Monday, May 28, 2007

A clever plan

This may seem like a given for everyone out there, but no one's really talking about it. So I will. Two weeks ago AAA released a report stating that if gas prices rose to $3.40 a gallon , there could be as much as 25% fewer travelers over the Memorial Day weekend. If the price rose to $3.50 a gallon, the percentages could be as high as 40%. Gas companies make a pretty penny from vacation travelers, so this was a dilemma. They needed to find a way to make that two or three day mega blitz income without freaking out the public to the point where they stayed home. Quite the conundrum. The answer? Clever timing.

On Wednesday here in Ohio, gas prices rose from an average of $3.09 across the state, to a staggering average of $3.49. Forty cents in one day! While this would seem to throw stupidity in the face of their little problem, it wasn't the end of their plan. While the state (and country) cried foul for two days and threatened to cancel all their travel plans, the oil companies sat back and waited. On Friday, they lowered the prices to an (Ohio) average of $3.19. Why would they do this when they need to make that huge profit they were aspiring to?

By lowering the prices, they tricked the general public into only thinking about the price reduction of thirty cents, and not the price increase of ten cents. (Does anyone remember that gas prices were under $2.00 a gallon just two years ago?) And with the Memorial Day weekend being the second most travelled holiday of the entire year, the big oil companies could be on target to have their best Memorial Day numbers ever if no one cancelled their plans. And guess what? On talk radio this morning, they reported that AAA released another report showing an actual increase in holiday travelers this year. An increase.

It would be easy to just write off the increased travel numbers by saying we are selfish Americans who don't care about anything but ourselves. I think a more accurate description is that we are ignorant Americans who are easily tricked into paying more and feeling good about it. And the oil companies are sitting back laughing at us as they count their money.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Weird week, emotionally. Monday was one of those days I could actually feel myself slipping into a depressed kind of mental state. Nothing severe or earth shattering happened, work was good, my drive was good, home was good, I even got to go outside and work in my garden. But I could just feel my thoughts turning angry and self-deprecating. Ell wanted to go play tennis, so I went to get myself out of my funk and it worked. It's hard to think about the world ending when you're fat and you're running around, sweating for two hours. Thanks Ell.

Tuesday, we ended the book of James in Band of Brothers. What a great group of guys. There seems to be new (or returning) faces every week, and the conversations are the best. We are truly going to miss Andrew when he leaves in a month. Wednesday evening I headed to the garden. My phone is dead and gone, so I periodically check my voicemail on Ell's phone. I did that around 9 and found out one of my best friend's dad had died suddenly that afternoon. I called him back and since getting off the phone that night it's all I've been thinking about.

My friend's dad was 55. My dad's 55. Too young. I think of Adrienne's dad. Too young. I caught a show I rarely watch last night on TV. One of the main character's dad got sick and died. I have to tell you, it was a bit much for me. He said a line that really hit home, "I don't know how to exist in a world where my Dad doesn't." That could have been me saying that.

Sometimes I hesitate to share my feelings about my Dad b/c he might see it, but I'm not sure he reads eleven anymore so I will today. I love my Dad. I rarely if ever miss anyone. It's not in my makeup. Call me insensitive if you want, it's who I am. I miss my Dad. My parents moved to Columbus two or three years ago. That really pissed me off. I was as close as ever to my Dad at that point in my life. Now he's so far away, and so hopped up on medication, it's like he's gone even though he's still alive. Some days I really lose it when I think about it. My dad is in bad stages of Diabetes. He's also permanently damaged from the combination of a major car accident and other stuff. He's in a wheelchair. If he follows the life cycle of his Mom (which he seems to be doing, but worse) my dad won't be around in 10 years. I'm not OK with that. I hate the fact that I'm at the age where my friends and I have really sick parents or dead ones. And I'm sick of people saying to get over it, that's life. No that's death. And I'm not fine with it. I have stuff I want to say to my Dad, to ask him. But he's never himself on the phone. And when I see him he's all moody and whiny. I miss my Dad.

Sorry to be in such a downer mood. I'm actually well over my depression from Monday, but I keep getting death thrown in my face all week and I just needed to vent a little.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


How do you want to be remembered?

