What do they know?

I had someone tell me that I must not love my daughter enough because of the trouble I am currently having with her. Maybe I had not spent enough time with her. I did not take this personally because this person does not know me, or her and they have not true idea of just how much I love my daughter. Of course I love her, with all my heart and soul. And as for spending time with her, I have spent more quality time with her than most people do with their children. But again, I did not take it personally as they do not know me or what I am about. I use this "blog" as a place to show the world my pictures as well as a place to put my thoughts when I need to speak out about something. But I now feel it is no longer appropiate to put my heartbreaking feelings here. I criticized someone once for their decision when I did not even know them, just what they wrote on their journal and I now realize that was wrong of me. We should not speak of things we really know nothing about, such as what the woman was feeling when I criticized her for her choice, just as someone that is judging my relationship with my daughter based upon a few words I have written down. I think many people write down their thoughts in this type of forum as they are just wanting a little support, not to be hurt. To judge without really haveing spent time with that person is very wrong. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson.


Good day...

Tam came home today!! It has been 2 months to the day since she was admitted. It has been tooooooo long! I just want her to take it easy and finish healing. After that, we have some going to do! Garage sales, picnics, and thrift shops, all are waiting for us. I am so happy. On another note, I am not happy about my daughter being gone. My parents home was robbed yesterday and we all know it was her. she has been gone a week come tomorrow and now she is wanted for breaking and entering. I just have to accept that not everyone has children that turn out the way we want them to, no matter how hard we try to teach them right from wrong.


Hello again....

It has been quite awhile since I last posted (Nov 20th) and then they have been few and far between. I am so tired. I am wearing down. Tam is still in the hospital but she should be home by next Tuesday. Finally. It has been two months since she went into the hospital and over three months that she has been on some kind of bedrest. In that time, she has nearly died, had a stroke (suffering some paralysis on her left side) and bounced back with alot of life and vigor. I love her so much, I just want her to heal so we can build our life together we have been dreaming of. I need to rest as all I do is work and visit her. In my small amount of time at home I wash dishes and try as best as I can to get our apartment organized. My daughter is still pulling stunts, like "borrowing" her grandparents car and skipping school. I know I am going to be fined for her truancy but I will tell the judge that if that is what will keep her in school, by all means fine me. But it won't matter, Jess is going to take off whenever she feels the need. This past Wednesday (Dec. 7th) was her 16th birthday. I had made plans for her and my parents to come up to the hospital and celebrate with Tam. Jess took off before my parents arrived at the apt. to pick her up and I have not seen her since. I hope she is ok. On another note, I have discovered another fascet to my photography. I have been scanning in some of my photos I have taken in the past and uploading them to my yahoo photo albums. Yahoo has partnered with Target so that you can order prints directly from Yahoo and have them printed at Target with their one-hour print service. I have been very impressed with the results. And the prices are very competitive with other services that require you to wait for the photos to be processed. This is one of the pictures I uploaded and had printed as an 8x10. I took this picture 4 1/2 years ago on my vacation to Utah. It is one of my favorites of all time. I have literally thousands of photos but in the past you had to mail off a negative if you wanted an enlargemet made. Now you simply scan in the print, touch up and upload. I have been sending my photos at night after I get home from the hospital around midnight. Then I just pick them up the next day after work. So simple. And larger prints always do better on the wall. Because of Tam's illness and lack of having a job because of said illness, we do not have much to spend on Christmas. I suggested we make pictures of ourselves for our families. We have very few pictures of us together. Really the only ones are from our wedding 3 1/2 years ago. She loved the idea so I have been practicing at touching up for printing purposes. She has been as impressed as I have been.



Yesterday Tam suffered some type of seizure and she has been in ICU ever since. She is paralyzed on her left side but it very well may be temporary. The doctors are calling it "Todd's Paralysis", which is a transient (temporary) paralysis resulting from a seizure. They have run numerous tests on her and have ruled out a number of things, including a stroke. As of this time the doctor's cannot tell us what caused the seizure so we do not know if it will happen again. Also, according to some research I did on the net, this type of paralysis usually resolves itself within 48 hours with no damage. So we will see how she is come 7pm tomorrow evening. She has been showing encouraging signs but so far she is still much more sick than well. We continue to pray for her.


Figuring out life...

I have known for years what to do. I just didn't know how to do it. Now that I am finally learning how to do the things I need to do, I am afraid it is too late to do them. I hope not.


The day after...

Tam had surgery yesterday on her abdomen and it turns out none too soon. The doctor found infection on her left side along with deep connections to the wound on the right side. According to her doctor, had they not operated when they did, she would have probably died within a few more days. The infection was very deep inside her and that is why there was not any tell-tale signs on the surface of her abdomen. We are very fortunate and I hope if anyone reads this will say a small prayer of thanks and another for her continued recovery. As for me, I am completely wiped out. I slept at the hospital last night, in a recliner as visitors are not allowed to stay overnight in the ICU. I worked almost 8 hours today and am going to pull an 11 hour shift tomorrow in an effort to make up for some of the time I have missed. The doctor had hoped to only make a small incision but because of the extent of the infection she had to cut from one side all the way to the other. Because of this large of an opening, tomorrow and Monday they are going to take Tam to the surgery room and put her under anesthesia to pack the wound. After Monday they will evaluate if they can send her back upstairs and continue with wound care in her room, where I can spend the night with her or if she will remain in ICU for awhile longer. She was looking very pale last night as her red cell blood count was very low so today she was given 2 units of blood via transfusion and when I saw her tonight her cheeks were rosy and pink. She is my hero and I will do anything for her.


How time flies...

Tomorrow is October 25, 2005. Two years ago tomorrow I left Rapid City, not knowing if I would ever see the woman of my dreams again. Well, I have seen her again and we are very much together as one. Three years ago yesterday we spent our first day in Rapid City, a foot of snow on the ground uttering the immortal words "this is what we wanted". Little did we know we would back here in Texas so soon. Two years, it seems like such a long time and yet it has just blown by so quickly. Life is way too short to be screwing things up.


The toughest person I know.

My wife. As I held her hand, her fingers in a vise-like grip around mine, I watched the nurses change the dressing on her wound. I know there are others with worse injuries, but this is just one in a series of events she has been dealing with for two years now. Imagine a golf ball sized hole in your abdomen being packed with gauze twice a day. The agony she had to endure as they first pulled out two feet of 1/2 inch wide gauze, scrubbed with peroxide-soaked q-tips, and then repack with gauze broke my heart. I can promise you anytime I start to feel an ache or pain, I will just remember what she as been going through and it will not hurt so much anymore. All I can do for her is be there for her, take care of her and our home, and love her with all that I have. Twelve hour days on the job are nothing in comparison to this. Well, I called in Jess as a runaway today and within an hour they had found her. Blind, dumb luck as an officer went to a house to check out some type of complaint that in no way involved Jess when around from the back yard she came stating, "your probably here for me". He checked in and sure enough she was listed as runaway. So off I went to pick her up once again. I took her home and then returned to work. She is going to cost me alot of money before this is over but I just hope somehow I can get through to her about what it is going to cost her in the long run. Only time will tell. Ok, a bit of selfish dreaming. The following is a list of the things I want, material things that I allow myself to dream about from time to time. I will have them, someday, when other priorities have been met. 1. new laptop with dvd burner. 2. motorcycle. something along the lines of a 1982 Suzuki 650 or Honda V45 Magna. 3. A digital SLR camera, Canon rebel most likely. 4. A new George Foreman grill. This I will get for Christmas from someone. 5. A small trailer to pull behind my van for when Tam and I go on a picnic and to carry the motorcycle to her mothers in W. Texas for country rides. 6. A collapsable gas grill for the picnic. That is all I can think of right now, but I am sure there will be more. Most of this stuff ties all together. I like to shoot the pictures and then I will use the laptop to edit the photos, post them to the net and write about what we have done. The photos will be of the things we have done or 2-3 hour road trips on the motorcycle. This is what I want to do, it is my calling that I have been searching for. I don't have to have the motorcyle of course, but it will make for some enjoyable, relaxing excursions on a Sunday morning as everyone else sleeps. There are so many small towns within an hours ride of Tam's childhood home (where her mother still lives) that have so much character and stories to be told. I don't expect to ever do that for a living but with the internet and blogging becoming so mainstream, I don't have to. The satisfaction of leaving a type of lifetime diary behind, one that the whole world can take part of, is a fantastic thing. How many stories have been left behind, but only a few people ever heard or read about them? Too many I am sure. I know that alot of what I write about here is drivel, or simply one man's ramblings. But as I progress farther into this I hope to once again write something worthy of the test of time. That is why I started this blog, way back when we lived in South Dakota and I wanted a way for our families to be able to keep up with what we were doing. It was a good idea then and it has only grown into a way to leave behind a legacy. As long as our modern digital age continues, this history will stay alive. I do hope that at some point Google develops a way for a blog to be downloaded to the author's computer so that it may be archived. I just don't want a lifetime of writing to be lost by a company going under. Not that Google will go under, but you can never tell.


