I Dream Of A Great Feast, First Though…

“He’d noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination – but at the end of the day they’d settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.”

-Terry Pratchett

Thank you for indulging my need to not write here every day. I say thank you because in spite or despite of my lack of continual writing people still visit in the numbers they did when I posted every day. That says a lot to me.

The last ingredients for Thanksgiving were purchased today. We are ready to begin cooking. Normally I would not say we I would say Barb is ready to cook, as Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where she cooks and only she cooks. There are several famous helper “incidents” that I could tell you about; cutting to the end of each, “She yelled at me because I didn’t do X Y or Z.” Unfortunately due to a conflux of events she may need/want help in the kitchen this time.

Event 1, she has a cold or at least sounds like she has a cold…she says she feels fine despite a cough that wakes the dead (read me)…sick people (or not) need a hand, thus she may have a helper

Event 2, her work schedule…being a pharmacist does not leave a lot (read any) free time around the holidays when you are the new person on the block…funny new is a relative term, seems pharmacists stay for long times making seniority something measured in decades…unlike previous years she has one day for prep instead of few days, thus she may have a helper

Event 3, mouse season, this has nothing to do with cooking, but cleaning. Seems in   there is such a thing as mouse season, we have gotten several independent references to the time of year when the weather turns cold and filed mice look for places to hide…they found our place

I declared WAR! Turned our house into deathtrap dungeon and instituted a strict policy of cleanliness. Not that we were dirty people, but with four people messes happen, and with one primary cleaner (me) some messes lasted longer than necessary. Not anymore. Knock on wood my war is being won and with the timely assistance of at least one if not two feral cats we have not seen a mouse for several weeks. Vigilance remains the word though, which means Barb will have at least one dishwasher in the kitchen with her at all times cleaning as she uses cookware. Hardly ideal, I already have a rotation worked out for those too “stressed” by her potential “yelling about X Y or Z.”

We shall see.

What I do know is that Barb’s Thanksgiving meals are looked forward to each year by everyone who has ever had the pleasure of being at our table. We like to have as many people over as possible, although there are times the numbers are not as large as we hope, the dream is to have everyone over once a year for a great feast.

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

-Jon Stewart

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When The Rut Is A Chasm

“The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.”

-George Lucas

Can we talk?

I’d like to think so, but I know the reality. This really is me typing for me and along the way some people stop by and read and whole lot more spammers attempt their nefarious, yet hideously stupid, plans to clog the interwebs up with shit and there are plenty of times where I look around and think to myself, maybe they have the right idea the interwebs at time do resemble a sewer system so why not clog it full of shit that nobody wants or needs unless you happen to be a Nigerian Prince, which how many of those are there? I’m going to guess not a lot, bordering on one or two, I guess I could look it up but I really don’t care because no Nigerian Prince is going swoop in on his…whatever Nigerian Princes ride on or in and save the day, not that my day needs saving, but princes saving things is what Disney taught me and Disney wouldn’t lie would they?

See I’m in a rut.

I finished Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek and realized that I was stuck in a rut. For those interested, Just a Geek is a good book if you like reading blogs written by Wil Wheaton and to a certain degree me, seems we have or had a similar writing style. Yet if you are a me you also come to the conclusion that the book is slightly depressing because…well you too have not done much with your life despite trying or in the case of Wil Wheaton tried and succeeded.

Me…I keep trying or do I? I’m not really sure anymore, just like I still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. This writing thing is pretty cool and I seem to have some talent for it, but then what? Write a book? That seems to be the catch all answer to the “What to do when you are a writer” question. What if and I am being serious here, see how I told you I was being serious, what if I don’t have a book in me?

What if, and pretend I did this because I did, I published five books and nobody bought a copy? Try to imagine how that fucks with that answer, because it does and I did. One book was full of naked women too…now how fucked up is that? Really fucked up.

The first four books just like Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek, copies of my “blog” at the time, in a very similar style, although I have to say mine have a bit more humor and anger in them than his does. See I don’t have a problem writing about me here or anywhere else. Despite what you may think about the tone and structure most of what I write is about me and how I really think about things.

I tend to avoid “controversial” things such as politics, the state of the country, state of the world and recent or trending events because I am not an expert and plenty of people can voice their opinion. I don’t like opinion. However those interested, downward slope is my answer to all of the above things I don’t normally write about, hell until now never write about.

