Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Competition Arises...

I'd like to thank everyone who applied for the position of "Kellan's Keeper," there was quite a strong response. All applications were thoroughly read, studied, and smelled, as I wanted to be sure no one was overlooked in this search. At this time I must ask that no more submissions be made, as the position has been filled, and is being filled quite capably. In fact, the decision was made in the last few months to make this position permanent. The woman of my dreams, and newly minted "Keeper of Kellan, " (aka my caretaker) is this lovely lady, Christen Gee.

As previously stated, her position as Keeper is becoming permanent. Christen took such a liking to the occupation that she asked me to marry her, and after much weeping and squealing I obligingly said yes. (I'm still waiting for my ring...)

Christen has done so well that her amazing talents have caught the eye of another man. How typical, as soon as I find someone who is a perfect fit a competitor comes along to steal her away. Who is trying to steal her away? I'll show you.

My nephew is quite the handsome devil, it's true. He may seem cute and innocent, but this little tycoon is not to be taken lightly. Known in professional spheres as James Reece, he is a shrewd business man, throwing you off your guard with his little bow tie and plushy seat.

Little James is not one to limit himself to the sophisticated lifestyle. No, he's got cred in the Mexican rap scene, where he's known as "Santiago, the rapper of love." Only among close friends is he known as "Li'l Santi."

He's thug.

As you can probably guess, once I found out that James was interested in Christen I had to move fast. He is able to hypnotize her with his charming little smile, and she just melts when he giggles at her. After some intense negotiations we were finally able to come to an agreement, as evidenced by our handshake.

Christen and I will stay together, while James is allowed to tag along. Still, I have to wonder if he's not too pleased with the way things played out. He's one little guy that I'll have to watch out for...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Wanted

I begin with a quote from an inspirational boy:

"I dress myself."
-Ralph Wiggum (Simpsons)

Sadly, there are many men who are never able to say this phrase themselves, but I can count myself among the few who do not need any assistance (yet). In fact, I am quite proud of my more dressy wardrobe in particular. The variety of sport coats and light colored suits would be the envy of many an old man. On a few occasions I have seen elderly gentlemen wearing similar items of clothing at the same time as myself, and we can't help but acknowledge the impeccable taste of one another.

This favorable disposition I have towards the proverbial "Sunday Clothes" section of clothing stores goes against an innate instinct within me: I hate clothes shopping. Loathe. Despise. Avoid at almost any cost. I just barely bought my first new pair of jeans in 4 1/2 years. The only reason it happened is because one of my existing pair starting getting holes. About 4 (Even I have to draw the line somewhere).

This natural inclination to avoid clothes shopping has been doing battle with my interest in classy suits and the like. Sabotage is good word for what's going on. A few weeks ago I was looking at a nice silver sport coat. After trying it on a few times, taking it off the rack and putting it back several times (a normal occurrence with anything that involves me spending money), I decided to buy the coat. In most cases when I finally decide to buy something I have to grab it quickly and go right to the check-out, otherwise I'll talk myself out of the purchase. So, I snatched the coat and briskly walked (a slow run, really) to the front. Imagine my disappointment the following Sunday when I put on my shiny new coat before heading to church, only to find that in my haste to buy the thing I had grabbed the wrong one. By the time I made it back to the store they didn't have my size anymore. Lovely. I'm sure my inner clothes-shopping-hating self got a a good laugh.

The sabotage continued yesterday. I was at the store to buy a new suit to wear to my sister's wedding (Yes, she's getting married. Yes, she's younger than me. No, it doesn't bother me that she's getting married before me [but shut-up about that anyway, your jokes aren't funny]. That covers the usual questions...). The suit coat seemed to fit okay, but it was early (10 AM can still be considered early some days), so I wasn't paying close attention to anything besides the coat size marked on its hanger. I drive home, happy to tell my sister (and, by extension, my mother) that there's no need to stress and worry that I'll be wearing my brown, 3 piece polyester suit to the wedding (even though I want to). Walking through the house to show off my newly purchased bit of class, I take a look at the actual size of the suit coat...

In the space of .05 seconds every swear word in every language I know ran through my mind (don't worry, I always drop off the last letter of swears. That makes it okay, right? Right?!?). Dang you, inner-hatred-of-clothes-shopping, do you realize what you've done?! I face enough violence from female sources, the last thing I need is bridal wrath raining down upon my head! Promptly returning to the store, I end up jacking the suit coat off of the department display case. Desperate times, people, desperate times.

After explaining the fiasco to my mother, she merely shakes her head and tells me I need a "keeper" to keep me in line. So, after much thought and consideration, it's time to start accepting applications for that position. Requirements are few, you must be able to read clothing sizes and relay said information; survive a large amount of sarcasm; like ice cream; be able to lift 50 pounds (I don't know what you'd be lifting, but a lot of jobs require this, so it seems like a good idea to include it here). Please, if your application is denied don't take it personally. I'm only rejecting you because of who you are, what you think, and what you believe (Typical good business practice, no?).

