Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The End of Time

Okay so not REALLY the end of time but rather just the end of the first decade of the new millennium. None of that would matter for us...it is just a time on a clock and a number on a calendar but I do believe that this Christmas will be a transition in our family. There will be a transition from kids to grand kids I am sure. My wife is most excited about that. Not sure exactly what it will be yet, but I know it will change from all the years we have been together. Change is good, right? I guess.  We will see what the next ten years brings my wife and I.



Preparation for the following changes beginning in 2011:
  • Change in Christmas Morning (now that we have to divide our time with our kids in-laws and that three of the kids no longer living with us.)
  • Change in Home (I imagine we will work on re-organizing the house. Not only cleaning out stuff but finishing some long procrastinated remodeling. Some rooms will be re-purposed, some areas expanded for different uses as many of the things we have done are now different.)
  • Change in Vacations (looks like my wife and I can plan trips that just involve us....2...not 6+. That will be odd. Going to see things that will allow us to relax.)
  • Change in Eating and Exercise (well this certainly needs to happen regardless. We eat out more but we need less snacks around here and I, for one, need to plan on exercising. No coaching anymore, just yardwork and handyman chores.)
  • Change in Vehicles (No need for a minivan any more......Thanks to the Lord! Maybe we can just get one that runs a bit more consistently.)
  • Change in Work (Our office will operate in a different manner. I hope to take more time to myself, separate my work time from personal time. We have a great team and I think that this will be very enjoyable......it would be nice to have a few projects that gives us some savings without last minute scrambling to meet payroll!)
It would be exciting if there is more down time for me.  Time to read, study, paint, travel and whatever else I want to do. This year I am 45 years old.....by 2021 I will be 55. Wow, both of those numbers sound so strange. Who would have thought?! Greyer, Older, and a few wrinkles. Let's keep it at that my friends......Not growing older, just more experienced and wiser!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Master of a Dream

You will find out out soon enough if you don't know me very well, that I have the wildest and most vivid dreams of anyone. Last night I dreamed of returning to Oklahoma State to obtain my Masters of Architecture. What a crazy thought! Really though.....I have had this dream several times before.  I recall moving back into the old duplex dump after being gone for so many years. That is a a crazy thought too. This dream last night was a bit different.  Most of the time I go through my dream trying to figure out where my desk is in the studio or wondering the halls of the library.....(by the way it never is really the "true" studio or "true" library.  Somewhere else)......by the way I have a design in my head for a very cool library stair that winds its way up several layers of a university library if anyone is in the need!)

I digress.....Sorry!

In this particular dream I was walking through the studios with Professor Bryant (RIP) as he was helping me find someone to escort me through the registration process and which classes I was going to need to take. My masters was going to be a bit different.  As with all the previous dreams about this subject, I still had my business and somehow it still continued to operate. However this one had more specifics on what my master's thesis would be about.  I had convinced the school to work with me to allow for a "custom" program where I could develop a building that was dedicated to an industry or trade or something that allowed for a state of the art building with the highest technological structure built right there on the OSU campus.  Better yet....full funding for the project was paid for by T. Boone Pickens - the sugardaddy of Oklahoma State. So not only would I get my masters, but I would get to use a fantastical project  - real project - to use as the thesis.  The masters would include the facilitation of construction documents and of course contract administration during the building phase. The thesis would be based on the principles of taking a project (as a business) all the way from conceptual, fund raising, approvals, construction documents and construction.  A sort of how-to-book for the future OSU students (add others) to use as a guide for real life application. Everything would be documented.

And another great perk......my office and other students at Oklahoma State would join me in the production documents.  HA HA HA I didn't even have to draw it! Just manage the thing. Only bad part was it was a year away from home in Virginia Beach so I also had to fly back and forth every week to continue doings of the office.  The home team is awesome though.  They took care of everything, continued the work, managed the accounting, worked with all the clients, we set up video conferencing for the repeat clients and long term ones. Most of our clients were so pleased to work with us, they didn't mind the slight inconvenience of working around my schedule......now that sounded arrogant! Meetings were planned few days in advance and I had a small office in the architecture building to continue my office work as well. It worked pretty smooth.

Yep DREAM  DREAM DREAM.........

Okay now for the inspirational part.  First not sure that my school would be so kind to alter their program that much for one person; two, not sure I would get a lifetime project so far away from VB with T. Boone......pretty far fetched......and third, to keep my business running while I ran off for this fantasy......hey, just thought about eating at Eskimo Joe's everyday! SO back to reality. What did come out of the dream is the thought of writing a book for the small business development for a design firm. The practical application of how-to and what not-to-do. A design manual for the all of those individuals who just want their own thing.  Or maybe a reminder to some of the architects that forgot what it was like to care about design and client personal service. The book would take a while.  Not only gathering the thoughts but to orchestrate it into an organized thought process and step-by-step procedure.  But just think.....what if it did happen and if say....someone like.....AIA published it. and say.....a portion of the sales went to OSU Architecture......and say......they gave me a honorary Master's anyway!

It could happen my friends!
Dreams.....they keep us going.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Stockings and Stars

We started a tradition in our family many years ago when it came to the holidays. Yes there have always been the food traditions, like turkey, cranberry salad and all the "stuff" that goes with an unforgettable meal.....usually all crowded around a table bursting at the seams to hold everyone and everything. The other part: decorations, presents and the like have their own energy that have grown to be just a regular expected part of what we do. I have always been St. Nick and just loved Christmas, Santa and all the fun it posed. It was a time to jump from the worries of the world and be a kid again.  There is nothing better than being Santa and watching the kids open their presents on Christmas morning.

