Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What to call it

Is there a term for this phenomenon?

Isn’t it weird how things you did not notice before, but now since you like them, make you notice them all the more. Like when you want a Black GMC Yukon because nobody else has one. Then you start seeing a bunch of Black GMC Yukon’s. Or you buy a cool pair of shoes thinking nobody else will have a pair of Crocs. Or when you have your, “this will be how I make my first million dollars” idea, about a haircutting system that vacuums away hair to a receptacle while you are cutting. If there is not a name for this, we need to create one. Awareness of your now obvious surroundings (maybe Suroware' Vu)

I started this blog with similar intentions of ideological grandeur. Now it seems everybody has a blog. I have been working on a book and thought this might help establish a following to see if anybody liked my style. The blog was an afterthought really. It was suggested to me as I seeked out advice from friends, whom their opinion I value, about starting a website. If I had had my way, I would have started a full fledged website selling my e-book or hardback book to the masses. You could have paid with your credit card, Pay-Pal, or sent me a check directly. To date, my blog has about a dozen stories, 2 followers and 2 comments after 2 months. Not necessarily the masses I was looking for. But me and the 2 followers are happy. The fact that the two of the followers got married this past weekend…

My wife does not read my blog regularly. She has however proofed some of the articles before I posted them. (This is not one of them) But hear me out.
She rented Julie & Julia the other night from the library. She had started it without me. Not that I did not want to watch it; I just was not interested in watching it. About 30 minutes into the movie she comes and gets me and tells me I have to watch this movie. “There is this part that is absolutely hilarious.” As she clicks the remote to find the scene selection menu, I begin to think why would she want me to see this… Say I ask ”Does the scene have something to do with me?” Although she did not reveal the details of the scene, she did provide me with a clue: “You think, Einstein.”

“Here it is. Here it is.” she was giddy with excitement. Julie is working at a government job that keeps her attitude down. She takes calls from families of the 9/11 tragedy as they try to get financial assistance. To help her relieve stress from this job, she goes home and cooks. Her favorite cook is Julia Childs. So Julie decides to help keep her stress level in check she will cook a receipe from Julie Child's cookbook each night. Julie’s husband suggests she should blog about her nightly cooking from the Julia Childs French cookbook. Well guess who thought this was laugh out loud funny? “She is going to start a blog like you. She is blogging about her cooking!”

I think, wait, Einstein was being mocked. I admit it I saw the humor. But now, the unexpected part, of this story. So, now…I am interested in the movie. Maybe I can get some blog tips. I mean this lady obviously turned her blog into a movie right!

Turns out, Julie’s blog was sort of helpful, to a certain extent. Mine is not helpful at all. She set a goal to cook all 500 plus receipts in 365 days. Goals!?...for a blog? Am I supposed to have goals? She even had a countdown counter on her blog. What would I countdown too? Then another part my wife and I thought was funny was how Julie and her husband get in a fight about the blog. “It is all about you and you’re cooking!” He leaves, walks out. I told my wife “Well if that was a fight...Hollywood would love us." (Just so you fellow bloggers know Julie’s husband comes back like a night or two later)

[Side note Charles would love this movie. It has a foreign feel. Julia Childs and her husband are in Paris for the majority of their time in the movie. Plus Charles loves to cook. "Hey Charles, what's for dinner?"]

Unlike Julie's blog which is all about her, I write about others on my blog even if they do not want to be named. Like my brother, my wife, and my friends. It is more of a “my” thing instead of an “I” thing. I am not saying all this will turn into a movie but maybe just maybe…then who will be laughing? Hopefully all of us! We could call it “Suroware Vu”.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friends or enemies Part II


The request that was made for the last post was not for the "strategically placed cupcakes" story but another time we were in the same chicken finger restaurant. Sorry Charles.

Here is the correct request:

We call this chicken finger place "The Foo" (short for Foosackly's). It is close to a local college and gets a lot of college age help. Most of the wait staff is female. Most of the cooks are male. Most all of them where a Foo shirt and shorts or jeans. After you order your food the wait staff hands you a tent shaped piece of plastic with a number on it. They also hand you a cup of ice and point you to the drink station. Then you choose a table and wait for your food. Usually the wait is not long and when the chicken fingers come out they are always hot and fresh.

