Monday, March 30, 2009

The Visitor

This is Chubsy, our neighbor's dog in the country. This picture was taken about a year and a half ago and he's doubled in size since then. Everytime I go out to the cabin he, or one of the other two dogs, will come racing down the hill looking for a treat. I started giving them something whenever I saw them now they expect a Milkbone everytime they come down. They get in the way a lot and have chased all wildlife from our side of the hill, but its sometimes good to have company when I'm out there.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

More Wisdom From Master Po

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can You Tell This About Me?

You rarely hear a person talk about their failures when they speak of their life's works. No one likes to say that they've been an alcoholic most of their life, or that they were an unfaithful husband, or that they failed the Bar exam three times. Trying to accomplish something holds little weight in the stories of our lives, but failure is a large part of the growing process in a lifetime. I've been neglecting this online journal because I, too, am ashamed to admit failure in my endeavor to take back control of that part of my life which causes me such distress. In truth, the lack of aggressively attacking my problem has been my biggest disappointment, and something I've been trying to change lately, but a lifetime of living with a certain phobia is not an easy thing to change and the going has been slow, and frustrating. So even though very few people besides me read what I put down here, I still hesitate to expound on the futility of my problems day after day. My hope has always been to keep track of my progress on here and one day see that I've mastered that part of me which has for so long held control over me. Instead, I keep my disappointments to myself and push them back where no one can see them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Child's Shame

When I was walking down the path from school one day in the fifth grade with my brothers and sisters my mom met us as we crossed the creek into the field. She had my little nephew by the hand and her eyes were filled with tears. "Jim's dead" she told us simply. Jim was my brother-in-law, and father to the two year old child whose hand she held. After the initial shock I felt a weight of guilt fall on me, because I knew I was the one responsible for his death.

A couple of years previously (not sure exactly because events from that early get jumbled in my mind) my younger sister and I had been staying the night with my older sister and her husband, Jim. We didn't get to stay away from home often at that age so it was exciting for us and we ran and did all the things kids do at that age. At one point my younger sister got on the couch and started jumping up and down. I was laughing at her until Jim pulled her off and spanked her. I was angry at him because we were rarely spanked at home. The threat from our dad was enough to keep us in line, and for him to spank her really outraged me and I left their house and made a wish that he would die.... my six or seven year old mind quick to call up the most severe punishment for some reason. A couple years later I would get my wish.

I found out a lot about my brother-in-law after he died. I guess it took such a tragedy to jar my young brain into thinking about something other than playing because I had never really known him before, except that he was short, gruff, and for some reason my sister and my parents liked him a lot, as did my next older brother. What I found was that he had almost an impish sense of humor and a lot of what I took to be gruffness was his way of joking around. He had gotten expelled from school one time and during his expulsion rode with a truck driver. From then on he knew that's what he wanted to do, so he worked as a trucker from then on, owning his own truck, which he named after my sister, before he died. He and my sister bought a house just down the road from where he worked, and he taught his son how to signal for a trucker to blow his horn, and every time he went past his son would be outside and he'd honk at him.
All these things that I found out made me feel even more guilty because he wasn't really a monster, he was someone that everyone who knew him liked him. And I had wished him dead.

Even at that age I knew it wasn't really my fault that he died. The steep grade of that Maryland highway and possibly defective brakes had ended his life, but the shame of those thoughts followed me for many years after. Maybe it was a life lesson for me, because I have never since wished death to anyone. That feeling of guilt is not something I want to revisit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It Has To Be True

Over the years I've gotten - like most people - hundreds or more e-mails claiming that I've either won a foreign lottery or a deposed king is seeking me out to hold 20 billion dollars for him and will pay me 17% of it or that I am the true heir to Howard Hughes' fortune. Being the lazy ass I am I've never gotten around to laying claim to any of my unknown wealth, BUT... yesterday I got an official e-mail from the FBI no less, telling me that some of those were hoaxes and they were just out to get my money. I was stunned, of course, but the feds went on to assure me that the one from the Federal Ministry of Finance from Nigeria was indeed the real deal and that $800,000 had already been deposited into an ATM card account and all they needed was a $200 payment from me to activate the card. They went on to say that there had even been fake FBI e-mails sent to some, and not to be fooled because they didn't have the official seal on it, like this one had. I felt such a sense of gratitude and patriotism that the FBI was watching out for me, an average American who just happened to come into $800,000, that I cried just like I did when they showed the Berlin wall coming down, or when The Incredible Hulk couldn't save his wife and she died in his arms. Anyway, dashing to my checkbook I discovered that I had $20.17 and I needed to get gas in my car yet. I don't know how long they'll hold my money in that account, but just as soon as I scrape together $200 I'll be living the easy life, I have no doubt.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Taoism Ponderings

Each man's destiny is predetermined. He goes through life following the path that has been set for him.
Each man has free will to determine his own fate. His decisions are his own.
Both statements, though they seem in conflict, are true.

Yes, I've been watching Kung Fu again.