Monday, September 29, 2008

Tee It Up For the Troops

Waking up around 3am for a 5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard time departure from Grand Rapids had me in San Diego by 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and on the freeway heading north by 11am.
By 12pm I had gone home, showered and gotten my golf clubs all in time to be at the course for a 12:30 tee time with three Marines. We didn't win or even come close to finishing in the top half of the field but we had fun...and this counts for my part for the war effort.
Now I'm finally ready to go to bed after being up for 24 hours and although I'm so tired that my eyebrows ache I cant seem to fall asleep. Perhaps I an go count some tiles some where or work on long division or maybe even figure an appropriate bail out that everyone can agree on. So much to do!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Goodbye Michigan

Thanks to my newly adopted Michigan brother Max for showing me around the Wal-Mart in town and to all the Parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church who have incredible taste and a flare for electronic advertising.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We All Scream for Michigan!

Look how happy Michigan has made me. I don't know if it's all Michigan or the fact that I woke up at 3:30am and took two planes to get here on no hours of sleep and then ate 4 gallons of ice cream.
Either way, my first trip to Michigan is good so far.
Tomorrow is the show but more importantly before the show, a trip to a Michigan Walmart!
Photos to follow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Up - Dog

This is Mac and Mikey. This photo was taken when they were both puppies. Mac is on the left. Old photo's are great. An 8 year old photograph is not usually concerned to be old but since I am talking about digital photos, it's old. 8 is old for a digital photo. And according to my dad, 8 is also old for a golden retriever. I think he is mistaken because according to a deal I have with Jesus, Mac will be around for along time. I guess this means Mikey should watch out because I have no similar deals with Jesus concerning him.


Heads up.
The Chargers won tonight.
According to the Bible, next will be war, famine and death.
If the Padres win this week, grab your gun and head for the hills.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I was always a very happy child.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Government Check

Everyday I love walking down to the mailbox and getting the mail. Sometimes I make the trek just to get out in the fresh air and sunshine for a few minutes. But deep down I check the mail to see if today is the day Uncle Sam sends me my check. I make it down to the end of the driveway and come dangerously close to the idiots who fly past the house on a blind corner while walking to the front of the box to peer inside. A few years ago after losing many boxes to "mailbox baseball' my dad put in a steel box and pole. Now they can swing but we can guarantee you won't get a hit. Along with the steel trap of death box comes a lock because I'm not the only one who likes to get our mail. So now you either need a key or small child like hands with long arms to steal our mail. As I peer inside I see the mail and the coveted penny saver and I go in. I sort through and wouldn't you know it, no check from the government. Ever since I filed my income taxes I have been waiting for my check to stimulate the economy. And everyday I shut the mail box sad because no check. It's like when you mail off box tops for a secret decoder ring and the 6 to 9 weeks seems like a lifetime. Finally after months of waiting I was told that I didn't make enough last year to get a 'stimulate the economy check' that all my friends are raving about. Now I'm not into conspiracy theories but every since I learned about this the economy took a major dive. I'm not saying anything that you aren't already thinking. Perhaps my $300 could have made the difference. We will never know. The good news is that their is a dead bunny at the end of the driveway that my mom swears is just taking a nap. Bad news for the napping bunny but good news for me because now I can spend the next few weeks watching natures television. I might even get a rabbits foot out of the deal.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fam-Damily Party

Some of my nicer cousins and second cousins squatted down and let me stand on my tippy toes to take a picture today.
You see, I am vertically challenged when compared to most of my family. I come from a long line of Scotch-Irish-Amazons, we are a very rare breed but a proud people.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Walk On

I have been walking. No, not just to the bathroom or the car, I have been walking on the beach this week. And not just little walks but 10 mile walks. Why? I don't really know and I'm kind of concerned over this new behavior. It's one thing to run. Running is just stupid and makes your knees hurt. Sure you look great after running for a few months but you limp because your knees hurt and that takes away from how good you look because people start thinking of ways you might have hurt yourself and are limping and by the time they go to ask you to marry you you have already limped away.
I think I like walking on the beach because I can't stand still Or more important, I can not sit or lie still at the beach. So walking is a way of being at the beach but going slow enough to still take in all the beach without just doing nothing.
Another thing I discovered I really like are teeny tiny beach birds. Not to eat but to watch. I think they are sand pipers but really, I don't think they mind if I get their names wrong. Those birds run. They run to the edge of the water an like little kids, wait till the waves almost hit them and then run in unison back up the shore (granted little kids are not eating sand crabs to survive and wouldn't be crushed by the impending waves it it hit them but none the less that's what the damn birds remind me of). So I like them and could watch them all day long. Yet I don't like to watch them on TV. I guess that's similar to how I like going to a baseball games but not to watch baseball on, this blog is a cry for help, I have been inside too long, I must go to the beach and watch my favorite program.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Slavka had it Right

