April



Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Camping with Uncle Ray...

   When Cheryl and I first started dating, she would ask if I ever went camping and then describe how, when she was a kid, her family spent nearly every vacation camping. Well, I never did camp, and this bit of information was a little surprising to me until I went on my first camping trip with my in-laws and learned that "camping" was really sleeping in a beautiful motor home with a bathroom, kitchen, cable television, two computers, beds, an oven, a stove and a microwave. More like a stake out than a camping trip. At times cramped, but hardly roughing it.
  About four years ago, Cheryl and her brother decided it would be fun to go on a family camping trip---a real camping trip. I recall her brother saying that sleeping in a camper is not really camping, that's cheating. So each year we go on a real camping trip, with tents, sleeping bags, outdoor bathrooms, no kitchens, no tv, and no computers. We have been to Rocky Gap and to Gettysburg---both about three hours from our home. I must say, except for the camping part, I've had a great time.
  About four weeks ago, Cheryl asked what weekend would be good to go on our annual camping trip with Uncle Ray. I could have sworn that I told her that fall baseball is not over until the last weekend in October, so any weekend after that. I was surprised when she told me we were going camping the second to last weekend in October, and further, that the weekend was starting on Thursday. Whoa, wait a second, what about baseball on Saturday, and I have a trial on Friday.
   No problem, she had a solution/compromise---we would go to a campground in Ellicott City, Maryland, about forty minutes from our house. Great, but I have a trial on Friday, and I need to get back for the game on Saturday. No problem for Cheryl, the location of the campground would allow me to drive up on Thursday to help unload and set up camp before returning home Thursday night. Then I could go to work on Friday, and then drive back to the campground after work on Friday night; then drive back home for the game on Saturday and then drive back to the campground on Saturday night. Then Sunday morning, I could help break camp, load up, and drive home on Sunday afternoon.
   No way. We are not going camping this year. Sorry Cheryl. Sorry kids. Sorry Uncle Ray. I am not a high priced mule.

