Wednesday, December 31, 2008

missing all of them

As I've mentioned before, my dad came from a very large family. As I've also mentioned before, growing up we made oodles of trips to Columbia (where most of them settled). During our visits we would be surrounded by lots of loving aunts, uncles, ahhwooos, and laughter. Brook and I drove out there to see the last of our loving clan this past weekend Jennie Llew Guyton and Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson (uncle Pat). We also drove across town to pick up a few items from our sweet cousin Beverly (Bee) Finlayson Triber (Wofford & Ediths daughter).

Jennie Llew had her apartment fixed elegantly. The blue she chose to paint the wall was the same blue that colored the walls of her graceful home on Wateree Avenue. Pat's apartment also reflected his home in Macon. GA. They both had managed to take much of the ambiance of their longtime former residences to their new dwellings. I noticed that Jennie Llew had her old chandelier hanging in her new place. I didn't feel the loss for their former residences. They brought so much of it with them. Home is where you make it - and they made it.

What I did miss, or should I say, who I did miss was my Uncle Murdoch who died this past Summer. Being with my remaining aunt and uncle made me think of the others that are no longer on this planet. Sitting in Jennie Llew's parlor as we talked made me think how nice it would have been for the rest of clan to be there to join in the conversation. I can see Murdoch sitting in a corner chair with his hand on the side of his face - looking around the room - waiting to make a light teasing jab at a sibling. Rutha would have been there sipping a coke from a small glass. She would be making corrections regarding family stories and histories being told. She was the eldest and knew the most. Florence - I remember her smile and laughter the most. She would tuck her chin down, looking up to you with her eyes, an authentic school teacher look if there ever was one. She had many years of practice at teacher looks because she was a retired teacher from Greensville. They were never bad looks mind you, she was jovial and her kindness was in every syllable spoken. Wofford would always drop by during visits - not remembering him to stay for hours, but his personality was very bright and always very dashing - as if he were a movie star from the old days of Hollywood. Wofford was a commercial artist by trade and a great illustrator. Once asked by Walt Disney himself to be a Disney artist, turned it down so he could do his own brand of art. He was a dashing fellow at that - a fellow who's imagination and mind was always busy. There were so many varying personalities and characters in that room.

So many Finlaysons with only minor skirmishes. You can tell one of my Columbia kin if they are taking a sibling on. Even though they were all different, each begain a good scolding by calling out each other's name (in a disappointed or outraged tone) before making their point. I know - you had to be there. Once, back in 1977, my aunt Rutha thought that I had a friend that she believed homosexual. Rutha looked at me and said, "D-A-V-I-D, you need to kiss that man goodbye." You should have heard Jennie Llew and Florence respond with a loud and disgusted tone - "R-U-U-U-T-H-A! I looked at Rutha and assured Rutha that I would be glad to kiss him good-bye next time I was with him. Rutha took me seriously and tried to explain to me that "to kiss someone goodbye" is a figure of speech. While Rutha was trying to qualify and clarify her comment, Jennie Llew and Rutha were also talking over her - accusing her of having made a terrible influence on me - as if her comment about kissing that fellow goodbye had encouraged me to like boys instead. I know I was young at the time, but knew even then that I wasn't that impressionable.


but I digress..

So during visits - if I was in the next room - I couldn't follow the conversation in progress but I could always clearly hear some one exclaim AHHWOOO! A-I-N-S-W-O-R-T-H!!! Probably the most common was M-U-R-D-O-C-H! because Murdoch was the big tease in the family and was gotten onto more than the others. I think they all had more practice saying Murdoch's name in such complete disgust because they had more practice at it. I think that Rutha was the second runner up. RUUUUH-THAAA! Even though she had a short name - it could be drawn out and quartered nicely. Simply emphasis and carry out the RU until you feel like you need to take a breath and then breath out with the THA! Now the Westbrook kids were taught respect and knew not to play a roll in this. We had no role in this other than to be young spectators. Now I don't recall Jennie Llew or Florence's names being called out like that. I think that they were the ones that did the most name calling.

I was told on several occasions that back growing up in Cheraw, that my dad W-E-S-T-B-R-O-O-K! once hurled a knife at Murdoch after being teased beyond tolerance. I've never seen dad get riled enough to toss a knife at anybody before. Dad said that he was on crutches and couldn't chase his older brother, and Murdoch took full advantage of his legged advantage. It was told that the knife stuck into the door frame as Murdoch made his fast exit and as Papa entered the room. I never heard what happened next. I am sure both brothers were properly disciplined.


I've been thinking about our weekend trip through out this week. I wish I had my recorder going. I wish that I had a better and more accurate memory for the stories told. I wish that my relatives were nearer - spend more time - hear more stories - share more breakfasts with them. I know we are a peculiar clan with lots of deeds and misdeeds - but I love where I came from - I love those living and those gone. It's a good life and we all know Who to thank for that. G-O-D!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

last Christmas mention

I was looking for this photo to post last week and accidentally ran across it today. Gina and I asked a friend to snap this photo (David Dillard) that was used as a Christmas card back in 1994. I've mentioned our house on Robinhood Trail in Bowling Green, KY earlier. This was taken in the living room of that beautiful little home. Gina and I married September of 1990 and moved immediately up to Kentucky. We had very few ornaments on our first trees. We had to make due. We had to use bows and ribbons and even some laced packets of potpourri from our wedding day. I cut a slice off the bottom of our first tree and made an ornament out of it. I left the the bark on it and painted a picture of a lit tree on on side - dated on back. Gina says that it's still among her favorite ornaments. The year we bought our first home, the one on Robinhood Trail, was the year we bought an ornament of a house and dated the bottom of it. Our first Christmas in our first home. So as time passed, new little ornaments were made or purchased that reflect our memories and love for each other. Not all ornaments have specific and personal meaning but many do have a story attached.

As each Christmas passed, a new ornament or two would be added and now we have so many ornaments that I there is never enough room on our tree for all of them. We don't have to use all the ribbons and bows to fill in the gaps of a tree like we used to. This year I ran across a couple of the lace bags of wedding potpourri that were on our first tree earlier in the month. We had a lot of those little potpourri bags that first year. The tree in this picture reminded me of the years that had gone by since the Christmas we just celebrated. Our tree now has beau-coup trimming, especially with all the ornaments that were made by the little hands of our children.


We'll be taking down the tree within the next few days. All things pertaining to the season will be packed in boxes and put under the stairs until next time round. I wonder what events will transpire over the course of 2009. New memories and new ornaments will be added next to the old. What will our family tree grow look like in Christmas to come?

Monday, December 29, 2008

there and back again

Brook and I made a quick trip to Columbia, SC to visit our Aunt Jennie Llew and Uncle Pat. The conversation from our doorstep to theirs seemed less than any previous trip I've made because of the fun conversation made between Gadsden-Columbia-Gadsden-Columbia on I-20. Brook and I rarely get to have a nice long conversation - so I enjoyed every minute of the drive time. I don't recall any silence between the topics - two Finlayson's - nothing out of the ordinary. This was the second outing together as brothers this year which is a rarity. Last good conversation was that recent Jackson Browne concert in B'ham that was a treat of one of our sweet sisters. Thanks again Cindy.

A real highlight of the trip was encouraging both Jennie Llew and Pat to talk about our ghosts of Finlaysons past. So many stories - peaks into yesterday. Listening across the table at Brunches, was like peering through a knot-hole in a fence into their youth, my father's youth. We could only see so much through that hole - but each glimpse will be fondly remembered and retold down through the years.


The best story was the one about my grandfather Burruss and my dad Westbrook.

