Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reports of My Giving Up...

...Are greatly exaggerated.

I did not quit blogging. I'm just taking a sabbatical. Not long ago, I sort of wrote about the futility of keeping this blog. I was feeling under appreciated. More than than that, I was feeling sorry for myself. It was kind of pathetic.

Several of you, including my pastor, encouraged me to continue writing. Despite my lack of regular posts lately, I was encouraged. Hard to believe with the lack of evidence.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I've kept this blog. I genuinely started for only myself. Somewhere along the way, I shifted my focus to how many people I was reaching.

But really, why should I be reaching anyone? I'm not writing anything with the intention of changing the world. My blog has no mission statement. I'm just doing it as a creative outlet. As reasons go, it's a pretty selfish one. It's supposed to be fun. Instead, it became work, so I stopped enjoying it.

So I'm taking a break. I'm still gonna write. I just won't post everything and won't post regularly. I'll try to get back to a regular schedule after the first of the year.

I shouldn't be disappointed when I don't have comments or even readers. Hopefully, someday soon, I'll actually convince myself of that.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Question of the Week: Impact

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

Well, if I were a asteroid, I'd want to leave a large crater somewhere completely conspicuous. Nothing that can be hidden by forest growth or an ocean. But since I'm not a hunk of space rock, I'm gonna have to settle for the impact I made at the Cascades back in college.

I'd gone to the Cascades with some friends to enjoy a nice little hike on a cool autumn day. Before we hit the trail, we congregated near the restrooms, giving everyone a chance to commune with nature before spending a couple hours communing with nature. So we're just standing around talking when a wasp decided to invade our little group. Particularly, it decided to fly toward my face. Now, I'm not one who likes to get stung in the face. I mean, that's the money maker. Can't have that swelling up from an insect sting. So I backed away. I was slow, but deliberate. I even attempted to talk the wasp down. "I'm gonna back away, wasp. You can fly wherever you want as long as it's not in my face." Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention to what was behind me. That would be a boulder that was about a foot and a half tall. Came right up to where my knees bend. So when I bumped into it walking backwards, I tumbled backwards. I'm sure it looked hilarious. My head didn't feel hilarious when it hit the gravel and dirt. One of the guys took a picture of the spot where my head made a dent in the ground. That's my impact on the world. You're welcome, Planet Earth.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Something in the Water

Working in a school, it's almost inevitable that I will pick up certain ailments from time to time. After all, when a 3rd grader sneezes right in your face, it seems that all the vitamin C in the world won't prevent what's to come.

Some things are expected to spread throughout an elementary school like wildfire. Strep throat jumps from classroom to classroom. Pink eye seemingly gets contracted from just making eye contact. And I'd rather not talk about the lice scare of 2006. Lost a lot of good people out there.

However, lately at my school, there's been a very different epidemic. At times, those affected will suffer from nausea and vomiting, but this is no simple stomach virus. No, you can't just take 24 hours off from life to let this clear up. This is a condition that lasts roughly 9 months. That's right. It's pregnancy.

One teacher gave birth a few weeks ago. Another is due to begin her maternity leave before the end of this month. Yet another has a due date in April of next year. Today the news broke that our 2nd grade teacher will welcome her third child in May.

I try to drink plenty of water throughout the day. It's important to stay hydrated. But I may need to start bottling my water from home and bringing it with me. Who knows what kind of risk I'm running by drinking the water from these fountains. I just cannot afford to get pregnant right now.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Single Guy and the Disney Princess

Have you ever run into a Disney princess in real life? Neither has the Single Guy. Unless you count a visit to Walt Disney World where actresses portray real life versions of animated characters. But today, the Single Guy came about as close as one could come to seeing a human version of a Disney princess as you could get outside of the happiest place on earth.

The Single Guy had a little time to kill between jobs this afternoon. As is his custom, he decided to kill that time with a visit to Barnes & Noble, also a pretty happy place on earth. Generally, the Single Guy just goes to the bookstore to browse and not to actually shop. Generally, he just makes a wish list of books he would like to have time to read someday.

As he pulled into a parking spot in front of the store, he noticed a girl getting out of her own vehicle. She was hard not to notice, what with her head full of untamed red hair. Upon getting a closer look, the Single Guy realized it wasn't just the hair. The only thing about her that would have made her look more like Brave's Princess Merida would have been if she were wearing a green dress. Or if she had been carrying a bow with a quiver of arrows.

He followed Real Life Merida into the bookstore. Not in the sense that he was actually following her, she just happened to walk into the store before he did. Really, the Single Guy was planning to go to Barnes & Noble anyway. He's not stalking girls that look like Disney princesses. Seriously.

Anyway, the Single Guy sent a text to a teacher he works with who happens to love Brave. He had to let someone know that he'd discovered Merida's doppelganger. As he sent the text, he figured he should try and snag a picture of her with his phone, just so he would have proof. Unfortunately, the Single Guy doesn't really know how to subtly take pictures with his phone. He just couldn't get close enough to Real Life Merida to get a decent photo.

But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it means the Single Guy just doesn't have it in him to be completely creepy. Maybe it means he needs a better phone with a better camera. Whatever the case, he missed his chance at meeting Real Life Merida. Before he knew it, she was making her purchase and was out the door.

