These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

a meeting of the minds

lat night after work my night shift co-workers and i gathered once more for trivial pursuit. this time we hunkered down, for a first time, at my pal krista's pad. it was a cozy change. although, lat time, at birdman's apartment, it was also a first. i guess it's a change from dan's old place all those times.

we played a different game than dan's version of trivial pursuit. it was sometihng like 20 years of stuff -- headlines and things. it had more pop culture questions than dan's did, making it easier to answer some questions. (one of my questins was who is petunia dursley's nephe? gee that's a tough one!).

this game was diffeent than last time. for one, we were down babbitt. so it was only five of us. last time our happy host didn't fare off well. this time, she jumped out toa qick three-wedge lead, leaving us in the dust. literally, she answered something like six or seven questions back-to-back. we were in trouble. or so it seemed.

but, as last time, the game settled down. krista then went on a dry spell, allowing me to gain a few wedges, followed by birdman.

ultimately, it came downt o krista and birdman tied with six apiece and going for the gold. i ended up with five wedges and just couldn't get that sixth one. dan only got maybe two. jason got none again.

it was exhausting, though. we finished up after 4:30 a.m. and my sleep pattern was off. i woke up feeling like crap.

but it's a small price to pay. i enjoy our little get togethers we gives us a chance to be ourselves out of the office and be true outside of the office pals, rather than just office friends. it gives us a chance also to share bullshit with one another, leave work behind, rag on each other for doing stupid shit or answering a question oddly or without thinking (is tokyo a nation?? i still haven't figured it out yet).

and now with birdman in town, krista using her place, and me chipping in for the next time, we have a means of moving around and not staying or hanging out at the same apartment.

good friends, tough questions, DP, frozen taquitos...good times.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

terms of endearment

yes, i know, i'm publishing blog entries like no tomorrow. i just feel like it sometimes. and since it's my blog, i can do that.

i watched "terms of endearment" today and didn't know what to expect, except it was based on a book by larry mcmurtry (a fellow texan) and it won lots of oscars. . i read the back of the movie case cover and it said a weepy drama. i didn't understand why. i watched half of it or so and still didn't get it, although i enjoyed it.

then things started falling apart. emma (debra winger) was diagnosed with cancer. i didn't see this coming. obviously this hits home for me. and it did. i'll admit to getting weepy here and there. i got a tad moist around the eyes when garrett (jack nicholson) showed up after he'd roken off with aurora (shirley maclaine). and of course i got weepy when emma talked to her kids for the last time while she was in the hospital.

that got me particularly because she rattled off a list of things she did for her older son. "remember when i bought you that baseball glove when we didn't have money," and a bunch of other things she said for him to remember that she cared for him and did things for him. and not to feel bad when he remembered some of the bad things he'd said to her while she was still alive.

i, of course, started thinking of my dad. and you know what? those are things that come to mind, the times when you treated your parents badly or stupidly for no reason. the times when they bought you that gove and they couldnt' afford it.

aside here: when i was in the second- or third-grade my parents bought me this cheapie glove since a lot of kids in school had gloves for baseball. that's all they could afford. kids made fun of it and i put it in my desk at school and didn't use it for physical educatin when we played. to this day i feel so bad over that. they did their best with what they had. i felt ashamed. schools kids laughed at me for that. and now i think the're all asses for that. but i blame myself, too. such an insecure kid i was.

yes, i'm sure we've all done things to merit the wrath of our parents, we're all human, after all. but i think we shouldn't take them for granted, either.

after getting bad news of my dad's cancer this past week (cancer marker went from 2 to 4), i was told later that the PA who helped them out (the oncologist was out), treated them roughly. he bluntly told my dad he was in stage four and ther was no cure for it, after telling them the cancer marker went up. when it was time to ask for another scheduled date for blood work, he nonchalantely said "what's another day (to wait)?' then he proceeded to say something to my dad about dying.

that insensitive prig left my parents very shaky after that. he should be lashed for talking that way to someone who has cancer. so unprofessional. he even told my dad "oh, i see you brought your daughter with you today." his attempt at wit or cute humor failed. it was my mom who was with my dad. what an asshole.

i was so angry when my sister told me this. however, after talking to my dad today,. i feel better. he and mom are telling the oncologist what this ass said, but he isn't taking it to heart. he told me tonight having the cancer doesn't prevent him from sleeping or from doing small tasks around the ranch. i was overjoyed to hear him say that.

about that glove, pop, you did just fine. i appreciate that you thought of me and bought it for me even when we couldn't really afford it. that's what a caring dad does. i apologize for not standing up and flipping off those sonsof bitches who laughed at me. love.

here comes the sun!!

man, what a gorgeous day. after watching giner zee give the weather report lat night, i anticipated another gloomy, overcast day. and we'd break the record. 16 days of no sunlight. alas, i was resigned to it, wondering when the sun would shine again on west michigan.

so i was quite surprised this morning when, i opened my eyes, some time after the alarm rang at 9:30, and i thought the sun was out. i blinked several times, turned around and looked out the other window and sure enough the sun was out. i smiled...and went back to sleep for another hour.

when i got up, it was refreshing to have sunlight streaming in the room getween the mini-blinds. it was like being energized or something. i didn't know how long the sun would last, so i wanted to try and make the best of it.

dawn asked what i had in mind. i mentioned to her what i'd said on friday night, about going to sanctuary woods in laketown township off of 32nd street and 66th street. we'd never been there before, though we tried looking for the place. after checking the temperature outside, dawn agreed to go.

a coworker had mentioned the place before, several times in fact, and it has always intrigued me but eluded me.

off we went, finding it with no problem this time. we were meant to go. plus, the townwnship had painted the gate a nice fresh blue color, making it obvious where it was. however, in the summer or fall, when the leaves are lush and on the trees, it might be impossible to see.

we had a gret time walking through the trail, steps, across the bridges, over roots and around trees. when you get into the thick of it, it's like you're in the middle of the woods somewhere away from civilization. it's great.

the steps were rough in some areas, very steep, but overall, a brisk walk. there's a spot where the trail veers up a grass- and trees-covered sand dune. the trails goes up and around. dawn said she couldn't make it up, so i went up alone and made it over the hump. in the process a think branch jabbed me in the eye and then i stopped. i realized i was going to far and it all began to look the same. with my bad eye sight, i determined it would be a bad decision to continue forward. but just beyond i think was a clearing with big red in the near distance. another time. i'm sure the view is breath-taking. it would be the opposite of how we've seen big red -- from eye level.

anyway, we went around and made it back to the car, passing several people -- some walking and others, fit, running, and some dogs on leashes.

the sun may not shine tomorrow, but it doesn't matter. it was worth it today, after 15 days of gloom. it's like getting a fix of something. and let me tell you, people sure needed this fix today.

thanks for the tip on the woods, jim h.