Category Archives: random whine
Anything and Everything.
That day that has always been a rumor off in the far-flung future has finally arrived. I’ve reached my 10,957th day. For a lot of people, I think that turning 30 is seen as a difficult transition; not necessarily a welcomed portal through the calendars. However, I welcome and fully embrace my 30’s. It has taken me a long time to find a happiness and comfort within myself. I’ve wrestled with demons and specters that I had invited in on my own. And only now, as my 20’s sunset and my 30’s blossom, can I actually say that I am where I belong. I have arrived, and life has never been as inciting. I have my twin sons to thank, Owen and Parker, I have only known them for 10 weeks, they’ve molded my life in a way that no other human beings could have. They’ve been a revelation of happiness, responsibility, and untethered love. I really couldn’t fully realize what my entire life was about until I was able to hold all of it in my arms and sing it to sleep.
And, for more than reasons of pure biology, I could have never arrived at this point of completeness without my best friend and partner, Jessica. I struggle to find the words that can encapsulate enough emotion and raw feelings to show her how I appreciate and adore her for all that she’s brought to my life. I stammer when I describe how everything she has done for me, intentional or not, has built upon itself to bring me to this point, and I feel as though I stand among the moon and stars, atop the world… and all because of her. Without her, I am not. There is no grad school, no Cottage Grove, no sons. The simple, unyielding love of a good woman has been the soil of my life, and all that has grown belongs to her.
As well, I owe a tremendous amount to my parents who have given me my start. My dad, who showed my how to be man but to do so without the brashness and narcissistic ways that seem to be revered today. He showed me tenderness and love, and how to apply to all of those that surround me. He has also faithfully acted as my confidant, my support, and, in the many times I’ve needed it, my voice of reason. My mom, who demanded and expected more of me that I knew, relentlessly showing me how my potential was at risk of languishing, and how my slothfulness was unfit for me, physically and beyond. As well as infecting me with the passion for cooking, writing, and running–with a couple of those changing my life in a profound and needed way.
To family, friends, and coworkers, who have helped me in times and ways that you may never fully realize. Making me laugh, making me feel special and important when I needed any of those, despite never saying as much.
Each and every one of you own a piece of my 30 years. No matter if that piece is big or small, it is a piece of me, and it adds up to what you see in front of you. I hope I have made you proud to own that piece, and I hope to have been deserving of the care that you have given it.
My one wish, as the 30th candle is blown out, is for my sons to have their hearts to be so engorged with the love and affection from their lives and the people in at 30, as mine is at this very minute.
With much love, fidelity and with good humor: Thank you.
So Jess and I have found our dream house… the only catch is we have to sell ours first. It is in Cottage Grove. A 3 bedroom, 2 bath beautiful house with 1700+ square feet. Vaulted ceilings, huge kitchen, massive living room, energy efficient and a nature reserve right behind us. Please, feel free to pass it along, I would make it well worth your while:
- It easiest to choke on words, especially when they are someone else’s
- Chris is running for the hills.
- I’ve grabbed life by the horns, unfortunately, it turned out to be a goat.
- Still cramping from yesterday’s run… It’s just my body being passive aggressive.
- Ran ragged through their rigid requests and rambling, unreasonable requiems.
- Gut pain: still ever-present, even after a day of nothing in particular.
- Completely full from homemade Red Curry Chicken with Rice Noodles.
- Yes, but how many dog-light-years is that away from Earth?
- …the day that keeps on giving… and not in the good way.
- The trouble with days like this is that eventually perspective sneaks up on me and rubs it in my face to not whine. Such a bully.
- We go together like keys and parrots.
- There are days that bash you over the head, poke fun at all of your inadequacies and then boxes your ears for listening for too long.
- It is awlays nice to look through the Woodburn Independent and see someone who i went to 1st garde with arrested for Meth
- Coffee press, you’re my new best friend.
- Blue wizard needs food badly. Blue wizard is about to die.
- Melbourne to Bangkok: BOOKED!
- Finally made it to a winter formal… 10 years after the fact.
