Saturday, December 27, 2008

The end is near

So many things seem like they're coming to an end: school is almost over (can you believe we have a paper due on Dec 29?), our time 'working' at CITD is over, the pregnancy is almost over, the holidays are almost over, and football season is almost over (Go Gators!).  It's crazy to look back and remember this year, it has definitely been the most up and down year I can remember... so much has happened it is almost impossible to believe it was all in 1 year!  Started with Christmas/New Years Eve in Florida, then the two trips in the spring to be with the family as we let Nannie go be with the Lord, then the infertility stuff and the treatments, the layoffs at work, new pastor at church, the pregnancy,  saying goodbye to M&M, having like 10 foster kids in 2 months, J&B moving in and moving out, having A&R move in, the Psych eval and becoming a certified candidate in the UMC, the house being robbed.  Yikes, big year.  On top of that, I have been doing my darndest to stay on top of school and the house and still be involved in the family and the church.  Ttthhhhhhhhhhhhpppppppptttt.  Almost too much to imagine.  

Oh well, I guess that is life.  It's interesting to try and remember what life was like when I was younger, college aged or younger I guess.  I have always felt like I was super busy, like the crush of life was almost too much to bear.  The funny thing is, when I look back I can't believe I wasn't bored out of my mind then!  It's amazing how much pressure a full time job puts on you just from the perspective of time.  Having to get up and squeeze what feels like a full day of 'stuff' into the hours before you go to work and then again in the hours after the kids are in bed is crazy - but it is just you do when you're an adult.  Blargh, it sucks sometimes though.  Sometimes when I just veg out and watch football or a move I feel like I'm wasting so much time; it's so hard to remember that you absolutely must have down time.  

So, to add to the randomness, I'll talk about a movie I watched last night (between 2am and 5am while I was up suffering from a terrible sick stomach), "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."  First of all, it wasn't a great movie.  I think the gross out jokes have been done better and with more finesse but whatever.  It did get a lot better towards the end and I'll give it a thumbs up because I've been a sappy romantic of late.  As I was laying on the couch after the movie ended (trying not to poop my pants), I realized that the movie sort of touched me because it was similar to the story of how I fell in love with Aimee.  I know this is crazy, but I sort of had my own Sarah Marshall (though not nearly as attractive or wealthy as Veronica Mars and much, much taller).  I realized this when I heard the line in the movie where one of the guys described his relationship with Sarah Marshall as 'time served' or something like that.  I was totally whipped by my ex and it took her throwing me away to really free myself from her.  When I was recovering but still in love I met Aimee and she was totally the 'cool Hawaiian chick' from the movie.  Like the characters in the movie, we just sort of accidentally fell in love with each other and before I knew it I couldn't imagine life without her.  I'm not really sure what my Vampire puppet opera was but I'm sure I could come up with something if I tried really hard.  Either way, in the end I found my Aimee and there couldn't be anyone better for me :)  

Alright, have to go read about Indian immigrants - I can't wait to be done with school!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner recipe posted

A Ham steak is something that we almost always have in our freezer. They're cheap and, being pork, relatively heart-healthy (mind the salt if you're sensitive!) Oftentimes we'll just thaw one out and throw it in the oven to broil but tonight I was in the mood for a little something extra so I volunteered to cook. Here is what came of it:

Ham Steak and Potatoes served with Steamed Green Beans

Make sure you save the piece with the ham bone in it for yourself, everyone thinks you're being magnanimous and they usually have no idea that it's the best meat on the steak.

Give it a go and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I don't often do this...

But I just wanted to post a link to an article I read this morning that really touched me.  It says a lot of things I wish I could say about life.  It's funny how you can spend a lot of time writing things and never be fully convinced that it isn't absolute trash.  I'm glad sometimes that I have the courage to look like a total idiot.

So here it is: Photography, and the Tolerance for Courageous Sucking  courtesy of Merlin Mann at 43Folders

Monday, December 1, 2008

Prop 8 and its ilk, Foster Care

I can't stop being shocked and amazed at the passage of the various 'family protection' amendments in the recent election.  Whatever their opinion of the 'gay lifestyle' or homosexuality in general, I can't believe that anyone really believes that homosexual couples are dangerous to children.  Seriously, there are so many things that are really dangerous to children (Divorce, for one) that I can't imagine that anyone really believes this is the issue we should be pouring our resources into.   I feel like I have some right to speak on this issue because of the time I have spent caring for children that have been abused physically, mentally, and emotionally by good 'ole heterosexual couples (1 man AND 1 woman!).  What really drives me over the edge is the way that children are used as pawns in the game small-minded people play  in banning homosexuality.  The commercials that were aired during the campaign were disgraceful, showing pictures of children talking about how confusing it is to have two same-sex parents or equating homosexuals with pedophiles.  More disturbing than the amendments to ban marriage by homosexuals was the one in Arkansas that had the effect of banning homosexuals from being foster parents or adopting.  On the surface, these laws only prevent 'unmarried' people from serving in this manner, but the subtext is clear.  Stop thinking for a minute about homosexuality, what reason could there possibly be for preventing a single man or woman from adopting a child or serving as a foster parent?  I can't imagine how insulting this must be to single parents.  I have heard arguments that single parents or homosexual parents give children the wrong image of what a 'parent' should be.  Let me hit you with some knowledge.  Foster kids already have a wrong image of what parents should be.  'Parents', if they have any idea what that word means, are the people that hit you, the people who lay on the couch stoned while you starve to death, the people that let leave you at home alone with no water and no electricity while they go about their business.  If a foster parent, gay or straight, can get a kid to the point where they are ready to discuss ethics or sexual morality, they should be praised publicly and rewarded handsomely.  The fact that people who don't think it's appropriate to have homosexual parents taking care of foster children have obviously never even spoken with foster children.  Kids are too busy being amazed that they have food everyday, that they get to take showers (and that the water is hot!), that they might go through an entire day without being hit or being covered in their own feces.  This is reality folks.  Can you imagine the narrative of a child that pees their pants when they hear a door slam or asks you if you're coming back every time you walk out the front door.  How about someone that eats until they vomit because they have never been exposed to the concept of 'full' or 'enough'?  

I'm not saying every foster kid is like this, and we have certainly been lucky with what we have had to deal with.  What I'm saying is that unless you have had one of these children as a part of your life you had better shut the hell up.  Leave them out of the argument and thank your lucky starts that ANYONE wants to take care of these kids.  What do you think happens to the kids that 'age out' of the system at 18 never knowing anything other than emptiness? 

Alright, time to holster the soap box.   Here is a link to the Arkansas amendment on Ballotpedia and here is an article from someone that spoke at a civil rights march in protest to these types of amendments.

Process Discipline

So, today I realized what my life has been missing. I think that this has come to me because I have started getting a taste of it and have begun to realize how important it is to me. Discipline. When I think back, the times when I have been healthiest, happiest, most productive; I have been the most disciplined. Disciplined with what I put in my body, what I do with my body, just how I live my life. At work we might call this process discipline. It's interesting when I think about how easy it is (relatively speaking) to take in foster kids and turn their lives around with just a little bit of discipline. I'm not even talking about discipline in terms of punishment or whatever, though it is amazing how a little dose of the time-out chair will turn children around. What I am talking about is the regular discipline of bathing, eating, brushing teeth, hugging, speaking, all of the hundreds of little things that we take for granted in life. Going to bed at the same time, having a set amount of time to eat dinner, feeding the dogs every day, these seem like such small little things but when are disciplined about doing them every day they can have a transformative effect on your life, or the life of your children. I hate to make this comparison, but I think children aren't that much different from dogs in that they crave structure and discipline. Having to feed the dogs every morning seems like a chore that you would regret but for children that have never been responsible for anything or had something they can count on every single day it can literally turn their whole life around. Children obviously learn so much faster than dogs and they pass through the phase and move onto greater challenges but I think that the comparison is valid for a certain stage of life.

At any rate, this is something that I am missing in my life.  Maybe instead of referring to it as discipline, I will refer to it as living an intentional life.  It's interesting to me that this is the terminology that we use in seminary and also the same that we used in Aikido.  Aikido is really what got me thinking about it.  I was the healthiest I have ever been when I was practicing and I have been missing it lately.  I don't think it was solely the physical activity, I believe that a big part of it was the intentional manner in which I went through my daily life when I was heavy into practice.  Taking off my shoes when I enter a house and placing them neatly against the wall instead of just lumping them into a basket.  Having a regiment of movements and exercises that I did at different times during the day.  I had a class in seminary that required a certain amount of this effort as well, and it produced similar results which leads me to believe that it is not solely physical in nature.  Waking up every morning and spending a short period of time in reflection.  Having a meditation that I performed every night before bed.  I have started modifying my life to be more intentional over the past month or so and I believe it has already caused things to turn around.  Simple things like the pill box I put together has gotten me on track with my medicine and vitamins, a simple evaluation of my spending every night has resulted in us having more money, with no noticeable change in lifestyle.  Riding the bus has introduced a regularity of schedule that has caused me to be more productive at work, I think.  All in all, I am going to be looking for more discipline (intention) in my life.  I hope that I will be able to share some of the benefits with family and friends...I am notoriously lazy so I hope I can maintain.  Hopefully writing here will only help things.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day et al