   On Thursday, we arrived at the campsite right behind Uncle Ray---it turns out that I am a high priced mule. I was shocked to see that he had a pop-up trailer attached to his truck. Why, that is not a tent, that is a trailer, and that's not really camping, that's cheating! Apparently, he had never said that, or if he had, it was meant for luxurious campers that sleep eight, not pop-ups that sleep six.
   Awesome. That thing sleeps six. Let's see, his one and our five... that equals six. Again I was surprised when he said that he brought us an eight-man tent that we could use.
   Two things crossed my mind at this point. First, your pop-up sleeps six. I did the math in the previous paragraph, 5 + 1 = 6. We have six. Second, I have a six person tent so I don't need your stinking big tent. His response to my first observation was that the pop-up does not sleep six people "comfortably," plus his dog would be in there with him... and second, a six person tent has just enough room for six people. No room for anybody's stuff so we should use the bigger tent.
   We unloaded the SUV and located the bathrooms that came equipped with nice showers. We then got the electricity turned on so we could use our electric blankets, and we began setting up camp. With a little help, okay, a lot of help from Uncle Ray, we got the tent set up and I broke out the air mattresses. One of the mattresses had a pump attached, so it blew up easily, but whoever used the other air mattresses in our basement the last time, failed to put the pump back in with the one mattress. One of the kids advised me that my nephew had blown up the mattress by mouth one time. I advised my kids that my nephew is an idiot and that someone would be sleeping on the ground tonight---I would bring a pump back tomorrow.
   Now I know what you are thinking because I was thinking the same thing. We drove forty minutes from our house and made sure we had electricity so we could stay warm at night, we made sure we had a bathroom with a shower so we could stay clean, and we made sure that we had nice bedding that kept us up of off of the cold ground.
   Let's see, where do we have all those things?---electricity, bathrooms with showers, and warm beds. Oh, I remember now. We have all those things, plus a lot more, AT OUR HOME, ONLY FORTY MINUTES AWAY!!!! We should have just invited Uncle Ray to spend the weekend at our house, and he and the kids could have slept in our backyard if they had wanted to. That would have been a win/win situation.
   Friday arrived and before I left work, I called Cheryl to see what, if anything that they needed besides a pump. Apparently, everyone slept on the ground because the one air mattress that we could pump up, had a leak in it. Other than a new mattress, they needed snacks. Two reasons they needed snacks: First, Uncle Ray had to go to work for a few hours on Friday night, so dinner was not going to get started until after 8:00 p.m. Too late for the kids. Second, Uncle Ray shopped for the trip. He graciously bought all the food, but he does not have kids, so he does not get the snacking habits of children. He bought what he needed to make the meals and that was about it. They needed snacks.
   No problem, I hit the Wal-Mart and got some fruit, some popcorn, some cheese and crackers and pepperoni. On the drive up, I found a Japanese restaurant right outside the campground and bought some sushi. I told the kids that I caught the fish on the way in so it was fresh. The kids devoured the pre-meal meal, but were anxiously awaiting Ray's return so we could eat dinner.
   One thing I will say about camping with Ray: he can cook on a fire like nobody's business. Maybe it is because we are hungry, or maybe we think it is cool to eat around a campfire, but mealtime is the best. He grilled chicken and steak and he always has potatoes with every meal. We eat more potatoes in that one weekend than we do the rest of the year.  Matthew bought him a potato cookbook, and whatever he does to those potatoes works. He doesn't catch the chicken or kill the cow like I did with my fresh sushi fish, but it was still pretty good.  
   Besides eating, all we really do is sit around the campfire and try to stay warm. It is pretty incredible that a family that spends as much time sitting in front of a tv, a computer screen or an i-pod can sit for hours and hours watching a fire burn. That is what we did for a large part of the weekend. In fact, I was only there at night, so that is all I ever did, other than unpack and pack back up again. The only time that we could stay warm was when we went to the tent and got under our electric blankets. We had three, and I would have thought that would have been enough for five of us in two beds, but somehow Grace thought that all three were for her. I think at one point she actually stomped her feet and shook both fists. I cannot be sure because my laughter seems to have diminished my memory of the event.
   Perhaps it would have been a good idea to give her the blankets because she got sick and had to go home late Saturday night. I volunteered to take her home but Cheryl, realizing that I had been doing "a lot of driving"---we would have put fewer miles on the car had we camped at Yellowstone National Park---volunteered for the job. It turns out that Cheryl was not feeling well either, and she wanted a good night's sleep. Frankly, I liked sleeping in the tent. Very comfortable and very toasty with those blankets. In fact, it was the only time that I was warm the entire weekend.  To go even further, I did not thaw out until about Wednesday.
   So to recap, we went camping with Cheryl's brother. I drove a lot. Once we got the mattress thing figured out, we slept okay. We ate very well. I drove a lot. Cheryl and Grace got sick. I was cold for five days and I drove a lot.  The kids had a great time and I enjoyed sleeping and eating.
   Hey Uncle Ray... same time next year?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meet the Wellness Mama...

     Once again I visited Betty Beguiles, and once again, she had a great link.
     The Wellness Mama.
     This post comes complete with healthful and money saving ideas. But best of all, she posts four weeks of whole food meals with shopping lists and recipes! Who can't use that! 
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four

     Looks like I'm off to the supermarket.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Uneasy about "Vatican" economic recommendations...

     "Spare us from Vatican economic analysts" is a great article from Catholic Culture.
     Remember... a Vatican council report does not equal Papal teaching. Tread carefully. Large global bodies never turn out to be friends to the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who is behind Occupy Wall Street?

     This whole movement may not be what you think.
     Or maybe it is what you think if you have studied these people.
     The whole Occupy movement has been about communists, socialists, radicals, anti-Semites, Islamists, and revolutionaries joining forces in a very organized way to bring about the destruction of capitalism and the western way of life.
     They said it themselves. This is about revolution. Not reformation. A new world order. Organized by Lisa Fithian, ACORN and other community organizers, Marxist spiritual director to the president Jim Wallis, Stephen Lerner of SEIU, other unions such as the AFL/CIO and the American Federation of Teachers, communist revolutionary Van Jones, anti-Semites, revolutionaries, and of course George Soros.
     Our complicit media would have you believe that this is "organic" and "spontaneous." It is not. It has been in the planning since way before September 17. I blogged about this months ago here, herehere, and here. All of these worldwide uprisings have been orchestrated and connected.
     Read all about it from Discover the Networks. Click from link to link. There's a lot to it, but it's very important that you know, so you will be prepared for whatever may come. History repeats. God be with us.

Stay cool...

This comes from my friend Kathleen. So right.

In the mood for a scarf?


Betty Beguiles never disappoints.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Facebook Friday...