Not sure how it all started exactly, but I had decided to make the stockings hanging at the fireplace a bit more special and something just as exciting as all the presents under the tree.  After all it is hard to compete with big boxes and bows! Our kids were always allowed to get their stockings first thing in the morning and take them back to their beds and play until the second thing in the morning arrived. It wasn't always about the things inside it was more about the tradition of placing a new "pin" on the outside.  It has been fun for us to try and tie together a theme for the season. Initially it was us trying to just find a Christmas pin. There were times is was somewhat difficult so we began making our own. Ideas came from candy, toys, movies and whatever else fit the occasion. Currently there are so many pins from the years past that it takes a bit to find the new one.These recent years as the kids have got older we have been on the search to find matching stockings for the "new members". You know....the little kids eventually grow up and get married and we need to expand our tradition......I think soon, we will need to new fireplace or maybe a multi-level fireplace. It is harder and harder to impress.....Kids be ready for a supercharger stocking infusion that will be introduced soon....maybe not this year but soon!

The earliest part of our holiday tradition has evolved around the Christmas tree star. When we started it wasn't meant to be a planned thing or special thing it was because we didn't have much money. When we first made it to Allentown for our first Christmas we were pretty broke. I had just started work about 3 months before and the two boys were small. Our poor little Charlie Brown tree had a paper chain, and few hand-me-down ornaments from friends and a construction paper star glued to a cardboard toilet paper roll. Pretty simple.....but then we kept going.  Another star the next year and the next and the next.  There have been times when we finished the star on Christmas eve....oops...procrastination! Most all of the stars have survived all these years.....The one that didn't make it the one that tried to make look like a snow ball star from white packing peanuts......didn't survive. We have had a candy cane star, gingerbread man star, fabric pillow star, ceramic tile star, cardboard snowflake star, peppermint star, shooting star and when a few years ago was rough......a band aid star.....that Christmas hurt.  This year......a Buzz Lightyear Star! TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! Currently he is leaning WAY over. (falling with style).

Make your traditions and enjoy your family my friends!
That will always last!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dont stick sharp metal hooks in your mouth

I know.....a weird name for a blog, but it actually relates to my trip to the dentist this morning.  Didn't your mother used to always say don't stick any sharp objects in your mouth? And what does the first thing the dentist do? Yep....gets a grappling hook and sticks it in your mouth.

This morning I had an appointment at 8AM....what a way to start your day! Well it is partially my fault.  I have never been the best at taking care of my teeth. Add the fact that diabetes takes it toll everywhere including the teeth and gums, that makes for a hopeless cause.....but this isn't about my dental hygiene.

Lets face it, going to the dentist cannot be a joy to anyone. The poor guys try to be so nice and uplifting but you cannot be! I simply cannot "put a smile" on my face when greeting my dentist knowing he is about to alter that smile. You are led to the smallest closet room on earth and they set you in a chair that is reminiscent of an interrogation process. They lean you back and shine a blinding light with the illuminosisty of the sun in your eyes. And then the fun begins.....lets see if this guy can stick all of his latex enshrined hands into my mouth! yep, yep i see.....how has your day been...AHHHHAHHAH. That is nice.  What are you doing for the holidays...AHAHHAHHHHHAHH. That sounds fun.  Come on you cannot understand a word I am saying unless you also are a retired code reader from the navy.  I cannot even understand what I am saying with all these gadgets in my mouth.

Gadgets. They include: one shining metal grappling hook (when utilized properly it catches and the dentist reels you in like a marlin on a fishing expedition); one face sucker (used to slurp up all the slurp before it spills out on to the tiny napkin attached around my neck with a roach clip); one jet powered water gun used to blast the inside of your mouth (note to self: choose wisely when you select your appointment date......cold weather makes the water line very cold.....makes water gun very cold....makes sensitive teeth set on edge); little mirror tool (lets be sure to add another metal object in my mouth...all the better to see you with my preeety). All of this usually comes after the shots of numbness juice with the longest needle listed in the Guinness Book of Records. This lovely product makes your entire face, lips, chin and tongue numb just so you are sure to slobber all over yourself like a two year old. yeah great!

And we pay to have this enjoyment. ha ha ha. All in all it isn't too bad....that is until the fun numb wears off. Beware of drinking a glass of water while numb....beware of eating any crunchy stuff while numb.....I think I will treat myself to nice ice cream Slurpee for the rest of the day.....oh yeah....still cannot talk intelligible.....oops.

My friends, my only words of wisdom for you today (I write this still numb.....not joking, for real) is remember to brush and floss! Thanks Dr. D. You are the greatest!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shopping Craziness

I don't like the craziness that takes place during the holiday season. I don't like crowds. I don't like waiting in long lines. Quite honestly I don't care if I save 15% if i have to wait forever in a crowd that closely resembles those of Beatlemania in the 60's.  Not Bah-Humbug......Just Bah! I have tried the Black Friday thing.....NEVER AGAIN. Those shopping experiences makes me feel like I'm in a cattle herd. And really, you kid with the Mohawk hair cut in Best Buy. Not a chance I would ask you for advice.....get a hair cut....REALLY?! Some of these stores may you feel inferior. Like they are God's Gift to Shopping.  No thanks.  Started a bunch of shopping online this year. Saved some money.  Otherwise I am going after hours.  Last night we went to Walmart at 6PM. Hardly anyone there. Awesome!

Mostly, I don't know what to get so I have to wander around throughout the store like Moses in the wilderness......."Let my Presents GO!". I have a small list with a small budget.  I just want the right thing and I know I will find it eventually.  I just need to keep looking. Hopefully it will be before Christmas when that lightning bolt of inspiration happens. Easiest part of shopping was buying some gifts for the Toys for Tots. So much fun stuff in the toys aisles.

Stay safe shopping my friends.......and wait until you find that perfect gift.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Change in Seasons

It is not just the change in the seasons this year....it is the change in the season. Each year we have been growing to this point where the holidays would take a dramatic change. A change that naturally and expectedly would occur as the kids grew up. I wish that we could just freeze time....okay maybe not really.

We have some pretty strong memories of our Christmas mornings through the years. Our first Christmas was back in Stillwater and we had a construction paper tree stuck to the wall.  Our son could draw the ornaments on the tree....FUN. Okay so that wasn't the morning story....that belonged under the heading of Christmas tree....watch for that blog coming soon.