I was thinking about that question the other day. Whenever someone dies, or even just moves away for good, everyone remembers them a certain way. I'm not even talking about major life events or character definitions, or the pat Miss America answers about world peace; I mean just the stuff they did in their everyday life. Phrases like, "He always did this," or, "She always did that." Besides always, you hear words like all the time and usually, as well as never and rarely. In reality, those people probably deviated from those things we slap on the end of the sentence, but we choose to remember their habitual practices.

The funny part of that whole thing, is that we usually don't share that information with the people when they're still with us. Even though it's what draws (or repels) us from that individual, we usually think it's just our own thoughts or opinions. That is, until they're gone. Then we get together to reminisce and share, and find out our feelings were the same as the ones everyone else had. (On a side note, that's why I feel we should have funerals for people while they're still alive; so they can hear all the nice things people have to say about them and actually be able to appreciate those things. But that's a topic for another time.)

Here's a list of some of things I'd want people to say about me.
-Sam was out in his garden every spare minute he had.
-Sam and Ell threw a great party.
-He always had a rubber band on his wrist.
-Sam was a good driver.
-He never brought work home.
-Sam was a great friend.
I'm sure there's more, but those are the first things I thought of. Nothing major or earth-shattering. But they're important to me.

So the question of the day is...... If you could live a life that would cause people to remember you a certain way, what would be the things you'd want people to say about you?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Funny

Kurt was going out with a nice girl named Lisa for many years and finally popped the question. "Will you marry me, darling?" Lisa smiled coyly and said, "Yes, if you buy me a mink." Kurt thought for a minute and then replied, "Okay, it's a deal, on one condition." "What is it?" Lisa asked. "You'll have to clean the cage," Kurt replied.


The Ed Zachary Disease

A woman was very distraught at the fact that she hadn't been asked out on a date in quite sometime. She was afraid she might have something wrong with her, so she decided to employ the medical expertise of a sex therapist.

Her doctor recommended she go see the world famous Chinese sex therapist, Dr. Chang. So she went to see him.

Upon entering the examination room, Dr. Chang said, "Ok, take off all you crose." The woman did as she was told. "Now get down and craw reery, reery fast to the other side of the room." The woman did as she was instructed. Dr. Chang then said, "Ok, now craw reery, reery fast back to me." So she did.

Dr. Chang slowly shook his head and said, "Your probrem vewy bad, you haf Ed Zachary Disease. Worst case I ever see, dat why you not haf date for some time." Confused, the woman asked, "Oh my Dr. Chang. What is Ed Zachary Disease?"

Dr. Chang looked the woman in the eyes and replied, "Ed Zachary Disease is when your face look Ed Zachary like your butt."

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Story pt.4 and Explain

One more time about our songs. To those of you who in part or wholly disagreed with me, thank you for stretching my thoughts. To those of you who agreed with me, see you in Heaven. ;-)

Anyway, some final thoughts both ways and I'll let the topic rest. Part of's definition of worship supports both thought streams:
6. to render religious reverence and homage to.
7. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing.)
In definition, it looks like both ways can be effective. And as many of you said, that's how you look at it. My point for bringing up the topic was that I feel all elements of our worship service should be done with the express purpose of praising and glorifying God, centering on Him alone. When it comes to our songs, is God/Jesus/Holy Spirit the focal point for every one? If not, then something needs to change. When we sing songs like Let's praise His name, but we never actually mention His name or take our worship to the next level of actually recognizing that His name can heal and save and fulfill, I can't help but think our time's being wasted. Like I said, I'm no musician or singer, so I want to present my offering of song in the best way I possibly can. God doesn't ask us to be perfect (in fact he delights in whatever we give Him) but He does want us to do it with the right heart. And for me, when my expressed purpose is praising my Heavenly Father, you better believe I'm going to be saying those words directly to Him not to the people around me.

I've been struggling a bit with the content of my (if they can truly be called) controversial posts. My struggle is that I never want us as believers to get too focused on debate and semantics that we take our eyes of God. And I sometimes wonder if the discussion on eleven does that. I'm sure Satan delights when we as believers ramble on about this or that religious/churchy thing and forget to spend time with our Savior. But at the same time, I'm sure Satan delights when we just go with the flow and never question anything. Which is why I write what I write and ask what I ask. As Christians we need to be careful of the Deceiver and his lies. He sends those lies into every aspect of our lives, even our churches and families. Beware, says the Lord in Proverbs. Be watchful and aware. In the 21st Century, that watchfulness is most prevalent in our knowledge. And that is my desire. Be it ever-so a selfish desire, I want your opinions and ideas and arguments so that my faith is made strong. And I hope that mine and others do the same for you.

