Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The usual

Just wanted to let everyone know that tomorrow will be mine and JT's Annual New Years Eve Movies-n-Munchies Marathon. I believe this will be our 4th year of doing so. And, once again, all are welcome to attend. Even though nobody else has ever shown up, I still want the invitation to be extended - just in case any of you find yourselves roaming about somewhere in southwestern PA with no significant plans for your New Years Eve. All we ask is that you bring a beverage to share with us.
Food-wise, we'll be having the typical stuff; shrimp ring, taquitos, probably wings, and, of course, pork-n-sauerkraut for the end of the evening. Not sure what movies are on our playlist, although JT did mention putting a few good ones on his queue from Netflix. And I do have both Iron Man and The Dark Knight.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Quote for 12/29/08

"You cannot hold on to anything good. You must be continually giving - and getting. You cannot hold on to your seed. You must sow it - and reap anew. You cannot hold on to riches. You must use them and get other riches in return."
Robert Collier

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm back

Which is not to say I was away, but I haven't posted anything since Christmas Eve.

My Christmas was wonderful, except for one set-back - I've been sick since some time Christmas morning. I didn't feel bad when I woke up, but after I made breakfast for Bob and I, it started coming on.
I still went to my brother's for Christmas dinner. We had filet mignon and crab legs. It was magnificent, even if I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I would've liked. Still enjoyed everyone's company. Watched a little bit of A Christmas Story - again. We even did a little game of looking at the time and trying to guess what part of the movie we would be coming into before we turned it on. I was closest with my guess. It was 5:28 and I said we'd come in at the Santa Claus scene - when Chris turned it on, the parade scene was ending with Santa Claus waving at the crowd. I'm so good.
However, after I got home everything escalated and by 11:00 PM I was pretty much splitting my time between lying on the couch or being in the bathroom. I'll spare you all the more grotesque details of the night, but suffice it to say I may have slept about 2 hours that night. And it didn't get any better on Friday - or Saturday, except that I was keeping solid food down by Saturday morning, and I did sleep for 6 hours last night - with a couple of naps thrown in through the day.
I'm feeling much better today, but I'm so tired. And I have to give the sermon at church today. So, keep me in your prayers.

So, how was everybody elses Christmas weekend?