First Christmas in Allentown PA. I had graduated that May from Architecture at OK STATE and we had taken a 3 month traveling tour throughout Europe (13 countries) with our 2.5 year old son and our 4 month old son. Got back and went to work for a firm that I had worked for over the previous summer. (OK, that was to set our financial condition....none) We lived in a row home in the downtown area and had the second and third floor. First floor was rented out by the Grinch. The bedrooms were up on the third floor. My wife and I woke up early and waited down stairs to be ready for the kids and watch their expression. We waited.  And Waited......and waited...and waited. Whats wrong with these kids! Don't they know it is Christmas Morning! We could hardly stand ourselves......amazing how much $40 bought back then for little kids. Yes, they played with the boxes mostly. So much stuff the kids had to take a break in the middle and come back later to open the rest.

We had some great Christmases in the old School house. Our bedroom was in the loft and we could look down and see the kids as they got up and scoped out what Santa had brought. An Awesome aerial view of Christmas morning.

Many of the traditions started to really form once we moved to Virginia Beach and the kids started helping more. Most of the time it involved making sure all was in bed so Santa could bring his presents. Each year, the kids would first go get their stockings....usually a crazy hour in the morning... and then take it back to their bed and play with what they found until everyone else began to wake up......wasn't long until the stocking opening adventure would take place in MOM and DAD's bed.  All the kids would grab their stockings and come to open them together. Even the dog joined in......that was the only time he was allowed in our bedroom.....the dog that is. He got a big bone for Christmas each year which kept him busy while we all opened the presents. We even got to the point where we ate some breakfast first before opening the presents.

This will be the first year that we don't have everyone home for Christmas. Our oldest son lives locally but not sure if he will stay overnight. I imagine that he may want to be with his girl in the morning....(not planned yet). The next one is now married and will spend time in Colorado with his wife's family. The dog passed away two years ago so now he is replaced by little Mav.Rick. He is the "little one" this year. No way he could eat a big bone.  I can see the mess he will be making while we open presents.
Gone is the days of massive presents.  The presents got expensive some how.....bigger toys for bigger boys.....what do you get them all?

All is good.....this is why we had kids and why we enjoy them growing up. My dream is to add on to this old house with suites for everyone.....each kid (family) can still have "their own" Christmas in the morning before coming down and joining the rest of the gang.....Grandkids.  I guess that will be the next chapter in the coming years. Pretty amazing thing. TIME.  I am glad it isn't frozen.

Be safe my friends and enjoy the little ones before they get big. It happens in a twinkle of an eye.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tis the Season.....for a Movie!

The prelude to Christmas is about watching all the Season inspired movies you can to motivated for the holidays.  It is like smelling salts for the holidays.....one sniff and you are ready to take on Scrooge or the Grinch! I have always been a movie hound but especially like the tradition of watching the favorites during Christmas. I must say that if I feel a bit grumpy, I don't hesitate to smile while seeing one of the classics. Brings back the childhood memories.  Probably reminds me of how I forced the traditions on my kids..... "you got to see this movie....it is a classic!" To  my kids a classic meant that it was old.....and probably in black and white. They refused to watch black and white movies of any kind....oh well...I tried to teach them...lol. Regardless we watched them and I still watch them. It makes for fun and silliness which is what many of us need during the season.  Too much is wrapped up in buying for Christmas rather than sharing or caring. I think we need to remember the destination to Christmas to make the season fun rather than just the event. It takes a lot of work to make one successful....enjoy the time before time slips by too fast.

There were all types of season movies but basically four categories.
1. Claymation type movies
2. Cartoon type movies
3. Regular movie types
4. Made for TV movie types. (not my favorite)

I have favorites for each except probably the made for TV versions, such as the puppies looking for Christmas or the Lifetime versions of something or nother. Maybe it is just because I didn't grow watching those. Here is a list of some of my favorite holiday movies.....maybe I need to make a new tradition around here by watching one a day until Christmas arrives. (The kids are gone so I can control the remote!)
  • It's a Wonderful Life

  • A Christmas Story

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

  • A Christmas Carol (1951)

  • Miracle on 34th Street - (not the remake)

  • Scrooged

  • Frosty the Snowman

  • National Lampoon's A Christmas Vacation

  • White Christmas

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • The Grinch

  • The Little Drummer Boy

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 

  • The Bishop's Wife 

  • Home Alone

  • Elf

  • The Santa Clause, and the Santa Clause 2

  • The Four Christmases


  • There might be more but that is all I can think of right now. The list isn't really in any particular order.  Tell me your favorites and share your memories.  I would love to hear from you.

    Enjoy my friends. Have a Merry Christmas Season.....and DON'T SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Gobble Gobble Gobble....Eat Me!

    Awww....Thanksgiving Day has finally arrived and now we have the wonderful sight in our house of the beginning of Christmas.  Ok maybe not Christmas just yet because we are not that organized and disciplined yet, but we do have thousands of Black Friday Newspaper Fliers all of the place! A quick glance at the Internet and we see everyone out there offering the deals of the century for us to buy buy buy......
    Please! Not today, Not Yet.....Today, I am eating Turkey!

    Our family has always had its traditions much like Christmas. We have the certain meals, desserts and snacks.....and FOOTBALL. lol, yes of course. We grocery shop like crazy finding the certain ingredients, we cook massive amounts of food, then we eat eat and continue to eat, maybe play a bit of football out in the yard (try not to lose our meal...I  am not talking exercise-lose either), watch the game on TV and of course fall asleep on the sofa.

    This year has some differences as our small family grows up and the kids begin to move away.  Some of them cannot jump on a plane for a quick two day trip.  That just doesn't make sense. Sad, but understandable. Two of the boys are living in the midwest and were able to get together this week. Them and our new daughter-in-law will visit Grandma today which I am sure will excite her to no end. They will need to help with the cooking and preparing the meal, Grandma just cannot do it anymore. But that's okay, they will probably find out from her all those "rules" we started and how they are different.....you know the rules that some how got a bit twisted as we began to adopt them for our family. Our traditions change a bit because we didn't have that certain bowl, or the mixer, or the space or the time or whatever.....we adopt and evolve the traditions we have grown up with to own them.  That is what is great about starting a family. Making them your own!

