Sunday, December 10, 2006

Destined for...

I know it has been a while since I last posted. It has been a difficult time for me to try and decide what to blog about, there have been so many things on my mind. As most of you that read my blog know that my position with Verizon was done away with after 13 years. So this leaves me trying to figure out how to move forward.

I have always felt that I was destined for more. I have loved my job with Verizon but always felt it was just that. A job. I have always had big dreams for myself but have never really gone for them. I always seem to do what seems the "safest".

As I am faced with this change in my future, the first decision I have to make is if I want to try and stay with Verizon or not. As I struggle with this decision I go back and forth on whether or not it is the time for me to move on and chase some of my other dreams.

At this point it is worth me noting that I have always felt I could succeed at anything I do. But as I go through this that one question keeps coming up in the back of my head, "What if?".

"What if?" is simply the fear of the unknown. I mean I could probably get a job within Verizon and keep doing just as I do. But then again that "What if?" pops into my head again. Only this time the thought is "What if I passed up a great opportunity to change careers"?

I don't know what I am going to do. For now I am exploring both options. I just hope that whatever I do will be the right thing. There certainly is a lot to weigh as I try to make my decision. I am pretty sure that however I decide to move forward I will be successful but it sure is a tough decision to make.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Keeping Things in Perspective...

This week we are faced with another layoff at work. Thursday they are to announce a 15% reduction in our workforce. They are very quiet about who is to be cut. If you remember, I went through this about six months ago and the word we have been given is we more than likely will do it again the first quarter of 2007. As you can imagine, work is not very enjoyable right now. You try to get things done but all everyone is focused on is what is going to happen and will they be affected or not.

I sit and listen to these conversations and listen to how everyone feels so cheated and like they are owed something by our company. Now I do not want to lose my job but I have accepted that this is a business decision that had to be made and unfortunately it may affect me and many of my friends. I am not too worried about it, I really do not think that I will lose my job but at the sametime there is always the thought in the back of my head that I could. I have accepted that and think I am ready for that. Of course, I am not sure we are ever really ready for that. I suppose that reality will be a different test of that.

Today amidst everyone talking about things and wondering about their future. I had a friend in town that manages one of my former stores. She let me know that one of the ladies that worked for me lost her 18 year old son, David, in a car accident early Sunday morning. I worked in this store in 2001-2002 so he would have been in middle school at the time. He would come into our store and see his mom and also hang out and chat sometimes. He used to tell me about the animals he was raising to show at the livestock shows. Now I was never much of the type to raise animals for a livestock show but his passion made me excited for him. I remember one year he won a $25,000 award for a chicken he had raised, that was just incredible to me. He was always the most polite kid and enjoyable to have around. He would always answer me with yes sir or no sir and always very respectful. I had to convince him that it was ok for him to simply call me Dan. He loved football, especially Texas A&M football. I am pretty sure he loved that they beat Texas this past Friday.

After hearing that news it made the thought of some of us losing our job just seem a lot less important. There are certainly worst things in life than losing your job. And I am certain that David's family is going through one of the worst times I can imagine. This really has made me realize that the little things in my life are really a lot smaller than what they seem to be.

Tonight say a prayer for David's family and know that this has to be a very trying and difficult time for them. David was certainly a sparkle in their eye and I am sure in many others.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It Wasn't the Same....

I have been trying to write this post for about 24 hours now. Yes, it has been a long time since the last time I posted and it should probably be easy. But for some reason it just is not. Yesterday I watched one of the best football games that I might have ever seen. It is one that I am going to remember for a long time.

I was brought up as a Buckeye fan, or as my Dad would say "I was Buckeye born and Buckeye bred and when I die I will be Buckeye dead".

I remember growing up and always getting pumped up by my Dad for the Ohio State - Michigan game. It was always exciting. He would hang banners in the house and special game signs all over the house. One of which I did not quite understand when I was little but I certainly get it today. :-) My Dad was always certain to wear his best Ohio State shirts and he ALWAYS had hats close by, usually wearing a different one each quarter. I am also sure my Brother and I always had a football close by ready to throw it every chance we got.

This week getting ready for the game was no different in my mind. I was excited and pumped up for it. This year it was not only Ohio State - Michigan but it was #1-vs-#2. That makes it even more exciting. Friday I wore an Ohio State shirt to work and certainly talked about my excitement with all my buddies at work. Even a few of my coworkers that live in Michigan.

Saturday came and I got out of bed and put on a different Ohio State shirt along with my OSU hat. This was going to be a day for me to remember all those great games I have watched through the years none of them could be as big as this one.

I made myself a plate of smoked oysters, kipper snacks, saltine crackers and that mustard/mayo & horse radish sauce that my Dad used to make for us on the big game day. Everything is set I am ready and it is now gametime...

It was all just as I remember it, the snacks, the game and the excitement. The only thing missing were the signs hanging around my house and three other Ohio State hats. Oh and of course Dad and my Brother are at home in Florida and I am here in Texas.

As exciting as it all was it was just not the same watching the game by myself. My Dad is the reason I am "Buckeye Bred", he is the one that instilled in me the love for the scarlet and grey. He made me get excited for the game and all that goes into it. It just is not the same sitting here watching it by myself. Those days watching the big game with my Dad is such a great memory. Even today, I love going to Dad's house and watching the big games with him and my brother.

Today I got pictures of game time at Dad's. It was obvious that for the most part it was just as I remembered. I saw his hats and of course he had his Buckeye shirt on. My nieces looked to be having a good time and based on the outcome of the game I am pretty darn sure my Dad and everyone else had a great time as well.

I did have a great time. I did yell a lot and pretty darn sure Dad would have been pretty proud to see that I truly am "Buckeye Bred". Thanks Dad for giving me that. It is pretty darn exciting to be a Buckeye fan. And I am going to do my darndest to try and be able to watch the championship there with you. That will be exciting.

GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hard to Resist...

So I have a weakness for dogs. I would love to have one. I just have not wanted to take on that responsiblity as of yet. I keep thinking about it but have not done it yet. But I always look and think about it. So this is the latest puppy that has tugged at me. Can't you just hear her saying "Please take me home". Now I gotta stay strong and resist this urge.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Striving to Finish in 6th Place???

As you probably know I arrived in Florida last week. The trip was pretty uneventful with the exception of my car starting to act a little odd. The longer I have been down here the worse it has started to act.

Yesterday I took it to the dealer to have them check it out and figure out what the problem was. I made an appointment to have it there at 7:15am and I was there with time to spare. By 2pm I had to call them to find out what was going on. At 3:10pm they found the problem but did not know if they could get it done before the guy goes home at six. I ask several questions after that, all of which the answers were “NO”.

I decide to run to the dealer after work in hopes of being able to get my car. I actually was quite pleased when I got there my service advisor tells me that it is just finished. I said great then I will be able to take it home. And he very directly says "You are not taking anything home until I receive payment from your extended warranty company and then payment for your part". Mind you, the extended warranty company has authorized payment and that they complete the work. I then ask how long will that take I am told it could take until the next day and I get the “I leave at six” answer. I guess it does not matter that they are open until 9pm if he is gone no one can help me. I then ask several more questions all of which are answered with a firm “NO”.