Another day....

Full of stress and hard work! But seriously, it was overall a good day. Because I was absent yesterday I had plenty to catch up on. Hard work is so good for the soul. Whether it is work or play, when something is accomplished it leaves such a satisfying feeling when the day is finally done. But because I submitted so many claims today, tomorrow will have plenty to do posting all of those claims. Tam will possibly be released tomorrow, if not, then on Thursday. She is doing better and moving around alot more. The pain medicine they have her on keeps her pretty much asleep so I don't get to really talk with her alot. Everyone at work is aware that I could have to leave at a moments notice. Tam's mom came back from West Texas today. It is nice having the help and company. Another day of not hearing from Jessica. I am accepting that I have to let her go, but I miss her alot. This is not how it is supposed to be. And I need her help at this time also. So I am torn between disappointment, anger, and sadness. I hope and pray that she is ok and that she will figure it out before something really bad happens to her. I so love using laptops and wireless internet access. These two laptops I have are old and so slow by today's standards, and yet they surf the net fine. I am writing this entry on one of them right now. I look forward to the day I have a new one, or at least qutite a bit newer than this one, with XP loaded on it. Christmas I will give myself one. I have this old, little wooden coffee table my Dad made almost 40 years ago and it works perfect as a living room computer table. I use it when scanning, making change forms for work (forms telling the accounting dept where to post payment memos), or posting payroll adjustments. Surfing the net? No problem, except for video. That is where the slow processor can really hinder the experience. But in time, I will have something in the 1ghz range that will handle that also. $400 and a couple of days on Ebay will solve that problem.


Interesting words...

"But if for some reason the shit hits the fan, you just deal with it."--Bram Cohen, inventor of BiTorrent.
This is how I have to start looking at things. So much can, does, and is happening in my life I just have to deal with it. I have to keep my head on straight and take it one day at a time, one issue at a time. Today started out tough for my wife. She had a PICC (Perifirily Inserted Central Catheter) inserted into her arm so that penicillin can be delivered with a portable machine she will wear as a butt-pack. Later, her abscess was debri'd, or cleaned out. It is not for the faint of heart to watch that. She has about a 1" inch hole with about a 3" diameter opening under the skin. It was so painful for her when they cleaned it out but it had to be done. I alwasy knew I didn't have a problem with such things and today proved it. No queasiness or anything like that. I watched them so I would know what to do once she gets home, all the while stroking her feat in an attempt to distract her from the pain. I ended up taking the day off from work as she told me she was scheduled for another MRI but that did not come to pass. It was good to be there for her as I was able to help keep her comfortable and wait on her hand and foot. I am learning alot about what it means to be a husband. I am growing more, I can feel it. With all that she has been through over the past 2 years she is fragile right now and will need alot of care and tenderness as she heals from everything. I plan to be there to take care of her. I know she will do the same for me someday when I need it. I love her more than I had ever thought I could, and for those that have ever read this journal, know how much I have written about my love for her. She is my world and will be for the rest of my natural life and beyond. The Lord has blessed me with another chance to be her husband, I intend to not miss this boat. There has still been no contact from my daughter. I really do not understand what is going on in her mind but she is going to learn about life the hard way. Some people just have to learn for themselves. I will do what I can for her as she goes through life but I am going to let her learn for herself because that is the only way she will figure it out.


Latest news...

Tammi was admitted to the hospital Thursday. Her muscle strain is not healing and on top of that she has developed open infection. It is tough seeing her so weak, but I am doing what I am supposed to do: be strong and helping her. I am taking care of the home and working as much as I can to keep us afloat. Last Monday, her employment with the hospital (not the one she is being treated at) was terminated. We do not know how that will affect her insurance. Her cobra ran out at the end of September as her new insurance took effect October 1st. But she was let go before having made a payment on the insurance so we are not sure if she will be eligible for cobra here or not. So, we may be stuck with no insurance and $50,000 in medical bils. All that matters is she gets better. We will deal with the rest as best as possible and keep plugging away. Jess has been gone for a week now with no word from her. I don't know what to do with her. I don't want to just dump her off on her mother when and if I find her. But I can't keep going on with this. If she was a year older I could just let her go but at her age the courts will not allow that. I wish she would figure it out and do things right. I really miss my blogging but I just don't find the time right now to write about much. And I surely don't have the time to go off and shoot pictures much. Since I have brought back all my film cameras, I have decided not to go digital exclusively. I have so much gear that it just seems a waste to not use it. So I will do both. I have 2 scanners and they work fine so putting film online is not going to be a problem. I did some scanning with my old one at high resolution and they came out really good. Check out these:


Full Circle...

Today is October 8th, 2005. Two years ago today, tonight, my wife told me she no longer wanted to be married to me. One year ago today, tonight I wrote here about how much I missed her and loved her. How I had finally accepted that I had no desire to ever be with another woman. I could never love another. And, thankfully, I don't have to endure that life. A year later and we are back together, happy with each other. Oh, we have our moments. No fights, just disagreements as most married couples have. We just know that we want to share our lives together. I finally got my raise. After three months of being promised my review they just gave me a dollar an hour without a formal review. I guess that is ok. I did ask for a bonus for the amount I would have gotten over the previous three months when it should have beene effective but that does not seem like it is going to come to pass. Can't win them all and better late than never. The fact I am allowed seven to ten hours of overtime a week makes up for alot. I am not going to rock the boat right now. I have too much going on, and it is not like I am treated bad or anything. We are struggling with my daughter. She stole her grandparents car last weekend and was caught by the police. So now she has that charge to deal with on top of the assault charge from last month for beating a girl. Different counties is the only reason she is getting off on the second one, if she completes a six week counseling course. I have to attend the counseling with her but it is worth it. The assault charge will be erased if she completes community service. I hope she is finally "getting it".


In the worst of times.....

....the best of people always shines through. This evening, my wife was telling me about her conversation she had with one of her dear friends back in Rapid City. She was telling wifey that a 1000 evacuees were being transplanted to Rapid. We were joking about how they will encounter a new meaning of culture shock! Then she told me that the school kids at 2 different schools were holding various fund raisers in order to buy school supplies for the new kids arriving in Rapid. Just another example of how wonderful the world can be.



For those suffering as a result of Hurrican Katrina. Pray for the babies, the elderly and those suffering because they have nothing. Pray hard, give them hope for that is all they have and all we can do at this time. Money is good, but right now what they need is water, food, blankets, clothing. We must band together at at time such as this and become one, as a world. The rest of the world always looks to us in times of need, now it is our turn. Babies are dying, and more will unless we help them. This is somethig that has never happened before but we all knew it would, someday. God has his ways of humbling us whenever we think we can do anything.
Work is going ok, busier than ever. Tam has a good job, although she works with some young 20-something twits. She misses the friendship and comaraderie she had at the clinic but you can't recreate some things. Jess has started school and I have been griping at her a little too much lately. I am so tired, can't get enough sleep and am always on the go with things to do. Moving is hard and we are not done yet. Tam's mom is doing ok, getting things going. Unfortunately, her step-son is starting to cause problems. He is a greedy good-for-nothing that thinks he is entitled to some of his fathers things. Harry had a will and the wife gets everything unless otherwise designated. So, now after burying her husband she has to deal with this. We will be watching him closely.


A day to remember...and say goodbye....

I will post more on my daughter's 2 1/2 week disappearance but for now I will just say it has been quite a day today. She called last night and we drove out to Garland to pick her up. This morning, at 5:19 a.m. we got a phone call from Tam's daughter. She was letting us know that Harry, Tam's stepfather, had passed away just a short time ealier. He had been battling complications from a series of strokes for the last 4+ years and his time had finally arrived. He went peacefully in his sleep, something that I think we all would want. This week has been a drama filled time. Tam accidentally was tripped at the grocery store and severely sprained her wrist, she had it out with a 20 something employee at her new job, Jess finally returns home, and Harry passes. Tomorrow I will be driving out to be with the family at this time, not of sorrow, but of celebration. For all Harry was not, he was an American in every sense of the word. He served over 20 years in the Navy as a Seal, decorated and respected. We need to celebrate the man as he was, coarse, tough as nails, and patriotic to the end. You may not have liked him had you known him, but you would want him by your side if it was going to be a battle for your life. I have been very remiss in the past 2 months in posting entries, but I am going to get started up in earnest soon. We have finally moved to a 2 bedroom apt, about 5 miles from where we were living. Jess most likey will be going to her mothers for a 3 month visit. They have missed each other and they both want this. I think it will be good for them. I finally have wireless internet as I bought a wireless router a few months ago. I am not pleased with my new access though. I had to give up my Comcast cable internet; the only access we have at the new residence is naked DSL provided by a company called Grande. I have been very underwhelmed with their service so far. I have to repeatedly click on a link to get it to load, sometimes never getting where I want to be. Sometimes it works ok. I will give them a few weeks before I start complaining. When Yahoo is partnering with various companies and offering access for $14.95 a month, I should not have to pay $40 for the same thing. I will be complaining quite a bit soon.



