Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to the grind

Ell started school today. It's exciting because it's her last year, but this is going to be her toughest year of all. She has sixteen hours both semesters not including her twelve hour clinical. We've decided to cut back her working hours to two days a week, but her shifts are thirteen hours long, so she'll still be spread pretty thin. The college recommends the fifth year advanced students stop working their last year, but we just can't afford for her to do that. She's a trooper and thrives on a busy schedule, so she'll be alright.

In other news, our house was shown again today which makes ten times in as many months. We haven't heard from our realtor yet, but no one else has made an offer so we aren't holding our breath. It's such a tough market so we weren't expecting much, but it's definitely hampered our plans to scale back. Oh well, it'll happen when it's supposed to happen.

The new job is going great. And I mean it this time, not the hopeful great I expressed when I started at the non-profit. This has truly been one of the most comfortable transitions I've ever made into a new job. Besides that, I'm really looking forward to the wonderful world of paid bank-holidays. I missed those.

So, yeah.............. that's my life lately.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

RIP Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

The Kennedy's are an interesting family that has always intrigued me. The heroic war stories, the old family money, the scandals, the tragic --oft times mysterious-- deaths, the impressive public service that seemed to be ordained for so many of them. Well, the youngest son's funeral was today. I watched it from start to finish and even shed a few tears.

Growing up in a Republican family, it was inbred in me to hate anything and anyone from the Democratic party. While I respect the reasons my parents had to believe their ideologies, and the need they felt to raise us kids to adopt the same, I often feel a certain lacking in regards to the things I was shielded against growing up in that environment. One of those was an almost automatic distaste for the womanizing, drunkard, ugly Democratic Senator from Massachusetts. It took me being out of my parents house almost ten years to even do any research into what the man actually stood for and what types of agenda's he fought for as a public servant.

Now I refuse to allow this post to get ugly with political commentary on red versus blue, and issue versus retort. I respect each of you for what you believe even while knowing not all of it can be true or right just as I know everything I believe can't be all true or right. It's what makes this country so unique. I'm not asking any of you to say that Teddy Kennedy was a saint and a gentleman, nor am I inferring I think likewise either. But he was an honorable senator who for almost five decades fought for what he believed in, and will go down in history as arguably the most politically successful Kennedy of them all.

My fellow Irish-American, I tip my hat to you. You served our country well and I am proud to have been alive in your lifetime to see your work and hear your voice. May God give peace and rest to your soul and to the family you have left behind. Amen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Funny

Why does peeing sometimes give me a shiver?

Post-micturition convulsion syndrome, which often affects men, occurs toward the end of the urination session and isn't completely understood. Most speculation rather than scientific conclusions have been made regarding the cause(s). It is predominately believed that the shiver is a side effect of interactions between the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS, in this case is responsible for holding the flow of urine, and the PNS is responsible for releasing urine. Although they are far more common amongst men, women also experience these convulsions.

Well I'm glad we cleared that up, but I already knew my PNS was responsible for releasing urine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The past week

Before I go into any news or updates, I want to let all of you PapaD followers know that he hijacked my Mom's blog for a single, short post. CLICK HERE to read it. If you like my Dad's writing, or you simply want to be touched by heartfelt words, please check it out and post a comment. I know he'd love to see people's reactions to his heart.

Onto the news, the Perseid meteor showers were almost a wash... literally. The rain storm that was supposed to be gone from NE Ohio by Tuesday morning, moved back in and dumped it's load on the land. It left a haze of fog and clouds when it moved into Pennsylvania in the early evening. As a result, the meteor watching we had planned for Tuesday night only yielded two streaks of space dust. Wednesday night dawned clear and we had a ton of sightings that made up for Tuesday's sadness. All's well that end's well, they say.

Lollapalooza was awesome. So, so awesome. Chicago really goes all out for the event. The three day event occupies the whole of Grant Park, all mile-long green and fountain of it. If you've ever been to Chicago or have seen pictures of the city, you know the city wraps itself around the park which makes for one of the most beautiful, scenic vistas in all the world. Really. The beauty of the Chicago skyline against the green of Grant Park makes for a truly amazing picture. Now picture that beauty filled with 500,000 music fans. Pretty cool stuff.

Beyond the beauty of the park, there is so much more to love about Lollapalooza. The food/drink is another huge draw. The organizers don't allow the usual greasy, fair food vendors to supply the grub. They instead invite all of the local ethnic restaurants to move their business to the park for three days. Imagine your food options consisting of Greek, Italian, Indian, Pad Thai, Deep Dish Chicago Pizza, German, Mexican, Classic American, Seafood, Fruit stands, handspun ice cream, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and so much more. And all of it cheap. No gouging of prices. Everything was under $6 and most of the offerings were entire meals. Even the drinks were cheap. Water (regular and Vitamin): $2, Beer: $3, whole bottles of wine: $10. They even had six free water stations throughout the park and welcomed you to bring Nalgenes and water bottles. In a place where they could have easily raped everyone with their prices, they chose to make everything affordable.

I was also entranced with the culture that 500,000 people from all over the globe brings. We sat with some guys from Ireland, and in front of some from Russia. We heard the languages of Spanish, French, German, Indian, Hawaiian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and many more that we couldn't tell what they were. That, along with every twang, slang, and accent that our great states have to offer. It was so much fun to listen to the variety (and make fun of a select few), that it made me a little jealous that I live in such a culturally boring area.

As I blogged about last Friday, the best part of the trip was that I got to spend the whole time with my lovely bride. Ell and I spent four whole days together which hasn't happened in I don't know how long. We were also joined by our dear friends, Andrew & Lyndsay for the last two days of the festival, which was so great. There really is nothing like spending time with people you love.

I can't talk about Lollapalooza without talking about the music. 130 bands on 8 stages for 3 days. Intense only slightly describes what we experienced. We got to see some old favorites as well as experience the new music of bands we'd never heard before. The best part about the music is that they truly cater the event to have something for everyone from every genre. There was folk, rap, hip-hop, metal, electronic, DJ-ing, old bands, brand new bands, guy singers, girl singers, and bands with both. And of course there was good old fashioned Rock. Just like two years ago. I plan on posting reviews of each of the bands/artists we saw. We saw so many that I'll probably break the reviews into day by day postings. If you read something that sounds interesting, check it out. If anything comes from my reviews, I would hope some of these bands make a few bucks so they can keep making music. "Cause that's what it's all about.

Tuesday took me back to the grind and tonight brings me to the first of three nights without Ell. Life seems to have come full circle, huh?!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Three days on, Three days off

Ell and I are rounding up a pretty crappy three day stint where we will see each other a total of only about 45 minutes in almost four days. The way our work schedules coincide leaves us about sixty seconds each morning to see each other and about fifteen minutes in the evening to see each other. It really sucks.

You know that, 'ships passing in the night' cliche? Yeah, that's us. No lie, two of the last three days we pulled off the side of the road -- her coming home from work and me going to work -- hugged for a minute, and then got back in our cars. This morning we got to have our sixty second hug in the kitchen, but then I had to leave. When she's gone on trips and been gone for a few days, it was hard to deal with. But this is almost worse. And yet it's not because I still get to see her. It's hard to explain the emotions.

But then... we have an amazing three day weekend coming up where we'll spend every second (except for the deucing) together. Where will we be? Lollapalooza in Chicago, baby!!! That's right, as soon as I get off work tomorrow night we'll be jumping in the car and heading west for three days of music and friends and fun. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

So, I guess I'll take three crappy days without seeing my wife in exchange for three great days seeing her the whole time. Sounds like a fair trade. I can't wait.