Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Irene on 8/25/2011 headed our way
OK, here it comes, Hurricane Irene. Yep it is right on track to hit us straight on here in Virginia Beach. We have been preparing for this for the last week, buying groceries, getting gas, filling up water jugs, stock piling on food, putting all the lawn projectiles furniture away. It gets just a bit crazy when a hurricane comes upon us as we have just a bit too much time to prepare.

You see, I grew up in Oklahoma, you know the land of tornadoes....."Hey, look up in the sky (no! its not Superman) it's a twister...JUMP IN THE DITCH."  5 minutes warning and then its over 5 minutes later.  The sky is beautiful and peaceful after a tornado....perfect weather to clean up the mass of debris that is left in its wake.  Hurricanes give too much warning!

So today I had planned on a few things to do around the house BUT......Cannot mow the yard, cannot weed the gardens, cannot edge the lawn, cannot cut the hedges, cannot paint the house, sorry Mavrick...cannot walk the dog....good luck going potty in the category 2 - 100 mile an hour wind and rain! Ok so truthfully I might get only one or two of those things done.....if I'm lucky! or unlucky depends on one's perception)

We do know what will happen within few hours....NO POWER!
(you won’t believe this but just now in the middle of writing this blog post the power went out here at the house…the very second I wrote no power!) so that means no television, no computer, no lights, no waffles this morning!!!!! Ahhhh should have woke up 15 min earlier! At least I got my coffee. Oh yeah, we can read in a book….no lights and the storm makes it dark outside….Oh yeah, we can play board games….really?!....Oh yeah, I made the stupid comment that I wasn’t going to move the big heavy patio grill inside the garage and if the power went out I would go out and cook in the rain!!!! Little did I know it would go out in the first few hours of the storm…AHHHHH.

Okay, get out the candles, get the flashlights ready to use, get the buckets of water for the toilet….ahhh I forgot to take my shower last night so I could shave…after all I need to be clean and smart looking when the rescue teams come for us while we are on the roof top surrounded by flood waters! I bet I am going to look like Tom Hanks in Castaway when they rescue him off of the deserted island. He did clean up pretty good afterwards.

Speaking of cleaning up…..guess what we will get to do once this storm has passed? Yep, pick up all the down branches, cut all the broken limbs, pick up all the debris left in the yard from the neighbor’s house that flew off, go look around the neighborhood for all of the stuff that flew off of our house, reinstall/replace the vinyl siding that was ripped down, put all the patio furniture back out in the yard.  Labor Day weekend in next week….guess I will still be laboring thru that holiday!

Just relax…..stay calm….everything should be fine. We still have plenty of Poptarts and Vienna sausages. Consider the candles romantic. Consider the power outages as a way to get back to nature.  Consider this a forced vacation, an opportunity to have a little peace and quiet as well as a much needed rest. Consider ourselves lucky!

Seriously my friends….stay safe. Count everything a blessing.  You never know how much you have until you don’t have it anymore.  My prayers go out to all those who are being hit much worse than we are.  May God Bless.

Power went out in the middle of writing this blog and then came back on for a few minutes with enough time to post this.  This will be a record of our existence should anyone find us trapped inside of our boarded up dwelling and huddled around a neverending monopoly board eating cold vienna sausages from a can and singing church songs.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Purple Rose of Cairo

One of my favorite Woody Allen films due to it's surrealistic experience the main character Cecilia has at the movie house in New Jersey during the great depression. She loves the movies and escapes from the depressing real world life into the fantasy film world almost every afternoon. After her husband abuses her and her boss fires her from her job, she returns to the movie house to watch The Purple Rose of Cairo all afternoon.....until finally one of the characters begins to speak directly to Cecilia out in the audience. He leaves the films, walks up to Cecilia and encourages her to run away leaving the rest of the film characters stuck in limbo until he returns.

A complete fantasy that really hits home with me.  You see I love movies, I really enjoy relaxing after a long day and just unwinding in front of the television. It can be Sci-Fi, Action, Drama, Superhero (my favorite), even a good scary movie sometimes is fun.  The thing is that I enjoy the escape. I enjoy running way (in my head anyway) from all the surrounding realities in my world.  Just like Cecilia, it was her way of getting some peace from the life she struggled through.  She had it tough. The work environment of waitressing.....not promising during the depression. Not many tips but she could be thankful for it while so many didn't have work. Her husband, out of work and a bum. He would take her hard earned money and gamble it away on cards or pitching pennies. If he didn't loose it that way, he would drink it away.  Cecilia's last straw was when she came home and found another woman in the house. She was ready to run away with the fictional character from the film.

Trouble was, the character Tom Baxter didn't know anything about the real world and wouldn't be able to survive.  His money was fake, he only had one set of clothes, he only existed as what his character was created as. He was pure and wholesome....just not real.  The actor that played Tom Baxter was Gil Shepherd and needed the film counterpart to get back in the film to save his career.  After all, he couldn't have his clone running about town loose.

