Wretched Time: Mediocre Poetry for Busy Folks Tuesday, Jan 29 2008 

It’s time to recycle a fun-post from a year and a half ago. Since a lot of visitors who check intolifetest.jpg the blog weren’t around back in in those days, I re-present “Wretched Time,” a fun piece of doggerel verse etched out one day at work in 1997 when I was wasting time I didn’t have to waste  by composing nonsensical verse–I guess that’s being “metawasteful?” At any rate, these words, born of idle procrastination in the midst of rebelling against doing things I should have been doing, are as true as any I’ve ever written:

Oh, wretched time, I have much else to do!
Why, thou knave, can’t I have enough of you?
T’would better be to cast my watch away–
Thus forgetting thee might my nerves defray!
Then this thought occurs to me (how perverse!):
Thee could I save by writing not this verse!

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Real Steel Magnolias Saturday, Jan 26 2008 

Sarah and I saw the movie Steel Magnolias years ago.   The movie was shot on location in and around Natchitoches, Louisiana.  We enjoyed the movie all the more for that piece of local color.steel-magnolias.jpg

I just spent Friday evening and all day today (Saturday) with a group of ladies from the Northwestern State University Writing Project  in Natchitoches.  I served as one of two consultants for the technology leadership team of this Writing Project site in a retreat weekend to do some long range planning.  I was the only guy in the group of nine or ten ladies!  (They treated me with great civility.)

When the successful day ended Saturday, I told the group, “I feel like I’ve spent the last 18 hours with the cast from Steel Magnolias . . . , except the cast of the movie was all actresses . . . but you ladies are the real deal!”

They laughed, of course.

We had a good time.  In the end, these folks were better than the movie’s characters: they were funny, they were creative, they were authentic.

No need for actresses among the fellows of the NSU Writing Project!

The family that runs together stays together . . . Tuesday, Jan 22 2008 

I’ve been a recreational runner for most of the past 30 + years.   But the two kids run last week in the Houston Marathon–Zach the complete marathon, Ann the half marathon–surpassed by far any goal or expectation or dream that I could have ever held out for myself.  It’s pretty neat to see them both so turned opulling-kids.jpgn to running, even moreso after returning from their marathon weekend–to the point that poor old Mom and Dad both feel challenged to catch the same spirit. The pastor and another family friend took part in the Houston action, too.  It’s like running has become “the thing” around here.

I guess that’s an instance of the kids setting a standard for the old folks.  So even though I’ve been run/walking for years, I’ve ramped up the training routine so that I run all (rather than the half run/half walk intervals that I’ve been doing for several years) of my 3.2 + mile daily romp with the dog.   Both Sarah and I are getting ready for First Baptist Church of Eunice’s 5K event next month to benefit the local ministerial association’s food bank.

I have saved the route of my training run at http://www.mapmyrun.com.   The calorie calculator there tells me my 32 minute romp covering 3.23 miles consumes 239 calories that might otherwise be converted to avoirdupois if I didn’t take the time to run.

2005: A Year That Should Go Down in Infamy? Thursday, Jan 17 2008 

I was faithful to journaling daily in 2005. Never in my life, before or after, was I that committed to dashing out a daily reflection on the the life going on around me. It’s interesting to look back at those frames now, only three short years later, to remember how much of the daily stuff I forget. And especially 2005. What a year!

On this day in 2005, for example, I wrote the following:

“Granny’s scope showed no tumors or anything else except infection, so that’s good news. She’ll get to go back to the home tomorrow and get strong for her 100th.”granny-at-mlk.jpg

Wow. I scrolled all the way through that journal, and all the details of the infamous year were recorded well.

Granny’s 100th birthday party celebration.  PaPaw Morris fell ill with cancer in January and left us behind in May.   A couple of hurricanes in August/September. A funeral for our Granny in December.dscf0015.jpg

Seems like lot of living–and dying–crammed into twelve months. Why did I choose that year to record anyway? What a lucky coincidence, or perhaps Providence?

I realized this evening that I should revisit that compost heap of recollections and memories from time to time. Not only can I dredge up some material for this blog, but I can also remember the meaningful stuff I might otherwise so sadly forget.

“My muscles ached . . . so tender to the touch.” Sunday, Jan 13 2008 

fibro_home_main.jpg

Seen the actress to the right on the TV commercial for Lyrica , the prescription remedy for fibromyalgia?   Yep, that’s the lady’s line in the commercial: “My muscles ached, so tender to the touch.”  If you’ve seen the commercial, you recall that she’s reading that line from her journal, recalling the past woes of her painful affliction before her doctor prescribed Lyrica.