Well, we had an interesting Thanksgiving. Work leading up to the holiday was sort of ridiculous, so many crazy things were expected and they were pressuring us to do things on production even though we had a 'code freeze', which really just means we're not supposed to do anything on production. Anyways, who cares about that - let's talk turkey! Heh, I went out to a few stores Wednesday night because I was afraid I didn't have enough peanut oil. I knew that Wal-Mart would have it but I hate that store with a passion and normally do everything I can to avoid. This night, though, it couldn't be avoided. So I went to Wal-queda and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I think I have figured out how to shop there. Wear headphones. If I can avoid hearing people and just pretend that I'm in a foreign country where people don't obey the same rules of etiquette and personal hygiene that I am accustomed to I can manage to get in and out without going nuts. So I got the stuff I needed and headed home. Thursday morning I got up early and baked bread, made a nice breakfast with some young fried brown eggs-yum. Got the turkey fryer set up and spend the early morning cleaning up the house and back yard. After frying the turkey, we wrapped it up and went to our friends' house. I brought some of the little 'cocktail-smoky' pigs-in-a-blanket that my mom likes to make and they were a huge hit! Everyone loved my turkey, I got zero leftovers...they demolished that thing! It was a fun dinner, I really like the Wassons and family, they are such good people and so nice to invite us into their family. They're pretty close to my age too, which is nice for a change. After that we went over to Mike and Emily's new house, they are already decorated for Christmas(!) and it was so cute. We played some games and stayed until about 9:30, then headed home. All in all it was a fun day. Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night coughing up a lung. For some reason when the weather turns I can't stay well. I had a hard time breathing and sat up for a couple of hours trying to calm down. I watched 'Wanted' during that time, which was a surprisingly decent movie. Then I went to sleep on the couch. I am so scared that I am going to get Aimes really sick. Then we had to get up early this morning for a visit from CPS and so I did some dishes and helped straighten up the house. Then, it was off to bed again - I slept until 12! I never do that ... so I guess I'm really sick. Then I got up, watched some football (Boy LSU sucks this year) and went out to work on my truck. Bad news, the alternator checks out so I have no idea why it is eating batteries. I guess there is a short somewhere...ugh. If it isn't one thing it's another. I wonder if life is always going to be like this? Always behind the 8 ball.

Anyways, I am home now, resting, and hopefully about to eat dinner. Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well I'm home sick today

Blargh. I feel like crap. I hate that every time the weather changes I get sick. Hopefully I'm addressing the situation though. I don't know if I wrote it on here yet, but I got some pretty unsettling news from the doctor about my cholesterol. I'm not sure how to react to it, because it doesn't make much sense to me. I'm not a doctor so I don't know exactly what it all means but my overall cholesterol wasn't too high, but my bad cholesterol was really high and my good cholesterol was kind of low. I don't know what that means overall other than I need to exercise more :) So, I am exercising more. I used to be a cardio fanatic but I have fallen out of it in the past few years so I am making the painful transition back into regular exercise. It is shameful how hard it becomes when you let yourself go. I used to pride myself in the number of sit ups I could do and how far I could push myself on the exercise bike - but now I am a pathetic slob. So, I'm back on the 'elliptical' (which I do not like as much as the bike but it's what Aimee wanted) 20 minutes a day and walking to and from the bus quite a bit. I am also doing yoga again in hopes that I can start to limber up. It's interesting what a difference I notice in myself as far as calmness and ability to really feel...I don't know, grounded?... when I'm moving and sweating. Maybe if I get to the point where I feel a little better physically I'll find some place to work out up on this side of town (like - judo or aikido or tai chi). I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for quitting the dojo where I used to go. Ugh.

Anyways, I'm home sick. I have been taking vitamins too, which is a long time coming, and trying to be more disciplined about my medicine. Now that I actually have a doctor I am going to try and stick to the regiment he has given me. He thinks he can help me treat my allergies (hah!) with a regular dose of claritin and the stomach thing with a regular dose of prilosec. We'll see, those two plus my blood pressure meds make for a delightful cocktail every day. Throw in a multivitamin and some extra vitamin c and you can start to imagine my dilemma. I mean, I can barely remember to brush my hair every day (which is why I clip it extra short) so I am horrible about my meds. Enter - the wickersham plan:

So, as depressing as this is I had to at least make it a little nerdy. Enter, Velcro:

And yes, if you look closely enough you will find the combination to our pool locks. Please don't tell the kids, I don't feel like blurring them out before posting this. I'm sick, remember?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Foster Parent College

Oh my goodness, talk about a waste of time. We have to do 'continuing education' for our foster license and Aimee found a site called that counts towards this requirement. We took a Communication in Marriage class and it does videos and 'interactive exercises' to teach. I think the software is pretty good, they've done a good job pin presenting the material. But the material stinks! I mean, it is so silly. Anyway, that is all...I am finishing a paper for school and 'learning' about communication in my marriage. Fun times.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things never stop amazing me

So I don't intend to turn this into a political commentary blog or a 'What's new in the news" blog, but I felt the need to share this.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

This is the sort of thing that just drives me bonkers about religion. Not just Christianity, but religion in general. How can someone take such a short sighted view of their faith? Some might argue that Jesus was a 'single issue' type of guy, but that issue sure as hell wasn't abortion. Could you imagine a priest suggesting that someone that voted for McCain had cooperated with intrinsic evil because he is against taking all of our wealth and giving it to the poor? Do you remember in the Bible where Jesus got mad at the poor young slave girl because she had an abortion? That was one of my favorite stories. Or when he got so angry at the Roman government because of their welfare system? The best part was when he praised the rich young ruler for all he had and congratulated him for all of his hard work. Give me a freaking break.

Here is the whole article

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wowie Zowie

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Well today capped off a pretty freaking rotten week. I'm really not even sure how long I have felt like things sucked, and there have been periods of time when it was great, but overall it has been the suck. I have been behind in school and it feels like things just pile up around the house. Aimee hasn't felt well either so that just compounds everything. Ugh, I don't even know what to say other than I just wanted to freaking write on here and say ugh. UGH. My truck also broke down today. I took the last half of the day off of work since I worked this weekend and put in a 12 hour day yesterday. Oh well, thank goodness for valleymetro. It is nice to just be able to jump on a bus and get where I need to go.

Oh well, I'm done - I didn't even rant, I just wanted to UGH at you. UGH UGH UGH.

In other news, Tim came over last night and we ate chili. It was grand.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Wow...this is incredible

From the Daily Mail in the UK, an incredible story involving both fertility AND twins!

An infertile woman is about to become the first to give birth following a full ovary transplant.

The 38-year-old Londoner was declared sterile at 15 and went through the menopause while still a teenager.

But in a revolutionary procedure she received a new ovary transplanted from her identical twin sister and, after getting pregnant, she is due to give birth this week.

She became pregnant, and is due to give birth this week.

Perhaps the best part, however, is the picture of the doctor who performed the transplant!!

I found this to be touching

Tom Toles had a fantastic cartoon in the Washington Post, I think it sums up what a lot of people are feeling

I'm pretty sappy about things, I cried a little when I read this in the newest issue of Time.
That is all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Momentous Evening

The first day of a new era.  I'm not going to wax poetic about Barack Obama and gush over him like so many of my friends.  The man has flaws, and he is going to have a trying presidency.  Given the way the world is now we will almost assuredly have moments where we are reminded that, no, he is not the Messiah.  Of course, we all know this.  Almost half of this country did not think he was ready to be president, whether because of his perceived lack of experience, his ethnicity, his family background, or simply because he is a(as Time put it so eloquently) "giant-eared nerd."  We must also remember that more than half of the country did vote for Obama.  We can't know why, again perhaps race played a role.  Perhaps age (and I will be the first to admit that Democrats, we of the biggest tent, have been guilty of gross agism during this election) played a factor.  Perhaps it was just a statement that things need to change in America.  Whatever the reason, we must acknowledge that something powerful happened in America here at the end of 2008.  During the doom and gloom of financial meltdown, during a time when most of the world questioned what it was that made the US so great, we overcame our greatest national shame and simply went out and voted.  That's right, our national shame.  Whatever side of the aisle you occupy,  you must acknowledge that your party did something great during this election.  A woman's name appeared in the Vice President slot on a major political party.  An African-American's name sat at the top of the ticket for a major political party.  This is something to be proud of, no matter which way the election went we were about to have someone in the oval-office (or a heartbeat away) that was at one time in this country's history not even considered a citizen.  Take a minute to let that sit in.  You and I both know someone that remembers a time in this country when the black man was forced to sit at the back of the bus, to use a different bathroom.  The only way a black man would ever see the oval-office in their mind's eye would be holding a trash can or a broom.  Women too should not forget the significance of Mrs. Palin's candidacy.  You almost surely know someone who was alive when women were not allowed to vote in this country.  Can you even imagine?  As my wife and I sat in tears last night watching the thousands of black, brown, and white people cheering for joy around the world; hearing the stories of African-Americans whose tears were not so much for themselves but for grandmothers, parents, sisters who were not still alive to see something like this happen in America.  Yes, despite the collapse of the US financial system we see what it truly is that makes this country great.  Not because of what we have done, others have elected people with more of a minority status, but because of where we came from.  This country was founded on principles of freedom and democracy but built on the backs of our brothers and sisters who had no rights, no way to even begin to understand what freedom meant.  Whomever you voted for, please try and take a minute and thank God that we have made a public statement of global proportions and be very, very proud to be an American.

Monday, November 3, 2008

So the day is finally upon us

Election day.  It has been a long time coming, too long in fact.  If I get another political phone call I might go nuts.  Seriously, I'm going to vote, leave me alone.  Put my name on a list and direct your efforts somewhere else.  

