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????



I had this long post created but blogger decided to screw up so here is the shortened version. Called the Nissan guy. Gave him my sob story. He decided he would review the claims. I know some will be denied but not due to me. GM came to me today and asked my opinion on some things. Seems I am held in high esteem by people in the company. That is good. My daughter and I had a good conversation tonight. She admitted she had been smoking and that she had sex once, with protection, since she came home. She does not want to again until she is on the pill as she does not feel a condom is enough by itself. She has stopped smoking, she says. My message is getting through I think. I want her to be able to come and talk to me about anything. She was amazed that I didn't jump up and down and scream and yell. In the past I would have but I have learned, the hard way. I lost alot to learn this stuff, but maybe that is why those people were meant to be in my life, for my daughters sake. I want her to understand she can come talk to me about anything, anytime. I love her so much.



I have a one day reprieve in finding out if my mistake will be corrected or not. Because of the holiday today, Nissan was closed. I called the guy as I did not know if he would be there or not and left a message. I will pray. Here is a passage I read in the bible and it is how I have been approaching this and praying for it. "Believe as if it has already happened, and it will." Say a prayer for me. I have worked too hard rebuilding my life to have a setback now. We all make mistakes. I want to overcome this one.


How Cigarettes Are Made

How Cigarettes Are Made This is a good article giving the straight truth on how to stop smoking. I wish I had learned this long ago and maybe it would not have taken me 18 years to quit.


Monday is the day....

Monday, more than likely, is the day I find out if my mistake will be reversed. If it is, I will have a job for quite some time. And if my appeal is denied, I most assuredly will be out of a job. I have prayed alot and I am prepared for whatever comes my way. I will survive, somehow, someway. I would rather keep this job but if it is meant for me to be let go, then that is what will happen. One mistake, just one but such a large one that I cannot see them forgiving it. Something that will never happen again and firing me will not bring the money back but I understand someone has to be held accountable. I have been reading Jess's New Testament Bible. One of the things I read in there was this: "If you want something granted to you, pray for it as if it has already happened and it will". Now, to me, that means to have complete faith. Because if you can't beleive in it as if it had already happened, then you lack the faith that it will happen. I pray for alot of things but as I pray I think about what is truly important to me, what I truly need right now. Right now, more than love or companionship, what I need is my job. I have worked too hard to rebuild my life and provide a small level of comfort for myself and my daughter to have a setback now. I can and will deal with the situation if I am released but I would rather keep my job. So I pray as I have read that I should. Whether my appeal of the chargebacks is granted or not, I will keep my job. I will not only continue in my present capacity, but I will thrive and excell at it. I have faith in my skills and I have faith in my prayers to God.


Jennifer Garner is the hottest chick around!

Realizations and a perfect day...

Today. Today was one of those days I wish would never end. Nothing special happened. But it was just so relaxing. At Walmart I found a couple of treasures. They had these small decanters with a Coke emblem on them for 50 cents. Had to have them. Then I saw these ice cream bowls, they are set on a pedestal, for a dollar. Got two of them also. I thought they would work great for Jello also which I have been making lately for an evening treat. I finally have come to a couple of conclusions. One is that while I may not be the most attractive guy out there I am attractive to some women. I mean, I have been married three times and had a few girlfriends in between. So it is not my appearance that will keep me from having a relationship. So it has to be my attitude or personality that holds me back, that is my contribution to the demise of my past relationships. It has made me feel better to figure this out because while I cannot do a whole lot about my apprearance, I can do alot about my attitude. Which is what I have been doing this past 15 months. I ended up in a certain situation and I needed to know how I got there, what was my part in it all. And I have. Also, I have finally healed enough to return to some parts of my last life. I really loved my life and how I lived each day. Yes, I wish I had done some things differenty but those things were based upon my interaction with other people. What I am talking about now is the simple things of daily living. Cooking, keeping a tidy, neat home. Finding new little treasures for my home. Having a treat before bed. I may be able to enjoy these things by myself, but that is fine. It occurred to me today people find it fascinating to read about how people lived far in the past. From 50 years to 5000 years ago. Those were simple people just living day to day doing the best they could. Which is what I am doing now. So who is to say that 200 years from now a historian and society in general won't find my writings here interesting. A simple guy trying to make his way through life.