So I am down here at the bottom of this rut which as I look up is more a chasm. I need to find the thing I should be doing now in addition to the other things I should be doing…

good example, I love being a parent even when I have to yell, which I don’t like doing (Yes some of you may think I like yelling and being a dick, I don’t-sometimes messages are received clearer at volume and from someone you can despise for a bit).

I think that ends my example.

I cook (not all of the food gets eaten we are horrible with leftovers) and to be honest the amount of cooking I do in relation to the good feels I used to get is slanted in favor of I cook, they eat it, I…I don’t know what

I write this blog, but honestly blogging has not been fun for a few years. It used to be fun when I wrote about sex and lots of people talked to and with me, only one person talked at me. Here nobody…okay that is not correct my mother (who asks when Puddles and Whiskers is going to be new, I directed her to their blog), and KDaddy who always has something I find funny or insightful to say and…that’s it.

I do write this for myself, but I really enjoy when people take part. Do you want to know how people take part now, they read to see if they are in the blog and my take on the events that they were witness to…except I don’t do that very often or I embellish the events so much in the interest of storytelling to obliterate what really happened…

Why? because I got tired of people telling me the only reason they read what I wrote was to see their name in print. This isn’t print. All it took to drive that home was a former friend who asked me to include his most horrible behavior to his soon to be ex-girlfriend, because “wouldn’t that be a fun blog?” No you dick, it would not and did not and forever altered my writing on here in the same way as my family reading the blog and then attempting to confront me about the things I did…

And what does this have to do with being in a rut? I sit here, now every other day, as part of a routine, a new routine to be sure, but still a routine and I write what is on my mind, but not everything that is on my mind and I feel NOTHING.

NOTHING at all about my writing. Okay that is not true, Puddles and Whiskers gets my attention and yes I am still working on them they have their own website with art (thank you children and Chris Cortright). Everything else…not a thing…other than I hate the Geoglyphs and Alpaca’s post. I mean I love that people are learning about

  1. Geoglyphs
  2. Alpacas
  3. and the answer to an Animal Crossing puzzle that is at least five years old

But the people, numbering in the thousands, who have visited the post for that answer, never read anything else…fucking Animal Crossing…

Any who, I blather on about nothing and then move on. I no longer read my own posts unless I am having some contemplation time (read reading on the toilet) and I do that because I cannot remember what I wrote most of the time. That right there bothers me the most because I put, over the years, a lot of time and effort into this blog and yet I cannot remember most of what I wrote in the last six months or so because it was mindless drivel about a day, a thing, or an incident.

People seem to love my game reviews. I don’t. I’m not what I think of as an interesting reviewer.  I play the games. I write what happened. To me not very interesting. Thus I don’t know why people read what I write about when it comes to games. I’d like to know, but like I said somewhere up there, I get very little feedback at all

Sad thought of mine brought about by Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek is that I miss the old days. I don’t like living in the past. I love learning from the past, but here I have been for the past few months longing for the past when I wrote about sex and people spoke to me, spoke to each other, and there was general sense of reason, belonging, and that people were reading. Nothing says people reading like someones commenting on something you wrote in the middle of a three-thousand (yes 3,000) word post on threesomes.

Now…

 

 

silence

Why don’t I write about sex? Because WordPress is run by or managed by a lot of single minded puritans who…suffice to say some reader somewhere got their nose out of joint because SEX, complained and WordPress had a field day finding sex blogs and blocking, banning, or booting them (those were some fun months)…other than that because we have not had the resources for me to start my own hosted site…

So can we talk?

“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.”

-Judy Blume

 

A Better Best Day

Sometimes the best days begin with an idea, such as “let’s go to Petoskey to search for Petoskey stones, hike, explore, and celebrate your birthday.” Sometimes the better than best days end with, “You’re our third waitress and we got zero service other than you picking up our dishes.”

Yesterday was a better than best day. We had a potential to travel to Petoskey, roughly 2.5 hours away, to spend the day doing what people do in Petoskey which if you believe the literature is look for rocks on the ground. Fine with us, we like things like that plus roughly half of us have not been to Petoskey.  To make the car trip more bearable for those of us who hate long car trips we decided to stop at quilt shops along the way.

Issue number one, stopping at quilt shops does indeed break up long car trips, but they increase the amount of time spent on the road and cause every almost everyone to want to go quilt shopping instead of traveling another 2 hours to a place we have not been for rocks.