Being a complete hypocrite, I will now take a few minutes to have a political rant.  This isn't about Republicans or Democrats; it's about the process.  Being a young adult myself I need to take the opportunity to speak to my fellow young people.  During every election I have followed, and I guess that goes back to Reagan - Mondale in 1982 - 1984 (oh Gary Hart), the pundits have talked about the young adult vote and the difference it was going to make.  Young adults are finally going to make a statement, they are finally going to turn things around.  They are always wrong.  Frankly, I'm sick of it.  As far as I'm concerned, if the young adult vote doesn't turn out in droves for this election I'm officially writing them off.  If you are a young adult that chooses not to vote in this election, -CENSORED BY AIMEE (It was good though, trust me)-.

As a young person, you might say your vote doesn't matter; you MIGHT be right.  You MIGHT also be wrong.  If you don't vote, however,  your vote does not matter.  You might complain that the government doesn't care about you, or that you are taxed unfairly, or that your voice isn't important.  I say, if you don't vote - and historically young people don't vote - why should anyone care about the things that are important to you?  If you aren't a voter then I would argue that your voice should be ignored.   Why should the country waste its resources on someone that choses not to vote?

Let's talk about the candidates.  Not the candidates that we are presented with tomorrow, but candidates in general.  Some say they are all corrupt, some say we are presented with two options (and let's try and remember that there are 5 people on the presidential ballot) that are virtually identical.  There may be things you like about both candidates and things you dislike about both candidates.  There may not be things you particularly like about either (any) candidate.  Well the sad fact of the matter is that there are never going to be perfect candidates.  There is never going to be one person (or ticket) that you can support 100%.  This is the price we pay for no longer being children.  The burden is on you to make a reasoned choice, to think about which person you think is the best fit, and to vote for them.  You can even vote 'against' someone if you want, just vote.  Please, vote.  Inform yourself and make a decision that says "I'm important!  Listen to me!"  It doesn't matter who you vote for, just please stop being irrelevant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


So I'm sick. I went home from work on Friday with a sick stomach, I was hoping and praying it was something I ate. Turns out it wasn't. I spent the whole weekend just sick enough to feel like crap but not sick enough to warrant staying in bed all day. Of course, it hit its peak on Monday and I just felt like absolute garbage all day. Now it has progressed to my lungs and I have kind of a yucky cough and that strange feeling like my lungs are full of glass. I sure hate that. Of course it is made worse by the fact that Aimee is pregnant. I have been sleeping on the couch and generally avoiding being close to her because I don't want to get her sick. The worst part is waking up in the morning and taking care of the girls while Aimee gets ready for work. To cap it off things at work have been sort of stressful and of course I have like 900 things to read and write about for school. Last night I had to finish up my paper on Judaism and I just couldn't manage it without a nap so I laid down on the couch just about 30 minutes after I got home from work and went to sleep. That did the trick and when I woke up I finished the darn thing and emailed it to my prof. I hope it doesn't suck (it does suck, but I figure if I pray enough maybe God will change all the words around and somehow when the teacher reads it somehow it will make sense).

On a side note, I have been super bummed out lately that the guys that broke into our house stole my cameras. I finally bought a little point and shoot type of camera like our old one so at least we'll be able to get some pics and movies of the kids and Aimee's pregnancy. (just so I don't forget, I should point out that right now Ave and Rosa are sitting on the floor going 'Daaa da da da da Gooo Gators!' over and over and over again) I was planning on inviting our friends over and taking Christmas portraits, I don't know if there is anyway I will be able to get a decent camera by then. It really bums me out thinking of all the crap I sold on Craigslist and eBay to get the money for the kit I had. My biggest problem, of course, is that I don't want to spend all of that money and get the same camera I had before. It is now 2 models behind the latest and greatest. I definitely got to the point before it was taken that I was running up against its limitations. The nice thing about the SLR is that I had a nice collection of lenses that would would have worked with a brand new body when I decided to upgrade, but now they are gone. It is frustrating. Anyways, I know this is a very first world problem to have and I shouldn't complain ... especially since the economy is in the pooper and people are getting laid off left and right. Ah well, if only I was perfect :)

I had started writing a long piece here about the election but I think I'll save that until later.  I know you guys can only stand for me to bloviate for so long :) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday sunday sunday

I know, it's tuesday. Between getting back in the groove at work and reading/writing papers for school tuesday is about the first tome I get to think about my weekend. I had hoped to get some home improvements out of the way this weekend (since, of course, my gators weren't playing) but didn't get around to it. I hate that saturday always just turns into a day where I have to try and recover from the week. I have started exercising again and am trying to eat a little better in hopes that this will improve my overall feeling about life. It is bad enough that I don't feel good most of the time, but it is starting to get to me mentally. I think a big part of it is just lonliness. I have Aimee, of course, but with the pregnancy and school work and church stuff, it seems like we just take turns being home and awake. I think it had a lot to do with being back in Florida and being with my family and friends there. Take the wedding, it is weird that I can still feel like part of a family that I really haven't been close to in 5 years (and isn't really my family) but out here I always feel like an outsider. I don't know if it's a southern thing but you just automatically become part of the family when you become good friends. It's calling Matt's mom 'Momma' and her sister 'Aunt Cathy'. It's remembering stuart as the little kid with aluminum foil guns that would ambush me when I would just show up at the house. It's Sunday dinner with the Steels just because we were working on a car with Brian (or wrestling in the front yard). I don't know.

Anyways, that was weird. So I was in a funk Sunday and didn't really feel good after Church, so I decided I was going to take the kids to a new worship service at a church near our house. It was kind of lame in the way new church services are-but I loved it. I loved the sermon. I loved the people. I loved something new. What is it about nostalgia and lonliness that drives us to try new things? I dunno, but I think we're going to go back next week. We shall see.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We're going to the faaaaaaaair...the Alachua Maricopa county fair

Well, we went to the fair Friday night. I'm not a big fair person, but we got free tickets from foster care and they were only good friday night. I was exhausted from a long week and had a raging headache, but it was for the family so off we went. It was a fairly (hah) good time, though it cost a bundle. It was worth it to see the little ones light up though. They definitely didn't enjoy the animals like I did, but they flipped out over the rides. Who knew! They are such wimps I would have figured they would hate the rides. I got to ride on one ride with them and it was a blast...if you've been there it was the big boat that rolled back and forth in what you can only describe as a skateboard ramp while it was spinning in circles. Fun fun fun. The rides were expensive though, I think most rides were like 5 'tickets' (though you didn't have any tickets). It was like 10 tickets for 5 bucks so you can do the math but your dollar sure didn't go very far. Aimee is pregnant so it didn't seem too fun for her, she loves rides and couldn't go on any. She did get her nachos though :)

OK, now the shiny-happy part is over. Now begins the part of this blog where I point out how stupid everything in Arizona is. When you think 'State Fair' what do you think? Farm animals, big midway, gangs, crowded city streets. Of course, me too! So Phoenix is smack dab in the middle of a huge desert. Arid wasteland for miles and miles and miles in every direction. The city is surrounded by suburbs which are in turn surrounded by huge farms. So where would you put the state fair, keeping in mind that almost the ENTIRE STATE OF ARIZONA is composed of rural, small-town communities. Downtown! Of course, I'm SURE there will be plenty of parking and there won't be any unsavory types lurking around to spoil the experience for people who have driven in from the wild country up north, south, east, or west of us. In fact, we should try and cram the entire thing in the middle of a residential neighborhood-and by middle I mean a very tiny piece of that neighborhood. Seriously, whose dumb-ass Idea was it to have the fair at Grand & McDowell? There isn't ANYWHERE else in the ENTIRE STATE that can handle a fair ? If you're from Florida, let me try and paint you a picture. Imagine the way Church Street Station used to be. Remove the city parking. Remove all of the street lights. Break beer bottles everywhere. Add 3 million people. And then drop half of the Brevard County Fair right on top of Rosie O'Gradies. That's right, half, because that's all you can fit into THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. I'm not sure which was more sketchy, the dimly lit parking lots managed by homeless people or the gang task force patrolling the fair. We had to leave pretty early because we didn't want to be walking around the city with our kids late at night (you know, like after 8). When we got back to the parking lot where we left our car, we saw two young ladies that had parked right next to us on their cell phone. This was just after I caught a glimpse of our van and sighed with relief. I asked the girls if they were ok and they said they were waiting on the police because their car along with 3 other ones right next to theirs had been broken into. Awesome, good thing we paid 15 to park in a 'safe' lot. I almost had a heart attack as I walked around our car feeling the windows but luckily we won the state fair lotto and didn't get our car broken into. I was really looking forward to that phone call to my mom, "Hey remember how our house was robbed 3 days aga? Guess what-our car got broken into also!!"

