It is an amazing word isn’t it? Blech. It conveys so much with so little. It says that I’m not feeling like I should. There is something wrong. It is just such a wizard of a word. (Thank you Deloris for that one.) Have you ever had a blech day? I bet you have.
Do you want to know what I do when I am having a blech day? It really doesn’t matter if  you want to or not. Well, stop reading now if you don’t. Otherwise you will find out. There all kinds of ways you can get out of the doldrums of blech. For me I like to workout because exercise helps my mood. Lifting a couple weights, going for a run, or just going for a swim is better than therapy! And it a lot cheaper too! I love the runner’s high that you get after you stop. It is the stopping that is the best part!!
Another way of dealing with blech is to have a blech belch. Just burp! It is amazing how good it feels to get gas out of your system. If you have that thunder without chunder there are all kinds ways that it helps. If nothing else it will make those around you laugh at your faux pas. And don’t even get me started on the fun of flatulence! avHave
Another thing that I do when I’m feeling blech is write something. It can be something funny or serious; happy or sad; right or wrong. Just writing about great scientific achievements or snow or even about fun words like blech makes me feel better.
Wow. That last one really worked.

Snow Way

It is wonderful too look at. Sitting by the window and enjoying a hot cup of coffee while the snow comes down and blankets the grass with white is one of my great pleasures. Sitting back and enjoying a snowball fight as the icy projectiles explode as they impact on snow forts, snowmen, and snow covered children. But watching is about all I like about the snow.
If I have to go out and play in the snow, I dread it. It is not that I don’t like making a snowman. It is fun. Mine is named Fred. It is not that snow forts are not fun to build and hide in. I made the snow Alamo once as a kid and pretended to be Davy Crocket but with snow instead of bullets. It was a lot less painful and mortal. Snowball fights are fun but I am nervous about them since I saw a commercial with Randy Johnson in a snowball fight. Those really are fun but it is not my idea of a perfect day.
Sitting by the window and watching other people while I keep warm by the fire and even warmer with an Irish coffee is what really excites me. It is not the cold that bothers me. That’s not bad. It is not being wet that bothers me. Swimming is something that I love. But just thinking about being cold and wet really makes me shiver. As long as I live I don’t think will ever get that. Sure, you can say that it’s all about having fun, getting cold and coming back in and warming up by the fire with some hot cocoa. I have a different plan. Have fun inside, drink the cocoa and skip the getting cold and wet part. Works for me!

Love in the First Degree

Back in my younger, more innocent days I heard a song that really stuck with me for years. It was by Alabama and it was called “Love in the First Degree.” There is one line that says, “Now babe I’m not beggin’ for mercy. Go ahead and throw the book at me. If lovin’ you’s a crime… I know that I’m… as guilty as a man can be. I’m guilty of love in the first degree.” There are days when I can’t even remember how that felt.
This Christmas a friend said that they hoped I would find the gift of love. Well, I know what it is like to love my family. The love I have for my sons goes beyond words. I would die for them in a heartbeat. Living for them is an even greater challenge. It has never impressed me when someone says they love someone enough to die for them. That is just a onetime deal. Living for someone is lifelong commitment. That is something that I will do for my boys as long as I breathe. Loving my parents and siblings is also something I know well. Liking them sometimes is a challenge but I do always love them. Living a thousand miles away from them makes it easier in some ways and harder in others.
I understand the love of friends. Through the trials and tribulations of the past triennium those true friends have proven themselves time after time, when I was not easy to love. Loving them back is so easy that it hardly seems like it takes any effort. Good and true friends are rare and need to be appreciated and loved with the same kind of unconditionally love that they have for you. In the movie Tequila Sunrise (a good movie but an even better drink) The drug dealer Carlos said that friendship is the only choice we have. You can’t choose your family and you can’t always control what sexual chemistry leads you to do.  If you have seen the movie you may remember that is not an exact quote; but I’m trying to keep this PG.
But the last kind of love is the love that two people feel for one another. I just don’t know if I can feel that anymore. That love in the first degree has left me since my heart was broken a while back. There is something missing in me. Those who have been there know what I mean. Those who have never been there… there are no words to describe it. But I’ll try. Imagine always being hungry but nothing looks or tastes good. Imagine being thirsty but nothing will quench the thirst. The desire to love is there but it feels like that particular kind of love will not come to the surface.
I know what you’re thinking. “Don’t worry Doug. It’ll come back.” Here is the sad, sick, twisted part: Part of me doesn’t want it to come back. If you don’t love someone with all that you are and all that you have, then that person cannot throw all that away. What it really comes down to is, at this point in my life, I don’t have the ability or the desire to love like that. It really is a shame. I used to love so much and so strongly that losing that part of me is almost like dying. Now I know that I will recover from my broken heart someday. The real question is will my head ever let my heart take the chance on love in the first degree. I wish I knew the answer.

