Friday, November 30, 2007

Answers, pt. 4


1) Do you feel like a banker? 'Cause, I still can't get the banker part of you to mesh with the other parts of you.
Not so much. (I should share my testimony sometime and you'd see why I'm where I'm at and the fact that it truly doesn't mesh. Another time though.) I see myself as more of a blue collar guy. When I was pretty young my Dad asked me what I wanted to be. My answer? A factory worker. No lie. I wanted a simple life where I could work hard, make money, and still have time for my life and family. I knew even then that I never wanted work to mix with home. (When I got older my answer changed to Farmer.) But I'm good at what I do. Really good. Not sure if that fact makes me a banker though. But the position I'm in now I can work hard, make money, and still have time for life and family. So I guess I accomplished my goal, right?

2) Does your wife do anything that annoys you?
How much do I want to be hurt? But seriously, of course she does. If anyone lives in a marriage where their partner doesn't annoy them, at least a little, is living in a boring marriage. Ell doesn't clean the cat pan quite often enough. We agreed when we got our first cat, that she had to take care of it. Period. I wanted a dog and I took care of the dog. (A Great Dane.) I feed the cats every day and even clean the cat pan when she's super swamped, but the bulk of that latter responsibility is hers. And I have to remind her too often. The worst part is that she gets pissed when I tell her what to do, so it really bothers me when I have to say anything at all. But she knows the alternative is getting rid of all the cats, so she just grumbles a little and then she's fine.

3)What everyday thing does she do that really appeals to you?
She takes off her bra. No kidding, that gets me going. Were you looking for something more personal and deep? OK, she takes off her bra slowly so I can enjoy the show. How's that? ;-)

4) If you don't mind me asking, what was the accident your family was in?
Easter Sunday, 1990. We were heading to my Grandparent's house in Pennsylvania. We stopped a red light and some a-hole wasn't paying attention to four lanes of stopped traffic and slammed into us from behind. That sent us into a car in front of us. Our car was totalled and everyone in my family was hurt except me. My dad did the noble thing and hiked up a hill to call the police even though he was severely hurt. The accident tore up his side and back and he was bedridden for almost 6 months. The business went bankrupt and we lost everything. Then we got screwed by my parent's crooked lawyer and got almost no insurance money either. A bad time in my life. My future, and my parent's, was altered forever because of one jerk who didn't care about anyone but himself.

5) What is your perception of me?
I see you as a really great mom. I see you as a open thinker who can clearly see the sheep mentality of the world around her and doesn't mind making waves to get out of the rut. A dearly devoted wife who follows the Biblical model of supporting her husband in whatever he decides. I see a busy bee work ethic that reminds me of my own wife. Maybe a bit shy with people she doesn't know well, but quickly warms up and is probably an amazing friend. I see your only negative attribute being a bit of a defensive nature that can offend people when it goes off. But even that defensive nature belies a firm stance on your beliefs which is a great quality not enough people have.

Alright, I think that's all the questions directed at me. I'll have to check, and then I'm gonna give my fingers a rest.

Answers, pt. 3

Amy's turn:
1) What's your least favorite debate?
What an interesting question. I like good debates; in fact I love them. But I hate it when a good debate gets bogged down by someone not flowing with the topic as it evolves. When a point starts to resemble the beating of a dead horse, the debate loses it's luster for me. The person sticking can't take hints to move on and the other people involved end up being mean about it. (Embarrassingly I've been on both ends.)
I also abhor when the debate gets ugly. I realize that the point of a debate is to prove, or at least give the impression of, greater intelligence. And to that end, someone must be made to look like a fool. I don't mind that when it's done in a civil manner. But when people lose manners and forget that in the end it doesn't really matter, that's when I regret even the idea of debates.

2) What's your favorite?
I have a feeling you were looking for topics in that last question. Sorry. I'm not sure I have a least favorite, but I do have some favorites. Local food versus store bought, abortion, Michigan versus Ohio State, and the myth behind dieting. Not sure I can pick a favorite, but the abortion one I feel very strongly about. My goal in that debate is to maybe save a life if I can, so I think it deserves me bringing my "A" game.

3) What do you like about church?
The community. Church is the body of believers, not a building. We can't seem to break ourselves of that false definition, and some would argue we shouldn't anyway. But the thing that makes church, in no matter what reference you use it, is the fellowship of believers with each other. I love that.

4) How much of a romantic man do you think you are?
On an average scale of men, I'd say I'm in the top third. I get lazy sometimes in my expression of love so I can't say I'm the best. But I do try harder than most men I know. My goal is to make my wife the number one person in the world. Everything I do is because of her being in my life, and I try to make that known as much as I can. Ell is not a romantic at heart, so it makes for a well balanced marriage.

5) How did you meet Laura?
I don't who this Laura person you speak of is, but I met Ell through a mutual friend of my sister. She was at our house a few times and I thought she had pretty red hair. I am a H-U-G-E hair guy, so I was instantly attracted to her. I asked her out at a friend's wedding and after our second date we've been together ever since. Why second? That's a whole other story for another time.

Great questions Amy. Next it's Adrienne's turn.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Answers, pt. 2

1) Have you ever done anything illegal?
Do you want a list? Nothing major, but of course I have. Stolen signs, stolen rugs, random vandalization, wacky weed smoking, etc. Like I said, nothing too bad.

2) Describe your perfect meal.
Wow, now that's a big question. I could answer it simply and just describe the food, but a perfect meal is made by the company and atmosphere as much as the grub. OK... The evening begins with a couple bottles of wine and a pipe on the porch overlooking the woods. My best friends are with me and the season is early Spring. We're staying at a cabin in the region of Hocking Hills in southern Ohio. As the sun sets we head inside to make dinner as a group, but mostly letting Ell and my friend Mike do the cooking. After dinner we relax in front of the fireplace and just converse for hours. That's my perfect meal.