Issue number two, a car full of easily distracted and amused people quickly get derailed by a trout statue. For this year’s C4 we stayed at a hotel in Kalkaska. From the hotel we traveled to C4 and back. We were not aware of the trout statue. In my head there is a statue to honor something, such as the trout who freed Kalkaska from the evil overlord or the trout who gave his life saving orphans from a flood. You know major things that trout can do, not because Kalkaska has a trout fishing day or festival. I like to fish. Fishing is a quiet activity. Where is the festival in that?

Which is how we found ourselves driving through Kalkaska for the second time this year. Being in Kalkaska, passing the hotel, we decided to head into Traverse City. Our logic being:

1.) Closer than Petoskey

2.) A quilt shop nearby

3.) We could walk around downtown on the gorgeous day

4.) Food

The quilt shop Renee’s House of Quilting is HUGE. A lot of quilting shops are tiny and built near a house. This was a HOUSE. Upon entering a lady asked if we had ever visited, we said no. She informed us that there were four rooms full of quilting stuff. This place is awesome especially when compared to other quilting shops. Funny thing is even though Renee’s is larger the atmosphere is the same as smaller shops.

From there we took the birthday woman to Nawbin’s bead shop. Because she used to bead and make her own jewelry.  While there she found a Petoskey stone shaped like Michigan, the kids found various stones, and everyone left happy. Onto the mall.

The mall? Yes, the mall. Why the mall, because someone had not been to the mall. And it was a good thing too. Along the way we found Top Comics Inc. where you can’t park anywhere we could see but inside is a treasure trove of comics. My collection of the New Wolverine is almost complete. But that is not the mall.

At the mall seeking food and fun we found SPONGEBOB. I now have a bright yellow hoodie with Spongebob’s face across the chest. AWESOME! A stop in a Spencer’s gifts for more necessary goods and finally food at Bagger Dave’s where the food was bland, the service horrible, and the management totally uncaring. That did not diminish our day.

Upon arriving at home we started a fire and made great food, built a futon, and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Holiday Knee Not Writing

Back from break, but not back from break with new material. Hold on, don’t rush to judgment. I spent the holiday exactly like I hoped and wanted, doing nothing related to writing at all.

Barb made a Thanksgiving feast: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brown-sugar glazed carrots, salad, glazed sweet potato slices, cranberries, apple something or the other (while I cannot remember the name for the life of me it tasted great), and rolls. All made at home, nothing out of a box.

The grandparents and a friend came over on Thanksgiving. A word of advice, if trying to find our place do not use mapquest, you will get very lost. Other than lost, the day was great. The grandparents saw our place, got to listen to the boy play the trombone, eat great food, and listen to our girl discuss her love of birds, her love to catch birds and teach them tricks…mostly pooping in other people’s yards. By the end of the night, everyone was well fed (overfed in several instances), and happy.

The next day, Paul stopped by for a few hours of conversation and more food. Barb made a lot of food. Another overfed instance or two throughout the day while talking about the nature of life, philosophy of the ancients, and how we could become better people. No, we talked about video games, movies and lots of fun things. Our boy did not entertain with the trombone and our girl kept her bird capture and poo plans quiet.

Now, at some point during the weekend I injured my knee. Not the knee on the leg with the ankle Shawn White messed up…okay, Shawn White’s snowboarding game and I must point out, I did win the game…but the other leg. I have no idea what I did, but it hurt a lot. I had to stand to relieve the pain or sit with my leg up. Getting into bed or the car, major pain.

So overfed and knee pain, the rest of the weekend passed watching football, hockey, the occassional food show, although the longer Food TV is on the further away from prompoting food they seem to get and closer to promoting their brand, which seems to be “stars” and crap merchandise. I pulled out the writing a few times, but nothing clicked. Just not the time.

If there is one thing I heed when writing is “not the time” mood. Forcing writing, to me, is worse than not writing at all. I didn’t want to fix forced writing. Thus, I spent until an hour ago, not writing. I thought about writing, particularly how to address a section of the game that gave me problems before the break. And the break worked, today once the writing started, the section flowed.

So here I sit, leg extended, hoping I do not need to get up anytime soon, writing once again. 🙂

Hope everyone had a good holiday.

My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

No other holiday comes close for me.

I enjoy watching the kids open their presents and that really has been my favorite moment of any Christmas, but a day later nothing has changed other than more toys lying about.

New Years was another excuse to party, but those days while not necessarily gone (the party has changed) the situation hasn’t been setup for parties of any kind for a while. Thus New Years is an excuse to…well nothing different at all.

