30 November 2008
Did not accomplish much this weekend aside of getting a the computer set up. I had planned on getting the Xmas lights up and cleaning up the yard, but seemed to be running in slow gear all weekend long. I think the cruise has put me off my schedule (seems like a good excuse).
Speaking of cruise, now that my pc problems appear to be resolved, I will try to catch up on my vacation report (if anyone cares). Spending a week on a boat with your family will test even the hardiest of souls. We left Galveston a week ago on Sunday and, after 2.5 days of straight sea hauling, we reached Jamaica only to find the port closed. Rough seas closed the port on Tuesday and we could not dock. Of course, that meant all of the shore excursions were cancelled as we 180’d the ship and headed for Grand Cayman. My brother & I were slated for some doing some zip-lining in Jamaica but that was not to be. 4 days of straight sailing can get kinda boring, in spite of the ship board entertainment. I had planned to exercise/run every day on the ship to stave of the effects of non-stop eating, but Tuesday the wind was so strong on the upper deck that running laps was a serious challenge. I did hit the ship gym for a while along with sitting in the sauna, but prefer to run outside. I will note that running track on a moving ship is a weird feeling.
29 November 2008
27 November 2008
For many years, we have had Thanksgiving dinner at out house. Since both my family and my wife's family are in town, we have tried to serve as the gathering hole on Thanksgiving day. Lots of prep and stress, but we have a great time. We try to share the preparation duties but one of my roles is to stuff the bird early in the morning. This started way back when we lived in Dallas when I would try to run in the annual Turkey Trot. I would get up at at oh-dark-thirty and stuff the turkey, toss it in the oven and hit the trail. Been a while since I have been doing the annual run, but I still have the bird prep responsibity.
This year will be a little less hectic (I think). Stephen is home from college. My parents are having dinner over at their house (2nd brother is still in town from our cruise), so we will only have my wife's family and my son & girlfriend. Should be fairly calmer by those standards. Later today, we will go across town for dessert with my family (translation: more eating). Lots of food, conversation, football, naps. Will need to run an extra mile today to make up for the intake.
Even with all of the stress that sometimes comes with the holidays, I am tremedously grateful for what we have. We have our family. We have our health. THAT is what I am most grateful for.
Be safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!
26 November 2008
Oh well, I guess I need to Cowboy up and starting looking for a new system. Looks like I will be going out on Black Friday to get an early Xmas present. Anybody got suggestions?
24 November 2008
We got back to Galveston early Sunday morning and finally made it home around noon. Very good trip. This was the first cruise I have ever done and I enjoyed it, even though I got sick the last day of the trek. We did a 7 day trip on the Carnival Conquest running out of Galveston, Texas with a trek across the Gulf of Mexico with stops in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Was to be a family trip with my parents and both brothers and their wives. Interesting to be that close on a boat with my family for a week. Many interesting stories/debates ensued throughout the week.
More to follow…
23 November 2008
We docked about 0700 this morning and just got home.
Lots of unpacking to do, laundry, catching up on e-mails.
Dog did great! He loved the two ladies who came over several times each day to take care of him. To say they spoiled him is an understatement. In spite of all of the attention he got, he was still jumping up and down (as much as he can) when we came home.
More details on the boat trip later. Very tired.
16 November 2008
Last minute shopping yesterday. A few more Hawaiian shirts (hey, they were on sale). Bought bottle of scotch & rum for the room (parents are bringing the vodka). At least I have my medications lined up. Speaking of medications, we have prepped the dog for our eventual departure. If you read any of my earlier missives, Shadow is a very intuitive dog. He knows when we are leaving for a road trip and that he is not going along. He was a Humane Society dog so I am not sure he has some abandonment issues, but he is normally not happy when we leave him for any extended period of time. He usually gets very depressed and will mope around while we are gone, in spite of who we have take care of him. I’d put him up with the vet for the week, but we did that 10 years ago and he still had not yet forgiven me for that. So we leave him at home and have someone come over and take care of him. Now, prepping him for our trip we have taken him to the vet and had him check out from stem to stern. Poor old guy. At 13 years old, he has a myriad of problems (bronchitis, cushings diesese, mitral valve prolapse, bad hip). Hell, I have seen people with less problems than he has. Despite all of these challenges, he is still a puppy at heart. Still looks for his daily walks. Still trying to catch that damn squirrel. Always ready to mooch a snack. Looking for a place to take a nap. I was setting up his pills for next week and realized that he is taking 9 different pills every day. I won't even mention how much those suckers are costing.
Bon voyage, ya'll.
15 November 2008
Not exactly sure where this one came from, but many moons ago, my family picked up the phrase “Bless your heart”. While I am sure it started out as well meaning, it has morphed into something you say when making comments about someone else. According to the Urban Dictionary, it literally means:
- a phrase used by Southern women to excuse themselves for speaking ill of someone else. “She’s as ugly as a mud-fence, bless her heart”
- an expression of sympathy or pity “Well, bless your heart, that must have been terrible”
Down here, some folk tend to use it as a left-handed insult or to call someone stupid (usually offered up after someone gives their unwanted opinion). As the youngest of 3 boys, I am always getting advice from my older siblings on how to run my life (gee, how did I ever make it to 50 without their sage wisdom?), and my response is typically along the line of “Reeeally? Gee, thanks! Bless your heart!”. Needless to say, I expect to hear that expression several times next week on our boat ride. My bride has forbade me from using that expression but it will be hard to keep it from slipping out occasionally.