Then as I am waiting I decide to walk into the cashier area to check on it. I am greeted by someone talking on the phone moving papers around not even looking like she is really doing anything more than moving them from one side of the desk back to the other and being sure to do anything to avoid looking at me. I patiently stand there and wait for her to finish her phone call.

At this point I start reading the tacky signs all over the glass that is separating me from the cashier. Most of them were hand written with specific words underlined and highlighted. The theme here is on everyone of these signs the word “NO” was underlined and highlighted. There must have been 10 of these different signs taped on their glass.

Then I notice a couple signs posted for the employees. I knew this because they were turned the wrong way. Well something I can tell you, is that white paper with black writing you can read the sign either way. One of them said “DO NOT release any keys until you have received payment in full”. Now this is probably an ok rule, but do you need to have a sign in plain view of your customers that says basically they do not trust their own customers to pay if they were to put the keys in their hands? How does that make us feel as customers?

Finally this girl just asks me what I need without ever looking at me. I explain everything to her. She says that she does not receive the authorization for payment it comes in the next office I could go check over there. So I walk out one door and quickly see the door is marked: “Service Office – Customer Help Here”. I think great! I walk in the door and ask the girl if she was the one that could help me figure out if they have received the authorization of payment from my warranty company. I am quickly given a finger point at the wall behind her and an answer of “NO you can do that next door”.

How exciting to be tossed back and forth every time knowing that I am going to get an answer of “NO”.

This dealership boasts they are the 6th Largest Ford Dealer in the World. I would like to suggest that if they learned to use different words than “NO” that perhaps they could be the “Largest Ford Dealer in the World”. When I purchased my car at this dealership it was not a pleasant experience. I tried to go elsewhere but no other dealer could make me the same deal. People obviously tolerate them because they give good deals but is that how they want to be known? What great tag lines: “Brandon Ford the Tolerable Dealership Because of our Great Prices” or "Brandon Ford - People Tolerate Us".

Having worked in sales/customer service for about twelve and a half years I have always tried to work by telling people what I CAN do for them rather than what I cannot. I find customers, I like to think of them as guests, really respond better when you approach them this way. No one likes to be told “NO”. I hope this dealership will someday wake up and get it. They probably do have the potential to be much bigger than they are. I cannot believe that they wake up and say that they want to be the “6th Largest Ford Dealer in the World”. That would be like playing in some game and hoping to not win.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stopping for the Night...

So about 8pm central time, I pulled into the Fairfield Inn in Mobile, Alabama. It has been a long day. I had to finish mowing the yard this morning before I left.

I got on the road about 10am and have driven all day. It has been fairly uneventful. I have taken some pictures. I left the camera in the car so I am not going to be adding any tonight.

For now I am off to bed so I can hit the road early again. I will blog more once I reach Tampa. Goodnight All!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On the Road Again...

Ok I know I have not been great at blogging lately but I am going to be really slack as I am not even going to do a Thursday Thirteen. I am going to let everyone know that I will be heading to Florida tomorrow morning.

I was supposed to leave Saturday but decided I was going to take a couple days off work and head out early so I could get in at a decent time Friday. I am going to try to find some photo opportunities as I am traveling so maybe I can come up with something to post tomorrow night.

My plan is to stay the night in Mobile, Alabama and then head to Tampa bright and early Friday morning. I do need a little help, I need to see if I can get my haircut on Saturday. Any takers on wanting to make a call for me? :-) Surely someone would make a call for me and get me an appointment. I will be on the road so feel free to give me a call anytime. My plan is to leave home by 10am.

Looking forward to seeing everyone real soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mr Wilson?

Are you familiar with Dennis the Menace? If you are then you know who I am talking about.

Mr Wilson was the crabby old guy that lived next door and seemed to despise kids and them having fun. He hated when they would run through his yard or romp through his flower beds. The kids never seemed bothered by him it was almost as if they enjoyed antagonizing the "Crabby" old guy.

As I was growing up I really did not have a neighbor like this. There were a few times that I can remember them getting frustrated because we might have kicked a ball against their car or pool.

The interesting thing is I might have become Mr Wilson. I try to remember that I do not want to be a Mr Wilson but sometimes when I walk outside and find one of them riding a bike through my front yard. It is all I can do to not say a word. It does leave tracks in my front yard but I just try to look the other way trying not to be the crabby old guy.

Hmmm I wonder if I am getting old or if I am just overly concerned with the appearance of my yard.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Hot One Today....

So about 10:30am this morning my director walks by my desk and says hey lets pack up and go play golf. He said to plan on playing at 1pm. Now I do not remember if I blogged about it or not but we did this a couple weeks ago and it was HOT!!!! That was right in the middle of "Heat Wave 1". After that first round he and I both agreed from now on we would do this in the morning. But oh well, golf is golf and I wanted to play.

So of course I quickly organized my things and got myself to a point where I could leave. Naturally all my stuff was at home. I had to run all the way home (25 miles) and then back to the golf course (another 25 miles).

As I am home getting my things together I get a call from my director informing me that we have changed plans and we are going to go play a different course and we have a tee time at 1:40pm. This was ok with me, the new course was a lot closer to my house. What is next is what is really intriguing...

The course we decided to play is called Tour-18 here in Flower Mound, TX. That is really the Dallas/Fort Worth area if you are not familiar with this area. (I will explain more someday about this lovely place and all the communities and areas, I find it interesting). Now back to this golf course.

Tour-18 is a golf course that all 18 holes are replicas of what they call the "18 Greatest Holes in Golf". So today I played a combination of several of the famous golf courses and some of their most recognizable holes.

One to note in this posting is Hole 9, it is a replica of number 17 at Sawgrass Mills in Jacksonville, FL. Yes it has the island green and all. All I was worried about was getting on the green and not in the water with one stroke. The two people I played with were both successful at doing that. Of course that puts the pressure on me. Now I had been going between clubs trying to decide what to hit. This is never a good thing just before hitting. That is uncertainty and it puts lots of thoughts in your head. I get up there and confidently swing my club it is going left but it looks good. Fortunately it stayed on the island just like the other two but I definitely had my work cut out for me as it was right against the wood wall around the island. I managed to make a bogie (4) on this hole.

The other 2 to note were holes 16, 17 & 18. This was a replica of what is known as "Amen Corner" at Augusta National Golf Club where the Master's Tournament is held. This was exciting for me, I was curious to see how close they were and how I would play those holes. All 3 holes looked just like what I saw on TV and even as the announcers describe them they felt like they were very close to the real. I managed a bogie on hole 16 which was really #11 on Augusta National. On 17 (#12 Augusta National) I got a whopping triple bogie (6). A quick note here is I had a great tee shot that looked like the pros landing on the green. However this was a VERY difficult putting hole. Then on number 18 (#13 Augusta National) I managed to make a par. I hit a long nice drive to turn the corner to the left and set myself up for a an easy two strokes to the green and then two putts for a par.

How exciting it was to play those 4 holes. The others could have been any hole on any golf course for all I know. But it was still an exciting adventure to know that I was playing the same holes the pros play. If you ever had that fantasy of walking up the 18th green today definitely added to that and made you think about it a lot. It was a fun day.