I'm sure there is a lot more I can say, but I guess I"m good to go after the parking lot thing. On a positive note, we did see some really cool chickens, and the biggest freaking cow I have ever seen in my life.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Little Known Fact

EXIF data is much more interesting than you might originally imagine. Background: Our house was robbed on Tuesday. It was horrible, not because they took so much but because Aimee came home and found the house in shambles and didn't know if they were still there or not. She was terrified. Because of this, and not at all because we care about our stuff, we are installing an alarm in the house. I've always been very anti-alarm, I don't know why. I guess it's because back home we don't even lock our front door. Like, we don't lock it when we all leave and go off to work and whatever. My dad leaves his keys in the ignition of his car in the driveway. Take that Phoenix, HA! Anyways, so our house got robbed and they stole all of my camera equipment. Now, I don't have a huge kit but I was proud of it and I'll tell you photography was something that I really, really enjoyed doing. I don't say that meaning I'm done with it, I'm just deflated because the took everything. Lenses, camera bodies (digital and film), chargers, flashes, memory cards - EVERYTHING. It is so strange too, they literally walked past 4 laptops (5 if you count the one under the bed) and a pile of Target giftcards from our baby shower but stole my stupid cameras. I wouldn't have cared TOO much if they had taken my laptops because they couldn't get our private date (yay encryption!) and, you know, it wouldn't be that hard to convince Aimes that we need to replace laptops :) But my freaking cameras. Grrrrr. So anyways, I cruised by a few pawn shops today and no cameras had been brought in but they said without serial numbers I was sort of SOL. Apparently the police automatically check the serial numbers of everything that gets pawned and flag things reported as stolen. Bummer.

So back to EXIF data. EXIF data is the silly stuff that your camera saves inside every picture you take. It's very meta. Time of day, exposure settings, lens information, etc. Just on a whim, I thought maybe the EXIF data has the serial number of the camera? First glance, no bones. Has the model number, has my name(?), but no serial number. So I turn to google. Turns out, there is a 'secret' binary field inside the EXIF data that camera manufacturers use to store lots of interesting information...and Canon is nice enough to store your camera's serial number. Ironically, this dataset is labeled 'MakerData' (creative aren't they?). So I download this nifty program, compile it, run it on one of my raw files and BINGO! Out pops my camera's serial number! I was wicked impressed. I also managed to find the serial numbers of 2 of my lenses in the original boxes (I don't know why I keep boxes...err, I mean I guess now I know why I keep boxes). Hello! So tomorrow morning I'm going to call the 'callback officer' and report the serial numbers and who knows...maybe I'll get lucky.

I still can't believe that they didn't take more of our stuff. I can only hope the dogs were going nuts in the back yard and they were scared.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This semester is not last semester

So, I just got done with part two of my three part study of hell. I had three big projects at work that were basically all due today. I'm not sure how that worked out the way it did. I'm pretty sure it was because I am going on vacay tomorrow. Also I had a six page paper due for school today (which I actually started early woo hoo). So my day has basically been: woke up and proofread my paper, off to work for 8 hours of 'is it done yet is it done yet', off to school for discussion of hinduism, and now back home for 'finish my project' for work. I guess that's really only two parts since it's just work and school. Oh yeah, I also have a pregnant wife and two foster kids that I didn't really get to say goodbye to before we leave for florida. It may sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I'm really just waiting for aimes to pick me up from school. ok she's here. I can't wait to be in florida tomorrow.

Oh, I got up at 3 this morning with a sick stomach. Blarg.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

To all who think they know what tough is

I know I don't, I've been so lucky in my life. A woman runs up to the bus as we pull into the metro center, a little boy in tow. He is crying and the woman asks the bus driver how much time she has before she has to go. One minute, then we gotta go. Her son has to pee and there is no restroom anywhere nearby. She says to her son, 'you gotta hold it baby, if we miss this bus I'm gonna lose my job and we won't have anywhere to live.'. The kid sat down, tears streaming down his cheeks and looked over at me. I have never seen a kid look so sad in my life. I can't ever imagine being in a situation like that.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So here I sit

Well, I haven't blogged in a while. I guess I start every post that way nowadays. I have been struggling lately. That isn't surprising, I guess, since school just started back up. Strangely though, I have been really kicking that part of my life. I've done all my reading and am already working on one of my final papers. It's the other stuff. Stuff around the house isn't getting done. I've got projects on hole everywhere I look. Rooms are a mess again, I don't understand how that happens. I think part of why school is going well is because we have a study room again. I know that sounds lame but part of my big need in life is to have specific spaces for things. My personality (disorder if you listen to the psych) is such that I go 100mph at something while it holds my attention but I get bored easily and leave it, often unfinished. I usually finish, eventually, but it surely takes longer than if I just put my head down and finished it. I think this is sort of why I can do so many things half-assed but nothing really really well. Some people are impressed that I can do 'anything' (not even close) but it just disappoints me there isn't 'something' I can REALLY do. Sing like my sister or play drums like Justin or just any number of things that 'define' other people. I wish there was something that 'defined' me other than the width and breadth of my mediocrity. Problem is, I just don't know if there is anything in the world that can hold my attention long enough for me to really excel at it. I'm hoping it's being a dad. I hope I am able to be the kind of dad that I had myself. It's probably my one great fear in life, that I'll let my kids down. For some reason, I'm also more nervous knowing that we're having at least one boy.

Well, that took a different turn than I expected it to. I guess when you blog infrequently you are subject to word vomit. I'll close now by saying that I hope I start feeling like I'm not just hanging on to life soon. There are so many things I wonder, but one of them is 'why do I always feel like I'm failing?' I would sure love to feel like I'm ahead of the curve for a while, just to see what it's like.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

So, I have a dirty little secret that I want to share with all of you, my legions of followers. I spend way more time than is appropriate for a 32 year old man on Yahoo Answers. I was timid at first, until I got my first 'Best Answer'. 'Best Answer' is like crack. Once you get one really good hit...your ego takes over and you're a gonner. I think it had to do with dead car batteries. Mostly, I tear through the math and science homework forums and help kids in junior high and high school with their math homework. Occasionally I see what must be a person in college or an adult that is trying to help their kid and I chuckle. Mostly, what I really appreciate is that you can tell the kids on there 'how' to do the problems without just giving them the answers and they appreciate it. I don't know if this is an indication of my altruistic nature or if it has more to do with my long quiet desire to teach but I really do enjoy it. I think part of me is just happy that kids in jr/sr high do SOMETHING other than offend the sensibilities of every red-blooded web designer by butchering Myspace pages.

In other news, I think Claremont should really consider begging me to take a job as their technology coordinator.

That is all.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I went to the doctor Friday. It was a nice long visit and I had a whole list of things to share with him. He scheduled me to come back for a full physical (incidentally, why is it so hard to find a doctor who knows how to give you a physical?) and in the meantime he thinks that my stomach problems probably arise from a acid production problem. Actually what he said was, "Well, what we got here is a problem with yer proton pump." I don't know why, I thought that was funny. So I'm going to try and treat my acid problem more aggressively and he also wants me to go on a regular dose of claritin for my allergies. Also, he didn't tell me that I'm too fat. I told him that I had gained a bit of weight recently and that I hadn't really been exercising much and his response was that it was probably difficult to have much motivation to exercise when you have diarrhea 9 times a day and always feel like you have to poop. I like that.

Finally, I got a tetanus booster shot and apparently I'm one of the minority of people who reacts poorly to it (surprise surprise). I woke up Saturday with a headache, unable to move the arm I got the shot in, and spent the whole day sleeping and feeling like I wanted to vomit. I always get a little nervous when we get new foster kids and I get sick right away...I am always afraid they're going to call us one day and say, "Oh, and we forgot to tell you they have TB" or something like that. Anyways, I was somewhat comforted by the sore arm because I figured it was from the shot. I asked them at the office before they gave it to me, "Is this the one that makes your arm really sore?" and they said makes me wonder if I have always reacted this way to immunizations and they just make MY arm sore.

Well, other than that it was a good weekend. I'm starting to bond with the girls, I didn't know if it would happen very quickly with these girls. They were so closed off when we got them and can barely talk (they're missing most of their teeth :( ). But, a few days being comforted by the fact that Aimes and I are going to care for them really opened them up. Aimee had youth group last night and I was alone with them and we have a great dinner, bath, and bed time. This morning they were off to school and I'm actually kind of missing them.

I'll keep ya posted, take care friends!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Doctor's Appt

So, I am finally being a grown up and going to the doctor about my stomach problems. I guess, in the end, I'll be going to the doctor about quite a few problems I've had lately. Aimee and I have been using a 'No Appointment MD" for the last few years on the rare occasion that we actually need a doctor. This is usually just for a physical to keep our foster care license but since my blood pressure problem I've had to go back for checkups and what not. We have no primary care physician. This may sound strange, but since we moved to Phoenix I've been almost paralyzed by the decision. I looked up which docs are allowed by my insurance and there are almost 300 in the valley. 300? How do you choose one? I narrowed it to our zip code and nearby zc's (there are 12 within like a 5 mile radius) and it dropped to like 30. Wow. So, yesterday I called a gastroenterologist because someone at work suggested that I might see one about my stomach problems (more later on that). I just picked one at random from the list, there are only like 8 of those, and called. They only take referrals. Called another one. They only take referrals. Ok, so I told them I didn't have a PCP and they were dead silent. I asked if they had any recommendations and they said someone on my insurance. They didn't pick a name, they literally said, "Someone on your insurance". I said, "Really, there are hundreds, how do you choose one? You must have some recommendations..." Well, they did. They recommended a 'group' nearby to where I live and so I gave them a call. They take my insurance. I said, "Great, let's make an appointment." They responded by asking which doctor I wanted to make an appt with. I was flabbergasted...I asked them who was accepting new patients. I got nervous when they named 2 docs who weren't taking new patients, and said that the 'female doctors often took a long time to get an appt with.' Now, one might think this is strange until you remember that on the phone I sound like a 17 year old girl. They suggested I go to their website and look at the doctor bios and pick the one I think I'll feel most comfortable with. I kid you not, I was looking at a list of 15 doctors and PA's and had to just pick one who would become my doctor. It was very strange, but I picked a guy who seemed like he would be ok (really, what criteria do you use?). Called up and got an appointment this morning. He was new to their group and they said they thought I would really like him. We'll see.