This past week I returned to South Dakota for the first time in 20 months. I brought home most of my things and of course far more importantly, my wife. I will go into more detail at a later time about the trip, our reunion, and what led to all of that. All I can say right now is God, prayer, and hope are sometimes rewarded. It has been a wonderful week, even as it has been hard with the move and returning to work. I love this woman, have since the day I met her and I there is no other for me on this planet. There is much more to write about, especially concerning our girls but for now this is a start. Life is wonderful again.


Being a Dad...

I have put my daughter through alot, even as I have raised her as a single father. I just want to keep working towards being someone she will be proud to call Dad.


How do some make it?

Through life? Get degrees? Have substantial incomes and incredible responsibility? Today I took a call at work from a woman who it turns out had just picked up her vehicle. She was quite upset that we had not repaired one of the items she had brought it in for. She was telling me that her plug for her phone was still inop because we had not fixed the power socket. She told me she had found a fuse and a screw in the socket when she had pulled her phone adapter out. I told her to just hold on a moment and I would go ask the technician who had worked on her car as he was also working today. He had notated in his story that he could not duplicate the problem. That had her in a tizzy! After conferring with the technician it became apparent that we did not understand the nature of her complaint. I was talking to her, attempting to get more information about just what had happened to her power socket when it occurred to me that it was not her car that had broken, it was her phone adapter!. I never cease to be amazed at how intelligent, successful people can be so dense! I know I have my moments too and when I do, others are free to snicker at me but my goodness how do you not figure out the dang fuse fell out of the adapter? That the pieces of plastic and loose screws came from the device? I just don't get it sometimes.
Today was a killer of a day! The first five hours we were non-stop running around. We were so busy as we were the only dealer in the company open. My company has an annual event call the "Garage Sale" where all the used cars from all the dealers are moved to our facility along with onsite financing. It is a big deal and as I said we are the only service department open. Once it died down some around 1pm I went to my office to catch up on paperwork. All in all it was a good day but my legs are wore out. I also ended up with over 21 hours of overtime so I have another fat check coming! That is always a good thing!
I watched a movie tonight, "The Bone Collector", and while it was ok and I am sure the DVD version is better (i.e. more graphic) I do wonder about something. A lot of the scenes in the movie take place in old abandoned buildings and far beneath the surface in New York City. Parts of Staten Island and Manhatten are shown and what I really want to know is, does New York really consist of that much decay? So many abandoned buildings and rotting infrastructure, is that really a part of New York? It seems with the lack of space in and around the city every inch of available space would be cleaned up and made available. But then what do I know? I am just a hick from rural Texas who dont kno nuthin!


Who invented the weekend?

Who invented the weekend? And I thought having to work Saturday's was a recent thing. I remember when my Dad had to start working Saturdays and he was none to happy. Seems he grew up just in that golden time when weekends were considered a right rather than a privilege. I will be sure to set him straight on that!


What a day!

My district rep was out today. Because of thejob I do, he likes me and therefore I get alot of "special" claims paid. He tells me I am the best in my district. Nice words to hear, especially for a paranoid manic-depressant like me. I go to work each day believing it will be my last, that I will be fired for something or other. I know I do a good job and that I won't, but I still feel that way. Anyhow, I found out my current scores and they are quite good. Claims that have something out of the ordinary as compared to other dealers in my region go into a digital file called a claims status report. One of my jobs is to see that claims don't go in this file. Now, it is impossible to keep all claims out of there but you have to keep as many as you can. An audit is triggered when the claims in this file reach a certain percentage of the overall paid claims. So, I look at this two-fold. I keep as many claims out of dcr while at the same time making sure any claims that do go in are good claims that will stand up in the event of an audit.
On a different note, I am wore out. I have been working six weeks straight non-stop. The money is good, nothing like 20 hours of overtime a week, but it sure takes a toll on a person. I am training a new "booker" (a person that "books" or prepares the tickets for invoicing) and she is doing a good job. I think if she can quit worrying what everyone is saying about her (which is only the other young women) and just focus on work, she will be fine. I will keep encouraging her.
I have stated before my beliefs about God and how He works, sometimes in ways we don't expect. I have also always believed that if I just do my job the best I can and not worry about what others are getting paid, etc. then it will all work out in the end. It is happening once again to me. Last year, when they moved my boss next door and the asst mgr was promoted to mgr and the warranty administrator was promoted to asst mgr, I was promoted and recieved an increase in pay. Well, because of the events of the last month with the current (or should I say former?) mgr having left the company, and the booker (who was the aformentioned warranty administrator promoted to asst mgr then demoted to booker) having also moved on to a new job I have been working closely with the Fixed Operations Director for the whole company (7 dealers and a body shop). He has seen firsthand my work ethic, knowledge, and skill. Because of that I have aquired new duties and at the end of the month, when I am up for my review I am sure I will recieve further enhancements to my compensation. So once again it is paying off just by doing my job the best I can and not worrying about anyone else.
It is that time of year when it gets hot and humid and I am not liking it. I have a sore throat because I run the air conditioner with a small fan blowing on me. I just cannot get comfortable without a breeze blowing across me and yet the dry cold air causes me throat problems because I sleep with my mouth open and snore. I do believe in the future I will see a doctor for sleep apnea. I am convinced that is why I cannot ever seem to get enough rest. I suffer from chronic fatigue and I know it is due to this situation. I have been taking sleeping pills for over a year and half now and with them I have been able to get a decent night's sleep usually. Before I would only sleep 4-5 hours a night and lived in a constant state of exhaustion.
When I arrived at home today there was a notice from the office about my lease expiring at the end of August. It has not been bad here but I have to move closer to my work as gas prices are out of whack and my old van won't take the 40 mile round trip forever. In fact, the air bag light has come on again and I don't know what is the reason for it. It is flashing a code 12 and I will find out from our Ford dealer what that means. It was doing this when I first purchased it last November but it stopped 3 or 4 days after I bought it. Back to the notice, it stated that I was required to give a 60 day notice to move out. Sixty days? I will have to check my lease because I have never heard of that far of an advance before. I am ready for a change of scenery and the drive is just too much anymore. The freeway's are falling apart with monster holes and as I said previously the price of gas is just too high to live this far away. I am looking forward to being 5 minutes away from work where I can go home for lunch if I choose to.


Work, Work, Work....

We are in one of those transitional periods at work where alot of people are leaving and new ones are being hired to replace them. It has been good for me as I have been able to accumulate alot of overtime, which is a good thing. I can always use extra money. Lots to pay for, like a laptop and motorcycle. Yeah.

PostSecret - A Secret No Longer!

I found this really great site and wanted to share it with whomever may read me. The secret behind PostSecret is that you have to actually mail a card in and then the guy will post it for you. Pretty cool idea.


At the ballpark

Orel Hershiser in the dugout before the game.
Not too much of a crowd for a Sunday. It had been storming all week and was threatening to do so again.
Dellucci leading off.
Can you spot the ball?
Here are some photos of the game. This is where I hurt my leg and no, it wasn't from trying to be one of the outfielders!


This is what happens when you pull a hamstring!
Yeah, it did hurt!
On a different note, I shot this guy(I mean with the camera!) a couple of weeks ago.

Hot Stuff, Huh?!

Streetwalker Barbie ready for a night of work!


Watch out...

Big Brother's are watching us at all times. Beware of who you trust and choose to associate with.

The customer also has a responsibility...

Today we had a customer become quite upset when after driving quite a distance to pick up her car she found out the work was not completed and we had not contacted her. What actually happened is that the number we had on file was her home number and she of course was at work today. A young man had performed the initial write-up because we are so short- handed at this time and therefore because if his inexperience he failed to ask her for a contact number. Now, we will receive, and rightfully so, 100% of the blame for this oversight. But does it not also fall on to the customer to offer a contact number also? If I was a customer of a company that was going to have need of contacting me, would it not be prudent of me to offer a way to reach me? Should I not be held as accountable as the company I am doing business with? It just seems there is too much of a "me first" attitude in the world. Something to think about.



Last week I went to see "Revenge of the Sith" and last night I watched "Return of the Jedi". At the end of "Return" I noticed that the Anakin that appears with Obi-Wan and Yoda is now the actor Hayden Christenson instead of the older man that was at the end of the original movie. I am not sure if I like this or not. I mean, it makes sense to use the person that was last Anakin because there would be no way to know exactly how he would look as a man in his mid-forties because of his scars. And yet, this seems to be the most grievous of George Lucas various changes to the original films. Generations will never know just how the original ended, with the fatherly looking Anakin watching over his son for the first time as a "good" man.
On a different note I wanted to make a suggestion, at the risk of angering the purists. Near the end of "Return" when Darth Vader and Luke are in the midst of their final battle (the music score is incredible!) Luke does not give in to his anger as we all know. What if he did? I suddenly had this picture in my mind of Luke and Leia standing side by side in black (can you picture a young Carrie Fisher clad in black leather? WoW?) as master and apprentice, ruling the galaxy.



