Saturday, September 26, 2009

Owen Soccer Game #2

Not going to talk too much about the first game. Getting four year old kids to kick it towards the correct goal and to stop when it goes out of bounds is a victory. You take into account four year olds versus six year olds (Not even looking at that Owen is a small four year old like in the less than 10% range in height). The game was a blow out and not even fun for the kids.

Game #2 was much better for the kids. They weren't concentrating on where to line up and when to go and stop and so I think most of the kids finally were going after the ball. Owen is great in practice probably dribbles, kicks, heads the ball just as good or better than other kids, but when it comes to games he wants nothing to do with the mass of floppy hair, little elbows, flying shoelaces and shinguards. He usually just kind of stands outside of the cloud of kids and waits for the ball. This week he chased the ball up and down the field. He didn't score, but he got in the middle and kicked the ball. And I was proud of the fact he tried even though he was two years and two weight classes lower than everybody on the field.

But he now knows he is the smaller kid and he figured it out. He kicked the ball off and the ball ended up after a few kicks from everybody near the other teams goal. One of the larger kids from the other team started to take the ball down the side line and Owen chased him the length of the field with Michelle and I cheering him on the whole way. The kid eventually scored, and I cheered great job to him but I could see him stop after the kid scored and I could feel what was coming next. I saw his hands go up to his face and the eyes started tearing up. "I tried Daddy he was too big and too fast" he wailed as he ran back to me. I almost started to cry also. I used to go by the Yoda mantra "Do or do not, There is no try" But I have to look at this from a different point of view. Owen didn't stop the kid from scoring but he did run his tail off.

The kick off

The chase down the field

Tears welling up

Ref trying to check to see if he is hurt

Running to dad

New Start Update 1

Okay Update on my motiviation for new start.

1) I am not a linquist so learning spanish has been postponed.

2) Piano. My father in law has offered his piano. Just have to get it up here from College Station now.

3) Red Cross. I completed the initial training orientation, just need to start other classes / training to get on a team. Might take me until this spring to get them all in hopefully I can get them all in before tornado season starts up. Have to learn Mass care training, Canteen truck training, etc .

Just trying to use blog more and learn to put a video in my blog.

Owen loves music and dancing. I made this about 6 months ago though.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Start

Okay I promised myself I would start one of three things before September.

1) Learn Spanish - My mom teaches and I still don't know much except the bad words I learned from playing soccer.

2) Relearn the Piano - I always thought the main character in Beautiful Girls had an awesome job as a lounge piano player. Who cares about the money right?

3) Join the Disaster Team at Red Cross.

My wife voted for the disaster team at Red Cross and so I sent the email in to learn how tonight. One more thing to kick start this was watching the movie The Hurt Locker. The movie highlights a Improvised Explosive Device (IED) US Army Team. It is not a documentary, but tried to feel a little like one at times. The main characters deal with war zone as all war movies do, but more specifically deals with one man's reason for joining the IED squad which is the most dangerous job in Baghdad / Afghanistan right now. Was it just an adrenaline rush that acts like a drug for him or is he honestly trying to help people? The movie doesn't anwer the question and probably it shouldn't. But it forced me to decide what I could do and what I would enjoy doing at the same time. It isn't disarming bombs, but helping people and enjoying it can go hand and hand.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mud Run Finale

I haven't blogged in awhile, but nobody really reads this anyways.

My sister and I officially finished the Mud Run in Fort Worth. The night before Sam (my sister and I) got our registration packets and tried to find outfits to wear. Sam wanted to go West Texas hick and wear overalls, but all I could think about was mud and water down my legs and in my undewear. I had already picked up Marine boots a few weeks before and army camo pants. Sam found a pair of thin cotton camo sweat pants and we decided against cotton shirts.

Just north of Fort Worth near the ballpark where the Fort Worth Cats play and along the Trinity River was the starting point. We arrived early and found other teams already running. The 5 women teams and some corporate teams. I saw 38 on the thermometer before I left and thought the mud might be frozen. We climbed down the hill to scout the route, but the course being a 10k along the Trinity River we could only see part of the course. Our start was delayed and by the time we ran it was 12:30 so we snacked on the free bagels and oranges. I hadn't run in awhile because we were dealing with Owen and Tess being sick for about three straight months.

