Thursday, November 27, 2008

Photostory Friday: It's been a long time since I did the stroll...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Emma June has agreed today to give us an unprecedented look, into the bedroom, of a typical American five old girl.

Emma's room is a room of wonder -- as in, I wonder if there is a bed under all of that crap, or I wonder if I dare open the closet door, or I wonder what that smell is, or I wonder...well, you get the idea.

So, here's a rundown of just some of the things you might encounter, on a trip to Emma's bedroom:

The Secret Room. This is a small room, built under the stairs. It was the selling point of the house, as far as Emma was concerned. Fortunately, the rest of us liked the house too, because Emma was moving in, whether we came along or not. The room is ideal for reading, coloring, napping, even Dads can go in (as long as he doesn't stupidly sit up too quickly). In a pinch, the room is a great place to stash all of your junk, when you are told to clean your room.

The Princess Poster. The equivalent of keeping statues of various saints on your fireplace mantle. Emma is heavily influenced by the Disney Princesses. One of my favorite moments from our trip to Disneyland in May, was standing in line with Emma to meet Ariel, the Little Mermaid. Wonder in the eyes of a child is cliche. It's also true.

Closet doors. Closed. The closet doors remain closed most of the time, because the closet is an ideal place to stash everything, when you are told to clean your room. Emma learned this valuable tip from her siblings. Isn't it great when the kids share?

Mouse Ears. Two sets -- one classic, one a modern classic. Emma likes the "Minnie" ears the best "because, Minnie's a girl! Duh, Dad!"

The scarred old hand-me-down dresser. So many moves. So many memories. So many empty drawers. Did I mention that all of the clothes are on the floor of the closet -- the one with the closed doors?

The Wizard of Oz. I believe it is a law -- maybe even a commandment -- that all five year old, American girls, must have a shrine, somewhere in their room, to the Wizard of Oz. Emma has had this little set for three years -- which amounts to an epoch in the annals of kid toydom. It's, hands down, the best toy we have ever gotten for her. Obviously, Dorothy has been well loved.

Laundry hamper. Empty. See previous entries on Secret Room, the Closet, and the Dresser.

Ruby Slippers. Do you ever find yourself in a small house, with not enough storage space, and a garage still full of boxes from the move (which has nothing to do with the amount of time I spend on this blog), and yet, you hold on to things for, simply, sentimental reasons? Emma has had these "Ruby Slippers" for two years, and almost can't fit her feet into them anymore. But they have been such a source of wonder and joy for her, that I can't get rid of them. What kind of Dad would throw out his daughter's first pair of Ruby Slippers?

And finally, the pinnacle, the ultimate, the one thing that all five year old girls cannot live without. The piece de resistance....
The Led Zeppelin Poster. The previous owners left this behind, and since they left it in "Emma's room," she claimed it. And it has hung on her door ever since. She thinks the girl in the upper left hand corner is very pretty. That's Robert Plant. I don't have the heart to tell her.

So that's pretty typical, right?

I hope this has been enlightening for everyone. I've learned that maybe I should be going down to Emma's room, a little more often.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Reckoning

(This will be my last post about "THE GAME," I promise)

Rarely do I wish I lived somewhere else. But, for a day or two every couple of years, I think it would be nice to be somewhere else for a little while. 

In college football, the greatest rivalry, so it is said, is the Ohio State/Michigan game. I don't really buy it -- my Ohio State graduate in-laws notwithstanding. You see, when that game is over, one state rejoices and the other mourns. But they don't have to look at each other while they do it. They don't have to live with the winners (or losers). In Utah it's different. 

In Utah, there's a reckoning. 

This is the week. One side gloats, one side fumes, and then we all try to figure out how to live with each other for another year. For me, The Reckoning is threefold: 

1. Church
   I live in a neighborhood, and attend church with a congregation, that consists primarily of Ute fans. Yesterday I had to face all of those people. There were a LOT of red ties in the congregation. I sat at the back of each meeting, so that I wouldn't have to look at them. Eventually though, I had to speak to my neighbors, and there was some good natured ribbing. I can take it, I've been humbled before. Church is the least of my worries when it comes to The Reckoning (at least where football is concerned). 