I said all that to say this... please know I don't want to be an ambassador for the devil and his lies. I don't want my debatable posts to shift our focus away from God and onto rules and regulations. I want them to be beneficial for the building up of our Faith. Please take what I write as such.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I didn't grow up with a lot of extras. Purchases were made on a "pressing need" basis; never on a "want" basis. Things would have to break down or fall apart before they were replaced. I'm not really sorry for that or anything, but it's interesting how growing up like that shaped some weird financial habits for me. I, with generous help from Ell, was a pretty heavy spender for many years. But it was never on stuff that I needed, rather what I wanted. All those repressed years of doing without I guess. Anyway, despite the fact that I've matured and grown out of the rampant spending of my young adulthood, I still cling to the "pressing need" purchase mentality. To this day I only own 2 pairs of jeans. One for cutting wood/gardening, and one for going out. And the going out pair actually has a hole in the seat. And I probably won't get another pair until the hole is just too big to be modest.

Now that you know a little how my brain works, here's my story. I've worn glasses since I was eight. I wouldn't get a new pair until the old ones broke and my Mom could save up enough money to pay for an eye exam and a new pair. So yes, I had the tape-in-the-middle geeky glasses many times. When Ell and I got married, she tried to break me of my "pressing need" spending in regards to my glasses with little success. So I've had the same pair of glasses since 2003. Horribly scratched up lenses, a hazy right lens, and replaced nose pieces from a dollar pair of drugstore reading glasses. Not broke, so why replace, right? Friday, two days ago, I finally decided to honor Ell's wishes and get a new pair of glasses. They weren't broke, but it couldn't hurt to get a new pair anyway. Saturday morning, yesterday, I worked in my garden for a couple hours. Midday, I went inside to do some reading. While I was sitting at the kitchen table, my glasses broke. The arm came right off. All I could do was laugh at the irony.

I called the Boardman Lenscrafters and they were only open until 5:00, with the last order being taken at 4:00. Ell wouldn't be home until around 4, so I called the Warren one which turned out to be open until 7:00. Boardman would be open at noon on Sunday, and Warren's a good fifty minutes from our house, but I really needed the glasses. So when she got home we headed to Warren. I spent about twenty minutes and found a really nice pair. Very sophisticated and stylish. Very banker. The lady tries to talk me out of them b/c of how bad my eyes are and how thick the lenses will be, but I insist. People know I wear glasses, like I care if they know how bad I really need them. So she measures my eyes and my head. She measures my pupils and sizes the frames. Then we discuss the lenses and I pick the best lenses for staring at a computer all day. All that is finished and she informs me they don't have the lenses in stock. It'll be 7-10 days before my glasses are ready. Who's laughing at irony now?

So I left a little annoyed and with broken duct-taped glasses. What am I, twelve again? We did get to eat at--------- Kim hold your ears --------------, Chipotle, which was abso-freaking-lutely awesome as usual. So anyway, noon in Boardman doesn't sound so bad right now. Oh well, whatya gonna do?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Funny

Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.

When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act, she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said, "Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged. Since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of another patient, I have concluded that your act displays that you have a sound mind. The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself in the bathroom with is bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead."

Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?"

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happiness is...

Most of you know my love for good music. Yesterday I got an exceptional musical treat that had me smiling all day. One of my dearest friends, Chip Richter, does music for kids and families. He's a very talented guy and is amazing with kids. Well, he's working on a new cd to be released this summer. One of the songs on the cd he had planned on doing with the world-renowned guitarist Phil Keaggy. If by some bleak, weird, remote, chance you don't know who Phil Keaggy is, you really need to find out. Phil has been called the best guitarist ever by such people as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. He does an amazing solo live show that'll blow your mind. Not enough can be said how awesome of a musician this man is. Anyway, back to my story. Chip flew down to Nashville to Phil's recording studio Tuesday. From about 1pm to midnight they worked on the song for Chip's album. Here's where the story gets stinking fantastic. Chip called me yesterday morning and sent me a link to the final mixed recording of the song. I don't know about you, but having the freshest, most recent, most current, less than 12 hours old, Phil Keaggy recording in my hands was amazing. To make it even more special, I was the first one besides Chip and Phil to hear it. The FIRST! Happy isn't the right word to describe how I was feeling. I put it on a loop and listened to it at my desk for about an hour, finding new and unique nuances and notes each time it played. Pretty cool stuff.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just some stuff