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And it gets better

OK, yesterday I posted about how well my Christmas was going already. Well, today was even better !!!
Bob and I headed out early to do a little "last minute shopping" - which is really code for us just wanting to get out and do some people watching and talking, as well as some eating. But I did have a few items to pick-up yet, so we made sure to take care of that first.
I have to say this though. When I picked Bob up on Tuesday afternoon, he wasn't feeling very festive. In fact, he was feeling a bit agitated about Christmas. And he wasn't sure he wanted to celebrate, let alone be around people. I was a bit concerned since I have all this joy and Christmas Spirit oozing out of my pores, and he was kinda "bah, humbug". It wasn't looking good for us for the Holiday. But after last night, and now tonight, he's much more in the Christmas Spirit. And that's a good thing.
Anyways...
We came home after our little excursion and watched The Dark Knight (my Christmas gift to myself) before heading over to my brother's. And that's when Christmas really came alive for us.
I'm sure some of you are wondering about my grandnephew, Conner, and his reaction to me. Well, he's still stand-off-ish, but he doesn't seem to be afraid of me the way he used to be. Especially since I gave him a Dark Knight action figure for Christmas...
My brother, Chris, picked on me a little bit about my becoming a grandpa soon. Of course, he also made sure to remind me how much fun it is, since he's been a grandfather for over 2 years. As we talked about it he informed me that he has turned into our father. I'm sure I will too.
We joked about the way my father used to play with us, and even more so, our kids when they were little. Now my brother finds himself doing some of the same things. He reminded me of the way my father would lay on the floor and when the kids would walk by he'd snatch them up between his legs and wrestle with them. Yeah, that's what my brother has been doing with Conner. We also talked about the way my dad would chase us and the kids around, growling with his hands raised like claws. Yeah, Chris is doing that with Conner, too. Conner loves it.
Something else that was completely hilarious was the "major award" that Chris received from my niece, Jackie. She brought it in to him in a box labeled "Fragile" ("Must be Italian."). It even had "This End Up" written on the side, while it was laying sideways. Yes, we joked about my brother's "mind power"...
Can you tell where we're going with this?
That's right, folks. My brother is the proud owner of a Leg Lamp !!!
It's actually a miniature version of the lamp from A Christmas Story. And it's not an electrical lamp, it's a candle holder. But it is sooooo cool!
We began a new tradition tonight, too. The Man Table.
It actually began over Thanksgiving by accident. While my brother's in-laws were visiting for the weekend, they found that all of the men gathered around the kitchen table while the women gathered in the dining room. As the men were gathered around the table one evening, Conner joined them while wearing his Steeler's helmet. But they made him take it off. They placed the helmet on the table in place of the centerpiece. At which point they began to joke about The Man Table. So it stuck. And we instated that as a new tradition tonight. All of the men sat in the kitchen to eat, while the women ate in the dining room. The women babbled on and on about whatever. The men discussed Rules for Life and Man Laws - as well as sports and other man-stuff.
Chris also shared something with me for P.Dave's cousin Patrick. There's an article about him in their monthly newsletter. It reiterates his selection as Rookie of the Year, but it also has a section called "Unsung Heroes". Patrick is listed as one of them with some remarkable comments from Head Coach, Mike Tomlin. Not a bad thing to have such high praise coming from your head coach. My brother also asked me to ask Patrick how he liked hearing Twas the Night Before Christmas, as read by Steelers Defensive Co-coordinator, Dick Lebeau - an annual tradition practiced by the Steelers organization for as long as he's been with them. So I'll be sure to talk to Patrick about that the next time I see him.
We had planty of food. We played Rock Band on my nephew, David's, X-Box 360. We shared gifts with one another. Joked about mom not being able to make it through saying grace at dinner without crying. And just had a great family celebration of Christ's birthday. It was wonderful!
Coming home was pretty cool, too. Driving through my brother's housing plan was almost like driving through Hartwood Acres. The people in his neighborhood do a great job of decorating their homes. And I really loved seeing it all.
Now, tomorrow, I'll make breakfast for Bob and myself. Then Aliesha will come over some time around 1:00 to take Bob to spend time with the Ex's family. I will return to my brother's for Christmas dinner.
I really do hope and pray that all of you are enjoying your Christmas as much as I'm enjoying mine. I am truly, truly, Blessed. And I am so thankful to God for this joyous season.
Happy Birthday Jesus! Thank you for everything You've done, and everything You're going to do!

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Quote for 12/24/08

"There are no strangers on Christmas Eve."
Adele Comandini

No, there are only bargain hunters and procrastinators...

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What a way to kick off Christmas

I gotta tell ya, this Christmas has been pretty fantastic already!

Let me start with work.
Being the last day before the Holiday, we were given permission to wear "festive holiday clothing" to work today. So I did, kinda.
I wore work clothes but they were somewhat festive in their appearance. A red long-sleeve T-shirt with a green short sleeve T-shirt. I also wore antlers and a flashing red nose. I have a picture below, but you'll have to read through more of the post before you get to see it.
Anyways, it was a good day at work since anyone who saw me immediately smiled or laughed. It was quite enjoyable for me too. As I said yesterday, I like knowing that I can brighten people's days. And that's what I did today - big time!
After work I picked-up Bob and we headed to church tonight for our Community Christmas Party. You see, we invited the entire neighborhood to the church tonight for a little party. We had music, gifts, food and a puppet show (with clowns) for all the kids. It went over quite well. And since I had so much fun at our Halloween - oh, excuse me, Harvest Party - I agreed to help out with this one too. And I'm glad that I did.
I'm gonna share the pics I took tonight with everyone and I'll explain a little more about how things went as we go along.
Had the church pretty well decorated. Some lights and a nice little tree as well as some nice decorations for the tables.