Just for you, Kate...

3 names you go by: 1. paul 2. pauliemac 3. daddy 3 screen names you have: 1. pauliemac 2. svgnibli 3. themacman 3 things you like about yourself: 1. my inner strength and compassion for others 2. being a dad 3. my legs 3 things you hate/dislike about yourself: 1. my physique (except for my legs) 2. my lack of common sense 3. being hot-natured (65 degrees is too warm for me) 3 parts of your heritage: 1. texan 2. dutch texan 3. scottish texan 3 things that scare you: 1. dying before I have finished what I have to do in life 2. my daughter dying before me 3. dying alone 3 of your everyday essentials: 1. internet 2. water (best tasting thing there is) 3. hot shower 3 things you're wearing right now: 1. bluejean shorts 2. blue button down collar long-sleeved shirt (sleeves rolled up part-ways) 3. t-shirt 3 of your favourite bands/artists: 1. Mark Ruffin (blues) 2. Celine Dion 3. Norah Jones 3 of your favourite songs at present: 1. Moments in Love (The Art of Noise) 2. I Can't Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt) 3. When A Man Loves A Woman (Otis Redding) 3 new things you want to try in the next 12 months: 1. Cooking something new and different 2. doing a photo shoot of a beautiful woman 3. getting a full nights sleep 3 things you want in a relationship (love is a given): 1. for her to be as strong and committed as I am 2. ability to laugh, at each other and at herself 3. ability to share each others innermost hopes, desires, fears, and thoughts. 2 truths and a lie:(no particular order to keep ya guessing) 1. I love food 2. My first time was age 19 3. I like beer 3 physical things about a love interest that appeal: 1. nice legs 2. full lips 3. pony tail 3 things you just can't do: 1. run 100 yd dash in under 20 seconds 2. dunk a basketball 3. get to bed at a decent time 3 of your favourite hobbies: 1. photography 2. writing 3. cooking 3 things you want to do really badly right now: 1. buy a new laptop 2. watch a movie with someone (female of course)cuddling on the sofa 3. cook dinner for the same person I watch the movie with. 3 careers you're considering (let's say I would consider): 1. photojournalism 2. crime scene investigator (the photog part is what I want, but the rest comes with it I guess. 3. Campsite manager up north (the kind where motorhomes and large campers park at near the mountains) 3 places you want to go on vacation: 1. Glacier National Park, Montana 2. New York City 3. Tropical Pacific Island 3 kids names (either boy or girl): 1. Jessica, of course (my daughter) 2. Ryan, my son (although I wasn't allowed to help pick out the name) 3. William or Ann (I know, that's 4, but that is my parents names) 3 things you want to do before you die: 1. Fall in love for the last (and lasting) time. 2. See the 8 wonders of the world 3. See my grandkids 3 people who have to take this quiz now: 1. Gweny 2. Lady Charisse 3. Charity


Good words...

You can't let disappointments stop you, because there will always be more disappointments ahead."--Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs owner


Everything we do....