So much happened on my trip to Europe that I did not get to report on it as it happened because I just did not want to glaze over it but wanted to explain it and take my time. Well, I know I will never have the amount of time it would take to explain what happened in Medjugorje so no time like the present to try to explain it here.
In March some of the kids on the trip from Ireland went and volunteered with this nun, Sister Muriel. "They went with her into the hills and fed old people", was the report they told me. I went with them to deliver some donations and met her, she was a nice lady from Boston and had the accent to match. Just about a month ago I was in Medjugorje again with my new video camera and asked if I could go along with Sister as she made her deliveries and what an experience it was!
A little back ground for you, sister came to Medjugorje when she was 68 and that was 16 years ago. At 84 she delivers food and supplies to about 250 "old people" as she calls them who live up in the surrounding villages far from the gift shops and pilgrims who flood Medjugorje. She has one other lady who helps her but other than the weekly helpers (usually from Ireland) in the summer who drive along with her to make her deliveries it's just her and Mary. She decided to help the poor who really have no way out of their poverty and for the most part these are elderly women. Most of whom took care of their aging parents or disabled siblings and never got married themselves and no are alone with no income or pension, gulp. I am assured that Uncle Sam can at least allow me to buy cat food when I am 84..maybe. Anyway usually these women's 'houses' consisted of one room, no running water, maybe electricity, maybe a stove, a bed, a chair a table and lots and lots of Mary and Jesus pictures on the wall. They were all around the same age as Sister Muriel but not as in good as shape. At times with no ones to talk to for days they were more excited to see Sister to talk to someone (even though Sister barely understands Croatian) than the food she was bringing them. Their faces would light up and especially when they saw the 2 teenage boys we brought along that day to help us deliver. The 2 were named Sean (go figure) but Sister changed it to John and then the Croatian Ivan so the people would understand better, apparently you don't find a lot of Sean's running around he former Yugoslavia. As poor as they were what they lacked more than material needs was human interaction and attention.

The more people we visited the more I stopped feeling sorry for them and started feeling bad for what I take for granted on a daily basis. Obviously for the surplus of food, clothing and shelter I have but also for the people I have in my life. For the first time I understood why things often get in the way from appreciating just what I have in my life. They sometimes even get in the way of people.
For the first time it made sense that I don't need to buy something just cause I want it. Chances are I have the same thing at home but it got lost in the shuffle amidst the piles of other "stuff" that if I lived to be 100 would never have time to wear, watch, play, eat and listen too. The people in the mountains have nothing. But they had something that people in our culture lack. They had a sense of peace. They had a happiness that this world does not recognize. Sure, given the choice you, me or the poor grandma living in a one room house would be drawn to a life of security of three meals a day, running water, friends and cable TV. But never knowing that, these people rely on something else. Something that you can't see or hold tangibly in your hands. Their faith is unwavering.
I think back to a woman who's sister who she had always lived with had recently died of cancer and her only neighbor who we had just visited was dying in her bed alone. She was in mourning and faced with the fact that soon she would be totally alone with only Sister visiting her one maybe twice a month if time allowed. Through her tears she wanted to know how Sister Muriel was. Was she OK? It stopped me dead in my tracks. Not once did she express a "why me" or "can't someone do anything" or even the famous, "where is God?" All she wanted to know was how Sister was and struggled to get up and bring chairs out for us to sit on. I know I would be singing a different tune. I stub a toe and I want to consult with toe specialists and numb it up to not feel any discomfort. I was in awe of this tough mountain grandma who's beard was healthier than most lumber jacks.
Going from people who have nothing of material value but are so filled with a quiet joy to my world of loud music, fast Internet and many times people who have the world but lack so much joy made my head spin. I thought after leaving the final house we visited that this would be it. I would go home sell all I own, shave my head, eat nothing but dirt and live under a rock. Or at least never complain again about anything EVER. But wouldn't you know it not 2 days later, being human crept back into my psyche again and I was really mad when the movie on the flight home was the same one I saw flying out.
But some things have changed. For one, I got rid of about half of what I owned and don't miss any of it. I went through my closet and gave away things that I was keeping just to keep. Space taker uppers. Junk that at the time I just had to have it.
I think before I buy things now. Not, can I afford this, because the answer if no (no matter what, even gum I need to put on layaway). But I think, am I buying this because I need it or because I am bored, bothered, anxious or empty? What do I really want?
I'm slowing down more and looking at the big picture. Not getting mad at people who are slow at the supermarket or cut me off in traffic. I'm seeing how blessed I am to have been born in the Country, State, City and family that I'm in.
And if anything it hasn't made me think my career as silly on the big scheme of things but on the contrary, I can see how lucky I am to make people laugh for a living. I hope to never take for granted my life and the opportunities I have every day. Don't get me wrong, I still like my stuff, but now hopefully, I will begin to put more value on true wealth instead of the kind that is passing. And anyone who deals with any business lately knows how it's all passing.
So there, that was my story about a 84 year old nun who is in better shape than me making a difference. You will probably never hear about her after she dies or see a movie based on her life. But in her own quiet determined way she saw a problem and instead of asking, why doesn't anyone help those people? decided she was just a good a person as any to do something about it. I'll keep telling jokes for now, Sister Muriel has a good 20 years in her until she needs replacing. Not it. Called it. No stampies. I also would like to say that being rich does not make you evil. You can be a very good person and be happy and find peace with lot's of money. I keep telling God that I'll prove it to Him. I guess I need to help out a bit by buying a lotto ticket.
You can visit Sister's site if the gnawing guilt has gotten to you:
That's right, Sister ain't afraid to go all WORLD WIDE WEB on you.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fair Trade

Matt and I signed our CD's for each others mom's. Too bad my mom will never get it.
In a unrelated story I have changed my name to Ginny.