Christmas Time is Here

We did it! The tree is up! And now we are watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I have always wondered what was wrong with the Grinch. To treat the poor little Whos down in Whoville like that is one thing but I always really felt sorry for his dog, Max. Max was so cute and lovable. It just wasn’t right. And do you know what’s even worse? I still get upset about that and it’s just a cartoon!
Well we are happy with the tree. White lights, blue ball ornaments, and lots of pictures of the boys all over it. That way they can be with me even when they are not. That is the sad part of Christmas for me. Now that there are two homes for my guys they will have to divide the time instead of having one place. It hurts all of us. I don’t get to spend the entire holiday with them. They are pulled in two directions. Kind of makes me a little grinchy thinking about it.
But the more I think about it the more I realize it is better for them. There was not much love in the house the past few years. Now they can have two places where the love is genuine and true. Now they can have Christmas not once but twice! It is my hope that they are happy in spite of the touch of sadness this year. We will have a great time!
So much of Christmas is the time you get to have with your family. How are you going to spend your time with family this year? I don’t know about you but I will enjoy and savor every second I get with my guys. Enjoy your family this Christmas.

Which is Not To Be Confused With…

There are so many ways to write these blogs that I hardly ever know where to begin or where to end so I just like to keep writing until something makes a little bit of sense which is not to be confused with the cents you get when you make change which is not to be confused with making time which can get you into trouble which is not to be confused with the trouble you get when you just write and write and write until there is a kernel of an idea with a modicum of truth or even some kind of wisdom which is not to be confused with being a smart alec in the form of a wise guy which is not to be confused with a wise man who brings gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to a child in Bethlehem where there are now all kinds of dangers that make it seem as though Herod has returned which is not to be confused with making a return to Harrods in London and since I have never been there I don’t even know if they take returns which is not to be confused with returning a video to Blockbuster where they will hound you and harass you if you are even a little bit late which is not to be confused with returning a movie to the Red Box instead of the Blockbuster boxes whatever they are called and Blockbuster should worried about a storm of lawsuits from Red Box which is not to be confused with to be confused with Red Storm Rising that Tom Clancy wrote many years ago that was never made into a movie even though it would have been a really good one which is not to be confused with the Red October book and movie starring Sean Connery, the greatest Scottish actor to ever live, which is not to be confused with Macbeth about a Scottish king that William Shakespeare wrote at the height of his genius which is not to be confused with the genius of Mozart who, while hanging out with Antonio Salieri, died under mysterious circumstances which is not to be confused with the mysterious way that President John F. Kennedy was shot by whoever really was on that grassy knoll which is not to be confused with mysterious way that President Bill Clinton got away with so many things while in office and we just kept on letting him redefine words like “is” which is not to be confused with Darrell Hammond impersonating Bill Clinton on Saturday Night Live with was one of the funniest things on there in years which is not to be confused with Daryl Hannah who was a mermaid in Splash with Tom Hanks which is not to be confused with Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump where we found out that life really is like a box of chocolates which is not to be confused with a real forest where there are too many trees to see it. Confused?

