21 August 2006

I love videos

And I love Bonnie Raitt. I'm going to try to embed one of her videos here. If this works, I imagine I'll just keep doing this for different artists. Enjoy!

03 April 2006

Still missing him

Saturday was 14 years since my father died. Every April Fool's Day since 1992 has a cruel bit of irony attached to it.

Maybe it's fitting -- Dad had the best sense of humor and he was always trying to encourage people to smile. I can still hear his words and the proper inflection he was so careful to use.

He was a complex man. The fact he was so intelligent, yet so careful not to judge others, spoke to his wisdom. I've known very many intelligent people in my life, but the wise ones have been few and far between.

So, here's to you, Dad. For all you accomplished and all you left behind for us to do in your stead. I miss you (and will always miss you), but I remain incredibly proud to have had you as a father.

14 March 2006

Spring, wind, warmth

A few incredibly warm days have started people around here thinking about Spring. Which is folly, as we have had some remarkable snow storms in March. But what is encouraging is the length of the days increasing. When it's sunny (like today), the day seems to stretch out and makes for optimism that Winter will, indeed, end.

Having seen the tornado damage from elsewhere, the wind today is more of an inconvenience than something to truly gripe about. It's a perspective issue, I guess. A twenty-five MPH wind is nothing compared to having your house destroyed. The people in the Midwest have more tolerance for damage on that scale than I ever would.

Lastly, things have been going so incredibly bad lately that I'm looking for some (any!) sign of progress. Five years now. It's enough to make you feel forsaken.

09 January 2006

Aging through our children

Yesterday marked another birthday for our beloved daughter. She's had some rough times recently, and it's hard to watch someone I care for so deeply have to deal with adversity. I worry about her. About all I can do as the Dad in this relationship is to be there for her.

She has given me more unadulterated joy than I can express. It seems like yesterday I was sleeping in a chair in a hospital room, the day of her birth. She came into the world on a bitingly cold day, during a winter that was the coldest in a century. After her arrival, we had snow which lingered for weeks. Her mother was pretty much housebound, with a new child and her own mother to help with the baby.

It's funny how you maintain images in your mind from (almost) a quarter of a century ago. We needed groceries, and the only way to get them was to walk to a grocery store. So that was what I did, bundling myself against the bitter cold wind and walking over snow drifts. When I got to the grocery store, I was so hot that I had to take my coat off and toss it in the cart. Armed with a grocery list, I moved around the store like everyone else there -- we were pretty much in shock from the cold and snow.

Then came the effort of taking the bags of food back home, walking through the same damn snow. It wasn't easy, but it was my duty as provider to my new clan. I'm still not clear how I stayed upright. The snow had been plowed (sort of) on the major roadway I had to cross, which meant to cross the road involved climbing a two-foot bank of ice.

All of these images come flooding back when I think of how this precious bundle came into our lives. My wish for all of the new parents out there is that you have children as wonderful as ours. If you only have one daughter (as we do), may she be the beacon of light in your life that ours is to us.

Happy birthday, sweetie. Having written this, I don't feel so old.

03 January 2006

Happy New Year

At last, a chance to say "So long" to 2005 and "Welcome" to another year. Last year featured a bunch of stuff that needed to be put behind me once and for all. Suffice it to say that this year at least holds the promise of bigger and better things. In 2005 it seemed the year got off to a brutal start and went downhill.

Last night there was a show on TLC about a woman who lived life without any legs. As I watched how she coped with her Alzheimer's-stricken father and retarded brother, I felt ashamed how I cope with the little stumbles that come my way. She wasn't an optimistic person, necessarily. But her attitude about dealing with the hand that you're dealt was inspiring.

Maybe during 2006, when I feel buffeted by the bad stuff that inevitably will come this way, I'll reflect on her approach to life. I doubt I could "walk" on my hands. But you never know what can be accomplished, once you put your mind to it.

22 December 2005

Death near the holidays

The online news featured deaths this morning. Two police officers shot and killed by another officer. Elrod Hendricks, long-time Orioles bullpen coach, dead the day before his 65th birthday. Tony Dungy loses his son. The young Dungy was eighteen. All of life before him, all of it gone.

Death is brutal on the survivors, especially the unexpected deaths. To know (or have a strong inkling) that someone near is soon to die gives you a chance to prepare.

When that someone is gone in a flash, the shock of it deprives you of a chance to mourn.

And so, three days before Christmas, we shake our heads and wonder about the seeming randomness of it all. And we know that our turn will come in that same way. Here, then gone.

06 December 2005

Snow and insanity in Maryland

The white flakes came to Maryland yesterday, in that most dreaded of timeframes -- the afternoon. That's the time of day when school systems are supposed to have their school buses on the roads and parents everywhere are headed home from work.

If you looked at a traffic conditions map, all you saw were indications that the mobile insanity has begun for the winter. Yesterday was no exception. Problems abounded. Cars were piloted into each other in that dreadful crunch of fenders and broken headlights.

Why this happens each year (repeatedly) bears investigation. With a lack of meaningful mass transportation, we slip and slide and bounce off of things and into ditches. It's no wonder that we have high insurance rates.

The sheer volume of cars and SUVs, all trying to get somewhere, is astounding. If just half of these drivers admitted they were overmatched by conditions, progress could be made.

Our winter forecast is for either above-average or below-average snowfall. Either way, if the white death comes in the daytime, the roads will be paralyzed, save for those who drive up the shoulders to save some time. Those are the people who'll likely cause yet another accident.