So, a few points to add some detail. Please feel free to skip this if you're not interested in the nitty gritty.
1. Why all of the sudden, my stomach has been an issue for years. Well, to be honest the 'growing up' thing has a bit to do with it. As I've mentioned before, I had the same doctor in Florida since I quite going to Dr. Kenniston as little kid. He was this gruff Hispanic man at Mima that told me that every problem I had was because I was too fat. Even my allergies. So, I was a bit jaded about the whole process. I guess really it's two things. I have been accumulating reasons to need a PCP for a couple of years now. The foster care thing is ok, anyone will give you a physical. But then I got put on blood pressure medicine and I really need someone to manage that aspect of my health plan. It is awkward to get refills for my meds because they don't do call ins (or faxes) there for refills. So, every 3 months I have to go to the doctor to get looked at and get a new prescription. Which costs me 90 bucks a pop. On that note, the biggest reason that I'm going is that we hit our insurance deductible which means it's now covered 100% by our insurance. We have a $5000 deductible so this is no small event. Having the baby definitely moved things alone in the ole deductible arena. I suspect we'll hit it every year now, since babies have to see a doctor like every 3 days. This alone is why our insurance scheme is screwed up and we need someone to change things. I won't use our insurance unless it's an emergency because it costs me money out of my pocket. This is a good thing, unless you're someone that believes that preventative medicine is a boon to society. Having a $5000 deductible is ridiculous, and it means you're treated like someone with no insurance. I really don't think you should be treated like a criminal when you go to a doctor's office and they realize you have a $5000 deductible that you've only met $200 dollars of (for example). Well, I'll tell you what happens. When they see you have a huge deductible, they make you pay cash. Right there, before you can leave. Do you know what it's like to go to the doctor because you have a broken leg and have them run your insurance and tell you they need $500 before you can leave because you haven't come close to your deductible. Don't worry, they say, if your insurance pays it we'll refund you the money. Yeah, don't worry until I have to pay the electric bill. Luckily we're responsible and pay into our HSA, but do you know how hard it is to have $5000 in a savings account that you can only use for medical expenses? Especially when you get screwed because you have insurance. Here is something that happens that really irritates me. A lot of the offices here in Phoenix have a separate price list if you pay cash. As in, if you have no insurance this is what you pay. It's always less than what they bill the insurance. So here's the thing with my insurance. Until we hit our deductible, we have no insurance. But, I am informed that it is 'insurance fraud' for me to tell them that I'd like to pay cash instead of use my insurance. So, for example, at the No Appointment MD an office visit is $75 dollars cash money. Unless you have insurance. Then they bill your insurance $190 for the visit, and your insurance negotiates it down to $95. That's great and all, but I then have to pay $95. This is $95 dollars that comes out of my pay check, otherwise known as real money. And I could have just given them $75 dollars at the office. This is stupid and pisses me off.

2. So really, why all of the sudden? Haven't you farted constantly for the past 12 years? Ok, this is where it gets dicey. PLEASE stop reading if you don't want the intimate details of my digestive tract. Yes, my stomach has been an issue since I was in high school. I couldn't eat in Melbourne because I would have an attack of diarrhea before I could make it back to Merritt Island. I pretty much always have gas, I can almost fart on command at any hour of the day. This makes married life wonderful. Lately, it's been much worse. I am gaining weight because I always feel horrible, I gave up Aikido primarily because of it. I stopped going to the gym primarily because of it. When I'm home lately, say in the last month, I'm just lying down trying not to be miserable. I can't eat ANYTHING without my stomach blowing up and becoming rock solid. The gas is horrible, it smells so much worse than ever and there is an awful lot more of it. I have 6 -10 BM's per day (sorry) and they are not pleasant. I don't know if you'd classify them diarrhea, but they're not normal. They are almost always accompanied by a lot of gas which doesn't help the consistency, and they are not solid. Not liquid, but not your average poo. Did I mention the smell. Vile. On top of that the indigestion has come back. I thought I had licked that years ago but now it's almost every night. I woke up one night a few weeks ago choking on stomach acid. I had to get up and puke it out and it like burned the back of my throat. Finally, my intestines feel like they're always full. When I go, it almost feels like there's a center channel where things squeeze through but there is just this whole digestive tract full of stuff stuck in there unable to move. It is so disheartening to go to the bathroom and get up feeling like you have to go to the bathroom. It's so embarrassing to pass gas in the bathroom right after having a horrible stinky poo. Ugh.

Anyways, sorry about all of that. I'm going to the doc at 10 am this morning. Hopefully some things will get answered or at least a process will begin. I'd really like that. Hopefully they don't just tell me I'm too fat.

Friday, September 5, 2008


So I don't know if this pic will come through as I'm blogging from my phone. The valleymetro busses recently added 'no taggin our wagon' signs on the inside. The thing I find ironic is that they have written the sign in graffiti lettering on a brick background. Is this sending a mixed message? Don't tag our busses, keep it to the city streets please.

It's like rain... on your wedding day.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Musings on the bus

Well, I haven't tried posting via mms yet, so I'll give it a shot.

Matt was here this weekend. Man I didn't realize how much I missed him until last night. Our house seems so lonely with no kids and no friends living with us. This not having any foster kids is driving me batty, but that is for another time. Making new friends isn't hard, but there is no substitute for time. I wonder sometimes if you can ever pick up 'new' versions of those old friends that remember you in braces and teased you about you first girlfriend. Just the fact that aimee, matt, and I were all at home at the same time and doing different things in different rooms is telling. It's just a different kind of comfortable I guess. Man I miss matt.


Monday, August 18, 2008


We have foster kids again, all is right with the world. It's a fascinating story and I will share it with you all someday. I'm excited to say two beautiful, brilliant, and bilingual young women now live with us and we had a very fun evening. Aimee is so good with girls, no matter how they are feeling about moving in with us a shopping trip turns them into BFF. We had our first interaction with the Phoenix public school system today...that will be interesting. Fun quote of the night - "You kind of look like the King of Queens". Fun activity of the night - Fuego en la Sangre

Friday, August 15, 2008

So I have not felt much like blogging lately...

But here goes. I'm sure you know that the girls are gone, it hasn't really affected me the way I thought it might. I miss them, intensely sometimes, but it's not like I thought it would be. Maybe it's because we have the babies coming; maybe it's just because I was meant to be a foster parent. I hope it isn't because I have some personalit disorder like the pdych said. I have always know that I have trouble expressing some emotions, especially in certain situations, but part of me just feels like they can find something 'wrong' with everyone-i mean it's in their own best interest really if you think about for eveyone in america to have a diagnosed problem, That way if you lose it and shoot up a school they can say 'see, told you so' and if you just live your life normally no one will ever call them on it. Either way, I'm happy I'm not suffering about the move anymore. I had two really good cries, one was hysterical in fact, and I'm just sort of at the point of a dull ache in my life which I think is good two weeks out. I am excited about new foster kids, outr house is this strange bizarro land with no kids. Luckily we are going to be innundated with company over the next few weeks and then we're going to florida. Jessie is here right now (yay!) and I'm super happy she decided to stay over the weekend, it sucks having visitors when you have to work the whole freaking time. Jeremy came over and we played dirty probe last night, that's always fun! Whale's vagina! I have more to say, but this is getting very long and I'm on my blackberry so I don't want to push things. Later!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

oh man

So today has been the day to end all days. First of all, I hurt my back playing FREAKING volleyball...I am getting so old. I had to take the day off of work yesterday to just lay on the couch and recuperate. It sucked; I mean, I got to watch like 15 episodes of the West Wing but it still sucked. I have so much to do around the house and I can't hardly freaking move. Blargh! So just to keep this short (because So You Think You Can Dance is on) this morning Mercedes freaking went ballistic. If you haven't seen her lose it I can't even explain it to you. Screaming at the top of her ear piercing, blood curdling screaming. She was kicking the bed, kicking the walls, kicking the doors. It was awful. So, I put her in the crib. Call me an asshole, but I just can't stand a 5 year old acting like that. So I put her in the crib. Frankly, I'm not sure if there was any other way to keep her from hurting herself. So she had to go to school and hadn't stopped crying, I just picked her up and put her in her car seat. All told, she didn't stop screaming and crying (and kicking the back of my car seat ) until I left her in her classroom. She was so embarrassed to be left in school with messy hair and no shoes, she shut herself up immediately. Then we get home tonight, she goes ballistic again (after promising me she wouldn't do it anymore). Dangit man. It was so bad this time, she actually did hurt herself. She kicked her wardrobe and wound up cutting her ankle on the corner. I finally got her to calm down and we talked about how to punish her. She actually impressed me and told me in a calm voice that she really didn't want to go to bed early (sometimes when she throws fits we make her go to bed early, basically stay in bed all night) and we came up with a new kind of punishment (because she agreed that she needed to be punished for throwing a big ole fit). So, we entered the world of writing your name X-hundred times on a piece of paper. Heh heh, tell me I'm not destined to teach. We sat down at her desk and I showed her how to write her name across the top of a piece of lined paper (3 times...Mercedes is one heck of a first name) and told her she needed to fill the front and back of a piece of lined paper. So she really attacked it, and spent an hour writing. Meanwhile, Mariah and I had a fun night; pizza for dinner and a game of "I got your booty", which is basically tickle time. Then when Merc finally finished Mariah went ballistic. Argh. At least they spread it out. Arrrgghhhh! It kills you to just hear non-stop screaming for 3 hours. Bleh. I want to get drunk.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In a funk tonight

I don't know why, I'm just in a rotten mood right now. I can't really explain it, I had a good day at work and I am having an enjoyable evening with the wife and kids. I don't know why this happens to me, but I just get in a funk sometimes. I had an interesting conversation with Adam today. Actually, it feels like I spent most of my day at work talking with Adam about various things. I'm not sure if I'll get to my scheduled task in the 'garden' tonight, but I'm hoping to at least get some plumbing supplies at the Depot after the girls go to bed. Hopefully I'll get up early in the morning and get out there before everyone else is up and about. Thankfully, it seems to be 'cooling' off a little bit. I think we're officially in monsoon season now.