The girls are usually the ones bringing the food unless they are really busy and then you may get one of the guys walking out in his apron delivering food. Everything is brought out on a plastic disc with your food on top of a sheet of wax paper. As you might imagine for a fast food place there is a napkin dispenser, salt and pepper shakers, and a bottle of ketchup on each table.

This particular visit I believe it was Charles, Lewis, CP and probably Wheels. We had sat down, our food had been delivered and the needling had begun. I was the last one to get the bottle of ketchup. When I went to squirt it, it was spasticly shooting drops of ketchup onto my wax paper. The guys of course are not pay attention as if to say we got ours you are on you own. I tell them thanks for nothing.

Then I look up to see a young college aged girl wearing a Foo blue t-shirt and shorts walking toward our table. So I close the lid to the ketchup lean out of the booth just a bit. Without a word I shake the bottle in the "hey this bottle is empty" motion. I nod my head in a similar "hey whats up I need some help here" motion. I even raised my eyebrows in a "hey do you see me" motion.

This young girl looks right at me, smiles and walks right by our table. Charles, Lewis, CP and Wheels see the whole incident. Astonishingly enough nobody says a word. They just watched the young girl continue to her table and sit with what one could only deduct as her friends also enjoying lunch at The Foo. It was only then that the silence was broken...with laughter.

I, even to this day, find no humor in what happened. I needed ketchup. Apparently my buddies and my wife, whom heard this story for the first time while I explained the mix up on the request, thought it was hilarious.

To this day, my buddies have not let me forget that incident. Usually one of them every other time we go to The Foo, pick up the ketchup, lean out from the booth or table, look past me with their uni-brow raised and shake the bottle as if it is empty.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who needs enemies with friends like this

I was thinking about friendship the other day. I was felling fortunate to have a lot of friends. Then the more I started thinking about it, I thought you know I am lucky to have any. And the more I thought about it, I may be kidding myself about having any at all. Why would I make such a statement? Well it reminded me of how I have treated some of my friends. Here are a few examples:

There was this one time while me and two of my buddies were at the local chicken finger establishment enjoying lunch. Let me set the scene up just a little. Our company still insists we wear nice pants, dress shoes, a dress shirt and ties. So when we go out we at least look like business professionals. We were discussing the latest movie on the big screen and the high cost of going to a show these days. We reminisced about how we used to pay like $4.00. I told them about the big scene at the last movie I went too. Unfortunately it happened at the ticket window and not inside the theater. “$9.50!?” I shouted as I lowered my head closer to the microphone at the ticket booth. “Hey man, I just want one ticket!”

Anyway we are discussing the possibilities of spending our money wisely on a new Netflix service. For $9.99 a month you can rent unlimited movies…one at a time…via snail mail…which barely worked out to two a month. Then one of my buddies, let’s call him “Charles”, asked “Lewis” and I if we like foreign films. There was an uncomfortable silence for a second. Lewis gave Charles a surprised looked and said “I didn’t know you liked stuff like that.” Charles shot back, “No you knucklehead, like British comedies. The wife and I watched Calendar Girls the other night. Have you guys heard about it?” “Is that the one with the old ladies? What did you do to your wife for her to make you watch Calendar Girls with her?” I asked.

Charles was determined to ignore my needling and trudge through with why he watched this movie. “It was a story about a group of older ladies that were trying to raise money for one of their husbands fighting cancer. Somehow they stumbled on the idea of raising money by selling nude pin up calendars of themselves.” “OK Charles you can stop. You are starting to scare me” I responded. Charles was getting more flustered “Not like that, you knucklehead. They covered up their…special parts…with items related to cooking or gardening. It was a classy nude calendar.”