    Here is one thing that I am thankful this year.....the invention of SKYPE.....Yes! (I think I should get some sort of financial reward for the plug.) Last night we had the whole family together....sort of. All of us here and all of them there......1200 miles away.....and we were all chatting together on the laptop and sharing all the silliness including the puppies. They were making the beginnings of cranberry salad for the first time on there own.  (No don't ask for the recipe....it is locked in the vault at Fort Knox....right next to the gold bullion.) There we were in our kitchen in Virginia and they were in their kitchen in Oklahoma....both of us grinding cranberries for the salad.  What a crazy world we live in.....it was great.  I will settle for that this year. Those things will never change no matter how the world evolves us with technology. We will always be family - no matter the distance.

    For me.....Online shopping, forget the getting up at ridiculous hours. For me....making the snack mix (and sending some in the mail as well as sending some home with a few.....weight watcher points!). For me....we will be watching football (no matter who is playing on TV). For me.....we wont be playing football in the yard, but will most likely need to do a few laps around the neighborhood. For me....It is Turkey Day and I am thankful that I have been blessed with such a great family.

    Have a fantastic Thanksgiving my friends......
    Gobble Gobble Gobble!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    5 pounds of work stuffed in a 3 pound week

    This time of year seems to always get a bit crazy.  As the holiday approach more and more tasks appear on the "to-do-list".  Here is the beginning of mine:
    1. You have to get all the grocery shopping done so you can plan and prepare the massive family meal that will stuff us full and make us all fall asleep on the sofa watching football.
    2. You will need to begin the holiday decorations by first digging out of the attic the mountain of boxes that have been stuff in there since last year. (except for those few items that were mistakenly left out that set out on the coffee table all year long because you couldn't get enough energy together to venture to the attic just yet)
    3. Begin the Christmas shopping list (only if you are organized) oh yes, we need to get this and that and oh yeah maybe this too.....where is the best price, who has the most selections and Heavens to Betsy do we even dare venture out on BLACK FRIDAY? Talk about a potential wasted day standing in line.
    4. Start the Christmas card design.  Our family has always designed our own cards for the holidays and of course I am a crazy man when it comes to over doing something.  Christmas cards are no exception.....maybe this year we actually try to organize that list that is pasted together and crammed in a box from last year.  Imagine, actually getting them out in the mail before Christmas.
    5. (Note to self about item #2 above: we need more decorations or new colors or just something else.....go to Home Depot and buy some more.....oh yeah and buy some more storage bins while you are at it.)
    6. Don't forget about work too. Remember! That thing you do all year round that pays for all of this stuff.....Guess what? The boss just said we cannot miss the deadline on the project this week and since there are only three days and you don't really want to come in on Black Friday......you got it....early to work and late to leave.
    7. (Note to self about Item #1 above: Plan for moderation....oops.....plan for exercise to work off all those calories and don't forget to ACCURATELY plug in your weight watcher points in to the counter......No cheating!)
    8. Plan for travel time to see all the family members back home.....scratch that....work on Item #6 more and pay for them to come see you to make better use of your time.....scratch that......just send pictures in the the cards made during Item #4.
    9. Begin shopping for all of those items planned out in Item #3......(wont happen) you know what does happen is that at 10:30 on December 24th you realize that you don't have even number of presents for all of the kids.....not enough stuff to stuff the stockings....immediately run out on the lawn (with such a clatter) and climb into the car rushing off to the Walmart to equalize the pile that remains unwrapped on and under the bed.....by the way pick up some more tape....we forgot that earlier too...duct tape isn't so fashionable.
    10. Plan, Prepare and Perform........yeah right! January 1st 7:30PM.  Begin the dismantling, cleaning, packing, piling, boxing, returning and ......better yet....go back to the office and leave it to the wife to figure out.
    Have a happy holidays my friends!

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Weight or Wait?

    Okay, this might be a heavy subject for some of you....sorry, cant help but throwing in those "Bad Dad Jokes". This last week I went to Weight Watchers and was an additional 5 pounds less...YEAH! No laughing....it works! A total of twelve pounds in about 8 weeks.  It seems like it is taking forever.  I cant really do the running like I used to.....Reason (1) too heavy, hurts feet, Reason (2) need new running shoes, Reason (3) cannot get myself to get up that early. So most of this is just watching what I eat. that and portions. well of course I cheat on he counting points sometimes....or forget that I ate 2 cookies not one.

    I can remember when I used to drop pounds each week. Of course that was back in the high school days.  Now it takes forever and I just have to Wait and take it slow. My weight watchers goal is 206. That is the lowest I will have been in a long time.  Not sure I was that light when I ran the half marathon. I don't plan on stopping there.  I want to be 199......that would be awesome. The next 10 pounds will be tough due to the holidays, but I know it will be well worth the suffering.....ha. suffering by not eating all those sweets. 

    Here is the biggest goal.....Bring my blood sugar down consistently. I cannot control it as well when I am heavy.  The insulin and other meds keep the weight on and make it difficult to watch your weight.  If I can get down, that will be awesome.  I go back to the doctor the first week of December to see the results of this weight loss and dieting.  Another thing I would like to do is start running again.  It was sort of fun......kind of a challenge for me.  I felt like Forrest! Just started running and didn't stop.

    That my friends IS worth the WEIGHT!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Abundance

    There are many ways to look at the effects of the word abundance most of them are good. Typically an abundance of food is a great thing, just means that we will not go hungry. An abundance of work is nice, again, we wont go hungry. Enough to keep us busy for a good while. A deluge of work however sounds like we would just be drowning. An abundance of any item probably means that our habit of collecting has just gone from hobby to insanity. If we have to build a museum to hold all of it....maybe not so good......unless of course someone will actually pay to go see your abundance of things. (besides your family)

    I am not much of the spiritual writer, (I leave that to my wife) but the abundance I am talking about here is the kind described in the Bible. "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things in all times, having all that you need". 2 Cor 9:8 To have an abundance of blessing just sounds so ......comforting. It is like having His arms wrapped around us and we needn't worry. All will be taken care of. Do note that the scripture uses the word NEED not WANT. An abundance of vehicles or money isn't exactly a need. Even so he will give before we even know or ask. Another scripture in Ephesians says, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Eph 3:20. I could write a whole sermon on that single verse, but what I want to share is that we must first understand that the power needs to be IN us, then it will work great things....to glorify Him. Not us.