Today was supposed to be a nice day. A day spent with my Dad at the Texas Rangers baseball game. Instead, it ended with pain. Not mental pain because my Dad and I got into some kind of argement, but rather physical pain. I was once again trying to be nice to someone and not bother them and it ended up costing me. As I was climbing over the seat to go get something for us to eat I pushed off with my right leg and lifted my left leg over the seat back I felt a pop in my left leg. At first I thought the seat bottom had flipped up and hit me but I quickly realized it was far too small to hit me that high on my leg. And just as that realization entered my mind so too did the pain enter my leg! (On a side note, because the pain registers in our brain, is the pain really only in our mind or is it actually in the leg, like the tree falling and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? Something to ponder at a future time). All I know is I could barely walk. I tried to continue on to get the food but there was a long line at the atm and my leg was really starting to hurt so I returned and told Dad I needed to go home. He made his way down the aisle and I explained to him what happened. I really felt bad because he had gotten these tickets especially for me. The weather was nice, they were great seats and in the end the Rangers kicked Chicago's butt severely. We left during the 3rd inning with the score tied 1-1. By the time we we arrived at Dad's house Chicago had a 3-1 lead. So we ate some stuffed jalapeno's and egg rolls and watched the rest of the game on television. The good news is Texas exploded for a 12-4 win, beating the team with the best record in baseball for the second time in a row, the bad news is my leg still hurts. I have had pulled hamstrings before and I know it will be ok with some rest, it is just not a good time for this to happen. A lot of things are going on at work, my boss is sick and taking a leave of absence and several people either have or are about to quit so I will need to be on the move. Also, my daughters mother is returning town with my daughters younger brother and that has Jess worked up. So many things are happening and this leg issue will just slow me down. But like everything else in life, it is just something to be overcome and dealt with. I cannot change the past, I can only go forward with things as they are sent my way.


Very interesting to read.....

A movie review written back when the movie was new. The NY Times really is one of the most wonderful news outlets that exists. With the release of "Revenge of the Sith" I thought it would be great fun to go back and read what was thought about the first movies when they came out. Below is a link to that review. The New York Times: STAR WARS Movie Review


I am a Jedi Knight!

I just took a test and scored 8 out if 10 on my first attempt! I recieved 2 light sabors which means I am a Jedi Knight! But I must to better if I want to become a Master Jedi! I don't know, being a Jedi is pretty good so why mess with a good thing? Not craving greed or power is a quality in a Jedi and not all can be a Master so maybe I will just stop now, hmmmm, I will contemplate this.
Today was a pretty good day at work. Of course we started out very busy as next week is Memorial Day so everyone was getting their oil changed. But after the first couple of hours it died down and I went to my office to catch up on paperwork. Spent most of the day there but again it was very hectic at closing time as everyone was now picking up their cars. But all in all I had a mostly uneventful day at work.
Speaking of work, yesterday I had an opportunity to help a customer that has just been having a struggle of a time. She has a noise in her front end that we just cannot resolve. We have replaced several parts and just cannot locate the noise. My boss was busy with another heat case so he asked if I could help her. I have been learning from some people I know how to be patient with other people. I just allowed her to explain her feelings and issues before setting up an appointment for her to have a rental to drive while we take a couple of days to make a strong effort to locate this noise. She responded with appreciation and grattitude at my listening to her problem. I told my boss that I had committed us to 2 days of rental and that we most likely will not be able to submit a warranty claim on it. He was totally fine with it and was completely on board with what I had set up. It is instances like this that give me a good feeling but at the same time will lead to me handling more and more of these types of situations. But that is ok as I can handle it and it give me a measure if job security. I am just not in the mood to change jobs at this time so her e is where I will work. I will just make it the best I can and go from there.
Tonight my daughters ex-boyfriend stopped by to get a few things he had given to her. She is not here so I made a list and searched a bit for them. I found his jersey butnot the 2 necklaces. I will get them from her when she returns and hopefully that will be that. I worry he or a friend of his will do something to my van which is something I truly don't need right now, or ever for that matter. I tried to apoligize and I was a little short with him but my daughter had said he had threatened her. I don't take kindly to that. I feel for the boy, he is only 18 and out on his own with no family. I really welcomed him into my life and was supportive and cool about their relationship. According to my daughter, he became possesive and controlling and according to him she was with another guy while dating him. Either way it was not meant to be and I told him I just hope that if it is over, it is over and we all move on. He said he has. These stresses I am just not very good at dealing with. I wish I was a better father but I do keep trying.


Internet Phones Given 911 Deadline - Yahoo! News

The government is stepping already and ruining a great thing. Voip (Internet Phones Given 911 Deadline - Yahoo! News) is going to suffer because of this. I am so sorry for the woman that lost her daughter but if she had taken the time to learn just how voip works, I am sure she would have known not to rely solely upon a voip phone. I am going to order a voip phone system from Vonage soon but I will always have a mobile phone with me. My prepaid works fine and I will make sure to have it handy for an emergency. People really must learn the ins and outs of a new technology before using it. To get something new and expect it to work like something else is not using good intelligence. Voip telephony is not the same as what we have been accustomed to for the past 50 or 60 years. Again, it is such a tragedy what happened to the womans daughter and nothing will ever bring the little girl back. But I hope people will learn from this. It wasn't the technology, it was the inexperience of the user.


Well, things are rolling along. My computer broke but Dad gave me a new box. I put my optical and hard drives in it but had trouble getting the 2nd hard drive to show up. Finally, today I figured it out and now I am rolling along. The new box worked fine with my drive with windows on it, but I was worried that I had lost all my photos and music.
Went to my trial Tuesday with my ex. I was so worried for weeks about it but it worked out very well. I will continue the counseling with the goal of reintroduction with my son. I am expecting it to take at least six months, possibly longer. But it will be worth it.
The tv season is winding down so I will be watching alot more movies. I also discovered these DVD's sold for $1 at the Dollar Tree store. Each one has 4 episodes of an old tv series from the beginning of television. I bought two the other day, "Flash Gordon" and "Sherlock Holmes". My daughter and I sampled a Flash Gordon today. It was quite an amusing experience to watch these old shows! I will buy alot of these!
Work is continuing to go well. No complaints there. I am worried about a fellow blogger though. Charity, who writes under the name of selena darkwalk, recently married a guy after only knowing him for a short time. Then she became pregnant and the marriage went south, far south, from there. She has not posted in nearly a week and I am truly concerned for her well being. I have had a bit of email contact with her but nothing since last weekend. I have said prayers for her and I hope anyone that reads this will do the same. She has become a friend and I hope she is ok.
Well, the heat is finally arriving. Today the high was 88, tomorrow it is supposed to reach 93. I am going to have high electric bills for the next 3 months, but I don't care. I will not suffer with heat and humidity.
Time to go now, just wanted everyone to know all is well in Pauliemac's World.



I have not been posting much at all for awhile now, but I am goint to rectify that shortly. There is just too much going on in the world for me to just let it go by without putting in my 2 cents worth. Work is going good, although I am fortunate to still be there. More on that soon enough. Jess is doing pretty good although I worry about how fast she goes through boyfriends. I am hoping she is just feeling her way as to what she likes and doesnt like about boys. The weather is weird, it is May and we have days only in the low 60's for the high! For here, in Texas, that is weird. Folks are doing good.
I have always enjoyed racing but for some reason, this year I have really gotten into watching Nascar. I used to watch the big races (Daytona, Indy,) but I find myself watching it each week and actually planning my schedule around it. Even more weird, I have become a fan of Jeff Gordon! I couldn't stand that little punk! But now that he is in his 30's and there is a whole new group of smartass little 20-something punkass drivers, I identify with him more. I don't know, I just know I root for him most weekends. Of course Tony Stewart can wreck on lap 1 each week and I wouldn't feel bad at all! Can't stand him either!
I have a trial in a week and a half concerning my son. I finally found out it was my responsibility to schedule the counseling. So all this time, my ex I am sure knew this and said nothing. I went last week for the first session ($110/session!) and really took to her. She was sympathetic to my issues and reasons for having stopped being in Ryan's life 6 years ago. I feel I will continue with this and re-enter his life. The counselor is aware that I have limited funds and will work with me in scheduling the sessions. I spoke with the ex's lawyer the other day about just what they wanted from this trial. He told me to just finalize the temporary orders. If there any lawyers out there I sure could use a couple of questions answered. Cooking me some pork ribs tonight. I love them. Not supposed to eat carbs anymore (although I did have some jalapeno salsa and corn chips tonight!) so I eat meat. Love the stuff. I won't tell any vegetarians how to eat if they don't tell me.
I was reading about a "blog sight" tonight where this guy started this company. What he is doing is hiring several different people to write a blog, updated several times a day. They each have a different topic and scour the net for articles, comments, whatever, that is related to the topic of their particular blog. I like that and in the past have tried to include comments about the world around me and not just my world. We shall see.


Sad day........