By the way - the chicken finger place is crowded. It is quite the popular dining during the lunch hour. There is a diverse group of patrons that frequent the place. The ambiance is about what you would expect for a fried chicken joint, a bit of noise. I picked my opportunity at this key moment in the conversation to serve up Charles what you might call a home run pitch. Where you try to get your buddy to swing at what you are throwing, so to speak, by asking a pointed question or asking them to repeat themselves. “Did you say classy nude calendar?” I asked. Charles dug in his cleats and coiled up in the batter’s box. His eyes opened wide and swung with everything he had (the next few seconds happened in an instant). The noise in the restaurant died down to a whisper as soon as he booms: “Yeah, classy nude. As in like the lady for the month of May was set up in a birthday motif with strategically placed cupcakes.” Not only is his voice booming but he added hand visuals, which happen to be acting like they are holding two cupcakes in front of his…special parts. As he gets to the words “strategically placed cupcakes” along with posing his hands so eloquently in front of his chest, a mature aged lady passes our table. She looks down at Charles with a “if I was your mother” look on her face that absolutely rattled Charles. I thought for a second, she was really going to slap him.

When she got far enough from the table Lewis and I could not hold it any longer. I was so glad I did not have any food or drink in my mouth. I cannot print what Charles called me. I was almost proud of it though. Charles somehow sat there without even a hint of a smile as Lewis and I nearly wet ourselves laughing. When I gained enough composure to speak again, before I could get the first word out, Charles cussed me again. As I wiped the tears from eyes, I asked him why in the world he was talking so loud. He held up a chicken finger at me then put it in his mouth and started working it over.

As he is finishing his chicken finger, the lady that has passed us was now exiting the restroom and making her way back by our table. I wondered if he would swing again. I served up one more. “How big where the cupcakes Charles?” In a defiant motion, almost as a release of his embarrassment, he angrily showed me one more time just how big the cupcakes were. The timing could have not have been scripted any better, the lady passed the table again.

Wait I have t stp typig… LOL! The memory of all this just hit me like new again. OK where was I?

She looks at Charles as if he, a businessman, should behave better than that in a public place. She turns her nose up and mumbles “Disgusting!” Miss if you are somehow reading this blog, I would like to apologize for my outburst of laughter that day. But maybe you will now understand the circumstances of my laughing fit. Charles strung together another round of insults after his second home run. My sides hurt for most of the afternoon.

A few weeks later it was Charles' birthday. I stopped by the grocery store before work that morning around a quarter till 8, way before he arrives at the office, and ‘anonymously’ left two pink Ariel mermaid cupcakes on his desk. To this day I do not know if he ever told anybody about that birthday gift.

On second thought, I think I better stop at one example...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AT Part 1

We arrived at the hostel to find the host Dad had made all the arrangements with had left due to a family event. He had left some close friends in charge with our reservation information. We met the temporary host and hostess, for the sake of the story, let’s call them Adam and Eve (they are the ones that have already eaten of the forbidden fruit, you know the clothed ones). Eve asked us if we have not made dinner plans yet, they would like us to join them for burgers.

Eve said it was not normal practice for the hostel to provide dinner but they planned to bend the rules while they were in charge. We were a little hesitant until she informed us it would not be any extra charge for dinner. My father responded quickly, “We love burgers, we will be glad to join you and Adam.”

As we talked, we found out that she and her husband were experienced AT hikers. Adam had completed the trail from start to finish. Together they had spent nearly a year on the trail. They currently had no home to speak of just a Toyota truck and a dog. Completing the entire AT is a feat that is only performed by less than 6% (I think that is right) of the hikers that start out with the intention of completing it in mind. It takes a normal healthy person about six months to complete it. The goal for the thru hiker (somebody that wants to complete the trail in one continuous outing) is to start at one end or the other in the spring and try to finish in the fall. Why do they not finish? According to Bryson, most get injured or get so lonely they cannot take it anymore.

To hear Adam and Eve talk about their experiences was like being the same room with a NFL Hall of Fame member or a Jack Nicklaus. Adam had completed the trail. He must be in the AT Hall of Fame. We found out he took it to the elite level; he did it on bad wheels. We noticed he had something wrong with his feet, but thought whatever it was had happened after his trek. Not so according to them. I cannot remember his condition but I can remember that he had a noticeable limp, closer to a waddle, and Eve later told us that each step he took was painful. He was also missing a portion of a calf muscle. Neither one of them explained this injury, none of us asked. My guess was he had had a run in with a bear. I will go out a short limb here and say the bear probably lost that fight.