- Since when did they invent the 6 way grind?
- Now it’s “insane in the membrane”… Hello, eighth grade year all over again?
- I’m surprised this generations knows all the words to “i like big butts”… A timeless classic apparently.
I honestly never thought I would be one of those people that loves to run, yet here I am. Today, I had set out on a short three mile loop through Woodburn. At the beginning of the run, I realized that I had forgot my armband that holds my I-pod, so I was without music. I hardly ever run without music because the slapping of my feet always seems to be anti-hypnotic. About the second mile, I think I forgot that. Also around that time I though that I would extend the run just a little bit. And then a bit more. Until I ended back a my parents’ house after eight miles. It is truly nice to forget what bothers you, to push and just observe what is around you. Momentary bliss through step by step exertion.
Here’s this year’s school picture… as you may or may not have notice, I am wearing an awful sweater. It’s not just any awful sweater, it is an extra-large woman’s knitted sweater with a split collar. This isn’t to say I regularly wear the opposite sex’s clothing–this was a gag that Ricky and I came up with for staff pictures. Our idea was that we would find an awful sweater from a second-hand shop and then try to convince as many people as possible to wear the sweater. With a little bit of prodding, the first person hopped into this monstrosity and had her picture taken, then Ricky and I followed suit, which must have set the tone because nearly everyone on staff adorned this purple, green and black piece of art.
I was really surprised at how many people were game for the sweater, there were even a handful of people that I thought would sternly refuse to slip on this hideous rag, yet they did. I can’t wait to see the yearbook when it comes out, hopefully it shows a staff that can be lighthearted and has a good time together, especially with our goofy mugs adorned in the same outfit.
As the previous tale implies, school is back in swing, for which I am thankful. Not that I don’t enjoy my summers but I enjoy my job just as much, especially when I learn something new, as I did this year.
As with every year, I see some of my same students from the previous year and then a whole host of others that I have never met before. I had a new tenth grade class come into my class and I thought I was in for a rough year. I was sure at least one kid was trying to stare me down, while others were loudly voicing their belief that this class was going to, in her words, “suck”. Along with that, another gal professed that she loved to mess with teachers and “piss them off.” I came home a little deflated and was sure I was going to have a hard-line approach with this class.
Then we started our poetry unit–for some reason, unbeknown to me all of those things cracked and quickly faded. The kid who was staring me down works hard to get his work done. The girl who was sure how much the class would suck has quickly taken to haikus, illustrating one beautifully. As well, the one student who said that she was out to make my life miserable has actually made me laugh more than any other student.
So, I guess the lesson belongs to me–the first impressions and my preconceived ideas about my students aren’t meant to held on to, rather, I should just do what I do and they come around… and hopefully they will become, as one of my Educational Assistants said, “Putty in your hand.”
Ps. I won my first game as a head coach 27-0… then proceeded to lose the next two. I knew I should had retired with a perfect record.
I’ve taken on and accomplished another event that I had never dreamed of doing before: a triathlon… albeit a short one. As a local benefit, a triathlon was held starting at the Cottage Grove Pool. Truthfully, I had to be drawn into the competition, I was initially hesitant about having to swim, bike and run… but after insults were thrown my way, my status as a man questioned; the reasoning finally took hold.
I showed up at the race about an hour early, thankfully, I had two buddies to endure the pain and embarrassment: Ricky and Garrett. We stood around, making assumptions about how hard the swimming portion of the event would be, citing ourselves as the first to be carted away via ambulance. There were two portions to this race: long and short. We, being the manly muscle-bound, testosterone infused men that we are decided that we should compete in the short race; unlike Ricky’s wife, Eryn, who tackled the long race. We watched Eryn and the other Grovers we knew start the swimming and then out onto their bikes.
From there, we got to our start positions in the short (the race officials called it “novice”) group. Flanked by our fierce competitors, we stood ready to take on their quest for glory, to claim it for themselves, to deny us. Through eyes, slitted with passion and contempt, we knew our duty. We eyeballed each of the triathletes individually; those little kids and elderly old women took notice, I assure you. From the starting buzzer, I was the first in the pool followed by Ricky, Garrett and the two elderly women that were behind us. For at least two of the laps I was in the lead until some little kid passed me up and eventually one of the elderly ladies passed me on a turn but that was alright by me because I was drafting her… until she pulled away.