More later

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ahhhh, Sweet Relief

Aimee's home. Finally! I do not do well when I am away from her. I don't often think about it this way, but we've been together for 10 years. Freak! It's hard to imagine that I've spent almost a third of my life with my wife. Not in a bad way, it's just unreal that all of the stuff in my life, including my entire time in school and growing up and learning to talk and what no, was only twice as long as the time I've been with Aimes. Anyways, it is difficult to be apart from her for even a night, weeks are unbearable. I'm so thankful that my mom was in town when Aimee had to leave. Aimee managed to watch the kids by herself for a week but I could never do it. She is amazing!

On another note, I had a fun 4th of July! We had a young adult party at my house that turned out to be a lot of fun. I have got to get a Wii, that thing is so freaking fun. We swam, we played games, Nicole pretended to be Alyssa so Mariah could get to sleep. The kids love playing with Tyler, I wish they could spend more time together. Beth et al took Mercedes to see the fireworks and she had a freaking great time. I got a 'smoking' deal on a bbq smoker at Lowe's (hahaha) and we cooked 2 chickens and a pork shoulder (Actually just the butt heh). I made my own rub and had it goin all day. Ironically, it isn't hard at all to keep the temperature up in Phoenix in the summer. So, 6 hours later we had some awesome smoked chicken at the party. 12 hours in, mom and I got the pork butt off and shared some unbelievable pulled pork sandwiches (at 8:30 pm heh heh)

Finally, today was the first day that our new pastor was at worship. Part of me didn't want to like him, just because I was so close to Gary, but I have to admit he is pretty fantastic. He seems like quite a character, has red hair and a serious accent (MinnesOOOda I would say) and gave a great sermon. He apparently ran out of time in the first service, so he just didn't give a sermon! Wow! I had to go into his office after the service and set up his computer and I had a chance to chat with him briefly. I am honestly looking forward to working with him. I will also say, that his office is decorated very nicely. It looks like his couch and chairs are from Ikea, very modern. I also noticed that he has some very funky curtains hung up. Cool beans!

More later!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Someone has a case of the Mondays :(

Well, it's Monday. I guess the only good thing you can say about Mondays is I get to work from home. It's nice to not have to get up and get cleaned up and head into work on Monday mornings, it's sort of like having a 'practice' day for the rest of the week. Get up, get the kids off to school and come back home with a donut from QT (Krispy Kreme yay!) and a Diet Coke and sit down to the computer to go over my email from the weekend. I have a pretty nice office at home, but it can be hot as blazes this time of year. Plus, it's on a separate A/C ( a window unit) and I can just feel money burning out of my wallet when it runs during the day. Anyways, it's quiet and Aimee and the kids know not to really bother me when I'm in there working os it works out well.

In other news, my mom is here this whole week. Yay! It's so nice having her around, I wish sometimes that she just lived here with us :( The girls love having a grandma so much, and it's so nice to have family around. I don't even think we'd mind having her just live with us in the same house...heh, she'd probably go crazy though having to live in our house with our crazy style.

Life has been interesting lately, we have a lot going on and it seems like we have no one to talk to about it all. I know some of the reasons why, but it just seems like the Wickershams are alone an awful lot these days. On top of that, I have been sick for like 3 weeks now. I guess I need to break down and just go to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor though. I know I have friends that are doctors, so I'm sorry if you read this. I think I have written about this before, but the doctor always tells me two things. "It's a virus and there's nothing I can do." This is sometimes accompanied by, "I'm going to give you antibiotics for no real reason other than you might get an infection to accompany your virus." This really pisses me off, btw. The second is, "You're too fat." Now, I know I'm fat but I really don't think that every illness I've had since I was 15 stems from the fact that I'm overweight. Apparently, I'm 'morbidly obese' because I'm 5'8" and I way 200 pounds. Even when I was really trim and fit and ran and did Aikido 3 times a week I weighed 180 pounds. Ironically, I went to the doctor then when I was hard as a rock and in the best shape I've been in since college and the doctor told me I was sick because I was too fat. Whatever, I won't keep ranting about this, my point was just that I'm sure when I go to the doctor they're going to tell me I have a virus and I'm too fat and that's why I can't get rid of this rattling cough I've had for 3 weeks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tomorrow is the day

Well, tomorrow I have my meeting with the District Committee of Ordained Ministry. This is the group of people who will go over everything I have done so far and decide whether to certify me for ministry. Without their approval, I won't be ordained in the UMC. This is sort of the first 'real' test I have to see if I have what it takes. I had to take a crazy amount of Psychiatric exams and I have been meeting with a mentor for almost 8 months. I am really curious to see what it is like. On one hand, I want it to be a bit of an adversarial process because if I'm not fit for the ministry I want to find out sooner rather than later, but on the other hand I know I am being called and it is hard for me to seek the approval of people who don't really know me very well. Oh well, we'll see! I hope that I am able to communicate well, I have been wicked stressed out and emotional for the past few months and I hope I can be myself and be honest about everything.

In other news, I got a B in my history class. I am really thankful for the grade, I'm not sure I deserved it. Now I just have to keep plugging away at my New Testament class and get through all the videos before the summer ends. I'm so thankful that the prof let me take an incomplete!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Second Try Today

Well, I wrote a detailed and erudite post about the trials and tribulations of being a foster parent earlier today but something happened and it was all lost. Second tries are never as good, so I'll just pretend like it never happened and make another post for the first time.

So, last night Aimes went an picked up one of our new foster placements. There are two ways to go about dealing with transitioning foster kids. Our last long term placement (Kayla and Carly) was followed by almost two months with no kids. It was terribly difficult for me because I was so attached to them. I missed them so much when they were gone and the feeling of no longer being a dad was gut wrenching. I still miss them at odd times, they were our first *real* placement and I don't know if I'll ever really get over them being gone. I know that they're better off and probably a lot happier, but I still miss them something fierce. Sometimes when I'm driving I'll think about some silly thing Kayla would say or some goofy face Carly would make and it makes me cry. I can only imagine it will be worse when Mariah and Mercedes leave if only because they're so young. So this time, instead of worrying about going months with no kids we have acquired a new placement before the girls leave. In a way, I am afraid this is gonna rob us of some of our last real loving moments with them but in other ways I think it will help us to transition them. So back to the story, Aimee went and picked Jalen (8 months) and brought him home yesterday afternoon. I was greeted with his little smiling face when I got home from work and Maria and Merc were so darn excited to have a baby in the house. We were talking and, SURPRISE, older brother was getting dropped off a little later. My oh my, did we have a night in store for us. Older brother is Myrie (20 months) and is about where Mardog was when we got her developmentally speaking. He is a big boy though! Taller than Mariah now and strong as an ox. Mariah keeps calling him Taylor too, which is cute because that's what she calls Tyler, the other boy she knows from church. Very cute! Well, needless to say, thank GOODNESS Justin and Brittany live here! Having Brit here is like having another mom in the house, and Justin is amazing with kids despite what he thinks. He freaking sat in a chair today for an hour watching beauty and the beast with Jalen and Mercedes. It was cute.

Anyways, the day is over (mostly) and the kids are all in bed. 4 freaking kids1 The house is still somewhat in one piece as I worked hard all day to keep up with them. They're all good kids but this first week is gonna be really sketchy as they all try to figure out what they can get away with and how they will manage to carve out a piece of our attention for themselves. All in all, it's a blessing and we're really happy they're here! Poor Mariah is the one that it is hitting the hardest I think, she is used to being the youngest and getting all the attention and now there are 2 smaller than her and she is sort of the older kid. She peed her pants twice today which I'm sure is an attention getting ploy. Mercedes was a great girl all day long, she is actually a big help, but lost control at the end of the day and threw a tantrum.

Sigh, just one more thing, I think the pressure finally got to me a little bit at the end of the night and I got locked up the way I used to when I couldn't get my words out. It was actually kind of funny because I couldn't stop stuttering until Aimee asked me if I was stuttering and I yelled shut up to her, and then went right back to trying to say what I was saying before and still couldn't get it out. It was sort of like, "mmm...m...mmmm....mmmmmmmm....mmmmmaaaa...SHUT UP....mmmmm....mmmmmm....mmmmmmatress"

Kind of funny, but I am a little concerned because it has literally been at least a decade since that happened to me. Pray for me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The hardest part

There are so many things that make being a parent difficult. The messes, the lack of privacy, the lack of down time, so many things. I think the hardest part, though, is dealing with kids when they lie. I don't know if it's harder when they are foster kids or if all kids are liars, but it makes things so frustrating. The funny thing is, kids are horrible liars. I used to think my parents were amazing detectives when I was younger, they found out everything I did as if by magic. Now I realized it's because kids are stupid. I guess stupid is the wrong word, they're just terrible liars. Any by terrible liars I mean stupid.