Has an effect on someone, somewhere, at sometime. This was part of tonights episode of Tru Calling, one of my favorite television shows. God was telling Tru this tonight because she was questioning alot of things, including God. This goes back to the Butterfly Effect theory. Later this evening I discussed with Jess how her actions affect others. I talked about when she gets into disagreements with other young people how they might take out their anger by slashing my tires or keying my van. I talked about how her request for birth control pills and the very real possibility of her engaging in sexual activity could lead to pregnancy. I explained to her that I cannot afford to support a baby as I already support her and I pay my child support on Ryan. Also, I have told her it isn't fair to me to put me in that position. I love my children and I have spent alot of energy supporting them and raising her. I am looking forward to being able to devote some time to myself also. I don't mean to sound selfish, but there does come a time when your children are grown and out on their own and you get to pamper yourself a little. As parents we dote on and spoil and raise and enjoy our children. But, speaking for myself, raising a child is not the only thing I live for. I have received rewards larger than I could ever put into words being Jess's father and I would not trade the experience for anything. I am also a passionate person about life and I have much living to do beyond being a parent. Raising a child is one of but many of life's experiences. I spent the afternoon with the Nissan rep going over claims that require his assistance in getting paid. It was a good and educational meeting. I see alot of changes on the horizon, most of them will be for the best. I bought the Matrix: Reloaded and the Matrix: Revolutions DVD's on Amazon last weekend. The Revolutions disc came right away, I received it on Monday, whereas I have not even received a confirmation email on the Reloaded disc. This evening I finally sent an email to the seller of the Reloaded disc asking them if my order had been processed as of yet. I don't really need it this weekend as I am watching football both days. But next weekend is a different matter. In the near future I am going to buy some really good "chick flicks" so I will have something from all genres just in case I ever meet a woman that would like to watch a movie with me. I have seen, and enjoyed some like "Hope Floats" and "The Horse Whisperer", just to name a few. But because not all women like those kinds of movies I will get some like "The Ring" or "Signs" to go along with my sci-fi flicks. Also, "The Village" is coming out on DVD this week (maybe it already has?) and I am looking forward to seeing it. Must be prepared because you never know when an opportunity will come along. :) I got my electric bill today. I cannot understand why the usage continues to go up when it seems I am using less electricity? We don't run the air conditioner, the heater is off most of the time. We don't wash enough clothes because I cannot get Jess to help out most of the time! WTF?? I don't get it but I am going to get to the bottom of this situation! I want to give a shoutout and thank you to Kate the peon for her kind words to me regarding my relationship with my daughter. It was concerning Jess being able to talk to me about something as important as sex and birth control. I have never handled flattery or compliments very well but I am learning how to do just that, without getting a big head about it. Thanks Kate. Awhile back I was told by someone I had cared deeply for that all I looked for was "a pat on the back". I never have been about getting pats on the back, I do for people because I want to, because I care. My good feelings come from seeing someone smile because of something I did, not from them telling me how good I did. But a pat on the back once in awhile, just to let me know that what I do is truly appreciated, is not a bad thing either.



Found out yesterday that the woman that took my place last summer is going back to school and therefore will be working a part-time schedule, so we will need a booker. Then I found out that the woman whose place I took last summer no longer wants to be the assistant manager and therefore we will need a new one also. So many things are changing and if our CSI doesn't improve consideraly, alot of people will be looking for new jobs. I am going to update my resume this weekend just in case. Jess wants me to get her on birth control pills. I knew this day would eventually come and I have to be strong about it but it still is a difficult thing to deal with. I want her to make good choices but I also know if I put it off too long she will go ahead and have sex with some boy. I will feel much worse if she became pregnant because I allowed my worries keep her from having some protection. We also discussed the fact that in addition to the pill, she needs to use a condom also to help prevent the contraction of STD's. This is a new chapter in my journey as a father and I pray for the strength to be up to the task. I preach alot about seeing the bigger picture, as in recognizing the possible consequences of becoming sexually active. I cannot support her and a baby and she is not in any position to support a child herself. So I will work on teaching responsibilty instead of hiding in a hole and pretending it isn't going to happen. I want my daughter to learn to enjoy sex the way I think it should be done; something beautiful and special shared with someone you care about. Not just a physical act to be bragged about later amongst peers and friends.


Meeting today...

Just afer I arrived at work today my boss came into my office and told me we had a 1pm meeting with the GM and the Fixed Operations Director concerning change form I had made quite some time ago. (Change forms are documents I fill out to tell accounting what accounts to charge off differences between what we claim and what we are paid by warranty). I was quite nervous leading up to this but in reality I was mostly just a bystander in the meeting. The issues were discussed with some input by me and then the GM signed off on them. We were warned though that if our CSI (customer service index, an industry rating on how well you treat your customers, a holy grail) didn't come up soon, we all would be looking for new jobs, including the FOD and the GM. So we are brainstorming on how to accomlish this and to keep the warranty situation in check. We instituded some checks and balances and so far I feel they are working. No chargebacks for this past month and the change forms needing to be made are way down. Jess and I are getting along better than ever right now. Of course she struggles with her education, that is a given and will forever be a struggle. I was accused once of "trying out things on ___ so I will know how to do handle Jess" or something to that effect. I responded that yes, because I was doing it as a father or father figure, doing what I thought best. And that is true. I also said that as that was my first time with a child that age I was learning as I went. And I now use that experience with Jess, just as I will use experiences with Jess with Ryan (my son that I have not seen in six years but am attempting to re-enter his life) or with another persons child should I ever have another relationship. I did what I thought best at that time and attempted to learn from it, just as we all do. I think the oldest child in a family is the hardest because usually you have no idea what you are doing and have to learn as you go. I am grateful for the experience as it is helping me with my child. I truly wish I could have had more experience then as I could have done a better job at that time. I certainly know I would have handled alot of things differently. But that is why we stumble and fall when learning to walk and yet make the transition to running much easier. "We do what we know, and when we know better, we do better"--Maya Angelou. I learned alot this in 2004 and I am so ready for the rest of my life no matter what comes or how long it is.