Today started out really well. Jess and I went to my parents house so she could go stay the night with a friend and I could help my dad replace a disposal and kitchen sink. It, of course, turned out to me a much larger job than we thought. While working on the counter top (we needed to build it up in the back), Mom received a phone call from her sister. My aunt, who has had a recurrence of cancer, died. She had a double masectomy 4 years ago and recently it had returned. She was diagnosed with stage 4 (the worst stage I am told) and it was only a matter of time. Only this morning Mom had said she was given 2 weeks to live but she did not make that. It is hard to joke and laugh knowing family members are suffering. What is worse, I cannot go to the funeral as I had wanted to. I have a counseling meeting this week and my trial in two more weeks. I feel bad but I have asked my parents to pass on my condolences and reasons for not being able to attend. At least she did not pass alone. Her two children both were able to make it to her side before she passed on. That is a good thing. When it is my time I hope I can be surrounded by my loved ones. I had a good day with my parents but also a reminder that each day someone suffers sadness too. It will keep me humble as I make my journey through life.


I am upset....

I just found out one of my very favorite shows has been cancelled. "Third Watch" on Friday's had become my "look forward to" show of the week. Now I have no favorite show for Friday nights. Because of my work schedule and for my own health too, I had decided to limit my tv watching. Oh, it runs alot, but I picked one show each night to watch. Monday's: 24 Tuesday: House Wednesday: Lost Thursday: CSI Friday: well, nothing now. So, maybe I will just listen to some jazz. I have always enjoyed music but for some reason I only listened to it in the vehicle. I guess because for years my drive was rather long and I got my fill of music in the car. But I have gotten away from listening in the car and more at home. My taste in music has changed and I listen alot of smooth jazz for relaxation. Usually after 9 I turn the tv off and the radio on or drop in a cd. I am also becoming a fan of country music. Having grown up in the country you would think I would be a huge fan but I was so against the world for so long I always did the opposite of those around me. I wanted so desperately to be noticed, to not be ignored that I made a clown, or fool of myself. Having let go of so many demons in my mind I now just listen to it because I like it. That goes for anything. In country music, I find alot of songs saying what I feel or what I have felt. It is a good thing. I still like rock, especially older rock that I had rejected in my younger years such as Steely Dan or The Pretenders and Fleetwood Mac. I was too busy damaging my ears with AC/DC. But times change and so does our tastes. I think maybe Friday nights will just be a night completely devoted to soft music, good take out food and relaxation.


Another prayer answered...Let there be no doubt!

Of God's power. As if the events of the past week were not enough proof of the power of prayer, yesterday I had another one answered. Twelve years ago I joined Bally's Health and Fitness Clubs. Over the years I have come to enjoy working out. It has always been a great stress releiver along with a healthy thing to do. Last September I received a renewal notice but I chose not to do it at that time and have been regretting it ever since. For several weeks I have been hoping they would send me a new one. I am sure you can see where I am going with this....I got a renewal notice in the mail yesterday. I will not pass up this "boat" that has been sent by God. I will activate my membership and take another step towards my fitness and well-being. My daughter learned a lesson in patience yesterday. She was wanting someone to hang out with in a really bad way. She just had to go and do something. All her friends were gone, doing things and she was bored to tears. Finally I took her up to this place so she could hang out with some people she knew. Shortly after I arrvived back at home, the girl she has been running around with for the past week showed up looking for her. The were supposed to go skating together. So I drove back and picked her up. Turns out the girls father changed his mind and was not going to take them skating. Jess asked me but I was pooped out. I told her lets plan on next weekend and I would take them. She knows I will do it unless there is something very pressing that comes up. So the girl spent the night and she had a good time. I kept telling her that sometimes you make plans and they fall through and you just have to accept that you are going to have a boring night at home. It happens. Grow up and get over it. She learned. She is learning. For everything she has put me through over the last 3 years, I am so proud of who she is right now.


The power of prayer and patience....

I know my wife, my love, does not like me to tell the world about her and I will respect that. But I must tell of this. My wife has come back into my life and it is the most glorious thing. I am living positive proof of the power of God and Prayer! But not only prayer, hard work and dedication improving ones mind and spirit. I read from the Bible, if you pray for something, pray as if it has already happened and it will. Being a person that never believed anything I couldn't see, I chose to do this and it has come to be. I preach to no one about how they should believe, it is for each of us to make that determination. I speak for myself but I do pass on what has happened so that others may use that experience to help them in their time of decision. In the darkest of times we must keep a positive outlook on life, always search for the good in whatever happens. I have missed my wife for so long, and I wish I could have been with her to help her through her ordeals. But God puts out a plan for us, and because of our ability to choose, sometimes that plan is altered, yet we must always perservere. Never give up hope. I try to do good things, because I beleive when you do good things, good things will happen. Yes, we also suffer sadness and loss, and only at the end of our lives, when we look back, can we determine the overall goodness of our life. I also try to stay very humble because it is not by the deeds we do that we will be judged, but rather our ability to ask for forgiveness. We all sin, we are all imperfect. But it is in the asking to be forgiven for that imperfection that we may find joy. I had strived for so long to be so perfect to everyone around me that I drove myself into a downward spiral. I am not perfect. I am just who I am. I can only do what I can do and not one bit more. I no longer crumble under the weight of what I cannot do, rather I just bask in the light of what I can do.


Once again, how I feel...

Finally made it to texas Had to overcome a couple of hexes I am so blue How much I miss you To Tam, made a promise or two I will keep before my life is through Her touch, soft as fleece Or the feathers of her babies, canadien geese Talked a long time with Tom S. He helped me see where I made a mess I am so sorry my hard head Became a wedge Because without you I am a lost soul Never again to be whole But I must go on with my life Even if without my beautiful wife She gives me purpose Even if I can’t see it on the surface So I now will close This short prose It is written from the heart I will pray that we will not be forever apart And say goodbye As I once again search for the why I give you my love And set you free, upon the wings of a dove. -pauliemac I wrote this poem 16 months ago as I left the one I love behind. In the time since then I have worked hard to figure out who I am, how I came to be who I am and what I needed to do to change my life. I have learned so much, have grown so much. I made a promise to her that I would not let my time with her be for nothing, I would become a better person. I have done that, but it is not finished, never will be. I will continue to do my best to grow as a person. I have spent the last 20 years of my life not doing things because I wanted to wait and do them with someone I loved. I found her and I have come to the realization that there will never be another person for me. I cannot imagine a relationship being better than what I had. Sometimes in life you meet that one person that is perfect for you and you know there could never be another. It is not enough to find someone just for the sake of being with someone. I could not ever love someone again as I loved her. But it is not a bad thing, rather it is a wonderful thing. I know she is far away and I am in her distant past, no longer thought of in the same way. But this is not about her and what she feels, it is about what I feel. I can go through my life knowing I have loved and been loved in that special way that only comes around once in a while, that what I felt is not felt by most people. I understand the saying "it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all". People have said, and will say, "you should move on, bucko", but that is just what I have done. I am raising my daughter the best I can, planning for my future, playing with my hobbies. I have tormented myself over the past year with my deep feelings for her and the thought that I indeed need to move on, that it is time find a new love. But I have also learned to admit the truth at its basic core. The truth is I love her and I have no desire to love someone else. I have no desire to be with a woman just for the sake of not being alone. It would be superficial and meaningless. I am prepared, and actually embrace the fact I will be by myself for the rest of my life. And that is fine. One of the things I learned in this journey is that I had to forgive those that had been tormenting me all these years. To forgive those that had hurt me. To forgive myself for all of my choices and how the consequences of those choices had affected others. But what I had not done is ask to be forgiven. I hope someday she will forgive me for my part in all of this. There will never be another like you, and I am so happy to have known you. The joy I had being with you will be with me forever and most people never get to experience that. I told you I didn't want to settle for second best and that is what I meant.



What a difference a week makes! This time last week I was wondering where my daughter was and now I am finishing up an absolutely perfect day. I awoke at 5:30am this morrning to some perfect morning coolness. After making coffee I diced up some ham, onion, and jalepeno pepper, sauteed it in some oil and made me a tremendous breakfast wrap. After eating I showered and went off for my Sunday grocery shopping. Bought me a small tabletop fan, some multi-vitamins, alot of fruit (tangerines, lemons, grapefruit and bananas to go along with the 6lbs of onions I bought yesterday), my breakfast and lunch foods and a few treats. The other day I started thinking of the kinds of foods I wanted to eat when the hot months get here and a cold pasta salad came to mind. I believed that I could make a better one cheaper than those boxed salads. Yesterday I had also purchased a pack of chicken thighs (I am very good at deboning them, creating small filets of chicken meat) so as I deboned them I prepared the pasta (68 cents for a box, only needed 1/2 box per salad) along with dicing up some onion. Combined everything along with some mayo and a bit of ranch dressing and dill relish. Into the fridge it went and an hour later I had the best pasta salad, twice the amount for half the price of the boxed kind. For the next 5 hours I played on the net, watched the Daytona 500 and napped. The weather was perfect, cool with pure blue sky. I have been needing a relaxing day like this for quite some time. I think my kid has realized how much she hurt those that love her the most and I also think she realizes we are all tired of the stupid choices she is making and we are not going to help her of do for her if she screws up again. I hope so because I am not going to go through this anymore. I she can't learn from what has already happened she is going to have a tough life and there is nothing I can do to help her. I will not support her if she is just going to be lazy and ignorant. But again, today was about as perfect a day as a person can have and I am grateful for that.