Eve asked if we had been on the AT before. “You can spot beginners quickly can’t you Eve” my brother asked. She was very gracious in her response. She was thankful we were there. She said the number of hikers over the past few years has been dropping significantly. Without the hikers and volunteers she was afraid the AT may not be around much longer. She changed the subject back to dinner. She said they were expecting two hikers that were almost through with their trip tonight. She explained the importance of a cooked meal for hikers that had been on the trail for more than a week. They needed to eat something that was not freeze dried and out of a bag. The interaction with others typically improved spirits from the lonely days on the trail.

Adam left to pick up the other expected guests from off the trail. He returned about 30 minutes later. We were sitting out on the front porch discussing our expectations and excitement of being on the brink of our excursion. We heard the Toyota pull back up in the drive way. Adam was the first to show up. He waddled by and nodded. The first weathered hiker we saw was an older man. He could have passed as Grizzly Adams. He was wearing his steel framed backpack with the sleeping bag rising over his bowed head. He was wearing a safari type hat, the soft kind. He was watching each step intently. He was wearing workout gloves and had a walking stick in each hand (they look more ski poles). He was habitually keeping his walking sticks in sync with his steps. He was wearing a t-shirt and Columbia type shorts that had been zipped off at the knee. His boots were covered over with the hard plastic snake bite protectors (they probably have a cooler name like “Fang Away Boots”). I remember thinking how weary and fatigued he looked. He did not look up at us as he passed. He walked just beyond the hostel and removed his backpack. He appeared to be arranging some items. Then he picked up his pack, brought it to the porch and set it by the front door. He finally looked up at us and said “Hello gentlemen.” We said “Hello”. He removed his boots then stepped into the hostel. We heard him greet Eve.

The next man that came walking up the sidewalk was much younger and in a lot better shape. The exact opposite of what we had just seen. He was holding his head up looking forward. His back pack was barely visible. He was not wearing a hat but a bandanna. He too was using walking sticks but did not need to be as careful as Grizzly Adams. His shirt looked like something from the Tour de France. His shorts looked more like he was ready to run a marathon. He was wearing hiking shoes with low cut socks. As he approached he spoke to my nephew first, “Hi young man, are you ready to go hiking?” “Yes sir.” He introduced himself to us as Lightfoot (or maybe it was He Who Hikes with Short Socks). OK I thought the first guy was weird because he did not say anything. Now we have this guy calling himself Lightfoot. I am thinking this guy has been smoking his pipe out there on the trail. My nephew (Runs on Leaded with Eight Sparkplugs and Never Stops) asked him exactly what I was thinking. “How long have you been on the trail?” Lightfoot replied “Six days.” “Ran out of your special wacky tobacky did you?” No, no, my nephew did not ask that. Dad asked him.

Eve came out on the porch and gave Lightfoot instructions as to where his bunk would be and informed him that dinner would be served in 30 minutes. She also let him know dinner was on the house tonight. He thanked her kindly and headed straight for his bunk room.

About 30 minutes later we all met in the dining room and introduced ourselves properly. The shower had evidently rinsed out some of the loose impediments between Lightfoot’s ears and refreshed Grizzly Adams mood. They provided their real names and were very cordial. Lightfoot, the younger of the two, turned out to be a Navy Seal on leave from Iraq. G. Adams was retired Army. [Side note: we found out later that one of the traditions of the AT is to be given a trail name. You cannot issue one to yourself; it has to be given to you by another hiker that you come in contact with on the trail. With what we saw when Lightfoot came walking up it seemed to fit him.] We gave them our real names and explained we did not have trail names yet. We let them know it was our first trip, as if it were a secret. We wanted them to know what type of advice they could provide. They could have ripped us apart with sarcasm or bursts of laughter, but they responded like true gentlemen. Almost simultaneously they said “How much does your pack (backpack) weigh?” Our response of “They aren’t too bad.” returned an immediate grin from Grizzly Adams.

Adam, the AT legend, jumped in and said “You guys need to weigh your packs. It should not be more than thirty-two pounds. The young one should only carry about twenty pounds. By the looks of your packs, all of you are over thirty-two pounds. After we eat, go weigh them with the scales on the front porch. I will then go thru your packs and help you reduce the weight.” You do not argue or question a legend. “Yes sir.”