2. Work
   I also work, primarily, with Ute fans. They are not as forgiving, or good natured, as the church goers. See, I'm not a trash talking kind of guy. Except for this one time of year. I say things that might be considered ...provoking...inflammatory...perhaps, riot inducing(?). And, for the last two years, my team has backed me up. But The Reckoning will always catch up to you -- it's just a matter of time. It's not even worth calling in sick, because it will be waiting for you whenever you get back. So I just went to work today, and took it. You live and die with your team.

3. My Brother
   The worst part about The Reckoning is when you know you deserve what you're about to get. Tim is a Ute fan. It's what he lives for. I'll see him on Thanksgiving. I've been merciless for the last two years. I egg him on. I remind him all year of the last two heartbreaking losses. Last Christmas, I wrapped his presents in BYU wrapping paper. And he takes it mostly, I think, because he's always deferred to me as the older brother. This year he'll tease a little bit, but he won't say much. He'll just sit there in his smug superiority, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. And there won't be a thing I can say. My team has a national championship, but that was decades ago. His team has busted in to the BCS. Twice. He doesn't need to say anything at all. He knows The Reckoning has taken care of all that. 

I hear Ohio is nice this time of year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A little crow with that sir?


This is going to hurt.

A lot.

I'm really glad I didn't offer to shave my head.

Utah Man
I am a Utah man sir, and I live across the green, 
Our gang it is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our coeds are the fairest and each one's a shining star,
Our yell, you'll hear it ringing through the mountains near and far!

Who am I, sir
A Utah Man am I!
A Utah Man, sir,
Will be 'til I die.

We're up to snuff, we never bluff, we're game for any fuss.
No other gang of college men dare meet us in a muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and shout it to the sky,
We'll fight for dear old crimson for a Utah Man am I!

I had faith. I was a true believer. I believe in miracles. But, if I am completely honest, there was a little voice somewhere back in the dusty cobwebs of my fevered mind -- the voice belonged to a creature named doubt -- and it wouldn't be silenced. I kept it quiet for half of the football game today, and then Max Hall started throwing interceptions, and the beast emerged. That beast was the University of Utah. But let me be completely clear, I am not blaming Max Hall. He is an excellent quarterback, one of the best in the nation -- better than Brian Johnson, frankly -- and he was not throwing bad passes. And it wasn't that the receivers for BYU were playing poorly. What became obvious by the third quarter was that Utah wanted it more. MUCH more. Their game and their dominance increased by the minute. They would not be denied this win, or the conference championship, or the perfect season, or the berth in the BCS.

This was by far Utah's most impressive win, this season -- maybe ever. No Alex Smith, no Urban Meyer. This is not a team of superstars, it's a blue collar team, and they've worked for every win. They deserve this game. They deserve the respect, and the accolades coming their way. Going 12-0, no matter who you are, no matter where you play, is very difficult to do. 

Utah is fast, they're smart, and they are AGGRESSIVE! Their offense, and Brian Johnson, get a LOT of press, but the shining jewel in the crown of the University of Utah football team is their defense. They are the reason, and the only reason, that Utah is a perfect 12-0. Sure the offense does most of the scoring, but the defense puts them often, as they did tonight, in excellent field position. They also provide the momentum, and momentum -- in college football more than any other sport -- plays a HUGE role in whether a team wins or loses. 

What a difference a season makes. BYU went 10-2 the last two seasons and won the conference championship outright. This year they are 10-2, and they landed in third place. It all depends on who those two losses come from. 

Utah is going to move on to one of the big BCS Bowl games, likely the Fiesta Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. These are the big time games that teams which are not part of the major (in their own minds) football conferences have to work much harder to get in to. The deck is stacked against them. Money is talking,and when it talks, it speaks loudly. I usually root against Utah, at all times, including post season bowl games. But in 2004 Utah was the first of the non-BCS teams to break into the big bowls, and I rooted for them then. I will again this year, because Utah will carry all of non-BCS college football on it's back. 

