Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reclaim your time

Read the article here

Read the article. This is something I have been struggling with and trying to do now for a while. Kids, marriage, work, household chores, free time, projects, leisure time, exercise ... how to juggle it all? Well ... however I want to is the answer. I just need to prioritize and run my life how I want to. It won't be perfect and won't always go as planned but sticking to a plan is much easier when there is plan to begin with.

Miriam and I have implemented this concept with our money after taking Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey (don't you worry ... I have a lot to say about this ... I am just waiting a little bit longer for the right time). Now I just want to do it with our time so that we can enjoy free time without being stressed about "stuff" we "have to do".

One thing I noticed about myself was that in college I was much more successful when I had a strict schedule. Believe it or not, the rigorous schedule of wrestling kept me on task (except for that Ultima Online game fiasco which unfortunately resulted in a very poor GPA for two semesters). So I am looking forward to trimming the unimportant from my life so I have more quality time to focus on the stuff I care about.

Friday, August 15, 2008

4th of July--A Drawing

Please click on the picture to enlarge and see the details.
Abigail and I had some time together tonight, just the two of us. Daddy was away at a party (which nearly broke Abby's heart, because she REALLY wanted to go with him) and Luke was in bed. I asked her what she wanted to do and she said, very excitedly, "I want to draw a cow togedder on da 'puter scream." (Translation: "I want to draw a cow together on the computer screen.") So, after reading a book together, we sat down in the big chair at our computer desk. She was sitting on my lap, leaning her elbow on the desk and sucking her right thumb. My job was to paint. However, I was not permitted to use any of my own artistic judgment, she directed every stroke and design. (Gracious, I hope you don't think that if I had my choice, the one thing I would want to draw is a mother cow with large teets and a baby cow happily attached, nursing.)
So, Abby suggested drawing a cow, and as I thought might happen, she wanted a baby nursing. After that, when asked what else she wanted, she replied that she wanted fireworks (of course), then a barn (kind of my idea), flowers, stars, grass coming out of the mommy's mouth, an open mouth on the mom. And, finally, she wanted me to make sure that it looked like the baby was nursing. We had to redo that shot a couple of times. There were numerous bouts of deep belly laughter on her part, when I made a mistake (like dyed the whole cow pink, on accident), and I was grinning like a fool most of the time, enjoying our time together. So, I guess the moral of this story is: I will have to draw some pretty crazy things in my future with my daughter, but if that's what it takes to have great quality time together, bring it on!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

flashback: 2004 08 13 (4 years ago)

I am going to be mixing in some flashbacks from life long ago. First up ... 4 years ago, what were Miriam and I doing at the start of the 2004 Olympics held in Athens. Well, on August 13 of 2004 Miriam and I were in Romania volunteering in an orphanage. We had no children of our own and watched what Olympics we could via satellite from some European channels.

Cute ice cream huh?

Luxurious accomodations ... yes that is a toliet.

The bridge we had to cross (almost every day) ... not a whole lot of room between the railing and the oncoming train. Combine that with the fact that a couple of the metal planks were missing, several more broken, and almost all were rickety (and the fact that a lady fell through a month prior) and you get quite an experience.

Miriam daring the bridge crossing (and being extremely cute!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

brave statement from Hugh McCutcheon

“It’s certainly not anger,” he said. “It hurts. I think it’s something that no one should have to go through. Life’s not fair. It’s never going to be about that kind of stuff. At the end of the day, it happened, and it seems the sooner we can come to grips with that and kind of process it the better off we’re going to be. For me personally, and I can only speak for me personally, anger isn’t an emotion I’m allowing myself to indulge in at this time.”
- Hugh McCutcheon, USA's mens volley ball coach on his father-in-law's murder in Beijing.