A horrible week it was...

I am tired so I will make this short. My daughter disappeared for 6 days this past week. Friday, Feb 11th she was supposed to spend the night with a friend. On Thursday, Feb 17, I got a tip from someone about where she was and I went and got her. Everything has been fine since but it will never be the same. I know she did some drugs while she was away. I simply told her, if it happens one more time I will have her sent away (boot camp or some other type of juvenile incarceration) until she is 18. She has been through this before and she is out of chances. I would rather have her locked up than not know if she is alive or not. Only those that have been through this can know how it feels. I had the police searching for her, I made up fliers with her picture and a number to call and I had a small army of people looking for her. I love my daughter so much, but sometimes she can be about as stupid as a person can be. And I have not even mentioned the pain and hurt it caused her grandparents. I refuse to give up on her but she had better start meeting me half way. She talks aobut all the things she wants and I tell her I am happy to get them for her but she has to earn them. Pass school, stay out of trouble, do some chores. Otherwise, she will be on her own as soon as the law says she can. I will help anyone that is willing to help themselves, but I will not support someone that chooses to be lazy and irresponsible. Way I am. I work hard for what I got and I do have expectations of others to meet me halfway on such things. I have not handled situations very well in the past but that does not mean I can't expect someone to pull their own weight. Freedom is not free, we must all earn our way through life. Forgive me, I am venting and ranting because of how much stress she put me through this past week.
On the other front, work is going so well. I have earned the respect of so many people in my company, people in high management positions. I am going to collect the money on my "mistake" and the Fixed Operations director knows about it all so all is well there. My new manager is impressed with my work, skills, and abilities. I have decided that when my lease is up at this apartment, we will move back south near my work. I understood the ramifications of living 20 miles from work, but I really liked the area. I really like it here but I think at my present financial position it would be better to live really close to work. Less wear and tear on the van, much lower gas expense and more time at home for blogging! I have figured out that 2 bedrooms down there are less than $100 a month more than this 1 bedroom we are in right now. Jess has already said she won't mind going to another school. I want to settle back down and have her finish out her education at one school so with me getting settled in at work for the long haul I think this will be our last stop until she gets out of school and goes her own way. Then I will evaluate if I want to continue living wherever I am at or if I want to work on something more permanent. I have come to the conclusion I will probably never live anywhere else than the metroplex here. Once I get her out on her own, I think I will look to buy a couple of acres out in the country and either put a double-wide on it or a prefab home. I am looking at doing that in 7-10 years and that will get me set for the rest of my life. I will try to have it paid off by the time I am 65 and then retire. So, in some ways, my life is really coming together right now. While I experience loneliness at times, I have feelings for only one. So I concentrate on other things in my life. My job, daughter, parents, and life itself. My relationship with my parents is the best it has ever been and I am really happy about that. Although Jess remains a stress, and she always will, she is my daughter, I am finally relaxing in life. This years focus is on saving money for the counseling for my son and the purchase of a trailer hitch and a trailer so I can go to South Dakota and get my things. Patience, something I never had much of has become a virtue for me. In short, I am as happy and content as I can be and that is a good thing.


I got this from a show I watched this evening but I thought it very true. "What we are never changes, but who we are never stops changing"

Joy......and Sorrow......

First, the joy. I received some documentation today that I have been given credit for all the claims that are part of my "mistake". All, that is, except for one worth just under $450. That one was missing some documents, which I promptly found and re-sent via overnight Fedex. I am not counting my chickens until they have hatched, but once I get that credit memo in my hands and have it posted to my schedule I will be free of this weight on my shoulders. Now for the sorrow. A co-worker of mine has a chihuahua that had puppies this past weekend. Three of them. The momma had rejected the runt, so my co-worker had been feeding the little guy night and day with a small bottle made for puppies and puppy formula. Today was supposed to be my day off, but because I am attending a warranty school tomorrow I went in for a half day today. I left while she was at lunch and called her while waiting for Jess to get out of school just to make sure she made it back to work. That is when she told me her puppy is dying, that he was having a very hard time breathing. She figures he will have passed by the time she gets home from work. He was so cute and adorable, but it is God's will to take him and I told her I would say a little prayer for him to go peacefully.


Which SuperBowl commercial was....

Your favorite? I thought the American Heritage commercials (where you were told not to judge too quickly) ranked even with the Bud Light commercial in which the pilot jumped out of the plane. I think there was only one broadcast of each (I may be wrong) but they will be on tv again. As for the game, I really don't like either team but I absolutely can't stand Philadelphia so I was going for New England. I really thought they would win by a larger margin but Philly did put up a good fight. I am not happy that New England has tied Dallas for 3 titles in 4 years, but they still have a ways to go to win 5, as Dallas and San Francisco are the only 2 to have accomplished that. I have to say the game was entertaining and with Philly's late touchdown, the outcome was not decided until the last few seconds. New England seems to specialize in these types of Super Bowls. Unless it is Dallas, I want a close game. If my beloved Cowboys are playing, I of course want them to be ahead by 100 points by halftime. I know it isn't realistic, but it is what I want.
Not much happened today. Jess went shopping with me today, then I watched Alien vs Predator and the Super Bowl. I wish the movie "critics" would just quit trying to tell me whether a movie is good or not. AvP was great! I know it isn't Academy Award material, but then again as I previously stated, that isn't what I watch a movie for. I will buy both of these movies soon to add to my collection. Not every movie can be of the size and breadth as "Titanic" or the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I saw an ad for Vin Diesel's next movie, "The Pacifier". Seems to me it is a rip-off of "Kindergarten Cop". I will reserve final judgement until I see it. night, all. "I was not afraid to tell the world how I feel. It is what allowed me to begin to heal"


A good day to celebrate a birthday...

What a day! Nothing too special happened, just a good all around day with my folks and my daughter. Jess and I went over to my folks home this morning as I wanted to change the oil in the van before starting our running around. Arriving there we found out that their roof was going to be replaced today so changing the oil was pretty much out of the question. I had planned to go in to work for a short while to finish out my hours for the week and to get a headstart on next week. I was going to go in late in the afternoon after the days events but since I could not change the oil I decided to go in at 11am and be finished in time for lunch. Dad went along for the ride and read a magazine in my office while I processed a couple of credit memo's. Turns out I went in at the right time because my new boss, having just learned the day before I am the unofficial department photographer had a customer come in complaining that his front bumper was fading and it should be covered by his warranty. Of course it wasn't because it was caused by enviromental damage, but we humor the customer by taking the photos and submitting for approval or denial. So I took the shots and then it was time to leave. I work really hard and give alot of my own time to the company. In return I take a few liberties and perks that not everyone else gets. I have always done that and it has always worked out to be very beneficial for me and the company. I have to have my 4-5 hours of overtime each week just to pay the bills, otherwise I would have to take a second, part-time job. If I did that, and there is nothing wrong with that, but then I would not have the time to do the work I do at home. It takes 50 or more hours each week to keep up with my work so I make it worth the companies time to pay me the overtime. I was two hours late on Monday because I went to pick up the scanner I had purchased on ebay. If I did not go in today to make up that time, it would mean I had paid $50 instead of $20 for the scanner. I could have bought one at the store for that price and therefore it would have been a waste of time and gas to drive all the way to North Dallas to pick it up. So, in I went and I am glad I did. We went out for Mexican food for lunch, there is this little diner near the folks house that is very, very good. I had a monster chimichanga and plenty of chips and salsa. I ordered the beef chimichanga and Dad ordered the chicken. But when the waitress brought out the food, she got them mixed up and I had the chicken! No matter, she was so beautiful and had the most sensous voice I would have eaten dirt and enjoyed it! It really was good and at six dollars, quite a deal. From there we went to Frye's electronics, mom wants to buy a digital camera with her income tax return and I am helping her do some research on various models. From there we went to Sam's, I thought because they wanted to buy some groceries. Turns out they wanted to by me a gift, a 256mb xd card for my camera. I had recently expressed an interest in getting one. My current xd card is 128mb but it works fine. I didn't want to hurt their feelings but I told them if they were going to spend $40 on me there were other things I would rather have right now. We were wandering the aisles while I was thinking of something else. That is when we ran across the wireless pcmcia card that I had been wanting for my laptop. My laptop is an old, slow, 133mhz pentium powered fujitsu. I bought it mostly to fill out pdf forms I have scanned in for work. I had no idea it would be able to get on broadband internet, much less wireless access! Most pc cards requred much higher speed processors but I had found one from U.S. Robotics that only required a minimum of a 100mhz processor. Only thing is, on the net it cost $60 and I was not yet prepared to spend that much on something I would only use once a week, if that much. But as soon as I saw it I remembered I had seen it the last time I was at Sam's, again for $38, the same amount as the xd card they were going to get for me. So, now I have a wireless card for my laptop, along with a scanner. I am going to go to the library on my next mid-week day off and try it out. The library has free wi-fi internet access and I have been waiting for months to go there. Three nights a week (mon, tues, and thurs) they are open until 9pm. I get off work at 7 and the library is basically on my way home. I have dreamed for months now about stopping off and checking email and such there, where it is quiet and just a different environment. Not that home is a bad place, but sometimes you just want your surroundings to be different for awhile. That's not true, you want to be around other people. You may not talk to them or have any other contact other than being in the same room. But still, it means your not alone. The only thing left to resolve and I won't be able to until I get there is a power source. My laptop does not have a battery so I need a power outlet. If they have some near the desks and tables I will be all set. If not, I will figure something else out. Also there is a cafe halfway between work and home, but not along the freeway, that offers free wi-fi. I will also check them out for power outlet availability. I will find the right place that will suit my needs. Ok, so then we went home and just hung out while watching the roofers work. Last night we rented some movies, including "The Chronicles of Riddick" and "Alien vs Predator". I am a big fan of Vin Diesel and of course my all time favorites are the Alien series of movies. The movie "Pitch Black" introduced me to Vin Diesel and I love that movie. Being the geekoid I am, I am a massive sci-fi fan. And as a true fan, I don't need non-stop special fx. A movie is no different that a good book. You have to use your imagination along with visualation. I think that is why "Pitch Black" was so good. Five minutes of space ship scenes at the beginning and for the rest of the movie, even though the land looks like death valley, I believe they are on another planet. That is because the story, action, and characters are so good. So, my point is that even though "The Chronicles of Riddick" was panned by the critics (what do they know anyways?) I loved it. I don't care for blood and gore, I don't feel they are needed to get a point across. Non-stop action and pretty good special fx. In short, it is my kind of movie. I read that the studio was planning to make three of these, depending on how this one did at the box office. Unfortunately, and I don't have an data to back this up, but I feel it did not do well enough to warrant the cost of more movies. Too bad. I think I am going to watch AVP tonight and if I feel up to it, watch Riddick again tonight, otherwise I will watch it tomorrow. I don't need superb acting in each movie I watch. I want to be entertained. I think that is why I don't watch drama's very often. My life is nothing but drama. I want escapism. In sci-fi and to some extent, fantasy, you can be whomever and/or whatever you want. I may be forty years and day old, but I am not "old". I still have dreams, desires and emotional needs unmet. So, if I indulge in a fanstasy movie headlined by a bald guy a few years younger than I am with a couple of hot chicks at his side, so what? oh, and this short poem. She may be in the distant past and far away but she is still on my mind everyday.