We had plenty of presents for all the kids. We had gift bags, small stuffed animals, and even more under the tree.







Music.



Goodies.



A nice crowd.



Entertainment.



Me...



And another jolly elf, Bob.



It was another great event. Everything went smoothly. We had plenty of help in the kitchen. The preparation and clean-up was quick and painless. And I learned a new Christmas song - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer played to the tune of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Originally this song was performed by Jars of Clay. It's one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard. And now we're gonna practice it so we can add it to our set list for next year.

Oh, BTW, since I hadn't mentioned it prior to this, P.Dave, Jullian and myself finally have a name for our band.
Chocolate Sundae Jesus.
More news to come on that.

Tomorrow, I will be reposting the pre-Christmas sermon that I gave at church last year, The Gospel According to Jack Skellington. I'm going to try to turn this into a Christmas Tradition to go along with my other Christmas Tradition - which I will repost on Christmas Day.
Stay tuned...

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Quote for 12/23/08

"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling."
Edna Ferb

Yeah! So enough of the "Season's Greetings" crap. It's Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Allow me

And just so you all know that my endeavors to brighten everyone's day - as often as humanly possible - are not restricted simply to Christmas or matters of faith...

With the arrival of the Winter Solstice yesterday we can now expect to see our days growing longer. And isn't that a pleasant thought?

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Quote for 12/22/08

"Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind."
Mary Ellen Chase

And so much more, too !!!
I suppose that it would be wise for us adults (who? me?) to remember that as well...

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

This is cool

I probably should've mentioned this the other day, but I had more pressing matters to blog about.
I've had a few opportunities to hang out with P.Dave and his cousin Patrick. And I've mentioned several times that he's playing on Special Teams for the Steelers. And he's had a really great season, too. In fact, his season has been good enough to earn him the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pro Football Writers Rookie of the Year Award. Pretty cool, huh?

A special thank you to my brother for sending me the link to the story.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, there's no place like home for the Holidays

Oh, what joy has filled my heart!
I've been reassigned to my former work area! Or would that be returned to?
Anyways...
I get to work with the stuff I enjoy, The stuff I'm good at - soldering and assembly work.
No more cardboard! No more dry, cracked skin! No more cuts! No more standing all day! No more lifting, carrying and walking around all day! My feet are already starting to feel better. My hands will still need some time to heal, though.
It's like coming home after being gone for so long. And my co-workers were happy to see me too.

I hope it lasts...

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Red @ Diesel

Actually, there was more to the whole night than just going to see Red, so I'll share all of that with you first.
Met up with P.Dave around 5:15 at his house. He was ready to go, but his daughter, Carissa was not. But it was OK since we had plenty of time yet. Got on the road by 5:40 and called JT to let him know we were on our way. Especially since he was meeting us at The Beehive on Carson Street - just about a block and a half from Diesel.
We arrived at the Beehive around 6:30ish. I found JT and sat down with him while P.Dave and Carissa decided what they wanted. But we were still waiting for one more to join us; Patrick, P.Dave's cousin - the one who plays for the Steelers.
It kinda sucks that when I spoke to P.Dave on Monday night there were supposed to be 10 of us going to the show. By the time I got to his house we were down to 5. So, P.Dave had extra tickets which he gave away. Actually, JT gave two away to a couple of young ladies who were at The Beehive. Then P.Dave gave two away to a young lady who was waiting outside of Diesel for her boyfriend so they could buy their tickets. She was really excited to get them - and not have to pay.
We got inside and took a look around. It was a small crowd, but growing slowly. And after getting a lay of the club, and seeing that there were no seats around, we decided to go to the balchony. We made that decision because P.Dave recently had surgery on his foot, and while he's free to walk on it as he pleases, his doctor still wants him to stay off his feet as much as possible. The balchony was the only place where there were any seats.
That's when I started getting pics.
It's not the most flattering shot of JT, but at least he's smiling.