3) What is your favorite mode of transportation? Why? How many different ways have you traveled?
Last one first... I've never flown, so the list is train, car, bus, motorcycle, bike, and feet. My favorite is by far, feet. I once made it a point to walk home from school every day for the entire school year; all seasons. It was one of the most memorable times in my life. And I can't wait to pull on my pack and disappear for six months in the woods surrounding the Appalachian Mountains. Why? Walking is so natural and organic. Most people don't walk enough in their lives and I hold to my belief it's why we have so many mental issues in this crazy world. God made us to connect with our surroundings. When we don't, we miss out.

4) If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
The definition of sound involves waves of energy and how they are transferred and received to the bones inside the ear. (Of all animals, not just humans.) So if no one is there, including animals, the waves aren't received and thus sound can't be defined. So, no.

5) Do you find people to be supportive of your decision not to have kids? Has anyone ever tried to change your mind?
Support is a strange word. Generally, most people are just confused. The natural way of things in this country has grown into school-college-marriage-kids, so if someone rocks that boat, people don't know how to react. They've been so programed that the cycle can't be altered, they just stand there with their jaws open trying to figure out the error. Are they supportive? Not so much. We know very few people that we could say actually "support" the decision. Reaction words range from cool or brave or neat or whatever. But support would insinuate those same people would stand up for us and defend our decision. I'm not sure I'd ask that of too many people, or that too many people would be willing to do it.
And yes, we've had people try to change our minds. Ell's mom, a pastor's wife who tried to shove scripture down our throats, some ladies in our church who took Ell aside and told her she didn't have to be pushed around by her mean husband, and more I can't remember right now. But like I've said before, we knew when we made it that it was going to be an odd decision, so we're used to the responses we get.

Next edition will be Amy's questions.


Bethy first:
1) Why did you stop playing Drums? (This might be a long answer.)
My dream in high school was to be in a heavy metal band (who's isn't, really) or to play in a professional marching band; like a drum and bugle corp. I was accepted into a college in Nashville with an open invitation to play in the Vanderbilt University Marching Band. I was also accepted into one of only two (at the time) national elite drum schools. The one I got in was in L.A. Dream coming true right? Yes, until I got the bill for each. Due to our family accident and the loss of my parent's business, I was going to be paying for college myself. My parents were gracious enough to give me $5000 of their pitiful insurance settlement for college. I couldn't see blowing that money on not even a full year of college, and subsequently going into major debt. I saw debt rip apart our family's peace and I swore to not put myself into that situation. So I walked away. And you know what, after a year or so, I saw it was for the best. I still enjoy a good air drumming session, but I have no desire to sit down behind a kit everyday like I did when I was in high school. Great question.

2) What is your favorite veggie?
I don't have a single favorite but I have a group I really like: the lettuce family. And what's not to like? The stuff grows in over 30 varieties, much more than the boring iceberg you get at a store. It can grow 12 months a year so you never have to worry about not having fresh greens. It cuts down the oils in your body and cleans them to be used more readily in your system. And it goes with everything. Oh, and it tastes fantabulous. (If you disagree you've never had good lettuce.)

3) How do you feel about not having your family in the area?
It sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks. My sisters and mom tell me all the time my nieces ask for Ell and I regularly. I'm missing out on playing with my nephews and teaching them bad habits. My dad gets worse every year and I can't be there to make it stop or to take some of the burden from my mom. And speaking of my mom, she needs good standing-up hugs from a man in her life and I can't be there to give them to her. I miss births and deaths and birthdays and anniversaries and walking and talking and crying, and there's nothing I can do about it. I refuse to uproot my entire life to chase my family to other parts of the country, and I know they'd never ask me to do that anyway. It sucks. All of it sucks.

Alright, I'm crying and I'm at work. So the rest of the questions will have to wait. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some shout-outs

The first one goes to Zoooooooooma, my musical blogging record keeper. He seems to have taken a little break from going through his blogroll. Well, yesterday he made up for it. He must have gone back through a month or so's worth of posts and commented on over half of them. I have my comments emailed to me b/c I can't get on my blog at work. So all day and then this morning he filled up my inbox. So, shout-out to you my friend, thanks for all the great stuff to think about.

The second goes to my friend Evan. He called me from Bahrain today; TWICE! It costs him a lot of money to call us here in the 'ol U.S. of A., so it was awesome to talk to him not once, but twice. He had enjoyed his fill of libations before he called me, so it was a pretty fun conversation. Miss ya man, these next two weeks before you get home are gonna be long.

The third is my dear wife. She had a pretty cruddy day today. First she had school which consisted of an eighteen page test and having to complete three papers. Then she had to head to two separate meetings for the cafe. Then it was back to school for the rest of her day's classes. Tonight she has to deal with me. All of this while she's battling this cold. And it's a cold that her professor told her she was gonna get. She hates it when people tell her she has to do stuff and she can't do anything about it. So this cold really pissed her off. Love ya Babe!

Fourth is my dear friend Dave. You said you felt left out when I issued ideas to all my non-posting mates. So here you go: Talk about your kids and your feelings as they all leave home for far off lands. Tell us about your plans to open a restaurant or your lifelong dream of owning a coffee shop. Talk about the third place ideal. Tell us why you have aversions to people looking up to you as their pastor. (And no, that's not the same thing as your "pastor title" post. Share your feelings.) Tell us about your biking stuff. (I didn't even know you liked to do that until this summer.) That should do for now. Now get writing.

Fifth is to my teller Linda. She doesn't have a blog, nor does she ever comment on mine. But she faithfully reads eleven and challenges my ideas often. Love ya lady.