    After our 30th High School reunion last week, I gave in to my daughter's urging that I have my own Facebook page. I reluctantly agreed because it would provide me an opportunity to keep up with folks that I had not seen for years. Although it has been great being able catch up with folks, the rest of Facebook is just stupid!
    I mean the technology is not stupid; in fact, it is quite amazing that you can keep up with thousands of your closest "friends" by just clicking a button on your computer. But lets talk a minute about my "friends." I have had several friend requests this past week. Most of them are people that I know or family members; some are friends of my brother's, others are friends of my brother's friends, and others are friends of friends thrice removed. I refuse nobody over the age of eighteen. It is not that I care whether or not I have a bunch of friends, I just don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. I have "friends" that I've never met before. By the same token, with one exception, I refuse to request that anybody be my friend. Why, you ask---who wants to be rejected on facebook. I assume that if you are rejected, a red alert goes out to all of my other "friends" and they will start to question my "friend worthiness."
    The idea that anybody could---or would want to--- keep up with thousands of their closest "friends" is just crazy.  Up until a week ago, I had not heard from probably 90% of my current "friends" in over 20 years. Today, I know that one of them is in the market for a new sump pump.
    A friend of mine once asked a girl out on a date and she told him that she did not want to go out on a date but she did want to be friends. His response to this "request to friend" was  that he already had enough friends that he did not see enough, he did not need one more.  He refused to friend her.
   I will admit that when I get home at night, I log on and check out my popularity---but once I get past checking out who is requesting to be my friend, I am done. I don't know what to do next. My daughter tries to show me what she does but I just get frustrated and complain.  She asks me why I bother getting on it every day. I WANT TO SEE WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING---THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING MORE!!
    When she gets on her facebook page, she laughs, she giggles and she types. As a result, when I log on, I expect a party with music and fanfare and a heartfelt greetings from my "friends." What I get are recipes and tips for getting gum out of my carpet. I don't have gum in my carpet. Grace tries to help and suggests that I "get involved."  Two words that have come back to haunt me as I may have used them a time or two with her.
    Okay so I thought that I would jump in the game and start commenting. Big mistake! I have posted one comment to the general public and that was in response to my niece going to some seminar about college farming. My note to her was Are carrots and beans that are grown on a college campus smarter than other carrots and beans?  Being my first post on facebook, I made sure that I spelled carrots correctly and that my punctuation was correct. If not downright funny, at least clever. I deliberated for five minutes before I dipped my toes in the facebook water.
    After I hit post, I thought that is not clever, it is just dumb, I want to take it back---ohbut you can't take it back, it is out there for the entire world to see. Then I thought what if college farming is really about recruiting kids and not actually growing vegetables. Her "friends" are going to think that I am an idiot and they will never want to be my friend. I was so embarrassed by my lame post, I hid my face in my pillow----smart vegetables indeed!
    Grace has hooked me up to send private notes to my "friends." I start off by explaining that I have no idea what I am doing and then I close by asking them to call me on the phone. Ah, talking on the phone where you can hear people's emotions or laughter and where conversations have a beginning and a clear logical ending. That I can do.
    Now the problem is that I am concerned that my phone number will be out there for all the world to see. Cheryl assures me that it will not, but then quickly warns me not to give out the home number. If it does not go out to everyone connected with the facebook nation, why can't I give the home number out? I suppose she is concerned that our "friends" will start calling us about sump pumps and gum in their carpets.
   Cheryl's reaction to facebook has also been interesting. She refuses to get one but gets on mine all the time. Like a drunk that brags about never buying a drink. Anyway, she writes  notes to her friends and tells them that she is the one writing---which I have no problem with. However, she has also posted a message or two as if it came from me. This precipitated a bit of an argument. As long as she identifies herself, there is no issue, but we write differently. I write like a man (with the exception of the carrot fiasco---as it has come to be know as) and she writes like a girl. For example she may write: Hey Gang, howdy. Please check out this week's FGF on my wife's blog for a chuckle or two. I barely know most of my "friends," I don't want their first impression to be that I write like a girl using works like Hey, Howdy and Chuckle.
    Our argument ended like most arguments between kids that don't know how to share---I told her to get her own facebook page!
   I realize that it has only been a week and I will continue to try and find enjoyment with my Facebook page. Millions of people cannot be wrong. I don't think that I am going to change my mind but you never know what can happen. My buddy who rejected his potential date's "offer to friend" is now married to her and they have three kids.
   Anything is possible. Perhaps, I will work out my Facebook issues with a little help from my thousands of "friends."