Now who would write an entry in a journal like that?  Or if someone did, would she read it to an audience?  I sure wouldn’t.

But commercials make actors state all kinds of brazen things about the most indelicate topics.  Those “E.D.” prescriptions, perhaps, are the most outlandish, but you’ll see scores of others where some actor or actress jabbers openly and gleefully about his or her genital herpes or private-parts itching or painful bloating or  other intensely personal topics ranging from diahrrea to constipation.  Hardly anyone I know would realistically discuss personal conditions like these with such candor without turning multiple shades of red.

We can have some fun with this concept.  What would happen if the same ad guy worked up a diarist writing a journal entry to promote, let’s say, . . . a diahrrea medication:

“My bowels exploded, so violent and vile.”

Or a medication for, let’s say, constipation:

“My stomach  distended, so stretched and pooched out.”

Or one for, let’s say, hemorrhoids:

“My behind was inflamed, so raw to the touch.”

Or one for, let’s say, a stopped up nose:

My sinuses oozed, issuing copious streams of green mucous.” 

I could keep this going, but it’s getting late.  If I think of something to add later, maybe I’ll edit this post.  But for the time being, I haven’t had my bath yet:

“My underarms reek . . . so offensive to the family.” 

HaHa–Not true (At least no one in the house has complained.)

School Bus in a Ditch Thursday, Jan 10 2008 

This is a captivating scene.

A school bus in a ditch. bus-wreck.jpg

 

Since I’ve never seen a bus in a ditch in real life, I thought this St. Tammany Parish school bus-run-awry might provide a fresh and interesting topic.

For you see, I want this to be the kind of blog that explores subject matter that adds to and enriches the readers’ experience. I’m sure many readers of this blog, like me, have never seen a bus in a ditch, either. Perhaps some have even wondered what a bus in a ditch would look like.

Well, Voila! Wonder no more!

Thanks to my brother from St. Tammany Parish who entertained himself during the traffic delay by sharing photos of the mishap.

Purple and Gold Day: Geaux, Tigers Sunday, Jan 6 2008 

whblnrezrqbupza20080106210457.jpgTomorrow’s a dreaded day on one hand because the faculty and staff where I work at the only two-year campus in the LSU System (LSU-Eunice) report back to work after the holiday layoff. But one mitigating circumstance will make  checking in a little easier: We’ll approach the hour to hour routine Monday as the countdown to the showdown Monday night in New Orleans when the respective flagship campuses of Louisiana and Ohio settle the issue of the national championship. That should quicken everyone’s gait by a step or two to help us get through the day.

Even though we’re eighty miles west of Baton Rouge and the big sister campus and yet another hour further removed from the Super Dome where the main action will take place, we will hype ourselves tomorrow by wearing the colors to work. If all goes well Monday night, then the rest of the back-to-work week might even be slightly fun.

So in the interest of improving morale in the work place,

Geaux, Tigers!

Credit for Coach Miles w/helmet photo above to lsusports.net

The “Bad” Hands of AllState: Corporate Hypocrisy in the SuperDome! Thursday, Jan 3 2008 

So Allstate is the corporate sponsor o6kzd3rn.jpgf the Bowl Championship Series in New Orleans next week.

Hmmmph.

Folks around the country may not make anything of the irony, but any of us in Louisiana or Mississippi in 2005 have to react a little skeptically, because we saw what a soul-less industry big insurance truly is.

Remember that Monday night football game in 2006 when the remodeled Dome opened for a Saints-Falcons game? Allstate sponosred that event, too. The Allstate commercials showed their guy standing on top of the Dome giving this speech about how Allstate was the guardian and saviour of so many along the Gulf Coast who suffered so much during the hurricanes, blah blah blah.

I wanted to puke! I was there to see and learn what happened to honest, premium-paying homeowners who found themselves shivvering in the the ruins of their losses as their insurers (State Farm was as guilty as Allstate, for that matter) dodged their claims and darted in and out of a maze of legal loopholes to avoid paying benefits.

The fact that the courts ruled in favor of so many homeowners who filed suits against the insurers is just that much more evidence that the consumers really were getting ripped off.

Yep, that sounds to me like an industry without a soul. I was really disappointed, because previously I had thought well of the big insurance companies, or at least I gave them the benefit of the doubt. But not any more!