Dad and my brother’s pack (the brother who does not want to be named on my blog) were the heaviest. Dad’s was about forty two pounds and Lord Knobhead (Kipp Not On your Blog; “head” just to add some fuel to the brotherly love fire) was about thirty eight pounds. Sparkplugs (the name my nephew got stuck with before we even got on the trail) pack was just about twenty four pounds. All of the packs weighed thus far were over the established weight limit. My pack was the last to see the scale. It registered a cool thirty-two pounds. Adam had followed us out on the porch to witness the weigh-in. He seemed to be shocked one pack actually weighed correctly. Lord Knobhead immediately says “You can carry Sparkplugs tent for him, and I have some pots and pans you can carry…” Thank goodness Adam spoke up, “Guys take your packs to your bunk room and I will help you reduce the weight. There may not be a reason to redistrib...pots and pans, are you serious?”

We grabbed the backpacks and headed up stairs. Adam met us in the room. “Who wants to go first?” Dad volunteered first. Adam began plundering his pack. “OK your sleeping bag weighs about three pounds. Your tent weight seems to be about five pounds. This is weight you have to have. So now we need to look at what you do not need.”

As Adam starts unzipping pockets, Dad decides to explain how weight conscience he was picking out the food he brought. “I made sure to bring instant oatmeal for breakfast. Tuna packs for lunch and these freeze dried dinners.” Adam pulls out a quart size zip lock bag full of mixed nuts. “Good energy boost.” Adam pulls out another zip lock bag, then another, then another. “I figure you have about four pounds of nuts here.” He unzipped another pocket. Another zip lock bag. This one had snickers candy bars and granola bars. He pulled out two more zip lock bags with the same contents. “There is another four pounds in here.” He unzipped another pocket. He pulled out about a half dozen packs of tuna. “That is about three pounds. What is that, about 12 pounds of food? How long do you guy’s plan on being out?” Dad answered three days. “Three days! You have enough food here to feed all four of you for a week!” He opened another pocket. He found a full size flashlight, hunting knife, compass, radio, cell phone, a sleeping mat then he stopped. He looked at Dad and said. “Sir I think if you will take one oatmeal pack per morning, one tuna pack per afternoon, one freeze dried meal, one snicker’s per day and one bag of mixed nuts you will be fine. Plus it will reduce the weight of your pack by about eight or nine pounds. It will make your hike a lot more enjoyable. If this is the only type flashlight you have then reducing the food will allow for the flashlight. You must have a flashlight. You should not need the hunting knife. The bears will either attack you while you are sleeping or run from you during the day from the noise you will make on the trail. The blowup sleeping mat with solar powered pump is a good idea, but a foam mat would have worked much better and weighed a lot less. You should not need your cell phone. The reception is poor at best and there is a payphone at most road crossings. If not, you can flag down most any car.Folks around typically know an AT hiker when they see one. They know all you need is a phone or to hitch a ride to the nearest store.”

I had been following along with what Adam was telling dad. So far I had been on target. But I of course only had a sleeping bag and no tent (Dad and I were going to share a tent). I had the four oatmeal packs, the three tuna packs, the two dinners, and the six granola bars for a snack. My flashlight was a small pocket size with fresh batteries. Other things I had brought were a change of clothes, a back pack cover, toilet paper (TP), baby wipes, deodorant, a sheet and a blanket for my sleeping bag. I was feeling confident I had packed correctly.
“Who is next?” Adam asked. Lord Knobhead requested to be next. “I have the same food minus the mixed nuts. I also will carry the gas burner and gas cans, pots, pans, water filter and the things those guys don’t.” So Adam starts in on the tent and sleeping bag. “These are nice and lightweight, good. You only have about three pounds between the two. Why do you need three gas cans? One should be enough for the two nights you will be out. Are you kidding?! Is this a coffee pot!? I think you can do without coffee for a day or two. The water filter is good. Let me say this about water. When you guys get up in the morning you need to hydrate. Drink about twenty or thirty two ounces before breakfast. Hydrate as needed as you hike. When you stop for lunch; hydrate. Before you leave lunch fill up your water bottle again with fresh water. When you make camp for the night, hydrate again before you eat, hydrate before you go to bed. Repeat the process the next day.”