We started the run and run down the river bank and then back up where about 50 yard watered down section was the first obstacle. First rule don't bother trying to run along the edge it is actually more slick than running right down the middle of the water. Then jogged along the river and turned around headed back towards the start towards a bridge. Crossed the bridge while other people were finishing up. They looked ragged. Few were still actually running and the thought crossed me to slow down, but couldn't let two guys that looked like our Dad beat us so we kept going. 2nd obstacle was the wall. Probably about 8 -foot tall. Sam went first just in case I had to give a boost. She didn't need a boost, but more of a push when she got stuck in a crouching position at the top. Like a frog hanging onto a tree branch. We got over it is a team event. 3rd obstacle was about 100 yards in a mud pit with about 8-10 inch deep water. I had my boots tied tight and pants tucked into the boots so no worries this time, but the water was cold. 4th obstacle Tubes to crawl through, no biggie. 5th obstacle mud crawl 1st looks to be 100 yards long, but more likely 25 yards. Time to crawl on the belly in mud about 4 inches deep under wire, just like boot camp but without the loud noises and fake gunfire. That was tough after this obstacles just start to blend together much like the black shirt, dark green camo pants, and my goatee blend into one brown color. There was more mud pits to run through, a rope net climb, more mud pits to run through. You get the theme.

Finally we reach the halfway point and some junior marine sargents begin yelling at us to run. Luckily Sam and I decided to run before we got to them and they screamed at everyone else to look at us. "Look at the dedication at those two you need to get up and move". Little do they know around the corner we stopped and started to walk. I start feeling like there is more water in my boots than some of the mud pits now. Rule 2 - No cotton anything, it just soaks up water.

We run under a few bridges and a few more mud pits, then we turn the corner and see two big piles and at least a dozen other smaller piles of dirt. Or at least it was dirt before 1,000 soaking wet people run over it before us. It was now slick as snot. The other thing is when you see piles of dirt/mud, is to think where did that dirt come from. When you peek around the mound of dirt you see a 50 yard long pool of water and another hill of dirt and another pool of water. Get a running start is all I can think about. Go fast don't slip. Sam goes first and reaches the top. I run like I have 10 pound weights on my shoes. I crawl on hands and knees to the top dodging the really slippery spots. Sam is on her way down the other side which is a mudslide. Down into the pool of water and her head dives under. She comes up like she is taking her first breath ever. Then screams of "Cold" and "Freezing" Thanks for the warning as I am in mide slide. Splash Wow she is right it is freezing enough that I can't even talk. Just swim as fast as I can as all I think about and then I finally crawl out and realize I have to do this again. Rinse and Repeat. Then I see four scars in the ground, like a T-Rex scratched at the ground. Each one of those scratches is full of water. Freezing water again. Junior Marines are yelling at us to stay down. Which it is easier to keep your head down and swim than just crawl anyways.

We are now too cold to run, but need to keep warm. We need to stop to drain our boots and clothes of the water that just soaked into everything. Again don't wear any cotton. We briefly stop and my cargo pockets have to be drained. I turn my boots upside down and out pours probably a gallon of water. My feet have been simming each step not running. I also see that my wedding ring is not on my finger. I haven't taken my ring off for anything since I got married. I have taken it off to fidge with, but not for taking a shower or any sport. Sam asks if we need to go back and look. I laughed like we would ever find it. So we began to jog to get warm again. Our jog is slower than our walk, but we just keep moving toward another turn underneath a bridge.

Then we see 3 more obstacles, but in between each obstacle the course climbs up the river bank levee and back down. Tires to crawl through is first, which isn't bad. A 20 foot tall ladder like obstacles with 2 x 4's as steps about 4 feet apart. Next is pipes to crawl over which being wet and slick has its advantages now. We also begin seeing 5 man teams that started behind us to catch up.