I have a real problem with people who look down on other people. Example is the way people with a college education believe that people without one are "uneducated". If they could pull their noses down just a bit they might find out that some of us are pretty smart and knowledgeable. Sometimes it is just the twists and turns of life that kept us from attending college, not a lack of desire. Not all smart people get to go to college and not all people with a degree are smart. For all those lonely people who won't date a person lacking that degree, you are cutting yourself so short. I have been working with my new boss for 4 days now and I think I will like working for him. Alot of how he does things is how I have done them in the past. I owe my former boss a tremendous amount of gratitude and will forever be in his debt for giving me a job when I needed one, but this might be a good thing. My new boss is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He does not make things optional, his word is how it is going to be. That is how I learned a shop should be run. I guess it goes all the way back to my Marine Corps days. Things are not optional, you do as your told. It is the only way. Does not mean a boss has to be arrogant or cruel, just that everyone knows who has the final word. In the past four days I have developed quite a rapport with him and he has already entrusted quite a bit of responsibilty with me. He has quickly learned that I am quite knowledgeable in my profession and that I have a firm grasp on how things should be done. I have worked a long time, finally reaching a point where my skills and knowledge equal my wisdom. By the way, today is my birthday and it was a really good day.


Big changes...

at work. My boss was fired today. I have a deep loyalty to this man. I had worked for him before and this time, when I had no job and things were looking bleak, he hired me again. I would work for him again in a hearbeat. To complicate matters further, the man they hired to replace him has heard of me, that much I am sure of. He was the manager that took over a few months after I left the Nissan dealer I worked for when I moved to South Dakota 2+ years ago. I have never met him so I hope that hey will come in with an open mind. My Fixed Operations manager told me today that he told him I am the guy there. He said he put me up on a pedestal. Great. Now not only do I have to prove myself to a new manager, but I have to live up to expectations created for me. I have been through this before so I will just do what I always do. I will work hard, show what I can do and let what happens, happen.
I picked up my scanner this morning and after downloading the drivers tonight I am now able to scan into my laptop. Of course, I forgot the map so I was trying to find the place from memory. After driving around for 30 minutes I remembered the phone number for the place was in my mobile phone so I called them. Turns out I was going 2 blocks north whereas they were 2 blocks south. I went in through the will call door and talked to the guy. As I was waiting I noticed that the office there had 4 desks with flat panel pc monitors. Something about the way the men were working, the casualness of their dress made me think I might like working there. The warehouse was full of Ford Motorsports parts so I have no idea how they came to be selling scanners. I think I am going to upgrade my resume and just mail it to them, telling them if they ever have and opening and they could use someone with my background let me know. Who knows, maybe buying this scanner was God's way of pointing me in a new direction. We shall see.


What goes around....

Comes around. I wrote the other day about how I had walked back into the store to pay for a pair of pants after realizing I had not been charged for them. I did it because it was the right thing to do, to try to teach something to my daughter. I did not do it hoping for some kind of good fortune to come my way. But I also have always been a strong believer that if you do good things, good things will happen. And happen they did this weekend. There is an organization or movement called Freecycle and each city around the world has their own chapter. Ours is called dfwfreecycle. For those that have never heard of it, it works like this. Say you have something you no longer want, you just want to get rid of it but it might have value to someone else. You post on the bulletin board that you have an "offer" and if someone wants what you have they will email you. If you want something you post "needed" followed by what it is you need. People ask for and offer just about anything and everything you can think of. I have been a member for a year now but for the past several weeks I have just deleted the email messages as several a day come and usually by the time I see them anything I want has already been claimed (you have to be fast!). But with Thursday being my day off I decided to click on the post I received that morning. And there was an offer for a full/queen size headboard! I just have a metal frame holding my mattress and boxspring. So this was something I could use. It was described as woodgrain and I sent an email putting in my claim on it. I had no idea where in the metroplex these people lived, I would travel there and get it. Turns out they live about 2 miles from my work! So I made arrangements to pick it up Friday evening. All it needed was some bolts to connect the legs to the headboard and to the frame. Cost me all of $3 for everything I needed to put it together. But wait, it doesn't end there. This morning (Sunday) as I put trash in the dumpster I saw a lampshade with a lamp attached. I pulled it from the dumpster and checked to see if it was broken or for some other reason as to why the previous owner would throw it away. It appeared intact so I quickly stowed it in the rear of the van and went off on my weekly shopping. Backtracking a bit and with some background, I like to lotion my arms and legs after showering. I am attempting to keep my skin as soft as I can as I age. So, today I needed to purchase a new bottle of lotion. I also wanted to get a bottle and pump to better dispense the lotion. At Wal-mart and Target I just couldn't find what I wanted for the price (i.e., cheap) I wanted to pay. But at the dollar store I found on that closely resembled the lamp I had just found! How great was that since they would be sitting next to each other on my nightstand! It appeared someone had already tried it out by putting some liquid soap in it. But since it was the only one there and wasn't going to cost more than $1 I wanted it anyways. It is washable so I bought it. Returned home, installed a lightbulb in the lamp and it came on! How cool is that? A nice headboard, functional if not attractive lamp and a lotion bottle to match for $5! I am so excited about all this! Below is my headboard on the left along with the lamp and lotion pump on the right. The lamp and pump are sitting on another one of my treasures, my double drop leaf table I found for $20 last summer just before I moved out of my parents house on my way to rebuilding my life. Treasures are everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open. I know the lamp and pump don't match perfectly, but they have the same texture. It is like sand coating all over them. I love them. This was a great weekend. Even the down part turned out well. Friday I came home to everything in my refrigerator frozen. I mean the fridge part froze just about everything inside it. So, Saturday morning I called the office from work and requested a maintenance call. I arrived home about 7pm as I had stopped by my parents for a visit. They had not come and fixed my fridge! Man, was I mad. I was just finishing a good rant about what I was going to say Monday morning when I called the office when I heard a knock at the door. It was the maintenance guy. Turns out he had 3 water heater repairs that day and he was only then getting to me. I told him I apologized for all the bad things I had said! In about 15 minutes he had it fixed, some kind of cutoff switch had gone out and would not let the thing cut off. I thanked him and got to work throwing out stuff. Today I got rid the food that had ruined. The biggest loss was a brand new jar of pickles. I buy these really large jars because Jess and I both love pickles. All in all, I would say it was about $15 worth of food that ruined so not too big of a loss. But the fact that he came and fixed it just added to the good things that happened this weekend. You can look at each situation 2 ways and I choose to always see the good part. My headboard, it has some dings and scratches, but it was free and not trashed out. The lamp, sure I picked it out of a dumpster, but I don't make a habit of doing that and I didn't have to dig through garbage to get it, it was sitting on top like it was waiting for someone to take it. The pump, it has some soap on it because someone was rude and put some in it. They probably opened a bottle right off the shelf which is wrong but hey it goes with my lamp so what is a little effort to clean it. This has been an almost perfect weekend. Today I didn't even turn on the television until 5pm, just listened to good jazz until the news came on. I only hope everyone else can have it as good as I do.