Sixth shout-out goes to my new blogroll addition, Paul. Paul is the pastor of the New Hope church in Boardman, Ohio. The guy posted a video and lyrics from a Pearl Jam song on his blog. And he wasn't ripping on it either, he loved it. From everything I've heard about this guy (never met him,) he is the type of person who can and will change the world's negative image of pastors. He sees himself not as someone to rule over and control, but rather to be a traveler just like the rest of us. But at the same time, seems like he would be a great resource to disciple a new christian. Hope to meet you soon, brother.

And lastly, this is to all you questioners. I can't believe you haven't shot anything my way. Come on, the gloves are off for only two more days. Here's your chance.

Good night all, have a great one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Plans and eggs

I want to thank everyone who commented on my 33 post. After seeing the theme of the comments, I went back and re-read the post. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was a bit depressed or concerned for my own well being and future. Please know that even though I'm eager and anxious to do my best in this important year of my life, I'm even more excited about what it'll bring. I probably should have stressed that it was a good thing when Steve gave me that revelation of existence. I want to do my best, and yes, I'm worried that I may fall short, but the thing that gets me through is what Kyle mentioned about Grace. Jesus already did enough for me that the grace He provides is enough if I fall short. The good part about following God is that I can screw up many times and still have one more chance to make a go of it. Pretty cool.

Yesterday was the end of something for me and Ell and I wanted to share it with all of you. A month or so ago, Ell's grandpa talked to her about the fact that he and Ell's grandma were going to move. Part of that move was to involve the selling of their house. The house is a century home with something like 2700 square feet not including a full, finished third floor apartment and a full basement. A big house. Too big, in fact. So we had a plan: we would buy it with a married couple friends of ours and live together. We could even rent out the third floor. All in all, it would save both couples a huge amount of money. Ell and both of them are in college, so extra money is always a good thing.

After all the money and work info was compiled, we didn't get it. I won't go into the details, but both couples had some issues that we weren't able to overcome. So the deal is dead. When I found out, the only thing I could think if was, "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched." I was very careful to not get my hopes up about this deal, but after talking to the other couple and to Ell's grandparents last night, I felt like I had egg yolk all over my head. Despite my best efforts, my brain was working on plans for the house. Oh well. I'll just wash my hair and we'll move on with life. I'm not sad, just disappointed for Ell and our friends. They were excited and now are left a little empty.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I turned 32 this past summer. A few times I was asked the usual, "Do you feel any different?" question. My friend Steve was with me one time it was asked and after I answered the usual answer of, "No," he made a rather pointed and loaded statement. He said, "You will next year." I asked him why and he said something about Jesus being 33 when his mission on Earth was complete. No lie, at no point in my life before that second had I ever contemplated that fact.

I know some of you readers of eleven aren't on board with all the Jesus talk, but stick with me for a minute.

Jesus, arguably the most influential man in all of history, both secular and spiritual, did all the work he had to do on Earth by the time he was in his 33rd year. Here I am, working on that same milestone in life. And now that I'm here, I can see how it could be a burden to a man. All kinds of questions about family, faith, purpose, and even worth, must flood the mind of a man as he approaches and then turns 33. Thanks to Steve, I know mine is.

Late Saturday night I sat with my friend Mike in front of a fire. In addition to the inspiration and honesty a fire seems to naturally provide, Mike is one of the friends I have that always makes me see life in a much deeper way. Somehow we got on the topic of age. He commented that as young thirty-somethings we are in a unique position. This is the one time in the life of a human where we are respected by all age groups. People much older than us listen when we speak and look to us as being very knowledgeable. On the other spectrum, we aren't too old to offend or be unable to relate and be looked up to by teens and young adults. Interesting thought. Furthermore, that age is the age of Jesus at the height of his ministry. So, this Savior of the world, this man who's spilled blood can wash us all clean, this man who would reshape an entire planet's thoughts on religion, chose to do and finish this once in a lifetime work at the age of 33.

So here I am. I'm 32. In nine months or so I'll turn 33. What have I done to change the world? What great movements have I inspired? I mean, the Bible says our goal is to be pursuing the ideal of "being like Jesus," right? So if that's what He did, what actions am I doing to arrive at the same end? And more than all of that, am I taking advantage of this rare age where I could potentially have the most impact on those around me? Am I using the leverage I have, the respect, the listening ears of those in reach of my voice, to do something meaningful? Or am I following the path of so many and letting this split second frame of influence slip by without making it matter?

I hope I'm doing the former. I hope the years I spent as a Youth Pastor mattered. I hope my meager leadership of Band Of Brothers is doing something. I hope my knowledge is respected and I hope I deserve it if it is. I hope Jesus is rooting for me, and helping me when I not-often-enough ask for it. I hope I can say some of my best work was done by the time I was 33. We'll see.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Promise, extended

Despite Adrienne's very good-feeling comment, I'm afraid I'm going to have to postpone my "worthwhile" post until tomorrow. The Inn where I usually steal my Internet from on the weekends, is having problems with its server. So I'm at my friend Brad's house using his wi-fi. But Ell has some stuff to do and doesn't feel so hot, so I can't stay long here either. So a post with some substance will have to wait until tomorrow. And don't you worry, I got some deep stuff rolling around in my noodle and I'm gonna unload it on you people in the next few days.