My father grew up in a home filled with music. My grandmother was a piano teacher and pretty much all of the Finlayson children were trained to sing "properly". I remember years back when many of them came to visit us on a trip to Gadsden while we still attended Bellevue United Methodist Church atop Noccalula Mountain. During those visits, the Finlayson aunts and uncles were lined up in the pew like a row of canons - with their hymnals held high and bifocals aimed. When the hymn would start - those vocal canons cut loose across the unsuspecting flanks. It might have been me - but I felt as if their voices boomed above the sound of the entire congregation - including the choir.

Back to the knot-hole-

Proper - opera-fashion - that was music and the only kind that a serious singer or musician should give attention to - at least that was the law back then. I guess you could imagine what my grandfather thought of Westbrook's dance band venture back in those days. As you might recall from my earlier posts around this time last year, my dad formed his own swing band - H. Westbrook Orchestra. He wrote, arranged, conducted, and crooned his way in and around the Carolinas and beyond. Papa wasn't very happy with Westbrook. Jennie Llew and Pat recalled the big Columbia newspaper article that came out about his son's orchestra. It was that spread that Papa proudly unfurled to display the accomplishments of his talented son Westbrook to all his fellow tradesmen friends at the watering hole. That article proved a turning point that validated Westbrook's music with his father.
It might not mean much to anyone else, but Brook and I appreciated the brief glimpse. I might have missed a little of the story, so Brook can fill in, add to, correct, or comment if he'd like.

Friday, December 26, 2008

a Christmas past

The last Christmas we spent in Bowling Green, KY - Gina and I went out with a couple to a see a live musical version of the Christmas Carol. I don't remember the small town, or the theatre, but it was about an hour outside of Warren County. The little theatre was known for it's great plays.

Gina had a friend by the name of Melinda King - who was also an Occupational Therapist in Bowling Green. I hadn't met her husband until that night. We all made plans to go out together, have dinner and drive out to see the play. We all had a pleasant time there and back again. On the way back, amid the conversation of traditions and things each do during the Christmas holiday - I mentioned that I usually watch the movie It's A Wonderful Life. "It's A Wonderful Life - what's that about?" Neither of them had heard nor seen the movie.

It was already past 11:00 p.m., but we invited them to our little house on Robinhood Trail to have some hot chocolate and watch it with us. They both seemed to not want the evening to end - we were all having a great time. I think that particular viewing of the old classic was the most memorable - sharing it with someone who had never seen it. I quietly enjoyed their enjoyment of it.
Bowling Green by the way is a great town to celebrate Christmas. They've got an old town square with a beautiful park in the center. Each year free carriage rides were offered. The town square was lit up and it was so beautiful to me. Gina and I used to attend a church called Fountain Square Free Methodist. Many of the congregation went out to sing carols downtown. That evening was filled with the Christmas SPIRIT - and good cheer.

Someday I'd like to go back there again with my girls. Maybe spend Christmas holidays up there. After 12 years, I don't know if there's many familiar faces left and I've heard the place has grown by leaps and bounds. I'd like to go up there during the fall or during Christmas never the less. I can't believe it's been that long since I've been back. I loved life up there so very much.

walking in the air

One of my favorite all time animations is The Snowman. My favorite sequence is this flight with music sequence. I love the visuals and I love the song Walking In The Air.

I bought it on DVD several years ago to replace the well worn VHS copy I had prior. I show it to my girls every Christmas. This year, Kelsey became absorbed in it. I have a small stuffed snowman that Cindy gave me years ago. I use it as a tree ornament - but this year I took it off the tree and let Kelsey hold it while the show played.

You can watch it on youtube but the quality of everything I've seen here leaves much to be desired. If you have a kid in your household - go buy it - it's worth every cent.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

thinking of warren

I ran across this item of news on the AP today. The article began as follows:


Mexican beauty queen arrested in gun-filled truck
By ARTURO PEREZ – 2 hours ago
GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — A reigning Mexican beauty queen from the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled guns and ammunition, police say.

Miss Sinaloa 2008 Laura Zuniga stared at the ground, with her flowing dark hair concealing her face, as she stood squeezed between seven alleged gunmen lined up before journalists. Soldiers wearing ski masks guarded the 23-year-old model and the suspects.
Zuniga was arrested shortly before midnight on Monday at a military checkpoint in Zapopan, just outside the colonial city of Guadalajara, said Jalisco state police director, Francisco Alejandro Solorio.
Zuniga was riding in one of two trucks, where soldiers found a large stash of weapons, including two AR-15 assault rifles, .38 specials, 9mm handguns, nine magazines, 633 cartridges and $53,300 in U.S. currency, Solorio said Tuesday....

Immediately when I read the headline - I thought, "There's a Warren Zevon song in that story." I wonder if somewhere in that stash of seized weapons, one might find a Thompson that was once owned by a mercenary named Roland.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

mixing it up

I sat down by the fire last night with Katie. I read to her a few more chapters of C.S. Lewis's The Magicians Nephew. We will be reading a few more chapters tonight. I am really enjoying this time with her.

Katie and Kelsey and I drove out to Eddie Floyd's shop to give him some money toward fixing the VW. He's going to keep it a little longer - fixing what I thought was fixed a few months ago. We then drove over to Shoney's and had breakfast together. It's so nice to have so much time to be with them.

This afternoon Katie and I spent a few hours in the kitchen making a Party Mix for the Finlayson family gathering in a few days. We made oodles and oodles of it. Katie asked where the directions were - I haven't used directions for party mix in ages. We just got the biggest bowl we had and started dumping ingredients in:
Wheat, Rice & Corn Checs, Pretzels, Cheese-its, and other odd little crackers. Peanuts, pecans, cashews, and a can of mixed nuts to boot - lots and lots of nuts.

I made a concoction out of olive oil, one stick of melted butter, Worcestershire and Dale sauce, season salt, garlic powder and onion powder. We poured the concoction over the mix and baked - stirred - baked until it was ready to pull from the oven. We couldn't cook it all at once - pan after pan until the big bowl was finally empty. I've got lots of it - LOTS OF IT I TELL YOU!!!!

It's been an busy day - but an eventful day spent with my girls. I am enjoying this Christmas season already. I am sure a lot has to do with the fact that I am not at school.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the road to Christmas

Last night Gina, the girls, and I went on a Christmas light hunting venture. We didn't see as much as previous years this time around. Robby Elrod said that it might have to do with the economy. There were some folks out there with lots of lights in their lawn - braving the higher power bills next month. We did make our way out to Ball Play to see that incredible home made display.

We returned home around 8:00pm and I built a nice fire. Katie and I sat downstairs and read. Last year we read about three of the Chronicles of Narnia books. Last night I started reading The Magician's Nephew. We read three chapters last night and I'll be reading as often as I can. Gina and Kelsey came down for a while and listened to the reading. Kelsey seemed to be enjoying the moment. Gina said that Kelsey was enjoying the together moment more than anything.


After the girls went to bed I found another box of ornaments and loaded the tree down a little more. The basement is looking ready for Christmas. For the past month it has been upside down. Usually, just before Thanksgiving I will pull out tables and wrapping supplies so Gina can make like an elf and wrap. She shops and wraps, so I leave everything out for her to do what she loves doing. Well, as of yesterday afternoon, most of it is put away with only a little area set aside in order to bag or wrap last minute gifts.

I slept on the couch by the fire last night. I had a big one burning last night. I woke up this morning and built it up again. I told Katie that she can sleep by the fire and lit tree tonight. Dan dropped by this morning. He stood by the fireplace to warm himself and we talked a little bit. It's always good seeing Dan.