It's about fairness, and it's about respect.

 In 2004, Utah could have, and should have played for the national championship. and they would have won. That's not easy for me to say. 

I'm not sure this Utah team is that good. But they deserve to be where they are. I've had my questions about how good this Utah team really is all season, and I think rightly so. They've been up and down, escaping by the skin of their teeth sometimes. But no more. Not after tonight. Tonight a beast was awakened. 

Tonight, it felt like destiny. 

Congratulations to the University of Utah!

BYU: 24

If you were wondering, crow tastes terrible.

I think I need a shower...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Photostory Friday: The Roads that take us Home...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Bear with me, everything makes me reflective, this time of year.

A road is a funny thing. Each one leads to somewhere, and away from somewhere else. The difference between the two, is the direction the traveler is moving. 

Thanksgiving is the great traveling holiday. I always think about roads at Thanksgiving. It must have something to do with that song "Over the river and through the woods (to Grandmother's house we go)." 

When I was young, we were always on the road to my grandma's house each Thanksgiving, and there was a portion of the highway that ran over the Ogden River, and through a small stretch of "woods." We could NEVER pass that place without someone mentioning that song. To this day, I can't pass that stretch of road without thinking of the song. I still feel compelled to mention it too. 

Roads lead us to many places -- to school, to work, to our wedding, to the place of our birth and the birth of our children,  and to the place of our final rest. Some roads take us to places we should not go, and some lead us to sacred ground. 

I think about the roads I once took, to places that I haven't been in many years. I think about the roads I may travel someday, and the roads that lead to places I may never see, but maybe my children will. 

I know it's a cliche, but for me, at Thanksgiving, all roads lead home. Home is more than a structure, more than an address. Home is love and joy and acceptance -- at least it should be. Home is where you want to be, more than anywhere else on Earth. 

So here's to the roads you'll travel this Thanksgiving.

May they be beautiful. 

May they be safe. 

May they lead you home, wherever that is.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tell you what I'm gonna do...

IF the University of Utah beats BYU this Saturday, in the mother of all football games, I will write the most glowing review of the Utah football team any of you have ever seen. And post it here for all the world to see. I will eat crow. I will proclaim the Utes worthy of all accolades heaped upon them. I will fall down and worship at the Crimson Altar. 

I'm not saying I'll mean any of it.

But, it won't come to that, I'm sure.

Pretty sure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pilgrim in an Unholy Land...

I'm not generally a partisan kind of guy. I try to be fair. I try to see both sides of an issue.
But, I will speak up, when I feel I must. And when I see evil, I have to call it what it is. The University of Utah is the enemy. At least this week. You see, this is rivalry week. Saturday is the Utah/BYU football game, and I am a BYU fan. 

In my neighborhood, that means I am a blue lifeboat, set adrift in a sea of red. I am surrounded by big, red "U's" everywhere. I am loyal to the cougars, but hesitant to display my total devotion, for fear of what the Neanderthal Utah fans might inflict upon my property. Yes, it's that kind of rivalry. 

They call it the Holy War. I don't like the name, because it implies that there are religious overtones, due to the fact that BYU (Brigham Young University) is a school owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the University of Utah is a state run university. In reality, there are many Mormons at both schools, and on both football teams. The real name for the rivalry should be the Civil War. Or the Brother's War. 

There are many great rivalries in college football -- USC/Notre Dame, Ohio State/Michigan. The difference between those rivalries and this? BYU and the University of Utah are only separated by about 60 miles. WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER! Families are split over this game. Neighborhoods divide.


I was raised a Utah fan, incidentally, until I realized that I was being held down by the foolish traditions of my fathers, and I saw the light. When I was in Cub Scouts, we had a cake sale. My best friend's family submitted a blue cake in the shape of a "Y," and my dad, not about to be outdone, quickly put together a red cake in the shape of  "U." Those two cakes went for ridiculous amounts of money. It's that kind of rivalry


A little irony to go with this story? Brigham Young was the founder of both institutions, and the University of Utah was first. That's a favorite piece of ammunition from the fans in red. 