    God is very good. I feel very blessed and really don't know why he has chosen me.  I stumble often. My book is probably filled with more Oh No's than Oh Yeah's. But I do love the Lord, an I keep getting up everyday praying for forgiveness from the past and praying for guidance for the future. I pray that he blesses me abundantly, not for me, but for all many more things I can do for others. And each time I pray for these things, I pray for the ability to be a good steward.

    Make me a servant. Rejoice my friends!

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Birthday Bash

    The heat is being generated already by all those candles. Can't believe that 45 years has already come here so fast.  It only seemed like a few weeks ago I was playing in the front yard in my space man suit, or playing Little League out at Tuxedo Ball Park.  Only a few days ago I was playing football in high school....no superstar but still had fun. It was yesterday that I did that all-nighter in college and had our first child. Yesterday, I was coaching the boys on the football field or my sweet little girl (terrorist) in softball, basketball etc.  Yep time has certainly flown by.  Not sure where it went.  We all say that though don't we.  What did we do with the time that we always say that? Pretty silly.

    Well I feel fortunate that I have all those memories and Alzheimer's hasn't taken that away yet...lol. Seriously, I feel that I have had a wonderful life thus far.  I cant really complain. I have had an opportunity to grow up working in my father's business and helping out.  I have had an excellent college education at Oklahoma State.  I had the wonderful blessing of winning the William Caudill Fellowship and traveling all over the world studying architecture....not by myself but with my wife and two young sons. since then I have had the most excellent adventure of starting my own business......I say adventure because with adventure comes adverse weather conditions.....stormy weather patterns have certainly been part of that experience but right now bright sunshiny days seem to be in our forecast.

    God has been so good to me and my family.  I cannot really complain. Sure, that house I played out in front of as a child is about dilapidated.  But was a great home to be raised in. I miss my dad. Yep, my knees and back are certainly still there...I feel them every morning when I get up from those days of ball. I still have that education.  They can't ever take that away from me. And I have those fantastic  kids that used to drive me crazy and I probably scared to death as a mean old grumpy stressed-out dad.....Sorry kids.  I do love you. Blessed is this day and every day that I arise with the Lord by my side.

    Yes George Bailey, This is a WONDERFUL LIFE!
    Enjoy the day my friends.....I certainly will.
    Life is THIS big!

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    The Social Network

    My wife and I went to the movies last night to watch all about this FACEBOOK thing that has invaded our lives.  It was a great story that helped us fill in the pieces of history that had passed us by. After all, anything that began in 2002 really slipped right through the cracks of our life expereience. We have just had to play catch-up.

    Pretty amazing how some people can clearly think and see in numbers, formulas and algorithms. I guess maybe it is how I have the ability to visualize something before i draw it. It just formulates in my mind.....guess that is why some of us are considered delirious or delusional or just plain demonstrative.  I guess it is from the perceiver's perception. Regardless, I would love to meet Mark Zuckerberg with just the opportunity to discuss how he thinks.  At old age all things become more of an analysis rather than an action.  How does it work? While you are young....you just take it and do it.  WHO cares about figuring it out.

    Our world has changed so much in such a short time. I was there for the first video games and now we are living in a world that evolves around "video games".  Our architecture is now designed not in paper but in a three dimensional world.  One where we can places ourselves inside and walk among the pixels of what is yet to become.  Some of the old world charm is now lost, but we consider the new age an art form in itself.

    Back to FACEBOOK.....such an amazing tool an with such potential for meeting new people, finding lost people and keeping in touch with those that may live right around the corner.  Somewhat a busybody mentality.  But one that boasts your eagerness to share with others what you are doing.  Like anyone really cares? Maybe. I think the business opportunities are there as well by reaching those who have embraced the technology and realize how we are all going to be connected by this cyberspace......or left behind.

    See you in the future my friends! FRIEND ME!

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Time Machine

    Have you noticed how quickly time seems to pass you by once you get older.  When you were young it took forever for something to happen.  If you were waiting for a surprise.....forever you would wait...impatiently I might add. If you had to wait in a waiting room or were delayed for something it seemed agonizing.  Now those moments are quite peaceful relaxation periods...lol.

    Seriously, what happened to our sense of time once we got older......it all went in fast forward! It was only a few years ago I was in college....getting married. And now it has all flashed by.  22 years of marriage in a blink of an eye.  Kids getting married, not just in college but graduating college. Our business that we struggled to open began 11 years ago.....oh yeah, still struggling.  Go figure!

    I have often wanted a TIVO machine for life.  Something that necessarily allowed be to go back in time but at least allowed me to review it.....did I miss something? What did she say? Let me see it again please? I love the remote control that allows me to flip through the commercials on all of the recorded shows or even to be able to rewatch the Superbowl commercials. Now that is useful! Did you see that catch! rewind and lets see that again.  What did they say? I couldn't understand them......that is just probably old age cannot hear.

    I often will be driving in the car and have the radio on and the DJ will say something and I reach for a button that can rewind and repeat what they said or replay a great song.....oops no button.  What is really bad is I will be sitting in the living room and my wife or one of the kids will say something and wont hear them....I try to rewind them!  What!  That is crazy......I cannot believe I think that.  If I don't watch out I will be like Click with Adam Sandler......of course a funny movie about an architect to boot.

    Well in a few days I will be 45, I anticipate more weddings soon another Christmas will have come and gone.  I think, both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year will be the first without everyone around.  That is what happens in life, as you get older, you and your wife get the opportunity to spend more time alone together.  Just like in the beginning......still that is a bit lonely.

    That my friends will be another blog post entirely.  Stay safe!

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    It's So Spooky Out There.....