Note from the editor to that funny husband of mine... You will never hear me use the word "Howdy." "Please" and "chuckle," yes... "Howdy," no. My apologies if my clarification slights any of our family in Texas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Streeters don't like people stealing from them...

     Apparently the Occupy Wall Street crowd doesn't like it when people descend upon them and take their stuff.
     Sometimes the irony is just too rich.
     Read all about it here from the American Thinker.

Story People...

  More of my favorite Story People quotes:
  • "These are little packets of light & you need to plant them early in the year & remember to mark where they were because lots of times they look like weeds in the beginning & it's not until later that you see how beautiful they really are."
  • "There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said."
  • "Trying to hide in a bag filled with old stuff & appliances that don't work, she can only do it so long before she gets tired of the crumbs in her hair."
  • "I have a friend who reads people's auras. He sees all sorts of colors like green & red & purple. He says anyone can do it. All it takes is forgetting everything you think you know & just looking. I've tried it & even though I haven't seen any colors yet, everyone I meet looks so beautiful when I stop knowing everything, that it's pretty hard to go back to the old way."
  • "How many people can you love before it's too much? she said & I said I didn't think there was any real limit as long as you didn't care if they loved you back."
  • "I'm on my way to the future, she said & I said, But you're just sitting there listening & she smiled & said, It's harder than you'd think with all the noise everyone else is making."
  • "I can imagine it working out perfectly, I said. I can't, she said & I said no wonder you're so stressed."
  • "I only do this until I get dizzy & then I lay down on my back & watch the clouds, she said. It sounds simple but you won't believe how many people forget the second part."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some questions for the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors...


     Read the questions here.
     One last question for the "occupiers" who may not have a clue as to what Glenn is talking about... Have you ever heard of Stalin's useful idiots? Click here for first hand accounts from those who were there.
     Don't forget: top down, bottom up, inside out. If you don't know the answers to Glenn's questions, you are probably being used. Make no mistake, this is being orchestrated from the top.
     Bottom line... Do you know what you stand for and with whom you are standing?
     The "Occupy Rome" people took this statue of Our Blessed Mother from a nearby church and smashed it in the street as they went along. For video of this desecration by the protestors, see here.
     Thanks always to Creative Minority Report, Romantic Poet, and GBTV.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We are candles...

     "It is fitting that our blessed Lord used the analogy that His followers are a light to the world. We are candles in the darkness. And what is the nature of a candle? To give off light by consuming and spending itself entirely for the sake of shedding light..." 
~ Michael Voris, Real Catholic TV

Organizing with Real Simple...

     Some days, I'm just in the mood for Real Simple magazine. It's fresh and inspirational, and I am always drawn to redos, and decorating and organizing tips. I found this article, "I need help organizing my... " particularly fun to look at. Hmm... Where should I start?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Funny Guy Friday ... Thirty Years Later...

