Sunday, July 30, 2006

Recovering nicely, thank you for asking

I finally made it out to the bike trails with JT, his son Rob (mine didn't feel like coming this time), P.Dave, And Lori. It was a great and terrible experience.
We did what was supposed to be a 28 mile ride, but my odometer said it was almost 31 by the time we got back to the cars. My butt tells me it must've been 31.
I have to say I really enjoyed the ride for it's scenery and, of course, the company. I'm so used to riding alone in a parking lot. Needless to say, the scenery and company on those rides leaves something to be desired. But this ride was easy to do because of those two simple factors. I hadn't done more than 7 miles yet, so this was a real push for me. But I did it, and everyone else was impressed with me for doing so on my first time out on the trail.
I must also admit that I was slowing everyone down. Being that I'm not used to the long distances, I was trying to pace myself for the entire ride. I was bringing up the rear the whole time. Somebody has to be last, why not me? So everyone had to slow down a little bit for my sake. Nobody complained, and I didn't ask for any rest-stops. My odometer said that I averaged 9.3 mph with a top speed of 19.9 at one point, which I'll explain below.
Some highlights from the day:
* Just being able to talk to somebody else while I was riding. Everybody took a turn lagging behind a little with me, except Rob (I didn't expect him to), so we could chat a little bit as we rode. It was great to get caught up with everyone. Especially P.Dave, since the only time I really see him is at the very beginning and very end of church, and there's seldom much time for us to just talk to one another at those times - there's always so much other "church" stuff going on around us.
* Almost beating Lori in a race to the halfway-point/rest-stop - that's where I hit 19.9 mph. Then I got light-headed and Lori passed me. It is no great vistory for her since her competition was an overweight, middle-aged guy with asthma and high-blood pressure who was out on his first long distance ride.
* P.Dave trying to jump over a dirt/gravel pile only to end up going over his handlebars. The funny part of it was that he had already done it once. When he went back to try it again, with a little more speed, he must've hit a "soft spot" because his tire just stuck right into the pile and then he went up and over. Yes, he was OK, and we all got a laugh out of his misfortune.
* Stopping at the little convenience store along the trail for an ice cream sandwich and a bottle of Cherry-Pepsi. This was on the second half of the ride, as we were heading back to the cars. Of course, Lori took it upon herself to bitch at me about my bottle of Cherry-Pepsi and how it was defeating the purpose of the ride. To which I effectively argued against her by using the Weight-Watchers point system. After the pop (that would be "soda" to some of you), and the ice cream sandwich, I would still be 2 points ahead of my daily allowance - so there!

Side note to this post:
This was supposed to be our Bi-Weekly BBQ day, but JT was ill prepared for it. So we opted for Vincents Pizza instead. Then we went to the church to watch our movie. Last nights selection was The Warriors. It made for the ending of a truly memorable day.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

The glass is half-empty and half-full

I guess the news is as good as it is bad.
First the bad:
Aliesha lost her job. Which really sucks for her since she really liked it. She was doing telemarketing for Verizon. Basically, she was calling existing customers to sell them additional services. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to sell enough additional services to enough customers to keep her job. And that I can't figure out because she was doing really good at it the last time we talked. I mean, really, you're asking a teenage girl to talk on the phone for $8.00/hour. Sounds like a match made in Heaven.
Oh well...
Anyways, the good news:
Aliesha will be moving back in with me, now. I'm really happy about that. I'll be even happier if she can find a new job closer to home. Which, incidentally, she's out putting in applications all around Monroeville, even as I type this.
If all else fails, I may be able to pull some strings for her at work when she turns 18 (in less than a month). And the best part of that is the fact that Respironics will pay for her to go to school.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quote for 7/26/06

"Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice."
Baruch Spinoza

I have decided to share some of my own thoughts on this below.


Give peace a chance?

I have never understood this particular phrase. It seems to me to be nothing more than sentimental clap-trap. A catch phrase that is meant to stir in us some emotional reaction to a moral dilema. Don't fight - give peace a chance...
Explain to me how this is done. Especially in light of current events in the middle east.
The various jihadi groups have all made it clear that they want to remove Israel, and every jew, from the face of the earth. How does one make peace with such an ideology? How does refusal to fight those who want you dead equal giving peace a chance? Isn't that more like giving death a chance?
Israel gave peace a chance when they gave the Palestinian Authority a place to call home. Did the suicide bombers stop coming? No. I'd say peace had it's chance, and it failed. Now it's time for something a bit more decisive.
Peace is not a natural condition of this world. Regardless of what the "world community" and the various "peace-activists" would have us believe. The world is not at peace simply because there are no major wars being fought. Peace is a matter of people living in relative safety and a certain amount of harmony with those around them. Peace is a matter of living without fear from your government or that of your neighbor's. And sometimes, the only way to gain that peace is by means of war.
"sic vis pacum para bellum", right? The ancient wisdom is still the prevailing wisdom. Why can't the "world community" see that?