Personally, I'd prefer a helper monkey, however it would be about as good at reading labels as I am. But, man oh man, we'd have a fun time, that's for sure!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Satan Doesn't Drive a Dragster...

Hate is not a big part of who I am. Nothing good comes from hate, it just makes people bitter and cynical about life. Kind of like reality TV.

We've all heard of things like racism and pessimism. -Isms just seem to have a bad connotation. To quote Ferris Bueller, "-Isms, in my opinion, are not good. To quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in -isms, I just believe in me."" (Check it out, a quote within a quote. I'm not sure that's literarically legal, but I figure the rules of English literature are determined by individuals who graduate with English degrees, realize they can't get a real job with their degree, so they spend their time in coffee shops ridiculing others for speaking in ways that actually make sense. But, I digress...)

I believe that each of us has an -ism of some kind. We are all -ists of one kind or another. Here and now I declare what kind of -ist I am...

My friends, I am a carist. Carism is a type of -ism that most people have, but just don't recognize right now. You might be asking yourself just what is the definition of carism. This definition comes from the World English Dictionary (okay, it doesn't, but it should):

Carism: the
belief that cars have distinctive characteristics determined by manufacturing factors and that this endows some cars with an intrinsic superiority over others.

There is one particular automobile that is the target of all of my carist behaviors. I started this post by stating that hate not a large part of who I am, but I must say that I cannot look at this type of car without some twinge of animosity. The car that I hate most in this entire world is this:

The notorious Ford Taurus. Even now I can't look at this picture for more than a moment, it gets me too upset. You may be wondering why I have such disdain for this car, but I can honestly answer that I do not know. For as long as I can remember there has been a burning hatred in my heart for this car. Regardless of the model or color, if it is a Ford Taurus I will not like it.

There has never been an occasion when a Taurus has left a good impression on me. I have never seen a Taurus drive without crossing lines in the road, drive 10 MPH below the speed limit, or commit some other random act of driver-piss-offery. Please know that I am not attacking the drivers of these vehicles. I had the unpleasant experience of being assigned a Taurus for about 3 months and I can tell you that it is impossible to be a good driver in one of these things. Try eating spaghetti with a cork on your fork and you'll experience the same frustration that comes with driving a Taurus. Of course, there are several people who drive a Taurus by choice. I'm not going to say anything derogatory about them, I'll just state the fact that I wouldn't trust them with my children. Just saying...

The only way to make a Taurus even worse is to slap some Idaho license plates on there. The plates go nicely with the paint smears left on the front bumper from the concrete parking stall barriers in the Twin Falls Walmart parking lot. No, I'm not a state-ist, I really like Idaho. Except for the Tauruses that for one reason or another migrate down to Utah on a regular basis, cut me off in traffic, drive too slow, park too close...

Yes, I realize I have a problem. I won't say we should try to love all cars equally (an Audi is much more deserving of my love than an Oldsmobile), but on the whole let's try to cut down on the -isms in our lives. As for me, I will limit my hatred to Tauruses, squishy vegetables, throw-up, and girls' giant sunglasses.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What a Stranger's Death Taught Me About LIfe

There is a common thought that young people believe they are invincible. They'll engage in ridiculous or seemingly dangerous activities, and society will shake its head, thinking, "some day they'll learn there are consequences to actions, and things will not always be this way."

This mindset, however, is not limited to the ideas and adventures of a young generation. Most of us believe in this sense of "invincibility" in our own lives, although we do not often recognize it. It does not necessarily apply to our beliefs about what will happen to our physical selves, or the consequences involved with dangerous stunts. No, often times our thoughts of invincibility are related to the invincibility of our lifestyles, or the current state of affairs of our lives.

I believe there are a number of "certainties" that we have all come to expect, or even rely upon, in our own lives. These things may be so much the norm that it's possible we don't even realize how important they are to us. Nothing in this world lasts forever, however much we may want it to. For how much longer will you be able to wake up in the morning and see your beautiful and loving spouse next to you? For how much longer will your child run to you from the other room, simply to give you a hug and a kiss because they miss you? For how much longer will your own father or mother be available for you to converse with, about both things meaningful and trivial? Each of these things will come to an end at some point, and it is heart wrenching to even imagine it ending. You wake up and see the empty space on the other side of the bed, realizing that your spouse will not be there when you wake up tomorrow either, or the next day, or the day after that. You hear children playing nearby, but you know that your own child won't be running back to you simply to say hello. Merely thinking of the end of such seemingly simple and common things can be difficult to handle. So, we don't think of them. We let ourselves fall into type of willful ignorance, "taking for granted" these simple pleasures of life. They become common place, everyday occurrences that at times may seem as normal as the sun rising every morning. These things become "invincible" in our lives, as we refuse to recognize that they will change.