    Cheryl and I attended our thirty-year reunion this past weekend---at least I attended my thirty year reunion while Cheryl will only admit to ten of those thirty years. I could have sworn we graduated at the same time. Anyway, we started our weekend on Friday night with a social at a local pub.
    The event started at 5 p.m. which seemed a bit early to me, but apparently not many of my former classmates have jobs so the 5 o'clock start time was no problem. I had to coach Matthew's baseball game that evening, so we did not make it to the bar until about 10 p.m.---but many were still there. In fact, it was clear that many had been there for a while. They may or may not remember seeing me after so many years.
    At one point on Friday evening, I looked across the bar and I saw the father of one of the guys that I had played baseball with from the time I was ten years old. He was perhaps the best player in the area back in high school.
    As I approached, I realized it was not his father, but it was him. I only knew it was him because he was shorter than his father. He came to the event and was sitting with another teammate, a guy that I always appreciated because he always got the most out of his talents. He was one of the last guys to make our team that year, but I recall that he was a starter by the end of the season.
    We spoke for about a half-hour and although two of us played a bit in college--- the one actually had a great college career---it was clear that our State Championship high school team was the best athletic experience that each of us ever had. Now, I will admit that I was, how shall I say this, "the last one of the three to arrive at the pub," but their sentiments seemed sincere.
    That night, we saw a lot of people that we had not seen for a long time, but many others had either left before we arrived or had never come at all. There was still another night to catch up with those folks.
    Saturday night was the night of the reunion so Cheryl and I decided to get something new to wear. We started our shopping on Saturday afternoon---sure, we had several months to prepare for this reunion, but we have other things going on in our lives. Besides, we both still look pretty good after all these years, so even if we did not find anything, we would have still been presentable.
    Oh, but we did find some fine clothes for the big night! Cheryl found a beautiful plum dress, a sweater, and some smoking hot shoes. I purchased some slacks and a tie that matched her outfit. Now we were set, both looking better than ever---you know, in case we happen to run into some people we had not seen in a while. But what were the chances of that happening?
    The reunion was a blast. We saw people that we had lost contact with, and caught up with others that we had not seen as often as we would have liked. One thing was clear, people were more excited to see Cheryl than they were to see me. I would get the Hey, how have you been? and then Cheryl would walk up and get the Oh my gosh, Cheryl, you look so great, it is so great to see you! HUG HUG KISS KISS! Whatever!
    I will admit that I told a friend the next day that if they had a Mount Rushmore for the pretty women at the reunion, Cheryl would have made the cut. I wish when I was in high school, I had the knowledge that no matter what happened at that party that night, I was going to be leaving with one of the prettiest girls in the room. Think of the anxiety that would have been averted.
    I also found people's reaction to the fact that I am a lawyer very interesting. It was one of  two responses. First, they would look around and tell me that I was going to get a lot of business tonight as a result of the open bar. Second, they would look at me and say, "Really? Like a real lawyer? Like a stand-up-in-front-of-a-judge-and-talk kind of lawyer?"  I assured them that that is what I do, and people had a hard time digesting that. I suppose I never said much in High School.
    Early in the evening, another finalist in my Mount Rushmore foursome, called me over to her table to tell me that she had had a crush on me in high school and that she used to "stalk me." I told her that she should have told me back at the time, and I would have been a willing participant. In fact, I would have made the stalking part much easier on her.
    She is now married to a very handsome (I am sure he has had some work done), very successful, smart engineer (couldn't get into law school is my guess) with three wonderful kids (big deal, who doesn't have three wonderful kids). Anyway, she was very nice, very beautiful and she seems to have found happiness---even without me.
    At another point, I was talking to a friend about another female classmate, and I was just getting ready to tell him that I had had a crush on her back in the day. In fact, I can recall an incident in high school where she was actually talking to me in the hallway about the fact that both of our moms participated in the Meals on Wheels program. Stupid what you remember---but my gosh, she was pretty and was actually talking to me.
    Before I could divulge my thirty-year-old feelings, he told me that he had been talking to her earlier and had told her that he had had a crush on her back in high school. She responded by telling him that he was the twentieth person to tell me that tonight, and you know how many of you actually asked me out? None, not a one!
    I suppose you can now make it twenty-one.  She was always as nice as she was pretty---still is. We will always have Meals on Wheels!
    Then there was this exchange with a girl that I went to school with for twelve straight years:
Her: I heard you have a bunch of kids.
Me: Not a bunch, just three.
Her: Oh, and one of them has diabetes.
Me: No, not that I am aware of.
Her: I heard that one of your kids did have some problem, are you sure?
Me: I am pretty sure that they are all okay, but I will have them all checked out on Monday.


    At the end of a long night, when I was getting ready to leave, our homecoming queen gave me a kiss goodbye. Well, actually, she kissed her hands and waved goodbye at me. Even thirty years later, I'll take what what I can get.
    It is interesting how time changes people, or at least it changes your perception of people. At least for one night, thirty years later, nobody is too cool to talk to, nobody is too popular or too pretty. In fact, from my many conversations that I had that night, everybody is very similar.
    We are all trying to support our families, to provide opportunities for our kids, and to make our lives successful both professionally and personally. Some have done a better job than others, but thirty years later, it does not matter. The millionaire entrepreneur was having a beer with the unemployed carpenter who had just ordered a round for the mothers talking in the corner.
    I guess there is a reason you are seventeen years old when you are in high school, and I do not want to question God's wisdom. With that being said, I would love to go back to high school knowing what I know now. I would not limit myself. I would take advantage of every opportunity. I would take the time to at least approach classmates that I did not know. And although I love my wife more than anything in the world, I guarantee that I would ask out those two girls!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Has it been 30 years already?