Real Life Merida was probably just some random redhead without a Scottish accent. But if she'd had a Scottish accent, the Single Guy might have dropped to one knee and proposed right there in the biography section.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

It All Started with a Blue French Horn

No, I'm not talking about How I Met Your Mother, though I'm sure I'll reference the show a number of times from here on out.

A little over a year ago, I drove into Richmond to visit my friend, the Charlatan. You remember the Charlatan, right? I called him that back when he lived in Charlotte. I've stuck with that because I feel that Charlatan is more clever than Richmonder. Anyway, he sat me down on his sofa and took a seat across the coffee table and began telling me the story of how he met his future bride.

Okay, it didn't literally begin with a blue French horn. But I don't remember all the details that led up to the blue French horn. I do know that the two of them connected over a mutual love for How I Met Your Mother. And from that connection came an idea that, in my opinion, puts a lot of other romantic notions to shame.

On Valentine's Day of 2012, the Charlatan wasn't dating anyone. For him, this posed a problem. Because the Charlatan is one of those creative cats. He's also a die hard romantic. So, without having a special someone on the most commercially romantic day of the year, he had a lot of pent up creativity that he wanted to release.

So he decided to take a blank canvas and draw a French horn using blue chalk. Once he'd completed his work of art, he drove over to his Future Wife's house and left it on her doorstep. It was late, so he knew she wouldn't see it until the next day. She saw it, loved it, and the rest is history.

This past weekend, the Charlatan married that Future Wife in a wedding that was filled with references to How I Met Your Mother. The ceremony took place outside in a spot that overlooked the James River. Sure, they had to contend with the noise of a train passing by not too far away, but that was soon gone. The weather was lovely, but the bride and groom were prepared for inclement weather. As a party favor, each of the guests received a yellow umbrella.

For the last few years on How I Met Your Mother, any time the Mother was seen, she was seen carrying a yellow umbrella. This was a very fitting gift from the happy couple.

The reception was also outside. The guests gathered around a dance floor and enjoyed foods like chicken & waffles, sliders, macaroni & cheese and shrimp & grits. Sadly, I wasn't able to stay beyond the first few minutes of the reception. It was a long drive back to Blacksburg, and I knew it would be late before I managed to get home.

As it was, I was exhausted throughout the drive back home. But I made it safe and sound, happy to have had the chance to witness two awesome people begin their lives together. So to Andy and Sarah, I pray you enjoy many long years together.

The groom is in the bow tie. The bride's the one in the white dress. Just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

This Government's Broken. Let's Get a New One.

I've made it no secret that I despise politics. It's not that I don't like ideologies or belief systems. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone is entitled to reasonably express that opinion. The thing I don't like is the polarizing effect that many political issues tend to have on the majority of the people in this country.

That said, I make it a point to remain as neutral as possible whenever exploring political issues. I only explore politics on the rarest of occasions because I like to avoid the subject at all costs. Sometimes it's because I know I haven't paid close enough attention to the news to really form an educated opinion. Sometimes I avoid politics because I don't want to throw gasoline on the fire, causing people to leave comments that only serve to point fingers at the people on the other side of their particular political lines.

But since I rarely receive comments anyway, prepare for my well written thoughts on the events of today.

This government shut down is stupid.

You like that? Nothing more intelligent than what a 12-year-old would say. Or, judging by the actions of our elected leaders over the past weeks months, nothing more intelligent than what a congressman/woman would say.

As someone who works with children on a daily basis, I don't think I'm far off in saying that our representatives are acting like spoiled children. Each of them wants their way and no one is willing to give ground in order to come up with a compromise. They can tell the public that they're working on a compromise all they want, but they don't understand what the word compromise really means. True compromise means that both parties will walk away having given up or lost something they initially wanted. But no one is willing to give anything up, even though giving up something will be what's in the best interests of the American people.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are out of work. Every day that this government shut down continues means those people are losing a paycheck. Their way of life is being put on hold while the men and women of congress are hashing out some sort of agreement. Sounds like it's not that big a deal, right? They're just hashing out a few details. "Hashing out" is a term I read in a few different articles regarding this whole disagreement.

But congress really has no incentive to get this done quickly. While those hundreds of thousands of federal employees sit at home and worry about what their next paycheck will look like, our elected officials continue to receive their regular income. So they can keep on arguing 'til Christmas and their families won't really know that there's been any difference.

I know, I saw on the news this morning that a number of these representatives have said they'll be donating their pay to charity during the shut down. Well, that's really thoughtful of you Representative Imfullofit, but how does a donation to the Red Cross help all those employees that have been laid off with no definite end in sight?

I don't care if you're a democrat, republican or independent. You were elected to congress for one purpose only, and that's to serve the people who put you in office. That means you serve all the people, not just the democrats or republicans or the others who are stuck somewhere in between. That means you don't serve your own interests. You don't serve the interests of your political party. You serve the people. And if you can't do that effectively, the people will remember it.

I say that, but really, will the people remember this? Ideally, a well informed voter would remember this petty squabbling that led to a complete government shut down and would use their vote to make a change. But we're a society with ADD.

Is it possible to recall all of our elected officials and just start from scratch? Because this group just isn't getting the job done.

Remember, this rant is not an attack on democrats or republicans. It's an attack on democrats and republicans. You're all being stupid, collectively and individually. Try to remember who put you morons into office, okay?