Slowly, we’re getting ready. ½ packed, up & out early for short run, going to get a haircut, last minute supplies. The day down here is perfect. Low 50’s. Clear skies. Windy. It is this kind of weather that makes one love the outdoors in Texas (forget about those August afternoons). I am truly grateful for these days as it tends to make all of my troubles minor/insignificant.
14 November 2008
Life’s way too short to sit around complaining about it. It’s been another one of those weeks that seems to fly by. Once again I find myself facing a mountain of projects/chores with little time to get them all done, but, even with this kind of intensity, I’d rather be fully engaged in stead of being bored.
I’m trying to get ready for our little boat ride next week. A week long cruise and I have not yet begun to pack. Should I be worried? Ok, I've been taking care of the logistics (dog, paper, etc.), but trying to decide what to carry on the trip for me is an exercise in wardrobe coordination. Since this is a cruise in the Gulf, I am figuring to take a lot of tropical attire (shorts, sandals, Hawaiian shirts). There are a couple of formal dinners, so I am hauling my suit, but don’t expect it to see much use. Now, I'll admit I ain’t much of a shopper, but I did head out last weekend to pick up some supplies and scored a few nice Hawaiian shirts at Kohl’s for next-to-nothing (off season deals). Since we are traveling with my brothers & parents, I decided to go back and pick up shirts for my dad & my brothers so we match (how’s that for geeky?). My brother already bought us all matching guayabera shirts for dinner (the wedding party wore these shirts during his son’s wedding in Puerto Rico last summer), so we will probably look like we just arrived from Cuba. I'm really looking forward to the trip. As with all of my major road trips, things tend to get a wee bit hectic before we leave, but once we step off, the trip goes on autopilot and I can begin to relax and enjoy the adventure.
12 November 2008
From a recent fortune cookie epistle.
We are taught by every person we meet.
It’s funny how some of life’s simpler observations are profound. I find that saying very true. Every day gives us an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things (kinda like being back in kindergarten).
11 November 2008
Please remember them in your thoughts & prayers.
10 November 2008
09 November 2008
Ever notice that life is full of sayings? We all tend to gravitate towards certain expressions & sayings to make a point, express our opinion, share some humor, or close a conversation. I noticed that, over the decades, I have gathered a few of my own. Some I picked up by accident, others I have shamelessly stolen & usurped for my own evil purpose.
Take for example, the title of today’s diatribe: “Great. Wonderful. Best Day of My Life.” Actually, my brother started that one many years ago and I have adopted it as my standard response when I greet people. I use this reply whenever asked “How are you doing? Or How have you been?” The typical response has been “Good” or “OK” or “Can’t Complain”, but I’ve always felt those were throw away responses, used as a generic reply to others when you either don’t want to engage in conversation or they really don’t want to hear about your problems. Honestly, how many people want to hear about the kid’s latest escapades or how gassy the dog is getting or how your hemorrhoids are (by the way, should that be singular or plural?). A long while ago, I adopted my current reply as a response to any queries and it has sparked many interesting conversations. People are not typically expecting such an answer and it usually gives them pause when they hear it. It usually generates a smile or laugh from most as they may not believe me. Trust me, this is not a line for me. I try to live that mantra and am more than willing to explain it to those that ask. The origin of that line comes from my older brother who, after listening to an NPR show about some guy in prison on death row, came to the conclusion that, in spite of all of his troubles/problems, his day –to-day life is way much better that this guy. So, from that inspiration sprung our expression. To me, it actually started as a corny line, but I have made it a cornerstone of my day. I actually believe in that expression, even when sometimes challenged (Is it really the best day? What about your wedding day? or Graduation? or the Birth of your son?) True. I consider each of those days was tremendous and memorable, but every day beyond those that I am upright and healthy I consider a blessing and I am grateful for. When I look at what I have, I am healthy, I have a good job (ok, it has its ups & downs), I have a good home, a great wife, smart kid, loyal (but old) dog. Everything else is relative. Given the problems we face today, life ain’t too bad. As Terri has stated many times: Life’s Good. (Thanks again for the cup!)
A few other favorite expressions I have gathered (or shamelessly stolen) over the years that I tend to use ad nauseam:
- Life’s Hard. Get a Helmet. – credit Terri
- Chance favor’s the prepared mind. – think Steven Segal
- Go ahead. Make my day. – timeless advice from Clint
- Cowboy up.
- It’s time to put your big boy pants on.
- Never drink downstream from the herd.
- Life’s short. Play hard.
- Every man dies, but not every man lives.
- Never give up! Never surrender!
- If you ain't the lead dog on the sled team, the view never changes....
08 November 2008
Now this week has been a serious challenge for me. All of my buyers were in training all week which left me not only in charge but doing all of the grunt work. I am not complaining, but it was hectic at times. Needless to say, I was not as civil or patient with some of the nebulous requests that we handle on a daily basis. The nice part is that I know how to do this and kinda like getting my hands dirty in the operations. There are times I would rather stay out of the political side of the business and handle the normal day-to-day tasks, but that is not what is always expected of my role.
It’s been a hell of a week. After all of the election pandemonium, a long week of handing orders, I am off on the road again. Heading off to Dallas tomorrow for another supplier audit, but, thankfully, this is a short one day hop. Will be back on Tuesday to deal with the normal chaos.
Boat ride coming up! The frau & have a serious road trip coming up in a week that we are trying to get ready for. My parents have organized a cruise for us as well as both of my brothers & their wives. We are going to spend a week on a big boat with my family and I'm not exactly sure how we are going to survive.