P.Dave and Carissa were checking things out below.



P.Dave was enjoying himself, and Carissa was taking in the whole atmosphere. This was a new experience for her - her first hard rockin' concert - at a club, no less! I was glad to be here for this since she's kinda shy and reserved. Later on I got to encourage her to do a little headbangin' and fist-pumping. It was fun to watch since she wasn't quite sure what to do, or how. But if she continues to hang out with us, she'll learn.
Then there's Patrick.



I like Patrick, a lot. He's really down to earth and has a great sense of humor. I tease him about the weather since he's a Texas boy, and not used to the crappy weather we're used to living with. I also try not to talk about football with him, too much. After all, that is his job. I wouldn't want people to talk manufacturing around me when I'm off the clock. But I did make sure to tell him that I loved his work in the game against Baltimore. He did have a few good tackles.
We could tell this wasn't really his thing, and he was pretty tired from work...

The first band up for the evening was Seventh Echo.



They're a band out of Columbus Ohio. They had a decent sound. I may have to check them out further. You'll have to excuse the pic. I wasn't quite close enough to not use the "night" setting on my camera. So it picked up all of the movement.

The next band was Crashing Metropolis. I didn't get any pics of these guys. I have to admit, I wasn't very impressed with them. I liked the music because it was hard and heavy, but the vocals weren't quite right. The best way for me to put it is to say they have a good feel, but not a good sound. Patrick decided to leave because of these guys - and because it was getting late for him. And lets face it folks, he's got a much harder day ahead of him than any of us do...

The final opening act of the night was a band called Through Infinity. We really liked these guys. We actually decided to get on the floor for ths show.



Ya gotta love a hardcore alternative rock band with a black lead singer.



And, man! Did he belt it out!



The guitarist was high-energy. If there were more room on the stage I'm sure he would've been all over the place. It was fun to watch him play.



I ended up with one of the drummer's sticks. Not bad for a free souvenier.

Finally, the show we were waiting for.



All I'm gonna say is that Red puts on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Just look at the pics and I'll close with some final thoughts...





















These guys know how to work the crowd and the crowd is always into it. When the show was over we tried to get one of Anthony's (lead guitarist) picks for Carissa, but somebody else found it first. I had reached up to shake Michael's (vocals) hand and he handed me his water bottle - like I'm gonna do anything with it...
I probably should've given it to the girl that was standing in front of me. I'm sure she would've kept it, and drank from it everyday. She was really into the band.
Anyways, we wrapped things up after a few moments. I picked-up a T-shirt for Bob. I'll give it to him for Christmas.
Stopped at The Beehive so P.Dave could get a chai tea for the ride home. Got back to P.Dave's around 11:30ish. I took JT home and made it to my house shortly after Midnight. I was supposed to go into work an hour early today for a little bit of OT, but I never set my alarm. Actually, I set it to go off at 4:00, but never turned it on. So when I woke up at 6:40 - I figured I should just call off. And that's why I'm posting this in the middle of the day.
OK, I'm gonna go take a nap and then I'll do my laundry.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seeing Red

Don't have much time. I have to get ready to run right now. A bunch of us from church are going to see Red tonight. this is going to be an awesome show. It'll also be the third time I've seen them this year. Once at Creation (with a few pics) and once at Vertical Fest.
I hope to have pics to with a substantial post for everyone tomorrow.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

I love it, and so will you

OK, I have to start out by saying that I am sooooo very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderfully creative and artistic people.
I say that because I consider myself blessed to know so many of you. And most of you have some very creative and artistic abilities. I also say this because Bob has shown an interest, and an apptitude, for artistry. And not only Bob, but his good friend Matt who is something of a wizard with pics and videos. In fact, he's taking classes on video production and design. So it's all very cool stuff.
But the point of me saying all of this is because of a picture that Matt recently e-mailed to me. It is something that he put together for me using his remarkable talents. It's kinda funny because I know it reflects his perceptions of me, and most of you will agree that it does reflect a part of the personae that I portray. But you'll also get a chuckle out of it because it really isn't quite the me that all of you know from reading this blog.
In any event, I absolutely love the picture, and I think many of you will also. So here it is...