Then Adam made a discovery he was not impressed with, “What is this; a first aid kit?!” “My wife made me bring it” said Lord Knobhead. After he looked around as if to say I do not see your wife here now Adam says, “Like I told your father about his hunting knife, if you get hurt out there, nothing in this kit is going to help. Do you have duct tape?” “Yes I read somewhere it can be useful.” Lord Knobhead pulls out a brand new roll of duct tape. Adam ripped open the tape and grabbed Lord Knobhead’s walking stick and started wrapping a band of tape just under the handle. He put about a quarter to half inch worth of tape on each walking stick. He then pitched the roll toward the closet. “If you get a blister cover it with duct tape. If you cut yourself, cover it with duct tape. If a binder breaks on your pack, use the duct tape. If your tent zipper breaks use the duct tape. The duct tape is your first aid kit, get it?” He grabbed the first aid kit and pitched toward the closet.

He told Lord Knobhead to go thru Sparkplugs pack and only put in the necessities (toilet paper, food, change of clothes, flashlight). Re-evaluate his pack after the first day and see if he can handle any extra weight you do not need (water filter, burner, etc.). Adam took the extra two gas cans and tossed them toward the closet.

Then it was my turn. I admit I was nervous but confident. After all I was the only one that had been dead on with what Adam the AT legend has said was the ideal weight. Dad and Lord Knobhead had practically busted the scale. Adam started opening pockets on my pack here and there. “Um hm. Um hm. Good. Good.” My nervousness was dissipating. Until Adam said, “What the heck is this?” He pulled out my folded back pack cover. Course it was a dark green shower curtain. I informed him that my back pack did not come with a water proof cover. I further explained that my plan was if it rained I wanted to make sure I stayed dry. Me and all my belongings, sleeping bag, clothes, food, toilet paper, heck the whole tent if rained hard enough. “Might be a miserable trip if the TP gets wet” I said with a smile. I had not purchased this shower curtain new, it was an extra from when we last painted the house…it had a few ivory white paint spots on it. He was looking at me like I had first looked at Lightfoot, “Have you been smoking wacky tobacky?” He looked at it, looked at me, looked back at the shower curtain and tossed it toward the closet. As he rolled his eyes he says, “It’s not supposed to rain.” He was finished reviewing my pack.
He told all of us to go back down to the porch and reweigh our packs. Dad had dropped his pack down to thirty-three pounds (thirteen pound difference). Lord Knobhead had dropped about six pounds from his pack. Sparkplug’s pack dropped down to about twenty-one pounds. My pack with the addition of Sparkplugs and Lord Knobheads tent, gas can, a bag of mixed nuts, and a bag of snickers had increased to thirty-five pounds. Everybody was so excited about the new weight on their packs. For once I had somewhat followed directions and brought only what I needed. Why is it, the ones that follow the rules have to pay for those that cannot?
It was about 8:30pm now and the first shuttle left at 5:30am. We got back to our bunk room to prepare for bed. We chatted about our experience thus far and the excitement of finally being here on the brink of starting our trip. Dad cut the lights out and told everybody “goodnight”. As we shuffled around in our bunks and things got a little quiet. I hear Dad mumble something about needing to pee. He gets up and stops by the closet before going to the bathroom. After he comes out of the bathroom he stops by his backpack. He crawls back in his bunk.

Lord Knobhead was next to mumble something about needing to brush his teeth and peeing. He comes out of the bathroom and stops by the closet then swings by his pack. He zipped a few pockets mumbling something about if his wife found out then I thought I heard first aid kit. Then he crawls back his bunk.

I am thinking “I must have been adopted ‘cause I do not have to go to the ladies room before bed.” Then it hit me what was going on. I mumble something about washing my face before bed. I go in the bathroom and splash some water around in the sink. Then use one of Dixie cups to pour water in the toilet to simulate peeing. I come out of the bathroom stop by the closet and pick up my shower curtain. But I was little smarter than the others, I just brought it back to my bed and waited to put it in my pack while they were at breakfast the next morning.

There is more to this story...but I just wanted to give you an idea of how easy it is to make a story happen and live it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


How do you live your life? Are you a creature of habit? Do you live each day the same? Do you have a fixed routine that irritates you if you get off schedule? Or do you try to mix things up? Do you take opportunities that are presented to you and go with them adding some zing to your life?