     This past weekend, I attended my thirty-year high school reunion.
     So. Much. Fun.
     Friday night was a casual happy hour at a local pub, and Saturday night was a dressier gathering at a nearby country club.
     There is nothing like seeing my former classmates to turn back the clock. And yet, I couldn't help but be reminded that my life, up until the time I graduated, was short compared to the 30 years since.
     And while those days were often fun, they, of course, were filled with all the trappings of adolescence... limited wisdom, frequent insecurity, and peers who were just putting it all together themselves.
     Seeing everyone again, I realized that I am much more a product of the last 30 years than the first 17. And really, more like the last ten. I suppose every stage of life helps you evolve to the next.
     Here is my recap from this weekend...
    ... First of all, I graduated with my husband, though we were not high school sweethearts. It was nice to go with him, as he knew everybody, too. Spouses not part of the class must really love their mates to accompany them to these things.
    ... The reunion was fun. Most everybody seemed happy to see everybody again. I stayed out past 1:30 a.m. both nights. I never do that anymore.
    ... The further back I go in my early life, the more I remember. Most of my memories swirled around elementary school, then junior high, then high school. And I probably spent more time with the people I had known the longest, or the people that I have remained friends with.
    ... Everyone always asks how everybody looked. I thought everybody looked great. The "it-girls" are still pretty, and the best looking guy in high school was more handsome than ever. And they were all very kind. And nice to talk to.
    ... I was a pom-pom girl in high school. Two fellow poms remembered (and quietly performed) a couple of the routines we had done back then. Unbelievable. I didn't remember the steps at all. How did they do that?
    ... There was one girl talking about how old she felt, and how her job was joyless. I felt bad for her.
    ... It's hard to believe that these high-schoolers are nearly 5o years old. Our homecoming queen was a very cute girl. She is still very cute. Just in her late forties. Weird.
    ... I was kind of plain in high school. Somewhat cute, I guess, but I was not one of the popular beauties. Still, people were very complimentary of how I looked this weekend, and several people marveled at how I "hadn't aged at all." They all said I looked exactly as I did then. Do you think maybe I looked like I was 48 in my younger days? I tell you what will age you... staying out past 1:30 every weekend.
    ... As much as some said I looked the same, there were some people there who looked exactly like their parents. It surprised me, but in a good way. Funny.
    ... At reunions, you never get to spend as much time catching up with some people as you'd like. And you certainly cannot explain who you have become, or hear very much about their life since graduation, in the 5 or 10 minutes that you have with them. The very people you spent time with once upon a time are now nearly complete strangers. Oh, the bittersweetness of reunions.
     Still, I wouldn't have missed it.

     Here we were in 1981. Look how cute my husband looks. Little did we know we would meet again ten years later, marry, and share a life together. 


Cheryl
Mark

     And here we are 30 years later...


Off to the reunion
     My best to the Class of '81. May God bless you all.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Dream interpretation...