Another picture...

I took this shot last year also. Standing in a light rain, I used a tripod and a large umbrella. I sharpened and applied sepia toning. I am really proud of this shot, no matter what alterations I do to it.

You never know....

When God is going to give you a test. I believe I had such a test today. I took Jess to Target to buy her some jeans as she has worn out or outgrown all of her present pairs of jeans. We found some she liked that were on clearance and checked out. The price was much less than what I had calculated so I just assumed that what we had purchased had an additional reduced price that what was on the tag. As we were walking out of the store I decided to check the receipt and find out what had brought us our good fortune. It turns out the lady who had checked us out had missed scanning one of the pairs of jeans, the most expensive pair at that ($18). I debated for about 10 seconds whether this was good fortune that would allow me to buy more for her or was it a test as to what is right and wrong. I decided it was the latter. How can I stress to her about honesty and integrity if I don't practice it myself? In the past I have thought of this as good fortune but now I feel different. Never pass up an opportunity to teach what is right to our children. I don't expect any kind of "reward" from God because of this. But I surely know that if I had gone the other way, I would have disappointed Him.
Having said all that, I had a really good day. I had intended to go to work for about an hour and then on to Frye's Electronics to purchase some floppy discs (yes, there are still some uses for them in this "modern" world!) and some plastic cases to carry them in. But since it started to rain I decided to go to the Frye's that is closer to where I live (at least I thought it was closer, turns out it is only by about a mile or so). I browsed there for the better part of an hour and ended up leaving without the discs or cases. They didn't sell the cases (go figure) and I didn't want to buy discs without cases. I did, however, end up finding cheap (99cents) cases for my new AA rechargeable batteries I had purchased last weekend. I also bought some paper sleeves to carry cd's in, the kind that a cd comes in whenever you purchase a program or hardware for your computer. I like using these instead of jewel cases as they take up much less room in my bag. From there I drove back to my side of town as I wanted to have lunch at this Italian Bistro I had received a flyer in the mail for. I had lasagna and bread with a salad. All for $5! It was as good as I had hoped it would be. I will eat there often. Their lunch special is the same all 7 days of the week. Some places charge more for lunch on the weekend than they do during the week. From there I went to Big Lots. I want to buy a couple of spotlights, the type that has a silver bowl shaped reflector. I plan to use them in photographing things in the apartment, such as fruit or jewelry. Home Depot sells them for $7 and I thought Big Lots might sell them cheaper. They do, but I decided to wait as I had found a couple of other things I wanted. A small metal calculator for $3 and a pack of flexible magnetic sheets that can be cut and stuck to things so they can be made into refrigerator decorations or such. Some time ago Jess mentioned she wanted a mirror she could stick up in her locker. I have such a mirror but it had no way to be affixed to the inside of her locker. I had told her I could glue some magnets to it and then it would work. So now I will finally do that for her. Left there and went to Office Depot to look for those floppy disc cases. Found them, a little more expensive than what I wanted to pay ($5, but that isn't too bad) and then went home. Spent about and hour there before I picked Jess up at school. A really good day. I even received a phone call from my boss that this rubber stamp I had ordered for work 4 weeks ago finally arrived. I even did some warranty work during my hour home before I picked Jess up.
I have been putting alot of thought into what is my number one stress. What I have decided it is being so close on the edge financially. Money is not everything and I don't pursue it for the sake of making money. But it has become my number one goal. To have enough money to survive reasonable, unexpected events should not be a bad thing, even in God's eyes. I am talking about 2-3 thousand dollars. In today's world, that is not a whole lot of money, but not chump change either. It is enough to survive a few months on if I were to lose my job. It is enough to fix or replace my car should it break down. It is enough to take my daughter to the doctor or pay a medical bill for my son should one of them get sick. $200 a month for one year is all it will take to reach this comfort zone. I now think of luxury items, or things that have to be paid for in the future (such as my son's counseling to reintroduce me to him) as "bills". Take the counseling for example, I don't know when it will start (and I do need to find out) but it will someday. So I pay myself for it and once it is paid for I will just let that money sit in the bank. That is my first priority to get paid. Next, I need a trailer hitch for my van, so I will pay myself an equal amount, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly until it is paid for. After that I need a trailer and finally to make the trip up north to get my things. So each one is a bill to be paid. Once I am done with those, I want a new laptop computer, one with a dvd/cd burner built in. So I will pay for it as a bill. It is no different than buying it with a credit card and then paying that off month by month. But I get to keep the interest. In today's instant gratification world, this is an almost unheard of concept. But you know, there is much more satisfaction knowing you waited and saved for it. No matter what happens, LIFE IS GOOD!.


Here is a shot of some trees taken about this time last year, right after I purchased my camera. I have been suffering from depression or sadness for several months but I am working my way out of it finally and looking forward to finally getting out and shooting again. I have had enough of these blah feelings; shooting and writing about what I shoot is when I feel my best, most alive. Winter here in Texas is just about over, the mornings will be warm and clear. The next few weeks are going to determine my future at my present job; if I survive this period I will be able to relax and cocentrate on other things in life.

Another one...

Here is a photo I took last summer near Joe Pool Lake. Again, I used sepia toning for effect.

Playing around...

With some photos just to see how I can incorporate them in my story telling. This is a photo I took last august. I applied an altering technique called "sepia" to give it an "old" look. I am a real fan of sepia toning. I had been slowly learning how to use Adobe's Photoshop, but it is a really large program. I know it is very good and that alot of professionals use it, but for my purposes I felt it was too complicated for me. I also have been using Irfanview, a free program that is quite good and easy to use. I use Google's Picassa for photo organizing and uploading to blogger. I even started a journal that is nothing but photos, a photoalbum that I then link to this journal as needed and desired. But ever since I downloaded Picassa2, I think I have found the perfect everything program for my photos. I read a very good article (New ways to manage your photos | CNET News.com) last night that really praised the advantages of Picassa2. So I started learning the ins and outs of it and I have to say I am impressed at the available tools, along with the ease of using those tools.



Is my son's birthday. He is seven years old today. I have not seen him in six years. It was my decision, it is a long story, and I am too tired to go into it. But last May I attempted to re-enter his life. His mother was not against it but reacted to it in a way that made it difficult. She took me to court because she was afraid I would just show up one day and say I am here to pick up Ryan for the weekend. I sent a very appropiate letter requesting her co-operation in doing this in a proper manner. We went to court on July 1st, 2004. Sometime in late August it was finally signed by a judge as a court order. I was fine with all of that. I talked to the court appointed counselor and she told me what it would cost and how long it would take. I truly believed we would be done with it and I would be seeing him now. Since that is not the case I will call the counselor on Monday in an attempt to find out when we are scheduled to do this. I shy away from contact with her because we have not communicated in a very good manner over the years. I want no part of any kind of negative conversation. I have made it a point to not argue with people as it doesn't get me anywhere. But I must overcome my reluctance and contact her. She had written a small note in her last medical bill she sent that if I had any questions, just ask. I started a letter some weeks ago but have not completed it. I will endeavor to do that this week. I spent the day with my parents today running around town. I bought some rechargeable batteries that were on sale and also have a mail-in rebate. Then I bought a shower radio for Jess so she can listen to music in the morning. Our taste in music differs and I prefer she does not subject my ears to preferred radio station. Then it was off to lunch, Chinese Super Buffet (yum, yum!) where of course I ate too much! Next up was 1/2 Price Books which presented me with a smorgasbord of pc games. I was never much into pc games but I decided I wanted to try a role-playing game. Most of them were under $10 and would work on both my pc (old and slow) and Jess's (new and powerful). I have always waited until new stuff wasn't new and then bought it cheap. I have never felt the need to be the first to have some new toy, except for when my Handspring Visor came out. That I bought right away. But four years later, it is old and slow but works just fine for what I use it for. After a couple of grocery stores we headed to their house where I just hung out for awhile and just visited. Once I arrived home I proceded to setup the router I bought at Amazon a few weeks ago and voila! I have access on two pc's now! Also, I discovered that old and slow laptop I bought is just powerful enough for my cable modem and router so I will be online with that also very soon. A good day overall. I hope to celebrate my son's with him next year.


From my mom....

nternational Pun Contest Results: 1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger." 2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, "Dam!". 3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that; you can't have your kayak and heat it too. 4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive." 5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication. 6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer." 7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal." 8. These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh, can prevent florist friars. 9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)..... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis. 10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did????