Somewhere inside each of us lies the realization that the way things are now is not the way things will always be. "How frightening," we say to ourselves, "that everything is changing so fast." This sentiment is not always verbalized in this way, it can take many forms. "You're growing up too fast!" "I'm going to miss times like this," and phrases like these all carry with them the feelings of sadness and longing as we wish that time would slow down and these good times would continue forever. For a moment we recognize that the "invincible" things in our lives aren't as concrete as we once thought.

A high school friend of mine has a 5 year old nephew that suffers from cancer. The little boy's mother has been keeping a blog, giving updates about his condition and writing about the experiences they having in the trying time. Before this young guy was diagnosed with cancer his father passed away from a heart condition. This family's ordeal has touched me deeply. I don't consider myself a highly emotional person, but when I saw a photo of this little boy at a cemetery, head bald from chemo, placing flowers at his father's grave I couldn't keep myself from weeping.

On this boy's blog there are links to several others, each detailing the experiences of cancer-fighting children and their families. Last night I followed some of these links and landed on a blog kept by a 19 year old young man's father. This young man fought cancer when he was younger, and overcame it. A few months ago he received a call to serve as an LDS missionary, something he had dreamed of doing. Less than a week after receiving his call he was diagnosed with cancer again. In the last week and a half this young man passed away. As I read various posts on the blog I realized that tears were rolling down my cheeks. For almost an hour afterward all I could do was think of think of life, death, and the love of this young man's family, tears flowing all the while.

Last night's tears, as well as those that came while reading the little boy's blog, were not accompanied by sobs or feelings of grief. There were feelings of sadness and compassion for those who are suffering, but the tears were not in anguish. I have no way of knowing exactly what these families are feeling, but I have always had an understanding of emotions and thinking. There is a common theme in all of the blogs of this cancer community, a theme that I wish we could all grab hold of and implement in our own lives. That common thread that binds these families together is the immense amount of love they share. My tears came as I realized what love really means to these people, and how much I want it in my own life.

We have all heard the phrase, "Live in the moment." These families have come to realize how precious life really is, as the illnesses they deal with have opened their eyes to the reality that someone can be taken from you at any moment. They truly live in the moment, cherishing every second they are able to spend with the people they love. In this way they have come to live, what I call, a more mature and beautiful version of "live in the moment." These individuals and families "Love in the moment."

Every single one of us has people that we love and care about. How often do we tell them how much they mean to us? We can say to ourselves, "Oh, my spouse knows how much I love them!" Or maybe, "My parents know how much I appreciate all the support they've given me." We all want (and need, I believe) to feel loved and appreciated, but implied love, or merely knowing that we love someone and believing they know it does not satisfy. There is a stigma surrounding the idea of telling someone you love them. We're all afraid that we won't be taken seriously, or that it will turn out to be like a cheesy Hallmark movie. We can thank the Adversary, the Father of All Lies, for shaping a society in which love, a necessary and amazing part of life, is something that should be hidden and not expressed.

I hope we can all try to live like those who have come to realize that there is nothing "invincible" in our lives. People we love can be taken at any time, or even we can be taken from those who love us. We must not assume that others know our love and admiration for them. If you are unable to verbalize everything you would like to tell someone then write them a letter. The important thing is that you let them know! This is something that I feel very strongly about, and it's what made me come back to this blog.

"Live in them moment." The only way to truly do so is to "Love in the moment."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Language Corruption

Have you ever walked by a group of people, heard what they were saying, and walked away shaking your head? I'm not referring to subject of their conversation, but the manner in which they carry out a discussion. It can be quite a frightening, not to mention disheartening, experience.

The English language is comprised of hundreds of thousands of words, and yet it seems that the average person has a lexicon of only a few thousand words. Of course, we all know people who have very large vocabularies, we tend to refer to them as "snooty." We also all know people who tend to be limited a few dozen words, along with various grunts and groans. These we call troglodytes.

No, I'm not one of those snooty people that throws around big words to show how smart I am. Yes, I did just use the words lexicon and troglodyte, but just to prove a point. Do you know what those words mean? If not, did you look them up, or just guess a definition for each? Personally, I'm the type of person that makes up definitions to words, it's just more fun. But seriously, if you don't know what a word means I highly recommend looking up the meaning. You may just find out that the silly little name your friends have been calling you for years isn't quite as endearing as you once thought.

Communication is a tricky thing, even looking beyond the words that we use.

There is a certain phenomena that intrigues me, and yet disturbs me at the same time. It is best witnessed when a group of guys are together (it's likely witnessed among groups of girls, but that's dangerous territory, so I won't venture many guesses as to what happens there). The age group of the guys doesn't really matter, the result is typically the same:

A group of guys is dumber than a bag of hammers.