Last night, we got home from the BBQ and Mercedes told me to look at the fish tank because the water was cloudy. I looked at the water and sure enough it was like pea soup (has anyone actually seen pee soup? I haven't but I can only imagine). Then I noticed that the bottom of the fish tank was absolutely covered with fish food. I had shown Mercedes how to feed the fish earlier in the morning, a TINY pinch of food. Well, assuming that Aimee didn't get hit in the head by a stupid hammer, Mercedes must have been feeding the fish constantly during the day and not telling us. That, or Mariah figured out how to bring in a ladder, feed the fish, and then hide the ladder. So Mercedes lied, lied, lied about putting the food in. Then she admitted it after I grilled her long enough. One of the fish died despite by best efforts to get them in a tank with fresher, un-poisoned water.

Then, it was morning time. I woke up and cam out to my computer. Out prances little Mercedes and tattles on Mariah. "Mariah is eating chips." So I go look and sure enough Mariah has two fistfuls of BBQ chips and is chowing down. I take them from her and put her in time out (and managed not to laugh at the's pretty funny to watch a 2yo double fisting BBQ Lays). Anyways, I put Mariah in time out and went on my business. Then Aimee mentions that I might want to check Mercedes and see if she had any. Sure enough, the kid stinks to BBQ heaven. Dangit man. Lies lies lies. I don't even understand what makes her lie...I hardly ever get mad at her for being stupid, I really only ever get mad when she lies.

Anyways, this is life. Hope this winds up being a good week. I'm ready for one.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Your entertainment for the day...

This is Aimee haha. I am posting on Chris' blog. He never posts so I thought I would give everyone something to read.
Today we are switching all of our bedrooms around. Except for the master every room is changing. Mercedes and Mariah will be in the same room, and that opens up two other bedrooms. One for our friends who are going to move in with us, and another for an office/study area. It's going to be nice. I'm not sure why it never occurred to us to use our biggest bedroom as a kids bedroom. Oh well.
I love change. I love changing things around. I always want to move my furniture around. I love switching rooms and moving things all over. I kind of thrive on change. That isn't typical though. Most people hate change. Not I.

Later we have a birthday partay. It's going to be fun. BBQ type of thing. I love BBQs. I miss them. I love BBQ chicken with tons of BBQ sauce. How many times can I say BBQ? I would love some BBQ pizza right now. Instead I will have pepperoni.

Ok, I hope you have enjoyed this quite meaningless blog.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Well, it's Saturday

Today is going to be a busy day. Our 4 best friends are all moving (luckily they only live in 2 different houses :) and I'm looking forward to a big day of helping. I love moving. It's weird, I think it's because my whole life people in my family have moved constantly. It's like a big fun family thing when people move. It's also Memorial Day weekend, which will bring welcome relief from work. The weather is also beautiful, which is really strange because it should be hot as balls right about now (knock on wood) in Phoenix. Seriously, last night we were freezing, it dipped down into the low 50's overnight and I don't think it's slated to go much over 70 today. It must be all those college kids bringing their midwestern weather back for us (thanks nicole!).

Speaking of work, yesterday was so hard. It seems like things have been coming to a head for 2 weeks at work and nothing happens (that's what she said). Yesterday there was a big ordeal about some stupid database userid and it caused a commotion in 3 different teams that wound up getting a bunch of directors in a room arguing for an hour. There are things I love about my job and things I hate, yesterday I hated it. It didn't help that during the middle of the day I had to take Mercedes across town for a hair appointment during my lunch break, which meant I didn't get to eat lunch, which meant I was cranky and irritable all day long. There was also a huge mixup around the payment for said hair which I won't get into but it did not help things at all. I have such mixed emotions about weddings in general, I won't get into it because I know it's not a good time to talk about it. It makes me a bit nervous because I'm officiating a wedding in October for one of my best friends who shares my opinions on marriage almost to a tee. This would be a great thing but I'm not sure his wife does and it might be incredibly stressful for everyone involved if things don't go well. I'll just say for the two of them that I hope they can remember that the wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion that is about sharing your love and commitment with God, family, and friends. No one will remember whether you had wine from Costco or some fancy vineyard in California. Also, I really like cream puffs and shrimp, I have never been to a wedding that had creme puffs and shrimp that I didn't thoroughly enjoy.

Enough on weddings, I'll just say that I'm glad it's saturday and I don't have to think about weddings or work for 3 whole days. I'm really excited to get to moving, so I'm gonna jet and start getting Mercedes' new room in order!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last night

Was strange. All of my friends were either at a bachelor or bachelorette party. I was home alone with the kids. Strangely, I was totally ok with that. I scored some free carpet at Mercedes' school and hopefully it will be enough do our storage room turned get away room. One thing I love about being at home alone with the kiddos is cooking for them. I know Aimee's palate and it is just a wee bit on the shy side, but I can pretty much try anything with the kids. I thawed out some cube steak and made a quick marinade of soy sauce (thanks Jonathan!), garlic, onion, white wine vinegar, basil, and just a hint of cumin. I boiled some potatoes and mashed them with milk, garlic, and butter. I also steamed some green beans and served them up with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. The steak I sautéed in half butter and half vegetable oil (and maybe just a liiiiitle bacon fat for flavor). It was delicious. I love cooking for the girls. They are brutally honest. They will both wrinkle up their little faces if they don't like something and push it away. The other night Mariah was actually gagging while she was eating asparagus. I think it's cool that they are being exposed to vegetables like asparagus, okra, collard greens, brussels sprouts, and just about every kind of bean you can think of. It will be good for them later in life I think. Anyways, they loved dinner last night, Mercedes had two helpings of meat and cleaned her plate. You know you've done the vegetables right when they wipe them out within the first few minutes of dinner. Even Mariah plowed through her meal... something quite rare if you can believe it. Then the girls took a shower together, something they love to do, and we got ready for bed. There was no crying and we said our prayers and sang for a few minutes, then Mar rolled over and went right to sleep (Hallelujah!) All in all, it was an easy night to have them alone. Then I pretty much watched tv (American Idol!) and texted the night away.

The only hard part about the night was really the sleeping part. It is so hard to sleep without Aimee. I tried sleeping in our bed because I knew I needed a good nights sleep and it was miserable. I woke up like every hour and kept hearing noises. I have bad dreams when Aimee isn't here too... mostly snakes though there is the ever present 'I can't see' dream that I have had since childhood. Last night it was rattlesnakes in the garage at my parents house and then also in a swamp chasing me. Who knew they could climb trees. I did have fun bashing in their heads with a baseball bat in my parents garage, but I paid for it later. I really wish I knew what it was about snakes that terrifies me. I mean, they make me physically ill when I see them move and they haunt my dreams continuously... this is not normal behavior. Also, Mariah is funny because she talks in her sleep. Sometimes, she will let out one really loud yell and then just go back to sleep. She did this last night. It freaked me out. Normally she doesn't wake me up at night, Aimee just gets up with her. I think I can normally sleep through it because I know Aimee is solid when it comes to getting up with the baby. I should be clear, I didn't get up with her, I just woke up when she screamed. I laid there and she fell back to I didn't get up :)

Anyways, pray we have a good morning, Mar if finishing her breathing treatment and we have to get ready and get to school. Peace!

Monday, May 12, 2008

And my pool

And I can't sign off without commenting on my pool. We had to drain our pool this weekend - it was a disaster. I should have drained it last year but it is such a hassle. The water in Phoenix is so hard that over time it's like you're swimming in chalk. It just about becomes impossible to maintain the chemistry in the pool. So, we drained it. It was stressful. I think our main drain is seriously clogged ( I have never noticed any water movement down there) and so I had to rent a drain pump from Home Depot. Holy crap that thing was awesome! The downer was, of course, that the discharge hose from the pump didn't come close to fitting into our cute little sewer clean out pipe and even if it had I don't think it could have handled the flow. So, I went into my alley, located a manhole cover, and popped it out. Down goes the hose, on goes the pump, away goes the water. I was seriously stressed out about it because my neighbor on one side is a cop and the one behind me has gotten on me about pool water and trash and I didn't want to piss him off. All things considered, it was pretty cool watching it drain away. When it finished, Aimee and I spent a few hours (late at night) cleaning the surface and pressure washing away the scum that accumulates over the years. We were really hoping we might find someone to resurface it for us but the bank said NO THANK YOU when we looked into getting some money. I guess we're in a recession and a housing crunch. I can't wait until things cool off and people get back on their's going to be hard for us to sell this house unless we can do some things like resurface the pool and what not. Anyways, it was empty and clean and we decided to just fill it back up this evening after getting some CRAZY quotes to resurface. So, as we speak I have two hoses spilling forth into the depths and hopefully tomorrow night it will be full. What a freaking crazy week. At least now the pool will be nice and clean and we can start having some parties :)

I also got some cute pictures of Aimee sweeping the pool. She is the coolest wife ever!