We then run along a little further and remember all the people crawling in the mud crawl in the opposite direction earlier. The sun has beaten down for about an hour and half since we were there last and all the people crawling through carrying the water out in their clothes. We reach the mudcrawl and see no water only dried mud and tree roots sticking out. I wish we had that water back in there. The tree roots scratch and the mud sand silt scratch as it dries out. It is slow moving now with no water also. I lift my boots up while laying down and water pours out again. I think my boots are made of shamwow material now.

Made it throught the mudcrawl. We lost track of the old men, but they were skipping obstacles so I don't think their finish counts. The wall again and I push Sam over the top again. Onto the finish in 1 hour and 50 minutes which is about 50 minutes longer than I would run a 10k but I finished under 2 hours and that is all I wanted.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The great and semi all knowing wikipedia lists Pneumonia as an inflammatory illness of the lung. Frequently, it is described as lung parenchyma / alveolar inflammation and abnormal alveolar filling with fluid. Does anybody know what the heck this says. If I didn't put Pneumonia in the title you would have no idea what I was talking about. I am an engineer and we can use some odd terms. Mainly we just use names of people that discovered stuff. But we don't use latin or any other language in our terms.

My son picked this disease up. Actually he has been sick off and on since Christmas. Anyways I I am a chemical engineer (Don't ask how, but I can show you the degree) and a man therefore I want to fix stuff. I take stuff apart and try to put them back together. Would rather do it myself than pay someone. I hate not knowing. Medical stuff is one of those things I hate not knowing. You can't see any valve to turn, gear to replace, or chemical to use. There is also no instruction manual to fall back on with a human. Sure there are guidelines, but it sure seems that a lot of trial in error is involved. All I can do is put on the brave face and act calm for Michelle. And keep praying.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mud Run Registration

I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. My sister and I have decided to get in some sort of shape, but I hate just running or working out just to get in shape I need a goal. So we picked out Fort Worth Mud Run and possibly some adventure races this summer. I initially thought the mud run was a fun run through the mud and over some obstacles. More detailed study revealed the course to be 10 kilometers long (6.4 miles) and 18 obstacles. Military style. Ladders, hills, ropes, swings, etc. But if I do finish I will at least fill some accomplishment.

During registration we had to pick out a team name. All I could come up with was Tumbleweeds. Being from West Texas and Michelle's (my wife's) U6 girls soccer team she coached. But as always I thought of a better name afterwards. Mud Harvesters since my sister and I were both Pampa High School Harvesters. Anyways more information on my training for this. By the way when you are fat, pull ups are hard

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ipod positioning

I have started to run a lot more lately. I can't go more than 2 miles or so without stopping which is sad since I played soccer. Trying to train for the Fort Worth Mud Run and then try adventure races with my sister. But that is another blog.

While I run I use my Ipod to get my through the plodding monotony. I have now found great headphones that wrap around my ear and don't slide off. My wife hates them which is fine since I never seem to find my old ones. But running with my Ipod has become tedious. One mile or under is fine to run with the Ipod in my hand. This also give easy access to change the song if necessary. But running over a mile, my hand gets cramped and sweaty. I have long sleeve running shirts with some pockets that I can hide it in and run with hands free. My sister got me an adapter with a velcro arm sleeve, but I am not that guy. The gym rat with big arms. Actually I don't have arms big enough to keep it on. So I am stuck with a sweat covered ipod that eventually I can't change the song because my fingers are wet. I also can't get it out of my hand because my hand is cramping in the carpal tunnel position.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

DVD, DVR and Itunes 2/19

DVD - Waiting on Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, but bought Owen Madagascar 2. I don't care what anybody thinks, the Penguins make both Madagascar movies.

DVR - Life on NBC - If you watched Band of Brothers, the lead character is played by the same guy who played Dick Winters. Great character double plot layer every week. One ongoing mystery that deepens every week and the regular Law and Order type murder mystery.

Itunes - The Boxer Rebellion. Can't explain them Radiohead - Coldplay. Chill out music.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2-0 again

This is becoming almost boring to watch anymore. 2-0 everytime. Although Mexico probably should have gotten one, but Rafael Marquez's impression of the Karate Kid ended that thought. The U.S. was plain and simple the better team on the field.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

US vs Mexico

US vs Mexico

This is the grudge match in North American soccer. It isn't the oldest or the deepest in the world, but it does have a nice little history and just plain unsportsmanlike conduct. The US won the first match back in 1934, but then didn't win again until 1980. Since 1991 Mexico has started to struggle against the US unless they were playing in the Mile High Smog filled Azteca stadium. In fact the US has flipped the results completely since 2000.