I guess the whole movie has an inspiring reaction from me with the fantasy of something fictional coming to life. A lot like my superhero blog recently. What a wild imagination.....especially in times that are really pressing. Like these days. Maybe not as much as it was a few years ago but still the world seems less than friendly. The surrounding environment is not a pleasurable one but rather a hostel one.  One that demands so much of us that we cannot exist within its boundaries. We require escape.

There are days that I wish I could run away.....if only my entire belongings would fit inside a single suitcase. That would be sad, but liberating. If there were the moral responsibilities of honoring those responsibilities. The struggle with being a perfectionist is that everything feels like a responsibility, feels like my responsibility, my need to complete to the best of my ability all the tasks that lie in front of me. But really what is so bad? What is so bad that you have to run away? Blessings abound it just isn't always easy to see them. We have been given so much to be thankful for. Sometimes we need to look at all the good things we have in comparison to bad. I am sure it will be very one sided......for the good.

In the end, Cecilia didn't get the fictional character and disappear into the film, she didn't get the actor....he was more concerned with his career.....she was the movies. We should think about the real world and be satisfied with what we isn't always that bad! We could be stuck in a film!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Day...Where Did it Go?

Amazing, isn't it? How another day jumps right in to action so quickly after the last.  I remember when there was a time early in my life that a day would last forever.....weeks would last for an eternity.....and the month of August...well, it just never ended. Now each week flies by.....And I mean flies....really flies.  Yesterday was March! It seems that the older I get the more I try to be organized and set up "bench-marks" or deadlines or goals....something that helps me plan out the week and get organized in some sort of manner.  I am King of Lists. Make a list, check it twice, revise a list, add to it, expand it.....recreate the get the idea. And I do them all by hand, no computer just doesn't have the same feeling.

Maybe all of these lists that have been created are linked to the calendar. The calendar marks each task deadline to complete and with each completion of each task the line on the calendar moves right on as well.  The quicker I complete the tasks....the quicker the calendar moves too. I don't know....maybe.  All I know right now is this coming November I will be 46. was only the other day I was 26.....okay maybe I should use 36.....anyway, it is gone. Yeah, I know the new list is the "Bucket List"! I am not so eager to finish that one but it does have 50 items on it, so maybe another 50 years. We can only be so hopeful!

There are several things that I have noticed has changed as time is flying by:

1. My children going older and coming into their own.  Yes I should be happy and proud of this, but often times I feel very lonely around this house that was always so crowded.  The screaming for so-in-so to get out of the bathroom....they couldn't WAIT any longer. I miss it. It makes me sad.  My wife says get ready for the grandkids.....yeah, but that isn't the same. I enjoyed the massive "Christmas Lists" I always kept secret on my cell phone.
2. I like more and more to just be quiet.  It has always been hard for me to sit still.  I always had to get up and do something.  Mind you I wasn't a over-achiever on the "To-Do List" (my wife wrote that one) but I always wanted to get up and do something, go somewhere, get something, see someone...whatever.  Now, lets just sit and do nothing.  That is nice.  The best planned vacation....go somewhere and do nothing.
3., let me just say I must be falling apart. I used to take vitamins all the time...more than you could name.....Now, so so many meds to keep me many, yes, I have to make a list! "The Med List", in my phone! This gets real old and to set my watch to take a certain med at a certain time.....blah.
4. Not as much energy in the tank anymore.  I have noticed that I cannot do much of anything anymore without having to sit down.  Well first of all I would rather do item #2 above than mow the lawn. (my list of doing nothing vs my wife's list of to-dos). Fixing something around the house and before long I am sweating and just plain tuckered out. I need to get in shape.....I know what I will do....I will create an "Exercise List" with work outs set to a timeline for a deadline to run another half marathon....(already did it...hasnt worked)....alas, if only making a list would burn some calories.
5. Right along with Item #4 is the fact that I am fat.....cannot get the weight off very easily because of Item #3, don't have any energy from Item #4 and quite honestly enjoy Item #2 too much! Have a belly, have some flab, bone white skin, bald head....hey I am old too! Oh well.....that would be something nice to change....for the better and not let time and gravity take its effect.
6. Patience....never had it and often times caused internal explosions which resulted in outward casualties to anyone nearby. Some say "He so so patient"...poppy-cock! I just plain blow-up all the time...DID anyway.  Just ask my kids and my wife.  They could make an "Explosion List" of all the times I would get angry. They feared me when I got mad.  That probably made them all want to run away when they could! It has hurt my relationships I am sure of.  Now, I feel more times than not and have harnessed the ability to contain the blasts.....calm myself and direct others in a more peaceful manner.....don't get me wrong.....I still just don't see it.
7. Ironically, another thing I find I have more of is Time.  Okay maybe it isn't really more of, but maybe now I have found the ability after all these years to take better advantage of it.  I take time to reflect on my feelings and thoughts (in this blog). Enjoy the garden on my patio in the mornings with my wife and a cup of coffee. Maybe even a peaceful stroll from time to time.....(don't get this confused with the exercise list! - It doesn't happen THAT much). I guess I have finally taken time for myself now. This I won't try to make a list for.