As far as the heat goes. We are in the middle of "Heat Wave 2", it was HOT!!! Not quite as hot as last time, I think it was 107 that day. Today the temperature read to be 103. I am not sure that I would really know the difference between 107 and 103.

Now as exhausted as I am, I am heading to catch the movie You, Me and Dupree with a friend of mine. Had I not bought the tickets online before golf was planned I would probably save it for another day but I must press on. Perhaps I will have to write another movie review tomorrow for this movie. We shall see tonight.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Today I have successfully installed, configured and reloaded a new hard drive in my laptop. I am so glad to have it working again and to be typing this message on it.

There was a day not so long ago that I would not have considered turning a computer on but today I pretty much rebuilt my laptop and set it up from scratch. While it is not really that hard it is an intimidating process.

These are the challenges that I like to take on. I have been waiting, like a child waits for christmas, to get to work on this. It was the first thing I started doing when I got home and have pretty much been working on it since.

Now the only thing I have left to do is see if I can save files off my bad hard drive. I was able to finally get most everything off of it but there are still a few things I would like to have. Once I get them it will just be a matter of restoring all of that on the laptop.

So what next? I guess I will have to blog more. And perhaps now I can really fulfill that goal of someday building my own computer from scratch.

Thursday Thirteen Answers...

Here are the answers to my Thursday Thirteen.

1. Nathan Birnbaum = George Burns
2. Jacob Cohen = Rodney Dangerfield
3. Leslie Lynch King, Jr. = Gerald R. Ford
4. Caryn Johnson = Whoopie Goldberg
5. Norma Jean Baker = Marilyn Monroe
6. Marion Morrison = John Wayne
7. Harold Lloyd Jenkins = Conway Twitty
8. Richard Starkey = Ringo Starr
9. Demetria Guynes = Demi Moore
10. Frances Gumm = Judy Garland
11. Reginald Dwight = Elton John
12. Thomas Mapother IV = Tom Cruise
13. Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. = John Denver

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen for July 26th

Thirteen Real Names of Celebrities, Can you Name Them? This list includes actors, singers and politicians. I may post hints later today depending on how it is going.
(See Answers Tomorrow)

Example: Leslie Townes Hope = Bob Hope

1. Nathan Birnbaum
2. Jacob Cohen
3. Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
4. Caryn Johnson
5. Norma Jean Baker
6. Marion Morrison
7. Harold Lloyd Jenkins
8. Richard Starkey
9. Demetria Guynes
10. Frances Gumm
11. Reginald Dwight
12. Thomas Mapother IV
13. Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Part 2 of Previous Post...

It is finished....

My laptop has officially died. Now all I get when rebooting is that lovely screen we affectionately call the "Blue Screen of Death".

I have lost it all and not sure I will be able to recover anything else off of it. I do have one last ditch effort on trying to recover stuff but that will take me a little time.

In the meantime, I am going to be tied to a desktop computer in my home office. Now that is not going to go over well. Funny how we get spoiled by these little conveniences we have.

Oh yeah one other thing, if you remember my post a few weeks ago about Dell and Microsoft. I ordered a new hard drive from Dell and they sent me an order confirmation. I requested overnight delivery and the current ship date on that order now stands at DECEMBER 5, 2006. YES!!!! You read that right. DECEMBER. Now go figure. They do have another one available and I could have it tomorrow but the cost on it is 3 times the amount for the same thing.

Boy do they have you!

I have not decided but I would say knowing me, odds are good I will end up cancelling and purchasing the more expensive so I can have it. Do they really think someone wants to wait until December to get these parts?

Practice what I preach....

So last night I was talking with my sister on the phone about losing her laptop. She blogged about this later. But as I was talking to her, I guess my systems mind came out a little although I am not sure I said anything. My thoughts were, it is not too smart to not be backing up the important things on your computer. It makes so much sense to me that everyone should be doing this, there are countless tools available that help us to do this in a nice easy way.

Well about 5 hours later, I am working on my laptop and all the sudden the entire thing freezes. At this point I cannot get it to do anything. Then after a few minutes of trying to get it to unlock, quite honestly just trying to avoid hitting the power button, I get what we at work refer to as "The Blue Screen of Death". This is not a good sign. Not only did I get that screen but it is making an odd noise. The only thing left to do is power it off which I did.

With a sigh of relief I see it start to boot back up and it all seems to be working. Well it only looks that way, it will not let me do anything at this point.

So now I start getting frantic and scrambling because this is when I stop and realize I have not practiced exactly what I thought there was no excuse not to do. I did not have backups of most everything on there. Frantically I am working and giving this darn computer CPR just hoping that I can get through and save as much as possible. Needless to say it kept crashing and I finally got frustrated working with it so I left it alone until today. We will see what happens tonight. Fortunate for me, I happened to have backed up my money program to my other computer about two weeks ago, so that is a big relief. Much easier to recreate a week and a half of that rather than several years.

Well I am sure there will be more to this. Tonight I am going to try again to get as much as I can off of it. One of my coworkers gave me a tool that he thought might help me get everything pretty easily. We will see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Uneventful Weekend...

Friday I took the afternoon off so that I could go play golf. Now if you know Texas in July you will know that it is a crazy thing to do. But, this is when the person I was playing with wanted to go. So we met over there and started playing around noon. Let me just say it was HOT!!!!!!!!! And to make it worse there was no breeze of any sort.

Now for the upside, my game was pretty hot too. I have not played since before christmas and I went out hitting the ball better than I have in a long time. It was a great way to make me forget about the heat.

When we finished I got in the car and the outside temperature was 108 degrees. That was insane. Fortunate for me my golf score beat the temperature for that day. The way I have played the last few times I played this was a big accomplishiment. When done we both agreed that next time it will be in the morning that we play.

After golf I got to pick up my repaired car. Looks all new again. They really did a great job fixing it. Even better yet is the girl that hit me was fantastic about taking care of everything. I was able to go in there Friday at 5pm and it was paid for and ready to go. Not that being in a wreck is a good experience but she certainly was accomodating and took care of my car.

Saturday I really did not do too much. I was actually a little sore from golf. I guess when you do not play for 7 months and then you go out in 108 degree weather and play you feel it. LOL I have decided to get myself out playing more, it was a lot of fun and even better when you are playing pretty darn good.

Today was a busy day. I was up early mowing the yard. Had that all done by 9:15am, I am sure my neighbors loved that.

After that, grocery shopping time and then home to watch the rest of the British Open. Great Job Tiger!

Tonight I grilled out ribs, had corn on the cob and biscuits. Once in a while I can fix myself a decent meal. Then just watched tv while doing the laundry.

Not really anything exciting from Texas. Looking forward to another fantastic week. Hope everyone has one as well. I am off to bed. :-)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thursday's Answers

Here are the answers to my Thursday Thirteen.