I am determined to watch an old movie this season, but I don't have it. Last year I purchased Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas. Gina and I sat down by the fire and watched it last year. I have been browsing video sections for the old movie Holiday Inn. Yes, the movie influenced a hotel chain naming itself after the movie. It's the first movie that featured Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Holiday Inn stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. I saw it decades ago and don't remember if it's any good or not - just a small quest for the holiday season.

I've been posting some family related stuff relating to Christmas' past at http://boomervilleusa.blogspot.com.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

lights camry action

Okay, I don't own a Camry - it just made for a good title. We own a hand-me-down 1990 Mazda van that I love. Paint is peeling on the hood - but it runs like a top.

The girls are getting ready as I speak to go do some Christmas lights drive-bys. We're going to stop by Pizza-the-Hutt and eat first. Last year Gina was sick and we went - but it wasn't as fun with a groaning mom on board.

Tonight will be much better. The sun is going down as I write. I hear the girls scampering up stairs. It won't be long.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fragile Fox

I just watched the 1956 war movie Attack! on Hulu a few minutes ago. I've seen it many times down through the years and it's still a favorite of mine. It's been a long time since I'd watched it and still find it riveting. This movie is considered and anti-war movie to most but I don't really view it that way.

The movie is about a platoon of men that find themselves between a rock and a hard place - facing the SS on the front, and a cowardly/dastardly officer over them. Lt. Joe Costa (played by
Jack Palance) knows the score from the beginning of the movie. He's followed orders of his captain before, with high casualties, now he's being ordered back out, with guarantee his commanding officer won't leave him hanging in the wind. That's the set up of the story - I don't want to spoil it for you.

This was originally a stage play called the Fragile Fox. The cowardly Captain Cooney played by the late
Eddie Albert (that's Mr. Douglas to you Green Acre fans). Eddie does an incredible job of acting in this movie. Why to see him quiver and cop out on his men - you'd never think that in real life, during WWII, he earned the Bronze Star during the Battle of Tarawa. BTW, I just read where Jack Palance was disfigured during the war while trying to bail out of a B-24 Liberator while training in Arizona. His rugged hard looks didn't come from his professional boxing career prior to the war, but from all the reconstructive surgeries he had to undergo from the burns suffered from the training mishap.

Lee Marvin is also in this picture (a Marine who was actually wounded on Saipan), as well as Buddy Ebsen (served WWII in Coast Guard). Most of that generation served in the military in some capacity - few cared to draw attention to it. I once saw Lee Marvin's grave at Arlington National Cemetery. His small white marker is among the ranks of countless other small white markers there.

It was the entire cast of the television show combat that were honored to have Lee Marvin on their show. They watched his every move during his guest starring appearance - and made mention of how they learned a great deal from the way he carried himself - and carried his M-I.

But I digress...

Attack! was not a big budget picture. The battle scenes are not all that believable, but the movie is great in spite of it's production qualities. Robert Aldrich was the director. You may not have ever heard of the movie Attack!, but you may recall Aldrich later directing Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen.

So go to Hulu and watch the entire movie for free! Hulu also has Between Heaven & Hell. It's another great war movie. Buddy Epson has a great roll in that flick as well. Go on now - go watch'm - that's an order!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

cleaning

I had to let the house go during my schooling. If anyone came by my house during this first semester - you'd see what I mean. Gina works and comes home to help Katie with her homework or to make sure baths are taken and things like that. Weekends I would spend doing laundry. School took priority and the house took the hit. I went to the office yesterday and stayed home today. The chores are insurmountable. I worked most of the day and there's hardly a dent. I have tomorrow here as well too. Gina wanted the house clean for Christmas - that's one big Christmas wish. I am doing what I can - but it's a big house - and we let it go for so very long. I'm an old Boy Scout - so I will do my best to do my duty.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tired but happy wednesday

I couldn't sleep a wink last night - not a wink. I went and saw The Punisher last night after the final final. I went to see the first one a few years ago with Jose' at the drive-in and I wasn't impressed. This movie was very enjoyable. I never followed the comic book, but was aware of the story. The Punisher is Death Wish on steroids. I enjoyed it. I don't know the actors name - but I like the look of him. I came home rather late and did house work until the wee hours of the morning.

It got to early to sleep so I went ahead and showered and dressed for the office. I purchased Sysmantic Norten for three of the computers. Mom's computer workstation somehow has a trojan virus. I hope I took care of it today.

Eddie Floyd called and asked if I'd pick up a heater cable from Ed's for my beetle. I drove it out there to him. Eddy has had it since Friday - doing little things. Dome light, left tail light, new horn - little things. There's a rusted out hose running from the engine to the exhaust. He's got a line on a good German made exhaust system. The bug should run a little quieter after that. That's all I am going to do for now. I want to do things here and there to bring the 73 super beetle back to her former glory.


I'm making spaghetti tonight. I a can makka da goot spaghetti! Got to go pick Katie up from the tutor and then throw Kelsey in the tub - then get to cooking. I wish I were in bed - but that's going to be a while still. It's been a good day even though I am dog tired.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

hard work and prayer

I was reminded through out the day that your prayers were with me. I really do appreciate them - each one of them. I believe in The God that answers them. Today I went through my notes over and over again - feeling as if the information I had been taking in might slip away before or during the test. As I went through the PowerPoint's - I ran across information that I had not studied. I tried to absorb and file the streams of text in my head in the last hour before the test. There came a point though that I knew that there was nothing else I could do - either I was going to get the answers right or wrong.

After arriving, Josh even gave us an hour or so to study before the test. I tried - but couldn't. I felt the more I looked at the notes and the cards - the more apt I was at confusing the information. Instead, I walked out into the misty night and joined my instructor. We talked about fatherhood, husbandhood, economics, and politics. Josh usually has the side door wedged with a shard of cement so the door won't lock on him as he steps outside to smoke. I like talking to Josh - actually I listen more than I talk. I'll throw in enough kindling to keep the conversation burning. We stood out there until a classmate stuck her head out and begged for him to go ahead and give us the final. He looked at the last inch of his cigarette and smiled, "I'm almost finished, I'll be in in a minute."

I went inside and took my seat. I wasn't nervous, just ready to get the thing over with. I wanted to do good. Josh earlier in the evening said that I could walk out on the exam and still pass. Of course I wasn't. I wanted to see what I could do. Josh came in the room a few minutes later with the test - laid one on my desk face down. The discussion questions were the last three questions on the last page. One was a bonus. I started with the last page and wrote all that I knew. I was concerned that I would forget names, examples, a step in a process, confuse characteristics with functions - but it all flowed. The discussions were involved but it all seemed to pour out of my brain and through my No. 2 as the data was needed.

I then flipped over to the front page and nailed the terms. We all are required to learn the terms from the chapters, all of them, study a hundred just to be able to match 10 terms to definitions. That was the easiest part of the test. There were other questions that I had to think about, put the answers in the right place - easy to get mixed up. There was a question that I answered partially and meant to go back - I knew there was more and thought I could think of it once I finished the rest of the test. I forgot to go back.

I was the last one to finish. Everyone had handed theirs in and went home quietly. I looked over the test when I had no more questions to answer. I looked it over and laid it on his desk. He quickly graded it - after all the time it took to take it - and said with a smile -"you made a 108!"


I got half credit for the question that I didn't go back to. I made a 108. I called Gina with the good news - she was tearful. She knows my past and my old wound. This particular class has been healing for me. The first test, the 105, resurrected Lazarus, that kid that was forced through the cracks those many years ago. This 108 was God winking. I thanked Him tonight. I thanked Gina for all of her daily sacrifices so I can study instead of being at the office working. I called mom and thanked her for her prayers. Cindy called me on my cell and said she had read the blog and prayed. Brook and Jose' prayed too. It was hard, but so great to have prayer support. I can't express my thankfulness. Most of you know me - where I'd been. It's good to have family - and dear friends. Thanks.

if somebody is out there

I'd appreciate the prayer - no biggy - just pray for a test tonight. It's the last hoop of my first semester. I've been stuffing info into my head and actually feel as if I've learned something. I believe I know enough to pass the A&P test but would like to do the best I can on it. I've done well in the class and even if I fail the final - I will pass. Never the less - I'd like to pass it with flying colors.