How cool is that?

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quote for 12/13/08

"The longer I live, the more faith I have in Providence, and the less faith in my interpretation of Providence."
Jeremiah Day

Yeah, I'd say I agree with that wholeheartedly. Especially in light of the providence that I reference in my next post.

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Providence

Guess what !!!
Today is the 6th anniversary of the house fire.
It's kinda weird that I can't really call it "our" house fire anymore, since I'm no longer married. But I can't just call it "my" house fire since it affected all of us. So I just call it "the" house fire.
Strange how things have changed since then. You'd think that once you come through something like that your marriage could survive anything. But, then again, I saw it as an opportunity to grow in my faith. She saw it as an opportunity to start something new. I had no idea how "new" she wanted things to get. But I still say things have worked out for the best for me. And from what I've been able to see, God's hand is still at work in my life.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quote for 12/11/08

"The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain."
Aristotle

I'm not feeling very wise these days. Keep reading below to see what I mean...

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And it only gets worse

So, not only are my legs and feet still killing me, now I have new pains to deal with.

Cardboard is my nemesis today!

I have to deal with a lot of cardboard with my new responsibilities. For those of you who've ever worked with cardboard for any substantial length of time, you're well aware of how quickly it dries out your hands. Dry hands are suseptible to cracking and can be cut very easily by the thinner edges of said cardboard. I've got three bandages on my fingers at the moment.
Time to break out the moisturizing lotion. Fortunately, the stuff I have smells like chocolate. At least I won't smell like some kind of plant or perfume while I heal. Instead, I'll smell wonderfully delicious...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I hurt

I gotta tell ya, my legs and feet are killing me.
As I've mentioned previously, I'm working in a different area than the one I usually do. My newest job responsibilities involve standing all day and walking around alot. Not something I'm used to. And believe me, my whole body is reminding me of that fact.
I'm using this pain as an incentive to lose weight for the New Year. I figure that I wouldn't hurt so much if I didn't have the extra 50 pounds (or more) to carry around. So, maybe it's not such a bad thing that I'm hurting like I am.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Quote for 12/8/08

"I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending."
Fred Rogers

Leave it to Mr. Rogers to come up with such an awesome anecdote...

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I guess ya had to be there

As I'm sure you're all quite aware by now, I am just full of the Christmas Spirit. Of course, when I say that, I mean the Holy Spirit. But I am also quite full of the joy that always seems to abound at this time of year.
Case in point;
The other day I was at the grocery store with Bob. We had stopped to pick-up one or two items real quick and then head home. As we were making our way through the aisles I couldn't help but notice the Christmas music that was playing over the store's speakers. Immediately I was roused in my spirit to express my great joy with the holiday. So I stretched out my arms and began to skip through the aisle while singing along with Burl Ives to Holly, Jolly Christmas. Bob followed at a somewhat safe distance, being careful not to let anyone know that he was with me. Until I turned around and waved him forward to me. But he was smiling as I did this. So I don't think he was too embarrassed.
When I finally found the items we had stopped for, I finished with the song-n-dance routine. As Bob and I walked toward the cashiers he asked me "Dad, do you realize how scary a 6-foot-2, 275 pound man in a Punisher T-shirt looks skipping and singing along with Christmas music looks?"
"No, Bob, I've never given it any thought." I replied.
Bob hestitated for a second. "It still looked kinda festive though, in a weird sorta way."
Yeah, I'd say that about sums me up pretty good...