1. USA Dessert (American Pie)
2. ExtraordinaryMale (Superman)
3. Reverse to Tomorrow (Back to the Future)
4. Unwholesome Metropolis (Sin City)
5. A Lovely Psyche (A Beautiful Mind)
6. Self-Reliance 24-hours (Independence Day)
7. Battles of Space (Star Wars)
8. BelowEarth (Underworld)
9. Educational Facility of Rubble (School of Rock)
10. The Entire 27 Feet (The Whole Nine Yards)
11. Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific just shy of a dozen (Ocean's Eleven)
12. Twelve Costs Less (Cheaper by the Dozen)
13. Commemorate the Behemoths (Remember the Titans)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thursday Thirteen for July 20th

Thirteen Alternate Movie Titles, can you name the real titles?
(See Answers Tomorrow)

Example: Handful of American Currency = “Fist Full of Dollars”

1. USA Dessert
2. ExtraordinaryMale
3. Reverse to Tomorrow
4. Unwholesome Metropolis
5. A Lovely Psyche
6. Self-Reliance 24-hours
7. Battles of Space
8. BelowEarth
9. Educational Facility of Rubble
10. The Entire 27 Feet
11. Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific just shy of a dozen
12. Twelve Costs Less
13. Commemorate the Behemoths

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How Do You Measure....

In the past I have mentioned that I have a passion for theater. Several years ago I purchased a copy of the CD for the musical Rent. The music and songs grew on me very fast, I really had a desire to see the show. I was unable to see it on so many occasions but I was always getting mixed feedback by friends that had seen it. What I found was they either loved it or they hated it.

I knew that Rent deals with many controversial issues and you have to be open to these issues or to at least accept the musical as just a fictional story.

Finally, in June of 2003 I had the opportunity to see Rent on Broadway. It was fantastic! The music was great and all the performers were outstanding. Since then they have made Rent into a movie and it has been released on DVD. Being a fan I did not hesitate to purchase it. Much of the original broadway cast also appeared in the movie, it was exciting for me to now see these performers in the roles they created on Broadway.

Recently a friend of mine saw a stage production of Rent and she was one of those that hated it. I just did not understand how anyone could hate it. Then I remembered the controversial issues that it deals with, that is the only conclusion that I can come to. But I felt that there was more that people were just not seeing. They had to be getting hung up on the characters, their lifestyles, bad habits and the face that it was a story of them trying to make it in New York City.

So I watched the movie again trying to pay closer attention to the words in the songs, the story lines and the way they all wove themselves together. I was still struggling to find what I felt was there but could not find what I believed was the meaning of Rent.

Then today as I read the blogs of my sister and brother, I was moved by their stories. Both of them have opportunities to influence kids and their lives on a regular basis. But something told me to watch Rent again. So tonight I came home and got right to it. The following is what I found...

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...How do you measure a year? by daylights, by sunsets, by midnights or cups of coffee? This is one theme that keeps recurring through the entire show. There are only 525,600 minutes in a year.

To me that never meant much more than a nice way to make a song sound good. I mean did you ever really wonder how many minutes were in a year. We all know there are 365 days, 12 months, etc... But today I heard more than that. There are many other songs that all tie to this but none that pushes it quite like this new one I found...

There's only us
There's only this
Forget Regret
Or life is yours to miss.

No Other Road
No Other Way
No Day But Today...

I had heard this a thousand times and probably sang it in the car that many times again. Never really struck me as anything more than a catchy little tune that sounded nice.

Then it came to me. This reminded me of the Latin phrase Carpe Diem which means seize the day. Make the most of every opportunity.

I continued watching at how the characters interacted and the dialogue they had. I quickly learned that this was the message that I had been searching for.

I then thought back to my sister and brother's blogs and realized that when we have the opportunities to make a positive impact on someone's life we should take them. We have to make the most of each and every minute afterall there are only Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred of them in a year. You cannot dwell on the past and what you have or have not done but you can make the most of today and work to be a role model to make a difference.

Greg keep working to be that role model for "Joe". You will make a difference whether you see it or not. Someday "Joe" will remember the example you set. Just do not miss the opportunity to make a difference in his life.

To everyone if you have the chance to watch Rent or even just listen to the music I highly recommend it. It grows on you fast. But I do caution you of the controversial issues and language that is in it. A lot of people struggle with these and are unable to see the meaning of what is being said. We have to look beyond those things and find the message that is truly hiding in there.

It is easy to have regrets. We have to realize that the decisions and choices we made were the best at that time. We need to forget our regret or we will miss our lives. Let's live for today and make the most of each minute of every hour, of every day, of every month, of every year. Or however you choose to measure.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Tonight as I was reading my sister's blog it made me reflect on myself and how I sometimes tend to pass judgement.

Those of you that read my blog regularly know that I was in a wreck two weeks ago today. The person that hit me asked me if I would not call her insurance and give her the chance to pay it herself so her rates would not go up. While hesitating with this request I decided to do this and give her the shot. My gut feeling was that I would never hear from her again. Everyone I spoke to afterwards told me that I just let her get away with hitting me and not having to pay a dime. I could not help but wonder in my head if they were right.

I called this person after getting the estimate for repairs and she returned my call within an hour. Everytime I called her she never hesitated to call me back. She would ask me to do things that I felt were somewhat unreasonable because I felt that if I were dealing with her insurance company I would not have to be jumping through these hoops and would not have to take all my time to get estimates all over the place. I would question her and she would tell me it was no problem, she understood where I was coming from.

Finally we agreed that today we would meet at the body shop and arrange to have the repairs completed. Again, I had my doubts as to whether she would show or not. But there she was right on time at 8am. She also made it very easy to work with her and she has been completely up front about taking responsibility. When they told me how I had to handle getting the rental car she quickly stepped in and said she would go with me and be certain that she was covering the costs of the rental car. I did offer to cover it and have her pay me back since I really do believe it cost her more money to do it the way she did. But again she insisted she was covering these expenses.

I felt guilty for having questioned her intentions in the first place. But it is definitely nice to know that honest people do still exist in this world. I am glad that she has been cooperative in covering the repairs for my car.

In this case I was very quick to pass judgement, I never gave this person a chance. I have always tried to believe that as a whole people are honest and trustworthy but there were a few bad ones that make it difficult. I have also always tried to trust people until they gave me a reason to not trust them. For some reason I just had a difficult time doing that.

I would not consider myself a skeptical person but I do try to ask questions and establish some kind of connection with people in order to establish a common trust. That means I do ask a lot of questions but I always try to listen to the answers I am given. I hope that this experience will help me to trust more in the future and to not be so quick to pass judgement.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Toys I Liked Playing With While Growing Up

1. Mattel Football

2. Barrel of Monkeys (This was one we played with at Grandma's)

3. Lincoln Logs

4. Slinky

5. VertiBird

6. Lite Brite

7. Carom Board

8. Operation

9. Red Ryder BB Gun

10. Big Wheel

11. Gnip Gnop

12. Toss Across

13. Rubik's Cube

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Simpler Times? Then or Now?

I sit here tonight and think about the times were are living in. Think about where we have been and where we are today.

When I was growing up, we had ONE tv that was as big as a small dresser that we could watch 5-6 channels on. If we wanted to turn the channel or adjust the volume I had to get off the chair/couch and walk to the tv to make the changes.

Phone call? How many phones did we have/need back then. I remember we had three phones in our house. Kitchen, family room and parent's room. If it rang we had to get up or move to where it was to answer it. If a call came in while I was talking on it, that person received an annoying busy signal. Do busy signals even exist anymore? Ok, I do know that busy signals still exist. If someone were not home, the phone would ring until you got tired of hearing it ring and hung up.