* Mexican fans chant Osama to the U-23 team in 2004.
* In 2001, the US decides to stop playing games against Mexico in LA, Houston, Chicago with large hispanic populations. They move to Columbus even playing in cold weather which aggravated the Mexican players who didn't warm up before the game calling the game Guerra Fria
* Landon Donovan caught peeing in Estadio Jalisco in Mexico because they didn't open the locker room, but they didn't stop the uproar from Mexico.
*Oswaldo Sanchez tries to take out the US forward Eddie Johnson after being scored on by Landon Donovan.
* When your captain departs from the normal cliche "It's just another game" and states "It's not just another game for me. I clearly, absolutely, desperately want to beat them,"
* Hooting and whistling and booing during the Star Spangled Banner, just about every match this happens against Mexico.
* I have now lost count on the number of coaches since 2001 for Mexico. Everytime they get beat they change.
* They are selling voodoo dolls in Mexico for the latest match. Voodoo dolls with "Gringos" on the back.
* Personally been to one game in the Cotton Bowl. US won on a last minute goal 1-0. Mexican fans didn't realize they had lost on the way out. Had to show him the score board. I have cheered in the Aggie section at Kyle field when my team was winning against the Aggies, but there hasn't been a feeling like being the lone two guys standing in the Mexican section (which was the whole stadium) cheering after Eddie Pope crashed the winning goal in. I have never been more scared in my life, even the time someone tried to rob me.

I may be a little biased for the US, but it sure seems during the games that Mexico has definitely become frustrated because the unsportsmanlike conduct's two way street is heavy on the Mexican side of the road. Tomorrow night is a World Cup Qualifier, and might not end up deciding how goes to the World Cup because the top 3 out of 6 go down to South Africa in 2010. But I might expect some fireworks, because Mexico wants it bad and they aren't playing that well lately. In fact they lost to Sweden at home 1-0 and the US beat Sweden 3-2 although the game really was in the US hands until the last minute goal to make it 3-2.

It should be interesting, unless the new Mexican coach Sven Goran Eriksson plays it safe for the tie on the road which he has been known to do and hated in England for it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Watching the Grammy's and The Lost Art of the Album and Mix tape

Watching the Grammy's and plugging away around Itunes. By the way Coldplay just ripped off the Beatles Sgt. Pepper outfits, but at least the admitted it. Where did the art of the album go? Nobody makes a good album anymore. I haven't bought a CD or tape in years. I thought I was just getting older, but asking my interns at work and they rarely buy CD's and have never bought a tape. Mix tape is a foreign phrase to them. I guess you can't blame the artists or labels, the Andy Warhol prophecy of "Everyone will have 15 minutes of fame" is becoming more true and even shorter time.

The Album is now one big song and makeup some others to make a CD and money off that one song. I think the 90's were when the last full albums were released. The Grammy's big winner is Song of the Year not really Album of the Year. I love albums that flow together where you can't just hit skip because the last song just leads right into the next. The great bands of the 60's and 70's knew how to do it and most of the bands in the 80's although good music in the 80's is hard to come by but that is another argument I start with my wife everytime. This makes me wonder why a lot of the current bands are emulating those bands and why they keep coming back for reunion tours.

The mixtape has been lost and not because of CD's it is because of Itunes and Ipods. The playlist is the next best thing, but you can't give that to someone without them buying the songs. Maybe Itunes can put something together where the playlist maker pays 99 cents for the 10 song playlist to give to someone to play for a month or a number of plays. Don't you think that some of the songs would get bought later if passed around.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Proud Father

In the past month, my son has started to discover sports. Being a man who learns more about national news through Sportscenter than CNN, I am ecstatic. I would be happy either way, but it sure makes sports more fun for me seeing someone discover it for the first time. Having been a Texas Tech fan, I have become used to being close but yet so far and perhaps have become jaded in the past few years.