    I recently was reading the Old Testament Bible story about Joseph to my son, Noah. To help jog your memory, Joseph was his father's favorite, and his father gave him a really cool coat. The special treatment along with the coat seemed to bother the brothers to no end. One day while the brothers were out working, the father sent Joseph out to see how they were doing; so Joseph put on the coat and off he went. For some unknown reason, Joseph didn't quite understand that his older---and less loved----brothers would not appreciate Joseph's special treatment. As a result of their jealousy, the brothers threw Joseph into a pit and eventually traded him away to some traveling Egyptians. Nice brothers.
    Being the youngest of six kids myself, and by far the most talented, best looking and most loved of all, I know that my five siblings would have sold me to a group of traveling Egyptians if they could have. In fact, I recall a time or two when they threatened to give me "back to the Indians." At the time, I didn't even know that I was adopted from the Indians, so that was kind of a tough pill to swallow at the age of three. Although, I suppose it does explain my uncanny ability to track buffalo.
    Anyway, Joseph ended up in Egypt, and to make a long story short, he got arrested and thrown in jail. While in jail, he correctly interpreted some guy's dream. That guy then told  the Pharaoh about Joseph's gift. The Pharoah then bailed Joseph out of jail to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams and next thing you know, Joseph is vice Pharaoh of Egypt. Usually politicians end up in jail during or after their political careers, this Joseph guy did just the opposite---he went from jail to politics.
    The point of my retelling the story of Joseph is that I have been having some ridiculous dreams ever since we got back from vacation, and I would love to have help interpreting them. Every night, it gets weirder.
    In one dream, my brother was out watching the baseball team that I coach. After a minute he decided that I had to take pictures and stop coaching. He then took over the team and told me that we could not use the same signs to call pitches and that he was going to change everything. My signs are easy because my players are only 11 years old, I explained. He told me that he was going to pretend he was a choo-choo train for a fast ball because that ball "is going to be coming right down the tracks" he explained. "How hard is that?"
    I woke up laughing at the thought of my brother acting like a choo-choo train in the middle of a baseball game.
    My own interpretation is this: In spite of the fact that he has coached and won at every level over the past thirty years, I am a better baseball coach than he, and he oftentimes just looks silly out there. Meanwhile, I catch everything on the field in the "photographs in my mind." I don't see how anyone could see it any other way.
    Another dream that I had is one that I have had many times before. It is not the same exact dream, but the theme is the same: Cheryl and I are dating but she won't marry me. Past dreams have included her not wanting to get married because she wanted to date Joe Torre, the then-manager of the Yankees. In that dream I was dumbfounded and explained that I thought he was in his sixties, and he may even be married already. In her typical Cheryl way, she flipped her hair back and joyfully told me that none of that mattered---she just could not get married to me because she wanted to date him.
    The most recent version of that dream theme was pretty vanilla as far as my dreams go. Cheryl was frustrated with some brilliant point that I was trying to make, and just had had enough of me. This time she simply called off the marriage. I explained to her that you just can't call off a marriage. She told me that you can, and she went away happy. The funny thing is that in all these types of dreams, in the end she goes away with happiness and joy in her heart. I, on the other hand, wake up mad at her.
    A friend of Cheryl's is a counselor and Cheryl once asked her what she thought of these dreams. The friend asked me if there was something in our marriage that I felt that I was not providing for Cheryl. This made me laugh... Let's see, I shop, I do laundry, I take care of the yard, I work, I provide money, I am a good father, and a good and faithful husband---so the answer would be no. In fact, I asked Cheryl if, when she told the friend about the dreams, "Did you make it clear that I was the one having the dream and not you?" The friend suggested that perhaps subconsciously, there was something that I thought that I was not providing for in our marriage.
    I assure everyone that this is the wrong interpretation, and this friend would still be in jail in Egypt if she were Joseph. Short of cloning myself, there is nothing more I can do--except maybe hang up my suits on a more regular basis.
   My interperetation of that dream is this: Despite my never ending efforts to meet and exceed all of my wife's expectations, the fact of the matter is that she will never be satisfied. I try and try and try but she will never be happy, and it is she that is constantly looking elsewhere for joy and fulfillment in her life. I am but a mere pawn in her never ending quest for more and more. I don't see how anyone could see it any other way.
    Thinking back now, I seem to have a history of these weird dreams.
    When I was studying for the bar exam, my best friend was getting married. As one of the groomsmen, I took time off from studying to attend various wedding functions. During this period, I had the same dream three or four different times.
    This was the dream: My friend and I were in his house when an explosion occurred forcing us to run out of the house. Out of the explosion came the Incredible Hulk. My friend ran one way, and I ran the other. No matter how fast I ran or what I did, the Incredible Hulk stayed with me the whole time. Finally, the Hulk caught up to me, ran beside me and said, "You're not doing enough."
   Some people would think that this had to do with my time away from studying for the bar. They would be wrong. My interpretation is this: It was just one superhero telling another superhero that I am capable of more. I don't see how anyone could see it any other way.
   So there you have it. Perhaps I don't need a dream interpreter after all. I seem to be pretty good at it myself. Let's review... I am a better baseball coach than my brother, I am great husband to my wife and I make every effort possible to meet her never-ending demands, and I am basically like a superhero. Dream interpretation is not that hard after all.
   Cheryl just read this, and thinks that, in truth, maybe I have some inadequacy issues.
   She must be dreaming.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Going on vacation...