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Not quite what we had in mind

It's usually not a good thing when things don't go the way they're planned. But I'd have to say that tonight went pretty well even though nothing was as it was supposed to be. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
The morning was good. Those plans followed through without a hitch. I woke up early so I could get my laundry done, and then Bob and I went to see Punisher: War Zone. We had called JT, and Bob's friend Matt, to see if either of them wanted to join us. Unfortunately for them, neither of them could. So, Bob and I did the father-n-son thing.
It was a wonderfully, bloody and brutal movie. In fact, I'd have to say that even Bob and were a little surprised by some of the brutality. Everything we expected of this one and more. I'd like to say that it had a good story line, but it was all about the gunplay, death and destruction. And there was plenty of that to go around.
We came home and I called JT to see if he wanted to go to a concert tonight. It seems that I've recently added a band (Take the Name) to my Myspace friends list that had a show in Crafton tonight. And since JT and I are such vocal supporters of Indie Christian music, it seemed like we should go to see these guys - and the three other bands that were going to be playing. JT agreed, and Bob also decided to join us since his buddy Matt wasn't able to do anything tonight.
We left sometime around 5:00 because the snow was coming down and things were bound to get a little tricky on the roads. We had no idea how tricky. At first, I made turn that I don't usually take to get to the Parkway - thinking the other road might be too icy - only to discover that we ran smack dab into a whole mess of traffic. It took us about 20 minutes to get to where we should've been in 5 minutes. First clue that things were not going to work out according to plan.
Next, we get on the Parkway - and JT had already called P.Dave to see if he had heard anything about lane closures into town. P.Dave said he didn't know of any. So we get so far along before running into the traffic that wasn't supposed to be there. And again, we spent about 20-25 minutes going a distance that should've taken less than 5 minutes to travel. So we quickly decided to get off of the Parkway at the next exit and take another route.
I knew the way we were going and I've never really considered any of the roads we would be on to be "back-roads", but they were pretty slick. Slick enough that at one point while we were heading into downtown Pittsburgh I had trouble stopping. It's a good thing that guy in the Grand Am was in front of me to stop me from just sliding into the truck in front of him...
Yeah, that's right folks. I bumped into the car in front of me.
Now, please don't panic. Everybody is OK. There was no damage to either vehicle, or any passengers. And after we had stopped to make sure of that, I climbed back into the car to hear Bob and JT chuckling about it. Or, actually, Bob suggested that when the other driver saw me get out of my car, he wouldn't have said anything negative to me anyways since, as Bob put it, I "looked kinda intimidating getting out of the car."
So onward we proceeded to the show. We arrived at the church sometime around 6:40. The doors were supposed to open at 6:00 and I figured the shows would start around 7:00. Good timing, I thought. We heard music as we approached the doors, but found a note on the outside explaining that the concert had been cancelled and would be rescheduled. But the three of us had braved the elements to be here, so we went inside to see just what was going on.
What we discovered was that only one of the bands had shown up. The snow had pretty much kept the other bands from making it. But some of the people who showed up were still playing music and having a time of fellowship. So we joined them.
Instead of the concert what we did was spend time talking to people, making connections, pimping JT's podcast, and just enjoying the evening out. It was all pretty good, even if it wasn't what we had in mind. And when it was all over with we decided that the night was still young enough for us to find something else to do. We opted for Hooters.
We had wings, talked, watched football, teased our waitress and just had some generally good clean fun. And when we were done we took JT home and Bob and I got home to spend some time having a really good heart-to-heart about things that neither of us expected to come up tonight. It was great! But I'm not goingto share any of that with you since it's kinda personal.
Isn't it amazing how things can go so wrong, and yet work out so right?

