Saturday, May 31, 2008

I shit my drawers

But not routinely - usually I have to have an impetus.

Last night it was a strong downpour, which suddenly filled the sump pit in our basement to within 8 or 10 inches of the top. The pump was running, but wasn't actually working. I fooled around with it and finally got it to start working, but stayed up until the rain stopped, to prevent a complete disaster.

Within the past month, four neighbors' basements have flooded because of the recent heavy rains. In all of those events their sump pumps gave out, leaving the water little recourse.

This subdivision is about four years old - so I'm going to assume the average life expectancy of a sump pump is four years. I called our family plumber last night and he is bringing a big, beefy sump pump and installing it today.

Call it a preemptive move.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Best ribs in NE Missouri

As touted by the Rural Electric Coop's quarterly mag (and pointed out by my friend "Bird")... we finally stopped at Piggy's BBQ, a little hole-in-the-wall on Main Street in O'Fallon.

Best ribs I've ever tasted. The secret is in the rub, I think, and the fact that they are smoked out front (literally in their parking lot - see right side of the pic above) daily. At less than 20 bucks a slab, I am tempted to take home 3 or 4 for my next BBQ and save the briquets.*

It comes with three sauce choices, including a regular, a nice spicy jalapeno BBQ, and a sweet, smoky one.

I can hear my arteries slamming shut. Time to pop another Crestor...

*yes, I admit - if you get an invitation to my place for ribs, chances are I will be buying them from Piggy's and claiming them as my own. Shit happens.

"The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." - Harold Wilson

Tonight, as we dined outside under the stars on the deck, we saw a great example of how things change. Within one year, the payoffs for our personal wagers have gone from sexual favors to who'll wash the bottles.

In one year.

So I rustled up a few quotes about change. Don't expect them to change your mind about anything.
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher

If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change. ~John A. Simone, Sr.

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place. ~Washington Irving

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

Change always comes bearing gifts. ~Price Pritchett

The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions. ~Ellen Glasgow

You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish. ~Author Unknown

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. ~Ellen Glasgow

There is no reason why the same man should like the same books at eighteen and forty-eight. ~Ezra Pound

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me. ~Author Unknown
And my favorite:
We would rather be ruined than changed; We would rather die in our dread then climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die. ~W.H. Auden

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rachel "Yasser" Ray

Filed under the GMAB (give me a break) header:

Rachel Ray's web ad touting Dunkin' Donuts' new iced coffee product has been yanked because in the ad, she's wearing a scarf that supposedly promotes terrorism. It only vaguely resembles the pattern worn by Yasser Arafat:

The right-wing neocons are freaking the hell out about it. Give it a rest, you act like a bunch of shivering idiots. How did the US become the world's most powerful country when people such as these are so fearful?

Grow a damned spine... and stop making up things to fear.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wedding candy

One evening recently, Em and I were planning our wedding, and trying to find a reading that is not religious, but meaningful and applicable.

My favorite short story by Robert Fulghum, from his book Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, would be perfect in my opinion. Em thinks it's a little dark, referring to death, war and such. It's pretty short, so read it and give me your opinion:

THE RUSSIANS ARE A ROTTEN LOT, immoral, aggressive, ruthless, coarse, and generally evil. They are responsible for most of the troubles in this world. They're not like us.

That's pretty much the summary of the daily news about the Russians. But sometimes something slips through the net of prejudice, some small bit of a sign that is so clean and true and real that it wedges open the rusting Iron Curtain long enough for us to see not an enemy but fellow travelers, joined to us by membership in the Fellowship of Joy-and-Pain.

See Nicolai Pestretsov. I don't know much about him, I don't know where he is now, but I'll tell you what I know.

He was a sergeant major in the Russian army, thirty-six years old. He was stationed in Angola, a long way from home. His wife had come out to visit him.

On August 24, South African military units entered Angola in an offensive against the black nationalist guerrillas taking sanctuary there. At the village of N-Giva, they encountered a group of Russian soldiers. Four were killed and the rest of the Russians fled, except for Sergeant Major Pestretsov. He was captured, as we know because the South African military communique said:

"Sgt. Major Nicolai Pestretsov refused to leave the body of his slain wife, who was killed in the
assault on the village."

It was as if the South Africans could not believe it, for the communique repeated the information. "He went to the body of his wife and would not leave it, although she was dead."

How strange. Why didn't he run and save his own hide? What made him go back? Is it possible that he loved her? Is it possible that he wanted to hold her in his arms one last time? Is it possible that he needed to cry and grieve? Is it possible that he felt the stupidity of war? Is it possible that he felt the injustice of fate? Is it possible that he thought of children, born or unborn? Is it possible that he didn't care what became of him now?

It's possible. We don't know. Or at least we don't know for certain. But we can guess. His actions answer.

And so he sits alone in a South African prison. Not a "Russian" or "Communist" or "soldier" or "enemy" or any of those categories. Just-a-man, who cared for just-a-woman, for just-a-time, more than anything else.

Here's to you, Nicolai Pestretsov, wherever you may go and be, for giving powerful meaning to the promises that are the same everywhere; for dignifying that covenant that is the same in any language - "for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor and cherish unto death, so help me God. "

You kept the faith; kept it bright, kept it shining. Bless you!

(Oh, the Russians are a rotten lot, immoral, aggressive, ruthless, coarse, and general evil. They are responsible for most of the troubles of this world. They are not like us. Yeah, right.)

I hate to admit it, but I can't read it without crying. That doesn't mean it's perfect to be read aloud in a wedding. Thoughts?