New self-help guru....

This morning I turned on the television and began changing channels looking for something interesting to watch. I settled on PBS as there was this guy talking about something or another. As I watched I realized he was talking about self-empowerment (for lack of a better description). Turns out not only does he look alot like Dr. Phil McGraw but he sends a similiar message. His name is Dr. Wayne Dyer and his message is more of a spiritual one but all the same it is about taking control of your life. I really liked what he had to say and I have included a few of his quotes.

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

"We are not human beings having spiritual experiences - we are spiritual beings having human experiences." These may not be any great quotes or anything, but sometimes you just hear something that clicks and helps you see things in a different way, a better way. I have come to a belief about God and the ways He works. What I beleive is that God does have a plan for each one of us but that we have the ability to change that plan, that is why we have free will. I return to the story about the old man on the roof during the flood who did not get on any of the boats God had sent to him. Consequently he died and therefore God's plan for the man was changed or altered. We must keep our senses alert to recognize when God has answered a prayer or sent a message for us. I also believe that too much can be read into too many things. Last night after parking the van as per my usual routine I checked the mail and then removed my bags. I had my coffee cup hooked around my finger and as I shifted it I dropped it and it broke into many pieces. I picked them up and as I tossed them into the dumpster I wondered if this was some kind of omen about ending the year on a bad note. And sometimes a broken cup is just a broken cup. I decided if anything it was a metaphor for a new beginning as it happened on New Years Eve. So today I rearranged the apartment. I had planned to do that anyways because Mom and Dad had given Jess a computer for Christmas and I had bought a rug for the living room. I needed the rug to run the ethernet cord and the speaker wires for the surround sound system. But still, today is a representation of new hopes and possibilities. So tomorrow I will purchase a new cup and look toward a new year, a year where I will continue to build on what I have accomplished this past year. I have, since I was a young teenager, searched for companionship. It has ruled my life, the pursuit of a lasting relationship. After so much pain, both caused and recieved by me, I have finally figured it out. Just do what I do, be who I am, and somewheres a woman will see something in me that causes her to want to know me better. I am not of the beautiful or well to do set, so for a woman to want to get to know me better she will have to see me do something or say something that catches her interest. But that is fine because I think I would want someone to want me for me, not for how I look. I mean, I wouldn't turn it down if I had been created as one of the beautiful people, but I have also read alot about how many those people are so insecure because they have a hard time knowing if someone likes them for themselves. I am who I am and if I just be who I am it will work out fine. I feel fortunate to have loved and been loved. Three times in eight years I have been down that path and it was wonderful. Falling in love, giving yourself to someone, it is such a powerful and good thing. I have come to realize that maybe I won't ever have another love and I am ok with that. I am not saying I wouldn't want to experience that once again, but if it doesn't happen, fine. There are many things in life we get to experience once or twice and then never again and yet we cherish the experience we had instead of feeling sorry for the ones we never get. I got to be a parent from the moment of her birth all the way through to now and beyond. Because my son is almost 7 years old and I gave up his childhood, she is the only child I will ever have that I get to raise from the beginning. It is an experience I had and never will again but that is ok because I will cherish those memories for as long as I live. It is the same with my relationships. I have loved and been loved and I may never have that again but I will cherish what I did have. I have reached an age where I know I am on the downside but I also have a wisdom and discipline to make the rest of my life easier and enjoyable. I have much left to do in my life and it is about time I start doing it and stop waiting for someone to do it with. Sometimes we need to make the best of what life brings us instead of waiting for life to bring us the best.