When I had two laps to go, a friend’s five year-old daughter came to the edge of the pool as I neared the end of a lap, I stood up and raised my hand because I thought I was about receive a high-five. Instead, I got a question, “Why’d you shave your beard?” I laughed to myself through the next lap, I think I aspirated a little pool water because of it.
After my quarter mile swim in the parking lot, my shirt was back on, shoes and socks slid back into place, I was out of the pool and to my bike. I hopped on and took on the three mile ride through Cottage Grove. Right out of the gate, I flew past one competitor, of course, she was eight and her chain had fallen off but progress nonetheless! Down the backside of the loop, I was picking up speed passing one little kid after another and even one adult (who may or may not have been in the race), I pulled into the transition area.
My lungs still seizing from the swim, I dropped my bike and starting running down the hill to the chants of, “Go Wells!” from high school students, at which point I realized that they probably saw me running out to my bike from the pool without my shirt off, as desperately as I wanted to stop to explain that those things may look like lovehandles but in reality that’s where I kept my wallet, keys, cellphone, my snackables, and checkbook; nevertheless, I plodded on. Down the street, up around the old high school and its various fields I found myself at the end of my one mile run with an overall time of 35:28… trouncing half of the geriatrics and incoming fifth graders.
Well, yes, it has been a dreadfully long time since I last posted… but, like many of my students, I have a good excuse. I was too busy. No, seriously, I mean it. Things shifted into full gear during spring term. Not only did football morning weights start back up but I also agreed to teach PRIDE after school. PRIDE is a credit recovery option for students who are credit defeciant. I taught two sessions, from 3:30 until 5:00. So most days, I was at the school by 6:45 in the morning for weights, taught from 8:10 until 3:00, and then taught Pride until 5:00. Needless to say, by the time I did find my way home, I had just enough energy to make dinner, have minimal interaction with Jess and in bed, all of the bonds between the atoms of my body evaporated for at least eight hours.
As tiring as it was to have such an extended schedule, there were definitely some rewards (not just the pay, but hopefully the extra cash will put a deck onto the back of our house). The aim of my PRIDE class was that each student created a story for an elementary school reader… namely, Jess’s students. I have to admit, some of the stories were surprisingly good. My two favorites were Giftless and Underella. The first was a story about one kid realizing how lucky they are to be as well off, for example, being given an amazing bike for Christmas. By realizing that his life was so rife with privileged, he discovered that his best friends was not well off. Eventually, the main character appreciates how happy his friend is without a mass amount of ‘stuff’ that he gives up this amazing bike. Eventually, the kindness is returned to him in another way. I know this sounds a little pedantic, but the way it was written really made it a good read.
The second book, Underella, was a reverse Cinderella story where a princess who has everything she wants, immaculate beauty, and much more ends up losing all of it because of her conceit and dispise of those who aren’t like her. Once again, it seems a little too focused on an obvious moral but it was realy inspired. As this was their only assignment over a six week period, I was asking for at least eight pages, double spaced (I know, I’m harsh). Surprisingly, most student got this done and done well. I believe I only had one or two students not turn in a story but considering that these are traditionally students that fail language art classes, having twenty kids turn in eight or more pages of their own writing was impressive.
But all the glory shouldn’t reside with the student. I was informed by those same students that it was unfair of me to expect them to write that much if I wasn’t writing anything at all. So I took their challenge and I started writing. My first day I wrote eleven pages, plus another four after I got home. It is still a work in progress but I up to thirty-five pages… about 20,000 words so far. I really don’t feel like delving into the premise, but I thought that I would put some up for a quick read from the beginning. So, if you don’t feel like reading the extra stuff, stop reading right here:
On the ledge of a New York City’s Empire State building, The Crumpler squatted peering down on to the busy city. The Crumpler was wearing his famous muscle-showing black disguise, with the dark green stripes running down his sides. A massive, yellow letter “C” adorned his chest and a utility belt across his waist. His real trademarks were his massive hands, they weren’t any regular hands but they were metallic gloves that were at least three times the size of a normal person’s hands. Made from titanium, they made steel turn into putty in his hands, easily twisted. They glistened in the moonlight, waiting for a reason to be used.