Kim, I want to talk to you about the Gate sometime. OK? Send me an email at work when you get a chance. Samuel-troy dot shirey at nationalcity dot com.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

I know I know

Alright, so I'm gonna write an obligatory short post just so I don't let myself miss a day. I only get a chance to be in front of the computer for a minute, so I'm sorry. To make it at least worth reading, I'll describe what I see right now:

A family of Italian people are milling around me. All of them seem to be from the actual country of Italy because none of them are speaking English very well. But oh my goodness, their accents are so cool. My friends Kyle, Brooke, Brad, and Ell are with me and they're visiting with Lyndsay's mom, Michele and Andrew's dad, Dave. So even though our dear friends are 14 hours away, we get to see their flesh and blood and pretend we don't miss our friends. Alright, gotta go. But I promise to write something profound tomorrow to make up for today.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Funny

A man named John was 32 years old and still single. One day a friend asked, "Why aren't you married? Can't you find a woman who would make a good wife?"
"Actually," John replied, "I've found women I wanted to marry, but when I bring them home to meet my parents, my mother doesn't like them."
His friend thought for a minute and said, "I've got it. You should find a girl who's just like your mother. She'd be sure to pass the test, right?"
A few months later John and his friend met again. His friend asked, "Did you find the perfect girl? Did your mother like her?"
With a frown on his face, John answered, "Yes I found the perfect girl. She was just like my mother. You were right, my mother liked her very much."
"Then what's the problem?" the friend asked.
John paused for minute and answered, "My father doesn't like her."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Drunk people are funny

So here I am again writing a 1 o'clock post. Two days in a row.

I've heard over 10 times in the last few weeks that the night before Thanksgiving was the biggest party night of the year. I don't remember ever really partying hard on this famous night, but I guess I see why. No work in the morning, no family plans before noon or so, no need to be responsible. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I'm currently with a group of people who are, well let's see, how do I put this in the best politically correct way I can? Well, they're having a good time. There are some clothes switching, some falling over, some cigarette smoking, and a whole heck of a lot of drinking. I have chosen in my life to refrain from getting drunk (not to say I haven't been there a couple times in my life) because I'd rather keep my faculties about me. Know what I mean?

But I do have to say, all ethics and morals aside, drunk people are funny. They fall down, they throw up, they makes fools of themselves, they get embarrassingly honest, need I go on? I know my parents are cringing right now, and some others of you find no pleasure in these types of things at all; but I find it to be really funny a few times a year.

And that's why I'm posting at 1 am again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cookie Turker

I'm just sitting around with my friends Kyle, Brad, and Grant going through some youtube videos. This one is for all you lovers of the English language and the glory of spellcheck. If you like to laugh, this one's for you. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An impossible question?

I was listening to NPR yesterday and heard an interview with a guy who just released a documentary about his son, Samuel, who has Cerebral Palsy. The documentary was centered on something called "Inclusion" which is the practice of sending a student with special needs or disabilities to a normal, public school. The idea behind the "Inclusion" movement is that every person deserves a chance to be educated with other people their age despite their physical limitations.

Samuel attended a public school in Philadelphia that was a sponsor and advocate of "Inclusion". As part of the documentary, the Dad interviewed a few of the teachers who had Samuel in their class. One of the teachers brought a few tears to my eyes. She talked very candidly about the extra stress of having Samuel in her class. And it wasn't just that she had to do extra work, she didn't mind that at all. What ended up happening by having Samuel in her class, was that she was forced to focus much of her energy on Samuel to ensure he got the education he required. By necessity, that forced her to shift her focus from all the other kids in the class and onto Samuel. She was heartbroken that she could no longer provide support to the early contender for valedictorian who needed help to earn the honorable position. She was saddened when she saw some of her calculus students inching towards failure because she spent her extra time with Samuel. She went home crying many nights because she could see her other students start to slip in their studies.

I was torn with how to react to the whole thing. On the one hand, by having Samuel in the class this teacher was forced to focus all of her extra attention and time onto one student. And by doing so she was actually excluding the other students from getting their fair share of education; the exact opposite effect of what "Inclusion" stood for. On the other hand, why didn't Samuel deserve the same chance at a good education that everyone else did. My own niece Esther-Faith has Spina Bifida. Does she not deserve to learn like other kids in a normal school just because she uses a walker to get around? We're gonna fight if you say otherwise.

So what's the answer? Is there an answer? If you try to be fair to someone with special needs and by default end up not being fair to kids without those disabilities, is that really fair? Or should the "normal" kids make a few sacrifices for the benefit of the person who is already making sacrifices by trying to live a "normal" life? We have to come to some kind of conclusion. But how are we going to do that when there as many answers to these questions as there are people in the world? I can see as many reasons for "Inclusion" being an ideal program as I can for an alternative approach. And the big question, who pays for all this extra effort? The parents, the taxpayers, who?

I don't know. I just don't know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is it alright to scream in a bank if no one else is here?


What a day. I have a conference call every Monday. We discuss sales, teller information, goal setting, stuff like that. If it wasn't so late I'd write about my frustrations with my boss. But I have a 40 minute drive home in the dark to worry about now. You know all those deer I see on a normal day? Well, at this time of night they're all crossing the roads. Fun.

Sorry for the crappy short post, but I need to go home. I promise to write something more substantial tomorrow.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


I didn't anticipate doing so, but I think I'm going to write seriously today. I'm (slowly) reading Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. A great book, I'd recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest bit if interest in this country. Not so much a book on politics, but a book on the world we live in. Anyway, he mentioned something about the post-9/11 days. I'll quote him:

...imagining those ordinary acts that 9/11's victims must have performed in the hours before they were killed, the boarding of a plane, the jostling as we exit a commuter train, grabbing coffee and the morning paper at a newsstand, making small talk on an elevator. For most Americans, such routines represented a victory of order over chaos, the concrete expression of our belief that so long as we exercised, wore seat belts, had a job with benefits, and avoided certain neighborhoods, our safety was ensured, our families protected.
Now chaos had come to our doorstep.

That, along with a comment Ell made that my commute travelled by some pretty dangerous and obvious areas for a terrorist attack, really made me think about how fragile our existence really is. At any moment our happy little worlds can be disrupted -- or even eliminated -- by someone else with a quirky thought. Scary, huh? I don't really know what to think about that. What do I do to make that have less a chance of happening? Is there actually anything I can do? Probably not.