Computers? I did not know what a computer was.

Today? I live in a house by myself and have 3 TV's. All of which receive 100's of channels. I own 3 VCR's, does anyone even use these anymore? I have two DVD players. I have 3 desktop computers connected to the internet that all work with one monitor, keyboard and mouse. I also have a laptop computer that is connected to the internet with a wireless connection. I am also able to print from the laptop on a printer that is connected to my main desktop pc. All of this is done wireless. I can network to anyone of my computers from anyone of them and access whatever information I might need at anytime.

I often think about a conversation with friends in college. On of their parents had just purchased a new computer and a had a hard drive of 105 megabytes. I remember as if it were today one of them saying "Why in the world would anyone EVER need that much space on a hard drive?". Today, we are buying hard drives 800 times bigger than this. It boggles the mind.

It is also worth mentioning here that in 1989 when I went away to college I had no clue how to turn on a computer and would never have considered trying it.

Phones Today? Boy do I have them. I have a phone by my bed, one on my fax machine, two cordless phones so if one goes dead I have the backup. I have a work cellular phone as well as my personal cellular phone. I have a wireless headset that pretty much stays connected to my ear so that if a call comes in I can answer it, even if I am in another room away from my phone.

The reason I mention all these things is sometimes I sit and think how much time has changed the world we live in. How we have become dependent on these new conveniences but sometimes it feels that we cannot even escape them. If we go on vacation our cell phones go with us. Anymore I take my laptop computer which can easily connect to the internet and most hotels. We are always accessible to everyone.

Where do we go to get away from it all? I suppose we have to learn to use the off button.

Lastly I think about the changes not just in my lifetime but those seen by my parents and grandparents and boy what changes they have seen. My grandmother is a regular user of the internet and sometimes I think she might read our blogs. She emails me frequently and I have even connected to her computer in Ohio to help her with an issue she was having. I was able to control her computer as if it were my own. She was able to see what I was doing and it was just as if I were sitting in her living room working her mouse for her. Boy how that must have blown her mind if she had really thought about it.

Times really have changed. Where do we go from here? Can you even imagine what is next? I often ask myself can we really get better than we have? We probably all have opinions as to if now is a simpler time or if those days gone by were. I guess I could make an argument for either one. There are plenty of times I press all the off buttons but then when I turn them back on I am ready to reconnect myself.

These are only a few of the things that blow my mind. I am sure that everyone reading this can think of different examples. This is an exciting world we live in.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Strange Cravings???

Do you ever get one of those strange cravings just out of nowhere? Tonight I was watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" and he was eating jello. Well that made me have the strongest urge to have red jello. So I jump in the car and head to Wal-Mart.

I find the jello and pick out the flavor I want (strawberry). That is not so bad except the next thing I see are marshmallows. Now not only do I want jello, I also want marshmallows. I know you can add the small marshmallows to the jello but I really do not care for that and I really wanted the big puffy ones.

So I come home and make the jello, thank god for the quick set directions. However, quickset still is not really that quick. I guess tomorrow will be a better taste of the jello.

I have yet to eat a marshmallow but am sure that I will soon. It is funny how we get these urges and cravings just by small triggers on tv.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lessons from my nephew

Those of you that know me, know that I have been active in music and theater for most of my life. It is always something that I have enjoyed and had a passion for. Being on stage is a comfortable place for me. If you read my Thursday Thirteen a few weeks ago you saw that one of my dreams was to perform on Broadway.

I have always dreamed of being discovered, moving to New York and starring in my own show, but I do not do anything to try and make that happen. I often wonder why it is I let those dreams merely exist in my head.

Tonight it hit me...

I was reading my sister's blog and I realized that I am not ready to face my fears. It is not a fear of being on stage or performing in front of people, it is the fear of not succeeding.

There are so many people that want to make it in show business and very few of them are successful. They work and struggle to make ends meet while chasing their dreams. I realize that the reality is only a small percentage of people make it in show business.

I have hit my comfort zone. Moving outside of that zone is a scary idea in my head. I have thought in the past that it would be awesome to leave my job and the life I have created to chase that dream. I have never been able to push myself to take a risk like that.

I have decided that I am going to work to overcome my fears with small steps. Maybe in a year I will be ready to jump into the water just as my nephew was this year. There are definitely things I can do without leaving this comfort zone. I can begin auditioning for shows here in the area and even find a local agent, have headshots made and create an entertainment resume that I can have sent around to see what happens.

It is time for me to face my fears by taking small steps and take that shot so I do not regret never trying. I know my nephew will keep overcoming his fears and someday he will achieve all he has dreamed of. Keep reading, I will blog more about this as I audition for shows and try to get involved in theater here in the Dallas area.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rolling on Auto Pilot???

Yesterday I went and saw the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler. It was a good movie with funny scenes which is what I expected. I did not expect and still doubt that there will be any academy award winners or even nominations. But what I did not expect to find was a pretty decent message.

The premise of the movie is that he is purchasing a universal remote control so that he can figure out how to work all the electronic items in his house. The remote control that he gets is not only a universal remote control but it was able to control his universe. I know a little off the wall but still made for some funny scenes. Working with this remote he found that he could fast forward his life through fights, hard times and anything he chose.

First he opted to fast forward to the point where he was made a partner of the architectural firm he worked for. Thinking it would only be a few weeks it turned out that it moved his life more than a year forward. After skipping through that part of his life it became convenient to skip more and more the longer his life went on.

Later in the movie he found that he had fast forwarded through the end of his marriage, illnesses that he fought, his children growing up, the death of his father and finally he ended up at his son's wedding.

At this point he sought out the salesman that gave him this remote and questioned it. As he looked back through his life using the rewind feature of the remote he found where he had basically strolled through life on "Auto Pilot". What this meant was that he was working and going through the motions of life but never paid attention to the ones that he loved and often times he merely appeased them with an answer rather than giving him his full attention.

In the end he realized the importance of telling his wife, children, parents and anyone else in his life that he loved them and that it was important for him to spend as much quality time as possible with all of them. He realized that he had missed many opportunities and regretted the life he had chosen for himself. He missed important milestones in his children's life, the special moments with his wife as well as those memories you have by spending time with your parents.

In the movie he was given a second chance to go back and do it right. He was even tempted one last time and he chose to do the right thing based on the lessons he had learned. What I realize is that we do not have a second chance. Our chances disappear quickly. I am certain I have missed opportunities and hope that my family and friends realize it is not intentional. I am going to try and remember the lessons that Adam Sandler learned in this movie and always remember to let those close to me know that I care and that they are important to me.

That having been said: Mom, Dad, Grandma, Carolyn, Susan and family, Greg and family, all my aunts, uncles, cousins, friends...I love each of you. All of you mean a lot to me and it is great that we are all able to be so close. Thank you for always being there for me. I hope you will always feel that I am there for you.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Never believe this...

Today I was sitting in the drive-thru of my favorite fast food chicken restaurant. As I was talking to the guy taking my order all the sudden was a loud bang and my car jumping towards the building. I look in my rear view mirror and do not see anything so I turn and look to my right rear blind spot where I see another car has slammed into my right rear quarter panel.