I feel like my head is a bucket filled to the brim with terms, concepts and processes. I've been over the notes over and over again and feel as if much of the information sloshes around and out as I walk about. I know I will do good - but hope to remember all that I've diligently tried to take in. 50 years old and my gray matter isn't as spongy and absorbent as those youngsters around me. I need all my synapses firing. I'm going to leave now - go sit down somewhere with my cards and have a hot meal for a change.

Pray?

Monday, December 15, 2008

monday monday

It's been a slow easy day today. I got to sleep a little later this morning after staying up so late studying for the A&P last night. I focused my attention this morning and afternoon on the Lab test tonight. I just got back. I made a 92 on the final. I've got a headache so I didn't hang around for the final score. I'll check on-line for that later. I know I passed.

I'm going to hit the note cards again tonight - review the discussion questions after I take something for my head. One more test to go and then I'm free for Christmas holidays. I can deal with that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

so far so pretty good

Katie wanted to go to church this morning/afternoon but I've got finals for Monday and Tuesday. I promised her that we would go next week - when finals are behind me. Going to church often takes up a better part of the day - the way we go to meeting that is. I needed to study. I stoked the fire this morning and made Belgian waffles for the family. I made some Kahlua coffee and Gina and I sat down by the fire and studied for the huge A&P test for Tuesday. It's the hugest test yet and it's hard to know how I'm going to do on it. We spent 9 hours pouring over the note cards (65 cards consisting of 1 to 2 questions per card). I also have three discussion questions - one being a mammoth - lots of words that are tongue twisters and subcategories - what fun! Josh told us that one of the discussions was for a bonus. I'm treating it like it isn't.

The good news is that I've done pretty darn good in this class and the final won't kill my grade if I bomb. I am doing everything I can though to fly through it without losing too much altitude. I think I'll pass the final - not confident about a great grade. We'll see. Keep me in your prayers.

I made a 95 for Kinesiology this semester. I got that grade Wednesday night immediately after the final. I feel pretty good about that one. Here I was going into this program determined to take classes over again if I failed. I've done pretty good so far.

I am not real sure about the Lab final tomorrow. I've done well with the class so far but not sure about the actual final. I throttled back on studying for this particular instructor's tests about half way through the semester because the tests are often too vague or too broad. I've wasted too much time going in the wrong direction. Even though I've done well - I feel like I've been lucky to date. All I know to do is read over what material available to me prior to the test and jump in with both feet.


It's Tuesday's Anatomy and Physiology test that's in my sites. This instructor gives defined objectives and goals that are very hard to reach - yet never the less - obtainable. I spent about three days of last week working on the stack of note cards in front of me. I've spent just as much time prepping for studying than I have spent studying. Does that make sense? I don't have it all down yet - but still have some time left to give it plenty more attention.

I don't feel stressed before these tests. Years ago the stress worked against me. These days, I study the best that I can and go with it. Studying is the hardest part - taking a test is easy. I failed one test (in which the grade was dropped) in Kinesiology about a month ago. It was a test on the Erector Spinae Group. There was no real way that I could put that to note cards and had no idea how to study for it. It was just a tangled mass of information that I didn't know how to approach it. I studied and went in an failed it. I've don't memorize information well - but do well with actually learning. I was disappointed in myself but it didn't ruin my day. I've got to learn other ways of studying - other ways of learning. Glad that I came out of the class with an A average anyway. Even when we fail sometimes - we can still find pearls.

I knew that when I went back to school that there would be healing for me. There has been. I can't explain it much more than at. I went in to the commitment because I knew it was what I was supposed to do. Against all feelings or past experiences - I was to just go in there and do it and redo it until I got it. I wasn't going to let any thing stand in my way. I've knew that there might be personality conflicts that might arise. That too wasn't going to derail this train. I am committed hell or high water (a little of both).

I'm the old man and the only guy in the class. I've made some dear friends of some sweet people much younger than I am. We were all just a room full of strangers not so long ago. We've become good friends over the course of a short time. I hope and pray that they all make it through to the end and do well in life. I hope there are no more drop-outs. We've been told that the first semester is the hardest. I hope this is true. As challenging as A&P has been - I've got Josh again - and hope that his second semester Pathology class won't be as hard as the course of his I am currently finishing. He said it won't...should I believe him? He smiles - and that kind of smile isn't something someone should completely trust. He could be joshing after all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Javalujah!

So what if Starbucks marketed like church?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

dirty santa

The first time I ever played Dirty Santa - I thought it was fun. The second time I found it mildly enjoyable. The hundredth time - I try not to be a part of it. When Gina tells me that we are invited to a Christmas party - the stipulation is, "Are they going to play Dirty Santa?"
I am so very tired of that game. It's a game in which almost everybody wraps their re-gifts and fight over the few real and thoughtful ones. I feel as if I've done well if I walk away with a jar of Planter's Peanuts. You can't lose if you get peanuts. These days I try to avoid events that play this game. If it's a family gathering I go, I politely decline my personal involvement and find something to do in the next room until the grab fest is over.

I am going to tell on myself now. The last time I played Dirty Santa was at a company party that we were invited to. Most of the gifts were of course re-gifts (or scented candles, a Rudolf coffee mug or the like). Gina and I took a power tool - a decent gift for such an occasion. I didn't know that we were going to play the Dirty Santa game. We were just asked to take a gift. The gifts were so terrible and I did a terrible thing. I happened to be fortunate enough to end up with the last number and I got my cordless drill back. I still can see the look on that poor slob's face as I got the tool back. No one after all knew who brought it to the festivity- so I decided I'd leave with it. I know - that was terrible thing to do. Two Christmas' later and I still feel kind of bad about it. Even when I win - I feel aweful. The game has lost all appeal to me I tell you. I can't stand it when someone has a "great idea" for their Christmas party and say, "Hey, I've got a GREAT IDEA - Let's play Dirty Santa!"

Let's not. Why not we just get together and forget the gifts. Let's just eat finger sandwiches, tell jokes, be with each other, and enjoy each other's company without the stupid selfish game. It was a game that was fun the first few times around - now it is the Christmas game from hell.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

always a student always in wonder

i am a student
always in wonder
at what i am learning
constantly
learning to see
marvel of the intricacies
constantly
surrounding me
in me
i see things that even scientist
countless great minds
can not see
that your handiwork
oh Lord
is so constantly evident
here my bones are always changing
remodeling
muscles can be sculpted to my need
the miraculous life-force blood is
that the brain like a muscle
must be challenged and used
can grow strong
or fade to weak
it's my own choice
to build up
or tear down
what He has given me
my choice what i do with myself
down to the cellular level
i am indeed fearfully and wonderfully made
the more i learn
the closer i look
i see His design
His fingerprint
on and in
every living thing
and me
it baffles me
that great minds can't see
His marvelous handiwork
as if it all just happened
all the intricacies of this world
this life defined
as one great happenstance
such logic makes no sense
that we are because we are
and that the world and us
just fell into place
evolved out of nothing
without the help
of your Divine hand
i am forever a student
forever in wonder of you

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'll Be Home For Christmas

for those serving far away from home

Friday, December 5, 2008

spoof

I am sharing this because this is the only thing about the movie Spy Hard (1996) that I thought was funny. Weird AL Yankovic did the intro for this silly spy spoof. For those of you that have watched a James Bond movie or two down through the years - you might enjoy this - then again - you might not.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

black thursday

I went to school last night and found out that I wasn't taken off the clinical calendar for Thursday and Saturday. That's ten hours of massage folks! Being right on top the day - there's not much getting out of it. As I mentioned in an earlier post - I don't get extra credit for massage hours after achieving my allotted credit hours. It looks like I will have to go back in and do the time.
It's not the massages I mind - I like giving massages - it's the time.