I have some guns and I know how to use them. I've talked to Ell about what to do if I'm not there. We grow our own food and heat our house with wood. We can get clean water without a well, etc etc etc, The point is, those are just things that make us feel good in the moment. In the big picture they are not things that actually make us safe. They are merely things that make us think we are safe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not running around worried the sky is falling or anything. In fact, the opposite is true. I'm just going about my day ignoring that chaos can happen at any time. Most of you are probably doing the same. And that might be all we can do.

I have no idea where I'm going with this, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Sorry to be so random. I'm off to load my guns.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Big Game

Yes, my friends, "THE" big game is today. Ohio State versus Michigan. The chance for OSU to go to the championship game. The winner takes the Big Ten title. The loser is just that, a loser. They go home with nothing. Michigan holds a decided advantage (over 20 games) in the long played rivalry. They also hold the advantage (by double digits) in both their stadium, the Big House, as well as the Ohio State stadium, the Horseshoe. But despite those overwhelming numbers, Ohio State has beaten Michigan 5 out of the last 6 years. Ouch.

So today I am renewing an old tradition. An action I hope sways the tide back in Michigan's favor. Ell and I will be traveling up to Cleveland today to watch the game with my old friend Jared and his girlfriend Angie. As an added bonus to watching the best game of the year and hanging out with old friends, Jared and I each owe each other a dinner from past football bets. So we are going to go to dinner and switch bills at the end of the meal. I can't wait.

Well gotta run, Cleveland is an hour and a half drive away and I haven't showered in a few days. Things do not smell good.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Funny

Yesterday I saw 4 deer on the way to work and 5 on the way home. I saw 4 more on the way this morning, which a couple were in the count from yesterday morning and evening. There's this one herd of deer that resides in an area where they don't allow hunting. There are woods and crop fields and a stream, and no hunting pressure whatsoever. The perfect paradise for deer. So I see at least a few of them in that same area almost every day. Anyway, on to the funny.

As a drunk man staggers out of the bar, a firetruck races past, siren wailing and lights flashing. Immediately the drunk man starts chasing the engine, running as fast as he can until he finally collapses. "If that's the way you want it," he yells, "you can keep your stupid ice cream!"

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rod Othello, a poem

While on the road I met a man,
His name was Rod Othello.
I asked him where he hailed from,
He said from 'neath the gallow.

An odd and vague response that was,
And so I begged for more.
He looked me in the eye and said,
"My story's filled with gore."

"I was a mighty sailor,
My life upon the sea.
Sometimes I sailed with other men,
Oft times it was but me.

I saw great lands and kings and queens,
I saw them live and die.
I fought in many a random war,
None left alive but I.

But trading was my art of choice,
I dealt in gold and spice.
A fortune made and saved those years,
All bought with rightful price.

In one fair town I met a Dam,
Her hair as black as coal.
We spent our days and nights entwined,
Her soul became my soul.

We agreed upon a marriage date,
The event would be in June.
But then I found her dead at home,
Blood spilled beneath the moon.

The anger grew inside of me,
No drink could dare control it.
The killer I would surely find,
His skull I'd surely split.

I searched in every town and gale,
My rage content to grow.
Until I found him one cold night,
And killed with one swift blow.

But then the law was on me,
My life was on the run.
I traveled by the moon,
And slept beneath the sun.

A mighty voice disturbed my slumber,
The ranger he had found me.
A hangman's noose would be prepared,
For guilty was my plea.

As rope was cinched around my neck,
I asked for one last word.
The ranger shook his head,
So died with his own sword.

I killed all men that day,
But sorrow filled my heart.
Their wives and kids would surely cry,
Their lives now set apart.

My fortune I did give them,
All my spice and gold.
The widows no longer poor,
The children no longer cold.

The law no longer hunted,
My debt had been erased.
But sadness still o'come me,
My life was now a waste.

What was my worth in life,
Now lost without a mate?
Doomed to roam the world alone,
Love had come to me too late.

So here I stand before you now,
My hands stained red with blood.
My heart has been forsaken,
My lover 'neath the mud."

I walked away from Rod Othello,
My own heart filled with grief.
A brave soul left to wander,
A love affair too brief.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two in one day? Oh the insanity.

I'm at the Inn waiting for Ell to get done with a meeting so I thought I'd write.

So guess what? That guy I talked about in this morning's post, Tim, well he took my advice and started his own blog. If I'm here long enough tonight I'll add him to my blogroll. You should really check him out. Just a warning for all you kids: put your perfect language earmuffs on because he can make very clever use of the swears when he gets excited. Consider yourself warned.

I haven't been keeping up with my deer sightings for all you people that pretend to care. So here goes.

Last Friday: 4 on the way to work and 4 on the way home
Saturday: None
Sunday: 4 on the way home from hiking with Ell and Brad. (So now I have witnesses you crazy skeptics.)
Monday and Tuesday: None since I left work early.
Today: 1 on the way to work and 4 on the way home.

Funny story. The one deer I saw this morning was in a cow pasture. I've seen deer there on many occasions but usually not in the morning because the cows are out. Well today I see this one cow facing the opposite direction of the rest of them. So I slow down and this one cow is having a stare-down with a big buck. (For those of you who don't know the anatomy of the two, cows are much heavier and usually taller than deer. But deer, especially bucks during the rut, are very aggressive.) They were like 20 yards from each other and neither one was moving a muscle. I watched for minute and they never moved. It was so funny.

Alright, bye for now.

Edit a few minutes later: I added Tim's blog. It's under Smiley towards the bottom of my list. The four he posted have an order, so make sure you watch them 1 through 4. Enjoy.

Some ideas

I want to thank those of you that responded to yesterday's post. It's interesting to see and read what people's thoughts on music are. Music is such a powerful thing. It hits you on so many levels it's hard to categorize it into one or two thoughts. It's emotional, it's spiritual, it's touching, it's motivational, it's depressing, it's on fire and yet on ice. It's so many things to so many people, and not a one of them are the same from one person to the next. And when you try to place yourself, or someone else for that matter, as a part of that in a real tangible way you find out you felt stronger than you ever thought you had before. Good stuff. Really.