He watches the city for evil doers, those criminals and thieves that prey on the ordinary, hard-working citizens of New York City. The Crumpler enjoys the nighttime the most, when he blends into his surroundings, he feels the most alive and awake when most people are sleeping. But he knows that that most of the people that are awake at this time are usually up to no good. Scanning down the long avenue he spots a black sedan racing down the street, with two people hanging out the windows.
“This will be fun,” The Crumpler whispers to himself.
Within a second, he has leaps from the ledge of the Empire State Building. Diving straight down, splitting the air at terminal velocity, he grabbed a hold of the side of the building, digging into the stone as smoke and sparks jumped from his hands. He crashed to the ground with a booming crunch, the sidewalk split beneath him.
He was perfectly placed to intercept the black car. The dark hero walks to the crosswalk, the sign flips to “Do not cross,” but he steps into the street anyways. The roaring of the sedan’s engine is getting louder and louder. The Crumpler takes his place at the middle of the street so the dotted line passes right between his legs; he lowers his dark goggles over his eyes and smiles. He’s been looking forward to this all day. The headlights of the speeding car fall on to his face, shinning off of his bright white teeth. The driver of the car sees the masked man and guns the engine and starts to laugh as the gas pedal smacks the floor of the car.
As the car nears The Crumpler, kicking light off of his crest, he cracks his knucks as he thinks, “let’s do this.” Sticking his right hand out, just as the car gets within two feet of him, he puts his hand out, fingers perfectly straight. As the sedan crashes into his hand, the metal tears apart, splitting perfectly down the middle. Like tinfoil, the car is split into two equal halves, each half rolling on its two tires for two hundred feet until they fall onto their sides. The masked hero wipes the engine grease and antifreeze from his goggles, turns and heads to the two parts of the sedan. He struts slowly to the two hulking pieces of split car, now smoking from its long slide down the avenue.
“Evening, Gentlemen,” The Crumpler said as he lifts his goggles off his eyes.
“Whaa, whaa, what did you do?” asked the driver from his half of the car, still buckled into his sideways seat.
“License and registration?” the masked hero calmly asks.
“Hey man, get me out of this thing!” a voice screamed from what used to be the back of the car, “My leg is caught, please get me out.”
“Uno momento, por favor,” The Crumpler said in his poor Spanish accent as he turns back to the driver, “License and registration, please,” he requested a little less calm this time. The stunned driver pulls out his wallet and hands it to the masked man. With style, he flips open the wallet and shakes it out onto the ground, money and cards rustle against the scratched pavement. He picks up the man’s license and looks it over.
“Mr. Smith,” he says with a cough, “it seems you’re driving on an expired license and at such a high rate of speed. This isn’t good, my friend.”
“Yeah, I… I… I know, I was just going to go get a new one,” the driver stammered. The screeching of multiple sets of tires squeal behind the scene in the middle of the street, blue and red lights dance off of the two parts of the car and the masked man.
“You sure did a number on this one, Crumpler,” a voice yelled as doors slammed. It was the chief of police, Chief Taylor, “We’ve been chasing these guys for the last hour, they just robbed three banks in two hours.” As all of the policemen surround the two parts of the vehicle surrounded, The Crumpler holds one finger up as to ask the chief to wait one second, he lends down and clears his voice.
“Well fellas, it seems like you’re in a bit of a pickle… and I believe this pickle comes with a big helping of jail time,” the masked man chuckles. The same voice as before yelled from the backset of the driver’s half of the car, “Help! Please, help me!”
The Crumpler put his thumb and forefinger on his chin and said, “I think I’m forgetting something. Oh yeah, I remember now.”
