Friday, April 21, 2006

It's The End of the World As We Know It

Well, I've decided to post what I've known for several weeks now.

My blogging experiment is over.

It's not so much that I've run out of things to say, it's that I've run out of time to express them. When people tell me that they don't have time for something, I always tell them that people find time for what's most important to them. I believe that, and it applies here as well.
I've enjoyed the experience and I'm glad that I did it, but I'm being pulled in so many other directions that this little blog just doesn't show up on my priority list and it's being neglected to the degree that it's really pointless to even have it anymore.

Those of you who read it...thank you. And, thanks to my new friends who have come by to support my endeavor. Some of you have GREAT blogs...keep them...I enjoy them. You keep writing, I'll keep reading, and when I'm ready to join the fray again, I'll let you know.

PCG

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stuff

When I go on vacation I try to simplify as much as possible. For instance, on my recent trip to Colorado the sum total of my possessions was a vehicle, about 4 days worth of clothing, and a few electronics items (laptop, GPS, portable DVD). And I was happy. I didn't miss all of my "stuff" from home. It's kind of ironic...the happiest times of my life are spent AWAY from all of the stuff that I've spent my life accumulating. There's got to be a lesson in there somewhere. Hmmm...

A friend recently installed ITunes on my computer, and he set me up to receive a couple of podcasts. He didn't ask if I wanted this, but he assured me I would love it. I'm finally learning to enjoy the podcasts, but I record them to a disc and listen on my CD player. For some reason, I've been unusually resistant to the IPod movement - I still don't have one, but lately I've been feeling like I NEED one. I think I'm being assimilated. Should I be alarmed?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Unmerited Favor

Okay, so I didn't blog while I was on vacation. Did you really think I would? It was a good thought, but one that was ultimately doomed to failure. It was a good vacation though, and I’ll be sharing some of my experiences for the next few days.

Last Saturday, on our first night in Denver, my dad took all of us to a restaurant in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a magnificent little Italian place, nestled in among other little shops, and it’s owned by a friend of my father and stepmother.

Our experience at this restaurant ended up being a microcosm of God’s grace.
The proprietor, an Italian gentleman named Gaspere, greeted us and asked if I liked Italian food. Maybe he could tell from my physique that I’m a food connoisseur. I told him that I love Italian, I’m adventurous, and I’d like to try the specialty of the house.

When he took our menus away and said, “Leave it to me, I’ll take care of you” I knew that we were in for a unique experience. What I didn’t expect, however, was the unbelievable outpouring of food and service that followed. We were brought massive portions of appetizers, salads, and family style Italian dishes that would have served a battalion and the eight of us sat there in astonishment as they brought out dish after dish. We put away as much food as was humanly possible as the other patrons looked on enviously. Midway through the meal, as I looked down the long table at the plethora of food, I began to realize something: We had done nothing to deserve this kind of service.

Gaspere, and his wife Suzanna, simply decided that they wanted to shower us with kindness because of the relationship they have with my dad. And, having seen the prices on the menus before he took them away, I also knew that there was no way we could ever pay for everything we were given. I literally felt like royalty and wished that there were some way that I could effectively express my appreciation for what we had been given, knowing that any gesture I made would be insufficient.

At the end of the meal, which was topped off with the most spectacular display of desserts known to man, Gaspere came to see if we were pleased with the food. If you know me, you’ll understand why I felt like crying and hugging him. I settled instead for a heartfelt thanks and asked him what we owed. Although I knew it was coming, we were still amazed to hear him say that everything he had done, all the food he had served, was on the house and we didn’t owe a penny.

On some level I’m sure this sounds silly to a lot of people, comparing an experience in a restaurant to the grace of God. But it was a real world experience that helped identify to me the nature of what we are given from God through his love, forgiveness, and grace. We don’t deserve it, and we can never repay it, but He gives it anyway. And I, for one, have learned to appreciate it.

Friday, March 31, 2006

15 hour road trip

I'm leaving tonight for vacation. I'll be in Denver, Colorado for the next week and I've already checked out mentally. I'm currently at work physically, but really all I'm good for today is planning my vacation agenda.