Taking Owen to a Hockey game, which in fact was my first NHL hockey game. Within 5 minutes he knew who the good guys were and who the bad guys were.

Next was today with Michelle's soccer game. He saw Mom's shoes and wanted to put on his shin guards. We went to the game and he played with the linesman while I fed Tess.

Also today he knew we had a Football party today and while at the store he wanted to make sure we got some peanuts for the football game.

Lastly he knows the words to We Will Rock You by Queen. Which is a double edged sword if you know Queen well. But I am still proud and maybe it is just me rediscover a love of sports again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Carboard Boxes, Sand Pits

I started this post, then realized my wife had a brief blog on using the carboard box. But I don't care I am the one that brought the box home anyways. Do you remember the day Dad brought home a new fridge, new washer or dryer, or other large appliance? The first thing I went for was the box and my Dad always made sure not cut the box up to much or he gave me the roll of duct tape. (Yes it is duct tape not duck tape). Another time my Dad wanted to aerate the lawn and sand it so he bought at least a yard or two of sand from the local landscaping and concrete company. The dump truck dumped the load right on the driveway. All my neighborhood friends showed up and we played all afternoon. The next day my Dad used about half of it spreading it onto the lawn. But that left at least a 3 foot pile of sand. For about a month it became our own volcano, ski resort, tunnel mine system and lastly a jump pit (from the roof). My Dad let all the pile of sand sit for at least a month until he came home from work and saw us in mid air off the roof. The rest of the pile went to the back yard and garden the next day. Also my friends and I made up a game of tag called Fisherman that was so complex I don't think I am allowed enough words on this blog to explain nor can I really remember all the rules. We started using old hoola hoops and golf clubs for equipment. I asked my Dad for what we could use as a base in the game of tag. He started to go all out with building something out of plywood and sanding off the corners so we wouldn't get hurt. Funny how my parent's never allowed us a video game system and we only had one TV in the house up until I was in high school. But they always went out of their way with the simple fun.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


My sister somehow has a friend of a friend of a friend with free inauguration tickets. So she is currently trekking across country to see this inauguration or formal beginning.

I envy her freedom of taking off but that comes with not having a job right now. Like Jack Kerouac but with a purpose. (Sorry I hated "On the Road", but that is another blog) I also envy her excitement for going to see a historical event. Every inaguration is a historical event. The party before the rebirth. At least every 8 years, this country can hoot and holler and then reboot itself. I wonder if that is what the founding fathers were thinking about when they set this system up. Reboot, Restart, Oops maybe that wasn't the right way to go let's change it up.

This isn't about George W. Bush and I don't want to go into politics too much because I am a liberal in Texas and a Conservative in Boston or Chicago and it doesn't fit into my point about rebirth. Sports teams get to start over every season. School year's start a fresh every year except for that cumulative GPA. Hope springs from this rebirth. People need hope otherwise you are like Kerouac wandering aimlessly without purpose. To tie this up a little better look up what the purpose of Jesus was on this earth.

Because I might have borrowed some lines
Read "Jesus for President" Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw

Friday, January 16, 2009

Closet Monsters

Approach yee closet monsters
Child swinging flashlight sword
And blanket shield of tomorrow's morning sun
Fighting off the dragons of the dark until sleep comes
The work for the knight of the house is finally done
But when does the middling gray become so everyday
That transparent fair and injust lines go astray
Trying to keep track of the decreasing black and white
Is more challenging than convincing a child that there is no closet monster to fight

Father the Sick

Mother's night out
Chugging yucky syrup
Rocking one to sleep with free foot
Searching for the perfect emotional button song
Coughing up more phelgm
Bed time yawns around for all
One feed and down for the night
Number two still looking for the right jammies
Bache aches from hacking and holding
Blanket, Book, Bed and Bedlam averted once again
To begin again in the morning
This time with less phelgm

Half Glass Empty

Glass half empty
Prepared for the inevitable
Hate the wreck without knowing who was hurt
Can't stand the pause before the slam of the door
Skip to the end and rewind for the drama
Bottom is not as brutal if you can make a crash landing
Or just surprised by the udder joy
When my glass is in fact full