As quick as the blink of an eye, he grabbed both ends of the car and bent them both toward him, splitting the roof in half and spilling both men from the car.
“Chief, I believe you were looking for these,” the crime fighter says and points across the other side of the street, “and you’ll find the other half over there. Look for the car missing it’s left half.”
The Crumpler laughed to himself.
“Jeffery!” a voice yelled.
The Crumpler stopped laughing.
“Jeffery, what are you doing?” the voice questioned.
The Crumpler blinked a couple of times and realized who the voice was.
“Uh, nothing,” The Crumpler responded.
“Jeffery Crumplebeck, I have to say you daydream more than any other third grader,” his teacher, Ms. Turnt scolded.
The Crumpler was no longer there, it was just Jeffery standing atop his seat with two broken ends of a ruler in each hand. Each kid in the classroom had their eyes on him, they were each holding their giggles in their mouths with two hands but Jeffery could see that they were about to explode.
As he sat back down in his chair, the class erupted. Fingers were pointed at him, kids roared over his robust laughter and even tried to guess why he had just snapped a ruler in half right in the middle of Ms. Turnt’s lesson about fractions. Slowly, Jeffery slid his two halves of ruler into his desk drawer and looked down at his paper, he had one question done. He glanced over at his neighbor’s paper and dropped his head when he saw that everyone else was on question number sixteen. This was not going to be a good day for Jeffery, and it was only ten-thirty in the morning.
He picked up his pencil and started on question number two. As soon as he finished writing the number two, his pencil broke. Jeffery sighed and thought to himself, “I bet The Crumpler never had to do stupid fractions.”
…start reading now. Eventually, Jeffery will realize to be a superhero it goes beyond just doing what you’re told to do or what is expected of you. I guess it would be a story about character and pushing one’s self to be better than just average. Just bear in mind it is written for third graders. I have actually had a lot of fun writing this and I look forward to writing more. I am aiming for near 40,000 words, which is about the average elementary-age kid’s book. A couple of people have expressed interest in illustrating the book which would be really interesting. I’d like to see where this goes, but I will not be holding my breath with any expectations.
On other fronts, Jess and I had an interesting experience last night. On our way home from Eugene, we came upon an accident that looked like it had happened only minutes before we got there. There weren’t any emergency vehicles on scene yet. What I learned from the Register Guard today is that an RV going northbound on I-5 crossed the median and hit a southbound car, killing a a passenger in both the RV and the car, with another person flown to a nearby hospital. You could see the carved out tracks of the RV as it had crossed the median, the reminents all of the vehicles were on the right hand side of the freeway with many people stopped to help. The RV was so obliterated that I didn’t know what kind of vehicle it was as it burned on the side of the road.
As sad as the accident is, it got me thinking. Jess and I had been in Eugene to have an early celebration of her birthday with dinner. After dinner, we hit up one store and did a little bit of shopping. I had mentioned earlier in the evening that I was kind of worried about spending a whole lot of money. Later on, I brought up the idea of stopping to get some icecream to drag out the celebration. Jess said that she wanted to help us not spend money but I convienced her that it was her ‘birthday’ and she should get dessert on her birthday. So we got our icecream which was tasty. After that we headed home and came upon the crash.
Two things came to mind. The first was that the things that happen in life, especially of the most life changing, exist in between seconds. What would happen if we hadn’t stopped for ice cream or I drove a little faster? I shudder to think that we could have been in the same situation as that car. But that’s not the thing I have chosen to fixate on. The second thing was that it is important to take time and enjoy ourselves. Maybe I should eat ice cream more. This isn’t to say that I should be concerned or worried about the things that didn’t happen or things that could of happened; that would cause me to miss out on the good moments. Just something to think about.
As you may or may not have noticed, the school year stealthily left the room while no one was watching. Of course, as with every year, the graduating seniors feel it is the duty to pull a prank. A traditional prank is filling the principal’s office with balloons or something of that manner. This year, it was a twofold prank. When I got to school around 6:45 in the morning on June third, the day in question, I got a call from my buddy Ricky who said that I should get to my room as soon as I could because there was a lot of work that was going to be needed for my classroom. And here’s why:
For as bad as it looks, it only took about twenty minutes to get everything back. There were about fifty chairs in the back of my room from the neighboring classrooms. Throughout the hallways of the school, desks were piled and stacked in the hallways. I guess I got off lucky, seeing as all of my desks were still in my room.