There once was a time that everything took forever and we seemed to have all the time in the world.  not so true anymore.  LIFE IS SHORT, very short! Each day does move by quicker than the day before.  The hillside has changed. For so many years I was climbing upwards, not sure when it occurred but I know at some point in time that the scenery changed and now I am on the other side and going down the hillside.  That doesn't make it easier, doesn't mean I have accomplished all my goals and I can now enjoy the rewards. It would be nice, but it isn't so. So much more to get done just yet......but I feel I need to hurry before the bell rings and show is over. I probably haven't taken time as much as necessary but I really need to ENJOY LIFE. At least the rest of it.

Take advantage of it my friends...don't waste it...enjoy the short time we have here on this earth.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I want to be a Super Hero too!

There is just something about watching the super hero movies that are made from comic books.  I think they are great.  I know, I know....I am still a silly kid.  Can't help it.  That is just me and the way I am. I just got back from seeing the new Captain America movie and thought they did a great job on the story. It had been a big thing in the past for our family to watch the newest comic hero movies when they first came out.  No kids these days to take with me so my wonderful wife agreed to go along. We even created our own Comic Heroes for our own family......IONIC 6.

Over the years there has been some duds when it comes to some of the comic heroes.  Some great ones and then not so great, but they are always fun regardless. There are some new remakes that are pretty bad.....but then again some are really awesome. We all have our favorites and sometimes it goes back to when we were kids and we were first introduced to the characters.

Do you remember the old television versions of Superman with George Reeves.  That was classic. Watching him swish away and the noise was so hilarious. How about the Batman with Adam West and Burt Ward....."Holy _________, Batman!" was the greatest catch phrase. Loved goofy too. The villains were always the best in that show. Bill Bixby as the Incredible Hulk or that Lou Ferrigno. Totally awesome. Even Woman Woman was pretty cool....especially for a teenage boy! Those were good.  Bad ones were Captain America, The so., cant remember too many others.

The Superman movies were fun at first however you look back at them and they are laughable.....the remake.....not so good.....not sure what is coming around the corner.  Smallville, when they weren't too wacky was fun. I am still waiting for the perfect Superman. Lois and Clark was always fun.  I enjoyed watching that series. I think the best Superman would be something just a little darker......I know, Superman is always clean cut...but I am just saying....maybe a bit of a dark streak.

Batman first time out the darkness of the movie I thought was pretty good.....then it kept changing Batmans and was really really bad. Come on really? Michael Keaton? Val Kilmer? George Clooney? Not. The recent redeux with Christian Bale has the best look. The Dark Knight was an awesome movie and The Joker played by Heath Ledger was evil! "Why so Serious?" He made the movie! Cant wait to see the next villain.

Aquaman never took off well. Hulk is too.....I don't know.....cartoony maybe is the word. That will be hard to make good. However the Ironman has been awesome and fun. Love the two so far. Green Lantern wasn't too bad.  I enjoyed it. Thor was okay. Not really sure about that character.  It wasn't ever really my favorite. XMen are okay but wasnt my favorite comic either. The Spiderman was pretty good they are already redeuxing that one.....not sure I will like it.
Then there is the whole thing with Super heroines......I think that it is okay but honestly it seems like it is more about sex appeal instead of the character and her powers. The wonderful thing about spandex and squeezing one's.....shall I just say...."abundance" into a tight fitting outfit which leaves little to the imagination...or maybe it does.  Whatever! Most are spin-offs or knock-offs of the guys.  Superwoman, Spiderwoman, She-Hulk, Catwoman, some of the XMen characters, and so many more I cannot name them here.

We all have our favorites and I continue to look forward to the next movie version coming out.  Yes...just a kid! But it is always so much fun to watch and dream of being a superhero yourself. I really want to be a Superhero too!......when I grow up!

Tell me your favorites and why.
Have a SUPER day my friends!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Planning for the Trip

Wow, okay so this is a recreation of the journal adventure that can about at the conclusion of my schooling at Oklahoma State University.  I had received an award called the William Caudill Traveling Fellowship 1989 which allowed me to travel and study architecture.  Typically this is done aboard and of course that is where I wanted to go as scary as that seemed at the time. Most of these images posted in this portion of my blog are directly from my travel journal.  In the beginning, I put everything in here as to have a place incase I needed it during the trip.....FYI, most all the addresses, numbers etc are all incorrect dont try and call them! lol.

Everything I needed to pack

Here is the list of all the potential places I wanted to go and visit organized by conuntry and city.

Friends addresses and numbers

Churches too, unfortunately most all of them were incorrect or no longer met there.

And the planned trip schedule