There is a lot riding on this game, for many reasons. This year Utah is ranked 7th in the nation, and is undefeated, and looking to break into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) for the second time. BYU is ranked 14th and has only lost one game, and is looking to spoil Utah's year. This is the highest that both teams have ever been ranked when playing each other. But the real stakes have nothing to do with the teams. It's about the fans. Players come and go, but fans return year after year. And to have bragging rights for an entire year (despite the fact that you did none of the actual playing) is, to some, equivalent to winning the lottery. 

Especially Utah fans. They have a real, and baffling, chip on their shoulder. They have an inferiority complex that dates back to the 1980's and early 1990's, when BYU won the game, nearly every year. It's been a lot more even in the last decade, but old grudges die hard. Besides, it's natural to get defensive when you're doing something you know is wrong -- like rooting for Utah, wearing red etc... I actually think that Utah fans get annoyed that BYU fans don't get as worked up about the game as they do. There is real hatred coming from the fans in red. 

BYU has won the last two games, in spectacular fashion, and the Utes just can't get over it. And that's why they'll lose again this year. If they played with their heads a little more, and their emotions a little less, they might have a chance. But, they won't. And we'll have to listen to them cry for the next year -- that's another downside to being in such close proximity to one another. 

BYU will win this game. It may not be a blow out, but poise, and the firepower of the BYU offense, will overcome the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, on the other side of the ball. In a fight between a Cougar and a Ute (whose mascot is a red tailed hawk -- what the...?), I'll put my money on the Cougar any day. 

I just hope I don't have to move when the game is over. After all, some of my best friends are Ute fans. 

Score: 38 - 21

ps. I'll go back to being fair and impartial next week. I promise. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

I've been meaning to say this...

Okay, it's time to wrap up a few loose ends. 

First of all, I need to express my gratitude to many of you (make that all of you) who take the time to stop by, and check in with the insanity that can be my life. The reasons I began this blog, and the reasons that I continue it are different. 
I began this blog on a whim. I wasn't sure exactly what kind of beast it was, and for a long time it was a semi occasional hobby. I put up a few pictures, and wrote a few things that no one read. 

Then along come this idea called Photostory Friday -- a weekly opportunity to share my love of the still image, and to write about it -- hosted by Cecily and Mamageek. I don't want to sound hyperbolic here, but Photostory Friday changed me. It changed the way I look at life. In the ever more challenging effort to write something worthwhile, I think more deeply about the experiences of my life. It has made me increasingly aware, and increasingly grateful for the wonderful life that I live. I have a chance, not only to put words to my thoughts, and to share images that I find, personally, beautiful, but, primarily because of the Photostory posts -- at least at first --  I have had the chance to share them with so many new people, and consequently to find so many others who feel blessed in the same manner, and who write such heartfelt posts of their own. 

We live in a world that is so often full of anger and hatred, but to see so many people who see their lives as a blessing, gives me hope. To see people who find joy in the details, is refreshing. 

So, a thank you to Cecily and Mamageek, for this great idea, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. 

Another thank you to those of you  -- J the Grockle (and Arizona refugee), at imbeingheldhostage...Kat, at fritterfarmers...mamarazzi...and avtcoach -- who have said such kind things about me, and this little blog, in recent days. It pleases me to no end, when I know that something I have written, has touched someone in a positive way. I enjoy, tremendously, each of your blogs -- along with many, many others, too numerous to mention here. I look forward, daily, to reading the great things that so many of you have to say. Thank you for you unique perspective on the world -- it is a richer place for each of you.

Well, I didn't really mean for this to sound like an award acceptance speech, but I just wanted to take the chance to say thank you. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photostory Friday: Girls

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

So, I have these two girls. 

I have a boy too, but we're not talking about him today.

Have you ever noticed that boys and girls are different? I know! Stunning huh? Me -- I'm a boy. I always have been. I enjoy it. We eat, we sleep, we break stuff. It's a simple life. 