Now how does this happen? I am stopped in a drive thru. I got out, walked behind the car and asked the girl if she was ok. I then had her back her car away so I could see the damage and make sure we were not stuck together. I realize that my car has received the least of the damage. The left front of her car is definitely in need of being replaced.

She told me quickly that she would give me all her information and insurance info so I could get my car fixed. I quickly called my agent as I was moving the car just to confirm what info I should get and if it was necessary to call the police. He said as long as there was no dispute and no question as to fault then he would not worry about it.

The girl did not try to deny any responsibility and voluntarily gave me all her information and she was satisfied just getting my name, address and phone number. Then she asked me if I would mind getting an estimate before I called her insurance company. I did agree to do this but wanted her to know that I would be using the Ford dealership for the repair. She was disappointed in this but I feel pretty strong that I want it repaired the right way by the dealership.

I had time so I went by the Ford garage and had them give me an estimate. Now really I need to have the bumper, the wheel molding and part of the rear quarter panel just straightened out. And of course these will all need repainted. The estimate for all of this was $1700. Now I have no clue if that is high or not. My thought is that anymore the pricing for these things is pretty much the same no matter where you have it done. The insurance company can give you pricing just by looking at what needs repaired and replaced. So how can it be any different anywhere else?

I guess that turns out to be a pretty expensive lunch for someone. Fortunately not me.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What a Day...

Today was notification day. A day which several departments within my company would notify each of their employees what their future with Verizon will be.

Fortunately I was given the good news that my employment will continue and I may have new or more responsibilities as they determine the right positions for the remaining employees. I never felt that I had anything to worry about although I tried to be aware that I could be one of them.

It is a good feeling to know that the hard work we put in does not go unnoticed. I have always believed that if people were asked to rate themselves that they would be honest about their value. As all the speculation has taken place over the last month the most interesting thing is the people that said they felt they were safe were and those that said they were scared ended up being the ones let go. I think something I learned today is that we all know our own value as employees and how we are perceived by those that matter.

For those people that were let go today, many of them were friends of mine, I wish them the best. It is not a good thing to see anyone lose their job. I hope that they are able to use this as a new door opening and they can step through it and achieve even more.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I remember about Fourth of July and Summer Vacations

1. Waiting to help Grandpa turn the crank for the ice cream maker on their porch in Swainsboro, GA.
2. Rides on Grandpa’s riding mower with the triangle shaped steering wheel
3. Dad being Uncle Sam and reciting Red Skelton’s commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance
4. Fourth of July Festival at Riverhills Park
5. Homosassa
6. Tampa Bay Rowdies games
7. Learning the Cherokee Indian Rain Dance
8. Dad’s Big Mac shirt
9. Camping at Stone Mountain, going to the baseball game and that HORRIBLE storm.
10. Camp Endeavour
11. Playing in the woods around the river when it was dried up.
12. The pool at the Country Club
13. Camp Indian Head

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wordless Wednesday: No Braids Here...

The Sky is Falling….Someday We Will Look Back and Laugh…

So as I read the comments left by my Dad I am left to consider how true it really is. As I think back through my life and the things that I thought were the end of the world, I realize that he is 100% correct. Things become more trivial and we realize as we get older that you just cannot worry about the things you cannot control.

I think back through the things in my life that gave me hard times and I thought my world was coming to an end. There could be nothing worse that could happen to anyone in the whole world, “The Sky Was Falling”. I remember things like my Dad coming to meet all my teachers the day after report cards would come out. Boy was my world crashing around me at that time. I avoided any part of the school that I thought I might run into my Dad for that entire day. I realize today that my Dad checking in with my teachers was not so bad. It just meant that he cared and that he wanted nothing but the best for me. He knew I could do better and that he was just trying to learn how to get the most out of me.

I think about the time I lost my sport coat, I persuaded my sister to sign me out of school and take me shopping to get a new one, I had to replace it before it was found out that I lost it. It was Christmastime and we went to the mall so I could buy a new one. While parking there was my father’s car in the parking lot, they were Christmas shopping. Boy we scrammed away from that mall fast. Now what really would have happened had I admitted to losing my sport coat? What if we had been caught signing me out of school. I made my sister promise to never tell a soul. At the time it would have not been something that I or my Sister would like to find out the reaction to. Today we laugh about it. She kept the tags from that sport coat for a long time and would hold them over my head.

Then there is everyone’s favorite, the “Dress Rehearsal Graduation”. Man it seemed like the end of the world, I thought I had hit rock bottom. I had not gotten all my facts straight and found that I was not able to graduate when I thought I was. How was I ever going to tell them? People were traveling to see me graduate, it would embarrass me and my parents if I had to tell everyone the whole thing was off. Today I can look back at it and chuckle about it. I even tell people about it when they tell me how bad they think their issues might be at the time. If nothing else it is always good for a laugh.

I can see how those perceptions do change. My Dad used to give us all a little saying when we would tease him about getting older and right now I am going to turn it around a little. “Remember you have those years, we still got them to get.” By the way, I am proud to have grown up swimming in the “gene pool” that I did.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Need to Follow Up.....

Ok, I have read all the comments from my last post as well as talked to some of my friends that read it and must say that I feel the need to follow-up. I do understand that this is just the way it is and these are the things I cannot change. I do not let it bother me too much they are just the things that make me shake my head.

Coming from a sales/customer service background I think it is ashame that so many companies have lost site of what made them as successful as they are. My own company forgets this at times. Having to deal with them face to face and to be the one to try and smooth over the company procedures and policies with the customer's perception is never an easy task. Many customers still deal with businesses under the belief that the customer is always right. We know that the customer is definitely not always right.

While I have argued many times with those same ideas, there are many times that I can admit I definitely was not in the right. I always try to step back and look at things from both sides. I also try to remember the person I am dealing with does not make the rules they are only the voice to communicate them.

I think what get's lost in everything is the customer just does not understand and too many times the company representative just quotes the rule rather than the reason. For instance in my Microsoft/Dell dilemma I could not understand why I register and activate my software yet they cannot help me retrieve any of my information from it. The technology has to be there. Perhaps someone could have just explained it to me. They could have told me anything rather than just saying no.

Anyway, I am going to let that all go. It really did not bother me too much, I found it more comical than anything as I thought back through it. I also know the answer to the question of the post. I control my life not anyone else. Had I returned that software back to where it belonged the last time I used it, I would not have been in that situation. I really did not like the title I put there but I was honestly too tired to stop and change it to something else.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Who really controls our lives....

What a weekend this was. I did not do the big project I wanted to it really was too hot to spend a lot of time in the yard digging, building a wall and redoing the landscape. I did manage to get some things done that needed to be done.

It started on Friday, I went to Home Depot to pick up my trimmer that was supposed to have been repaired under warranty. To quickly bring you up to speed, they tried to tell me i would have to pay to have it fixed when it was still in warranty and I bought their extended warranty. If it was determined that it was not a manufacturer's defect I would have to pay. If I did not want it fixed I had to pay for that too. So....I go and pick it up and the first thing they say is it was not a manufacturer's defect and I had to pay $37.90. I explained to them quickly that my agreement when I brought it in there was that I would not have to pay anything. They quickly found the notes and agreed. My question at that point was who decides if it is a product defect or my misuse of the equipment. Afterall, the gas hose broke off inside the gas tank on mine. Is it really possible that I could have had something to do with that. Nonetheless after arguing when I dropped this off Home Depot covered the cost.