In my continuing quest to always remain "connected", I'll be taking my laptop on vacation with me. I've even made sure to book a hotel with free wireless internet. My goal is to keep up with my MySpace account, my websites, my emails, and my blog while I'm out there. My intentions are good, but I won't lie...all of those items are pretty far down on the priority list somewhere between learning to snowboard and searching for Sasquatch. In other words, I'd like to do it but I'm not sure that I'll get to it.

I remember long road trips when I was young. Road trips in those days look nothing like the modern version. Back then I was lucky to have a couple of comic books and an Etch-A-Sketch for entertainment. Packing for a road trip nowadays consists mainly of making sure that you have the right chargers and adapters for all of your electronic devices. With personal DVD players, MP3 players, and Gameboys there's no way that my kids will run out of entertainment options. Yet, I guarantee less than an hour into it, they'll be whining and arguing and expressing just how bored they are. And I'll be the one asking, "Are we there yet?"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Death and Taxes

In 1789, Ben Franklin coined the phrase "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
I wonder which frightened him more?

I finally did my taxes...a full two and a half weeks before the deadline. Everyone else I know has already spent their refund. I put mine off this year because I wasn't certain that I was getting a refund. My wife spent some time on unemployment last year, during which we did not have taxes deducted from her checks. It left me with this queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, and a foreboding fear of having to sell my house to pay off the government.

Thankfully, it wasn't that bad. We're still getting a meager refund. (Thank God for kids & a mortgage!) But, before we sent off the paperwork, my accountant thought it would be fun to see how much I would have gotten if we had deducted taxes from those unemployment checks. Yeah that was fun, alright. It was akin to being told that I missed the lottery by one number.

You know, I'm not afraid of death at all but I'm telling you...taxes scare me halfway there. Who's with me?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pressure

With the advent of new readers to my blog, I've begun to experience something that I didn't anticipate: pressure to post something new on a regular (if not daily) basis. It's not a bad pressure…I kind of like it. I just didn’t think about it when I started a blog. The really funny thing is, I know that no one is adversely affected by the lack of new material on a blog (especially one such as this) but I still treat it as though your daily well-being depends on my ability to consistently crank out witticisms. I’ll try not to let you down.

Oh, by the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Neil for the exposure. I know that some of you guys found me through him, and thanks for coming! I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs as well, so it’s nice to know you.

A quick update on my NCAA tourney bracket – I’m in first place in my office pool!!! It probably won’t last, so I thought I’d brag while I still can. Go Wildcats!

My friends who are rabid Louisville Cardinal fans seem to be genuinely excited that their team has advanced to the NIT Final Four! Congratulations. Really. That’s kind of like being excited that your kid was the best behaved child in detention. But, I guess it’s still considered an aspiration to be the “best of the rest”. Good luck, Louisville.


As a trumpet player, the picture below just cracks me up. I guess this guy didn't realize he was in a No Trumpet Zone. From what I understand, the judge came down pretty hard on him.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesdays with me

For those of you who have asked...I know that I've been pretty erratic about posting lists for my "Top Ten Tuesdays". It turns out that I just didn't have that many top ten lists in me. If you've got a subject worthy of a list, pass it along. I may post a "Top Ten Friends Who Were Lame Enough To Pass Along A Subject For A Top Ten List" list and put your name on it.

Quite coincidentally, I heard from two old high school friends today. One called to tell me a story, which was kind of nice...and the other forwarded an email prank, which means "I didn't really have anything to say, but I thought of you long enough to think that you might get a kick out of this email." And I realized that my friends from high school are different than my friends from the last few years. I don't talk to them very often and, of the two that contacted me today, I haven't even seen one of them since graduation. But I still consider them friends. It's like friends from high school don't even have to try...I'm always going to consider them friends. I'm always excited to hear from them, and I always feel like they know who I am. It's nice. And, while I have many more friends now than I ever had in high school, there are few who are as close. You just don't make many friends like that when you get older.

Here's to old friends. None of you read this, but I don't care. You're still my friends.