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Sunday, July 23, 2006


Just a few shots from today. A sort of inadvertent photo-journal of our day.
Saw this van today.

OK, I'll confess, the pic is actually from some time ago, but it's the same van. Besides, it was moving too quickly for me to get the camera on and ready to take the shot when we saw it. Obviously the owner is a big fan of both Jesus and the Steelers. And who wouldn't be?

JT and I have been seeing this sign for the last several weeks as we drive to church each Sunday.

We're considering a career change. Whaddaya think ladies?

And this.

Just an interesting perspective shot from the end of JT's street. I've always liked the contrast of the nice, quiet, dead-end street with the smoke and fire of the steel mill in the background.

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That substantial post I mentioned

Well, here it is...
As most of you are aware I've been dating for a little while now. And I have to say it's not getting much easier. In fact, when you consider all of the different elements of the life of a single parent, you find that dating can be downright terrifying. Especially since it's not likely, at my age, that you're going to find anyone who doesn't have all of the same limitations, as well as some additional "baggage" from past experiences. And that's OK, it's to be expected.
But anyways...
I've gone on a few dates recently. They've all been fairly pleasant. But there just hasn't been any kind of real connection with any of the ladies that I've been meeting. I've enjoyed the conversations we've had, but there doesn't seem to be anything more than that. And this too is OK, and to be expected.
I did finally meet somebody yesterday that I wasn't really sure about at first. We've been chatting online as friends for several weeks now, and we get along fine. And I was avoiding meeting her because she lives about an hour away from me. And those are mostly highway miles - which means she's pretty far away, but it'll be easy on the gas tank. But we finally agreed that even if nothing came of our meeting, it would be nice to really see, and get to know, who it is we've been "talking" to.
But something did seem to click for us. We spent the day together talking about all sorts of stuff - life in general and what we want out of it. And we do seem to want many of the same things. But I plan on taking things slow this time. The fact that she lives so far away will make that pretty easy since it's not likely I'll be able to just get-up-and-go to see her at a moments notice. But it will also mean that we're going to have to really try to make a go of things if we want this to become more of a relationship than what we have at the moment. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. And, yes, I will keep everyone informed.
Now here's the funny part...
Had things not gone so well for me yesterday, this was going to be a completely different post. It might have been more of a rant about all of the difficulties of being a single parent dating other single parents and having to deal with all of the additional stuff that makes dating that much more complicated. But it's not.
So, was that substantial enough for everyone?

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Quote for 7/21/06

"Crazy people do not explode in direct sunlight, no matter how insane they are."
Steve H.(one of my co-workers)

I dunno...
I couldn't even begin to explain where this came from, or why. But it certainly caught my attention.


Believe it or not...

I will have something substantial to post very soon. I've just been a bit pre-occupied lately. So please bear with me until I get my thoughts together to make it a more worthwhile posting than just another "Quote...". I'm sure you all understand.
Thanks for your patience.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quote for 7/19/06

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
Albert Einstein


Sunday, July 16, 2006

The send-off

My brother-in-law, Michael is shipping out to Iraq soon. And last night was his last night with the family before he heads off to California for training and deployment. I have some pictures below that have to do with the Send-Off Party that we had for him, but none of them are "people" shots. For some odd reason, everybody would "duck-n-cover" when the cameras came out. So I didn't get any good shots of anybody. Still, I think you'll like the pics I did get.

This one is my other brother-in-law's back yard. I think I ought to send this one to Blue Collar TV for their Redneck Yard Award. Two of the cars here used to be mine. You may remember the old gray ghost from a previous post, and then there's the yellow Cutlass Supreme. Now they're only "parts", kinda.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a Redneck Mechanic when he's thirsty. Mike (seen in the above link to my old car) used his torch to cut the hole in the top of the trunk for the tap to stick out, then filled the trunk with ice to keep the keg cold. Pretty neat, huh? And believe it or not this used to be one of my cars too. It's the one that the Soon-To-Be-EX recently destroyed.

And there were fireworks too. I like these shots because I love fireworks. I'm glad I got to take these, too. I didn't have my camera for the 4th of July so I didn't get any shots then (thank you very much Aliesha for not returning my camera after you borrowed it). And, of course, the running joke with Michael was that he better get used to the sound of the firecrackers and explosions from the fireworks because he'll hear planty of it where he's going.