But girls are complex!

When my wife was pregnant the first time, I knew it was a girl. I knew it. I never even entertained the idea that it might turn out to be a boy. I knew it was a girl, and that was where my expertise ended. See, I have no sisters, and I was pretty shy as a kid, so my only frame of reference for women came from television -- Daisy Duke, Lucy Van Pelt, Wonder Woman, Crystal and Alexis. 

Along comes Jordan, and all I know is that I don't know anything. It almost ended before it began. It turns out newborns are a LOT heavier than they look, and I almost dropped Jordan , the first time the nurse handed her to me. But, eventually, they let me take her out of the hospital, with some remark like, "Here's a girl. Good luck."
Six years later we did the same thing (though, by this time, I was much more adept at holding on to newborns).

So, I have two girls, and somedays I just don't get them. They're moody. They're bossy. Jordan thinks she's the "other" mother. Emma, the youngest, can really be quite a tyrant. Everything is SO dramatic. "I'm not playing with so and so, because she hates me. We're enemies." (this was in Kindergarten!), "This girl in my class likes this guy, but he doesn't even know she's alive," "I can't possibly be seen in public in that!"
Everything makes them cry. They stomp around the house. They want to be pretty, but they refuse to comb the knots out of their hair. They look at you like you are the dumbest thing on earth. They love the color pink, and they love to dress up, but they can't, for the life of them, see the mess that they make, in the middle of their bedroom floor (actually, that would be all of the kids). The world comes to an end about six times a day. For the record, I have no idea where all of this volatility comes from.  Some days I wonder what I did to deserve this.

Then I think about the time that Jordan was four years old, and in ballet, and she made up a little dance to the song "Where are you Christmas?" Unbeknownst to her, I was watching from the other room. It made me cry. And I think about the faith of Emma, when she grew her popcorn. I think about Jordan's sweet spirit, and how she is so patient with Emma, who is so much younger. They color, and they do each other's hair and nails. I think about how Jordan wants to play the piano and take pictures, just like I do. And how pleased she is, when she does both well. And her even greater pleasure when she knows that I think someday, she'll be better than me at both things. And Emma, telling me not to eat red licorice at the beach, because if you stub your toe, and it starts to bleed, and you're drooling, people might think the blood is just licorice juice. And the whispered "I love you's." And soft kisses on the cheek. And a million other things...

And how they both still call me Daddy...

Like I said, what did I do to deserve this?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gimme some love!

Candy, at Shutterbugsandbutterflies, has passed along this really cool award to me today. If you haven't been to Candy's site, go. Right now. I'll wait. 
Candy is a photographer with a fantastic eye. She is the wife of a Calvinist preacher, a mother and a marathon runner. She is a fascinating mixture of straight talk and wide eyed wonder. 
Thanks Candy.
Here are the rules: Write about five things you love. Make five other people do the same.

1. I love these eyes. Jordan's eyes are her most striking feature, and they always have been. Looking at pictures of Jordan as a small child and comparing them to a current picture, it's the eyes that tell you who you are looking at. They compliment her graceful and lovely appearance nicely. These eyes are the reason I began taking pictures.

2. I love this smile. Emma's smile is still young and genuine. I don't know why it is that we develop that phony smile as we get older, but we all do it. Emma is hanging on to her "real" smile longer than most. It's at least 1,000,000 watts. This smile is love. This smile gets whatever it wants.

3. I love this heart. Matthew is the kindest, gentlest, and most generous boy that I know. He is a great friend. His best attribute may be his ability to forgive so easily. Especially his quick tempered and often regretful father. 

4. I love this picture. We don't do family pictures very often, because, frankly, I prefer to be on the other end of the camera. But, a couple of weeks ago, we dressed everyone in white shirts and denim, found a pretty place, I set the camera timer and made a mad dash. We were happy, we were smiling. And nobody hated the picture. Result? We finally have a picture of the whole family to hang in our home.

