Saturday, September 20, 2008

Special Blog Edition: "EMUS CATULI!"

Due to the celebratory nature of this day ... the day when the Cubs once again secured their place in post season play ... the editor (that would be me) has removed the title banner (I Wasted Time and Now Doth Time Waste Me) of this blog from the picture posted above. Why? Because time is not being wasted. True, the Rockwell painting shows sad Cubs fans but that is simply to remind ourselves that the team consists of mere mortals. They only play like supermen. Are they going to win it all? Of course they are. But let us restrain ourselves. Let us remember from whence we came. Let us not count unhatched eggs. Let us remember ... Steve Bartman. The black cat of 1969. You get the idea.

And yet ...

100 years. EMUS CATULI!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm so glad that I paid attention to the stock market this week. It was not at all dissimilar to riding the latest "Puke 'em Up" roller coaster at the amusement park of your choice. Down 500 points. Up 400 points. Down ... up ... up ... down ... you get the point. I only paid attention because the media has to have a way of keeping your attention so that they will get paid. That means they have to get hysterical over, well, anything. If they are hysterical they know I'll watch. Kind of like when the reporter on some cable news network got blown over and rolled through a bush while filming in the midst of hurricane Ike. He was a real brainiac. But I did watch so I suppose he got the job done. The bottom line is that in spite of all the hysterics the stock market is up 40 points in the last month, 18% over the last 5 years and 44% over the last 10 years. And for this I'm suppose to be hysterical?

I say all that just to say this.

In heaven ... nothing has changed. I just asked. God quietly assured me that He is still in control. He's in control on the days when I'm down and He's in control on the days when I'm up. He's in control no matter what the latest politicians stump speech may indicate. Hurricanes wreak their havoc on the coast. Tornado's tear through the heartland. Earth quakes bounce people all over the west coast. Lots of stuff goes wrong. Lots of stuff goes right.

And every time, every moment, no matter what I feel like ... God is still my God. He never wavers, trembles, breaks a sweat, or gets surprised. He is ... well ... God.

So go to bed tonight. Turn ALL of the lights off. There is nothing hiding under your bed that He doesn't know about. He is in charge. And He loves you.

I just thought maybe you needed to be reminded. I know I did.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Every Four Years ...

Eight years ago my father passed away. I really loved him. He was strong and self-confident and all of those things that men are suppose to be. And then he was no more. Sometime after the last eulogy was read, the last song was sung, and the casket was lowered into the ground I went to his house and cleaned it out. It was an act of total stupidity. I rejected the offer of my wife and a close friend and I did it myself. That isn't exactly true. I sorted through their stuff and filled two dumpsters with family memories. And then I hired teenagers from McDonald's to help me load the rented truck and bring the furniture to my mom's new apartment one half of a mile from my house.

Cleaning out their home was brutal. I paid an enormous emotional price.

Four years ago today I buried my mom. We placed her earthly remains next to dad's in the Arkansas cemetery. And it was time to clean out another dwelling. My amazing wife did most of the work this time. She grabbed a few friends and did the sorting and tossing out of memories. I only had to deal with the major furniture. That was hard enough. I really loved my mom just like I did my dad. I still miss them both more than I can say. Last week I was back in the town we all lived in when my mom died. I drove past her old apartment and just parked the car for a minute. Remembering.

And last week my house sold. And so next week I will be going back one more time and cleaning out a place of memories. Blessedly, nobody had to die this time. But this is the place where we raised our children into the awesome adults that they are today. Every room has an abundance of memories. And the garage? The garage is filled full to overflowing with their stuff. Souvenirs ranging from preschool to college. Pictures of wonderful times. Items that hung on my refrigerator door for years.

I have learned sometimes that it is best to simply turn your brain off. Put it in neutral. Let it run out of gas. Do anything but allow it to roam freely. Sometimes it is best to refuse to look backward and simply focus on the task at hand. Or dream about joys coming up in future days. Onward and upward.

I don't know what life will look like four years from now. Given my recent history this concerns me. I have never been the sad type. My life has been more defined by joy and exuberance for living than by gloom. But geez. This cycle has to be broken. Three times in a row is more than enough. I have often noticed an odd symmetry to life but this is ridiculous. And so I am giving my family and friends ample notice. The year 2012 will be joy-filled. Dying will not be tolerated. Those who relocate far away will be scorned. I don't want so much as a fender bender in a car or a pet that has to be put to sleep. I want more grandkids by then and I want them bouncing on my knee and slobbering up my face with their kisses. I want hugs and holding hands and loud laughter bouncing off the rafters. I will be 57 years old. My hair will be even more gray than it is now and I will be celebrating every one that is left on my head. It WILL be a GREAT year.

But for now? One more house. One more dumpster. One more time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricanes are not suppose to come to Ohio

Who knew? We were in church Sunday night when the lights started blinking. We heard the wind. But we are a hardy bunch up here. Wind is not unusual 1 1/2 blocks from Lake Erie. We finished our bible study, had our monthly business meeting, and drove home. Debbie was experiencing some asthma issues and so I walked her up to our apartment and then left to go grab some supper and bring it home.

I stepped outside onto the 3rd floor catwalk.

HOLY STINKEN COW! The wind had more than doubled in the five minutes I was in the building. I'm guessing it was blowing way faster than the speed limit on the local expressways. I had to lean in to it in order to continue forward progress. And weirdest of all? It was barely raining. There was just this like ... driving mist. Totally odd. When I got into the Trail Blazer it was rocking in the wind. I pulled out onto Lake Road and the trees were dancing. The farther inland I got the slower the wind blew. After a tour through the Arby's drive-in I returned to hurricane-ville by the lake. To the east of us and to the west of us the communities lost power. We never did. This was a grace as it would have been a very difficult thing for Debbie to fight asthma through an un-air conditioned night. Blessedly we didn't have to find out just how tough. Some of them are still powerless. And a young boy was killed nearby trying to get home on his bike before the storm hit. A tree fell on him. How totally tragic.

But aren't hurricanes suppose to, you know, be by the ocean? I don't remember them drifting up into the upper midwest before. Must be global warming. Or maybe it's because it's an election year. Could be the economic crises.

Whatever it is I wish it would quit. I don't like Ike.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's our year

Sure it was a no-hitter. I mean, Carlos Zambrano beating the Astro's tonight. No hits. But did you also know ...

-This was the first Cubs no-hitter by a pitcher who's last name begins with a "Z?"

-This was the first Cubs no-hitter at a "neutral site" ball park?

-This was the first Cubs no-hitter that W-stinken-GN didn't show outside of Chicago? Thanks so much to whoever made that decision.

- This was the first Cubs no-hitter since I moved to Cleveland, moved to St. Louis, moved to the western suburbs of Chicago, got married, had children, graduated from college, graduated from high school, and started shaving.

- This was the first Cubs no-hitter since a gallon of gas cost TWENTY NINE CENTS PER GALLON.

I'd say it's about time.