So I have a couple ideas. The first is starting another blog. I met a guy a few years ago and recently have gotten to know him quite a bit better than I ever expected. His name is Tim and he has so much going on his brain it's almost too much for the average person to handle. If you were to meet him and engage him in conversation you'd find yourself really perplexed. One second you'd think he was the smartest person you've ever met and the very next second he'd cause you to think he was a moron. And then you'd find yourself loving him and right away hating him. I love people like that. People that stretch me and make me think. Tim is that kind of guy. Well, he started a YouTube account and has posted a few videos. Four of them are a spoken word analysis of America and his feelings about it. Good stuff. He has no desire to place them on a blog or anything so I think I'm going to do it for him. I guess I need to get his permission; or maybe I don't. The magic of freedom and the www, right? Anyway, I'll let you know if I decide to do it. I think the world could do a little better for itself hearing his thoughts. Agree or disagree with him, it doesn't matter.

My second idea is actually a rip off of an idea one of my tellers was sharing with me. Church youth group friends. I had a bunch, and a few of us were really tight. My idea is that I should try to get them all together again. It's been like fifteen years since I saw some of them and it would be really awesome to catch up with long lost people from my past. Maybe a summer party or something. I don't know if it would work, but it sure would be fun to give it a try. Alright, I'm off to do some banking work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Musician or not?

I had the pleasure of joining my friend Chip Richter and his band as they performed a benefit concert last night. Chip usually takes the band out to dinner after shows and last night the restaurant was Hog Heaven. (This has nothing to do with the story, but I thought it was funny with the Pig-addiction I've seemed to develop since rejoining the meat eating world.) One of the band members, a teacher by day, brought a student of his who is greatly interested in music. After dinner the guys in the band entertained his questions about playing music, making a living at music, writing music, going to school for music, and the intellectual and mental state that a musician lives in. Pretty amazing conversation really.

The thing that made this such an intense moment in this kid's (and my own) life was the company it was held in. Chip by himself is a very talented and personable artist. He owns his own studio, records for other people and organizations, runs a children's program at an exclusive summertime resort, all while playing and recording and selling his own music. His lead guitarist, Jeff, is one of the most talented Blues guitarists I've ever heard. He's been playing for over 40 years, I think. Chip's bass player is named Marty. Marty is a quality musician in his own right and not only in bass but in many other instruments. Again, one of the greatest bass players I've met or heard. Greg, the guy who plays a thousand instruments, has been playing for years. He's so in-tuned to music that he gets physically sick if he can't play for an extended period of time. Scott (the fill in drummer while Chip's regular drummer recovers from surgery,) owns his own drum shop, teaches music, and tours with multiple bands almost every weekend. Like I said, the talent I was sitting with at that table was amazing. And hopefully this student realized the caliper of people he was having a conversation with.

As many of you know I grew up with a ultra talented musical father. At 18 years old he was the second highest ranked trombone player in the U.S. He's played almost every instrument in the average performance and symphony band. And he's been an teacher of almost all of those same instruments. A marvelous pianist, and a phenom at guitar playing. All of this while sporting a tenor range that makes the Three Tenors sound like little children. Growing up around this man was a (musical) gift very few experience. But one of his only musical failures was his son.

I don't say that in any self-deprecating kind of way. At the age of two he bought me a play trombone. I never picked up a real one. As a child he tried for six straight summers to teach me piano. All of it lost less than a month after it was taught. I played a wicked air guitar so he bought me a nice guitar at a teenager. Didn't work. But he wasn't giving up that easy. At my local school, the organized band started in fifth grade. I didn't want to join because I hated playing music. But joining wasn't a choice in our house. So in my ten year old defiance I said, "If you're going to make me join the band, then I'm playing the drums." Not sure whether my Dad was defeated or what his thoughts were, but he said OK. So the drums became my instrument.

As I began to learn my instrument, turns out I had pretty decent rhythm. But I hated playing. I wouldn't practice. I'd sit in my room and pretend to play while I was reading. My parents sent me to lessons and sometimes I skipped them to go to Dairy Queen. All that said, I was still pretty decent. Then one rainy Saturday, my Dad shelled out $400 for an old pile of drums. I turned it into a drum set and fell in love. I played all the time. Around the same time I joined the high school marching band. Another love at first sight. Between the drum set and the marching band I was in the clouds. I still didn't practice mind you, but I was having fun and was one of the best in my small school.

Which takes me back to last night. As I sat and listened to these musicians, with a combined total of probably 150 years experience, I kept hearing one common theme. These guys played music because it was in them; it was part of them; they couldn't live without it; if they stopped playing they'd go crazy; they didn't always play for the crowds or the recognition but rather for themselves. Not a single one of those things described anything I'd ever felt about playing drums. Not one. Music was only a part of me because my Dad forced me into it (which I'm thankful for); I haven't played in 10 years and I feel nothing; I only played for the crowds. See a trend?

So as I listened to these guys talk that I have major respect and awe for, I knew deep down I wasn't a musician. As much as my dad wanted it to be so, I didn't have his talent. I love and appreciate music just as much, if not more than most people, and yet it's only a part of my life for that purpose and not to be a member of that community. Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not upset or sad about this fact. I'm just not there. I can't sing, I can't read or play a note of music, and I have no idea what figurative end is up on many instruments. I love music, I feel music, I breath music, but only in appreciation not participation. The most shocking thing for me is that I just realized that at 32 years old. I always thought I could get back to the skill I had, and with practice I might be able to. But the point is I don't need or want to. It's not in me. I'm not a musician. I know good musicians, really good musicians. I'm not one of them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dwight's Farm

So my short story has turned into a really long story. I had the whole thing mapped out in my head when I sat down to write but only got about 1/100th of my idea onto paper and it was already four typed pages. Uh oh. I decided to try to map out an outline (advice from Elizabeth a few months ago) so I could keep all my ducks in a row. Friday I did that and it seemed like I could make some progress without it getting too long. Then I started writing and added another four or so pages but only got through half a point of my outline. Double uh oh. This thing might turn into an actual book. I'm pretty excited about the story so I'm not upset it's turned into something much larger than I anticipated. I just hope I can keep the energy alive inside of me. I'm a banker not a writer.