The end is near

Well, tomorrow is officially the last day of my Spring semester. I did take an incomplete in my New Testament class because 3 classes was just way too much for me with all that has gone on so far this year. I was looking back and I had a hard time convincing myself that it really was during this semester that I went to Florida twice in one month. I can't believe how difficult it has been to deal with the loss of my grandmother...even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. On top of that, this whole business with my reproductive system and the "C" scare (I am not superstitions...I just can't say the word) has just made it impossible to think. So, in the end, my final paper for my history class isn't what I had hoped it would be ... but it is. I will really just be glad to get out of this semester with passing grades for my classes (crossing my fingers).

On that note, I'd like to comment on one of the classes I took. I have sort of always referred to it as my 'hippie' class and I really didn't have much faith in it being interesting back in September. Turns out, as these things often do, that it was the most important class I have ever taken in anything. I am pretty sure that I would have quit school and given up on being a pastor if it hadn't been for this Discernment class. I realized that I have never sat down and just listened. Not thought, not grappled or wrestled, just listened. It's amazing what your lower intestines will tell you about your path in life. It sort of sounds weird to me to think that God speaks to me through a tense upper back and a rumbling stomach... at least it's better than a burning bush or a staff that turns into a snake (AHHH!). Anyways, I won't go on and on about what it was that I got out of this class (it's hard to even describe) but I'll just say that it was great and I'm going to do my best to try and spread some of it in my ministry (such as it is) to young adults. So if you're a young adult, beware! I come armed with a new hippy manifesto.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I am so stimulated!

Thank you George Bush, thank you for the $1200 check. All is forgiven, I promise. Now I will always remember you as 'one of the greats'.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another day another ...

sick stomach. Really, what the heck is wrong with me? I guess I should go to the doctor at some point since I have a sick stomach every day. Is it normal to have guess all the time? By all the time I mean I could literally pass gas at any moment during the day, every day. And every time I eat something other than rice and plain white chicken I get a sick stomach. Is this out of the ordinary? I think that I have a serious problem trusting doctors since every doctor I have ever been has told me that there is nothing they can do to fix what is wrong. Oh, and for like 10 years I had the same doctor and he always told me that my problem was I was too fat. Didn't matter why I went to the doctor: allergies - you're too fat, sprained ankle - you're too fat, back spasms - you're too fat, and of course chronic stomach ailment - you're too fat. I know I'm too fat. I've been too fat since I was in 9th grade. This is what happens when you are skin and bones until you're 12. Everyone in your family forces you to eat. A lot. It doesn't help that my family is from the south and we had gravy with every meal. And, of course, my dad grew up in rural Montana at the tail end of the depression so we were an 'eat everything on your plate' kind of family. But I don't think I'm so fat that it's the cause of my every illness. Seriously, when I would get strep throat Dr. Salazar (Oh MIMA, how I miss thee...NOT) would tell me I was too fat.

Anyways, that was not at all the reason I decided to blog tonight. What I really wanted to say was that we got the window framed in and drywalled. It kicks ass. I think that room is going to be amazing. I am going to put in a solar-tube type skylight and throw some recessed light cans up in the ceiling for night time 'mood lighting'. It will be a great 'media room' and I think a bonus when we go to sell the house. Also, it was highly necessary if we were ever going to wall in the carport. Along those lines I hired a guy off of Craigslist to do help with the job and it was fun working with him. It reminded me of the 3(!) years we spent remodeling our house in Florida and our kick-ass neighbor Curtis who taught me just about everything I know when it comes to construction. Dean was super cool and we had a lot of time to chit-chat while the mud was drying. His wife was dilated and contracting last night but he came anyway and today she still hadn't given birth. I told him about my schooling (hey, it came up) and that I was hoping to be a pastor and he thought that was super cool. He asked me a lot of questions and it made me realize that to a lot of people that's A Really Big Deal, I forget that some people really have a thing about clergy and the way they treat them. He told me when he left tonight that it had been a real pleasure to work with me and it was great to have clients that were friendly and cared about him. Of course we talked a bit about Scottsdale people (heh sorry if the shoe fits) and what it's like to work for them. hhhhhhh (that was me cleaning a bit of grease or something off of my 'h' key).

Well, off to bed, I'll do my best to get some pics up of the finished wall and maybe a few pics of it in the process. I told Dean (the guy from Craigslist) that I would pray for his wife and their baby and I certainly will, it seemed to really mean a lot to him. Still no word on the medical testing, hopefully there is nothing really scary going on or they would have called me. I'm probably still just too fat.

Monday, April 28, 2008

G'Night all

Well this was a strange day. Interestingly enough, it ended with a wonderful phone conversation with my pops. He really is amazing, he continues to inspire me. I love you daddy-o.

The ultrasound was really, really strange. I'm not sure what to make of it or when I'll find out any info about the results but I'll be sure to let everyone know.


So, it's been a few days...

Well, it's been an interesting few weeks. As you know, Aimee and I have been trying to have a baby for a REALLY long time. In fact, we've pretty much been trying continuously for our entire marriage (6 years this month). Well, we went to a fertility doctor to try and figure out whether or not something medical was preventing it from happening or if it was just incredibly bad luck.

Let me preface this by saying that Aimee and both have the utmost faith that God will give us a baby if He wants us to have one. We have known since we were dating, really, that we would foster/adopt many children through the course of our marriage. I have known since I was a young boy that there was a chance that I would have trouble in this area because I had a surgery that 'could' affect my abilities. When we began foster care they flagged this as a serious issue because we hadn't 'dealt' with the reality that we weren't going to have children. A bit of an overreaction in my book since neither one of us knew for certain that we couldn't. In fact, the reality of the situation is that if they told both of us that we were completely sterile we would still believe that God could give us a baby if He wanted us to have one. In fact, I have known people who were 'sterile' that have had multiple children. Regardless, we feel like it's time to find out if there is something we need to get fixed for it to happen.

So we started going through some serious testing to find out how 'normal' we are. If you don't believe that it's time for some universal health care in this country, try going to the doctor for a procedure that isn't covered by your insurance. I have a good job and make a shit-ton of money. We own two houses, have investment and retirement accounts, and have (almost) impeccable credit. The doctor wouldn't let us leave the office without paying, cash, $500 for the first round of testing. Makes you feel great knowing that you might have a serious medical condition but because your insurance company miscommunicated with the doctor's office you are treated like a criminal-to-be. It's pretty terrifying to watch your savings go from a respectable state of robust-ness to nothing over the period of 1 month as the doctor orders test after test after test after test.

So the end result is that Aimee is basically fine (I'll let her comment on what she found out on her own) and I have some serious issues. It was heart breaking and terrifying. If you're a doctor and you're reading this, take some advice from me. You should never follow a traumatic statement of a man's inability to produce sperm with, "We also need to check this out and find out if it's a cyst or cancer or a disease causing a hormone imbalance." I understand that cancer might not be the menace it once was from a doctor's point of view...but regular people like me still hear it and assume it means you're going to die. I know it's not rational, but you should be careful just the same. Maybe throw in a few sentences like, "There is probably nothing wrong with you" or "My aren't you a fine husband" between "bad sperm" and "cancer".

On that note, it's interesting being in a fertility clinic. The entire staff there was female (part of the reason Aimee chose it, I think) and you kind of get the feel that everyone is a bit hopeful, supportive, and caring. Other than the bad choice of words in her office, the main doctor at the place is a very sweet woman. The nurses are very nice. The billing lady not so much, but that's her job I suppose. They wanted me to go into a waiting room and wait for Aimee to get some follow up work done. I was alone and started to cry. I was trying REALLY hard to hide it but the doctor came in and saw me and gave me a hug. It was a little strange but it was comforting. I then had to go and give blood (Yay! My favorite thing in the world!) and sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks the whole time. I really hope that she thought I was scared of needles.

Then it was time to go talk to the billing lady about our 'options'. This basically amounted to them telling us how we could have a baby if we were rich. She told me the price, I said it might as well be a million dollars, she said that's too bad and handed me a brochure for a bank that loaned money to people so they could have a baby. They are also nice enough to charge 10% interest. I'm not going to imply that I think that's shady in the least but it seems like they should be a little more reserved about the 'buy a pregnancy' thing. Maybe wait a week or something and approach people when they're not falling off of an emotional cliff face.

Anyways, the point of this blog (can I tell you how nice it is to write something not for school and not care about my use of the passive voice or sounding like I know what I'm talking about?) was to let you all know that I have several appointments in the near future to determine whether or not there is something wrong with me. Tonight, I have the ultrasound to see if there are any lumps or masses or whatever doctor-types call them. Then I have to go give more blood later this week. Then I have to go to a urologist and let them do 'whatever' to me.

I'm terrified. I know I shouldn't be, most likely it's just the surgery I had when I was young. I do know 3 people my age or YOUNGER that have had testicular cancer, which seems statistically unlikely. I don't know what the numbers are but it seems like they should be a lot lower than that. Also, my best friend just got hit by a tennis ball in the 'tennis balls' (if you know what I mean) and seems to be having some serious problems in that area. I don't think that has anything to do with this, but I sort of wanted to know if he was reading or not.

The plus side is that I have been incredibly distracted the past three or four weeks from my school work and I am way behind. Frankly, I'm having a hard time caring whether or not I pass or if I even continue. I'm sure everyone feels that way now and again and I'll admit I'm dealing with just a little bit of depression right now. I already had to request and incomplete from one class because I just can't handle the load and I'm going to just shoot for not failing the other two. I'll write more in the future on school, ministry, and the future of the Wickershams because I realize that this is really long already.

See ya.

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