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Quote for 12/6/08

"Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected."
Jonathan Edwards

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quote for 12/3/08

"A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness, there can be no true joy."
Thomas Carlyle

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Quotes from 11/2008

And a little more Christmas Cheer

OK, I just had to add this to the playlist.
It's a cover of August Burns Red's version of The Carol of the Bells. It'd be nice if ABR actually had a video of their own rendition of the song, but this guy does a pretty good job.



Believe it or not, I think I like this version better than I do Trans Siberian Orchestra's, Sarejavo Christmas Eve 12/24.
Yeah, go figure...

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Cheer

In case you hadn't noticed, Christmas is right around the corner. So allow me to be the first to start spreading some o' that ol' Christmas Cheer...





And for those of you who weren't already aware, Rudolph is on tomorrow night at 8:00 PM on CBS. Make sure to watch it, as in previous years, there will be a discussion and pop-quiz later this week.
Enjoy !!!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm glad you asked

I know some of you are probably wondering how my Holiday was. It was great!

I gotta tell ya, though, I'm just not feelin' it to do a really long post about the whole weekend. But I'll cover the most important stuff.

Mom and I had a great ride out. It was snowy here in southwest PA when we left, but it was just cloudy by the time we hit Ohio. Then it was pretty sunny once we got past Columbus. Made it to my aunt Kathleen's house a little bit before 5:00.

I got to spend a lot of my free time taking naps. My aunt doesn't have cable TV, or a computer, so there's usually nothing for me to do to keep myself occupied there - so I read a lot and take naps when we're not visiting with my mom's family.

Did get to visit most of mom's brother's and sisters. I take great comfort in knowing that my mom's side of the family is doing so well as they age. Mom's oldest brother is 87 and still pretty active. Her whole family is. So that gives me hope for a long and active life - as long as I take care of myself.

I got to enjoy two Thanksgiving dinners this weekend. The first one with my aunt Ginny's family on Thanksgiving. The second at aunt Kathleen's on Saturday. It was the only day that we could all get together.

I got to watch the Pitt/WVU game on Friday. Not something I was expecting to do, but it was cool.

Had many an interesting conversation with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Found out that it is most likely the farmers in the area that are keeping the economy going. Since they seem to be getting top-dollar for their crops/animals they have plenty of money to use for bigger barns, home remodeling, new equipment, etc... and that's keeping people busy in the area.
It was also refreshing to talk to people who realize that the economic woes that we're facing are not all about corporate greed, but the whole buy-now-pay-later mentality of our me-me-me-self-indulgent-instant-gratitification society. Most of my mom's family - aunts, uncles and cousins - live by the notion that if you can't afford to pay for it now, you don't really need it. Credit is only for emergencies.

On a less than happy note, I also found out that one of my uncles and one of my cousins have cancer. They are being treated and things are looking hopeful. But I'll still ask that all of you keep my family in your prayers.

The weekend was nice and sunny until it was time for mom and I to leave for home. It snowed overnight on Saturday and was kinda messy on Sunday morning. I had to drive really slow to keep mom from freaking out until we got onto I-70. By then the snow had turned to rain and things were much easier to deal with. We got back to mom's just in time to watch the Steeler's crush the New England Patriots. I got home from mom's sometime around 8:00 last night.

One last thing.
I got to see a few really good commercials for the Holiday season while I was watching the Pitt/WVU game. My favorite was for a department store called Meijer's (we don't have them in PA). Very funny.
Two ladies sitting in on a couch drinking coffee/tea and the one says "If he gets me those earrings, I will go to every game with him." Then the other one says "If he gets me the earrings with the matching pendant, I'll go ya one better." The screen goes white and the words "Be careful what you wish for. With our low prices, you just might get it." Cut back to the two ladies - not looking happy. Both in winter coats, snow falling around them, football fans cheering behind them, their husbands beside them screaming and cheering. The one lady has the earrings on. The other has earrings and pendant with her face painted blue and white. I had to laugh...

OK, that's all I have for now. I think I'll go take my last nap of the Holiday weekend.

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