Saturday I was having some computer problems. Was not anyone to blame but myself. I get impatient sometimes when things seem to not be working and I cancelled an upgrade before it was done. Then I could not remove or correct the issue. I kept getting an annoying popup message about every 3 minutes and I had just about had it. So I decide I am going to reload my entire computer. Normally this is not so difficult except I cannot locate my Microsoft Office CD. However, Dell makes it easy now as they hide a copy of your system on your own hard drive and you can use it to correct any problem. The only drawback is you lose anything you have added and any files you might have on there. No problem, I backed that all up. Was not really a big deal. I go to confirm I have all my disks and I am unable to locate my Microsoft Office CD. Now it is not totally necessary since according to Dell my system will be EXACTLY as it was when I unboxed it. I even chatted with their online support and they confirmed this.

I decide to move forward and venture into this project. I am confident based on what they told me that it was true. Heck I even have it in writing and I saved it. The reload goes very easy. Completed in about 5 minutes. I proceed to set everything up again and I am unable to set up Microsoft Office. You see, you have to have the CD's, or I guess I should say the product code off the cd's/certificate of authenticity. Now what am I going to do, I cannot find that darn disk. I have every system disk but that one.

I go back to Dell and they say "Sorry 'bout your luck call Microsoft". I then call Microsoft and after I explain everything the guy says no problem can you please get your Office CD. I stop and I say if you had listened to me at all instead of following your script you would have heard me say I did not have them. He then shuts down and says well sir there is nothing we can do if you do not have them. Mind you I registered and activated my software with them originally, why can't they help me? What is the point in registering/activating it. But they tell me I will have to buy a new copy of this software.

Now does Bill Gates really need this $374 from me just so I can use the software I have already purchased? Doesn't it seem a company with the technology of Microsoft should be able to verify my identity from when I activated the software previously and provide me with the information I need. What is the point in activating/registering this software.

Bill Gates and Michael Dell have a combined net-worth of $69 Billion. Just to put that in perspective, lets put it like this: $69,000,000,000. Now those are a lot of zeros. These two men basically OWN the world of home computing and I would venture to say pretty close to the entire computer world. Now $69 billion is enough to give everyone in the country $230. Do they really need another $374 from me? I think not.

Things like these just make you wonder who controls our lives. We are really at the mercy of others all the time. I had no choice and could not voice an opinion on my trimmer being a manufacturer defect. No one at Microsoft or Dell really cares about you misplacing your copy of their software and it does not matter that you register/activate it they are not going to help you. Where has customer service gone to these days. Does anyone care what we have to say.

The good news....My trimmer is back and I was able to mow, edge and trim the lawn and it looks fantastic. Today I dug around some more and located my original Microsoft Office CD's with the certificate of authenticity and was able to activate it. All is now well with me. But it sure is frustrating to think that so few people control so much of our lives.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This Sums My Week Up...

A friend of mine sent me this cartoon this week. I have to say this pretty much sums up the projects I have been working on lately. I feel like Dilbert in this strip. Thank you Scott Adams for summarizing my week. I hope everyone Has a great weekend, enjoy the cartoon strip....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

...And we're back

Yes I am aware it has been a while since I last blogged. But I have been inspired and moved to jump back into this. I really have no good excuse as to why I stopped blogging other than I was just plain busy. At work I had to sit through 10 days straight of some pretty intense training on a new system. About 7 days into this training I was informed that I was expected to be the subject matter expert for 67 retail stores across our beautiful country. So I had to immediately begin learning this system differently than how I started out.

Shortly after the training my company (Verizon) informed all employees that there would be significant cuts in headcount. It began at 2%, raised to 6.6% within two days and at the end of one week we had our exact number and that was that we have to reduce our organization by 12%. Well we are a small group within a very large company so that number can be significant when you really narrow it down and look at it. Needless to say, many people have been on edge and difficult to work with. That has not made for a great work environment at the moment.

On the upside, they were recently working with me to expand my responsibilities and provide me with more visibility so that I could have more opportunities to advance within the company. Knowing that that was in the works before the announcement has given me the peace of mind to feel that I am not in any danger of losing my job. I do know the reality is I could but I really am confident that I am safe.

Oh yeah one other excuse I can use for not blogging...I had a fantastic visit with my Dad and stepmom. I took a week off of work and they flew out to Dallas to celebrate my birthday with me and visit me for the first time since I built new home. I put a lot of time into trying to make sure that everything was perfect for their visit. I wanted my home to feel like a home and wanted them to feel comfortable staying in it. I wanted them to see the pride that I have in taking care of my house and all the upkeep. I enjoy the yard work and trying to make it the nicest on the block. It is not yet there by any means but I am working on it. This weekend I will do a lot to help that, I am going to be building a brick border for my flower bed in the front of the house. Hopefully all will go smooth with that.

Now to my inspiration for jumping back into my blog. I am sure most of you reading this have read my sister's blog. She is the person that pretty much got me going in the first place. Well her and my cousin after I made one post and did not touch it again for months.

My sister and I have always been very close. We shared many of the same interests growing up. We both were active in the church, band and choir in high school, we enjoy theater and we both love the simple things in life like sitting on a porch swing. She has become an inspiration to me in that she pursues all her dreams while raising a family. I have so many dreams and things I would love to do and for whatever reason I seem to not be able to make the time for them. That is a sad fact when she is a wife, mother of four, school teacher, author and a consultant to other teachers all over the country. She also finds the time to fit in all the things she loves. I do not know how she does it but she sure does. It makes me feel bad for not even finding the time to do something simple like write a blog.

When our family would get together often times the subject of a blog or two would come up I believe this lead to my brother deciding to jump into this blogging world. Well I figure that if he is able to do it, then I definitely can do it. You see, I admire my little brother. I think about all the fun/silly things we did growing up, the fights we would get into, the trouble we would get into, the relationship we had and now I look at him not as my little brother anymore but as a role model. Heck he was the reason I learned the meaning of the word "Antagonize" at an early age. He has grown to be the man that I also want to be. He has grown into a great husband, fantastic father and good provider of his family. He works hard to give them the things they need and he is always giving of himself. If you need a hand with something you can ALWAYS count on him. He is the most reliable person I know.

Living so far away from my family is difficult. We are a very close family and always have been. It has always seemed that no matter how far apart we live or how long it had been since we had last talked or seen each other, we were always able to slip right back into our close relationships as if we had never been a part. Even more interesting than that is the fact that it is also true of our extended family. It amazes me to hear other people talk as if they are merely acquaintances with their family when I feel so close to all of mine. I cannot imagine feeling uncomfortable or that I am with a stranger if I were with anyone of them. I have my theories on why that is and I will share those more later.