Road Rags

I’ve heard people talking about road rage for quite a while. As easy-going and tense-free as many people know that I am not, you may find it hard to fathom that I could ever have road rage. It’s true. No, no, don’t try to argue with me. I have to admit my own weaknesses even if they are brought on by people who, through no fault of mine, don’t know how to drive. Don’t worry. I’m not the type who would pull out a .3030 deer rifle and shoot at someone on the interstate. I like bazookas..
I think that some people are road rags. There are the people who should never be given a bicycle license let alone a license to drive any kind of motorized vehicle. They are as useless as the old rags I use to clean the dipstick while I’m checking the oil and wondering what it means. Imagine you are driving along, late for something (as usual) and you get behind one of these road rags who is arrogantly driving the speed limit in the fast lane! What kind of idiot does that!? (Of course I would never exceed the speed limit, officer.) Oh sure. THEY left home with plenty of time to get where they are going. So what if they have foresight, planning, patience and intellect on their side. You and I are in a hurry! That counts more that all that other junk!
Consider how inconsiderate some other drivers can be. Have you ever been on your way to see family that live a mere 41,353 miles away from you and got stuck behind someone who actually slows down when driving through the construction zones that highway departments place every 2.7 miles? That is just rude! Don’t they realize that you have only gone 3 miles and still have 41,350 miles to go? How could they slow down to 60 miles per hour? Don’t they know that means you’re only making 1 mile per minute instead of 1.16667 miles per minute at 72? That adds up!
The one that really doesn’t bother me that much is one that really makes some people go into a rage is funeral processions. Have you ever been on your way to a job interview and got stuck behind a long line of cars heading to the cemetery to pay their final respects to a dearly departed loved one. You may come up with some other phrases to describe the deceased, but they are dearly departed to those in the line that is holding you up and costing you that first impression of promptness and punctuality. As much as this may bug you, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Perhaps it is because I’ve got a peace that keeps me calm, cool and collected. Perhaps it’s because I have a high respect for the sanctity of the final farewell we say to passed people. The real reason is that I like to ride in hearses and watch all of you sweating as we pass by. Muhahahahahaha! (O.K. That may have been a little over the top!)
I guess there is something to be said for letting things flow away like water off a duck’s back. There is also something to be said for putting a sweater on a duck so it knows how heavy and crabby we feel when we get wet. Whether you are a road-rager or a road-ragger there is only one thing you need to remember: Stay out of my way when I’m in a hurry and driving in the fast lane!

Dream A Little Dream

I have written about unrealized dreams but this time I want to share with you one of my dreams for the future that will never happen the way I hoped. Have you ever had this fantasy about the way things we going to turn out? It is right there in your mind’s eye as clear as crystal. And then you realize it was about as clear as Disney glass you got by buying a Happy Meal at McDonalds and you are Goofy. That is how this dream feels to me right now.
Picture it if you will. There I am looking good for an old man. I have retired after a successful career of making people’s lives better. Even though I never got rich I made enough to have a comfortable retirement. The retirement home sits in the hill country around Austin, Texas overlooking Lake Travis. A xeriscaped yard makes the need to mow something that my grandkids will not be able to use to get some cash out of this old dude. They will have to get it the old fashioned way: emotional blackmail. A little trail leads down to a nice little dock where my pontoon boat sits waiting to be taken out. The house is small but comfy. It is nothing to get excited about. It is just big enough without being too much work. And the back deck is the place where the morning cup of coffee is enjoyed with the woman I have loved since I was young. Sadly that dream is gone.
Don’t get me wrong. The house on the lake with the view and the boat and the emotional blackmailing lawn are still part of my dream. For me the best part was going to be retiring there with the love of my life. That love has gone. It is sad for me to think about what might have been. I had that in my head for years and now I have to clean the glass. The crystal cracked. What am I saying? It shattered! That really hurts more than I thought. It wasn’t until very recently that I starting thinking about that. Loosing someone you once cared about has so many levels of loss that it is hard to find the words to describe it all. That is one of the reasons I write. It is to exorcise those demons like Richard Simmons on meth. (And yes that image scares me as much as it does you.)
But just because that dream has died it doesn’t mean a new one can’t take its place. My life is taking so many new directions that I can’t even imagine where it is going to take me. There is one thing I do know: it will be something new that I can’t even dream about yet.

I Don’t Know

Don’t you hate those three words? “I don’t know” really bugs me. Not knowing really messes with my mind. There are all kinds of things about which I know next to nothing. Stellar physics, subatomic particle characteristics, medieval French literature, knitting, fine china and the mysterious ways of the female mind. Well, to be honest “next to nothing” is not a fair assessment of my knowledge of the female psyche. Absolutely nothing is a better description. And I know the females of the world like it that way!
Those things don’t disturb my mediocre mind as much as some of the other things I don’t know.
  • I don’t know why it only snows on days that I really need to get out of the house.
  • I don’t know why laundry can multiply faster than rabbits on Viagra.
  • I don’t know why there is no season for hunting dust bunnies.
  • I don’t know why my dog sheds year round.
  • I don’t know why I feel guilty walking past a Salvation Army kettle even though I have put money in the last 38,274 times I have walked past one.
  • I don’t know why the people I care about are the most likely to make me mad.
  • I don’t know why there are dents in my walls.
  • I don’t know why I get headaches.
  • I don’t know why I bang my head against walls.
  • I don’t know where all that lint in the dryer filter comes from.
  • I don’t know why I always seem to lose one sock.
  • I don’t know what is wrong with politics.
  • I don’t know why the word poly means many.
  • I don’t know why we chose the word ticks for small blood sucking insects.
  • I don’t know why so many people don’t get my sense of humor.
  • I don’t know why some of the most obvious answers elude me so often.