5. I love my bullwhip. These don't all have to be the greatest loves of my life, do they? I'm a huge Indiana Jones fan (he was the force behind my love of history -- it's a long story). That whip you see coiled on my shoulder, is made by David Morgan, the man who made the whips for the movies. It's the SAME whip! And I paid through the nose for it. Now purists will look at my outfit here and say "Sure, he's got the hat and jacket. But, where's the gun and the shoulder bag?" But, what they're all thinking is "I wish I had that whip!" It sounds like a rifle when it cracks. I think it scares the neighbors, but they've only called the police once. It hurts like a mother when you catch yourself in the calf or behind the ear. That's the sign of a good whip. (I don't really have jaundice -- it's just the filter).

Now, I think I'll pass this love fest on to:
1. Pam. She has possibly the cutest kids on the planet, especially the curly haired ballerina who loves her uncle Chris.

2. Alisha. This is your online source for two beautiful little crackerjacks, whose mother takes her camera EVERYWHERE! Even to the hospital. And she answers all of her email. She's like Superwoman.

3. Kat. Kat is a great writer and story teller. Those ghost stories creeped me out. On top of that she might have West Nile virus. I think that alone should qualify her for an award. And one of these days, I'll figure out what a fritter farmer is.

4. Susan. All she is is a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, former teacher, photographer (make that a very good photographer), vocalist, cook, cleaner, mender of boo boos, organizer, writer, blogger, listener, piles of laundry doer, and jewelry seller. So she has quite a bit of time on her hands to do things like this. Besides, she always leaves the kindest comments for me.

5. Jordan. My first born, who just lives for things like this.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A time for giving thanks...

To my grandfather, Raymond, who fought in the Pacific Theater, in World War II, and died two years before I was born. I wish I had known you. 

To my father-in-law, Terry -- a Marine Captain in Vietnam -- the father of my wife, grandfather to my children, and a man who is like a father to me.

To my brother-in-law Jeff, an active Marine for four years, and now doing everything he can to support his family. Forever faithful.

To my brother-in-law Pete, a Captain in the Army, dedicated to his family and his country.

To those farmers and simple men, whose souls were tried at Valley Forge, and who believed that they could begin the world all over again. 

To those men in blue, who turned back the rebellious tide at Gettysburg, and moved a nation closer to its founding, self evident truths.

To those of that magnificent generation, who, literally, saved the world from fascism -- and then shunned the title of hero.

To those who endured a confusing and dangerous action in Vietnam, only to come home to  a nation bitterly divided.

To those who watched nearly three thousand innocent Americans die, on a beautiful early September morning, and felt they needed to be part of the solution.

To those who joined the Armed Forces for a pension, or for school, or for any other reason at all.

To those who come home to their families, and strive to raise the next generation of patriots. And to those who are never heard from again.

To those who lie below white crosses, in vast green fields. And in tombs without names.

To those citizens who, today, pledge their lives and service to the defense of the great American Promise of Liberty and Equality.

Thank You. 

Happy Veterans Day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Photostory Friday: Take another look...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I'm not in the habit of hanging blurry pictures on the wall. And yes, my vision is fine. Some of you may think I'm crazy. That's okay.
I assure you, I am.

This is the story of how a picture went from a mistake, to a piece of art (if I may use that term so boldly), hanging on my living room wall.

While taking family portraits last week, in between shots I (FINALLY!) let my kids loose, to run off some energy, so that, hopefully, they could sit still through a few more shots. I don't mind doing portraits, but, what I love are the candid shots -- the moments.

As I looked up from reviewing pictures, I saw my daughters, skipping down a winding path, among the Autumn leaves. That's a picture I live for. In my mind it was a beautiful and playful image. I lifted the camera and shot quickly. The moment was so fleeting that I was sure I had missed it. Later, while editing, I came across this shot, realized that it was blurry, and moved on. 

But, for some reason, I didn't delete it right away. I kept thinking about it, and coming back to it. I began to see it in a different light. It was certainly not the picture I had intended to take, but I found that as I looked again at the image, I saw that the picture I had originally envisioned was there -- a colorful, playful shot of my beautiful girls.