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She must be obsessed

As a side note to yesterday's festivities...
The Soon-To-Be-Ex just wouldn't stop going on about her car problems - Not having one because she can't afford one. Not having insurance for one, even if she could afford a car. And not having a license either, so she can't drive anywhere until she gets that whole problem solved.
The funny thing about it though was that she was telling everybody but me about it. And never really loud enough that I should hear it, but always within earshot. It's almost as if she wants everyone else to get on my case about helping her out. But they're all pretty sick of her moanin-n-groanin too. So that's not gonna happen.
Oh well...

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Friday, July 14, 2006

It's not that complex

OK, ladies, I have to ask this question. Are you all technologically challenged, or is it only the women that I work with - at an electro-mechanical production facility, no less - that have a hard time dealing with electrical/mechanical conveniences?
Perhaps the better question is this; why do the women I work with, who can't get the copier at the edge of my production area to function properly, always assume that because I'm within 10 feet of it, I will automatically know how to fix it, or tell them how to make it work, or figure out what they did wrong to get it to not work for them? And why do they never ask any of the ladies in my production area if they know how to make it work?
C'mon ladies, it's a photo-copier, not rocket science. The options display is pretty straight-forward about what to do. And the little LCD screen is pretty clear to tell you what's not working or where it's jammed up. Besides, the "reset" button does wonders if you can't figure out how to get it to stop making double-sided copies. I have more pressing duties than helping you make copies of your credit card bill, or your bank statement.

Thank you for allowing me that little rant. I feel much better now ...

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Quote for 7/13/06

"Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?"
John Calvin

And this is why I read the Bible. To know beyond the words that my church, or my pastor, give to me. To have reason, as C.S. Lewis had reason, to base belief upon - and not just blind, unthinking acceptance of someone elses faith.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

For those of you who are familiar with that song title, you are probably already aware that Syd Barret, formerly of Pink Floyd, passed away.
I can't say that I was a big fan of his music, but I know that he was very influential to many other artists whom I've enjoyed listening to. Not to mention that so much of Pink Floyd's songs were glimpses into Syd's life. We would not have Dark Side Of The Moon, or The Wall, without the impact that Barrett had on Roger Waters. And we probably wouldn't know who David Gilmore is had he not replaced Syd after his first mental breakdown.
The life of a rock-n-roll star...
Rest In Peace.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just a reminder

Tonight's Tuesday Night Family Service was pretty good. Practice for Sunday morning's service went well, too. The songs I picked will sound excellent together when we do them for the Alternative Service.
I enjoyed P.Dave's sermon tonight. It's actually a part of the Discipleship Series that he teaches. So I've heard it before. But, as with so many things, there's always something else to be learned by listening through it yet another time. And tonight that something was a very simple reminder that sin is not always something that we do. It can also be something that we fail to do, or refuse to do, when we ought to.
I am reminded of this aspect of my life, and those things which I know to be the right thing to do. Yet I often fail to do them because of my selfishness, or my desire to keep my life uncomplicated.
Does anybody else ever get that feeling? I guess, if doing the right thing were always easy, the world wouldn't be in such bad shape. If doing the right thing were always easy, everybody would be doing it.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Quote for 7/9/06

"The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration."
Pearl S. Buck

I don't know why this stuck out for me so much. While I realize that I'm not "alone", it does speak to the fact that I'm also not "with someone". And I miss the more intimate connection of being "with someone". The inspiration of having someone else to share my heart with. So this makes sense to me.


Way too early

Once again, I've woken up way too early for a Sunday morning. And, as usual, I've decide to do the Blogthings thing, again. Here are today's offerings:

You Are a Learning Cook

You've got the makings of an excellent cook, and the desire to be one.
But right now, you're just lacking the experience. You couldn't be a top chef yet, but you could be an apprentice.

Yes, I enjoy spending time in my kitchen.

You Have Low Self Esteem 24% of the Time

Generally, you feel pretty darn great about who you are, even when you mess up or fail.
Occasionally, a huge setback will make you question yourself, but you pick yourself up quickly.

I've always been aware of this. I am not prone to suffer from low self-esteem.

You Are 33% Selfish

In general, you are a very giving person who treats others very well.
But at times, you insist on getting your way - when it matters most to you.

I think we all have a tendency to be a bit selfish at times.

You Are Incredibly Logical

(You got 75% of the questions right)

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic

You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.

A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

I do try.

You Are 4% Sociopath

You're empathetic, loyal, and introspective.
In other words, there's no way you're a sociopath... but you can spot one pretty easily!