This Old House

Have you ever been in a position that you know what you need to do but also are afraid of doing it? Now I could make some crude, sexual innuendo at this point and my friends know that I’m not above that. (Once again there is another opportunity.) But this time I believe I’ll just tell you what I’m really thinking. It is all about my home. My house is ready to go on the market and I am both hating and loving this.
The hating comes from a couple areas. First off this is the longest I have lived in one place since I left home in 1986. Living here for seven years may not seem like that much to you; but it is something special to me. I remember when the house was first purchased. We were unpacking the bounty of boxes that moving makes us maneuver. Walking down the stairs I had a vision for my hopes and I looked around and saw what could be. Furniture featured in this future. Decorations and décor in this domicile were displayed. The warmth of a fire and the warmth of a loving family featured in this fantasy. And now it is going away.
The second part of the sadness comes from the loss of family that I feel. The marriage that was such a part of this house malfunctioned. The sons who shined here are only here half time. The dream of the white picket fence has become a nightmare. (And I never wanted a white picket fence anyway. Chartreuse perhaps…) My house is haunted not my ghosts and goblins but by the ghost of relationships past. What was once a sanctuary has now become a sanatorium for a touch of insanity. There are things that touch me in ways that are not good for me. It is a shock when you realize that you don’t even like your bedroom anymore. It is time to make a break and this is a healthy one!
That brings up to the loving part. It is time to close the door on this house in my life. That is part of my past. Now it is time for my future. I may not ever have a 2100 square foot house again. In fact I don’t really want one that big. The boys are growing up and will soon be only coming back for visits. It has been a long time since I had an apartment but I think I remember how they work. You have neighbors who make nasty noise at odd hours. A garage for your car is a luxury. There is always that one person who creeps you out. Sounds like fun!
Well one thing is for sure. There is a time for everything and season for everything under the sun. The season for this house is the season of selling. Wish me luck! Anybody looking for a nice, seven-year-old, two story, one-owner house?

Unrealized Dreams

We all have hopes and dreams of what may be for each of us. Many people even take the time to write out their hopes and dreams in order to develop a well-reasoned, orderly plan to achieve these lofty goals and have the fame, fortune, and future they desire. Then there is the other 99.999999999% of us who like to dream for the sake of dreaming without any hopes of actually achieving these fantasies. So many of us have either consciously or unconsciously adopted the philosophy: “If at first you don’t succeed, lower your expectations until you do.” Why do we give up on our dreams of bigger and better things and settle for the status quo, average lives that seem so mundane and minuscule?
There is a theory presented by a fine mind (modesty forbids me from telling you it’s me) that our unrealized dreams are not merely unfulfilled disasters; but are really a means to give us hope. Think about it. Let’s say you are forty-two and have not accomplished everything I..I mean YOU planned. You had such dreams of things you wanted to accomplish during the first half of your life and now you can see the big FOUR-OH has come and gone. As you take a figurative look at the list of dreams that you have never written down and wonder why you haven’t accomplished hardly anything on that list, it occurs to you: Maybe I should have written them down. After you laugh at the nonsense of the written word and impossibility of its impact on your mental state, it then crosses your mind that life is not over yet.
They say that forty is the new twenty. Of course “they” are people in their forties so there may be just an insignificant possibility of a slight bias on their reasoning. Meanwhile, the twenty-somethings are sitting there thinking, “Yeah. Right. Keep deluding yourself there grandpa.” But I digress.
If forty is middle aged, then we can consider that the dreams we had as teens and tweens are not out of reach. If (and this is a very big IF) forty is the new twenty, then there is still hope for all those unrealized dreams. But, (and this is a big BUT that may have something to do with the forties – let’s not go there today) if our dreams are not just unrealized but unattainable, I don’t think I want to know. I’m happier living in an Egyptian river than knowing that my hopes of being the bass player for the coolest rock band on the planet may be beyond my reach as a 42-year-old father.
Sweet dreams.