   We planned a vacation for this week----sort of. I mean I took a few days off to go to Rhode Island earlier this summer, but this week was our official week vacation---as in I get two weeks off a year for vacation. I get as many weeks as I want, but there is this thing that I explain to my family every year----if daddy don't work, daddy don't make any money. If daddy don't make any money, daddy don't get paid.  As a result, I limit myself to two or three weeks a year. Of course, this does not include all the time I take off for baseball season, but that is a different story.
   Anyway, we were going to go to Disney, but decided against it. We then thought Myrtle Beach or Nags Head. Decided against both of those locations too. Why did we decide against each of these locations? Who knows? What I do know is that the Wednesday before our big week, we still had no idea where we were going to go.
   For a brief moment, I was back on the Mouse's scent and was checking on flights to Orlando. Surprisingly, the flights were not as expensive as I would have thought. But again, we decided against it.
   I got to the point where I was taking suggestions from friends. San Francisco? Yeah right, plan a trip to the West Coast in two days---besides, I've had my fill of earthquakes this year. Grand Canyon? People plan that for months ahead of time, not hours. Niagra Falls? Sure... and lose one of my kids over the falls. If I am going to have a family member go over, I want to plan for that, maybe take an in-law along "for the ride".    
    At this point, I told Cheryl to plan the whole thing and go wherever she wants---price is no object. Cheryl knows that when I say price is no object, I don't really mean it. Price is always an object. What it really means is make it fun with a few sprinkles of extravagance, but don't go crazy. I can say "price is no object" because I know that she knows that I worry about our money. Like my mother, I like to have it ready for something that I will never buy... in the event that I will need it for something else that I probably will not buy either. I think that makes fine economic sense.
   Anyway, she planned a trip that had two parts. Part One was to stay a few days at the beach in Ocean City. We have a place there that we don't get to use much, so the price was right. We did the beach through Wednesday.
   While swimming at the beach an elderly man frantically called me and Matthew in from the water. I was sure that he had spotted a shark. When he approached us he explained that there were rip tides. He went on to explain the meaning of the word rip and the word tide and how the two words collaborated to become one. He went on to tell us about his own personal  history as it related to rip tides, and about his time on beach patrol when he never lost anyone to a rip tide. Somewhere along the way he slipped in that he is independently wealthy. We were so worried about rip tides at this point that we decided to take a break from the water---forever!
   Matthew and I politely listened, but eventually, with my blessings, Matthew moved on and began tossing the football with Noah. I sat and listened until the man either realized he was running on a bit or exhausted his knowledge of rip tides. I joined Matthew and Noah and eventually Grace joined the fun. Noah and I dominated in a game of two-hand-touch. We had a great time in O.C. and as always, it was a blast just hanging out with Cheryl and the kids.
   On a side note, the elderly man returned later with a sand wedge and a golf ball. I could not help but think that the Atlantic Ocean presented one heck of a water hole. This time he advised me that he could have competed with Tiger Woods---back when Tiger was actually winning--- and that he remembers the days when Sonny Jurgenson played basketball at the University of South Carolina.
   I may not know much about rip tides but I do know a little about ACC basketball. Now he was in my wheel house. I suggested that Sonny went to Duke University. He was not sure, but he was sure that Sonny made the four corner offense famous. I am pretty sure it was Dean Smith and Phil Ford many years later at North Carolina. That's right he said, back when they were winning with David Thompson and Monte Towe. Uh, that was N.C. State. That's right, he recalled but Dean Smith was an idiot because Michael Jordan was not even a starter on that David Thompson team. He was right about that because Jordan would have been about four years old at the time.
   I began to regret my decision to not go back in the ocean.
   Part Two of the vacation took us to Williamsburg and the Great Wolf Lodge. Nice place, but as Noah points out, this place is obsessed with wolves. You think?
    We took the Chesapeake Bay tunnel and bridge from the beach to Williamsburg. Cheryl thought it would be nice to see the scenery. The second we hit the bridge, the skies opened up with the hardest rain I had ever driven through. The only thing we saw were dark clouds and buckets of water beating down on us. At one point we came out of the tunnel and there was a wall of water meeting us. Could not see a thing. Like any self respecting male, I drove through and even snapped off a photo in the process. Pulling over is for sissies. Cheryl took ten minutes of video, er uh, would have taken video if she actually had hit the record button.
   Great Wolf Lodge is a great place for kids... Water slides, arcades, shows, miniature golf... they even have a bowling alley.... right here at the lodge. All of that comes with a pricetag, but hearing your wife screaming as her rubber raft plummets into the funnel in the Howlin' Tornado was priceless.
   Busch Gardens is on the agenda for today. I can only guess that there will be more horrific, hilarious screams from my beautiful wife.
   The bottom line is that it does not matter where we go or what we do, we have fun when we are together. The kids are a joy and believe it or not, Cheryl is even more relaxed on vacation.
    With that being said, I have some great ideas for next year! I better start planning now!
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