Gina was more upset about it because she was counting on me taking care of the girls while she knocks out paperwork at the office. She is terribly behind and hates it that I won't be able to help free her up. She's okay with it mind you - got to do what we have to do. This all happened because I was trying to accommodate a need for the massage program. Gina said that I don't need to be as accommodating next semester. I know they didn't do it intentionally. Stuff happens. Lance - one of my instructors just left me a Myspace message that he'd see what he could do about getting me out of it tonight. He can't make any promises but I do appreciate his effort.


My feet this past week have been in continual discomfort. Most nights this week I have had difficulty sleeping because of it. A few pain killer pills seems to take a little of the edge off. I am wearing socks to go to bed. The discomfort is worse when I lay down. I am sure it is because of the lack of blood circulation while in the horizontal position. Diabetes. The discomfort has been causing me to lose sleep.

We've got finals around the corner - all of them big tests. Two of them (Kinesiology and Lab) being involving every things we've learned (or supposed to have learned) through out the semester. Anatomy and Physiology is another biggy - but that isn't until the week after next. That was a relief. We didn't really have much to do last night. Most everyone left early. I decided to stay on for a while to make flash cards from the study material. It was quiet, warm, and well lit at the conference table - I took advantage of it and worked until I got to the point of making too many mistakes. I drove home and got to talk to Gina for a little bit.

Gina is slammed with work - not patients mind you - she's backed up with documentation work to do. She'll more than likely be working at the office late Friday night and a good bit Saturday. Life goes on. I've got some time to study - time to relax a little before the Final Exams tsunami wash over me. I am here in my little office studio today - it's raining outside and very quiet. The house is cold but I don't mind.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a good massage

Part of our finals work is to give one last validation massage on an instructor before the semester is over. I got to give mine last night. I was surprised to make a 98. I figured she'd find more wrong with my work. She counted a little off for my body stacking / positioning - but it's an area that I have to work on. Glad I got what I got. She said the massage was real good - that the pressure was good - and that I make it easy for the client to request / speak up when wanting more or less pressure. She said that it's an area that she's still working on in her practice. The biggest compliment was that she could tell that I cared.

I do care. I really do care. That's one thing about massage that you can't hide - it comes out in the session. We are taught that what's inside will work it's way out during massage. I enjoy giving massage and quite honestly - want the client to have a the best massage possible. For her to tell me that meant a great deal. She enjoyed the massage.

Now if she'd only go back and give me an A for that darn case study. :)

Yesterday I had a leisure day. I did a little more work on the house - changing out some light switches that were bad. Figured I could do that without bothering poor Jose'. Bruce at Cooper A-1 should have the parts for the Speed Queen washer by today or tomorrow. The clothes are piling up. We need that machine soon.

I'm going to be doing some studying today for the finals next week. The Anatomy / Physiology test is going to be the big one - but I'm going to have a lot of time to study for it. Thanksgiving break was the break I needed to reset my mind. I'd been running on fumes for the past month. So close to the end of the first semester. I have been told that the next semester won't be as intense...so I am told.

I have been thinking that when I get out of school that I'd like to learn how to play piano. I've tinkered with it down through the years - but would like to get serious about it. I already have a nice simple style - I'd like to take some lessons after I get licensed in massage. One day I'll get me a digital piano. I know I will be writing even more songs once I get some piano learning under my belt. Every time I sit behind that grand at church and tinker - it only makes me want to know more. I've never felt that way about piano. It's an instrument that I know I could play well. We'll see.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

back to the grind

I just finished my last chore of the Thanksgiving holiday. I just MacGyvered the toilet in the master bedroom. The parts I kept buying for the thing never worked. The toilet chain would always seem to lasso the tank ball and the toilet would run on and on until somebody (usually me) would jiggle the thing. While in the garage this evening I was looking for something that would act as a sheath for the chain..then MACGYVER! My eyes settled on an old ball point stick pen. Maybe now I can keep the lid on that tank for a change.

Maybe I can clean out the gutters come Christmas holidays - rake some leaves too. I am not as brave on roof tops since I nearly fell off it about five years ago. My foot went through where some wood had rotted around where the first Dish Network guy installed my first dish. I don't know how I stayed atop the eave. I was very close to it when my foot went in. I fell sideways - and nervous about gutter cleaning ever since. Yes, I put it off. Not only from nervousness but wanted most of the leaves to leave the trees. I am going to wait to do the deed when another grown up is around to cover the body with a tarp.

I am ready for school to get back in session. I've had my break. I got stuff done at home and office - I got to be with family - many hours down by the fire. I am ready to get this first semester over with - get the finals in my rear view mirror. December is next. So many shopping days till Christmas. First semester clinics are over with and I've got some of my home time back. Let's get this thing over with.

I went to church today - because Katie wanted to go. I don't go as often as I should. Strange thing happened today - during ministry time Jim asked if anyone needed prayer. I needed ministry today - but I didn't ask for it. Past experiences reminded me that as much as I love that fellowship - it's not a safe place. I remember it was during a time when assurance was constantly being doled out on a weekly basis that the fellowship was a "safe place" - that was during the time when I caught friendly fire. I can't pick on my church too much - every fellowship probably does the same. I couldn't step out this morning - instead I prayed over others. Strange how old wounds can keep a head down for years. I need healing in this area as well - maybe a little more distance from that past experience. This church on the most part has been a little safer than most of the churches of my past.

Todays prayer incident reminds me of something that happened to me several decades ago while I was working for Chick-fil-a. I was asked by the manager if I'd help unload a truck one Saturday morning. I took the hand-truck and climbed up into the side entrance of a tractor-trailer. I was greeted by a nice fellow, a black man, who was the driver. He was pulling boxes and pushing our cargo to the doorway for me to haul inside. By the time I got back to retrieve my second load - there was a little cowboy on the sidewalk shooting a cap pistol. He wasn't shooting constantly - just random like. I climbed back in the box and the driver was sweating and fidgety. I asked him what was wrong - if he needed a break. He said "it was that damn cap gun" - he said he was a Vietnam veteran and that cap gun had him on edge. He said that the cap gun sounded exactly like a bullet zipping by the ear during fire-fights. Poor guy - sure enough - every time that kid pulled the trigger - he was sending that guy instant messages of near death from a jungle war a long time ago. Sure enough - the cap went of and the poor fellow would wince each time that pop went off. May God bless that fellow where ever he is today - healed and and with plenty of distance from that war and the wounds inflicted on his heart and mind. God bless him and muffle his ears.

We were years from that war, and on the other side of the globe. We were in a safe place - safer than most churches. As the saying goes, "only Christians kill their wounded". It's a good thing that I was leaning on the arms of Jesus rather than the church at that time. I thought that **** was behind me until that cap gun went off today. I couldn't raise my hand - I flinched and kept low. My mind said, "It's not safe here." Don't give them any ammo to spread around - they'll shoot you in the back with it. Isn't that sad? I need The Body - I know I need The Body - but I ducked nevertheless. I need my brothers - I need my sisters. I need two or more to give me cover - to watch my back during enemy attack. I guess it will take some time for that wound to heal. To this day, when some joker uses the term "safe place", - like a bullet passing my ear - I wince.