I like my birthday, okay I love my birthday, but retail marginalizes Halloween in ways I cannot stand and with children the day is supposed to be about taking them trick or treating…except we live in a region where the weather is unusually cold, wet, snowy, or a combination of all three.

Thanksgiving regardless of where we live is always good. A day of great food, mediocre television, thank deity for video games and videos. And, when opportunity permits a day with friends and family. It took us a few years to convince people that Thanksgiving would be our day. We would not travel anywhere. Instead people travel to us for great food and companionship.

Our best Thanksgivings, the place where we lived filled with friends. Our worse Thanksgivings, just us. The difference? The volume of noise. Best and worse still ring out strong in my head with fond memories of things I was thankful for that year. Top of the list each year, the people at the table, my family and friends. Without them I would not be the man I am today.

This year is no different. While this year has not gone the way we planned, hoped, ore even expected. There have been more deep downs than exultant highs, this year has been about the people around me. Support, words of encouragement, listening, and all of the other ways people let other people let one another know they care. That is the thing that stands out most to me in the plus column, big and small people I know showing they care.

For those who like lists here is my list of things I am thankful for, off the top of my head.

Friends and family without you I would not be who I am there would be less walls, guidelines, reasons to do more, and fun.

The place we live, after five years of some of the most hellish conditions we have ever been in (and I lived out of a car for a while) this place while not the prettiest on the outside (getting better every month) has been the happiest we have been in a long time. The children play in the yard, doing all of the things children do or used to do-bikes and kites. No longer do they dread going home, they want to come home so they can play outside or inside (really crappy weather today).

Time to do, five years of college lead to a sense of non-stop go-go do and do a lot of things that while in the interest of college were not necessarily of interest to me. Since graduating, I have started to learn to take and make the time to do for me. This change resulted in some changes in…a lot of things, this blog for one thing. Speaking of which, I am thankful for you the reader. Hopefully you are enjoying the change and finding value in what you are reading.

As I said above, this year has not been a good year for us, but we have stuck together persevered and continue to move forward. While my list of things I am thankful is numerically small, it is of great value to me: people, place, time, sense of self-satisfaction and worth. Those are priceless.

Enjoy your holiday, however you celebrate it, take a few moments to think about what you are thankful for and I will see you in a few days with more Puddles and Whiskers among other stories in Stroud. 🙂

 

 

This Satisfies My Tummy

HomeIt has been a long time since I have felt like I was being a good parent. Say what you want, but I, in the capacity of parent, have not felt like I am doing my job. Which job, you might be asking? Providing a home for my children where they can do the things that kids do without having to unnecessarily worry about their safety. Our campus home was not safe for children to play.

No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Too many years of watching cars race in and out of the court. Too many years of watching parents let their children wander around the court unwatched and watching children get in trouble and injured with no parents around. Too many years of watching the drug dealer operate and grounds destroy what little bit of nature existed around us. Too many years…

Home 2Two days here and I feel better. The children want to go outside. My initial response is NO. That was the only answer on campus housing. Now my answer is YES, with the caveats that they avoid the fire pit and screaming too loudly. They run around as only kids can having fun. It is in a word, amazing to watch. And watch I do, not because I am worried some college fucktard will race across our yard, but because standing outside, something else that was rare before, is fun and feels great.

While the kids play, we continue work on making a home. The kitchen, as I spoke about yesterday, is at a place where I can cook and reorganize at the same time. Today we started work on the laundry room, office/library, and our bedroom began. Barb and our girl installed the washer and dyer, after overcoming the problem of getting three legs of the right size and one way too long. Our boy, ever eager to demonstrate that his is a master builder, has been building ever shelving unit we have. I have to admit, I am impressed. He works fast, asks for assistance when he needs it, and follows the instructions well. All of those years of Legos have paid off.

All in all, pretty good so far. Sure there is a lot of work to do around here, both ours and the relators, but everyone is pulling their weight and then some to make this place a home.

Home 3On our way home with a load of supplies we saw a family restaurant. Best decision of the day to stop in at Sharon’s Country Restaurant. Right down the road from us, from both old and new house, Sharon’s does not standout from the road. If you have a desire for home cooked food, good prices, excellent service, and good portions stop in they are open until 10pm. French Dip made with actual pieces of roast beef, cheese and mushroom omelet huge, and so on. Each meal was delicious. The owner took our order and she is great with kids and parents, showing the kids similar meals to what they wanted that gave them more and cost us less.

This is definitely satisfying our tummies in more way than one. 🙂