    Halloween isn't quite the same it used to be for me.  I grew up pretty much loving the idea of going around the neighborhood as a kid to gather all sorts of goodies.  I would gather up as much as possible and after a long tiring haul, I would bring back the sacred booty and spread it all out across the dinning room table.....my dad would swipe some of the good pieces! Believe it or not even back then I would categorize the candy by type, size and favorites.....what a goof!

    once my wife and I got together and we first had our children, we slowed down on any of this activity.  One reason was we lived in the country. In order to get a just a pocket full of candy you would have to hike several miles. It always seemed to be raining or really cold in Pennsylvania AKA Transylvania on that night so it became a hassle.  The original IONIC 6 came out of that time when I created our two oldest son's costumes from their request of merging: Power Rangers, dinosaurs, robots and superheros all together.......ah...okay. So there it was.

    Later we planned events (living out in the country) to do hayrides for the church youth and offer them an alternative. We called it neewollah, (Halloween spelled backwards) instead of all the evil inspiration it was reversed and meant to be positive. Candy hunts, bobbing for apples, costume outfits that were inspired from the Bible.  It was good fun.

    Once we moved here to Virginia Beach, all was put aside and we decided to avoid the holiday all together.  We bought bags of candy and ate them all ourselves, locked the front door, turned out all the lights and watched a GOOD movie while all the ghosts and goblins ran amok in our neighborhoods.

    Today....our youngest is 16.  We probably wont even go buy any candy. (Too any weight watchers points!) 4 Tootsie rolls equal one point but a small miniature Baby Ruth or Snickers are two points each.  That adds up! Yes times have changed.  I don't argue much with people about what they want to do, we just stay away from it still.  However I will tell you that I do have something a bit "dark" on my bucket list......I want to visit Transylvania for real.....Yep, right in the heart of Romania.....That will scare the pants off of me if I ever get to go.  I am so weird!

    With that.....stay safe my friends!

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Rocky Mountain High

    How time flys! Do you feel that you just looked down a few minutes ago and saw your child pulling on your pants leg asking for something.  And then the next moment they are getting married.  Where did all the time go in between.  It just flew past us in a blur.  I want it all back, where is the Real Life Tivo so I can replay every moment! I am feeling a bit old lately.....a bit grey. Not on my head. We know that wont happen, but in my goatee.

    We are in Colorado this crisp October morning for my son's wedding.  He met a lovely (equally addicted sports fanatic) in college and they have been best friends for the last three years.  Something his mother and I always told our children.  Find your best friend! He has.  We are so excited that he has taken this huge step (even though it is a young age of 21) and is allowing us into their lives.  I was married first at almost 20, so I cannot complain.  The key is finding someone he can spend his life with.  They are so amazingly similar.

    I remember when he first came home for a thanksgiving break from college and we always head out to the tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.  He was on the phone at the early morning hour of 7:00 which was 5:00 here in Colorado.  Pretty early! He said it was just his friend from school.  Mom said right then it couldn't be just a friend.....It was more.  Well mom is always right! And here we are three years later waiting for the the other groomsmen to fly in.
    The time has past quickly, and I have always hated the song "Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon" becasue it haunts me that I may not have spent enough time with my kids.  At work too much, going here or there, never getting the opportunity to have those special talks because there wasn't enough time.  I will always doubt myslef.....that's what I do.

    Well it will be a happy moment and a sad one.  Happy for our son to move on in life with his help mate. Happy that they will be starting their own family, their own traditions, their own memories. Sad because it means a change in our lives.....It will never be the same. Our traditions will be be mostly memories now. I know that he will always be my little boy. Regardless, I couldn't be more proud of them......Yep.......Rocky Mountain High!

    This weekend will be full of memories. Stay tuned. Talk to you soon my friends!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    In the race

    Yesterday we ran in the Breast Cancer race, Race for the Cure, down at the beach.  It was a bit cold...no problem.  A bit windy...no problem. However we parked at 9th street and the race began at 31st Street....oops. So walked all the way there to start.  Also this was the first that I had done since the half marathon in Dsiney 2 and a half years ago.....Ouch. I shouldnt have ever stopped the running. Thought I could take a break but never meant that break to last 3 years.  Gained too much weight, to hard to run with an extra 30 pounds.

    Anyway it felt good to push myself.  I wasnt expecting to break any records.  I didnt even train for this.  Just did it.  Of course this morning I am a bit sore.  But I am a beleiver in the moto, "No Pain, No Gain". for whatever that is worth.  Mostly my stupidity.  But anyway, it felt good.

    Being a diebetic, it is hard to control your weight.  I have just started back on weight watchers and have so far lost just over 5 pounds in 3 weeks. soso good. I hate going slow. The running helps a great deal in keeping my weight down.  I am looking to drop another 20-25 pounds and would be under 200 for the first time in.......cant remember.  It wont be easy but I like challenges.....problem is I like pizza too.....and burgers, and beer and cake and well you get the idea.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

    Stay healthy my friends

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Parenting - the never-ending task/reward

    There are so many books on parenting and so much advice on how to do it and how to communicate and how to, how to, how to etc.  truth comes when you are actually a parent and you are actually parenting.  Books may give advice but it is all spontaneous efforts at that particular time in your life and your children's lives. Each child is different.  Each situation is different. 

    We have always joked about kids do not come with an instruction manual. Every manual would have to be different.  Parenting can only be effective when you know your child as well as you know yourself. When you can trust your child as well as you can trust yourself.  That takes a lot of effort.  Weekend parenting wont cut it. Just spending time in the evening wont cut it.  You truly have to become best friends all of their lives.  Just just a parent. This isn't always popular to the younger child.  Only becomes a real aspect of the relationship when they call you from Colorado and their car is broke down with a bad transmission asking you advice as to cars and debt.  Then you have come to a point in that relationship where they actually accept your years of experience and your own hard knocks in life. Doesn't mean they will take your advice, but at least they asked for it.

    The Bible tells us to raise up the child in the ways of the Lord and they will always return to it.  With children in the early 20's and a few older teenagers, we are still seeing that materialize.  It makes you feel good to be asked the questions of life.  It makes you feel good to be there when their little hearts are broken.  It makes you feel good when you go to their work late at night to give them a piece of birthday cake because they didn't have time to come over. However it doesn't mean that we, as parents, don't hurt when our little babies hurt.  Doesn't mean that we don't want to say, "I told you so." or "I thought I taught you better than that." we don't though.  We bite our tongue and hold our breath and wipe away the tears just like we did when they were little and fell down and skinned their knee.