A few years back I was looking for another church. Funny thing is, "safe place" was a catch-phrase that was being used rather freely among every fellowship I visited. I ended back at Vineyard - they are no better or worse - at least I have a better understanding of the terrain there. For now, I will stay in the familiar jungle - until I am sent elsewhere.

I am glad God gave this David a cave back then. Glad He gave me a few male comrades that I knew were trustworthy - thanks Jose' - thanks Jason, thanks Jerry. Thank you Jesus! Through that experience - as in experiences in the past with organized religion - God has never left me alone. God was always real - always there - giving me grace and hope - often outside of the norm. I didn't need the judgement from others - God wasn't lording my failures over me - I found grace in Him- I found hope and sanity because of His immediate presence and guidance amid that terrible valley. The judgement from others should not have mattered- I am not their slave after all. I was nevertheless wounded - which is ultimately my fault - that I allowed it cut me - cut as deep as it did. All I had to do at the time was wait on Him - and heed what He was instructing me to do during that painful process of learning and growing.

The good news is that God had been redeeming that experience even while it was transpiring, Yet I realized today that I have a scar from it still. I need healing - maybe more time - His healing touch. Hopefully - I have learned from this - that I have had my Matrix moment - that I can navigate through the bullets - even the friendly fire -without allowing them to hit the mark.

On a more positive note.

After the service today, I was asked to join in the worship leader's meeting. It was a good meeting - God is plugging every one into His work in the community. We need to have our ears wide open - eyeballs click opportunities He lines up for us. He's calling us to take Worship out side the walls. It's been on my heart for at least three years now. I know that it's not just a Vineyard thing - but a Body thing. I can't wait till school is over and I can get out on the streets and play about His love, worship Him, be free, laugh in between. All we can do is be ready - prepare our hearts - fast & pray - fill our lamps with oil and burn our lamps - shine for His glory. All we can be are vessels. It was a good gathering today.

I know, I guess I need more time to heal up. I need to attend to what is immediately in front of me - and just be ready for what ever may come next.

God on you.

"First thing is, that target wasn't shooting back at you. Second, most men at that last second will flinch; I won't." - John Wayne The Shootist.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NBC Yanks SNL Skit that Linked Democrats to Mortgage Crisis

I saw this when it aired on the week after the bailout - NBC aired it again tonight. They've pulled the entire video from YouTube. I am amazed SNL took this approach aimed against the Dems.

Friday, November 28, 2008

the next day

Gina left early this morning to do the Christmas shopping thing. I mean very early. I asked her later in the day if she got any good deals because of it. She said no. She did however feel very confident that she got most of the kids Christmas under her belt.

My Speed Queen washing machine flooded my basement this week. Not bad mind you - just an annoyance. I took the machine back to Cooper A-1, which is where I bought it a few years ago. The Speed Queen was a refurb that I got at a good price two years ago. I was thinking about trading it in for another machine but all they had were Kenmore brand. I don't mind Kenmore - but I really liked that commercial grade SQ. I ended up leaving the machine with them to fix - seeing how it would cost about the same to fix (maybe less) than it would to purchase a Kenmore refurb. The Speed Queen has a big basin and not a lick of trouble until a few days ago. I'm opting to have it repaired. It might need new seals, a pump, or both. We'll see.
I let the Speed Queen dryer go about six months ago. I opted to buy a refurb Maytag. I did right on that choice. The Maytag seems to be a better machine. If anyone out there needs to purchase appliances - I recommend Cooper A-1 in Attalla. It's been a long time since I've purchased a new appliance. I've had better luck with buying older refurbs that something brand new. Do you remember the day when you bought an appliance that lasted decades? I do. It's just not that way anymore.

While out, I took Katie and Kelsey out to eat and then over to the office to get some work done that I've been needed to get done. Tonight I'm going to take a few online tests. It's been a productive day. It's been a good week.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

good dey - eh?

Great day. I got up and started prepping the green bean dish that folks ask me to make each year. It's nothing really special - but it seems to compliment the mail course. We then packed up the cars and headed over to Glencoe for the Hale side of Thanksgiving. I love those people. I didn't just marry a good woman - I married into a good family. I look back on my courtship with Gina - and that family immediately took me in - loved me - and treated me like one of their own. Not many families do that to new-comers.

We then headed over to my brother's house where family awaited. There were some family members that couldn't make it - and it seemed a little strange not having Robby and Irene around. They drove out to spend Thanksgiving with Robert and Carrie. Robert is still hitched to the USMC - looking forward to getting out next year. It's a good outfit - but like any man's army - you are not your own when you are in uniform.

Many brought their instruments today. We all shared songs and played along with each other. It's always a very special time for me - some real good sounds - and nice moments together. The food was great - I've never tasted such fine turkey bird. They really know how to cook their poultry. I kid you not. I didn't eat a lot today - I don't know why. It seems that I got full kind of fast and only nibbled here and there through out the day. I haven't been feeling well.

Stuff has been going on with me recently. I've had leg problems. Gina says that it might be because I've been going around shoeless during the holidays - my middle aged body isn't used to going around without being shod for long periods of time. I don't know if that's the case. I've been shod when working out in the garage or going out to chop or retrieve firewood.

Yesterday (Wednesday) while trying to read a can label without glances - squinted - and something happened to my right eye. Half of it is read. I think I popped a vessel or something. I am going to see if I can get my eyes checked tomorrow - if anyone is open that day. My eyeball - and the area surrounding it felt bruised for the good part of the night - hurt to use it - hurt to be in the light. By Thanksgiving morning - the hurt and bruised feeling was gone. I did though feel kind of beat for the first part of the day. I don't know why. There's some other stuff going on that I won't bore you - I'd appreciate the prayer - two or more kind (more the merrier) of healing prayer - pray for healing from head to toe.

Other than being a little broke-down - I have been doing all right. I haven't been around Gina that much this week, but have enjoyed being with Katie and Kelsey. I have put off taking a few on-line A&P tests before Monday rolls around. I need to give that some attention tomorrow. I am going to try to take both test tomorrow night. It's best that I do them while before finals - without the added pressure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

i needed it

I've been enjoying this off time - I really needed it. I've had the fire going downstairs since Sunday morning- letting it die down today so I can clear out the ashes and start again. Split wood yesterday, fixed a toilet - tried to fix the garage door (couldn't). It hasn't been a busy week - but nice to get to things that have needed attention.

It's great spending so much time with Katie and Kelsey. They've been helping me along the way. We just got back from the Southside High School track. We walked a lap together and then went by Taco Bell for lunch. I am really enjoying actually having time with them. Gina's getting off work a little early today. She's going to take Katie to a matinee. Katie doesn't know about it - thought we'd surprise her. I'll spend time with Kelsey while they are off.

I'm going upstairs in a few minutes to make pumpkin pies for the family Thanksgiving get-togethers. Both sides of the family are getting together at the same time this year - don't know how I'm going to be two places at once. I sure wish NASA and hurry up and figure out that transporter thingamajig. Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving with family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

can't find my way home

nice

two guitar sultans

Two of my all time favorite guitarists - both sultans. I went to hear Eric a while back - what stood out was his love for music. After all these decades on stage - the man is passionate about music. From what I've seen of Mark - the two share the same love. It's great hearing them on stage together - there talents seem to seamlessly come together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

vw outing

I ran across this VW ad on YouTube this evening. I instantly recognized the music bed as that of Ennio Morreconi (Spaghetti Western fame).

I had a little time today and took Katie out for a spin in my bug. I haven't enjoyed a car as much since my old Renault LeCar "Black Beauty". We drove from Southside up Noccalula Mountain to pay Dan and Florrie Noojin a visit. Spending a little time at their place reminded me of all the countless Sunday evenings I'd hang out with them back in the eighties.