A brave statement and a brave attitude for a difficult time. Read the story here

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lezak tracks down French in relay

Freakin' AWESOME!!!!!
I just got done watching the live mens 4x100 swimming relay and it was such a rush. Miriam and I were in the basement watching, rooting, yelling, and pumped up! Lezak smoked the last leg to come behind and beat the French (who said they were going to smash the US). What an amazing race. The shots of the teammates cheering when they saw they won are just about priceless.

update: view the video here

Thursday, August 07, 2008

5th Anniversary

Miriam and I had our 5th anniversary last saturday, august 2. We were in St. Louis, so Miriam's mom and dad watched the kids while we went out. It was nice just being the two of us. We went to Border's and browsed around, Old Navy (well, Miriam went ... I stayed in Borders) and shopped, and then we went to a really nice Italian place called Charlie Gitto's. We had a wonderful time talking about how we met and what we have been through since knowing each other. It was a fun jog down memory lane. And I gotta tell ya, after 5 years of marriage (3 with kids), I am still head over heals about my lady!Number 5 ... and still lovin' it!

At Charlie Gitto's (I was a little under dress

The kiss shot

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ex Mex Comments

See my review and comments here

I have included the first section below.

Ex Mex From Migrants to Immigrants by Jorge G. Castaneda

isbn 9781595581631

Comments by Corey Crandall

Overall Comments

I found this book while browsing the new release section in the Mid-Continent Public Library of Blue Springs, MO and picked it up on a whim because I am interested in the immigration issues facing the United States.
This book provides a good veiw point from the former Minister of Foreign Relations for Mexico (Jorge G. Castaneda). Overall I feel this book provides a good framework for the immigration issues facing Mexico and the US. The last chapter summarizes Castaneda's advice on solutions to the problem. I find myself agreeing with most of his comprehensive solution presented in the last chapter. This solution involves responsibilities for both the US and Mexico.
I read this book with as much of an open mind as possible as I guessed there would probably be statements, facts, and opinions that I didn't neccesarily agree with. My mindset before reading the book was that illegal immigration is unacceptable, amnesty is unacceptable, rounding up and deporting the unathorized immigrants is difficult to the point of improbability, and I recognize that immigration has contributed (in fact, founded) to the US and is necessary. But that SOMETHING must be done. My views here would probably put me in Castaneda's right wing republican group, whom he is not shy about criticizing.
After reading this book, I hold much of the same opinion although framed within a much more informed context. Some of the problem lies in the definition of the terms. I don't want to provide amnesty to the illegal (unauthorized) immigrants but I am open to allowing a path to citizenship for those already in the country and/or providing a temporary worker program to those already in the country ... BUT WITH PENALTIES as described in the last chapter. This would have been my view point before the book as well but I am not sure if amnesty means the same thing to everyone. That type of refinement on the presentation of my opinions is one of the great things I found in this book.
One particular point that frustrates me is that I feel the real issues are not the subject of the debate. I feel like leaders in the United States and Mexico are not doing a good job of talking about the real issues because it might be political suicide even though the facts are what will really shed light into solving the problem.
This book has broadened my knowledge of the topic and given insight into the situation from a political, economic, and historical point of view. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

words that strike terror in my heart

"Daddy, I think I'm going to throw up"

Yes, folks ... and it gets worse ... because we are in gezzy (our mini van) on our way home from St. Louis. We had just eaten at McDonald's about an hour before and were about 30 minutes away from home. I happened to be the passenger at this point so I got the job of cup holder (to put it a bit more crass ... the throw up catcher). I did pretty good on the first round. It was all out of the mouth and I was able to catch about 92.3% into a cup.

I quickly noticed two things: 1, the cup was about full; 2, Abby wasn't done. In a great display of team work, Miriam handed me another cup which I promptly took with my other hand and tactically positioned it where I had such a successful catch the last time. Unfortunately, I learned a lesson that most military folks know ... don't fight this battle like the last one because it will probably be different. And this one was. My catch percentage was only about 59% (67% if you count what ended up on my hands and arm). The secret weapon that decimated me ... the nose rocket which completely shot over my cup.

I don't do so well with me smell and I had to sit there holding this stuff in both hands while we tried to find a place to pull over. I was pretty close to losing it myself. Lukie boy was just hanging out casually looking the scene over empathy emitting from him like that of a stone wall. Miriam ... Miriam was ... laughing. Eventually I was too, but not until I was cleaned up.

Abby was a trooper and Miriam did the van clean up while I washed myself off. This isn't the first time Abby threw up after eating McDonalds ... maybe the play area isn't worth it.