    It hurts often to be a parent. But it also is the most absolute best thing in the world at the same time. Every moment spent was never long enough, but never wasted.  Memories are hard to sift through but are precious to recount.  I love being a daddy. Have a good day my friends.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Positive Attitude

    It isn't always easy staying positive with all the STUFF going on around us.  But it is so much more enjoyable if we can.  My wife and I just watched a video called "The Secret" that was filled with positive ideas.  The main idea was that if you think about positive thoughts, that those positive thoughts will generate positive reactions.  Same with negative.  Even if you think about not having debt, you have already wasted some energy on that "debt".  Money is one thing but I believe that there is so much more we can gain by having a positive spirit.  Health, Happiness and Success.  You name the success.  I enjoy the results of my work and how happy our clients are.  In return we get rewarded for that effort we put in.

    Read on Sunday in Isaiah about positive results.  Actually it was one saying that they would not approach again with sorrow in their heart because it would bring sorrow.  How true! Bring joy....create Joy.  Have a great day my friends.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Rainy Morning

    One of the great things i enjoy these days is the time i get to spend with my wife drinking coffee and reading the news on the internet first thing in the morning while still in bed. Oh sometimes we make it out to the patio but I would always have to get dressed for that.....I know , I know..TMI....(Too much Information). Everything just seems so peaceful and calm. No real noise from outside. No kids anymore at the house so it is just us enjoying the funny news we read on the laptop.



    First let me share with you about coffee.  You see I never did drink coffee except on rare occasions.  My wife said I never really grew up.  But now I enjoy a cup or two in the morning.  I don't need anything fancy, just black coffee.  A few times if I am out at places such as Starbucks, I will order something fancy but that is rare. My wife and I started a new collection.  Wherever we go on trips we pick up a new coffee mug.  This morning I am drinking out of our Vegas cup.....BIG cup with 50's models on the side and the familiar Vegas sign.  Recently I received a mug from her trip back to Oklahoma at Eskimo Joe's. A shirt and a mug....Perfect.


    Now the news, We both sit here reading our lap tops and finding our favorite site to read our favorite stories.  Sometimes it is funny news, sometimes sports recap because I couldn't stay awake the night before and sometimes it is sad news.  Weather, Politics, Events in our area whatever.  No real agenda but I can say most of the time the first thing I open is the Facebook page. I like saying hello to friends and seeing what everyone is up to.  A bit of a noisy snoop I guess.  But hey, they posted it!

    Then there are times when I find myself compelled to write in my blog, like this morning.  Not really anything important just some ramblings on about what happens to be on my mind at the moment. No business (if possible).  Just a thought.  Something that I believe.  Have a good day my friends.

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Age...It moves quickly

    In the beginning.....wow that seems like so long ago.....no not THE BEGINNING, but my beginning. Coming up on 45 years.  Tuesday Dexter is 24.  Gideon is getting married. Where has the time gone? Each day is a new beginning and it starts all over with every sunrise. That is a great thing.  It means what ever we screwed up yesterday we can forget about it and start fresh this morning.  Regaina and I have been waking up right at 6 just before the sun is even up.  As a matter of fact she is out walking right now.  Something I should be doing but officially I am not awake yet!

    Each morning is an exciting adventure these days but still it takes a bit to get moving towards the day.  Often I feel like I could just sit here in bed and contemplate life.  It is nice to relax for a change. Relax doesn't come often.  Always something to do.  I make it my mission, self imposed as it may be, to fill every void in my calendar with stuff......some thing must fit inside each minute. If there is a down time usually it is staring at the boob tube or maybe even browsing on the internet.  But I am sure there are things I could be doing in the yard, to the house, at work etc etc etc.

    The movement starts slow as I can feel the pain in each joint as they all start to wake up.  The back creeks and I need to twist it into a pretzel....but wait a minute the back will snap...be careful.  Fingers are all stiff, neck is achy. Oh and yes lets wait for the head to start pounding as well. The most painful one.  I used to remember a time when my mind was over my matter.  Whats the matter now! i could concentrate and focus on any part of my body to overcome the pain from what ever I had done.  I truly think that is how I survived the football and power lifting days.  Just to concentrate.

    Well some times trying to concentrate is just too much to deal with.  Sometimes it is better to just BE. no thinking about what tasks are ahead of me this day, no worries about how much work still needs to get accomplished. Not even the slightest care of what bills need paid.  Just BE! Time is short, Life is shorter.  We need to BE all we can BE while we can.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    BUSY!

    I just think that I am so busy I cant see anything beyond this day.  Guess that is what the Bible says. Being busy is much better than busy worried that their isn't anything.  We have been getting calls right and left with work and running like a mad man to finish and keep all the clients happy.  That is the good part......Bad part is the worries that we can keep up this pace for very long and what if something slips through the gap.....Quality!  I should hire someone to assist but I like the fact that we are working towards getting further and further out of debt.  Some money to spare....some more equipment, software, computers etc......Even getting our pay checks again....to pay our own bills.

    I am interviewing but that this point I really need to put it in the Lord's hands and let him make the decision.  I cannot see clearly right now.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Anniversary of 9-11

    This morning is the anniversary of our nation's tragic event.  I didn't know anyone that was directly affected but indirectly i believe we all were affected.  In some way all of our life's changed that very morning.  It is a pretty vivid image in my mind.  I had recently started a new business and was working out of the home at that time. The television was turned off because I wouldn't get any work don't if that was the case.  I cant remember who called but someone told me to turn on the news. I watched the events of that day unfold before my very eyes as so many people did that day.  I couldn't reach my wife on her cell phone as she was teaching flute at school and didn't pick up after numerous attempts. My young daughter was home with me that day and remembered that I must have been mad as I was yelling at the television. I was so upset she recounts.  I wasn't angry at that moment, just scared as I though about what could happen to the structures as they stood there ablaze. As an architect I had an idea that the temperature of the airline fuel on fire would be so hot that it would melt the structural steel and cause further chaos. I only thought the top of the buildings would topple over, never collapse on themselves.  I was yelling at the television to tell the people to get out of there quick, run away.....don't go in.  All of that didn't do any good from my sofa in Virginia Beach. Moments later it became worse. The day unfolded in horror.  Couldn't believe that we could be attacked on our own homeland.  This country has some pretty profound history of war and of battles that have taken place on our lands. From the British invasion to the bombing of Peril Harbor.  But this day, this infamous day, will never leave my memory.  I believe I will always remember that feeling of being scared, nervous, angry, worried but yet so helpless, because I could be there to help anyone.

