the basement area where the new fitness center at the hospital is located, flooded yet again. It has been a problem for years but "they thought they had it fixed." Apparently not!

it's too bad all those 10.5 inches couldn't have fallen directly over the lake meredith watershed. It did rain over that way and the lake level had risen about six inches overnight, but still. with that tropical storm making it's way inland down at the tip of texas maybe we have more prospects on the way. let's hope so.

when you live in the desert you take the rain whenever it will come and say, thank you lord. thank you very much. aio

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

listening to the radio today, country of course, the hook on a song new to my ears struck me as a nugget of truth. "life isn't about the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away."

ain't it the truth though, and not all of them will have been happy times, probably for any of us. into each life a little rain must fall they say. the instant it registered on my consciousness that my five year old sister was gone. the moment it became evident that my parents would not be taking another breath in this life. in those instances my breath left me and it was a minute before i could take another.

but ones' character is forged in the bad times as well as the good. among the good times there's the moment all those years ago when i heard my soon to be wife say "i do." there's the first time i laid eyes on our son chris-- "oh, my god he looks just like my dad" and our daughter kelly-- "oh, my god she looks just like your mom." it took my breath. neither of them resemble the ascribed grandparent much at all but at that second in time...

anytime i'm privileged to hear our christopher sing there's a catch. that first glimpse of kelly on her wedding day as she took my arm to walk her down the aisle. bobby singing, "breeze off the river" in "the full monty" at le petite in new orleans. singular instances in time in which pride makes breathing pause for a second, the the pulse races just a bit and tears fill the eyes.

it is these times, when added to all the others, that make a life. a life worth remembering. aio

Monday, July 5, 2010

i had to smile...

in my post from a few days ago i made mention that it is hard to write without some spark of an idea to write about. i smiled out loud when i read my horoscope yesterday. it read, "even though you are naturally an imaginative thinker, some of your best ideas are likely to stem from what others have to say. build upon anything that hits you in the right way." i plead guilty as charged, folks. aio

Sunday, July 4, 2010

our nation's birthday

i hope you all had a safe and happy fourth of july. ours was a quiet one, spent here at home watching the boston pop's 4th of july celebration on the tv. not bad as viewed on the big screen, in surround sound, with a nice glass of barefoot muscato to grease the skids. turning out the lights, left the room dark except for the glow of the tv. in just one half of one hour a reported two million dollars went up in a flash of color and kaboom. beautiful, in it's way, but still not the real deal. thinking we had forgone our local fireworks display due to an untimely empty cylinder on the gas grill delayed a decidedly non-traditional 4th of july spread. cedar planked salmon, grilled corn on the cob and sauteed squash. watermelon was our salad. a nice evening all in all. for some reason i wandered outside after the pop's program had ended only to find that our local display was still in progress. so we jumped in the frontier and made our way to a shopping center up the street for a better view. it's likely that our local display cost nowhere near two million bucks but for my taste you just can't beat watching the display live. seeing the colorful explosions, feeling the concussion, hearing the report and their echos off the building, smelling the cordite and watching the smoke drift by on the breeze, and all with the stars and stripes waving in proud attention from a flag pole in the distance makes for moment of local and national pride. patriotic music from a local radio station was timed to accentuate the magic that is a fireworks display. forget the two million dollar telecast. give me the real deal any time and every fourth of july. aio

clever on demand

I had an e-mail from a very good friend last night commenting on the dearth of blog entries on "kdg" since the frontier got back from the truck hospital. in my reply, i commented that it's tough to be spontaneously clever. tv's summer fare is an example in kind. "last comic standing" for instance-- those comics don't just make their entrance onto the "lcs" stage and reel off bit after hilarious bit without preparation. their "sets" most assuredly are rehearsed over and over again to get down timing and inflection, whatever it is that makes us laugh takes work. "america's got talent"? cheers from the crowd-- vegas! vegas! vegas!-- doesn't happen off the cuff. we her at 7420 rooted hard for 2007 "agt" winner, terry fator. if you recall, he is an amazing singing ventriloquist. immensely talented, terry had been laboring on the "county fair circuit" for years before winning "agt" and a multi-million dollar deal with "the mirage" in las vegas. my admiration for the comic/songster/ventriloquist grew immensely when terry honored his contract with the tri-state fair even after winning the million dollar prize for topping the 'agt' slate of finalists that year. btw, if you are ever in vegas terry fator's show is woth the price of a ticket, i gurantee. but to my point-- the very talented finalists on reality shows like "agt" don't just stroll in off the street to earn a chance to compete. raw talent will only get you so far. to be a allowed to compete, an artist's craft must be honed in the fires of trial, error and frequent repetition . which brings me back to the point of this piece. blogging can be a challenge. writing something someone out there in the etherlands would care to read is not all that easy. without the least germ of inspiration, blog entries just don't happen. so thank you jl! without your e-mail this entry to "kdg", be it good or bad, would not have come tripping out my fingertips and onto your screen. i hope you all have a bang up 4th of july and may god bless america! aio