It really is something how I don't see much of my family. Some how I thought that when Gina and I moved back to Alabama from Kentucky (12 years ago), we'd see family more...not so.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

made it!

I made it through my clinic. I had 45 hours to complete before the end of the semester. I finished up my last day today. I had two people back out - but Gina came to the rescue and let me give her a two hour massage to finish the last six hours needed. I am so very tired and sore. I didn't know how sore I was until driving home tonight. Every muscle in my body hurts - my feet are killing me.

On the way home - I drove by Tommy Puckett's house for his 50th surprise party. It was a good time. I was on - fueled on vapors. The house was crowded and loud. The food was delicious. Gina and the girls were there - Katie got sick - and Gina slipped out before I did. Tommy's life is full. I am very happy for him. He is a good man - he is Godly man.

I made it home and wish that I had a big tub to soak in. I don't. I have a fifty year old but doesn't allow me the kind of soaking I wish I could do. Remember when you were a kid and you could sit in a bathtub and have plenty of room for all your toys? I had a lot of toys when I was a kid. I could fill up a bathtub with lots of toys and still have room to soak. Boy - I need a big bath tub tonight. I am really hurting. I guess a Tylenol PM will have to suffice.

I don't know if I am going to make it to church tomorrow. Tomorrow is the only free day that we as a family will be able to put the Christmas tree up. I know it's too early - but I listened to Gina yesterday describe her calendar - and we've got to do the tree thing tomorrow. I don't mean to be a humbug - but it's going to be one of those things that I'm going to paint a smile on and just do it - for the kid's sake.

Gina and I made time to have a little date night last night. We went and saw the new 007 movie - Quantum of Solace. I like Daniel Craig as James Bond. I saw him years ago for the first time in a violent flick called Layer Cake. Daniel Craig reminds me of Steve McQueen. Seriously. Daniel has a lot of McQueen's qualities, has the same kind of rugged coolness and camera presence than that of Steve. Daniel adds a gritty feel to the James Bond franchise. In Quantum - he sports a tux but bloodies it quickly. By the end of the movie he's dirty and cut up like he's been in combat. I like this Bond.

Friday was a breeze. I needed the breeze. I got to see my kids a little - take my girl friend on a date - hold her hand and sneak a kiss here and there. I love her like I did years ago - even more. I love her - I am blessed to live beneath a roof filled with all this love - these halls filled with sounds of my little girls laughter, giggling, little feet running. I am blessed.

So tomorrow we direct our attention to the boxes beneath the stairs. All those boxes filled with ornaments, bells, holiday dishes, and Santas of different sizes. I am tired - I'd rather nap - but it's for the children. God bless you all - may you have a very special holiday season with family and friends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

sky angel cowboy

A twelve year old boy, Logan, calls in to a local Christian radio station.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

PSA - digital conversion

Are you ready for the digital transition?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

wednesday's gone

I studied most of the day for the Kinesiology test. I made a 91 - with a good chance of adding 5 points to it if I answered a homework question correctly. I think I did. I like extra points when given the opportunity.

Tomorrow is clinic. 4 clients - 4 massages - 4 cigars.


Good to have family back - even if I haven't seen much of them. It's good though that they are in closer orbit to my lone existence. Tomorrow Gina will be at the clinic or off bidding on a new place. She might get it - she might not. I'll let her do the bidding - while I rest for clinic. Friday I should be with her at work. I've got a lot of catch up to do there. Maybe we can go on a date in the evening. Gina's a fun girl to be with - that's one reason I married her. She likes it when I make her laugh and I try to do so every chance I get.

Saturday will be another massage-a-thon with little break in between. Come on holidays. I am counting the moments until I can give it a rest - not think about it for a bit. Let my life change gears and see the familiar faces around the Thanksgiving table. All those faces and conversations going on at the same time.

I picked up the guitar earlier in the day and played an old song that I wrote a few decades ago - a song that got buried beneath so many scraps of tabs and orphaned lyrics. The song is called Dead Man's Dilemma. I wrote it with Warren Zevon in mind - it's a fun kind of hell, fire, and brimstone song. Do you remember those fear of hell movies that you'd be shown at a Baptist lock-in? You know - The Screaming Hell? Well, this song is about a guy waking up dead and the angel of death ending up on his porch - looking through the peek-hole and ringing the door bell. Kind of gruesome - but I think it's the kind of song ol' Warren would have written if he was a born again Baptist. I know it didn't happen in his life - but that's kind of the idea behind it. I had a lot of fun putting it together way back then. I made a few minor changes to the lyrics this afternoon and think it's pretty darn good. I am surprised I didn't see it's worth way back when I originally penned it. Remind me to play it for you sometime.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

holidays in my headlights

Thanksgiving holiday is next week. I don't have to go to school next week. Hurray! You might not notice it - but I've been in a mood since last night. The instructor decided not to give anyone in the class an A for some silly reason. Something to the effect that we don't need to have high expectations for an A when it comes to next semester's case study. Irrational rationale - higher learning my ***. I am ready for the week away from that place.

I've got a test tomorrow night. I've got until then to cram. I hate memorization. The Kinesiology teacher is cool - and I like my classmates. I hate memorization. There is a definite difference between memorization and learning. I realize I have a tendency to go blank on a test when I've tried to memorize stuff. I know that learning all the muscles will come in time. For now I have to get the info in my head long enough to do a decent job on each test as they come (now weekly).

Thursday and Saturday I have Clinic. I've acquired much of my clinic hours. I don't get credit for anything over the required 45 hours. At present I don't want to work any more than the course requires. I want to be home with family instead. I really need next week off. I am hoping that the holiday time will take the edge off. I am burning out I tell you. That case study was my last straw.

Home for the holidays!

I look forward to being around Gina, Katie, and Kelsey more than thirty minutes at a time. I look forward to going on a date with Gina. I look forward to Thanksgiving Day at Brook & Jennifer's home. The past few years we've enjoyed gathers of good food and a big family jam sessions. I never have enough time to catch up with every one's lives. We'll all touch base and look forward to the next big gathering come Christmas. Usually the Finlayson Family Christmas gathering is held here at our home but I can't prep the house and do what I usually do due to school. Gina said that she didn't want me working and prepping on what limited time I have off.

The holidays are fast approaching. I look forward to seeing family.

Monday, November 17, 2008

interesting morning

I had a bug doctor recommended to me this weekend. I drove out to Glencoe to see if a fellow named Eddie Floyd @ Floyd VW could help me fix my broken seat in the Super Beetle. I was fortunate that he took it right in and wrestled the bolt into place. Not only did he fix the bolt - but he tightened all the other seat bolts, and fixed my trunk latch so I don't need the bungie any more. I haven't been driving the car as much these past few weeks because of the bolt problem.

Eddie was a really interesting fellow to talk to. Not only does he work on VW's, Porches, and Mercedes, but he designs swords as well. He's designed all the swords in the Kull the Conqueror (1997 Kevin Sorbo movie). He's got a site featuring his work as well as his swordplay classes. He's done reproduction and restoration work for museums, Yes, he's teaching a class locally. He is very passionate about his craft and teaches the historic aspect to this mode of combat. How cool is that? You can find out more about Eddie Floyd at
http://www.swordplayalliance.com/credits.php.