Friday morning we left for Indy with Andrew and Lyndsay. (I'm really gonna miss those two when they leave.) We left pretty early so we could make a day out of it, and we had a great time. The wedding was amazing; one of the fanciest high-class weddings we've ever been to. I hope Andrew will post some pics sometime. Hooked up with our old friends Grant and Jess. We live ten minutes from each other and it took a wedding 6 hours away for us to reconnect! Got to see my Dad and Mom in Columbus on the way back through. That was really nice. Too short though. A lot more happened in Indy, but nothing of interest if you weren't there, so I won't bore you with it. :-) Got home around 11:30 last night. A lot of driving and activity crammed into 3 short days.

Got home to our seeds taking off in the sunroom. We started more seeds than we ever have before, and they all seem to be growing except the peppers. They take a little longer, so Ell isn't worried. I worry big time every year until that green shoot pop out. I need my peppers!

Today I found a Vegan couple doing an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I linked them on my AT page to make it easier to follow their walk. Just realized I know a LOT of Vegans and Vegetarians.

I must have dozed off twenty times today at my desk. I am really behind on sleep. I decided to post b/c writing is the one thing that can get me all fired up and feeling alive. In fact, this is the most awake I've felt all day. Ell just called me and wants to play tennis tonight to give her brain a break from studying for finals. I really want to go, but I'm not gonna be playing well. Oh well. I can't miss a chance to wear sweatbands and super cute short-shorts. Tennis it is!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Friday Funny (A day early)

I'm heading to Indy at the butt-crack of dawn tomorrow morning, so I won't be able to share my weekly dose of laughter. So how about a day early.

A guy I read posted an interesting link from eBay yesterday. (I doubt very many people don't know how eBay works, but just in case... You buy something, the seller leaves a comment on how fast you paid, etc. The buyer leaves a comment on how much he/she likes the thing they bought.) This link is the feedback page of a buyer and all the feedback he has left. I usually don't post links unless I really think they're worth it, and this is definitely worth it. Please click HERE to read his stuff. I highly encourage you to do this if you like to laugh at all. You will not be disappointed.

If you need to cut and paste instead of linking...

Do this, you won't be sorry.
Have a great weekend everyone.


Let me begin by asking you not to respond to this post with any sort of electronic-hug sort of response. I'm not writing to elicit comments, I just need to get some stuff out of my head. Conversation is great, sympathy, not necessary.

Probably my biggest flaw is that I am selfish and self-centered. And the thing that irritates me the most about that is that I realize I'm like that. And even though I try to stop being so, I only seem to end up being worse at it. When I write, I'm very aware of how much I use the word "I" in each sentence. When I write a letter to Ell, I actually capitalize the word You to express that I place her ten leagues above myself in all things. But I still write about myself more than anything. In conversation, I'm very aware when others just tag-on their own stories before people even finish talking. But then I do the same thing. Last night we had dinner with our good friends Andrew and Lyndsay. I asked Andrew about his six sibling family b/c I am very interested in family dynamics. Andrew mentioned my family and before I could stop myself I was talking about my sisters and my parents and my parents siblings and on and on and on. I tried to ask him a question to let him know I really did care about what he was saying, but the moment was gone. In my Bible study I sometimes feel I'm just spilling my guts. While that's good in a small group, I have to wonder if someone else would like to talk once in a while. Even this post. Well, never mind. This is my blog, and like Adrienne says, blogging is much cheaper than therapy.

Why do I act like this? I can actually feel the energy slipping from a room when my mouth opens and won't close. I'm great in one-on-one conversations. I'm an attentive listener and good conversationalist (I hope.) But I can't help bringing things around to myself in almost all cases. ARRRRRRGGGHHH. It is so frustrating! I'm getting better, or I should say I'm trying. Just not sure if it's working or if my inward focus is just making it worse. I hate being selfish. I hate it so much I could scream or swear sometimes. I, I, I. Me, Me, Me. What in the world? The only left to do is apologize if I've interrupted, bored, or otherwise offended any of you with my selfish vocabulary and general vomiting of the tongue. Sorry.