By the way, the working title is Dwight's Farm. In honor of my Dad. While he's never been a farmer, it seemed a nice tribute to use his name.

Well, I'm only here at work for a few hours today so I should go and actually try to get something done. Tomorrow I think I'm going to post a poem thing I wrote a few months back.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Saturday

If anyone was wondering what the heck my post meant yesterday, well it meant nothing really. And no I wasn't just posting some crap to get in my scheduled post for the day; or cheating, as Adrienne may have insinuated. ;-) Yesterdays post was the blogging debut of my darling niece/god-daughter Emma. She is 22 months old, and really starting to figure things out. When I got out Ell's computer last night she sat right next to me and kept inching her hands towards the keyboard. I kept telling her to wait, wait, wait, but you could tell it was eating her alive inside. So when I was finally able to pirate somebodies wireless signal, I let her do the typing. She was very pleased with herself and gave me a hug. I thought that alone deserved me letting her first step into the WWW go unchanged.

My day:
I got up early and watched the "This Old House" hour on PBS. After that I woke Ell up and headed outside for a few hours working on the firewood pile. After a little college football I took a shower and we headed to Canton. I took Brad and my friend Tony to meet up with some guys from CPS. We went to a place called the Briar Patch. The Briar Patch is a smoke shop with a nice selection of pipe tobacco, some loose leaf cigarette tobacco, the largest walk in cigar humidor I've ever been in, and an amazing selection of estate pipes. I was very proud of myself and only bought a couple ounces of pipe tobacco, but it was hard. It was fun seeing the guys I knew again, and meeting some new ones as well.

After dinner we headed to our friends, the Starks, house for some beer and Guitar Hero III. I'm not a gamer, so I mostly watched. But I did get talked into playing Evenflow by Pearl Jam and tricked Ell into playing some Guns & Roses with me. (She hates them.) Then a short nap on their couch, a cup 'o Joe, a cold drive home, and into the sack around 2:30 this morning. And that was my Saturday. A very relaxing and fun day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


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Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Funny

Deer count from yesterday: 4 in the morning and 14 in the afternoon.

On to the funny stuff. Here's a couple for all you churchy people.

One Sunday morning, a young boy was acting up in church. His parents did their best to keep him quiet, but they couldn't succeed. Finally, the father picked up the the boy and got up from his seat. With a stern look on his face, he carried his son down the aisle towards the back of the church. Just before reaching the foyer, the boy had the last word and yelled to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"


A Sunday-School teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her class of 5 and 6 year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

That last one was so true in our house growing up. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A short story

Deer count last night: 25.

I had an idea for a story on the way to work this morning. I'm currently in the process of writing it. And no, I probably won't be sharing it. I'm not as brave as Elizabeth to put her work out there for all the world to critique. In fact I have a whole book at home with stuff I've written that no one has ever read. Not even Ell. My hope is that it'll be found when I die and someone will publish it for all the world to read. It will be titled "The Memoirs" and it will become one of the greatest works of literature ever. Or not. Who knows.

I do have a book that I'm in the process of writing that would be cool to have published. It's going to be a how-to mixed with a non-fictional story about the adventures of a group of guys and the trip they took every year. The trip was called the "Glacier Man" and they hiked or skied into the Allegheny Forest every winter to spend some time in the woods. From what I've heard the trip was a comedy of errors in relation to the experience of winter camping. So I'm going to use their stories to accompany the do's and don'ts of winter camping. Sounds cool, right? I'm pretty excited to write it. My biggest problem has been getting all the guys in the same place at the same time to get their experiences recorded. I have the intro of the book written but I can't go any further without the info. Maybe this winter I can get them together.

A lot of people ask me if I want to be a writer. I don't really, but I think I could enjoy it for a while and probably be kinda good at it. Who knows. For now I'll leave the writing to Elizabeth. By the way, Elizabeth is an author friend of mine who has a blog I read on a regular basis but can't seem to link on my site and use it at work. Darn firewall. Anyway, check her out HERE. I'm going back to writing my story.

Hey, when is a story a story and when does it turn into a book? Is there a word or page threshold that makes the distinction? Just wondering.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some have returned, others are gone

Since the time change over the weekend, the sun is going down earlier on the clock. What that means for me is that I'm starting to see more deer on the way home from work. Monday I saw 1 deer, Tuesday I saw 3, and yesterday I saw 18! Of those 18, they were in four different places, and two of them had big enough antlers to see them from a distance of at least a quarter mile away. I bet they were monsters up close. The whole way home I had this silly grin on my face. I truly believe God gives us nature for our pure enjoyment. We don't do a good job taking care of it sometimes, but what we have left sure is fun to experience.

On to a different topic. Sunday I went to dinner with Ell and Brad at a place called Main Street Diner in Columbiana, Ohio. We decided to go there because a Rite-Aid drug store will be moving into the same location next year. It's all in the name of development, but still sad to see an old place go away. The construction is to begin next Spring, so the restaurant was supposed to be open through the new year. This morning I read in the paper that they were forced to close last night. Turns out the lease was pulled early by the parent company of the Diner and they had to out by 7 pm. According to one of the employees they had little warning. While it sucks for all those people, I sure am glad we decided to eat there Sunday. If only we'd known. Weird, huh?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What a mess

This writing everyday thing is gonna get tricky in a week or so. I sat down today to start this post and my mind went completely blank. What am I going to write about? Those of you that know me well, know that me having moments of nothing to say lasts only a few seconds. Sure enough, after a minute I remembered what I wanted to write about. But it got me wondering about the rest of you taking on the NaBloPoMo challenge. Some of you say you have nothing to write about in a normal month, how in the world are you gonna find stuff to write for thirty straight days? All I can say is, "Good luck."