For now I am going to close saying that I am back. Thank you to both my Sister and Brother for inspiring me to jump back into the blogging world. I know it is Thursday and I am posting a Thursday Thirteen but next week I assure you that I will be on board with everything. Susan and Greg I love you guys and I could not ask for a better brother or sister. You guys are awesome. Hopefully I will get back to Florida soon so we can all spend some time together.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thirteen Things DAN wants to do in his lifetime...

1. Perform a show stopping song on Broadway for a sold-out house
2. Complete a solo flight in a private plane
3. Kiss the Blarney Stone
4. Tour the great cathedrals in Europe
5. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
6. Drive a NASCAR race car
7. Tour where the great composers lived, wrote and performed their music.
8. Explore the Great Pyramids
9. Visit Yellowstone Park
10. Own a vacation home in the mountains of Montana
11. Whale watching in Alaska
12. Own a professional sports team
13. Drive a cigarette racing boat

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shifting Tides in a New Direction

Yes I know I have only been blogging for a short time but I have found that my quest to get out of debt is not exciting. While it is something I am still chasing, I have found that I am on top of it and right now I just do not have anything to blog about. So I decided there would be just a general theme to this. It will be a place that I can share anything that I want.

As my Debt Diet I was trying to keep my theme focused on that and not go in any new directions. I will still talk about my successes and share my progress with all but I am wanting to write so many other things. Therefore, today we shift the tides....

At the urging of my sister I have decided to do something I have not done in a long time. Read. She called me Sunday night and told me that if I did not read anything else I had to read the book "Three Weeks with my Brother" by Nicholas Sparks. Now I am not much of a reader but I decided I would follow her advice and read this book.

Last night I started it and even though I have not gotten through the second chapter yet I have found it to be interesting. Before I could get through the first chapter I was thinking about the relationship I have with both my sister and brother. We are very close and I am so happy that we are. Immediately I started wondering if either or both of them would consider taking a trip like that with me. I have been thinking about going to Ireland on a tour, how much fun would it be for two or three of us to go.

Ok well now it is time I head off to bed. I must go read more of the book before I drift off to sleep. Stay tuned for more on the book or memories that get triggered.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thirteen Songs that remind DAN of Growing Up and Family Vacations

1. Flowers on the Wall
2. Ya’ll Come Back Saloon
3. Streets of Laredo
4. Bird Dog
5. Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott
6. Susan When She Tried (Guess I could say Statler Brother’s Greatest Hits)
7. You Never Even Called Me By My Name
8. Kaw-Liga
9. Okie from Muskogee
10. Hello Muddah', Hello Fadduh (Camp Granada)
11. Do Lord
12. Come Sail Away
13. Pass it On

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My First Thursday Thirteen...

Thirteen Movies DAN could watch time and time again...

1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
2. Mr. Holland's Opus
3. Jerry Maguire
4. Remember the Titans
5. ET
6. Rudy
7. Ocean's Eleven
8. Mary Poppins
9. On Golden Pond
10. The Phantom of the Opera
11. Meet the Parents
12. Can't Buy Me Love
13. Happy Gilmore

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Influences in our lives...

Today I decided I was going to only work a half day, I call these days "Sanity Days". I have been working in the yard the past couple weekends trying to get it awakened from that dormant winter cycle and there are still a few things I want to get done before the weekend so I figured this was a great time to do it.

Now most people that have known me for any length of time know that I really did not like mowing the yard when I was younger, let alone all the weeding, trimming, edging, planting, pruning, mulching and anything else you can think of. In fact, when I bought the house the most common question I was asked was "Who is going to mow the yard"? My response of "I will" was usually followed with a chuckle, snicker or some comment about my lack of desire to work in the yard.

Now that I have been in the house for 9 months, I have to say I am doing a fine job with the lawn. While mowing and working out there I have a tendency to reflect on many things but it seems that the same thoughts creep in week after week. I think about the days when I mowed my parents' yard and how I felt I was having to put too much time into perfect corners and neat edges. Back then I used a riding mower, all I wanted to do was drive, mow and get done. I did not want to stop, back up and make sure that I was squaring my corners. To me at the time it did not really make a difference. If things were in my way they were mowed and shredded right where they were.

Today what I realize is that I have become what was instilled in me as I was growing up. It was evident that each corner I made with the lawn mower I wanted perfect squares and straight lines. Today I stopped the mower to pick up a small piece of paper that was on the lawn rather than running it over. I redid the front flower bed, that included all the things I mentioned above that I hated. But it was important to me that it was done right and looked nice.

It is interesting to see how we become what we were taught when we were younger. I guess in a way we do really become our parents. I am proud of the values I have adopted. Guess life was not really as tough as I thought and that little extra work would not have really hurt me like I believed. Thanks Mom and Dad for the values you gave me. I love you both.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Ok, so sometimes I do foolish things that do not contribute too well to the improvement of my bottom line. Tonight I went out with friends after work for dinner and drinks and then decided to stop by the store where I used to buy lottery tickets.

I walked in thinking I would buy 5 quick picks for the Mega Millions lottery and 5 quick picks for the Texas Lotto. First question I asked was how much is the Mega Millions tonight. The guy quickly said it is $189 million. WOW!!! What could I do with $189 million? How many people could I take care of?

Many thoughts rushed to my head and apparently I quickly forgot all about my Debt Diet. Or did I? Was I simply looking for the easy way out. I believe this is what the lottery does to our society and myself. It shows us all what we could have if we just buy that one opportunity. All your troubles can go away.

Is that so? In my lifetime I probably will never win the lottery. Odds are such that probably no one I know will ever win the lottery. Yet I keep thinking I can win. These are things that are going to be a real struggle for me. I believe I can win and that I am supposed to. I believe when they play a lottery commercial they are talking about me.

There I stood in the store trying to decide how many tickets I was willing to buy. Oh yeah I still had not figured out how much the Texas Lottery was. I then asked that question and it was only $27 million. Ok well I am skipping out on that.

So what is wrong with me that I decide to put more of my hard earned money to the bigger jackpot? Do I NOT need $27 million? Is that just such a small amount that it does not matter to me? But of course I opted not to waste my time with the smaller jackpot.

I was doing so well not throwing my money into an empty dream. It has been probably two months since I last threw money into the lottery. Of course tonight I sparked that desire again. I purchased 20 chances to fulfill an empty dream.

In all likelihood tomorrow I will be able to say boy I wasted $20 last night. I will be able to analyze my cash flow and quickly see there went $20 that I could have put towards debt. How much could that $20 have saved me in potential interest? Boy I gotta get better at this diet. Two days in and I guess I am already doing things I believe I need to quit.

Now that I am home feeling guilty about my purchase I have decided that tonight I am going to penalize myself. I opted to spend $20 on the lottery, so I am going to take $40 and put it as an extra payment on something. I know that it really is not a great deal but it will force me to have to do without something. It will also make me think twice the next time I consider wasting money in a lottery.

A self imposed penalty is difficult to impose but it is also going to force me to miss seeing "The Fantasticks" next week. Boy this is going to be a long road but I know in the end I will be better off. I will work harder to not slip back anymore.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Jumping Right In

Ok so here I am blogging to the world. Wondering who all do I want to read this. How do I decide what to put out here? I have no clue. This is a new world to me but I am going to venture into it.