So there! Now you all know that I'm not really an Insane Killer.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

I just don't get it sometimes

As you're all well aware, I've been trying to live a healthier lifestyle lately. But I really don't understand why it has to be so hard to do. Why are there so many tough choices to make in order to be healthy. For example:
I drink a lot of water throughout the day, because I know it's good for me. But when it comes to meals, I'd like something with a little flavor to wash down the food. So I have a couple of choices for this, juice or diet pop (soda to some of you). The problem I have with this is that I know the juice is healthier for me, but less likely to help me with my hope to lose weight. On the other hand the diet pop is far less healthy for me, but much more conducive to my hoped for weight loss. So I'm somewhat torn at mealtime as to which one I ought to be drinking. And alternating only makes me think that I'm doing a "one step forward, one step back" kinda thing with my weight. And, yes, I realize that there is flavored water nowadays, but who wants to pay the ridiculous prices they charge for such tiny bottles of it.
Of course, there's always the hope that my increased level of activity (biking everyday) will cancel out some of the other poor choices that I make with my diet.
Oh, well...
We'll see what happens.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Quote for 7/6/06

"In the power and splendor of the universe, inspiration waits for the millions to come. Man has only to strive for it. Poems greater than the Iliad, plays greater than Macbeth, stories more engaging than Don Quixote await their seeker and finder."
John Masefield

It gives one hope, doesn't it?


My latest sadness

I really can't believe it's true, but the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival is no more!
Just follow the link to read the message.
I'm truly dazed and confused by this because the Festival actually seemed to be growing over the last few years. In fact, the last time I visited the site, the Festival was gearing up for what was going to be one of it's best seasons ever. They were actually going to offer Field Trip Packages to local schools. But, apparently, the rosey picture that the website had previously painted of the Festival's financial stability were grossly exagerated.
I am so depressed by this. Now, JT and I are going to have to find a different one to go to. Perhaps I should start looking online today. Maybe after the sadness has lessened.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tell me this isn't weird

So I still get invited to the various functions that my in-laws have, and yesterday's 4th of July celebration was yet another one. Of course, I understand that it is in part a matter of convenience. After all, if they want my kids to be there, it's more than likely that I'm the one who will have to bring them or take them home afterwards. But there is still the matter that they all still love me, even if Jo doesn't.
It's the strangest thing to show up at your sister-in-law's house for a family function when your Soon-To-Be-Ex doesn't. It gets even stranger when they begin to lament some of the foolish choices that she's made with her life in the last two years. And stranger still that they all recognize the extreme selfishness which she has been living by during those two years, and the sympathy they have for me and everything that I put up with from her during our marriage - as well as our seperation.
In any event, it was good to see them all again. I rarely get to see Michelle and her family since they live on the other side of the city from the rest of us. So it was nice to get to visit with them for awhile. There was plenty of food, and I got to "man the grill" for a little while. The kids all had a great time in the pool - even with the occasional rain. And there were plenty of "fireworks" for the kids to play with throughout the afternoon/evening. A most enjoyable holiday.

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Quote for 7/5/06

"We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live."
Joseph Epstein


Quotes from 6/2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Another Independence Day

I feel as if I should write something significant today, like I usually do on days like these. But for some odd reason all I can think of is this:

The concept which we hold of what independence and freedom are, is nowhere near that of our founding fathers. In today's society, people believe that freedom means being able to do, or have, whatever you want. And anyone who stands in your way is somehow infringing upon your rights. But nobody exercises their own independence to achieve their goals. Everybody wants some government program to give them something that they want, but don't have - or can't afford.
Our founding fathers understood that true freedom, and independence, mean that we also have the freedom to fail on our own, as well as succeed. That's why a bunch of "wealthy white slave owners" (as some people would refer to them) signed a document that would also be their death warrant if captured during the ensuing war. They pledged their lives, their wealth, and their sacred honor to secure the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for themselves and their countrymen. And that includes us. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment to such lofty ideas and noble principles. And for risking everything to realize them.
Is that what you'll be celebrating today?

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Monday, July 03, 2006

And there was much rejoicing !!!

Now that my work day is officially over...


This is the first time I've taken an entire week off in over 3 years, and it's about time! Usually I have to take vacation as a day or two, here and there, but this year I decided that I was going to take off for an entire week. So I did, kinda.
Of course, my original plan was to go camping for a week. However, that plan fell through as I calculated the costs of buying all new camping equipment. After doing the math I figured that I was much better off getting our bikes, instead. Especially since we'll get more use out of the bikes than the camping equipment.
So, what are my new plans for my vacation?
1) Ride my bike everyday... alot !
2) Take Bob to see a couple of movies
3) Catch up on sleep
There may be some other activities for me to engage in, but I can't think of any right off the top of my head.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Quote for 7/1/06

"Not eating meat is a decision, eating meat is an instinct."
Denis Leary

Yes! And today, JT and I, as well as our sons, will be following that instinct. Bi-weekly BBQ!


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