It's amazing what a little paint will do. I popped the hub caps on this morning before taking and that black paint on the wheels really did make a difference on the over all look of the car. I was just trying to cover over the rust - but wow. I am waiting on the dash cover. The dash I am covering has three unsightly splits. The cover will give the bug a much needed (and inexpensive) look. I am still looking out for some rubber matting for the rear compartment area. I've had some fun working on the bug this weekend. The school week has started and I will take my hands of the tricking out the bug so I can get back to studying.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

my weekend

Saturday morning was busy. I loaded the Caravan for the girls Gatlingburg venture. I then made my way to GSCC for massage clinic. I had a very fast and busy day - 6 massages with a few minutes of break in between. Though we have 30 minutes between each massage - much of that time is taken up with cleaning up our area, finishing up client S.O.A.P notes, as well as pulling the next clients documentation. We all closed up after clean up a little after 6:00pm. I had not eaten all day and so that's what I was going to do. I changed out of my uniform at the office and called to see where Gina was in her day. Poor girls, the traffic was so bad going through Chattanooga that it took them 10 hours to get to the chalet. They were just pulling into the drive-way when I got there. Though the trip took forever, Gina said they were all in good spirits - Katie and Kelsey took the long trek in stride. They were all happy to get there and were all marveling how big and nice the place was. We ended our conversation during their walk-through.

I opted not to go to the movie last night. I ended up going to Blockbuster instead. I came home to find my order from J.C. Whitney in. I pulled the VW in and tried my hand at putting in a new interior light and horn - but I quit before I made a mess of things. I wish that I were more handy with cars. I haven't been driving the car as much because of the broken seat. Silly me - I can't seem to get a bolt back in place. Still just as frustrating as it was the other day. I decided to sand and paint over the rust on the wheels. I've had some black paint on the shelf that I was wanting to use. I went out around noon, while it was warmer outside, and did the job. It looks so good that I was tempted not to put the hub caps back on. I will - as soon as the paint dries good. I also put some visors on the headlamps. The car looks different now. I like this new look. I don't know what Mrs. Hale will say about The Yellow Betty. I think she will like what I'm doing to it. I've got a new dash cover on order. The cover is to be glued over the old cracked one. I normally don't pay that much attention to an automobile - but this little car is special. I want my mom in-law to know that I am caring for her little pride-n-joy by not only keeping it going - but fix it up the best I can. Gina told me weeks ago that the little car has a new life with us. It's odd to think that this little car has been in Gina's life since she was ten years old - that her mom let her drive herself to school in it at the the age of thirteen!!!


After painting the wheels, I loaded my old Nishiki Mountain bike into the van and hauled it up to my sister Irene's house. I had offered my nephew Wes a job of trying to bring it back to life. Being in storage for 10 years hasn't been good for it. I used to ride that bike everywhere back in the late eighties. When Gina got married - I bought her a bike and we have many fond memories of cycling, picnics, and tennis outings with our mountain bikes. It will be nice to have the bike again. I will be riding it once I'm out of school and back to running documents to and from physician's offices.

I drove Irene down to the 4:00p.m. service to here Todd Bagley. I then drove over to wish Denise Rodriguez a happy birthday. I sat down with Jose' and Denise for a while. I don't get to visit often. Jose' had given Denise a 35mm Pentax camera with a zoom lens. I love old school stuff. Though digital cameras may be more convenient - there is nothing like shooting with a 35mm. After leaving - I came back home and threw some more wood on the embers. The house is cold. I haven't bothered to keep the heater going here. I've decided to just keep the downstairs fireplace working until the girls come back.

I have a test tomorrow night in Lab - as well as a case study presentation. Tuesday in A&P - I will have to make sure that I have read the chapter before hand. Wednesday is another Kinesiology test. I am not prepared for either night - but what I had left of the weekend after Clinic - I wanted for myself. It was good to do a little clean up in the garage, run errands, do VW stuff, and see friends. I also enjoyed sleeping late today. I will study tomorrow - but I plan on sleeping late again tomorrow as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

cross stomping

Here's the cross being torn from the hands of that 69 year old woman. Don't forget to notice how angry and hateful she was....notice how mean-spirited she was...notice how...oh...you get the point.

prop 8 incident

Jose' mentioned this video to me tonight while at Kelsey's party. I then came home to find it among my email. This display is worth watching.

Here's a sweet little old lady not being allowed to express her personal opinion regarding same sex marriage. Gays at the rally were in her face - took away the cross she was holding - stomped on it and spit on her (It might be time to get out of Sodom lady). Just listen to the male news commentator mention at the end of the piece, "that there was a lot of anger and a lot of hate, quite honestly, on both sides..." Will someone please explain to me where that sweet little old lady was exhibiting anger and hate toward that unruly and hateful mob.

Liberals quite frankly like to point their fingers at others - but they are the most intolerant people I know. Compassionate only to those they choose to have compassion toward. Free speech only for liberals. Geesh!

happy birthday kelsey

I can't believe that Kelsey is turning 6 today - in a wink of an eye. She's a brilliant little creature who loves to sing and draw. I know that she will grow up and out-shine any song or graphic I've ever created. She is a little wonder. She's also very imaginative. She can play by herself for hours - her imagination running wild. She plays with every toy that she owns - cars, trains, dolls, stuffed animals - everything. But give her a piece of paper, a stapler and a roll of tape - and she's the happiest. I love her.

Gina and I have been so busy with work and school that we simply don't have time to do a party right. Tonight we are going to do the McDonald's thing. Kelsey like any kid, loves McDonalds, as well as the big indoor play area - the thing that looks like a big gerbil cage. I'm picking up a sheet cake from Walmart after I pick up the girls today. I don't know how many kids are showing up because Gina said only one parent RSVP'd. We'll give her a good time what ever.

I've got clinic all day tomorrow. Gina and the girls have been offered a free stay up in Gatlinburg. Gina hasn't had much of a break this year with work. We didn't get a vacation - so it's nice that she's going to get away for a bit. Her patient load has dropped which will allow her some time to enjoy some free time with the girls. She's going to keep Katie and Kelsey out of school Monday and Tuesday. The extra few days should give them some time to enjoy the chalet.

I've been waiting on a few parts for my SuperBeetle. I hope they come in so I can install them. I am having a problem with the driver's seat that I can't seem to fix. A bolt fell out of one side and I can't get it back in. This particular bolt keeps the medial side of the seat-back attached to the seat-bottom. It keeps slipping off while I'm driving and is quite uncomfortable. My VW mechanic recently broke his foot and won't be back in his shop for a while. It is frustrating to have the bolt in hand - and see the bolt hole in the seat-bottom and not be able to get in re-attached.

I had clinic last night (Thursday) from 4 - 10. I enjoy giving massages. I had no idea going into the program that I would enjoy massage as much as I do - it was after all a business decision going in. Massage is a very rewarding experience for me. Misty, one of my clinic instructors, mentioned that we've reached our half way mark for this semester's clinic. We have to acquire so much hands-on clinic time before semester's end. We'll be off for Thanksgiving and finish up by Christmas. I look forward to the two week break between semesters. I am tired of not seeing my family. I am tired of constantly having a test to study for on the horizon. All is necessary I know - but I am tired of it nevertheless. I am a husband and father and naturally - I miss my family. I will not see them this weekend when I get out of clinic Saturday - but I know that they will be having a great time together. Lord give them traveling mercy - keep the van running - and keep them safe. Let them have a good time and ease Gina's back pain so she can enjoy her time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

let's hear it for public education

The little girl getting berated by her teacher is a daughter of a soldier serving in Iraq.

fireplace

i've had to stir up the embers
upon my return
to keep the fire going
to keep the room warm
i've had to give the fire attendance
before time takes hold
stir the embers once again
when i wake
bellow the faint red glow
until there is fire again
wake it from it's sleep
remove the ashes
bring in more dry wood
to feed the new flames
risen from the ashes
such is my life
if you didn't come to me like you do
and stir me