Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Saying Hi to Dad

My father died thirteen years ago today, although at times it doesn't seem that long at all. Until the last couple of years I'd be doing something and think "I'll have to tell dad that", then remember that he was gone. My dad's funeral was the saddest event I've ever been to. I couldn't hold back the tears at all, he was everything I could ever hope to be, and he was gone.
My mother's death was different because I was in shock through the whole affair, with her dying suddenly at a very hectic time in my life. Even though I was closer to her than dad, his death hit me the hardest, maybe because I'd become so close to him after her passing.

I miss telling him things, mostly things the kids do. He really loved all the grandkids, even though he wasn't as outward with his affection as mom was. I wish he would have been around just a few more years to see my youngest son, who has the same blue eyes as he did. He would have gotten a kick out of him.

I think that as long as we keep our loved ones in our thoughts that they are still with us, so today I'm thinking of you dad.

Monday, February 26, 2007

On the Edge of Hell

It hits me out of the blue most of the time, or so it seems. Anxiety and panic have gained ground over the calmness which I have been able to maintain for quite some time. For some reason though I now find myself anxious almost all the time. The demon I thought I was finally pushing out of my life has come back as strong as ever. Irrational thoughts prevail, making even the simplest daily event something to dread. I try to reason things out when that happens, and I have been able to keep the full-blown panics to a minimum, but that ever present anxiety waits for the trigger to be pulled to send me into that world where reasonable thinking has been drowned out by waves of terror which have no reason to exist.

I've spent a lot of time telling myself that my fears are unfounded, and I can see that it's true. My brain knows that there is no reason for me to feel this way, but another part of me takes over in those times, sending signals to my brain which initiates the "fight or flight" reflex and sends adrenaline coursing through my body. A counselor I had once told me that people go to theme parks and pay lots of money to get the rush that I get. I would gladly pay that much and more to be rid of this, my demon, who takes me on these unwanted trips to hell.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nowhere to Hide

We have, as one of our regular customers, a man whose physical stature closely resembles the late Andre the Giant. At 7' tall and probably about 400lbs. he's a little shorter than Andre, but in our small town commands no less attention. I don't know a lot about him, other than the fact that he's quiet and good natured and rumoured to have been a professional wrestler once. His walk shows signs of bad knees, perhaps, shuffling as if in a lot of discomfort. He deflects the stares and returns gasps from the little old ladies who bump into him with a polite smile or a grin. He's someone you wouldn't pay much attention to if it weren't for his size.

I always wanted to be bigger when I was growing up. At 5'9" and a medium build I fit into the "ordinary" class of people. With my quiet manner I've always been someone who is almost invisible at any social gathering, which can sometimes be a good thing, but most times I wished I had a quick wit or a tall build so people could say "Hey, there's Tim", and many people would gather around to get my views on the world economy or the slumping baseball team. But when I think of what the tall customer probably had to put up with, especially in this area where so many idiots are grown and redneck bravado dictates that you challenge or taunt someone that size, I think maybe I'm ok the way I am.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Wednesday

For the last few days I've been trying to update my account and haven't been able to. Today I finally got through.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent, which means - for us Catholics - that we give up something we love for the duration. We have a tradition that we give up pop (soda or cola if you prefer) as a family. I also give up eating meat, and this year I'm going to try to give up sweets too. That would be a monumental sacrifice for me, but I'll see if I have the willpower. I don't drink a lot of pop, so that's not going to bother me much, and- although I get very tempted by the smell of meat cooking for the rest of the family- I can go without it until Easter. But the cookies, doughnuts, cake, pie and all the variations of the sugary delight family will be a big give up.

There usually aren't that many people at mass on Ash Wednesday, but last night the church was full. Since we got there right before it started I grabbed the first pew that I thought looked like it would fit us all in. Turns out it was one space short of fitting us comfortably, so four of us were jammed in it with me getting dirty looks from my wife, then afterward she pointed out that there was an empty pew toward the front we should have sat in. Oh well.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Good News

A while back I wrote about a friend who found out her son has cancer. After lots of radiation and chemo treatments, they just found out his cancer is gone. I work closely with her sometimes and I know all that she's been going through, so I'm really happy he came through it ok. It's been a hectic few months.

In some not-so-good news, my gas bill came yesterday. We got that new energy efficient furnace put in last year, and.... the results of that? Our bill was the highest it's ever been in the sixteen years we've been here. Granted, we ran it a lot because of the cold, but almost $500... for one month!?? So now the thermostat is set at 60 to try to save on next month's bill.... I'm cold.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Fun

Winter's fury has finally been unleashed fully here in east central Ohio and I took advantage of it today to go sled riding. I've gone a couple of times the past week or so, but we haven't had nearly the amount of snow that we have now, so I headed out to the country with two kids to have some fun. If you live anywhere in these parts you know that it was nasty yesterday with lots of snow, then freezing rain. This created a thick layer of ice on top of the snow, so that when you walked on it you might go a few steps then your foot breaks through the ice, making it hard to walk up the hill. It also makes for a very fast ride down the hill. My hill is very steep, so you can imagine the speed of a plastic sled on a sheet of ice. All very good and fun until it's time to stop. The first time I went down the path I made last summer especially to go sledding I laid down in the sled and didn't see where I was going. I thought I was about halfway down the hill when a sudden stop sent me shooting off the front of the sled. I had run into the ditch at the bottom of the hill. Collecting my senses and standing up I noticed something I'd overlooked before, when I was making this path. My speedy descent had thrown me slightly off the path and I came within ten feet of smacking into the electric pole at the bottom of the hill. Not something you'd want to do if you had plans to keep on living. So I changed to a different location and went down a couple more times, wiping out spectacularly and getting more scratches and bruises.... I'm thinking maybe I should grow up and act my age and stick to watching the kids have fun......................nahhh.