So last night I went upstairs in our house to find some important paperwork I needed to take to work. I thought I knew where it was but I couldn't find it. One thing I did find was that I've been pretty lax in my organization. I have a strange cycle when it comes to cleaning and organization. First of all I'm a crazy freak about the fact that everything has a place and it should be in its place. (Thanks Mom.) But I tend to let piles build up of different things to be filed or put away. One pile for bills, one pile for magazines, one pile for Appalachian Trail stuff; you get the picture. Once those piles get to an annoying (to me) large size I put them all away where they should go. So I'm organized, even if I'm messy. This last part drives Ell nuts, but she knows my piles make sense to me and eventually they'll be put away.

Last night I realized it's been much too long since I organized my piles. And in waiting so long everything has gone into a disarrayed mess. I couldn't have been more pissed off when I realized it. By letting my otherwise organized piles get cris-crossed and out of control, I lost all sense of organization. So today I'm in a crazy cleaning mood. I've done more cleaning and filing in my office in one day than I've done in six months. And my brain is going silly thinking about all the stuff I need to do when I get home. To make it worse our guys Bible study is meeting at my house tonight so I won't even get to work as much as I want. There's a good possibility I might go mad before the cleaning can get done. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Can't write anymore, I'm off to do more filing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Christmas time is upon is

So, we went down to Columbus this past weekend. My sister Karin has a tree up already. (Maybe two, I can't remember.) Besides her house, everywhere I looked I kept seeing signs for sales and specials and the infamous days 'til Christmas reminders. It was all I could do to keep from screaming, "IT'S NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING YET!!!" I didn't; but I wanted to.

So here I am today, sitting at work, listening to jingle bells and other various Christmas songs coming out of the plethora of stuffed snowmen my head teller has out already, and I couldn't help humming along. So I did it. I got online and started Christmas shopping. That's right --- way before Thanksgiving and Black-Friday --- I did some Christmas shopping. I'm so ashamed I can't even look at myself in the mirror. How can I live with myself? I know, I'll hum along to Jingle Bells for the hundredth time when the next old lady comes in the bank and squeezes the snowman's hand.

Jingle bells jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The official re-introduction

So I finally had some meat. And since we were on the road, I wasn't able to eat a very balanced diet. So most of what I've eaten in the last few days has been meat. Here's the list...

Chipotle Carnitas (Shredded Pork) burrito.
Two ballgame hotdogs
One brat, also at the game
Sausage at Karin's house

All of the above in a 24 hour space of time.

Not a long list, but when compared to the fact that the only other food I ate in the same time frame was a bowl of ice cream, 2 pancakes, and 2 pickles, it's a lot. There was no upset stomach or anything, which I didn't expect. I've always had an iron constitution. Now that I look back, almost all of the meat I had was of the pig variety. Not sure what that means, but it's interesting. One thing is for sure, I need a salad. Seriously, I'm craving a salad. I gotta go find me something green.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

The big game, well not "THE" big game, but a big game none-the-less

My sister Karin has season tickets to Ohio State football. College football being somewhat of a religion in the heartland of America, imagine my surprise when she offered me two tickets to today's game. (She's done it before but not for a few years.) And the bonus part is I get to take my nephew Isaiah, her oldest, with me. Ohio State is ranked number 1 and in many eyes shouldn't be. And Wisconsin is their first real, and ranked, opponent of the season. So it should be a great game.

The shocking thing for some is that I'm actually a Michigan fan. So who am I rooting for? Ohio State of course. I want to see them walk into the game at Michigan in two weeks with over-inflated egos and get trounced by the Wolverines and watch their chance for a National Title go bye-bye. It'll be sweet. Well, I'm off to the game. I even broke out the only red shirt I own to make it look like I belong. Thanks Karin.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Funny

A little Halloweeners joke for those of you trick-or-treaties out there.

An extremely modest man was in the hospital for a series of tests, the last of which left his bodily systems extremely upset.

Upon receiving several false alarm trips to the bathroom, he decided the latest episode was another and stayed put. He suddenly filled his bed with diarrhea and was embarrassed beyond his ability to remain rational.

In a complete loss of composure he jumped out of bed, gathered up the bed sheets, and threw them out the hospital window.

A drunk was walking by the hospital when the sheets landed on him. He started yelling, cursing, and swinging his arms violently trying to get the unknown things off, and ended up with the soiled sheets in a tangled pile at his feet.

As the drunk stood there, unsteady on his feet, staring down at the sheets, a hospital security guard walked up to him. Having watched the entire incident (and barely containing his laughter) he asked, "What the heck is going on here?"

The drunk, still staring down at the bed sheets in amazement, replied, "I think I just beat the crap out of a ghost."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November it is

So, I came to the Inn to meet my secret partner to plan our attack on an unsuspecting world. In checking my blogroll I find that Kimmy has extended a challenge to blog every day of this month. The weird part is I almost never blog on Thursday's. (You know, the big build-up to Friday Funnies.) As such I almost never check my blogroll. So I almost missed this. But have no fear ----- Sam is here. Get used to it. Wait, that's another phrase. Never mind. Anyway, I'm gonna try to do this. I have limited access to the Internet on the weekends, but I think I can make it work. Good so far. One day down, 29 more to go.

Oh, and I get to eat meat today. But I haven't. Go figure.