When I approached it, not as a failure, but as a thing of worth, I found more than I had seen at first. When I treated it with respect, and as something of value, it became something valuable -- to me anyway. I gave it a chance to put its best foot forward (so to speak), and it showed me things I didn't know were there.

This picture is not the kind that wins awards, and it freaked the poor girl out who processed it, because she thought her machine was broken, but I found that when I treated this picture differently, others began to see it in a different light. They began to admire its good qualities, and to look, with less criticism, at its shortcomings. 

There was a lesson here that, for me, went much deeper than admiring the hidden beauty of a blurry picture of my daughters. 

I've taken a lot of pictures in the last couple of weeks, many of which I am actually quite pleased with. 
This one is my favorite.

ps. Sorry about the sermon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ok, let's talk about hope...

This is a wonderful day for our nation. I can say that, without reservation, without regret. Barriers have fallen. Walls have come down. Our national ideal is another step closer to reality: a world where all men are created equal. A nation where there is no divide. A country where we are not judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

The man I voted for did not win. To be honest, the person I wanted to throw my support behind, did not make it out of the primaries.

 Tonight, Barrack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.

In the last few years, Mr. Obama has promised change. He has preached hope. This overwhelming  victory tonight shows that people are willing to take him at his word. I direct the following to President-elect Barrack Obama:

I hope you are up to the monumental task before you. I mean that with all sincerity.

I hope that you understand what you have done. The country is behind one man, as they have not been in a generation.

I hope you know that people believe in you.

I hope you don't let them down.

I hope you are the President of the United States, and not just the head of a party.

I find your story inspiring. I find your words inspiring. But I am not sold on your intentions or your experience. I hope that changes.

I hope this moment, in the grand but often troubled history of this nation that I love, lives up to it's promises. 

I don't expect to agree with you all the time. I hope there are more times that I do, than moments that I don't.

I hope that your election opens doors, and opportunities for people who feel oppressed, and left behind.

You have a gift for connecting with people. I hope that gift serves you well.

I hope it serves all of us well.

I hope you understand that this nation has enemies in the world. 

I hope you understand that those enemies view your presidency as the lesser of two evils. 

I hope they have misjudged you. 

I hope you are strong.

I hope you keep this nation strong.

I hope you make this nation proud.

I love this country. It is not perfect, but it is a work in progress. We are in the midst of serious difficulties right now, but I still believe in the dream that is America. I hope you leave our nation a better place than you find it.

God Bless America.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

So, I took a day off...

I posted for thirty-one straight days. Apparently, everyone else does this in November. It wasn't easy to come up with something to say everyday. No doubt, those of you who keep up with me here can attest to that fact. So, when it was all over, I thought I deserved a break.
But, it turns out that blogging everyday changed me. It changed the way I think. Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, I wrote nothing. It felt wrong. All day long I had this nagging feeling that I was shirking some sort of responsibility. I realize if I ignore this feeling, it will eventually go away. But, here's the problem:

I liked it. It was a great exercise in creative writing (or trying to be creative, anyway). Well that, and I thoroughly enjoy hearing from so many people, from so many different places. So after one day off, I'm back at it. I have no plan to go every day, I won't inflict that on you again. But, I need my fix. I've accepted it.

I'm a blogaholic.

Having said that, here is a bit of inaneness. Something I learned today -- if you want to make licorice flavored caramel, it doesn't matter how much anice extract you put in -- if you are making the caramel with brown sugar, it will still taste like caramel. Anice is the licorice flavoring, and it smells just like NyQuil -- the green stuff -- it is VERY strong. But, I poured in the whole bottle (1 full ounce), and nothing. Maybe a slight aftertaste, but that's it. The caramel is very good, but it's just caramel.

After we were done, I looked up licorice caramel recipes, online, and lo and behold, you have to use WHITE sugar! 

This is how I do things.

Anyway, since I had five little red apples, standing there expectantly, I dipped them in the hot caramel. 
They look like five little guys, with bad toupees. 

My wife thinks this guy: 

Looks a lot like this guy:

I just don't see it.