Ancient relic unearthed!

How long since you've seen one of these?

I spied one this morning on the way for coffee and to take Regis to the groomer. I hadn't seen one in quite a while.

I remember the first "cellular" phone I had. I lived at the Lake of the Ozarks and the station paid to have one installed in my car. When the phone rang, the horn would honk. It was also push to talk, like a walkie talkie.

This may, or may not, be an actual picture.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happiness is not a destination, it's a journey

For years I've heard that phrase and for years I thought it made perfect sense. But lately I've been thinking maybe it's a matter of perspective.

How can you tell someone who has been divorced many times, fought cancer, lost a child or lost their home and recovered from those things to land on their feet, that happiness is found in the journey? THAT journey doesn't sound happy at all.

It's really an individual thing, isn't it? Maybe for some, happiness is where they are now.

Our neighbor's son recently suffered a house fire and had to come live with his parents. At about the time the rebuild was complete, the pipes burst and flooded the home, which delayed their return. A couple of months later, while his son awaited repairs from the pipe burst, the neighbor's wife died. Then, last night, the basement of his house (where the son and his family were still staying) flooded from the rain.

Not a happy journey.

Of course today isn't really your ultimate destination - it's just one stopping point along the journey. But I'd say for some, happiness is still somewhere down the line...

iPhone 2.0

The rumors are true - sometime around June 18 the newer, slicker Apple iPhone will arrive.

The announcement will be made on June 9 at the opening ceremony of the Worldwide Developers Conference. iPhone 2.0 will operate on the faster 3G HSDPA network, which means broadband speeds finally available on the ground-breaking, technically advanced cell phone.

Em poo-poos my iPhone, but requests to use it almost constantly for the Maps feature and internet. I told her she's welcome to keep it in about 3 weeks... or I'll be happy to buy her one of the saucy, blazing fast new ones. She hasn't officially given her reply.

Wish list for the new phone: GPS (which I understand WILL be a feature), Flash integration for Safari, more convenient features for email, such as multiple delete and landscape view, and video record capabilities. Please, Uncle Steve?

Again, I refuse to stand in line for the new iPhone.*

*for more than 3 or 4 hours.

Our subdivision: a river runs through it

After several inches of rain overnight, the tributary behind our subdivision, normally a trickle, became a full-blown raging river and threatens several homes nearby.

Without a sump pump, my own basement might be flooded, since the water table is incredibly high right now. There is a Servicemaster truck across the street - apparently their pump failed.

Pics from the 'hood:

This shows just how close the water is to some of our neighbors.

The park shelters across the street at Dames Park. The entire park is submerged.

Water polo field? Not hardly. These fields won't see football for a while.

Be quiet I'll get you something nice...

The words to the nursery rhyme "Hush Little Baby" slay me:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

If you'll just be quiet, I'll spend a lot of money on you. Diamond rings aside, have you priced mockingbirds these days? A high price to pay for a little silence.

I say let the little tyke cry a bit. It's cheaper and helps develop their lungs.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thinking food

No time like the present for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

We went for sushi earlier tonight and although one of my favorite meals, it always leaves me wanting something else. Generally cereal or a PBJ in the middle of the night hits the spot.

There's something about sitting in the kitchen at 3 am, the ticking of the clock the only sound in the house... with a tall glass of milk, jars of Skippy and strawberry preserves, and a fresh loaf of bread.

You can do a lot of thinking over a meal like that. I wonder if someone, somewhere else in the world, is doing the same thing. And if you're out there, do you ever eat yours toasted?

I can see your house from here

Ever wonder if you've reached your pinnacle? If today is the best you'll ever be?

I do. If I had to pick a time in my life that represented my happiest, most secure and content time, I'd have to say now. Today.

So what does that say of tomorrow? I wonder. I guess I'll know when it gets here.

But for now, I can't help but feel that if my life were a play, act two has already begun. Time is ticking by, and I've yet to find a way to make the audience cry.

Talk about losing the thread...

For the past three weeks, I have completely and utterly ignored my blog. I have no excuses.

Well, I have one. He's almost 13 pounds now and we're down to one feeding per night. Talk about life changing! I have an 18 year old too, but it's amazing what you forget over the years. Things like how utterly dependent they are on you. How innocent and beautiful babies are. How fascinating it is that they are made of the same genetic code as you.

So it's 2:00 am on a Sunday morning and here I sit. Up for Grayson's midnight snack and (incorrectly) thinking it's a good time to blog.

Some aging white guy in some office somewhere

It's posts like this from Steve Mays that got me interested in blogging:
"I have this fantasy of some guy serving a life sentence. In his cell 23 hours a day. No TV, no radio, no books or magazines... just a computer that can only do one thing. Show the images from my webcam.

What sort of story would he construct from these images. Year after year, some aging white guy in some office somewhere. People walking past the open doorway, sometimes coming in to talk. About something he'll never know. Would he wonder about my moods from my facial expressions? Would he feel as though he knows me after years of watching me, hour after hour?"

Many of us, the brotherhood of the blog, choose to leave the curtain of our window pulled aside a little in the event someone wants a peek. There is worth and interest in all of our lives, whether your view is from the top of the Sears Tower or a basement window overlooking a pond.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Necesito unas vacaciones

I'm working the night shift (which of course means the baby is between night feedings) and thinking of a trip to Mexico... to the point where I'm about to blend a midnight margarita.

Seems like forever ago, but we were there just last year. I suppose our next opportunity will be our honeymoon in early June 2009.

2007 in Playa del Carmen.

Right now it's hard to fathom just how much our lives have changed.