The second prank was ingenious and funny in my opinion. Throughout Cottage Grove and around the school were giant signs saying, “HUGE USED CAR SALE AT CGHS!!!” and upon all of the teacher’s cars, the seniors had tied balloons and put prices on all of the car windshields. An Audi was going for $300 but a late 90’s civic was topping out their inventory at $3000. My car just said for sale, I guess it was a o.b.o. type of sale. I thought that it was a well thought out prank, no destruction of property, not much as for clean up and it was original. I like that.
Other than that, the next time I write, we’ll probably be on a different continent. I’m desperately waiting for the vacation. It will be nice to just get to a different place for a while. Pictures and retelling of all of our great adventures in Europeland.
I’m chugging along, it seems like I’ve caught a second wind:
Starting weight: 300 pounds
Current weight: 220.5 pounds
Total weight loss: 79.5 pounds
Total percentage: -26.5%
Original BMI: 37.5 = Obese
Current BMI: 27.5 Overweight (24.9 or less is ideal)
Despite not being able to run, I’ve really taken off this week. Less than two weeks ago I hit 224, and I’m nearly four pounds lighter today. It probably also helps that I worked out right after waking up, burning over 1,300 calories and probably buckets of sweat before weighing in… but it’s all good.
On the exercise front, I had been stymied by my foot problem, but after two appointments and an MRI, it looks like a resolution may be in progress. There is definitely no fracture. The bone is stressed but with the orthotic inserts that I’ll be fitted with for running will turn all of that force on the outside of my foot and even it out. I can ease back into my running starting off with 15 minute runs and adding 5 minutes back into it every other time I run.
The thing that had been holding me back the past month was my eating, I found that I was snacking a lot more and not able to turn down food offered to me… and free food always taste so much better than regular food. Another issue was that Jess and I had been doing a little more baking, and I’m sucker for bread. It’s like yeast crack. So we’ve stopped doing that which has greatly helped me.
Also having to do with food, I did something the other day that I’ve never done before… and it was actually a good thing. On Friday, I had a doctor’s appointment and I had time that morning to run back to our house before I went to work. While I was there, I snacked a little bit on some left over ham that we had barbecued for the previous night. After a short crossword session, I headed for school.
Two hours after I arrived at school, it was time for lunch. I sat down, pulled out my ham sandwich (notice a theme?) and two oranges. Only, I wasn’t all that hungry. Usually, I would have thought about it and eventually convinced myself to eat everything that was in front of me (and sometimes some perimeter food). But not today, I halved my sandwich and gave both halves away. I was content with just my oranges. There was a certain sense of pride about giving the sandwich away; even though it was not a unhealthy meal or high in calories. I just wasn’t hungry. It was a change in philosophy: just because it’s there, doesn’t mean I have to eat it. It won’t be offended if I don’t consume it, as long as it’s not being thrown away, it’s not a waste.
Pat on the back, self-high five, self-terrorist fist bump.
Faux Pas: As a teacher, coming to school dressed strangely similar to a student
Super Faux Pas: As a teacher, coming to school dressed strangely similar to two students.
Double Secret Faux Pas Extraordinaire: The students are both girls… and the teacher is a dude.
We had an interesting alarm clock last night around two in the morning. From a deep sleep, Jess and I were jolted awake to howling. This time, it wasn’t me doing something strange in my sleep, it was Moose. Apparently, Moose was having a bad dream or a dream where near a fire engine siren.
I said, “Moose!” and he woke up and blinked a couple times, obviously just as confused as I was; he recoiled himself and went back to bed.
We couldn’t get mad at the dog for that, with out heartrates racing, we had a good laugh and went back to bed. Just for the record, howling is not a good thing to wake up to.