Girls, you may be thinking this is common knowledge about every human male, but I'll explain. And guys, don't even try to tell me this is garbage, you've most likely already reminisced about several incidents in your life that would prove this idea.

Individually, we men can be very intelligent, enlightening, and productive human beings. Yes, we are all dumb in our own little ways, but overall, we're okay. Even in groups of two or three, we're still doing pretty well, carrying on intelligent conversations, and still able to do some good in this world. Once you add a fourth person to the group, a spectator will begin to see sure signs of stupidity creeping in. Words become shorter and less intelligible. Jokes become a bit dumber, but laughter is heard more often. Every guy you add to the group now is just another weight dragging the conversation further into the depths of unintelligence.

Case in point, have you ever been to a sporting event and seen a group of shirtless guys with their team name spelled across their bodies? This is not done only to show their support of the team. They've devolved to a level where they can no longer communicate with spoken words (Honestly, have you ever been able to understand what they're screaming). The intelligence level has fallen so far that they can only comprehend the single letter written on their chest, and it's up to you to put their whole message together.

I am in no way immune this type of behavior. Even though I've never been a body-painted sports fan (After all, I'm only wide enough to be an exclamation point), I've experienced a dip in mental capacity when with a group of guys. Maybe the smell of so many guys together causes certain parts of the brain to shut down, or perhaps because there are no girls to impress we are merely letting out our true selves. Who knows.

Of course, I could try to write about the communication malfunctions of women, but I figure that's a lost cause. A woman could say one single sentence and I doubt even she would know everything she meant. And then there are the things she DOESN'T say. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Next time you walk by a group of girls or group of guys try to listen carefully. Ladies, it may be just the thing you need to help you stop saying "super cute" and "like" so much. And guys, maybe you'll learn that by saying "dude" and "sweet" less you won't sound so much like a character from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure."

Here's hoping we actually start using the words we were taught in elementary English classes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I've been putting off this post for a long time. This might be the reason my blog usage has gone down extremely in the last few months. I've wanted to talk about this for a while, but at the same time I haven't. But here it is. A farewell to my little dog.

Some may scoff at this, or think it's silly. I don't care.

Think about something or someone that's been in your life for the last ten years. She's got a personality all her own. She runs to see you when you get home from school. After a long day of work you see the sheer joy she feels when you walk in the door, and instantly your day is brighter. The love is unconditional, the companionship makes everything feel alright. Your friend through thick and thin, the presence that's always there. And then one day it's all gone.

It's been just over two months since we had to put Dottie down. We knew she was getting older, and it was more difficult for her to get around. However, Thanksgiving proved to be a turning point. Suddenly, she couldn't keep her balance, and her breathing seemed strained. The following day she was taken to the vet to be checked out. Most likely scenario: stroke, or some neurological disease. Either way, it was heart-wrenching to see this little member of the family become completely immobile. We were told to see if there was any improvement over the following week. There was none. The decision was made to alleviate her suffering.

Like I said, it's been a little more than two months since that time. For several years Dottie had slept on my bed with me. I still don't go to bed at night without thinking I need to go look around the house to find her.

Even now, as I sit at my computer, I'm looking around the room at the usual spots she occupies when I sit at my table.

Of course, those spots are empty.

The emptiness is more than just an open spot on the couch. A presence is gone from the home. While it does make me sad again to think about these things, at the same time I know it had to happen, and it was for the best.

Some may be saying it's a good thing it wasn't a person I lost. I agree, I'm not sure of what I would be going through in that situation.

This blog is not meant to be a journal, or to express deeply intimate feelings. But this post, while disjointed and seemingly mopey, was for me. Someone special to me (yes, I consider my dog a someone) had to leave. This a way to deal with it.

I didn't lose a person, but I still lost a friend.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What? I have a blog?

The other day I was reading the blog of a friend of mind. I thought about how beneficial a blog would be. A potential source of entertainment. Suddenly, I got a nagging feeling, an unclear memory was in my head, lost in the fog of recent activities and emotions.

I thought and I thought...

Suddenly, I remembered!

I have a blog!

However, like an old Ford in the yard of a Magna mobile home, or the personal hygiene of most residents of Arkansas (I kid, I kid), my blog has been lamentably neglected and ignored.

Although it is not an official resolution of this new year, I am going to make a concerted effort to blog a bit more.


Readership is unknown, as is the desireability of blog postings. Should I continue with this blog? Even though popular opinion will not be the deciding factor, it would be nice to know if I am merely writing this for my own amusement. I suspect the answer is yes. As ever, I will continue to be my #1 fan, but please feel free to grace me with your opinion concerning the future of this blog.