To Laura and Michelle, thanks for your comments on my last post. I think I'll stick around and keep wasting valuable cyber space. You guys are great, thanks! :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

One Year Anniversary

It was a year ago yesterday that I stepped into the world of blogging, so happy anniversary to me I guess. Doesn't seem like it's been a year. Thanks to anyone who stopped to read. I'm sorry I haven't been very interesting, but I started this mainly to write down my thoughts and to chronicle my attempts to conquer my phobias. I haven't been very successful with the latter, and my thoughts are boring and repetitive, even to myself. Not sure if I'll keep this up or not. Have a great Saturday

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Familiar Pain

Many times, when I look at old pictures or listen to music from when I was younger, I get an intense ache in the pit of my stomach. A longing to go back to that time. I think of things I could have done differently, tossing about a lot of "what ifs" in my mind, and trying to think of ways to relive some of those times. I've come to see that life is a one-way street, running until it dead ends, and there is no backing up time or pausing it. This is a bitter realization for someone who sees so many things they've done wrong, or things they haven't done at all, and knows there are no second chances. However, with that realization comes the knowledge that each day must be lived within that day. No looking back or ahead. I'm coming to accept this fact and trying to adjust my life accordingly, but still....

The lost loves, the places I wanted to go, things I wanted to do... there was a time for all that and that time is passed. There was a certain excitement about everything when I was younger which doesn't exist now, even when I finally get to do some of the things that I didn't get to earlier. The here and now is another chapter in life which holds its own excitement, and those younger-days things are from another time. I now find happiness in more 'grownup' endeavors which were boring when I was younger, so I'm learning to make the most of my transition from young man to middle age man. I've also realized that the pain I feel - that deep yearning for the past - is something I treasure, because my memories and any pangs that go along with them are my most solid connection to my youth, and I know I need that connection to keep my grownup life in perspective. So every now and then I listen to an old breakup song and let the feelings flood through me, knowing that afterward I'll see things a little differently, as if the past and present met briefly and came to an understanding of sorts.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pillsbury Cigarette Cookies

I let my sweet tooth control my thoughts for a minute and dug into the bag of cookies that my mother-in-law sent over. One bite and that was it for me, as I'm still trying to get the taste out of my mouth. She actually bakes very well, but since she is a chain smoker and lives in a small apartment, everything has that distinct ash tray taste, and since I'm not a smoker most of what she sends over finds its way into the trash can. Although she has a multitude of health problems and has been told numerous times to quit, she considers her cigarettes "candy". When she's over at our house for holiday dinners she always goes outside after the meal (we don't allow smoking in the house) saying "Time for my dessert". It's not something I like for my kids to hear because, heaven knows, it's hard enough to teach them that those things are to be avoided without having their grandma refer to them as dessert. I'm not sure why my wife never started smoking, since both her brothers and her mom do, but I know I wouldn't be with her if she had.
Hopefully, grandma's cookies will serve as a deterrent if my kids ever think about taking up the habit. I know the taste of them keeps me from getting the urge to ever start, along with killing my appetite for any food at all for several hours.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winter's Icy Grip

I've had a cold for a few days now, along with a good portion of the population around here. I was determined not to let that, plus the frigid temperatures, keep me from having some winter fun, so I took Ryan sled riding the last two days. Not having been sledding for a few years I discovered that: A) It's still just as fun, B) My hill has a lot of bumps and C) My body doesn't respond as well as it used to when hitting bumps. I'm not sure how I got a sore arm but it's been hurting all day, and every so often I'll turn a certain way and find another part of my body that was brutalized by my joyous escapade with the thin plastic sled and snow-covered ruts. I'm not complaining though, and if this cold wasn't wearing me down I'd be out there today.

I also took my latest purchase and tried it out prior to going sledding, that being an 8mm Mauser with which I could barely hit the hill that I was firing into, let alone the targets I had set up. I shall work on that. I would have hated to be a German soldier carrying that into battle, because it probably weighs close to twenty pounds, and with the bayonet stands about five feet tall.

I started working on the canvas covering for the tepee I'm making. Sewing is not one of my strong points, so it's taking me quite a while to sew the pieces together. If I could figure out how to use the sewing machine it might go easier, but thus far I haven't mastered the technology to do that without sewing my finger to my eyelid. I might give it another try tonight though.

Well I hope it's warm wherever you are, and if it is please send me an invitation. :)