    Our nation has made a lot of mistakes along the way.  But the one thing I can say no matter what......I am proud to be an American.  Always!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmOMMv5pBdU&feature=related

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Sunday Morning

    Sitting out on the patio Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and some fresh cut roses on the table from our garden is so wonderful.....a bit cool is morning so I put on a sweat shirt.  Last night OSU beat the pants off of Washington State sixty something to 17....very nice. I went to bed at 50 to 10.  Next week the steelers start their season.  Got to make football my own thing.....no boys to help.

    Today we need to do a little more work in the yard....some trimming and some back yard hefty work, but the front is mostly done with the exception of some weeding and some hedge clipping.

    I believe that this type of peace is needed to keep calm in your life.  Without a bit of down time and quiet within yourself, you never have the chance to recharge.  Oh believe me, it isn't easy when you are young with kids.  Regaina and I had to really work at it to find our "time" together.  As we get older we can make some time but still very busy.  These mornings are something that I will never forget nor never wish that they will ever end.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Holiday Weekend

    Well Labor Day weekend is finally here and that means the summer season is gone...So fast. We prepare for the football season but this year it will be a lone spectator sport.  No other football fans to watch it with.  Gaina and April are not really all that big of fans.  They would prefer to do something else when the opportunity avails.  Hasn't been that way for 15 years since the boys first got excited in football when they played flag football at Courthouse Rec. 

    Oh well the cycles of life.  I am really feeling it now.  There was a time so many years ago when I didn't have a house full of kids......23 years ago or so....lol. April is the last one and she spends more time away than here. It is all a bit sad, a bit lonely.  I miss all the activity and the uproar.  Even the laughter and chaos.  Don't know how to deal with peace and quiet.

    Slowly getting back into the garden thing.  Hoping this weekend I can spend some time straightening the flowers and yard to make it nice.  Takes a lot of time and I haven't given it the time I should have this year. Maybe a bit depressed through all these changes. Now that the weather has cooled a bit from the sweltering heat, we can enjoy the back yard more.  Maybe even spend the evenings out in the backyard.....hey we can cuddle under a cover and watch a movie on the internet on the laptop.....that could be fun....Going to try to do new romantic things with Gaina as this new lifestyle approaches.  I have a huge bucket list and I want to start planning for it now.....mark things off the list and add to it with all the things local and far away....maybe I will talk about the bucket next time.

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Tired

    First of all, I am writing this blog mostly for myself.  It isn't really meant for all consumption.  Anybody who reads it that is fine, but I am not making it an EVENT. So many time we feel our lives must be so important that we need to advertise what we are doing at every moment on site such as Twitter.  How bold of us to think that our lives are so important we all wanted to hear about what you ate for breakfast.  This world is pretty full of itself. So if you stumbled along and found this blog, just know that it is a great place to keep a history of my thoughts. Enjoy......or Hate.

    I am also tired of the news we are forced to watch on television and listen to on the radio.  First "Talk Radio" is such a waste. I really just care to listen to music, not hear you blab.  By the way, what makes you so important and profound that put you in this all might position.  Qualifications: Big Mouth. No experience necessary! Television, please give me some Good news also.  I am tired of all the bad stuff.  Give me a little hope to go out and have a nice dinner (not my last one) and spend a little money (not my last dollar cause the economy is tanking) and take a drive (not having to hear about BP one more commercial worth). Just it will be nice today and enjoy! okay maybe too much.

    Tired of people wanting so much, tired of kids demanding so much, tired of having so little, tired of my cars being so crappy, tired of the air conditioner not working, tired of the weedeater not spitting out line and getting jambed up all the time, tired of the tasks around the house, tired of not having enough time to do the things I enjoy within the constraints of a 24 hour day, tired of the lack of money, tired of being overweight, tired of all the medicine I take, tired of diabetes, tired of clients who do not pay, tired of waiting on the new movies to come out, tired of not being able to take a vacation, tired of listening to everyone's grips.

    What I am not tired of......waiting for the next day to see what the Lord will bring.  It is all good and i shouldn't complain.

    Have a great day peoples!
    ET

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Last weekend in August

    Not a bad close to the last full business week of August.  We got a contract for the additiona and renovation of a small church in Virginia Beach, received the contract for a new office building near town center in VABCH and a great response to our model for a conceptual design of a condo development.  Actually asked to do a bit more work on the conceptual single family units.  Oh yeah and dont forget that 1st Bay is continuning to move along and we will submitting for rezoing in two weeks.  A new client for small residential work.....Man we are busy. That is good.  Trying to get it all done may make me crazy but that is okay.

    Saturday I was able to cut down most of the forest growing in my backyard.  I am going to try and work on the front edging and pruning all the flowers to make them nice again.  I really need to fix the gate too.  Really need to clear out the bedroom.....so much to do, so little time or money.  That is the same old story though.  Nothing new. 

    Trying to continue to walk and keep my Blood sugar under contol.  It was better this last time I went to the doctor but I need to do better.  Loosing about 35 pounds would greatly help.  I would love to run again. Little by Little.  Really want to loose a few pounds before Gideon and Melinda wedding.  I want to look healthy and not tired.

    Thats all for this time, will keep you posted more as I get better at this.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    In the Beginning....

    Well, I started a new blog here to plug in a bunch of stuff that seems to clog up my head all the time.  Maybe I can get it out and have a few less headaches.  I will make an attempt to blog on a regular basis.....if not for others, for myself.