One of the most interesting books I have read recently was a Donald Miller book called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years". If you are a creature of habit and think it is too late for you to do something; pick up a copy and read it. I think you will find, just as Miller did, that it is not too late.

He was like most of us. If we had to write a book about our lives, could anybody read it without nodding off? Or would it captivate an audience? Here is the cool part, you only have please a one person audience. He reached the point where he started living as if he was in a story. He started taking some simple chances. He started accepting invitations to do things out of his comfort zone (the couch). He joined a gym. He took a hike in Peru.

It reminds of time when my father finished reading "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. Dad gave it to my brother and me. He said it was the funniest book he had ever read. The book is about one of Americas greatest forgotten adventures, the Appalachian Trail (AT). A 2100 mile walking trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. How is a book like that funny? Bryson, at the time, was middle aged and out of shape with no outdoor experience. I can only assume Bryson had a similar experience as Miller. He got up off the couch and decided to experience life. What could be difficult about a walking trail?

Before we could finish the book my brother and I were being prodded by our father. "Hey you two want to hike the Appalachian Trail? I have done some checking and there is a hostel in Dahlonaga, GA. We can park the cars there which is safer than on the side of the road. We can get a bunk bed room for $15 per person. It includes breakfast before taking off on the trail. It includes the use of a shower when you come off the trail before getting back in your car to go home. Plus for another $15 they will shuttle us to and from the trail head. We can go for a weekend or a week. I think it will be great. We have tents and sleeping bags. All we need is some backpacks and food."

Excitement is contagious. Just like that, we started one of our own stories.

[Sure I will tell you about those two books I mentioned while I condense our AT story down to fit on this blog.]

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kids say the funniest things...

When asked to bring the bottle of vitamins for me to open:

"Childproof. Well it tells you right on the lid - 'Push down and turn.' (she performs the instructions and hands me the lid) If you can read, it's not childproof."

-RB (7)

A friend of mine relayed this story. They were having a family discussion about where to go to on vacation. Suggestions were given by all in attendance. Disney World, Gatlinburg, the Caribbean. After explaining that although the Caribbean would be nice, you have to have a passport to leave the states. After a moment of silence the silence was broken with a burst of excitement:

"You don't have to have a passport to go to Hawaii!"

-KW (9)

Our company holds a fall golf tournament at a local par 3 course. We allow a parent child flight. I took my daughter one year and played with a friend of mine and his son. On the first green the father is giving his son instructions on how hard to hit the uphill putt, but not too hard "We do not want it go down the hill here or we will be further away than we are now." He was helping him aim for the ball to take the break, "Right in here should work. You see this brown spot?" Just get it to this area. Tell you what, let me just show you what I mean."
The father takes his time and gets all serious over the 25-30 foot putt. He hits the putt with authority. It races past the hole and into the fringe. The fringe is sloped steep enough to send the golf ball back towards the green. The ball starts back toward the green but catches the other slope and trickles down away from the hole towards never-never land. As it slides down the slope...

"Whaa-whaa WHAAAAA."

- GP (8)

The father says, "You think you can do better?" GP steps up to his ball, nearly without hesitation, and snuggles the golf ball within two feet of the hole. Everybody was laughing, well almost everybody.

When asked about what story was told in Sunday School:

Did you learn about Noah or Moses today?

"Uh huh we learned bout Noses."

- PB (3)

Saying her bedtime prayers:

...and God I pray for sweet dreams...and...and...

[Momma offers a whispered suggestion, "Pray for your Aunt K."

...and God I pray momma will be quiet while I pray and I pray for Aunt K and I pray I will sleep good. Amen"

- PB (4)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Life Lesson #1,453,313

Guys if any female, family or friend, asks the following question:
"Notice anything different about me?"

The only correct response to this question is:
"You know, I have noticed you've lost weight. How much have you lost?"

Trust me on this one, under NO circumstances should you EVER respond with any of these:

"You finally got your uni-brow waxed."
"Yes, I see those botox injections do make your lips look fuller."
"GOOD long were you asleep in the tanning bed before they found you!?"
"Cool - you got that tooth fixed."
"Congratulations - when is the due date!"

Hope this helps you guys. No, no need to visit. The doctor said I will be out of the hospital tomorrow.